The Shepheardes Calender: November

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 Nouember]

 Ægloga vndecima.

 A R G V M E N T.

In this xi. Æglogue he bewayleth the death of some mayden of greate bloud, whom he calleth Dido. The personage is secrete, and to me altogether vnknowne, albe of him selfe I often required the same. This Æglogue is made in imitation of Marot his song, which he made vpon the death of Loys the frenche Queene. But farre passing his reache, and in myne opinion all other the Eglogues of this booke.
Thenot.       Colin.
COlin my deare, when shall it please thee sing,
As thou were | wont songs of some iouisaunce?
Thy Muse to long slombreth in sorrowing,
Lulled a sleepe through loues misgouernaunce.
Now somewhat sing, whose endles souenaunce,
Emong the shepeheards swaines may aye remaine,
Whether thee list the loued lasse aduaunce,
Or honor Pan with hymnes of higher vaine.
Thenot, now nis the time of merimake.
Nor Pan to herye, nor with loue to playe:
Sike myrth in May is meetest for to make,
Or summer shade vnder the cocked haye.
But nowe sadde Winter welked hath the day,
And Phoebus weary of his yerely tas-ke,
Ystabled hath his steedes in lowlye laye,
And taken vp his ynne in Fishes has-ke.
Thilke sollein season sadder plight doth aske:
And loatheth sike delightes, as thou doest prayse:
The mornefull Muse in myrth now list ne mas-ke,
As shee was wont in yougth and sommer dayes.
But if thou algate lust light virelayes,
And looser songs of loue to vnderfong
Who but thy selfe deserues sike Poetes prayse?
Relieue thy Oaten pypes, that sleepen long.
The Nightingale is souereigne of song,
Before him sits the Titmose silent bee:
And I vnfitte to thrust in [s]kilfull thronge,
Should Colin make iudge of my fooleree.
Nay, better learne of hem, that learned bee,
An han be watered at the Muses well:
The kindlye dewe drops from the higher tree,
And wets the little plants that lowly dwell.
But if sadde winters wrathe and season chill,
Accorde not with thy Muses meriment:
To sadder times thou mayst attune thy quill,
And sing of sorrowe and deathes dreeriment.
For deade is Dido, dead alas and drent,
Dido the greate shepehearde his daughter sheene:
The fayrest May she was that euer went,
Her like shee has not left behind I weene.
And if thou wilt bewayle my wofull tene:
I shall thee giue yond Cosset for thy payne:
And if thy rymes as rownd and rufull bene,
As those that did thy Rosalind complayne,
Much greater gyfts for guerdon thou shalt gayne,
Then Kidde of Cosset, which I thee bynempt:
Then vp I say, thou iolly shepeheard swayne,
Let not my small demaund be so contempt.
Thenot to that I choose, thou doest me tempt,
But ah to well I wote my humble vaine,
And howe my rymes bene rugged and vnkempt:
Yet as I conne, my conning I will strayne.

 Vp then Melpomene thou mounefulst Muse of nyne,
Such cause of mourning neuer hadst afore:
Vp grieslie ghostes and vp my rufull ryme,
Matter of myrth now shalt thou haue no more.
For dead she is, that myrth thee made of yore.
Didomy deare alas is dead,
Dead and lyeth wrapt in lead:
O heauie herse,
Let streaming teares be poured out in store:
O carefull verse.

 Shepheards, that by your flocks on Kentish downes abyde,
Waile ye this wofull waste of natures warke:
Waile we the wight, whose presence was our pryde:
Waile we the wight, whose absence is our carke.
The sonne of all the world is dimme and darke:
The earth now lacks her wonted light,
And all we dwell in deadly night,
O heauie herse,
Breake we our pypes, that shrild as lowde as Larke,
O carefull verse.

 Why do we longer liue, (ah why liue we so long)
Whose better dayes death hath shut vp in woe?
The fayrest floure our gyrlond all emong,
Is faded quite and into dust ygoe.
Sing now ye shepheards daughters, sing no moe
The songs that Colin made in her prayse,
But into weeping turne your wanton layes,
O heauie herse,
Now is time to dye. Nay time was long ygoe,
O carefull verse.

 Whence is it, that the flouret of the field doth fade,
And lyeth buryed long in Winters bale:
Yet soone as spring his mantle hath displayd,
It floureth fresh, as it should neuer fayle?
But thing on earth that is of most auaile,
As vertues braunch and beauties budde,
Reliuen not for any good.
O heauie herse,
The braunch once dead, the budde eke needes must quaile,
O carefull verse.

 She while she was, (that was, a woful word to sayne)
For beauties prayse and pleasaunce had no pere:
So well she couth the shepherds entertayne,
With cakes and cracknells and such country chere.
Ne would she scorne the simple shepheards swaine,
For she would call hem often heame
And giue hem curds and clouted Creame.
O heauie herse,
Als Colin cloute she would not once disdayne.
O carefull verse.

