The Shepheardes Calender: July
Note on this Renascence
is copyright © The University of
Oregon; it is distributed for scholarly and nonprofit purposes only.
A R G V M E N
is made in the honour and commendation of good shepheardes, and to the
shame and disprayse of proude and ambitious Pastours. Such as Morrell is
here imagined to bee.
not thilke same a goteheard prowde,
that sittes on yonder bancke,
heard them selfe doth shrowde
emong the bushes rancke?
What ho, thou iollye shepheards swayne,
come vp the hill to me:
Better is, then the lowly playne,
als for thy flocke,
Ah God shield, man, that I should clime,
and learne to looke alofte,
This reede is ryfe, that oftentime
clymbers fall vnsoft.
In humble dales is footing fast,
the trode is not so tickle:
And though one fall through heedlesse
yet is his misse not mickle.
And now the
Sonne hath reared vp
his fyriefooted teme,
Making his way betweene the
and golden Diademe:
The rampant Lyon
hunts he fast,
with Dogge of noysome breath,
Whose balefull barking bringes in
pyne, plagues, and dreery death.
Agaynst his cruell scortching heate
where hast thou couerture?
The wastefull hylls vnto his threate
is a playne ouerture.
But if thee lust, to
with seely shepherds swayne,
Come downe, and learne the little
that Thomalin can sayne.
Syker, thous but a laesie loord,
and rekes much
of thy swinck,
That with fond termes, and weetlesse
to blere myne eyes doest thinke.
In euill houre thou hentest in hond
thus holy hylles to blame,
For sacred vnto saints they stond,
and of them han theyr name.
mount who does not know,
that wardes the Westerne coste?
And of S. Brigets bowre I trow,
all Kent can rightly boaste:
And they that con of Muses skill,
sayne most what, that they dwell
(As goteheards wont) vpon a
beside a learned well.
And wonned not the great god Pan,
vpon mount Oliuet:
Feeding the blessed flocke of Dan,
which dyd himselfe beget?
O blessed sheepe, O shepheard great,
that bought his flocke so deare,
And them did saue with bloudy sweat
from Wolues, that would them teare.
Besyde, as holy fathers sayne,
there is a hyllye place,
ryseth from the mayne,
to renne hys dayly race.
Vpon whose toppe the starres bene
and all the skie doth leane,
There is the caue, where Phebe
long to dreame.
vsed shepheards all
to feede theyr flocks at will,
Till by his foly one did fall,
that all the rest did spill.
And sithens shepheardes bene foresayd
from places of delight:
For thy I weene thou be affrayed,
to clime this hilles height.
can I tell thee more,
and of our
But little needes to strow my store,
suffice this hill of our.
Here han the holy Faunes
and Syluanes haunten rathe.
Here has the salt Medway
wherein the Nymphes doe bathe.
The salt Medway, that trickling
adowne the dales of Kent:
Till with his elder brother Themis
his brackish waues be meynt.
Here growes Melampode
and Terebinth good for Gotes:
The one, my madding kiddes to smere,
the next, to heale theyr throtes.
Hereto, the hills bene nigher
and thence the passage ethe.
As well can proue the piercing levin,
that seeldome falls bynethe.
Syker thou speakes lyke a lewde lorrell,
of Heauen to demen so:
How be I am but rude and borrell,
yet nearer wayes I knowe.
To Kerke the narre,
from God more farre,
has bene an old sayd sawe.
And he that striues to touch the
oft stombles at a strawe.
Alsoone may shepheard clymbe to
that leades in lowly dales,
As Goteherd prowd that sitting hye,
vpon the Mountaine sayles.
My seely sheepe like well belowe,
they neede not Melampode:
For they bene hale
enough, I trowe,
and liken theyr abode.
But if they with thy Gotes should
they soone myght be corrupted:
Or like not of the frowie
or with the weedes be glutted.
The hylls, where dwelled holy saints,
I reuerence and adore:
Not for themselfe, but for the sayncts,
which han be dead of
And nowe they bene to heauen forewent,
theyr good is with them goe:
Theyr sample onely to vs lent,
that als we mought doe soe.
Shepheards they weren of the best,
and liued in lowly leas:
And sith theyr soules bene now at
why done we them disease?
Such one he was, (as I haue heard
old Algrind often sayne)
That whilome was the
and liued with little gayne:
As meeke he was, as meeke mought
simple, as simple sheepe,
Humble, and like in eche degree
the flocke, which he did keepe.
Often he vsed of hys keepe
a sacrifice to bring,
Nowe with a Kidde, now with a sheepe
The Altars hallowing.
he vnto hys Lord,
such fauour couth he fynd,
That sithens neuer was abhord,
the simple shepheards kynd.
