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The Purple Island. Piscatory Eclogues.

Phineas Fletcher.

Table of Contents  |   Eclogues


This Renascence Editions text was transcribed by Daniel Gustav Anderson, July 2003, and reproduces the 1633 publication of The Purple Island, with the Piscatory Eclogues and Poeticall Miscellenie. It retains the spelling and punctuation of the original, silently amending obvious typographical errors such as missing periods at stanza ends. The long "s" and the vowel ligatures, also, are silently amended to the letters of the conventional keyboard. Any errors that have crept into the transcription are the fault of the present publisher. The text is in the public domain. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 2003 the editor and the University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only.


The Eclogues are less rigorously conventional and more experimental than they might appear. Lee Peipho argues that Fletcher’s innovation with the Eclogues is the “religious allegorization of Sannazaro’s piscatory world” (471). The literary landscape is again invested with spiritual significance, specifically Anglo-Protestant significance. Following this, Gary M. Bouchard traces the influence of Fletcher’s Protestant “blue world” of fishermen in the pastoral space of Milton’s elegy, “Lycidas” (241-242). Here, Fletcher’s more modest generic innovations seem to be of more immediately recognizable value than those of The Purple Island, and have been of greater impact historically (through Milton) on English letters.
Daniel Gustav Anderson






By P. F.

<printer’s mark>

Printed by the Printers to the UNIVERSITIE
of CAMBRIDGE. 1633.




IT was the time faithfull Halcyone,
Once more enjoying new-liv’d Ceyx bed,
Had left her young birds to the wavering sea,
Bidding him calm his proud white-curled head,
And change his mountains to a champian lea;
       The time when gentle Flora’s lover reignes,
Soft creeping all along green Neptunes smoothest plains;

When haplesse Thelgon (a poore fisher-swain)
Came from his boat to tell the rocks his plaining:
In rocks he found, and the high-swelling main
More sense, more pitie farre, more love remaining,
Then in the great Amyntas fierce disdain:
       Was not his peer for song ‘mong all the lads,
Whose shrilling pipe, or voice the sea-born maiden glads.

About his head a rocky canopie,
And craggy hangings round a shadow threw,
Rebutting Phoebus parching fervencie;
Into his bosome Zephyr softly flew;
Hard by his feet the sea came waving by;
       The while to seas and rocks (poore swain!) he sang;
The while the seas & rocks answ’ring loud echoes rang.

You goodly Nymphs, that in your marble cell
In spending never spend your sportfull dayes,
Or when you list in pearled boats of shell
Glide on the dancing wave, that leaping playes
About the wanton skiffe, and you that dwell
       In Neptunes court, the Oceans plenteous throng,
Deigne you to gently heare sad Thelgons plaining song.

When the raw blossome of my youth was yet
In my first childhoods green enclosure bound,
Of Aquadune I learnt to fold my net,
And spread the sail, and beat the river round,
And withy labyrinths in straits to set,
       And guide my boat, where Thames and Isis heire
By lowly Aeton slides, and Windsor proudly fair.

There while our thinne nets dangling in the winde
Hung on our oars tops, I learnt to sing
Among my Peers, apt words to fitly binde
In numerous verse: witnesse thou crystall Spring,
Where all the lads were pebles wont to finde;
       And you thick hasles, that on Thamis brink
Did oft with dallying boughs his silver waters drink.

But when my tender youth ‘gan fairly blow,
I chang’d large Thames for Chamus narrower seas:
There as my yeares, so skill with yeares did grow;
And now my pipe the better sort did please;
So that with Limnus, and with Belgio
       I durst to challenge all my fisher-peers,
That by learn’d Chamus banks did spend their youthfull yeares.

And Janus self, that oft with me compared,
With his oft losses rais’d my victory;
That afterward in song he never dared
Provoke my conquering pipe, but enviously
Deprave the songs which first his songs had marred;
       And closely bite, when now he durst not bark,
Hating all others light, because himself was dark.

And whether nature, joyn’d with art, had wrought me,
Or I too much beleev’d the fishers praise;
Or whether Phoebus self, or Muses taught me,
Too much enclin’d to verse, and Musick playes;
So farre credulitie, and youth had brought me,
       I sang sad Telethusa’s frustrate plaint,
And rustick Daphnis wrong, and magicks vain restraint:

And then appear’d young Myrtilus, repining
At generall contempt of shepherds life;
And rais’d my rime to sing of Richards climbing;
And taught our Chame to end the old-bred strife,
Mythicus claim to Nicias resigning:
       The while his goodly Nymphs with song delighted,
My notes with choicest flowers, & garlands sweet requited.

From thence a Shepherd great, pleas’d with my song,
Drew me to Basilissa’s Courtly place:
Fair Basilissa, fairest maid among
The Nymphs that white-cliffe Albions forrests grace.
Her errand drove my slender bark along
       The seas, which wash the fruitfull Germans land
And swelling Rhene, whose wines run swiftly o’re the sand.

But after bold’ned with my first successe,
I durst assay the new-found paths, that led
To slavish Mosco’s dullard sluggishnesse;
Whose slothfull Sunne all winter keeps his bed,
But never sleeps in summers wakefulnesse:
       Yet all for nought: another took the gain:
Faitour, that reapt the pleasure of anothers pain!

And travelling along the Northern plains,
At her command I past the bounding Twead,
And liv’d a while with Caledonian swains:
My life with fair Amyntas there I led:
Amyntas fair, whom still my sore heart plains.
       Yet seem’d he then to love, as he was loved;
But (ah!) I fear, true love his high heart never proved.

And now he haunts th’infamous woods and downs,
And on Napaean Nymphs doth wholly dote:
What cares he for poore Thelgons plaintfull sounds?
Thelgon, poore master of a poorer boat.
Janus is crept from his wont prison bounds,
       And sits the Porter to his eare and minde:
What hope, Amyntas love a fisher-swain should finde?

Yet once he said (which I, then fool, beleev’d)
(The woods of it, and Damon witnesse be)
When in fair Albions fields he first arriv’d,
When I forget true Thelgons love to me,
The love which ne’re my certain hope deceiv’d;
       The wavering sea shall stand, and rocks remove:
He said, and I beleev’d: so credulous is love.

You steady rocks, why still do you stand still?
You fleeting waves, why do you never stand?
Amyntas hath forgot his Thelgons quill;
His promise, and his love are writ in sand:
But rocks are firm, though Neptune rage his fill;
       When thou, Amyntas, like the fire-drake rangest:
The sea keeps on his course, when like the winde thou changest.

Yet as I swiftly sail’d the other day,
The setled rock seem’d from his seat remove,
And standing waves seem’d doubtful lof their way,
And by their stop thy wavering reprove:
Sure either this thou didst but mocking say,
       Or else the rock and sea had heard my plaining.
But thou (ay me!) art onely constant in disdaining.

Ah! would thou knew’st how much it better were
To ‘bide among the simple fisher-swains:
No shrieching owl, no night-crow lodgeth here;
Nor is our simple pleasure mixt with pains:
Our sports begin with the beginning yeare,
       In calms to pull the leaping fish to land,
In roughs to sing, and dance along the golden sand.

I have a pipe, which once thou lovedst well,
(Was never pipe that gave a better sound)
Which oft to heare fair Thetis from her cell,
Thetis the Queen of seas, attended round
With hundred Nymphs and many powers that dwell
       In th’ Oceans rocky walls, came up to heare,
And gave me gifts, which still for thee lie hoarded here.

Here with sweet bayes the lovely myrtils grow,
Where th’Oceans fair-cheekt maidens oft repair;
Here to my pipe they dancen on a row:
No other swain may come to note their fair;
Yet my Amyntas there with me shall go.
       Proteus himself pipes to his flocks hereby,
Whom thou shalt heare, ne’re seen by any jealous eye.

But (ah!) both me, and fishers he disdains,
While I sit piping to the gadding winde,
Better that to the boysterous sea complains;
Sooner fierce waves are mov’d, then his hard minde:
I’le to some rock farre from our common mains,
       And in his bottome learn forget my smart,
And blot Amyntas name from Thelgons wretched heart.

So up he rose, and lancht into the deep;
Dividing with his oare the surging main,
Which dropping seem’d with teares his case to weep;
The whistling windesjoyn’d with the seas to plain,
And o’re his boat in whines lamenting creep.
       Nought feared he fierce Oceans watry ire,
Who in his heart of grief and love felt equall fire.




