The Shepheardes Calender: October

Note on this Renascence Editions text:

 This edition is copyright © The University of Oregon; it is distributed for scholarly and nonprofit purposes only. Risa S. Bear

[Woodcut for October]

 Ægloga decima.

 A R G V M E N T.

IN Cuddie is set out the perfecte paterne of a Poete, whishe finding no maintenaunce of his state and studies, complayneth of the contempte of Poetrie, and the causes thereof: Specially hauing bene in all ages, and euen amongst the most barbarous alwayes of singular accounpt & honor, & being indeede so worthy and commendable an arte: or rather no arte, but a diuine gift and heauenly instinct not to bee gotten by laboure and learning, but adorned with both: and poured into the witte by a certaine [enthusiasmos], and celestiall inspiration, as the Author hereof els where at large discourseth, in his booke called the English Poete, which booke being lately come to my hands, I mynde also by Gods grace vpon further aduisement to publish. 
Pierce.       Cuddie.
CVddie, for shame hold vp thy heauye head,
And let vs cast with what delight to chace:
And weary thys long lingring Phoebus race.
Whilome thou wont the shepheards laddes to leade,
In rymes, in ridles, and in bydding base:
Now they in thee, and thou in sleepe art dead?
Piers, I haue pyped erst so long with payne,
That all mine Oten reedes bene rent and wore:
And my poore Muse hath spent her spared store,
Yet little good hath got, and much lesse gayne.
Such pleasaunce makes the Grashopper so poore,
And ligge so layd, when Winter doth her straine.

 The dapper ditties, that I wont deuise,
To feede youthes fancie, and the flocking fry,
Delighten much: what I the bett for thy?
They han the pleasure, I a sclender prise.
I beate the bush, the byrds to them doe flye:
What good thereof to Cuddie can arise?

Cuddie, the prayse is better, then the price,
The glory eke much greater then the gayne:
O what an honour is it, to restraine 
The lust of lawlesse youth with good aduice:
Or pricke them forth with pleasaunce of thy vaine,
Whereto thou list their trayned willes entice.

 Soone as thou gynst to sette thy notes in frame,
O how the rurall routes to thee doe cleaue:
Seemeth thou dost their soule of sence bereaue,
All as the shepheard, that did fetch his dame
From Plutoes balefull bowre withouten leaue:
His musicks might the hellish hound did tame.

So praysen babes the Peacoks spotted traine,
And wondren at bright Argus blazing eye:
But who rewards him ere the more for thy?
Or feedes him once the fuller by a graine?
Sike prayse is smoke, that sheddeth in the skye,
Sike words bene wynd, and wasten soone in vayne.
Abandon then the base and viler clowne,
Lyft vp thy selfe out of the lowly dust:
And sing of bloody Mars, of wars, of giusts,
Turne thee to those, that weld the awful crowne.
To doubted Knights, whose woundlesse armour rusts,
And helmes vnbruzed wexen dayly browne.

 There may thy Muse display her fluttryng wing,
And stretch her selfe at large from East to West:
Whither thou list in fayre Elisa rest,
Or if thee please in bigger notes to sing,
Advaunce the worthy whome she loueth best,
That first the white bear to the stake did bring.

 And when the stubborne stroke of stronger stounds,
Has somewhat slackt the tenor of thy string:
Of loue and lustihead tho mayst thou sing,
And carrol lowde, and leade the Myllers rownde,
All were Elisa one of thilke same ring.
So mought our Cuddies name to Heauen sownde.

Indeede the Romish Tityrus, I heare,
Through his Mecænas left his Oaten reede,
Whereon he earst had taught his flocks to feede,
And laboured lands to yield the timely eare,
And eft did sing of warres and deadly drede,
So as the heauens did quake his verse to here.

 But ah Mecænas is yclad in claye,
And great Augustus long ygoe is dead:
And all the worthies liggen wrapt in leade,
That matter made for Poets on to play:
For euer, who in derring doe were dreade,
The loftie verse of hem was loued aye.

