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Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama by Walter W. Greg

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with which he strewed his romances--such for instance as the lines to
Phoebe in _Rosalynde_, though these did certainly lay themselves open to
parody[115]. In the same romance Lodge rose for once to a perfection of
delicate conceit unsurpassed from his day to ours:

Love in my bosom like a bee
Doth suck his sweet;
Now with his wings he plays with me,
Now with his feet.

Within mine eyes he makes his nest,
His bed amidst my tender breast;
My kisses are his daily feast,
And yet he robs me of my rest.
Ah, wanton, will ye?

The year 1595 also saw the publication of Francis Sabie's _Pan's Pipe_,
which contains, according to the not wholly accurate title-page, 'Three
Pastorall Eglogues, in English Hexameter.' These constituted the first
attempt in English at writing original eclogues in Vergilian metre, and
the injudicious experiment has not, I believe, been repeated. The subjects
present little novelty of theme, but the treatment illustrates the natural
tendency of English pastoral writers towards narrative and the influence
of the romantic ballad motives. The same volume contains another work of
Sabie's, namely, the _Fishermaris Tale_, a blank-verse rendering of
Greene's _Pandosto_[116].

The three pastoral elegies of William Basse, published in 1602, the last
work of the kind to appear in Elizabeth's reign, form in reality a short
pastoral romance. The court-bred Anander falls in love with the
shepherdess Muridella, and charges the sheep-boy Anetor to convey to her
the knowledge of his passion. His love proving unkind he turns shepherd,
and resolves to remain so until his suit obtains better grace. More than
half a century later, namely in 1653, Basse prepared for press a
manuscript containing a series of pastorals headed 'Clio, or The first
Muse in 9 Eglogues in honor of 9 vertues,' and arranged according to the
days of the week. The whole composition is singularly lacking alike in
interest and merit.[117]

It is not surprising to find the eclogues of the early years of James'
reign reflecting current events. In 1603 appeared a curious compilation,
the work of Henry Chettle, bearing the title: 'Englandes Mourning Garment:
Worne here by plaine Shepheardes; in memorie of their sacred Mistresse,
Elizabeth, Queene of Vertue while shee lived, and Theame of Sorrow, being
dead. To which is added the true manner of her Emperiall Funerall. After
which foloweth the Shepheards Spring-Song, for entertainement of King
James our most potent Soveraigne. Dedicated to all that loved the deceased
Queene, and honor the living King.' The book is a strange medley of verse
and prose, elegies on Elizabeth in the form of eclogues, and political
lectures written in the style of the pastoral romance. The most
interesting passage is an address to contemporary poets reproaching them
for their neglect of the praises of the late queen. The pastoral names
under which they are introduced appear to be merely nonce appellations,
but are worth recording as they refer to a set outside the usual pastoral
circle. Thus Corin is Chapman; Musaeus, of course Marlowe; English Horace,
no doubt Jonson; Melicert, Shakespeare; Coridon, Drayton; Anti-Horace,
most likely Dekker, and Moelibee, mentioned with him, possibly Marston. To
Musidore, 'Hewres last Musaeus' (no doubt corrupt), and the 'infant muse,'
it is more difficult to assign an identity.[118] Throughout Chettle
assumes to himself Spenser's pastoral title.

To the same or the following year belong the twelve eclogues by Edward
Fairfax, the translater of Tasso's _Gerusalemme_, which are now for the
most part lost. One, the fourth, was printed in 1737 from the original
manuscript, another in 1883 from a later transcript in the Bodleian, while
a third is preserved in a fragmentary state in the British Museum.[119]
All three deal chiefly with contemporary affairs, the two former being
concerned with the abuses of the church, while the last is a panegyric of
the 'present age,' and especially of English maritime adventure. This is
certainly the most pleasing of the three, though the style is at times
pretentious and over-charged with far-fetched allusions. There are,
however, fine passages, as for instance the lines on Drake:

And yet some say that from the Ocean maine,
He will returne when Arthur comes againe.

More directly concerned with the political events of the day is the
curious eclogue Δάφνις Πολυστέφανος by Sir George Buc, published in 1605,
in praise of the Genest crown, the royal right by Apollo's divine decree
of a long line of English kings, who are passed in review by way of
introduction to the praises of their latest representative. The work was
revised by an unknown hand for the accession of Charles, and republished
under the title of _The Great Plantagenet_ in 1635, as by 'Geo. Buck,
Gent.' Sir George held the post of Master of the Revels from 1608 to 1622,
and died the following year.