Dorus, Myrtilus, Thomalin,Thirsil.

Dorus. MYrtil, why idl sit we on the shore?
Since stormy windes, and waves intestine spite
Impatient rage of sail, or bending oare;
Sit we, and sing, while windes & waters fight;
And carol lowd of love, and loves delight.

Myrtil. Dorus, ah rather stormy seas require
With sadder song the tempests rage deplore:
In calms let’s sing of love, and lovers fire.
Tell we how Thirsil late our seas forswore,
When forc’t he left our Chame, and desert shore.

Dorus. Now as thou art a lad, repeat that lay;
Myrtil, his songs more please my ravisht eare,
Then rumbling brooks that with the pebles play,
Then murmuring seas broke on the banks to heare,
Or windes on rocks their whistling voices teare.

Myrtil. Seest thou that rock, which hanging o’re the main
Looks proudly down? there as I under lay,
Thirsil with Thomalin I heard complain,
Thomalin, (who now goes sighing all the day)
Who thus ‘gan tempt his friend with Chamish boyes to stay.

Thom. Thirsil, what wicked chance, or lucklesse starre
From Chamus streams removes thy boat and minde?
Farre hence thy boat is bound, thy minde more farre;
More sweet, or fruitfull streams where canst thou finde?
Where fisher-lads, or Nymphs more fair, or kinde?
       The Muses selves sit with the sliding Chame:
       Chame and the Muses selves do love thy name.
Where thou art lov’d so dear, so much to hate is shame.

Thirsil. The Muses me forsake, not I the Muses;
Thomalin, thou know’st how I them honour’d ever:
Not I my Chame, but me proud Chame refuses:
His froward spites my strong affections sever;
Else, from his banks could I have parted never.       
       But like his Swannes, when now their fate is nigh,
       Where singing sweet they liv’d, there dead they lie;
So would I gladly live, so would I gladly die.

His stubborn hands my net hath broken quite:
My fish (the guerdon of my toil and pain)
He causelesse seaz’d, and with ungratefull spite
Bestow’d upon a lesse deserving swain:
The cost and labour mine, his all the gain.
       My boat lies broke; my oares crackt, and gone:
       Nought ha’s he left me, but my pipe alone,
Which with his sadder notes may help his master moan.

Thom. Ungratefull Chame! how oft hath Thirsil crown’d
With songs and garlands thy obscurer head?
That now thy name through Albion loud doth sound.
Ah foolish Chame! who now in Thirsils stead
Shall chant thy praise, since Thelgon’s lately dead?
       He whom thou lov’st, can neither sing, nor play;
       His dusty pipe, scorn’d, broke, is cast away:
Ah foolish Chame! who now shall grace thy holy-day?

Thirsil. Too fond my former hopes! I still expected
With my desert his love should grow the more:
Ill can he love, who Thelgons love rejected,
Thelgon, who more hath grac’d his gracelesse shore,
Then any swain that ever sang before.
       Yet Gripus he prefer’d, when Thelgon strove:
       I wish no other curse he ever prove;
Who Thelgon causelesse hates, still may he Gripus love.

Thom. Thirsil, but that so long I know thee well,
I now should think thou speak’st of hate, or spite:
Can such a wrong with Chame, or Muses dwell,
That Thelgons worth and love with hate they ‘quite?
Thirsil. Thomalin, judge thou; and thou that judgest right,
       Great King of seas, (that grasp’st the Ocean) heare,
       If ever thou thy Thelgon lovedst deare:
Though thou forbear a while, yet long thou canst not bear.

When Thelgon here had spent his prentise-yeares,
Soon had he learnt to sing as sweet a note,
As ever strook the churlish Chamus eares:
To him the river gives a costly boat,
That on his waters he might safely float,
       The songs reward, which oft unto his shore
       He sweetly tun’d: Then arm’d with sail, and oare,
Dearely the gift he lov’d, but lov’d the giver more.

Scarce of the boat he yet was full possest,
When, with a minde more changing then his wave,
Again bequeath’d it to a wandring guest,
Whom then he onely saw; to him he gave
The sails, and oares: in vain poore Thelgon strave,
       The boat is under sail, no boot to plain:
       Then banisht him, the more to eke his pain,
As if himself were wrong’d, & did no wrong thte swain.

From thence he furrow’d many a churlish sea,
The viny Rhene, and Volgha’s self did passe,
Who sleds doth suffer on his watry lea,
And horses trampling on his ycie face:
Where Phoebus prison’d in the frozen glasse,
       All winter cannot move his quenched light,
       Nor in the heat will drench his chariot bright:
Thereby the tedious yeare is all one day and night.

Yet little thank, and lesse reward he got:
He never learn’d to sooth the itching eare:
One day (as chanc’t) he spies the painted boat,
Which once was his: though his of right it were,
He bought it now again, and bought it deare.
       But Chame to Gripus gave it once again,
       Gripus the basest and most dung-hil swain,
That ever drew a net, or fisht in fruitfull main.

Go now, ye fisher-boyes, go learn to play,
To play, and sing along your Chamus shore:
Go watch, and toyl, go spend the night and day,
While windes & waves, while storms & tempests roar;
And for your trade consume your life, and store:
       Lo your reward; thus will your Chamus use you.
       Why should you plain, that lozel swains refuse you?
Chamus good fishers hates, the Muses selves abuse you.

Thomal. Ah Thelgon, poorest, but the worthiest swain,
That ever grac’t unworthy povertie!
How ever here thou liv’dst in joylesse pain,
Prest down with grief, and patient miserie;
Yet shalt thou live when thy proud enemie
       Shall rot, with scorn and base contempt opprest.
       Sure now in joy thou safe and glad doth rest,
Smil’st at those eager foes, which here thee so molest.

Thirsil. Thomalin, mourn not for him: he’s sweetly sleeping
In Neptunes court, whom here he sought to please;
While humming rivers by his cabin creeping,
Rock soft his slumbering thoughts in quiet ease:
Mourn for thy self, here windes do never cease;
       Our dying life will better fit thy crying:
       He softly sleeps, and blest is quiet lying.
Who ever living dies, he better lives by dying.

Thomal. Can Thirsil then our Chame abandon ever?
And never will our fishers see again?
Thirsil. Who ‘gainst a raging stream doth vain endeavour
To drive his boat, gets labour for his pain:
When fates command to go, the lagge is vain.
       As late upon the shore I chanc’t to play,
       I heard a voice, like thunder, lowdly say,
Thirsil, why idle liv’st? Thirsil, away, away.

Thou God of seas, thy voice I gladly heare;
Thy voice (thy voice I know) I glad obey:
Onely do thou my wandring whirry steer;
And when it erres, (as it will eas’ly stray)
Upon the rock with hopefull anchour stay.
       Then will I swimme, where’s either sea, or shore,
       Where never swain, or boat was seen afore:
My trunk shall be my boat, my arm shall be my oare.

Thomalin, me thinks I heare thy speaking eye
Woo me my posting journey to delay:
But let thy love yeeld to necessitie:
With thee, my friend, too gladly would I stay,
And live, and die: were Thomalin away,
       (Though now I half unwilling leave his stream)
       How ever Chame doth Thirsil lightly deem,
Yet would thy Thirsil lesse proud Chamus scorns esteem.

Thom. Who now with Thomalin shall sit, and sing?
Who left to play in lovely myrtils shade?
Or tune sweet ditties to as sweet a string?
Who now those wounds shall ‘swage in covert glade,
Sweet-bitter wounds, which cruel love hath made?
       You fisher-boyes, and sea-maids dainty crue,
       Farewell; for Thomalin will seek a new,
And more respectfull stream: ungratefull Chame adieu.

Thirsil. Thomalin, forsake not thou the fisher-swains,
Which hold thy stay and love at dearest rate:
Here mayst thou live among their sportfull trains,
Till better times afford thee better state:
Then mayst thou follow well thy guiding fate:
       So live thou here with peace, and quiet blest;
       So let thy love afford thee ease and rest;
So let thy sweetest foe recure thy wounded breast.

But thou, proud Chame, which thus hast wrought me spite,
Some greater river drown thy hatefull name:
Let never myrtle on thy banks delight,
But willows pale, the badge of spite and blame,
Crown thy ungratefull shores with scorn and shame.
       Let dirt and mud thy lazie waters seise,
       Thy weeds still grow, thy waters still decrease:
Nor let thy wretched love to Gripus ever cease.

