The Shepheardes Calender: May
Note on this Renascence
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A R G V M E N
In this [fifte]
Æglogue, vnder the persons of two shepheards Piers & Palinodie,
be represented two formes of pastoures or Ministers, or the protestant
and the Catholique: whose chiefe talke standeth in reasoning, whether the
life of the one must be like the other. with whom hauing shewed, that it
is daungerous to mainteine any felowship, or giue too much credit to their
colourable and feyned goodwill, he telleth him a tale of the foxe, that
by such a counterpoynt of craftines deceiued and deuoured the credulous
IS not thilke
the mery moneth of May,
When loue lads masken in fresh aray?
How falles it then, we no merrier
Ylike as others, girt in gawdy greene?
liueryes bene all to sadde,
For thilke same season, when all
With pleasaunce: the grownd with
grasse, the Wods
With greene leaues, the bushes with
Yougthes folke now flocken in
To gather may bus-kets
and smelling brere:
And home they hasten the postes
And all the Kirke
pillours eare day light,
With Hawthorne buds, and swete Eglantine,
And girlonds of roses and Sopps
Such merimake holy Saints doth queme,
But we here sytten as drownd in
For Younkers Palinode such follies
But we tway bene men of elder witt.
Sicker this morrowe, ne lenger agoe,
I sawe a shole
of shepeheardes outgoe,
With singing, and shouting, and
Before them yode
a lusty Tabrere,
That to the many a Horne pype playd,
Whereto they dauncen eche one with
To see those folkes make such iouysaunce,
Made my heart after the pype to
Tho to the greene Wood they speeden
To fetchen home May with their musicall:
And home they bringen in a royall
Crowned as king: and his Queene
Was Lady Flora, on whom did attend
A fayre flock of Faeries, and a
Of louely Nymphes. (O that I were
To helpen the Ladyes their Maybush
Ah Piers, bene not thy teeth
on edge, to thinke
How great sport they gaynen with
Perdie so farre am I from enuie,
That their fondnesse inly
little regarden their charge,
While they letting their sheepe
runne at large,
Passen their time, that should be
In lustihede and wanton meryment.
Thilke same bene shepeheards for
the Deuils stedde,
That playen while their flockes
Well is it seene, theyr sheepe bene
not their owne,
That letten them runne at randon
But they bene hyred for little pay
Of other, that caren as little as
What fallen the flocke, so they
han the fleece,
And get all the gayne, paying but
I muse, what account both these
The one for the hire, which he doth
And thother for leauing his Lords
When [great] Pan
account of shepeherdes shall aske.
Sicker now I see thou speakest of spight,
All for thou lackest somedele their
I (as I am)
had rather be enuied,
All were it of my foe, then fonly
And yet if neede were, pitied would
Rather, then other should scorne
For pittied is mishappe, that nas
But scorned bene dedes of [fond]
What shoulden shepheards other things
Then sith their God his good does
Reapen the fruite thereof, that
The while they here liuen, at ease
For when they bene dead, their good
They sleepen in rest, well as other
them wends, what they spent in cost,
But what they left behind them,
Good is no good, but if it be spend:
God giueth good for none other end.
Ah Palinodie, thou art a worldes
Who touches Pitch mought needes
But shepheards (as Algrind
vsed to say,)
Mought not liue ylike, as men
of the laye:
With them it sits to care for their
their heritage doe impaire:
They must prouide for meanes of
And to continue their wont countenaunce.
But shepheard must walke another
Sike worldly souenance
he must foresay.
The sonne of his loines why should
To leaue enriched with that he hath
Should not thilke God, that gaue
him that good,
Eke cherish his child, if in his
wayes he stood?
For if he misliue in leudnes and
Little bootes all the welth and
That his father left by inheritaunce:
All will be soone wasted with misgouernaunce.
But through this, and other their
They maken many a wrong cheuisaunce,
Heaping vp waues of welth and woe,
The floddes whereof shall them ouerflowe.
Sike mens follie I cannot compare
Better, then to the Apes folish
That is so enamoured of her young
(And yet God wote, such cause hath
That with her hard hold, and straight
She stoppeth the breath of her youngling.