In 1607 appeared a poem 'Mirrha the Mother of Adonis,' by William
Barksted, to which were appended three eclogues by Lewes Machin.[120] Of
these, one describes the love of a shepherd and his nymph, while the other
two treat the theme of Apollo and Hyacinth. Composed in easy verse of no
particular distinction these poems belong to that borderland between the
idyllic and the salacious on which certain shepherd-poets loved to dally.

The years 1614 and 1615 saw the appearance of works of considerably
greater interest from every point of view, among others from that of what
I have described as pastoral freemasonry. In the former year there
appeared a small octavo volume entitled _The Shepherd's Pipe_. The chief
contributor was William Browne of Tavistock, the first book of whose
pastoral epic, _Britannia's Pastorals_, had appeared the previous year.
Besides seven eclogues from his pen, the volume contained one by
Christopher Brooke, one by Sir John Davies, and two by George Wither.
These last two were republished in 1615, with three additional pieces, in
Wither's collection entitled _The Shepherd's Hunting_. With the exception
of one or two of Browne's, these fourteen eclogues all deal with the
personal relation of the friends who disguise themselves respectively,
Browne as Willy, Wither as Roget (a name later exchanged for that of
Philarete), Brooke as Cuddie, and Davies as Wernock. Wither's were
written, as we learn from the title-page of the 1615 volume, while the
author was in prison in the Marshalsea for hunting vice with a pack of
satires in full cry, that is, the _Abuses Stript and Whipt_ of 1611. The
verse seldom rises above an amiable mediocrity, the best that can be said
for it being that it carries on, in a not wholly unworthy manner, the
dainty tradition of the octosyllabic couplet between the _Faithful
Shepherdess_ and Milton's early poems. Browne's eclogues are chiefly
remarkable for the introduction into the first of a long and rather
tedious tale derived from a manuscript of Thomas Occleve's. The last of
the series, an elegy on the death of Thomas, son of Sir Peter Manwood, has
been quoted as the model of _Lycidas_, but the resemblance begins and ends
with the fact that in either case the subject of the poem met his death by
drowning--a resemblance which will scarcely support a charge of

In 1621 appeared six eclogues under the title of _The Shepherd's Tales_ by
the prolific miscellaneous writer Richard Brathwaite. Each in its turn
recounts the amorous misfortunes of some swain, which usually arise out of
the inconstancy of his sweetheart, and the prize of infelicity having been
adjudged, the author, not perhaps without a touch of malice, sends the
whole company off to a wedding. The _Tales_ are noteworthy for the very
pronounced dramatic gift they reveal, being in this respect quite unique
in their kind. The same year saw the publication of the not very
successful expansion of one of these eclogues into the pastoral narrative
in verse, entitled 'Omphale or the Inconstant Shepherdesse.' Brathwaite
had already in 1614 published the _Poet's Willow_, containing a
'Pastorall' which recounts the unsuccessful love of Berillus, an Arcadian
shepherd, for the nymph Eliza[122].

Pursuing the chronological order we come next to Phineas Fletcher's
'Piscatorie Eclogs' appended to his _Purple Island_ in 1633. Except that
the scene is laid on the banks of a river instead of in the pastures, and
that the characters spend their time looking after boats and nets instead
of tending flocks, they differ in nought from the strictly pastoral
compositions. They are seven in number, and deal either with personal
subjects or with conventional themes. As an imitation of the _Shepherd's
Calender_, without its uncouthness whether of subject or language, and
equally without its originality or higher poetic value, the work is not
wanting in merit, but it is most decidedly wanting in all power to arrest
the reader's attention.

The last collection that will claim our notice is that of Francis Quarles,
which appeared posthumously in 1646 under the title of 'The Shepheards
Oracles: Delivered in Certain Eglogues[123]. The interest of the volume
lies not so much in its poetic merit, which however is considerable, as in
the fact that it deals with almost every form of religious controversy at
a critical point in English history. Quarles was a stanch Anglican, and he
lashes Romanists and Precisians with impartial severity. One of the
eclogues opens with a panegyric on Gustavus Adolphus, in the midst of
which a messenger enters bearing the news of his death, thus fixing the
date of the poem in all probability in the winter of 1632-3. In the
eleventh and last the Puritan party is mercilessly satirized in the person
of Anarchus, in allusion to the supposed socialistic tendency of its
teaching. He is thus described in a dialogue between Philarchus and
Philorthus (the lovers of order and justice presumably):

_Philor._ How like a Meteor made of zeal and flame
The man appears!