Farewell ye streams, which once I loved deare;
Farewell ye boyes, which on your Chame do float;
Muses farewell, if there be Muses here;
Farewell my nets, farewell my little boat:
Come sadder pipe, farewell my merry note:
       My Thomalin, with thee all sweetnesse dwell;
       Think of thy Thirsil, Thirsil loves thee well.
Thomalin, my dearest deare, my Thomalin, farewell.

Dorus. Ah haplesse boy, the fishers joy and pride!
Ah wo is us we cannot help thy wo!
Our pity is vain: ill may that swain betide,
Whose undeserved spite hath wrong’d thee so.
Thirsil, with thee our joy, and wishes go.

Myrtil. Dorus, some greater power prevents thy curse:
So vile, so basely lives that hatefull swain;
So base, so vile, that none can wish him worse.
But Thirsil much a better state doth gain,
For never will he finde so thanklesse main.




A Fisher-lad (no higher dares he look)
Myrtil, sat down by silver Medwayes shore:
His dangling nets (hung on the trembling oare)
Had leave to play, so had his idle hook,
While madding windes the madder Ocean shook.
       Of Chamus had he learnt to pipe, and sing,
       And frame low ditties to his humble string.

There as his boat late in the river stray’d,
A friendly fisher brought the boy to view
Coelia the fair, whose lovely beauties drew
His heart from him into that heav’nly maid:
There all his wandring thoughts, there now they staid.
       All other fairs, all other love defies,
       In Coelia he lives, for Coelia dies.

 Nor durst the coward woo his high desiring,
(For low he was, lower himself accounts;
And she the highest height in worth surmounts)
But sits alone in hell his heav’n admiring,
And thinks with sighs to fanne, but blows his firing.
       Nor does he strive to cure his painfull wound;
       For till this sicknesse never was he sound.

His blubber’d face was temper’d to the day;
All sad he look’t, that sure all was not well;
Deep in his heart was hid an heav’nly hell;
Thick clouds upon his watrie eye-brows lay,
Which melting showre, and showring never stay:
       So sitting down upon the sandy plain,
       Thus ‘gan he vent his grief, and hidden pain;

You sea-born maids, that in the Ocean reigne,
(If in your courts is known Loves matchlesse power,
Kindling his fire in your cold watry bower)
Learn by your own to pity others pain.
Tryphon, that know’st a thousand herbs in vain,
       But know’st not one to cure a love-sick heart,
       See here a wound, that farre outgoes thy art.

Your stately seas (perhaps with loves fire) glow,
And over-seeth their banks with springing tide,
Mustring their white-plum’d waves with lordly pride,
They soon retire, and lay their curl’d heads low;
So sinking in themselves they backward go:
       But in my breast full seas of grief remain,
       Which ever flow, and never ebbe again.

How well, fair Thetis, in thy glasse I see,
As in a crystall, all my raging pains!
Late thy green fields slept in their even plains,
While smiling heav’ns spread round a canopie:
Now tost with blasts, and civil enmitie,
       While whistling windes blow trumpets to their fight,
       And roaring waves, as drummes, whet on their spite.

Such cruell storms my restles heart command:
Late thousand joyes securely lodged there,
Ne fear’d I then to care, ne car’d to fear;
But pull’d the prison’d fishes to the land,
Or (spite of windes) pip’t on the golden sand:
       But since love sway’d my breast, these seas alarms
       Are but dead pictures of my raging harms.

Love stirres desire; desire, like stormy winde,
Blows up high swelling waves of hope, and fear:
Hope on his top my trembling heart doth bear
Up to my heav’n, but straight my lofty minde
By fear sunk in despair deep drown’d I finde.
       But (ah!) your tempests cannot last for ever;
       But (ah!) my storms (I fear) will leave me never.

Haples, and fond! too fond, more haples swain,
Who lovest where th’art scorn’d, scorn’st where th’art loved:
Or learn to hate, where thou hast hatred proved;
Or learn to love, where thou art lov’d again:
Ah cease to love, or cease to woo thy pain.
       Thy love thus scorn’d is hell; to not so earn it;
       At least learn by forgetting to unlearn it.

Ah fond, and haples swain! but much more fond,
How canst unlearn by learning to forget it,
When thought of what thou should’st unlearn does whet it,
And surer ties thy minde in captive bond?
Canst thou unlearn a ditty thou hast con’d?
       Canst thou forget a song by oft repeating?
       Thus much more wilt thou learn by thy forgetting.

Haplesse, and fond! most fond, more haplesse swain!
Seeing thy rooted love will leave thee never,
(She hates thy love) love thou her hate for ever:
In vain thou hop’st, hope yet, though still in vain:
Joy in thy grief, and triumph in thy pain:
       And though reward exceedeth thy aspiring,
       Live in her love, and die in her admiring.

Fair-cruel maid, most cruel, fairer ever,
How hath foul rigour stol’n into thy heart?
And on a comick stage hath learnt thee art
To play a Tyrant-tragical deceiver?
To promise mercy, but perform it never?
       To look more sweet, maskt in thy looks disguise,
       Then Mercy self can look with Pities eyes?

Who taught thy honied tongue the cunning slight,
To melt the ravisht eare with musicks strains?
And charm the sense with thousand pleasing pains?
And yet, like thunder roll’d in flames, and night,
To break the rived heart with fear and fright?
       How rules therein thy breast, so quiet state,
       Spite leagu’d with mercy, love with lovelesse hate?

Ah no, fair Coelia, in thy sunne-like eye
Heav’n sweetly smiles; those starres soft loving fire,
And living heat, not burning flames inspire:
Love’s self enthron’d in thy brows ivorie,
And every grace in heavens liverie:
       My wants, not thine, me in despairing drown:
       When hell presumes, no mar’l if heavens frown.

Those gracefull tunes, issuing from glorious spheares,
Ravish the eare and soul with strange delight,
And with sweet Nectar fill the thirsty sprite;
Thy honied tongue, charming the melted eares,
Stills stormy hearts, and quiets frights and fears:
       My daring heart provokes thee; and no wonder,
       When earth so high aspires, if heavens thunder.

See, see, fair Coelia, seas are calmly laid,
And end their boisterous threats in quiet peace;
The waves their drummes, the windes their trumpets cease:
But my sick love (ah love full ill apayd!)
Never can hope his storms may be allayd;
       But giving to his rage no end, or leisure,
       Still restles rests: Love knows no mean or measure.

Fond boy, she justly scorns thy proud desire,
While thou with singing would’st forget thy pain:
Go strive to empty the still-flowing main:
Go fuell seek to quench thy growing fire:
Ah foolish boy! scorn is thy musicks hire.
       Drown then these flames in seas: but (ah!) I fear
       To fire the main, and to want water there.

There first thy heav’n I saw, there felt my hell;
There smooth-calm seas rais’d storms of fierce desires;
There cooling waters kindled burning fires,
Nor can the Ocean quench them: in thy cell
Full stor’d with pleasures, all my pleasures fell.
       Die then, fond lad: ah, well my death may please thee:
       But love, (thy love) not life, not death, must ease me.

So down he swowning sinks; nor can remove,
Till fisher-boyes (fond fisher-boyes) revive him
And back again his life and loving give him:
But he such wofull gift doth much reprove:
Hopelesse his life; for hopelesse is his love.
       Go then, most loving, but most dolefull swain:
       Well may I pitie; she must cure thy pain.




Thelgon. Chromis.

Thel. CHromis, my joy, why drop thy rainie eyes?
And sullen clouds hang on thy heavie brow?
Seems that thy net is rent, and idle lies;
Thy merrie pipe hangs broken on a bough:
       But late thy time in hundred joyes thou spent’st;
       Now time spends thee, while thou in vain lament’st.

Chrom. Thelgon, my pipe is whole, and nets are new:
But nets and pipe contemn’d, and idle lie:
My little reed, that late so merry blew,
Tunes sad notes to his masters miserie:
       Time is my foe, and hates my rugged rimes:
       And I do as much hate both that hate, and times.

Thel. What is it that causeth thy unrest?
Or wicked charms? or loves new-kindled fire?
Ah! much I fear love eats thy tender breast;
Too well I knew his never quenched ire,
       Since I Amyntas lov’d, who me disdains,
       And loves in me nought but my grief and pains.

