The Shepheardes Calender: June

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 June]

 Ægloga Sexta.

 A R G V M E N T.

THis Æglogue is wholly vowed to the complayning of Colins ill successe in his loue. For being (as is aforesaid) enamoured of a Country lasse Rosalind, and hauing (as seemeth) founde place in her heart, he lamenteth to his deare frend Hobbinoll, that he is nowe forsaken vnfaithfully, and in his steed Menalcas, another shepheard receiued disloyally. And this is the whole Argument of this Æglogue.
HOBBINOL.       COLIN Cloute.
LO Coll[in], here the place, whose pleasaunt syte
From other shades hath weand my wandring mynde.
Tell me, what wants me here, to worke delyte?
The simple ayre, the gentle warbling wynde,
So calme, so coole, as no where else I fynde:
The grassye ground with daintye Daysies dight,
The Bramble bush, where Byrds of euery kynde
To the waters fall their tunes attemper right.
O happy Hobbinoll, I blesse thy state,
That Paradise hast found, whych Adam lost.
Here wander may thy flock early or late,
Withouten dreade of Wolues to bene ytost:
Thy louely layes here mayet thou freely boste.
But I vnhappy man, whom cruell fate,
And angry Gods pursue from coste to coste,
Can nowhere fynd, to shouder my lucklesse pate.
Then if by me thou list aduised be,
Forsake the soyle, that so doth the bewitch:
Leaue me those hilles, where harbrough nis to see,
Nor holybush, nor brere, nor winding witche:
And to the dales resort, where shepheards ritch,
And fruictfull flocks bene euery where to see.
Here no night Rauens lodge more blacke then pitche,
Nor eluish ghosts, nor gastly owles doe flee.

 But frendly Faeries, met with many Graces,
And lightfote Nymphes can chace the lingring night,
With Heydeguyes, and trimly trodden traces,
Whilst systers nyne, which dwell on Parnasse hight,
Doe make them musick, for their more delight:
And Pan himselfe to kisse their christall faces,
Will pype and daunce, when Phoebe shineth bright:
Such pierlesse pleasures haue we in these places.

And I, whylst youth, and course of carelesse yeeres
Did let me walke withouten lincks of loue,
In such delights did ioy amongst my peeres:
But ryper age such pleasures doth reproue,
My fancye eke from former follies moue
To stayed steps: for time in passing weares
(As garments doen, which wexen old aboue)
And draweth newe delightes with hoary heares.

 Tho couth I sing of loue, and tune my pype
Vnto my plaintiue pleas in verses made:
Tho would I seeke ,
To giue my Rosalind, and in Sommer shade
Dight gaudy Girlonds, was my comen trade,
To crowne her golden locks, but yeeres more rype,
And losse of her, whose loue as lyfe I wayd,
Those weary wanton toyes away dyd wype.

Colin, to heare thy rymes and roundelayes,
Which thou were wont on wastfull hylls to singe,
I more delight, then larke in Sommer dayes:
Whose Echo made the neyghbour groues to ring,
And taught the byrds, which in the lower spring
Did shroude in shady leaues from sonny rayes,
Frame to thy songe their chereful cheriping,
Or hold theyr peace, for shame of thy swete layes.

 I sawe Calliope wyth Muses moe,
Soone as thy oaten pype began to sound,
Theyr youry Luyts and Tamburins forgoe:
And from the fountaine, where they sat around,
Renne after hastely thy siluer sound.
But when they came, where thou thy skill didst showe,
They drewe abacke, as halfe with shame confound,
Shepheard to see, them in theyr art outgoe.

Of Muses Hobbinol, I conne no skill:
For they bene daughters of the hyghest Ioue,
And holden scorne of homely shepheards quill.
For sith I heard, that Pan with Phoebus stroue,
Which him to much rebuke and Daunger droue:
I neuer lyst presume to Parnasse hyll,
But pyping lowe in shade of lowly groue,
I play to please my selfe, all be it ill.

 Nought weigh I, who my song doth prayse or blame,
Ne striue to winne renowne, or passe the rest:
With shepheard sittes not, followe flying fame:
But feede his flocke in fields, where falls hem best.
I wote my rymes bene rough, and rudely drest:
The fytter they, my carefull case to frame:
Enough is me to paint out my vnrest,
And poore my piteous plaints out in the same.

 The God of shepheards Tityrus is dead,
Who taught me homely, as I can, to make.
He, whilst he liued, was the soueraigne head
Of shepheards all, that bene with loue ytake:
Well couth he wayle hys Woes, and lightly slake
The flames, which loue within his heart had bredd,
And tell vs mery tales, to keepe vs wake,
The while our sheepe about vs safely fedde.

 Nowe dead he is, and lyeth wrapt in lead,
(O why should death on hym such outrage showe?)
And all hys passing skil with him is fledde,
The fame whereof doth dayly greater growe.
But if on me some little drops would flowe,
Of that the spring was in his learned hedde,
I soone would learne these woods, to wayle my woe,
And teache the trees, their trickling teares to shedde.

 Then should my plaints, causd of discurtesee,
As messengers of all my painful plight,
Flye to my loue, where euer that she bee,
And pierce her heart with poynt of worthy wight:
As shee deserues, that wrought so deadly spight.
And thou Menalcas, that by trecheree
Didst vnderfong my lasse, to wexe so light,
Shouldest well be knowne for such thy villanee.

 But since I am not, as I wish I were,
Ye gentle shepheards, which your flocks do feede,
Whether on hylls, or dales, or other where,
Beare witnesse all of thys so wicked deede:
And tell the lasse, whose flowre is woxe a weede,
And faultlesse fayth, is turned to faithlesse fere,
That she the truest shepheards hart made bleede,
That lyues on earth, and loued her most dere.