_Philar._ Or like a blazing Star
Portending change of State, or some sad War,
Or death of some good Prince.

_Philor._ He is the trouble
Of three sad Kingdoms.

_Philar._ Even the very Bubble,
The froth of troubled waters.

_Philor._ Hee's a Page
Fill'd with Errata's of the present Age.

_Philar._ The Churches Scourge--

_Philor._ The devils _Enchiridion_--

_Philar._ The Squib, the _Ignis fatuus_ of Religion.

To their address Anarchus replies in a song which it would be easy to
illustrate from the dramatic literature of the time, and which well
indicates the estimation in which the faction was popularly held. Here is
one verse:

Wee'l down with all the Varsities,
Where Learning is profest,
Because they practise and maintain
The Language of the Beast:
Wee'l drive the Doctors out of doores,
And Arts what ere they be,
Wee'l cry both Arts, and Learning down,
And, hey! then up goe we.

The whole song for sheer rollicking hypocrisy is without parallel in the
language. The date of the poem is doubtful, but Quarles lived till 1644,
and after two years of civil strife the terms which the interlocutors in
the above passage apply to the Puritan party can hardly be regarded as

Besides the works we have examined above, several others are known to have
existed, though they are not now traceable. Thus 'The sweete sobbes, and
amorous Complaintes of Shepardes and Nymphes in a fancye confusde by An
Munday' was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company on August 19,
1583. Two years earlier, on August 3, 1581, had been entered 'A Shadowe of
Sannazar.' Again we know, alike from Wood's _Athenae_ and Meres' _Palladis
Tamia_, that Stephen Gosson left works of the kind of which we have now no
trace; while Puttenham in his _Art of English Poesy_ mentions an eclogue
of his own, addressed to Edward VI, and entitled _Elpine_. Puttenham and
Meres in dealing with pastoral writers also mention one Challener, no
doubt the Thomas Chaloner who contributed to the _Mirror for Magistrates_,
and Nashe in his preface to _Menaphon_ adds Thomas Atchelow, who may be
plausibly identified with the Thomas Achelly who contributed verses to
Watson's _Hecatompathia_ and various sententious fragments to _England's
Parnassus_, among them a not very happy rendering of those lines of
Catullus which might almost be taken as a motto to pastoral poetry as a

The sun doth set, and brings again the day,
But when our light is gone, we sleep for aye.


It is not easy to arrange the mass of occasional lyric verse of a pastoral
nature in a manner to facilitate a general survey. We may perhaps divide
it roughly into general groups which possess certain points in common and
can be treated more or less independently. Little would be gained by
following a strictly chronological order, even were it possible to do so.

We occasionally meet with translations, though from the nature of the case
these, as well as evidences of direct foreign influence, are less
prominent here than in the more formal type of pastoral verse. We have
already seen that Googe, besides borrowing from Garcilaso's version of a
portion of the _Arcadia_, himself paraphrased passages of the _Diana_ in
his eclogues, and the latter work also supplied material for the pen of
Sir Philip Sidney. His debt consists in translations of two songs from
Montemayor's romance, printed among his miscellaneous poems[124]. About a
dozen translations from the same source appeared in _England's Helicon_,
the work of Bartholomew Yong. They are for the most part very inferior to
the general average of the collection, but the opening of one at least is
worth quoting:

'Guardami las vaccas,
Carillo, por tu fé.--
Besami primero,
Yo te las guardaré.'

I prithee keep my kine for me,
Carillo, wilt thou? tell.--
First let me have a kiss of thee,
And I will keep them well.

Another translation is the poem headed 'A Pastorall' in Daniel's _Delia_
of 1592, a rendering of the famous chorus to the first act of Tasso's

When we turn to original verse, the first group of poets to arrest our
attention is the court circle which gathered round Sir Philip Sidney.
There is a poem by his sister, the Countess of Pembroke, preserved in
Davison's _Poetical Rhapsody_, and there headed 'A Dialogue between two
Shepherds, Thenot and Piers, in Praise of Astrea.' It was composed for the
entertainment of the queen, and was no doubt sung or recited in character.
Such was likewise the mode of production of Sir Philip's 'Dialogue between
two Shepherds, uttered in a pastoral show at Wilton,'[125] which is more
rustic in character. _Astrophel and Stella_ supplies a graceful 'complaint
to his flock' against the cruelty of

Stella, fiercest shepherdess,
Fiercest, but yet fairest ever;
Stella, whom the heavens still bless,
Though against me she persever.
Though I bliss inherit never.