Chrom. No lack of love did ever breed my smart:
I onely learn’d to pity others pain,
And ward my breast from his deceiving art:
But one I love, and he loves me again;
       In love this onely is my greatest sore,
       He loves so much, and I can love no more.

But when the fishers trade, once highly priz’d,
And justly honour’d in those better times,
By ever lozel-groom I see despis’d;
No marvel if I hate my jocund rimes,
       And hang my pipe upon a willow bough:
       Might I grieve ever, if I grieve not now.

Thel. Ah foolish boy! why should’st thou so lament
To be like him, whom thou dost like so well?
The Prince of fishers thousand tortures rent.
To heav’n, lad, thou art bound: the way by hell.
       Would’st thou ador’d, and great and merry be,
       When he was mockt, debas’d, and dead for thee?

Mens scorns should rather joy, then sorrow move;
For then thou highest art, when thou art down.
Their storms of hate shold more blow up my love;
Their laughters my applause, their mocks my crown.
       Sorrow for him, and shame let me betide,
       Who for me wretch in shame and sorrow died.

Chrom. Thelgon, ‘tis not my self for whom I plain,
My private losse full easie could I bear,
If private losse might help the publick gain:
But who can blame my grief, or chide my fear,
       Since now the fishers trade, and honour’d name
       Is made the common badge of scorn and shame?

Little know they the fishers toilsome pain,
Whose labour with his age, still growing, spends not:
His care and watchings (oft mispent in vain)
The early morn begins, dark evening ends not.
       Too foolish men, that think all labour stands
       In travell of the feet, and tired hands!

Ah wretched fishers! born to hate and strife;
To others good, but to your rape and spoil.
This is the briefest summe of fishers life,
To sweat, to freeze, to watch, to fast, to toil,
       Hated to love, to live despis’d, forlorn,
       A sorrow to himself, all others scorn.

Thel. Too well I know the fishers thanklesse pain,
Yet bear it cheerfully, nor dare repine.
To grudge at losse is fond, (too fond and vain)
When highest causes justly it assigne.
       Who bites the stone, and yet the dog condemnes,
       Much worse is then the beast he so contemnes.

Chromis, how many fishers dost thou know,
That rule their boats, and use their nets aright?
That neither winde, nor time, nor tide foreslow?
Such some have been; but (ah!) by tempests spite
       Their boats are lost; while we may sit and moan,
       That few were such, and now those few are none.

Chrom. Ah cruel spite, and spitefull crueltie,
That thus hath robb’d our joy, and desert shore!
No more our seas shall heare your melodie;
Your songs and shrilling pipes shall sound no more:
       Silent our shores, our seas are vacant quite.
       Ah spitefull crueltie, and cruel spite!

Thel. In stead of these a crue of idle grooms,
Idle, and bold, that never saw the seas,
Fearlesse succeed, and fill thy empty rooms:
Some lazy live, bathing in wealth and ease:
       Their floating boats with waves have leave to play,
       Their rusty hooks all yeare keep holy-day.

Here stray their skiffs, themselves are never here,
Ne’re saw their boats: ill mought they fishers be:
Mean time some wanton boy the boat doth steer,
(Poore boat the while!) that cares as much as he:
       Who in a brook a whirry cannot row,
       Now backs the seas, before the seas he know.

Chrom. Ah foolish lads, that think with waves to play,
And rule rough seas, which never knew command!
First in some river thy new skill assay,
Till time and practise teach thy weakly hand:
       A thin, thin plank keeps in thy vitall breath:
       Death ready waits. Fond boyes, to play with death!

Thel. Some stretching in their boats supinely sleep,
Seasons in vain recall’d, and windes neglecting:
Other their hooks and baits in poison steep,
Neptune himself with deathfull drugges infecting:
       The fish their life and death together drink,
       And dead pollute the seas with venom’d stink.

Some teach to work, but have no hands to row:
Some will be eyes, but have no light to see:
Some will be guides, but have no feet to go:
Some deaf, yet eares; some dumbe, yet tongues will be:
       Dumbe, deaf, lame, blinde, and maim’d; yet fishers all:
       Fit for no use, but store an hospital.

Some greater, scorning now their narrow boat,
In mighty hulks and ships (like courts) do dwell;
Slaving the skiffes that in their seas do float;
Their silken sails with windes do proudly swell;
       Their narrow bottomes stretch they large and wide,
       And make full room for luxurie and pride.

Self did I see a swain not long ago,
Whose lordly ship kept all the rest in aw:
About him thousand boats do waiting row;
His frowns are death, his word is firmest law;
       While all the fisher-boyes their bonnets vail,
       And farre adore their lord with strucken sail.

His eare is shut to simple fisher-swain.
For Gemma’s self (a sea-nymph great and high)
Upon his boat attended long in vain:
What hope, poore fisher-boy may come him nigh?
       His speech to her, and presence he denied.
       Had Neptune come, Neptune he had defied.

Where Tybers swelling waves his banks o’reflow,
There princely fishers dwell in courtly halls:
The trade they scorn, their hands forget to row;
Their trade, to plot their rising, others falls;
       Into their seas to draw the lesser brooks,
       And fish for steeples high with golden hooks.

Chrom. Thelgon, how canst thou well that fisher blame,
Who in his art so highly doth excell,
That with himself can raise the fishers name?
Well may he thrive, that spends his art so well.
       Ah, little needs their honour to depresse:
       Little it is; yet most would have it lesse.

Thel. Alas poore boy! thy shallow-swimming sight
Can never dive into their deepest art;
Those silken shews so dimme thy dazel’d sight.
Could’st thou unmask their pomp, unbreast their heart,
       How would’st thou laugh at this rich beggerie!
       And learn to hate such happy miserie!

Panting ambition spurres their tired breast:
Hope chain’d to doubt, fear linkt to pride and threat,
(Too ill yok’t pairs) give them no time to rest;
Tyrants to lesser boats, slaves to the great.
       That man I rather pity, then adore,
       Who fear’d by others much, fears others more.

Most cursed town, where but one tyrant reignes:
(Though lesse his single rage on many spent)
But much more miserie that soul remains,
When many tyrants in one heart are pent:
       When thus thou serv’st, the comfort thou canst have
       From greatnesse is, thou art a greater slave.

Chrom. Ah wretched swains, that live in fishers trade;
With inward griefs, and outward wants distressed;
While every day doth more your sorrow lade;
By others scorn’d, and by your selves oppressed!
The great the greater serve, the lesser these:
       And all their art is how to rise and please.

Algon. Those fisher-swains, from whom our trade doth flow,
That by the King of seas their skill were taught;
As they their boats on Jordan wave did row,
And catching fish, were by a Fisher caught;
       (Ah blessed chance! much better was the trade,
       That being fishers, thus were fishes made).

Those happy swains, in outward shew unblest,
Were scourg’d, were scorn’d, yet was this losse their gain:
By land, by sea, in life, in death, distrest;
But now with King of seas securely reigne:
       For that short wo in this base earthly dwelling,
       Enjoying joy all excellence excelling.

Then do not thou, my boy, cast down thy minde,
But seek to please with all thy busie care
The King of seas; so shalt thou surely finde
Rest, quiet, joy, in all this troublous fare.
       Let not thy net, thy hook, thy singing cease:
       And pray these tempests may by turn’d to peace.

Oh Prince of waters, Soveraigne of seas,
Whom storms & calms, whom windes and waves obey;
If ever that great Fisher did thee please,
Chide thou the windes, and furious waves allay:
       So on thy shore the fisher-boys shall sing
       Sweet songs of peace to our sweet peaces King.




Damon, Algon, Nicaea.

THe well known fisher-boy, that late his name,
And place, and (ah for pity!) mirth had changed;
Which from the Muses spring, & churlish Chame
Was fled, (his glory late, but now his shame:
For he with spite the gentle boy estranged)
Now ‘long the Trent with his new fellows ranged:
There Damon (friendly Damon) met the boy,
Where lordly Trent kisses the Darwin coy,
Bathing his liquid streams in lovers melting joy.

Damon. Algon, what lucklesse starre thy mirth hath blasted?
My joy in thee, and thou in sorrow drown’d.
The yeare with winter storms all rent and wasted
Hath now fresh youth and gentler seasons tasted:
The warmer sunne his bride hath newly gown’d,
With firie arms clipping the wanton ground,
And gets an heav’n on earth: that primrose there,
Which ‘mongst these violets sheds his golden hair,
Seems the sunnes little sonne, fixt in his azure spheare.