 But after vertue gan for age to stoupe,
And mighty manhode brought a bedde of ease:
The vaunting Poets found nought worth a pease,
To put in preace emong the learned troupe.
Tho gan the streames of flowing wittes to cease,
And sonnebright honour pend in shamefull coupe.

 And if that any buddes of Poesie,
Yet of the old stocke gan to shoote agayne:
Or it mens follies mote be forst to fayne,
And rolle with rest in rymes of rybaudrye.
Or as it sprong, it wither must agayne:
Tom Piper makes vs better melodie.

O pierlesse Poesye, where is then thy place?
If nor in Princes pallace thou doe sitt:
(And yet is Princes pallace the most fitt)
Ne brest of baser birth doth thee embrace.
Then make thee winges of thine aspyring wit,
And, whence thou camst, flye backe to heauen apace.
Ah Percy it is all to weake and wanne,
So high to sore, and make so large a flight:
Her peeced pyneons bene not so in plight,
For Colin fittes such famous flight to scanne:
He, were he not with loue so ill bedight,
Would mount as high, and sing as soote as Swanne.
Ah fon, for loue does teach him climbe so hie,
And lyftes him vp out of the loathsome myre:
Such immortall mirrhor, as he doth admire,
Would rayse ones mynd aboue the starry skie.
And cause a caytiue corage to aspire,
For lofty loue doth loath a lowly eye.
All otherwise the state of Poet stands,
For lordly loue is such a Tyranne fell:
That where he rules, all power he doth expell.
The vaunted verse a vacant head demaundes,
Ne wont with crabbed care the Muses dwell:
Vnwisely weaues, that takes two webbes in hand.

 Who euer casts to compasse weightye prise,
And thinks to throwe out thondring words of threate:
Let powre in lauish cups and thriftie bitts of meate,
For Bacchus fruite is frend to Phoebus wise.
And when with Wine the braine begins to sweate,
The nombers flowe as fast as spring doth ryse.

 Thou kenst not Percie howe the ryme should rage.
O if my temples were distaind with wine,
And girt in girlonds of wild Yuie twine,
How I could reare the Muse on stately stage,
And teache her tread aloft in buskin fine,
With queintBellona in her equipage.

 But ah my corage cooles ere it be warme,
For thy, content vs in thys humble shade:
Where no such troublous tydes han vs assayde,
Here we our slender pipes may safely charme.

And when my Gates shall han their bellies layd:
Cuddie shall haue a Kidde to store his farme.
Cuddies Embleme.

Agitante calescimus illo &c.


This Æglogue is made in imitation of Theocritus his xvi. Idilion, wherein hee reproued the Tyranne Hiero of Syracuse for his nigardise towarde Poetes, in whom is the power to make men immortal for theyr good dedes, or shameful for their naughty lyfe. And the lyke also is in Mantuane, The style hereof as also that in Theocritus, is more loftye then the rest, and applyed to the heighte of Poeticall witte.

Cuddie) I doubte whether by Cuddie be specified the authour selfe, or some other. For in the eyght Æglogue the same person was brought in, singing a Cantion of Colins making, as he sayth. So that some doubt, that the persons be different.

Whilome) sometime.

Oaten reedes) Auena.

Ligge so layde) lye so faynt and vnlustye.

Dapper) pretye.

Frye) is a bold Metaphore, forced from the spawning fishes. for the multitude of young fish be called the frye.

To restraine.) This place seemeth to conspyre with Plato, who in his first booke de Legibus sayth, that the first inuention of Poetry was of very vertuous intent. For at what time an infinite number of youth vsually came to theyr great solemne feastes called Panegyrica, which they vsed euery fiue yeere to hold, some learned man being more hable then the rest, for speciall gyftes of wytte and Musicke, would take vpon him to sing fine verses to the people, in prayse [eyther] of vertue or of victory or of immortality or such like. At whose wonderful gyft al men being astonied and as it were rauished, with delight, thinking (as it was indeede) that he was inspired from aboue, called him vatem: which which kinde of men afterwarde framing their verses to lighter musick (as of musick be many kinds, some sadder, some lighter, some martiall, some heroicall: and so diuersely eke affect the mynds of men) found out lighter matter of Poesie also, some playing wyth loue, some scorning at mens fashions, some powred out in pleasures, and so were called Poetes or makers.

