The Shepheardes Calender: January

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[Woodcut for January]

 Ægloga prima.

 A R G V M E N T.

IN this fyrst Æglogue Colin clout a shepheardes boy complaineth him of his vnfortunate loue, being but newly (as semeth) enamoured of a countrie lasse called Rosalinde: with which strong affection being very sore traueled, he compareth his carefull case to the sadde season of the yeare, to the frostie ground, to the frosen trees, and to his owne winterbeaten flocke. And lastlye, fynding himselfe robbed of all former pleasaunce and delights, hee breaketh his Pipe in peeces, and casteth him selfe to the ground.

COLIN Cloute.

A Shepeheards boye (no better doe him call)
when Winters wastful spight was almost spent,
All in a sunneshine day, as did befall,
Led forth his flock, that had been long ypent.
So faynt they woxe, and feeble in the folde,
That now vnnethes their feete could them vphold.

 All as the Sheepe, such was the shepeheards looke,
For pale and wanne he was, (alas the while,)
May seeme he lovd, or els some care he tooke:
Well couth he tune his pipe, and frame his stile.
Tho to a hill his faynting flocke he ledde,
And thus him playnd, the while his shepe there fedde.

 Ye gods of loue, that pitie louers payne,
(if any gods the paine of louers pitie:)
Looke from aboue, where you in ioyes remaine,
And bowe your eares vnto my doleful dittie.
And Pan thou shepheards God, that once didst loue,
Pitie the paines, that thou thy selfe didst proue.

 Thou barrein ground, whome winters wrath hath wasted,
Art made a myrrhour, to behold my plight:
Whilome thy fresh spring flowrd, and after hasted
Thy sommer prowde with Daffadillies dight.
And now is come thy wynters stormy state,
Thy mantle mard, wherein thou mas-kedst late.

 Such rage as winters, reigneth in my heart,
My life bloud friesing with vnkindly cold:
Such stormy stoures do breede my balefull smarte,
As if my yeare were wast, and woxen old.
And yet alas, but now my spring begonne,
And yet alas, yt is already donne.

 You naked trees, whose shady leaves are lost,
Wherein the byrds were wont to build their bowre:
And now are clothd with mosse and hoary frost,
Instede of bloosmes, wherwith your buds did flowre:
I see your teares, that from your boughes doe raine,
Whose drops in drery ysicles remaine.

 All so my lustfull leafe is drye and sere,
My timely buds with wayling all are wasted:
The blossome, which my braunch of youth did beare,
With breathed sighes is blowne away, & blasted,
And from mine eyes the drizling teares descend,
As on your boughes the ysicles depend.

 Thou feeble flocke, whose fleece is rough and rent,
Whose knees are weak through fast and evill fare:
Mayst witnesse well by thy ill gouernement,
Thy maysters mind is ouercome with care.
Thou weak, I wanne: thou leane, I quite forlorne:
With mourning pyne I, you with pyning mourne.

 A thousand sithes I curse that carefull hower,
Wherein I longd the neighbour towne to see:
And eke tenne thousand sithes I blesse the stoure,
Wherein I sawe so fayre a sight, as shee.
Yet all for naught: [such] sight hath bred my bane.
Ah God, that loue should breede both ioy and payne.

 It is not Hobbinol, wherefore I plaine,
Albee my loue he seeke with dayly suit:
His clownish gifts and curtsies I disdaine,
His kiddes, his cracknelles, and his early fruit.
Ah foolish Hobbinol, thy gyfts bene vayne:
Colin them gives to Rosalind againe.

 I loue thilke lasse, (alas why doe I loue?)
And am forlorne, (alas why am I lorne?)
Shee deignes not my good will, but doth reproue,
And of my rurall musick holdeth scorne.
Shepheards deuise she hateth as the snake,
And laughes the songes, that Colin Clout doth make.

 Wherefore my pype, albee rude Pan thou please,
Yet for thou pleasest not, where most I would:
And thou vnlucky Muse, that wontst to ease
My musing mynd, yet canst not, when thou should:
Both pype and Muse, shall sore the while abye.
So broke his oaten pype, and downe dyd lye.

 By that, the welked Phoebus gan availe,
His weary waine, and nowe the frosty Night
Her mantle black through heauen gan overhaile.
Which seene, the pensife boy halfe in despight
Arose, and homeward drove his sonned sheepe,
Whose hanging heads did seeme his carefull case to weepe.

Colins Embleme.

 Anchôra speme.


COLIN Cloute) is a name not greatly vsed, and yet haue I sene a Poesie of M. Skeltons vnder that title. But indeede the word Colin is Frenche, and vsed of the French Poete Marot (if he be worthy of the name of a Poete) in a certein Æglogue. Vnder which name this Poete secretly shadoweth himself, as sometime did Virgil vnder the name of Tityrus, thinking it much fitter, then such Latine names, for the great vnlikelihoode of the language.

vnnethes) scarcely.

couthe) commeth of the verbe Conne, that is, to know or to haue skill. As well interpreteth the worthy Sir Tho. Smitth in his booke of gouerment: wherof I haue a perfect copie in wryting, lent me by his kinseman, and my verye singular good freend, M. Gabriel Haruey: as also of some other his most graue & excellent wrytings.

Sythe) time.

Neighbour towne) the next towne: expressing the Latine Vicina.

Stoure) a fitt.

Sere) withered.

His clownish gyfts) imitateth Virgils verse,

Rusticus es Corydon, nec munera curat Alexis.
Hobbinol) is a fained country name, whereby, it being so commune and vsuall, seemeth to be hidden the person of some his very speciall and most familiar freend, whom he entirely and extraordinarily beloued, as peraduenture shall be more largely declared hereafter. In thys place seemeth to be some sauour of disorderly loue, which the learned call paederastice: but it is gathered beside his meaning. For who that hath red Plato his dialogue called Alcibiades, Xenophon and Maximus Tyrius of Socrates opinions, may easily perceiue, that such loue is muche to be alowed and liked of, specially so meant, as Socrates vsed it: who sayth, that in deede he loued Alcybiades extremely, yet not Alcybiades person, but hys soule, which is Alcibiades owne selfe. And so is pederastice much to be praeferred before gynerastice, that is the loue whiche enflameth men with lust toward woman kind. But yet let no man thinke, that herein I stand with Lucian or hys deuelish disciple Vnico Aretino, in defence of execrable and horrible sinnes of forbidden and vnlawful fleshlinesse. Whose abominable errour is fully confuted of Perionius, and others.

I loue) a prety Epanorthosis in these two verses, and withall a Paronomasia or playing with the word, where he sayth (I loue thilke lasse (alas &c.

Rosalinde) is also a feigned name, which being wel ordered, wil bewray the very name of hys loue and mistresse, whom by that name he coloureth. So as Ouide shadoweth hys loue vnder the name of Corynna, which of some is supposed to be Iulia, themperor Augustus his daughter, and wyfe to Agryppa. So doth Aruntius Stella euery where call his Lady Asteris and Ianthis, albe it is well knowen that her right name was Violantilla: as witnesseth Statius in his Epithalamium. And so the famous Paragone of Italy, Madonna Coelia in her letters enuelopeth her selfe vnder the name of Zima: and Petron [vnder] the name of Bellochia. And this generally hath bene a common custome of counterfeicting the names of secret Personages.

Auail) bring downe.

Overhaile) drawe over.


His Embleme or Poesye is here vnder added in Italian, Anchóra speme: the meaning wherof is, that notwithstande his extreme passion and lucklesse loue, yet leaning on hope, he is some what recomforted.

Go on to February.

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