Seest how the dancing lambes on flowrie banks
Forget their food, to minde their sweeter play?
Seest how they skip, and in their wonton pranks
Bound o’re the hillocks, set in sportfull ranks?
They skip, they vault; full little caren they
To make their milkie mothers bleating stay.
Seest how the salmons (waters colder nation)
Lately arriv’d from their sea-navigation,
How joy leaps in their heart, shew by their leaping fashion?

What witch enchants thy minde with sullen madnes?
When all things smile, thou onely sitt’st complaining.
Algon. Damon, I, onely I, have cause of sadnesse:
The more my wo, to weep in common gladnesse:
When all eyes shine, mine onely must be raining;
No winter now, but in my breast, remaining:
Yet feels this breast a summers burning fever:
And yet (alas!) my winter thaweth never:
And yet (alas!) this fire eats and consumes me ever.

Damon. Within our Darwin, in her rockie cell
A Nymph there lives, which thousand boys hath harm’d;
All as she gliding rides in boats of shell,
Darting her eye, (where spite and beauty dwell:
Ay me, that spite with beautie should be arm’d!)
Her witching eye the boy, and boat hath charm’d.
No sooner drinks he down that poisonous eye,
But mourns and pines: (ah piteous crueltie!)
With her he longs to live; for her he longs to die.

Algon. Damon, what Tryphon taught thine eye the art
By these few signes to search so soon, so well,
A wound deep hid, deep in my fester’d heart,
Pierc’t by her eye, Loves, and deaths pleasing dart?
Ah, she it is, an earthly heav’n, and hell,
Who thus hath charm’d my heart with sugred spell.
Ease thou my wound: but (ah!) what hand can ease,
Or give a medicine that such wound may please;
When she my sole Physician is my souls disease?

Damon. Poore boy! the wounds which spite and Love impart,
There is no ward to fence, no herb to ease.
Heav’ns circling folds lie open to his dart:
Hells Lethe’s self cools not his burning smart:
The fishes cold flame with this strong disease,
And want their water in the midst of seas:
All are his slaves, hell, earth, and heav’n above:
Strive not i' th’ net, in vain thy force to prove.
Give, woo, sigh, weep, & pray: Love’s only cur’d by love.

Algon. If for thy love no other cure there be,
Love, thou art cureles: gifts, prayers, vows, and art,
She scorns both you and me: nay Love, ev’n thee:
Thou sigh’st her prisoner, while she laughs as free.
What ever charms might move a gentle heart,
I oft have try’d, and shew’d the earnfull smart,
Which eats my breast: she laughs at all my pain:
Art, prayers, vows, gifts, love, grief, she does disdain:
Grief, love, gifts, vows, prayers, art; ye all are spent in vain.

Damon. Algon, oft hast thou fisht, but sped not straight;
With hook and net thou beat’st the water round:
Oft-times the place thou changest, oft the bait;
And catching nothing, still, and still dost wait:
Learn by thy trade to cure thee: time hath found
In desp’rate cures a salve for every wound.
The fish long playing with the baited hook,
At last is caught: Thus many a Nymph is took;
Mocking the strokes of Love, with her striking strook.

Algon. The marbles self is pierc’t with drops of rain:
Fires soften steel, and hardest metals try:
But she more hard then both: such her disdain,
That seas of tears, Aetna’s of love are vain.
In her strange heart (weep I, burn, pine, or die)
Still reignes a cold, coy, careless apathie.
The rock that bears her name, breeds that hard stone
With goats bloud onely softned, she with none:
More precious she, and (ah!) more hard then diamond.

That rock I think her mother: thence she took
Her name and nature: Damon, Damon, see,
See where she comes, arm’d with a line and hook:
Tell me, perhaps thou think’st, in that sweet look,
The white is beauties native tapestrie;
‘Tis crystall, (friend) yc’d in the frozen sea:
The red is rubies; these two joyn’d in one,
Make up that beauteous frame: the difference none
But this; she is a precious, living, speaking stone.

Damon. No gemme so costly, but with cost is bought:
The hardest stone is cut, and fram’d by art:
A diamond hid in rocks is found, if sought:
Be she a diamond, a diamond’s wrought.
Thy fear congeales, thy fainting steels her heart.
I’le be thy Captain, boy, and take thy part:
Alcides self would never combat two.
Take courage, Algon; I will teach thee woo.
Cold beggars freez our gifts: thy faint suit breeds her no.

Speak to her, boy. Al. Love is more deaf then blinde.
Damon. She must be woo’d. Al. Love’s tongue is in the eyes.
Damon. Speech is Love’s dart. Al. Silence best speaks the minde.
Damon. Her eye invites. Al. Thence love and death I finde.
Damon. Her smiles speak peace. Al. Storms breed in smiling skies.
Damon. Who silent loves? Al. Whom speech all hope denies.
Damon. Why should’st thou fear? Al. To Love Fear’s neare akinne.
Damon. Well, if my cunning fail not, by a gin
(Spite of her scorn, thy fear) I’le make thee woo, and winne.

What, ho, thou fairest maid, turn back thine oare,
And gently deigne to help a fishers smart.
Nicaea. Are thy lines broke? or are thy trammels tore?
If thou desir’st my help, unhide thy sore.
2Ah gentlest Nymph, oft have I heard, thy art
Can soveraigne herbs to every grief impart:
So mayest thou live the fishers song, and joy,
As thou wilt deigne to cure this sickly boy.
Unworthy they of art, who of their art are coy.

His inward grief in outward change appears;
His cheeks with sudden fires bright-flaming glow;
Which quencht, end all in ashes: storms of teares
Becloud his eyes, which soon forc’t smiling cleares:
Thick tides of passions ever ebbe, and flow:
And as his flesh still wastes, his griefs still grow.
Nicaea. Damon, the wounds deep rankling in the minde
What herb could ever cure? what art could finde?
Blinde are mine eyes to see wounds in the soul most blinde.

Algon. Hard maid, t’is worse to mock, then make a wound:
Why should’st thou then (fair-cruel) scorn to see
What thou by seeing mad’st? my sorrows ground
Was in thy eye, may by thy eye be found.
How can thy eye most sharp in wounding be,
In seeing dull? these two are one in thee,
To see, and wound by sight: thy eye the dart.
Fair-cruel maid, thou well hast learn’d the art,
With the same eye to see, to wound, to cure my heart.

Nicaea. What cures thy wounded heart? Algon. Thy heart so wounded.
Nicaea. Is’t love to wound thy love? Algon. Loves wounds are pleasing.
Nicaea. Why plain’st thou then? Al. Because thou art unwounded.
Thy wound my cure: on this my plaint is grounded.
Nicaea. Cures are diseases, when the wounds are easing:
Why would’st thou have me please thee by displeasing?
Algon. Scorn’d love is death; love’s mutuall wounds delighting:
Happie thy love, my love to thine uniting.
Love paying debts grows rich; requited in requiting.

Damon. What lives alone, Nicaea? starres most chaste
Have their conjunctions, spheares their mixt embraces,
And mutuall folds. Nothing can single last:
But die in living, in increasing waste.
Nicaea. Their joyning perfects them, but us defaces.
Algon. That’s perfect which obtains his end: your graces
Receive their end in love. She that’s alone
Dies as she lives: no number is in one:
Thus while she’s but her self, she’s not her self, she’s none.

Nicaea. Why blam’st thou then my stonie hard confection,
Which nothing loves? thou single nothing art.
Algon. Love perfects what it loves; thus thy affection
Married to mine, makes mine and thy perfection.
Nicaea. Well then, to passe our Tryphon in his art,
And in a moment cure a wounded heart;
If fairest Darwin, whom I serve, approve
Thy suit, and thou wilt not thy heart remove;
I’le joyn my heart to thine, and answer thee in love.

The sunne is set; adieu. Algon. ‘Tis set to me;
Thy parting is my ev’n, thy presence light.
Nicaea. Farewell. Algon. Thou giv’st thy wish; it is in thee:
Unlesse thou wilt, haplesse I cannot be.
Damon. Come Algon, cheerly home; the theevish night
Steals on the world, and robs our eyes of sight.
The silver streams grow black: home let us coast:
There of loves conquest may we safely boast:
Soonest in love he winnes, that oft in love hath lost.