 But nowe sike happy cheere is turnd to heauie chaunce,
Such pleasaunce now displast by dolors dint:
All Musick sleepes, where death doth leade the daunce,
And shepherds wonted solace is extinct.
The blew in black, the greene in gray is tinct,
The gaudie girlonds deck her graue,
The faded flowres her corse embraue.
O heauie herse,
Morne nowe my Muse, now morne with teares besprint.
O carefull verse.

 O thou great shepheard Lobbin, how great is thy griefe,
Where bene the nosegayes that she dight for thee:
The coloured chaplets wrought with a chiefe,
The knotted rushrings, and gilte Rosemaree?
For shee deemed nothing too deere for thee.
Ah they bene all yclad in clay,
One bitter blast blew all away.
O heauie herse,
Thereof nought remaynes but the memoree.
O carefull verse.

 Ay me that dreerie death should strike so mortall stroke,
That can vndoe Dame natures kindly course:
The faded lockes fall from the loftie oke,
The flouds do gaspe, for dryed is thyr sourse,
And flouds of teares flowe in theyr stead perforse.
The mantled medowes mourne,
Theyr sondry colours tourne.
O heauie herse,
The heauens doe melt in teares without remorse. 
O carefull verse.

 The feeble flocks in field refuse their former foode,
And hang theyr heads, as they would learne to weepe:
The beastes in forest wayle as they were woode,
Except the Wolues, that chase the wandring sheepe:
Now she is gon that safely did hem keepe.
The Turtle on the bared braunch,
Laments the wound, that death did launch.
O heauie herse,
And Philomele her song with teares doth steepe.
O carefull verse.

 The water Nymphs, that wont with her to sing and daunce,
And for her girlond Oliue braunches beare,
Now balefull boughes of Cypres doen advaunce:
The Muses, that were wont greene bayes to weare,
Now bringen bitter Eldre braunches seare:
The fatall sisters eke repent,
Her vitall threde so soone was spent.
O heauie herse,
Mourne now my Muse, now mourne with heauie cheare.
O carefull verse. 

O trustlesse state of earthly things, and slipper hope
Of mortal men, that swincke and sweate for nought,
And shooting wide, doe misse the marked scope:
Now haue I learnd (a lesson derely bought)
That nys on earth assuraunce to be sought:
For what might be in earthlie mould,
That did her buried body hould,
O heauie herse,
Yet saw I on the beare when it was brought,
O carefull verse.

 But maugre death, and dreaded sisters deadly spight,
And gates of hel, and fyrie furies forse:
She hath the bonds broke of eternall night,
Her soule vnbodied of the burdenous corpse.
Why then weepes Lobbin so without remorse?
O Lobb, thy losse no longer lament,
Didonis dead, but into heauen hent.
O happye herse,
Cease now my Muse, now cease thy sorrowes sourse,
O ioyfull verse.

 Why wayle we then? why weary we the Gods with playnts,
As if some euill were to her betight?
She raignes a goddesse now emong the saintes,
That whilome was the saynt of shepheards light:
And is enstalled nowe in heauens hight.
I see thee blessed soule, I see,
Walke in Elisian fieldes so free.
O happy herse,
Might I once come to thee (O that I might)
O ioyfull verse.

 Vnwise and wretched men to weete whats good or ill,
We deeme of Death as doome of ill desert:
But knewe we fooles, what it vs bringes vntil,
Dye would we dayly, once it to expert.
No daunger there the shepheard can astert:
Fayre fieldes and pleasaunt layes there bene,
The fieldes ay fresh, the grasse ay greene:
O happy herse,
Make hast ye shepheards, thether to reuert,
O ioyfull verse.

 Dido is gone afore (whose turne shall be the next?)
There liues shee with the blessed Gods in blisse,
There drincks she Nectar with Ambrosia mixt,
And ioyes enioyes, that mortall men do misse.
The honor now of highest gods she is,
That whilome was poore shepheards pryde,
While here on earth she did abyde.
O happy herse,
Ceasse now my song, my woe now wasted is.
O ioyfull verse.

Ay francke shepheard, how bene thy verses meint
With doolful pleasaunce, so as I ne wote,
Whether reioyce or weepe for great constrainte?
Thyne be the cossette, well hast thow it gotte.
Vp Colin vp, ynough thou mourned hast,
Noy gynnes to mizzle, hye we homeward fast.
Colins Embleme.

La mort ny mord.


Iouisaunce) myrth.

Souenaunce) remembraunce.

Herie) honour. Welked) shortned or empayred. As the Moone being in the waine is sayde of Lidgate to welk.

In lowly lay) according to the season of the moneth Nouember, when the sonne draweth low in the South toward his Tropick or returne.

In fishes haske) the sonne, reigneth that is, in the signe Pisces all Nouember. a haske is a wicker pad, wherein they vse to cary fish.

Virilaies) a light kind of song.