So often times, when as good is
Euil ensueth of wrong entent.
The time was once, and may
(For ought may happen, that hath
When shepeheards had none inheritaunce,
Ne of land, nor fee in sufferaunce:
But what might arise of the bare
(Were it more or lesse) which they
Well ywis was it with shepheards
Nought hauing, nought feared they
himselfe was their inheritaunce,
And little them serued for their
The [shepheards] God so wel them
That of nought they were vnprouided,
Butter enough, honye, milke, and
And their flockes fleeces, them
But tract of time, and long prosperitie:
That nource of vice, this of insolencie,
Lulled the shepheards in suc securitie,
That not content with loyal obeysaunce,
to gape for greedie gouernaunce,
And match them selfe with mighty
Louers of Lordship and troublers
Tho gan shepheards swaines to looke
And leaue to liue hard, and learne
to ligge soft:
Tho vnder colour of shepeheards,
There crept in Wolues, ful of fraude
That often deuoured their owne sheepe,
And often the shepheards, that did
This was the first sourse
of shepheards sorowe,
That now nill be quitt with baile,
Three things to beare, bene very burdenous,
But the fourth to forbeare, is outragious.
Wemen that of Loues longing once
Hardly forbearen, but haue it they
So when choler is inflamed with
Wanting reuenge, is hard to asswage:
And who can counsell a thristie
With patience to forbeare the offred
But of all burdens, that a man can
Moste is, a fooles talke to beare
and to heare.
I wene the Geaunt
has not such a weight,
That beares on his shoulders the
Thou findest faulte, where nys to
And buildest strong warke
vpon a weake ground:
Thou raylest on right withouten
And blamest hem much, for small
How shoulden shepheardes liue, if
What? should they pynen in payne
Nay sayd I thereto, by my deare
If I may rest, I nill liue in sorrowe.
Sorrowe ne neede be hastened
For he will come without calling
While times enduren of tranqullitie,
Vsen we freely our felicitie.
For when approchen the stormie stowres,
We mought with our shoulders beare
of the sharpe showres.
And sooth to sayne, nought
seemeth sike strife,
That shepheardes so witen
ech others life,
And layen her faults the world beforne,
The while their foes done eache
of hem scorne.
Let none mislike of that may not
soone by concord mought be ended.
Shepheard, I list none accordaunce make
With shepheard, that does the right
And of the twaine, if choice were
Had leuer my foe, then my freend
For what concord han
light and darke sam?
Or what peace has the Lion with
Such faitors, when their false harts
Will doe, as did the Foxe by the
Now Piers, of felowship, tell
vs that saying:
For the Ladde can keepe both our
flocks from straying.
THilke same Kidde
(as I can well deuise
Was too very foolish and vnwise.
For on a tyme in Sommer season,
The Gate her
dame, that had good reason,
Yode forth abroade
vnto the greene wood,
To brouze, or play, or what shee
But for she had a motherly care
Of her young sonne, and wit to beware,
Shee set her
youngling before her knee,
That was both fresh and louely to
And full of fauour, as kidde mought
His Vellet head began to shoot out,
And his wreathed hornes gan newly
The blossomes of
lust to bud did beginne,
And spring forth ranckly vnder his
My sonne (quoth she) (and
with that gan weepe:
For carefull thoughts in her heart
God blesse thee poore Orphane,
as he mought me,
And send thee ioy of thy iollitee.
Thy father (that
word she spake with payne:
For a sigh had nigh rent her heart
Thy father, had he liued this day,
To see the
braunche of his body displaie,
How would he haue ioyed at this
But ah false Fortune such ioy did
And cutte of hys dayes with vntimely
Betraying him into the traines of
Now I a waylfull widdowe behight,
Of my old age haue this one delight,
To see thee succeede in thy fathers
And florish in flowres of lusty
so thy father his head vpheld,
And so his hauty hornes did he weld.