Thirsil, Thomalin.

A Fisher-boy that never knew his peer
In dainty songs, the gentle Thomalin,
With folded arms, deep sighs, & heavy cheer
Where hundred Nymphs, & hundred Muses inne,
Sunk down by Chamus brinks; with him his deare,
Dear Thirsil lay; oft times would he begin
       To cure his grief, and better way advise;
       But still his words, when his sad friend he spies,
Forsook his silent tongue, to speak in watrie eyes.

Under a sprouting vine they carelesse lie,
Whose tender leaves bit with the Eastern blast,
But now were born, and now began to die;
The latter warned by the formers haste,
Thinly for fear salute the envious skie:
Thus they sat, Thirsil embracing fast
       His loved friend, feeling his panting heart
       To give no rest to his increasing smart,
At length thus spake, while sighs words to his grief impart:

Thirsil. Thomalin, I see thy Thirsil thou neglect’st,
Some greater love holds down thy heart in fear;
Thy Thirsils love, and counsel thou reject’st;
Thy soul was wont to lodge within my eare:
But now that port no longer thou respect’st;
Yet hath it still been safely harbour’d there.
       My eare is not acquainted with my tongue,
       That either tongue, or eare should do thee wrong:
Why then should’st thou conceal thy hidden grief so long?

Thom. Thirsil, it is thy love that makes me hide
My smother’d grief from thy known faithfull eare:
May still my Thirsil safe, and merry ‘bide;
Enough is me my hidden grief to bear:
For while thy breast in hav’n doth safely ride,
My greater half with thee rides safely there.
       Thirsil. So thou art well; but still my better part,
       My Thomalin, sinks loaden with his smart:
Thus thou my finger cur’st, and wound’st my bleeding heart.

How oft hath Thomalin to Thirsil vowed,
That as his heart, so he his love esteem’d!
Where are those oaths? where is that heart bestowed,
Which hides it from that breast which deare it deem’d,
And to that heart room in his heart allowed?
That love was never love, but onely seem’d.
       Tell me, my Thomalin, what envious thief
       Thus robs thy joy: tell me, my liefest lief:
Thou little lov’st me, friend, if more thou lov’st thy grief.

Thom. Thirsil, my joyous spring is blasted quite,
And winter storms prevent the summers ray:
All as this vine, whose green the Eastern spite
Hath di’d to black, his catching arms decay,
And letting go their hold for want of might,
Mar’l winter comes so soon, in first of May.
       Thirsil. Yet see the leaves do freshly bud again:
       Thou drooping still di’st in this heavie strain:
Nor can I see or end or cause of all thy pain.

Thom. No marvel, Thirsil, if thou dost not know
This grief, which in my heart lies deeply drown’d:
My heart it self, though well it feels his wo,
Knows not the wo it feels: the worse my wound,
Which though I rankling finde, I cannot show.
Thousand fond passions in my breast abound;
       Fear leagu’d to joy, hope and despair together,
       Sighs bound to smiles; my heart though prone to either,
While both it would obey, ‘twixt both obeyeth neither.

Oft blushing flames leap up into my face;
My guiltlesse cheek such purple flash admires:
Oft stealing tears slip from mine eyes apace,
As if they meant to quench those causelesse fires.
My good I hate; my hurt I glad embrace:
My heart though griev’d, his grief as joy desires:
       I burn, yet know no fuel to my firing:
       My wishes know no want, yet still desiring:
Hope knows not what to hope, yet still in hope aspiring.

Thirsil. Too true my fears: alas, no wicked sprite,
No writhel’d witch, with spells or powerfull charms,
Or hellish herbs digg’d in as hellish night,
Gives to thy heart these oft and fierce alarms:
But Love, too hatefull Love, with pleasing spite,
And spitefull pleasure, thus hath bred thy harms,
       And seeks thy mirth with pleasance to destroy.
       ‘Tis Love, my Thomalin, my liefest boy;
‘Tis Love robs me of thee, and thee of all thy joy.

Thomal. Thirsil, I ken not what is hate, or Love,
Thee well I love, and thou lov’st me as well;
Yet joy, no torment, in this passion prove:
But often have I heard the fishers tell,
He’s not inferiour to the mighty Jove;
Jove heaven rules; Love Jove, heav’n, earth, and hell:
       Tell me, my friend, if thou dost better know:
       Men say, he goes arm’d with is shafts, and bow;
Two darts, one swift as fire, as lead the other slow.

Thirsil. Ah heedlesse boy! Love is not such a lad,
As he is fancy’d by the idle swain;
With bow and shafts, and purple feathers clad;
Such as Diana (with her buskin’d train
Of armed Nymphs along the forrests glade
With golden quivers) in Thessalian plain,
       In level race outstrips the jumping Deer
       With nimble feet; or with a mighty spear
Flings down a bristled bore, or else a squalid bear.

Love’s sooner felt, then seen: his substance thinne
Betwixt those snowy mounts in ambush lies:
Oft in the eyes he spreads his subtil ginne;
He therefore soonest winnes, that fastest flies.
Fly thence my deare, fly fast, my Thomalin:
Who him encounters once, for ever dies:
       But if he lurk between the ruddy lips,
       Unhappie soul that thence his Nectar sips,
While down into his heart the sugred poison slips!

Oft in a voice he creeps down through the eare:
Oft from a blushing cheek he lights his fire:
Oft shrouds his golden flame in likest hair:
Oft in a soft-smooth skin doth close retire:
Oft in a smile; oft in a silent tear:
And if all fail, yet Vertue’s self he’l hire:
       Himself’s a dart, when nothing els can move.
       Who then the captive soul can well reprove,
When Love, and Vertue’s self become the darts of Love?

Thom. Sure, Love it is, which breeds this burning fever:
For late (yet all too soon) on Venus day,
I chanc’t (Oh cursed chance, yet blessed ever!)
As carelesse on the silent shores I stray,
Five Nymphs to see (five fairer saw I never)
Upon the golden sand to dance and play:
       The rest among, yet farre above the rest,
       Sweet Melite, by whom my wounded breast,
Though rankling still in grief, yet joyes in his unrest.

There to their sportings while I pipe, and sing,
Out from her eyes I felt a firie beam,
And pleasing heat (such as in first of Spring
From Sol, inn’d at the Bull, do kindly stream)
To warm my heart, and with a gentle sting
Blow up desire: yet little did I dream
       Such bitter fruits from such sweet roots could grow,
       Or from so gentle eye such spite could flow:
For who could fire expect hid in an hill of snow?

But when those lips (those melting lips) I prest,
I lost my heart, which sure she stole away:
For with a blush she soon her guilt confest,
And sighs (which sweetest breath did soft convey)
Betraid her theft: from thence my flaming breast
Like thundering Aetna burns both night and day:
       All day she present is, and in the night
       My wakefull fancie paints her full to sight:
Absence her presence makes, darknes presents her light.

Thirsil. Thomalin, too well those bitter sweets I know,
Since fair Nicaea bred my pleasing smart:
But better times did better reason show,
And cur’d those burning wounds with heav’nly art.
Those storms of looser fire are laid full low;
And higher love safe anchours in my heart:
       So now a quiet calm does safely reigne.
       And if my friend think not my counsel vain;
Perhaps my art may cure, or much asswage thy pain.

Thom. Thirsil, although this witching grief doth please
My captive heart, and Love doth more detest
The cure, and curer, then the sweet disease;
Yet if my Thirsil doth the cure request,
This storm, which rocks my heart in slumbring ease,
Spite of it self, shall yeeld to thy behest.
       Thirsil. Then heark how Tryphons self did salve my paining,
       While in a rock I sat of love complaining;
My wounds with herbs, my grief with counsel sage restraining.

But tell me first; Why should thy partial minde
More Melite, then all the rest approve?
Thom. Thirsil, her beautie all the rest did blinde,
That she alone seem’d worthy of my love.
Delight upon her face, and sweetnesse shin’d:
Her eyes do spark as starres, as starres do move:
       Like those twin-fires, which on our masts appear,
       And promise calms. Ah that those flames so clear
To me alone could raise such storms of hope and fear!

Thirsil. If that which to thy minde doth worthiest seem,
By thy wel-temper’d soul is most affected;
Canst thou a face worthy thy love esteem?
What in thy soul then love is more respected?
Those eyes which in their sphere thou, fond, dost deem
Like living starres, with some disease infected,
       Are dull as leaden drosse: those beauteous rayes,
       So like a rose, when she her breast displayes,
Are like a rose indeed; as sweet, as soon decayes.