Sence bereaue) what the secrete working of Musick is in the myndes of men, aswell appeareth, hereby, that some of the auncient Philosophers, and those the moste wise, as Plato and Pythagoras held for opinion, that the mynd was made of a certaine harmonie and musicall nombers, for the great compassion & likenes of affection in thone and in the other as also by that memorable history of Alexander: to whom when as Timotheus the great Musitian playd the Phrygian melodie, it is said, that he was distraught with such vnwonted fury, that streight way rysing from the table in great rage, he caused himselfe to be armed, as ready to goe to warre (for that musick is very warlike:) And immediately whenas the Musitian chaunged his stroke into the Lydian and Ionique harmony, he was so furr from warring, that he sat as styl, as if he had bene in mattes of counsell. Such might is in musick. wherefore Plato and Aristotle forbid the Aradian Melodie from children and youth. for that being altogither on the fyft and vij, tone, it is of great force to molifie and quench the kindly courage, which vseth to burne in yong brests. So that it is not incredible which the Poete here sayth, that Musick can bereaue the soule of sence.

The shepheard that) Orpheus: of whom is sayd, that by his excellent skil in Musick and Poetry, he recouered his wife Eurydice from hell.

Argus eyes) of Argus is before said, that Iuno to him committed hir husband Iupiter his Paragon Io, bicause he had an hundred eyes: but afterwarde Mercury wyth his Musick lulling Argus asleepe, slew him and brought Io away, whose eyes it is sayd that [Iuno] for his eternall memory placed in her byrd the Peacocks tayle. for those coloured spots indeede resemble eyes. 

Woundlesse armour) vnwounded in warre, doe rust through long peace.

Display) A poeticall metaphore: whereof the meaning is, that if the Poet list showe his skill in matter of more dignitie, then is the homely Æglogue, good occasion is him offered of higher veyne and more Heroicall argument, in the person of our most gratious soueraign, whom (as before) he calleth Elisa. Or if mater of knighthoode and cheualrie please him better, that there be many Noble & valiaunt men, that are both worthy of his payne in their deserued prayses, and also fauourers of hys skil and faculty. 

The worthy) he meaneth (as I guesse) the most honorable and renowmed the Erle of Leycester, whom by his cognisance (although the same be also proper to other) rather then by his name he bewrayeth, being not likely, that the names of noble princes be known to country clowne.

Slack) that is when thou chaungest thy verse from stately discourse, to matter of mor[e] pleasaunce and delight.

The Millers) a kind of daunce.

Ring) company of dauncers.

The Romish Tityrus) well knowen to be Virgile, who by Mecaenas means was brought into the fauour of the Emperor Augustus, and by hin moued to write in loftier kinde, then he erst had doen.

Whereon) in these three verses are the three seueral workes of Virgile intended. For in teaching his flocks to feede, is meant his Æglogues. In labouring of lands, is hys Bucoliques. In singing of wars and deadly dreade, is his diuine Æneis figured.

In derring doe) In manhood and chiualrie.

For euer) He sheweth the cause, why Poetes were wont be had in such honor of noble men; that is, that by them their worthines & valor shold through theyr famous Posies be commended to al posterities. wherfore it is sayd, that Achilles had neuer bene so famous, as he is, but for Homeres immortal verses. which is the only aduantage, which he had of Hector. And also that Alexander the great comming to his tomb in Sigeus, with naturall teares blessed him, that euer was his hap to be honoured with so excellent a Poets work: as so renowmed and ennobled onely by hys meanes. which being declared in a most eloquent Oration of Tulies, is of Petrarch no lesse worthely sette forth in a sonet 