Tho marking him with melting
throbbe from her hart did aryse,
And interrupted all her other speache,
With some old sorowe, that made
a new breache:
Seemed shee sawe in the younglings
The old lineaments of his fathers
At last her solein silence she broke,
And gan his newe budded beard to
Kiddie (quoth shee) thou
kenst the great care,
I have of thy health and thy welfare,
Which many wylde beastes liggen
For to entrap in thy tender state:
But most the Foxe, maister
For he has voued thy last confusion.
For thy my Kiddie be ruld by mee,
And neuer giue trust to his trecheree.
And if he chaunce come, when I am
Sperre the yate
fast for feare of fraude:
Ne for all his worst, nor for his
Open the dore at his request.
So schooled the Gate her
That answerd his mother, all should
Tho went the pensife Damme out of
And chaunst to stomble at the threshold
Her stombling steppe some what her
as signes of ill luck bene dispraised)
Yet forth shee yode thereat halfe
And Kiddie the dore sperred after
It was not long, after shee was
But the false Foxe came to the dore
Not as a Foxe, for then he had be
But all as a poore pedlar he did
Bearing a trusse of tryfles at hys
and babes, and glasses in hys packe.
A Biggen he had got about his brayne,
For in his headpeace he felt a sore
His hinder heele was wrapt in a
For with great
cold he had gotte the gout.
There at the dore he cast me downe
And layd him downe, and groned,
Ah deare Lord, and sweet
That some good body woulde once
Well heard Kiddie al this
And lenged to know the cause of
Tho creeping close behind the Wickets
Preuelie he peeped out through a
Yet not so preuelie, but the Foxe
For deceitfull meaning is double
Ah good young maister (then
gan he crye)
Iesus blesse that sweete face, I
And keepe your corpse from the carefull
That in my carrion carcas abounds.
The Kidd pittying hys heauinesse,
Asked the cause of his great distresse,
And also who, and whence that he
Tho he, that had well ycond his
his talke with many a teare,
Sicke, sicke, alas, and little lack
But I be relieued by your beastlyhead.
I am a poore Sheepe, albe my coloure
For with long traueile I am brent
in the sonne.
And if that my Grandsire me sayd,
Sicker I am very sybbe
So be your goodlihead doe not disdayne
The base kinred of so simple swaine.
Of mercye and favour then I you
With your ayd to
forstall my neere decay.
Tho out of his packe a glasse
Wherein while kiddie vnwares did
He was so enamoured with the newell,
That nought he deemed deare for
Tho opened he the dore, and in came
The false Foxe, as he were starke
His tayle he clapt betwixt his legs
Lest he should be descried by his
Being within, the Kidde made
him good glee,
All for the loue of the glasse he
After his chere the Pedlar can chat,
And tell many lesings of this, and
And how he could shewe many a fine
Tho shewed his ware, and opened
All saue a bell, which he left behind
In the bas-ket for the Kidde to
Which when the Kidde stooped down
He popt him in, and his bas-ket
Ne stayed he once, the dore to make
But ran awaye with him in all hast.
Home when the doubtful Damme had
She mought see the dore stand open
All aghast, lowdly she gan to call
Her Kidde: but he nould answere
Tho on the flore she sawe the merchandise,
Of which her sonne had sette to
What helpe? her Kidde shee knewe
well was gone:
Shee weeped, and wayled, and made
had the Kidde, for he nould warned be
Of craft coloured with simplicitie:
And such end perdie does all hem
That of such false freendship bene
Truly Piers, thou art beside
Furthest fro the marke, weening
it to hit.
Now I pray thee, lette me thy tale
sir Iohn, to say to morrowe
At the Kerke, when it is holliday:
For well he meanes, but little can
But and if Foxes bene so crafty,
Much needeth all shepheards hem
Of their falshode more could I recount.
But now the bright Sunne gynneth
And for the deawie night now doth
I hold it best for vs, home to hye.
[Pas men apiotos
Piers his Embleme.
[Tis d' ara piotis
this same moneth. It is applyed to the season of the moneth, when all menne
delight them selues with pleasaunce of fieldes, and gardens, and garments.
liueries) gray coates.
arrayed, Y, redoundeth, as before.
euery where) a straunge, yet proper kind of speaking.
a Diminutiue .s. little bushes of hauthorne.
shole) a multitude; taken of fishe, whereof some going in great companies,
are sayde to swimme in a shole.
pan) is Christ, the very God of all the shepheards, which calleth himselfe
the greate and good shepherd. The name is most rightly (me thinkes) applyed
to him, for Pan signifieth all or omnipotent, which is onely the Lord Iesus.