Art thou in love with words? her words are winde,
As flit as in their matter, flittest aire.
Her beautie moves? can colours move thy minde?
Colours in scorned weeds more sweet, and fair.
Some pleasing qualitie thy thoughts doth binde?
Love then thy self. Perhaps her golden hair?
       False metall, which to silver soon descends!
       Is’t pleasure then which so thy fancie bends?
Poore pleasure, that in pain begins, in sorrow ends!

What? is't her company so much contents thee?
How would she present stirre up such stormy weather,
When thus in absence present she torments thee?
Lov’st thou not one, but all these joyn’d together?
All’s but a woman. Is’t her love that rents thee?
Light windes, light aire; her love more light then either.
       If then due worth thy true affection moves,
       Here is no worth. Who some old hagge approves,
And scorns a beauteous spouse, he rather dotes, then loves.

Then let thy love mount from these baser things,
And to the highest love, and worth aspire:
Love’s born of fire, fitted with mounting wings;
That at his highest he might winde him higher;
Base love, that to base earth so basely clings!
Look as the beams of that celestiall fire
       Put out these earthly flames with purer ray;
       So shall that love this baser heat allay,
And quench these coals of earth with his more heav’nly day.

Raise then thy prostrate love with towring thought;
And clog it not in chains, and prison here:
The God of fishers deare thy love hath bought:
Most deare he loves: for shame, love thou as deare.
Next, love thou there, where best thy love is sought;
My self, or els some fitting peer.
       Ah might thy love with me for ever dwell!
       Why should’st thou hate thy heav’n, and love thy hell?
She shall not more deserve, nor cannot love so well.

Thus Tryphon once did wean my fond affection;
Then fits a salve unto th infected place,
(A salve of soveraigne and strange confection)
Nepenthe mixt with Rue, and Herb-de-grace:
So did he quickly heal this strong infection,
And to my self restor’d my self apace.
       Yet did he not my love extinguish quite:
       I love with sweeter love, and more delight:
But most I love that Love, which to my love ha’s right.

Thom. Thrice happy thou that could’st! my weaker minde
Can never learn to climbe so lofty flight.
Thirsil. If from this love thy will thou canst unbinde;
To will, is here to can: will gives thee might:
‘Tis done, if once thou wilt; ‘tis done, I finde.
Now let us home: for see, the creeping night
       Steals from those further waves upon the land.
       To morrow shall we feast; then hand in hand
Free will we sing, and dance along the golden sand.




Thirsil, Daphnis, Thomalin.

AUrora from old Tithons frosty bed
(Cold, wintry, wither’d Tithon) early creeps;
Her cheek with grief was pale, with anger red;
Out of her window close she blushing peeps;
Her weeping eyes in pearled dew she steeps,
Casting what sportlesse nights she ever led:
She dying lives, to think he’s living dead.
       Curst be, and cursed is that wretched sire,
       That yokes green youth with age, want with desire.
Who ties the sunne to snow? or marries frost to fire?

The morn saluting, up I quickly rise,
And to the green I poste; for on this day
Shepherd and fisher-boyes had set a prize,
Upon the shore to meet in gentle fray,
Which of the two should sing the choicest lay;
Daphnis the shepherds lad, whom Mira’s eys
Had kill’d; yet with such wound he gladly dies:
       Thomalin the fisher, in whose heart did reigne
       Stella; whose love his life, and whose quiet disdain
Seems worse then angry skies, or never quiet main.

There soon I view the merry shepherd-swains
March three by three, clad all in youthfull green:
And while the sad recorder sweetly plains,
Three lovely Nymphs (each several row between
More lovely Nymphs could no where els be seen,
Whose faces snow their snowy garments stains)
With sweeter voices fit their pleasing strains.
       Their flocks flock round about; the horned rammes,
       And ewes go silent by, while wanton lambes
Dancing along the plains, forget their milky dammes.

Scarce were the shepherds set, but straight in sight
The fisher-boyes came driving up the stream;
Themselves in blue, and twenty sea-nymphs bright
In curious robes, that well the waves might seem:
All dark below, the top like frothy cream:
Their boats and masts with flowres, and garlands dight;
And round the swannes guard them with armies white:
       Their skiffes by couples dance to sweetest sounds,
       Which running cornets breath to full plain grounds,
That strikes the rivers face, and thence more sweet rebounds.

And now the Nymphs and swains had took their place;
First those two boyes; Thomalin the fishers pride,
Daphnis the shepherds: Nymphs their right hand grace;
And choicest swains shut up the other side:
So sit they down in order fit appli’d;
Thirsil betwixt them both, in middle space:
(Thirsil their judge, who now’s a shepherd base,
       But late a fisher-swain, till envious Chame
       Had rent his nets, and sunk his boat with shame;
So robb’d the boyes of him, and him of all his game).

So as they sit, thus Thirsil ‘gins the lay;
Thirsil. You lovely boyes, (the woods, and Oceans pride)
Since I am your judge of this sweet peacefull fray,
First tell us, where, and when your Loves you spied:
And when in long discourse you well are tried,
Then in short verse by turns we’l gently play:
In love begin, in love we’l end the day.
       Daphnis, thou first; to me you both are deare:
       Ah, if I might, I would not judge, but heare:
Nought have I of a judge, but an impartiall eare.

Daph. Phoebus, if as thy words, thy oaths are true;
Give me that verse which to the honour’d bay
(That verse which by thy promise now is due)
To honour’d Daphne in a sweet tun’d lay
(Daphne thy chang’d, thy love unchanged aye)
       Thou sangest late, when she now better staid,
       More humane when a tree, then when a maid,
Bending her head, thy love with gentle signe repaid.

What tongue, what thought can paint my Loves perfection?
So sweet hath nature pourtray’d every part,
That art will prove that artists imperfection,
Who, when no eye dare view, dares limme her face.
Phoebus, in vain I call thy help to blaze
       More light then thine, a light that never fell:
       Thou tell’st what’s done in heav’n, in earth, and hell:
Her worth thou mayst admire; there are no words to tell.

She is like thee, or thou art like her, rather:
Such as her hair, thy beams; thy single light,
As her twin-sunnes: that creature then, I gather,
Twice heav’nly is, where two sunnes shine so bright:
So thou, as she, confound’st the gazing sight:
       Thy absence is my night; her absence hell.
       Since then in all thy self she doth excel,
What is beyond thy self, how canst thou hope to tell?

First I saw her, when tir’d with hunting toyl,
In shady grove spent with the weary chace,
Her naked breast lay open to the spoil;
The crystal humour trickling down apace,
Like ropes of pearl, her neck and breast enlace:
       The aire (my rivall aire) did coolly glide
       Through every part: such when my Love I spi’d,
So soon I saw my Love, so soon I lov’d, and di’d.

Her face two colours paint; the first a flame,
(Yet she all cold) a flame in rosie die,
which sweetly blushes like the mornings shame:
The second snow, such as on Alps doth lie,
And safely there the sunne doth bold defie:
       Yet this cold snow can kindle hot desire.
       Thou miracle; mar’l not, if I admire,
How flame should coldly freez, and snow should burn as fire.

Her slender waste, her hand, that dainty breast,
Her cheek, her forehead, eye, and flaming hair,
And those hid beauties, which must sure be best,
In vain to speak, when words will more impair:
Of all the fairs she is the fairest fair.
       Cease then vain words; well may you shew affection,
       But not her worth: the minde her sweet perfection
Admires: how should it then give the lame tongue direction?

Thom. Unlesse thy words be flitting as thy wave,
Proteus, that song into my breast inspire,
With which the seas (when loud they rore and rave)
Thou softly charm’st, and windes intestine ire
(When ‘gainst heav’n, earth, and seas they did conspire)
       Thou quiet laid’st: Proteus, thy song to heare,
       Seas listning stand, and windes to whistle fear;
The lively Delphins dance, and brisly Seales give eare.

Stella, my starre-like love, my lovely starre:
Her hair a lovely brown, her forehead high,
And lovely fair; such her cheeks roses are:
Lovely her lip, most lovely is her eye:
And in each of these all love doth lie;
       So thousand loves within her minde retiring,
       Kindle ten thousand loves with gentle firing.
Ah let me love my Love, not live in loves admiring!