The _Poetical Rhapsody_ again preserves two others, the outcome of
Sidney's friendship with Greville and Dyer. The first is a song of
welcome; the second, headed 'Dispraise of a Courtly Life,' ends with the

Only for my two loves' sake,
In whose love I pleasure take;
Only two do me delight
With the ever-pleasing sight;
Of all men to thee retaining,
Grant me with these two remaining.

Of Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, the loyal admirer and biographer of
Sidney, who desired on his tomb no better passport to posterity than that
he had been Sir Philip's friend, we have among other works published in
1633 a series of so-called sonnets recording his love for the fair
Caelica. There is a thin veil of pastoralism over the whole, with here and
there a more definite note as in 'Sonnet' 75, a poem of over two hundred
lines lamenting his lady's cruelty--

Shepheardesses, yet marke well
The Martyrdome of Philocell.

Of Sir Edward Dyer's works no early edition was published. Such isolated
poems as have survived were collected by Grosart in 1872 from a variety of
sources. If the piece entitled _Cynthia_ is authentic, it gives him a
respectable place beside Greville among the minor pastoralists of his day.
Lastly, in connexion with Sidney we may note a curious poem which appeared
in the first edition of the _Arcadia_ only.[126] It is a 'bantering'
eclogue, in which the shepherds Nico and Pas first abuse one another and
then fall to a comic singing match. It is evidently suggested by the fifth
Idyl of Theocritus, and is a fair specimen of a very uncommon class in
English. Akin to this is the burlesque variety, of which we have already
met with examples in Lorenzo's _Nencia_ and Pulci's _Beca_, and which is
almost equally rare with us. A specimen will be found in the not very
successful eclogue in Greene's _Menaphon_. The following is as near as the
author was able to approach to Lorenzo's delicately playful tone:

Carmela deare, even as the golden ball
That Venus got, such are thy goodly eyes:
When cherries juice is jumbled therewithall,
Thy breath is like the steeme of apple pies.

It would, of course, be grossly unfair to judge Robert Greene, the
ever-sinning and ever-repentant, by the above injudicious experiment. His
lyrical powers appear in a very different light, for instance, in the
'Palmer's Ode' in _Never Too Late_ (1590), one of the most charming of his
many confessions:

As I lay and kept my sheepe,
Came the God that hateth sleepe,
Clad in armour all of fire,
Hand in hand with Queene Desire,
And with a dart that wounded nie,
Pearst my heart as I did lie,
That, when I wooke, I gan sweare
Phillis beautie palme did beare.

From the same romance I must do Greene the justice of quoting the
delightful, though but remotely pastoral, song of every loving nymph to her
bashful swain:

Sweet Adon, darest not glance thine eye--
N'oserez-vous, mon bel ami?--
Upon thy Venus that must die?
Je vous en prie, pity me:
N'oserez-vous, mon bel, mon bel--
N'oserez-vous, mon bel ami?

See how sad thy Venus lies--
N'oserez-vous, mon bel ami?--
Love in heart and tears in eyes;
Je vous en prie, pity me:
N'oserez-vous, mon bel, mon bel--
N'oserez-vous, mon bel ami?

It is hard to refrain from quoting half a dozen other pieces. There is the
courting of Phillis in _Perimedes the Blacksmith_ (1588), with its purely
idyllic close; or again the famous 'Shepherd's Wife's Song' from the
_Mourning Garment_ (1590):

Ah, what is love? It is a pretty thing,
As sweet unto a shepherd as a king;
And sweeter too,
For kings have cares that wait upon a crown,
And cares can make the sweetest love to frown:
Ah then, ah then,
If country loves such sweet desires do gain,
What lady would not love a shepherd swain?

No one not utterly callous to the pathos of human life, or warped by some
ethical twist beyond the semblance of a man, has ever been able to pass
unmoved by the figure of Robert Greene. We see him, the poet of all that
is truest and tenderest in human affection, abandoning his young wife and
child, drawn by the power of some fatal fascination into the whirlpool of
low life in London, and then, as if inspired by a sudden revelation of
objective vision, penning the throbbing lines of the forsaken mother's

Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my knee,
When thou art old there's grief enough for thee.