Giunto Alexandro a la famosa tomba
Del sero Achille sospirando disse
O fortunato che si chiara tromba. Trouasti &c.
And that such account hath bene alwayes made of Poetes, aswell sheweth this that the worthy Scipio in all his warres against Carthage and Numantia had euermore in his company, and that in a most familiar sort the goode olde Poete Ennius: as also that Alexander destroying Thebes, when he was enformed that the famous Lyrick Poet Pindarus was borne in that citie, not onely commaunded streightly, that no man should vpon payne of death do any violence to that house by fire or otherwise: but also specially spared most, and some highly rewarded, that were of hys kinne. So fauoured he the only name of a Poete. whych prayse otherwise was in the same man no lesse famous, that when he came to ransacking of king Darius coffers, whom he lately had ouerthrowen, he founde in a little coffer of siuer two bookes of Homers works, as layd vp there for speciall iewells and richesse, which he taking thence, put one of them dayly in his bosome, and thother euery night layde vnder his pillowe. Such honor haue Poetes alwayes found in the sight of princes and noble men. which this author here very well sheweth, as els where more notably. 

But after) he sheweth the cause of contempt of Poetry to be idlenesse and baseness of mynd.

Pent) shut vp in slouth, as in a coope or cage.

Tom piper) An Ironicall [Sarcasmus], spoken in derision of these rude wits, whych make more account of a ryming rybaud, then of skill grounded vpon learning and iudgment.

Ne brest) the meaner sort of men.

Her peeced pineons) vnperfect skil. Spoken wyth humble modestie.

As soote as Swanne) The comparison seemeth to be strange: for the swanne hath euer wonne small commendation for her sweete singing: but it is sayd of the learned that the swan a little before hir death, singeth most pleasantly, as prophecying by a secrete instinct her neere destinie As wel sayth the Pote elswhere in one of his sonetts. The siluer swanne doth sing before her dying day As shee that feeles the deepe delight that is in death &c.

Immortall myrrhour) Beauty, which is an excellent obiect of Poeticall spirites, as appeareth by the worthy Petrarchs saying. 

Fiorir faceua il mio debile ingegno
A las sua ombra, et crescer ne gli affanni.
A caytiue corage) a base and abiect minde.

For lofty loue) I think this playing with the letter to be rather a fault then a figure, aswel in our English tongue, as it hath bene alwayes in the Latin, called Cacozelon.

A vacant) imitateth Mantuanes saying. vacuum curis diuina cerebrum Poscit.

Lauish cups) Resembleth that comen verse Faecundi calices quem non fecere disertum.

O if my) He seemeth here to be rauished with a Poeticall furie. For (if one rightly mark) the numbers rise so ful, & the verse groweth so big, that it seemeth he hath forgot the meanenesse of shepheards state and stile. 

Wild yuie) for it is dedicated to Bacchus & therefore it is sayd that the Maenades (that is Bacchus franticke priestes) vsed in theyr sacrifice to carry Thyrsos, which were pointed staues or Iauelins, wrapped about with yuie. 

In buskin) it was the maner of Poetes & plaiers in tragedies to were buskins, as also in Comedies to vse stockes & light shoes. So that the buskin in poetry is vsed for tragical matter, as it said in Virgile. Sola sophocleo tua carmina digna cothurno.

Queint) strange Bellona; the goddese of battaile, that is Pallas, which may therefore wel be called queint for that (as Lucian saith) when Iupiter hir father was in traueile of her, he caused his sonne Vulcane with his axe to hew his head. Out which leaped forth lustely a valiant damsell armed at all poyntes, whom seeing Vulcane so faire & comely, lightly leaping to her, proffered her some cortesie, which the Lady disdeigning, shaked her speare at him, and threatned his saucinesse. Therefore such [straungenesse] is well applyed to her. 

Æquipage.) order.

Tydes) seasons.

Charme) temper and order. for Charmes were wont to be made by verses as Ouid sayth. 

Aut si carminibus.

Hereby is meant, as also in the whole course of this Æglogue, that Poetry is a diuine instinct and vnnatural rage passing the reache of comen reason. Whom Piers answereth Epiphonematicos as admiring the excellencye of the skyll whereof in Cuddie hee hadde alreadye hadde a taste.

Go on to November.

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