Bee watred) For it is a saying of Poetes, that they haue dronk of the Muses well Castlias, whereof was before sufficiently sayd.

Dreriment) dreery and heauy cheere.

The great shepherd) is some man of high degree, and not as some vainely suppose God Pan. The person both of the shephearde and of Dido is vnknowen and closely buried in the Authors conceipt. But out of doubt I am, that it is not Rosalind, as some imagin: for he speaketh soone after of her also.

Shene) fayre and shining.

May) for mayde.

Tene) sorrow.

Guerdon) reward.

 Bynempt) bequethed.

Cosset) a lambe brought vp without the dam.

Vnkempt) Incompti Not comed, that is rude and vnhansome.

Melpomene) The sadde and waylefull Muse vsed of Poets in honor of Tragedies: as saith Virgile Melpomene Tragico proclamat maesta boatu. Vp griesly gosts) The maner of Tragicall Poetes, to call for helpe of Furies and damned ghostes: so is Hecuba of Euripides, and Tantalus brought in of Seneca. And the rest of the rest.

Herse) is the solemne obsequie in funeralles.

Wast of) decay of so beautifull a peece. 

Carke) care.

Ah why) an elegant Epanorthosis. as also soone after. nay time was long ago.

Flouret) a [diminutiue] for a little floure. This is a notable and sententio[u]s comparison A minore ad manus.

Reliuen not) liue not againe .s. not in theyr earthly bodies: for in heauen they enioy their due reward.

The braunch) He meaneth Dido, who being, as it were the main braunch now withered the buddes that is beautie (as he sayd afore) can nomore flourish.

With cakes) fit for shepheards bankets. 

Heame) for home. after the northern pronouncing. 

T[in]ct) deyed or stayned.

The gaudie) the meaning is, that the things, which were the ornaments of her lyfe, are made the honor of her funerall, as is vsed in burialls.

Lobbin) the name of a shepherd, which seemeth to haue bene the louer & deere frende of Dido. 

Rushrings) agreeable for such base gyftes

Faded lockes) dryed leaues. As if Nature her selfe bewayled the death of the Mayde. 

Sourse) spring.

Mantled medowes) for the sondry flowres are like a Mantle or couerlet wrought with many colours.

Philomele) the Nightingale. whome the Poetes faine once to haue bene a Ladye of great beauty, till being rauished by hir sisters husbande, she desired to be turned into a byrd of her name. whose complaintes be very well set forth of Ma. George Gaskin a wittie gentleman, and the very chefe of our late rymers, who and if some partes of learning wanted not (albee it is well knowen he altogyther wanted not learning) no doubt would haue attayned the excellencye of those famous Poets. For gifts of wit and naturall promptnesse appeare in hym aboundantly. 

Cypresse) vsed of the old Paynims in the furnishing of their funerall Pompe. and properly the [signe] of all sorow and heauinesse.

The fatall sisters) Clotho Lachesis and Atropodas, [daughters] of Herebus and the Nighte, whom the Poetes fayne to spinne the life of man, as it were a long threde, which they drawe out in length, till his fatal howre & timely death be come; but if by other casualtie his dayes be abridged, then one of them, that is Atropos, is sayde to haue cut the threde in twain. Hereof commeth a common verse.

Clotho colum baiulat, lachesis trahit, [Atropos] occat.
O trustlesse) a gallant exclamation moralized with great wisedom and passionate wyth great affection.

Beare) a frame, whereon they vse to lay the dead corse.

Furies) of Poetes be feyned to be three, Persephone Alecto and Megera, which are sayd to be the Authours of all euill and mischiefe.

Eternall [n]ight) is death or darknesse of hell. 

Betight) happened,

I see) A liuely Icon, or representation as if he saw her in heauen present.

Elysian fieldes) be deuised of Poetes to be a place of pleasure like Paradise, where the happye soules doe rest in peace and eternal happynesse.

Dye would) The very e[x]presse saying of Plato in Phaedone.

Astert) befall vnwares. Nectar and Ambrosia) be feigned to be the drink and foode of the gods: Ambrosia they liken to Manna in scripture and Nectar to be white like Creme, whereof is a proper tale of Hebe, that spilt a cup of it, and stayned the heauens, as yet appeareth. But I haue already discoursed that at large in my Commentarye vpon the dreames of the same Author.

Meynt) Mingled.


Which is as much to say, as death biteth not. For although by course of nature we be borne to dye, and being ripened with age, as with a timely haruest, we must be gathered in time, or els of our selues we fall like rotted fruite from the tree: yet death is not to be counted for euil, nor (as the Poete sayd a little before) as doome of ill desert) For though the trespasse of the first man brought death in to the world, as the guerdon of sinne, yet being ouercome by the death of one, that dyed for al, it is now made (as Chaucer sayth) the grene path way to lyfe. So that it agreeth well with that was sayd, that Death byteth not (that is) hurteth not at all.

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