And by that name (as I remember) he is called of Eusebius in his fifte
booke de Preparat. Euang; who thereof telleth a proper storye to that purpose.
Which story is first recorded of Plutarch, in his booke of the ceasing
of oracles, & of Lauetere translated, in his booke of walking sprightes.
Who sayth, that about the same time, that our Lord suffered his most bitter
passion for the redemtion of man, certein passengers sayling from Italy
to Cyprus and passing by certein Iles called Paxae, heard a voyce calling
alowde Thamus, Thamus, (now Thamus was the name of an Ægyptian, which
was Pilote of the ship,) who giuing eare to the cry, was bidden, when he
came to Palodes, to tel, that the great Pan was dead: which he doubting
to doe, yet for that he came to Palodes, there sodeinly was such a calm
of winde, that the shippe stoode still in the sea vnmoued, he was forced
to cry alowd, that Pan was dead: wherewithall there was heard suche piteous
outcryes and dreadfull shriking, as hath not bene the like. By whych Pan,
though of some be vnderstoode the great Satanas, whose kingdome at that
time was by Christ conquered, the gates of hell broken vp, and death by
death deliuered to eternall death, (for at that time,as he sayth, all Oracles
surceased, and enchaunted spirits, that were wont to delude the people,
thenceforth held theyr peace) & also at the demaund of the Emperoure
Tiberius, who that Pan should be, answere was made him by the wisest and
best learned, that it was the son of Mercurie and Penelope, yet I think
it more properly meant of the death of Christ, the onely and very Pan,
then suffereing for his flock.
as I am) seemeth to imitate the commen prouerb, Malim Inuidere mihi omnes
is a syncope, for ne has, or has not,: as nould, for would not.
with them) doth imitate the Epitaphe of the ryotous king Sardanapalus,
whych caused to be written on his tombe in Greeke: which verses be thus
translated by Tullie:
" Haec habui
quae edi, quaeque exaturata libido
which may thus be turned
" Hausit, at illa
manent multa ac praeclara relicta.
" All that
I eate did I ioye, and all that I greedily gorged:
Much like the Epitaph
of a good olde Erle of Deuonshire, which though much more wisedome bewraieth,
then Sardanapalus, yet hath a smacke of his sensuall delights and beastlinesse.
The rymes be these.
" As for those many
goodly matters left I for others.
" Ho, Ho,
who lies here?
the name of a shepheard.
" I the good Erle
" And Maulde my wife,
that was full deare,
" We liued together
" That we spent, we
" That we gaue, we
" That we lefte, we
of the Lay) Lay men.
despaire or misbeliefe. Cheuisaunce. sometime of Chaucer vsed for gaine:
sometime of other for spoyle, or bootie, or enterprise, and sometime for
himselfe) God. According as is sayd in Deuteronomie, That in diuision of
the lande of Canaan, to the tribe of Leuie no portion of heritage should
bee allotted for GOD himselfe was their inheritaunce.
gan) meant of the Pope, and his Antichristian prelates, which vsurpe a
tyrannical dominion in the Churche, and with Peters counterfet keyes, open
a wide gate to al wickednesse and insolent gouernment. Nought here spoken
as of purpose to deny fatherly rule and godly gouernaunce ( as some malitiously
of late haue done to the great vnreste and hinderaunce of the the Churche)
but to displaye the pride and disorder of such, as in steede of feeding
their sheepe, indeede feede of theyr sheepe.
welspring and originall.
pledge or suretie.