At Proteus feast, where many a goodly boy,
And many a lovely lasse did lately meet;
There first I found, there first I lost my joy:
Her face mine eye, her voice mine eare did greet;
While eare & eye strove which should be most sweet,
That face, or voice: but when my lips at last
Saluted hers, those senses strove as fast,
Which most those lips did please; the eye, ear, touch, or taste.

The eye sweares, never fairer lip was eyed;
The eare with those sweet relishes delighted,
Thinks them the spheares; the taste that nearer tried
Their relish sweet, the soul to feast invited;
The touch, with pressure soft more close united,
       Wisht ever there to dwell; and never cloyed,
       (While thus their joy too greedy they enjoyed)
Enjoy’d not half their joy, by being overjoyed.

Her hair all dark more clear the white doth show,
And with its night he faces morn commends:
Her eye-brow black, like to an ebon bow;
Which sporting Love upon her forehead bends,
And thence his never-missing arrow sends.
       But most I wonder how that jetty ray,
       Which those two blackest sunnes do fair display,
Should shine so bright, & night should make so sweet a day.

So is my love an heav’n; her hair a night:
Her shining forehead Dian’s silver light:
Her eyes the stars; their influence delight:
Her voice the sphears; her cheek Aurora bright:
Her breast the globes, where heav’ns path milkie-white
       Runnes ‘twixt those hills: her hand (Arions touch)
       As much delights the eye, the eare as much.
Such is my Love, that, but my Love, was never such.

Thirsil. The earth her robe, the sea her swelling tide;
The trees their leaves, the moon her divers face;
The starres their courses, flowers their springing pride;
Dayes change their length, the Sunne his daily race:
       Be constant when you love; Love loves not ranging:
       Change when you sing; Muses delight in changing.

Daph. Pan loves the pine-tree; Jove the oak approves;
High populars Alcides temples crown:
Phoebus, though in a tree, still Daphne loves,
And hyacinths, though living now in ground:
       Shepherds, if you your selves would victours see,
       Girt then this head with Phoebus flower and tree.

Thom. Alcinous peares, Pomona apples bore:
Bacchus the vine, the olive Pallas chose:
Venus loves myrtils, myrtils love the shore:
Venus Adonis loves, who freshly blowes,
       Yet breathes no more: weave, lads, with myrtils roses
       And bay, and hyacinth the garland loses.

Daph. Mira, thine eyes are those twin-heav’nly powers,
Which to the widowed earth new offspring bring:
No marvel then, if still thy face so flowers,
And cheeks with beauteous blossomes freshly spring:
       So is thy face a never-fading May:
       So is thine eye a never-falling day.

Thom. Stella, thine eyes are those twin-brothers fair,
Which tempests slake, and promise quiet seas:
No marvel then if thy brown shadie hair,
Like night, portend sweet rest and gentle ease.
       Thus is thine eye an ever-calming light:
       Thus is thy hair a lovers ne’r-spent night.

Daph. If sleepy poppies yeeld to lilies white;
If black to snowy lambes; if night to day;
If Western shades to fair Aurora’s light;
Stella must yeeld to Mira’s shining ray.
       In day we sport, in day we shepherds toy:
       The night, for wolves; the light, the shepherds joy.

Thom. Who white-thorn equals with the violet?
What workman rest compares with painfull light?
Who weares the glaring glasse, and scorns the jet?
Day yeeld to her, that is both day and night.
       In night the fishers thrive, the workmen play;
       Love loves the night; night’s lovers holy-day.

Daph. Fly thou the seas, fly farre the dangerous shore:
Mira, if thee the king of seas should spie,
He’l think Medusa (sweeter then before)
With fairer hair, and double fairer eye,
       Is chang’d again; and with thee ebbing low,
       In his deep courts again will never flow.

Thom. Stella, avoid both Phoebus eare, and eye:
His musick he will scorn, if thee he heare:
Thee Daphne, (if thy face by chance he spie)
Daphne now fairer chang’d, he’l rashly sweare:              
       And viewing thee, will later rise and fall;
       Or viewing thee, will never rise at all.

Daph. Phoebus and Pan both strive my love to gain,
And seek by gifts to winne my carelesse heart;
Pan vows with lambes to fill the fruitfull plain;
Apollo offers skill, and pleasing art:
       But Stella, if thou grant my suit, a kisse;
       Phoebus and Pan their suit, my love, shall misse.

Thom. Proteus himself, and Glaucus seek unto me;
And twenty gifts to please my mind devise:
Proteus with songs, Glaucus with fish doth woo me:
Both strive to winne, but I them both despise:
       For if my Love my love will entertain,
       Proteus himself, and Glaucus seek in vain.

Daph. Two twin, two spotted lambes, (my songs reward)
With them a cup I got, where Jove assumed
New shapes, to mock his wives too jealous guard;
Full of Joves fires it burns still unconsumed:
       But Mira, if thou gently deigne to shine,
       Thine be the cup, the spotted lambes be thine.

Thom. A pair of swannes are mine, and all their train;
With them a cup, which Thetis self bestowed,
As she of love did heare me sadly plain;
A pearled cup, where Nectar oft hath flowed:
       But if my Love will love the gift, and giver;
       Thine be the cup, thine be the swannes for ever.

Daph. Thrice happy swains! thrice happy shepherds fate!
Thom. Ah blessed life! ah blessed fishers state!
Your pipes asswage your love; your nets maintain you.
       Daph. Your lambkins clothe you warm; your flocks sustain you;
You fear no stormie seas, nor tempests roaring.
       Thom. You sit not rots or burning starres deploring:
In calms you fish; in roughs use songs and dances.
       Daph. More do you fear our Loves sweet-bitter glances,
Then certain fate, or fortune ever changing.
       Thom. Ah that the life in seas so safely ranging,
Should with loves weeping eye be sunk, and drown’d!
       Daph. The shepherds life Phoebus a shepherd crown’d,
His snowy flocks by stately Peneus leading.
       Thom. What herb was that, on which old Glaucus feeding,
Grows never old, but now the gods augmenteth?
       Daph. Delia her self her rigor hard relenteth:
To play with shepherds boy she’s not ahamed.
       Thom. Venus, of frothy seas thou first wast framed;
The waves thy cradle: now Love’s Queen art named.

Daph. Thou gentle boy, what prize may well reward thee?
So slender gift as this not half requites thee.
May prosperous starres, and quiet seas regard thee;
But most, that pleasing starre that most delights thee:
       May Proteus still and Glaucus dearest hold thee;
       But most, her influence all safe infold thee:
May she with gentle beams from her fair sphear behold thee.

Thom. As whistling windes ‘gainst rocks their voices tearing;
As rivers through the valleys softly gliding;
As haven after cruel tempests fearing:
Such, fairest boy, such is thy verses sliding.
       Thine be the prize: may Pan and Phoebus grace thee:
       Most, whom thou most admir’st, may she embrace thee;
And flaming in thy love, with snowy arms enlace thee.

Thirsil. You lovely boyes, full well your art you guided;
That with your striving songs your strife is ended:
So you your selves the cause have well decided;
And by no judge can your award be mended.
Then since the prize for onely one intended
       You both refuse, we justly may reserve it,
       And as your offering in Love’s temple serve it;
Since none of both deserve, when both so well deserve it.

Yet, for such songs should ever be rewarded;
Daphnis, take thou this hook of ivory clearest,
Giv’n me by Pan, when Pan my verse regarded:
This fears the wolf, when most the wolf thou fearest.
But thou, my Thomalin, my love, my dearest,
       Take thou this pipe, which oft proud storms restrained;
       Which, spite of Chamus spite, I still retained:
Was never little pipe more soft, more sweetly plained.

And you, fair troop, if Thirsil you disdain not,
Vouchsafe with me to take some short reflection:
Excesse, or daints my lowly roofs maintain not;
Peares, apples, plummes, no sugred made confection.
So up they rose, and by Love’s sweet direction
Sea nymphs and shepherds sort: sea-boyes complain not
That wood-nymphs with like love them entertain not.
       And all the day to songs and dances lending,
       Too swift it runnes, and spends too fast in spending.
With day their sports began, with day they take their ending.


1 The 1633 text has this title in the Greek—this represents my best attempt at Romanization. Ed.

2 The 1633 text gives no change of speaker, but the context demands it. Boas (1908) suggests Damon speaks these lines. Ed.

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