We see him again amid the despair and squalor of his death-bed, warning
his friends against his own example, and addressing to the wife he had not
seen for years those words endorsed on a bill for ten pounds, words ever
memorable in the history of English letters: 'Doll, I charge thee by the
love of our youth, and by my soul's rest, that thou wilt see this man
paid; for if he and his wife had not succoured me I had died in the
streets.' Such are the scenes of sordid misery which underlie some of the
choicest of English songs. It is best to return to the surface.

The lyric 'sequences' published towards the close of the sixteenth
century frequently contain more or less pastoral matter. Barnabe Barnes
appended some poems of this sort to his _Parthenophil and Parthenophe_ (c.
1593), among others a version of Moschus' idyl of runaway love, a theme
which had long been a favourite one with pastoral writers. Poliziano's
Latin translation of Moschus[127] was commended by E. K. in his notes to
the _Shepherd's Calender_, and the same original supplied Tasso with the
subject of his _Amore fuggitivo_, which served as epilogue to the
_Aminta_. William Smith's _Chloris_ (1596), except for plentiful swearing
by pastoral deities, is less bucolic in spite of its dedication to Colin
Clout. The most important of the sequences from our present point of view
is Nicholas Breton's _Passionate Shepherd,_ which was not published till
1604. It contains five pastorals in praise of Aglaia:

Had I got a kingly grace,
I would leave my kingly place
And in heart be truly glad
To become a country lad,
Hard to lie and go full bare,
And to feed on hungry fare,
So I might but live to be
Where I might but sit to see,
Once a day, or all day long,
The sweet subject of my song;
In Aglaia's only eyes
All my worldly paradise.

This is a fair specimen of Breton's dainty muse, but his choicest work
appeared in that wonderful anthology published in 1600 under the title of
_England's Helicon_. To this collection Breton contributed such verses as
the following:

On a hill there grows a flower--
Fair befall the dainty sweet!--
By that flower there is a bower,
Where the heavenly muses meet.

In that bower there is a chair,
Fringèd all about with gold;
Where doth sit the fairest fair,
That ever eye did yet behold.

It is Phyllis fair and bright,
She that is the shepherd's joy;
She that Venus did despite,
And did bind her little boy.

Or again:

Good Muse, rock me asleep
With some sweet harmony;
The weary eye is not to keep
Thy wary company.

Sweet Love, begone awhile,
Thou knowest my heaviness;
Beauty is born but to beguile
My heart of happiness.

Another poem no less perfect has been already quoted at length. In its own
line, the delicate carving of fair images as in crystal or some precious
stone, Breton's work is unsurpassed. We cannot do better than take, as
examples of a very large class, some of the poems printed, in most cases
for the first time, in _England's Helicon_. Of Henry Constable, the poet
indicated doubtless by the initiais H. C., we have a charming song between
Phillis and Amaryllis, the counterpart and imitation of Spenser's
'Bonibell' ballad:

_P._ Fie on the sleights that men devise--
(Heigho, silly sleights!)
When simple maids they would entice.
(Maids are young men's chief delights.)
_A._ Nay, women they witch with their eyes--
(Eyes like beams of burning sun!)
And men once caught they do despise;
So are shepherds oft undone.

* * * * *

_P._ If every maid were like to me--
(Heigho, hard of heart!)
Both love and lovers scorn'd should be.
(Scorners shall be sure of smart.)
_A._ If every maid were of my mind--
(Heigho, heigho, lovely sweet!)
They to their lovers should prove kind;
Kindness is for maidens meet[128].

Of Sir John Wotton, the short-lived half-brother of the more famous Sir
Henry, there is a spirited song, betraying unusual command over a
complicated rhythm:

Jolly shepherd, shepherd on a hill,
On a hill so merrily,
On a hill so cheerily,
Fear not, shepherd, there to pipe thy fill;
Fill every dale, fill every plain;
Both sing and say, 'Love feels no pain.'

Another graceful poet of _England's Helicon_ is the 'Shepherd Tony,' whose
identity with Anthony Munday was finally established by Mr. Bullen. He
contributed, among other verses, a not very interesting reply to Harpelus'
complaint in 'Tottel's Miscellany,' and the well-known and exquisite:

Beauty sat bathing by a spring
Where fairest shades did hide her,

which reappears in his translation of the Castilian romance _Primelion_.