And such I weene the
that came from Canaan:
The brethren twelue, that kept yfere
The flockes of mighty Pan.
But nothing such thilke shephearde
hyll dyd beare,
That left hys flocke, to fetch a
whose loue he bought to deare:
For he was proude, that ill was
(no such mought shepheards bee)
And with lewde lust was ouerlayd:
tway things doen ill agree:
But shepheard mought be meeke and
well eyed, as Argus
With fleshly follyes vndefyled,
and stoute as steede of brasse.
Sike one (sayd Algrin) Moses
that sawe hys makers face,
His face more cleare, then Christall
and spake to him in place.
This had a brother, (his
name I knewe)
the first of all his cote,
A shepheard trewe, yet not
as he that earst I hote.
Whilome all these were lowe, and
and loued their flocks to feede,
They neuer strouen to be chiefe,
and simple was theyr weede.
But now (thanked be God therefore)
the world is well amend,
Their weedes bene not so nighly
such simplesse mought them shend:
They bene yclad in
purple and pall,
so hath theyr god them blist,
They reigne and rulen ouer all,
and lord it, as they list:
Ygyrt with belts
of glitterand gold,
(mought they good sheepeheards bene)
theyr sheepe to them has sold,
I saye as some haue seene.
(if thou him ken)
yode late on Pilgrimage
To Rome, (if such be Rome) and then
he sawe thilke misusage.
For shepeheards (sayd he) there
As Lordes done other where,
Theyr sheepe han crustes, and they
the chippes, and they the chere:
They han the fleece, and eke the
(O seely sheepe the while)
The corn is theyrs, let other thresh,
their hands they may not file.
They han great stores, and thriftye
great freendes and feeble foes:
What neede hem caren for their flocks?
theyr boyes can looke to those.
in welths waues,
pampred in pleasures deepe,
They han fatte kernes,
and leany knaues,
their fasting flockes to keepe.
Sike mister men
bene all misgone,
they heapen hylles of wrath:
shepheards han we none,
they keepen all the path.
Here is a great deale of good matter,
lost for lacke of telling,
Now sicker I see, thou doest but
harme may come of melling.
Thou medlest more, then shall haue
to wyten shepheards welth:
When folke bene fat, and riches
it is a signe of helth.
But say to me, what is Algrin
that is so oft bynempt.
He is a shepheard great in gree,
but hath bene long ypent.
One daye he sat vpon a hyll,
(as now thou wouldest me:
But I am tought by Algrins
To loue the lowe degree.)
For sitting so with bared scalpe,
an Eagle sored hye,
That weening hys whyte head was
A shell fish downe let flye:
Shee weend the shell fish to haue
but therewith bruzd his brayne,
So now astonied with the stroke,
he lyes in lingring payne.
Ah good Algrin, his hap was ill,
But shall be bett
Now farwell shepheard, sith thys
thou hast such doubt to climbe.
In medio virtus.
In summo foelicitas
Goteheard) By Gotes in scrypture be represented the wicked and reprobate,
whose pastour also must needes be such.
is the seate of honor.
heard) which wander out of the waye of truth.
spoken of Ambition.
clymbers) according to Seneca his verse, Decidunt celsa grauiore lapsus.
sonne) A reason, why he refuseth to dwell on Mountaines, because there
is no shelter against the scortching sunne. according to the time of the
yeare, whiche is the whotest moneth of all.
Cupp and Diademe) Be two figures in the Firmament, through which the sonne
maketh his course in the moneth of Iuly.
Thys is Poetically spoken, as if the Sunne did hunt a Lion with one Dogge.
The meaning whereof is, that in Iuly the sun is in Leo At which tyme the
Dogge starre, which is called Syrius or Canicula reigneth, with immoderate
heate causing Pestilence, drought, and many diseases.
an open place. The word is borrowed of the French, & vsed in good writers
holden chatt) to talke and prate.
loorde) was wont among the old Britons to signifie a Lorde. And therefore
the Danes, that long time vsurped theyr Tyrannie here in Brytanie, were
called for more dread and dignitie, Lurdanes .s. Lord Danes. At which time
it is sayd, that the insolencie and pryde of that nation was so outragious
in the Realme, that if it fortuned a Briton to be going ouer a bridge,
and sawe the Dane set foote vpon the same, he must retorne back, till the
Dane were cleane ouer, or els abyde the pryce of his displeasure, which
was no lesse, then present death. But being afterwarde expelled the name
of Lurdane became so odious vnto the people, whom they had long oppressed,
that euen at this daye they vse for more reproche, to call the Quartane
ague the Feuer Lurdane.
much of thy swinck) counts much of thy paynes.
Michels mount) is a promontorie in the West part of England.
hill) Parnassus afforesayd.