Geaunte) is the greate Atlas, whom the poetes feign to be a huge geaunt,
that beareth Heauen on his shoulders: being in deede a merueilous highe
mountaine in Mauritania, that now is Barbarie, which to mans seeming perceth
the cloudes, and seemeth to touch the heauens. Other thinke, and they not
amisse, that this fable was meant of one Atlas king of the same countrye,
(of whome may bee, that that hil had his denomination) brother to Prometheus
who (as the Grekes say) did first fynd out the hidden courses of the starres,
by an excellent imagination. Wherefore the poetes feigned, that he susteyned
the firmament on his shoulders. Many other coniectures needlesse be told
borow) That is our sauiour, the commen pledge of all mens debts to death.
seemeth) is vnseemely.
theyr, as vseth Chaucer.
This tale is
much like to that in Æsops fables, but the Catastrophe and end is
farre different. By the Kidde may be vnderstoode the simple sorte of the
faythfull and true Christians. By hys dame Christe, that hath alreadie
with carefull watchewords (as heere doth the gote) warned his little ones,
to beware of such doubling deceit. By the Foxe, the false and faithlesse
Papistes, to whom is no credit to be giuen, nor felowshippe to be vsed.
gate) the Gote: Northernly spoken to turne O into A.
set) A figure called Fictio which vseth to attribute reasonable actions
and speaches to vnreasonable creatures.
bloosmes of lust) be the young and mossie heares, which then beginne to
sproute and shoote foorth, when lustfull heate beginneth to kindle.
with) A very Poeticall [pathos].
A youngling or pupill, that needeth a Tutour and gouernour.
word) A patheticall parenthesis, to encrease a carefull Hyperbaton.
braunch) of the fathers body, is the child.
euen so) Alluded to the saying of Andromache to Ascanius in Virgile.
sic ille manus, sic ora ferebat.
thrilling throb) a percing sighe.
of collusion) .s. coloured guile, because the Foxe of al beasts is most
wily and crafty.
the yate) shut the dore.
such) The gotes stombling is here noted as an euill signe. The like to
be marked in all histories: and that not the leaste of the Lord Hastingues
in King Rycharde the third his dayes. For beside his daungerous dreame
(whiche was a shrewde prophecie of his mishap, that folowed) it is sayd
that in the morning ryding toward the tower of London, there to sitte vppon
matters of counsell, his horse stombled twise or thrise by the way: which
of some, that ryding with hym in his company, were priuie to his neere
destenie, was secretly marked, and afterward noted for memorie of his great
mishap, that ensewed. For being then as merye, as man might be, and least
doubting any mortall daunger, he was within two howres after, of the Tyranne
put to a shamefull death.
belles) by such trifles are noted, the reliques and ragges of popish superstition,
which put no smal religion in Belles: and Babies .s. Idoles: and glasses
.s. Paxes, and such lyke trumperies.
cold.) For they boast much of their outward patience, and voluntarye sufferaunce
as a worke of merit and holy humblenesse.
S. Charitie.[)] The Catholiques comen othe, and onely speache, to haue
charitye alwayes in their mouth, and sometime in their outward Actions,
but neuer inwardly in fayth and godly zeale.
a key hole. Whose diminutiue is clicket, vsed of Chaucer for a key.
lere) his lesson.
agreeing to the person of a beast.
a newe thing.
forestall) to praeuent.
a price.) his lyfe, which he lost for those toyes.
ende) is an Epiphonema, or rather the morall of the whole tale, whose purpose
is to warne the protestant beware, howe he geueth credit to the vnfaythfull
Catholique: whereof we haue dayly proofes sufficient, but one moste famous
of all, practised of Late yeares in Fraunce by Charles the nynth.
gladde or desyrous.
sir Iohn) a Popishe priest. A saying fit for the grosenesse of a shepheard,
but spoken to taunte vnlearned Priests.
descende or set.
Both these Emblemes
make one whole Hexametre. The first spoken of Palinodie, as in reproche
of them, that be distrustfull, is a peece of Theognis verse, intending,
that who doth most mistrust is most false. For such experience in falsehod
breedeth mistrust in the mynd, thinking no lesse guile to lurk in others,
then in hymselfe. But Piers thereto strongly replyeth with another peece
of the same verse, saying as in his former fable, what fayth then is there
in the faythlesse. For if fayth be the ground of religion, which fayth
they dayly false, what hold then is there of theyr religion. And thys is
all that they saye.
Go on to June.