O carefull Colin, I lament thy case,
Thy teares would make the hardest flint to flowe.
Ah faithlesse Rosalind, and voide of grace,
That art the roote of all this ruthfull woe.
But now is time, I gesse, homeward to goe:
Then ryse ye blessed flocks, and home apace,
Least night with stealing steppes doe you forsloe,
And wett your tender Lambes, that by you trace.
Colins embleme.

Gia speme spenta.


Syte) situation and place.

Paradise) A Paradise in Greeke signifieth a Garden of pleasure, or place of delights. So he compareth the soile, wherin Hobbinoll made his abode, to that earthly Paradise, in scripture called Eden; wherein Adam in his first creation was placed. Which of the most learned is thought to be in Mesopotamia, the most fertile and pleasaunte country in the world (as may appeare by Diodorus Syculus description of it, in the hystorie of Alexanders conquest thereof) lying betweene the two famous Ryuers (which are sayd in scripture to flow out of Paradise) Tygris and Euphrates, whereof it is so denominate.

Forsake the soyle) This is no poetical fiction, but vnfeynedly spoken of the Poete selfe, who for speciall occasion of priuate affayres (as I haue bene partly of himselfe informed) and for his more preferment remouing out of the Northparts came into the South, as Hobbinoll indeede aduised him priuately.

Those hylles) that is the North countreye, where he dwelt.

N'is) is not.

The Dales) the Southpartes, where he nowe abydeth, which thoughe they be full of hylles and woodes (for Kent is very hyllye and woodye; and therefore so called: for Kantsh in the Saxons tongue signifieth woodie) yet in respecte of the Northpartes they be called dales. For indede the North is counted the higher countrye.

Night Rauens &c.) by such hatefull byrdes, hee meaneth all misfortunes (whereof they be tokens) flying euery where.

 Frendly faeries) the opinion of Faeries and elfes is very old, and yet sticketh very religiously in the mindes of some. But to roote that rancke opinion of Elfes oute of mens hearts, the truth is, that there be no such thinges, nor yet the shadowes of the things, but onely by a sort of bald Friers and knauish shauelings so feigned; which as in all other thinges, so in that, soughte to nousell the comen people in ignorounce, least being once acquainted with the truth of things, they woulde in tyme smell out the vntruth of theyr packed pelfe and Masspenie religion. But the sooth is, that when all Italy was distraicte into the Factions of the Guelfes and the Gibelins, being two famous houses in Florence, the name began through their great mischiefes and many outrages, to be so odious or rather dreadfull in the peoples eares, that if theyr children at any time were frowarde and wanton, they would say to them that the Guelfe or the Gibeline came. Which words nowe from them (as many thinge els) be come into our vsage, and for Guelfes and Gibelines, we say Elfes and Goblins. No otherwise then the Frenchmen vsed to say of that valiaunt captain, the very scourge of Fraunce, The Lord Thalbot, afterward Erle of Shrewsbury; whose noblesse bred such a terrour in the hearts of the French, that oft times euen great armies were defaicted and put to flyght at the onely hearing of hys name. In somuch that the French wemen, to affray theyr chyldren, would tell them that the Talbot commeth.

Many Graces) though there be indeede but three Graces of Charites (as afore is sayd) or at the vtmost but foure, yet in respect of many gyftes of bounty, there may be sayde more. And so Musaeus sayth, that in Heroes eyther eye there satte a hundred graces. And by that authoritye, thys same Poete in his Pageaunts sayth. An hundred Graces on her eyeledde satte, &c.

Haydeguies) A country daunce or rownd. The conceipt is, that the Graces and Nymphes doe daunce vnto the Muses, and Pan his musicke all night by Moonelight. To signifie the pleasauntnesse of the soyle.

Peeres) Equalles and felow shepheards.

Queneapples vnripe) imitating Virgils verse. 

Ipse ego cana legam tenera lanugine mala.
Neighbour groues) a straunge phrase in English, but word for word expressing the Latine vicina nemora.

Spring) not of water, but of young trees springing.

Calliope) afforesayde. Thys staffe [is] full of verie poetical inuention. 

Tamburines) an olde kind of instrument, which of some is supposed to be the Clarion.

Pan with Phoebus) the tale is well knowne, howe that Pan and Apollo striuing for excellencye in musick, chose Midas for their iudge. Who being corrupted wyth partiall affection, gaue the victorye to Pan vndeserued: for which Phoebus sette a payre of Asses eares vpon hys head &c.

Tityrus) That by Tityrus is meant Chaucer, hath bene already sufficiently sayde, & by thys more playne appeareth, that he sayth, he tolde merye tales. Such as by hys Canterburie tales. whom he calleth the God of Poetes for hys excellencie, so as Tullie calleth Lentulus, Deum vitae suae .s. the God of hys lyfe.

To make) to versifie.

O why) A pretye Epanorthosis or correction.

Discurtesie) he meaneth the falsenesse of his louer Rosalinde, who forsaking hym, hadde chosen another.

Poynte of worthy wite) the pricke of deserued blame.

Menalcas) the name of a shephearde in Virgile; but here is meant a person vnknowne and secrete, agaynst whome he often bitterly inuayeth.

vnderfonge) vndermynde and deceiue by false suggestion.


You remember, that in the fyrst Æglogue, Colins Poesie was Anchora speme: for that as then there was hope of fauour to be found in tyme. But nowe being cleane forlorne and reiected of her, as whose hope, that was, is cleane extinguished and turned into despeyre, he renounceth all comfort and hope of goodnesse to come. which is all the meaning of thys Embleme.

Go on to July.

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