One trybe is put for the whole nation per Synecdochen
Titan) the Sonne, Which story is to be redde in Diodorus Syc. of the hyl
Ida; from whence he sayth, all night time is to bee seene a mightye fire,
as if the skye burned, which toward morning beginneth to gather into a
rownd forme, and thereof ryseth the sonne, whome the Poetes call Titan:
Shepheard) is Endymion, whom the Poetes fayne, to haue bene so beloued
of Phoebe .s. the Moone, that he was by her kept a sleepe in a caue by
the space of xxx. yeares for to enioye his companye.
that is in Paradise, where through errour of shepheards vnderstanding,
he sayth, that all shepheards did vse to feede theyr flocks, till one,
(that is Adam by hys follye and disobedience, made all the rest of hys
ofspring be debarred & shutte out from thence.
a hill in Arabia, where God appeared.
Ladyes bowre) a place of pleasure so called.
or Sylvanes) be of Poetes feigned to be Gods of the Woode.
the name of a Ryuer in Kent, which running by Rochester, meeteth with Thames;
whon he calleth his elder brother, both because he is greater, and also
falleth sooner into the Sea.
and Terebinth) be hearbes good to cure diseased Gotes. of thone speaketh
Mantuane, and of thother Theocritus. [terminthou tragon eskhaton akremona.]
heauen) Note the shepheards simplenesse, which supposeth that from the
hylls is nearer waye to heauen.
Lightning; which he taketh for an argument, to proue the nighnes to heauen,
because the lightning doth comenly light on high mountaynes, according
to the saying of the Poete. Feriuntque summos fulmina montes.
borrell) a playne fellowe.
mustye or mossie.
yore) long agoe.
firste shepheard) was Abell the righteous, who (as scripture sayth) bent
hys mind to keeping of sheepe, as did hys brother Cain to tilling the grownde.
His keepe) hys
charge .s. his flock.
did honour and reuerence.
brethren) the twelue sonnes of Iacob, whych were shepemaisters, and lyued
Ida) Paris, which being the sonne of Priamus king of Troy, for his mother
Hecubas dreame, which being with child of hym, dreamed shee brought forth
a firebrand, that set all the towre of Ilium on fire, was cast forth on
the hyll Ida; where being fostered of shepheards, he eke in time be came
a shepheard, and lastly came to knowledge of his parentage.
lasse) Helena the wyfe of Menelaus king of Lacedemonia, was by Venus for
the golden Aple to her geuen, then promised to Paris, who thereupon with
a sorte of lustye Troyanes, stole her out of Lacedemonia, and kept her
in Troye, which was the cause of the tenne yeares warre in Troye, and the
moste famous citye of all Asia most lamentably sacked and defaced.
was of the Poets deuised to be full of eyes, and therefore to hym was committed
the keeping of the transformed Cow Io: So called because in the print of
a Cows foote, there is figured an I in the middest of an O.
name) he meaneth Aaron: whose name for more Decorum, the shephearde sayth
he hath forgot, left his remembraunce and skill in antiquities of holy
writ should seeme to exceede the meanenesse of the Person.
so true) for Aaron in the absence of Moses started aside, and committed
purple) Spoken of the Popes and Cardinalles, which vse such tyrannical
colours and pompous paynting.
Glittering. a Participle vsed sometime in Chaucer, but altogether in I.
Pan) that is the Pope, whom they count theyr God and greatest shepheard.
A shephearde, of whose report he seemeth to speake all thys.
greate learned heads.
a Churle or Farmer.
mister men) such kinde of men.
stately and prowde
the name of a shepheard afforesayde, whose myshap he alludeth to the chaunce,
that happened to the Poet Æschylus, that was brayned with a shellfishe.
By this poesye Thomalin
confirmeth that, which in hys former speach by sondry reasons he had proued.
for being both hymselfe sequestred from all ambition and also abhorring
it in others of hys cote, he taketh occasion to prayse the meane and lowly
state, as that wherein is safetie without feare, and quiet without danger,
according to the saying of olde Philosophers, that vertue dwelleth in the
midddest, being enuironed with two contrary vices: whereto Morrell replieth
with continuance of the same Philosophers opinion, that albeit all bountye
dwelleth in mediocritie, yet perfect felicitye dwelleth in supremacie.
for they say, and most true it is, that happinesse is placed in the highest
degree, so as if any thing be higher or better, then that streight way
ceaseth to be perfect happines. Much like to that, which I once heard alleaged
in defence of humilitye out of a great doctour, Suorum Christus humillimus:
which saying a gentle man in the company taking at the rebownd, beat backe
again with lyke saying of another Doctoure, as he sayde. Sourum deus altissimus.
Go on to August.