In Marlowe's 'Passionate Shepherd to his Love,' of which _England's
Helicon_ supplies one of three texts[129], we come to what is, with the
possible exception of _Lycidas_ alone, the most subtly modulated specimen
of pastoral verse in English. So far as internal evidence is concerned the
poem has absolutely nothing but its own perfection to connect it with the
name of Marlowe; it is utterly unlike all other verse, dramatic,
narrative, or lyric, ascribed to him. An admirable eclectic text, which
exhibits to the full the delicacy of the rhythm, has been prepared by Mr.
Bullen in his edition of Marlowe's works. It would be impossible not to
quote the piece in full:

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and vallies, dales and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined[130] slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy-buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherd-swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

The popularity of this poem was testified by its widespread influence on
the poets of the day. _England's Helicon_ contains 'the Nymphs reply,'
commonly attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh, and also a long imitation;
Donne wrote a piscatory version, and Herrick paid it the sincerest form of
flattery, while less distinct reminiscences are common in the poetry of
the time. Yet Kit Marlowe's verses stand unrivalled.

The pastoral influence in Shakespeare's verse, both lyric and dramatic, is
too obvious to need more than passing notice. Every reader will recall
'Who is Sylvia,' from the _Two Gentlemen_, and 'It was a lover and his
lass,' the song of which, in Touchstone's opinion, 'though there was no
great matter in the ditty, yet the tune was very untuneable,' or again the
famous speech of the chidden king:

O God! methinks it were a happy life,
To be no better than a homely swain;
(3 _Henry VI_, II. v. 21.)

and Arthur's exclamation:

By my christendom
So I were out of prison and kept sheep,
I should be as merry as the day is long.
(_K. John_, IV. i. 16.)

One poem, bearing a certain resemblance to verses of Barnfield's already
discussed, may be quoted here. It was originally printed in the fourth
act of _Love's Labour's Lost_ in 1598, reappeared in the _Passionate
Pilgrim_ in 1599, and again in _England's Helicon_ in 1600.

On a day--alack the day!--
Love, whose month was ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair
Playing in the wanton air.
Through the velvet leaves the wind
All unseen gan passage find,
That the shepherd, sick to death,
Wish'd himself the heaven's breath.
Air, quoth he, thy cheeks may blow;
Air, would I might triumph so!
But, alas, my hand hath sworn
Ne'er to pluck thee from thy thorn;
Vow, alack, for youth unmeet,
Youth is apt to pluck a sweet.
[Do not call it sin in me
That I am forsworn for thee;]
Thou for whom Jove would swear
Juno but an Ethiope were,
And deny himself for Jove,
Turning mortal for thy love.[131]

Lastly, _England's Helicon_ preserves two otherwise unknown poems of
Drayton's, one probably an early work, having little to recommend it
beyond the pretty though not original conceit:

See where little Cupid lies
Looking babies in her eyes!

the other similar in style to the eclogue first published in the
collection of c. 1606. About contemporary possibly is the anonymous ballad
'Phillida flouts me,' which in command alike of rhythm and language is
remarkably reminiscent of some, and that some of the best, of Drayton's

Oh, what a plague is love!
How shall I bear it?
She will unconstant prove,
I greatly fear it.

It so torments my mind
That my strength faileth;
She wavers with the wind,
As the ship saileth.
Please her the best you may,
She looks another way;
Alas and well-a-day!
Phillida flouts me[132].

I have already had occasion to mention the mysterious A. W. in Davison's
_Poetical Rhapsody_, but I cannot refrain from calling attention to one
other poem of his. It is headed 'A fiction, how Cupid made a nymph wound
herself with his arrows,' and is perhaps the nearest thing in English to a
Greek _idyllion_, though in the manner of Moschus rather than of
Theocritus. The opening scene will give an idea of the style:

It chanced of late a shepherd's swain,
That went to seek a strayèd sheep,
Within a thicket on the plain,
Espied a dainty nymph asleep.

Her golden hair o'erspread her face,
Her careless arms abroad were cast,
Her quiver had her pillow's place,
Her breast lay bare to every blast.

The shepherd stood, and gazed his fill;
Nought durst he do, nought durst he say;
When chance, or else perhaps his will,
Did guide the god of love that way.

And so the long pageant troops by, not without its passages of dullness,
its moments of pedestrian gait, for it must be borne in mind that the
poems quoted above are for the most part the choice of what has survived
in a few volumes, and that this in its turn represents the gleanings from
a far larger body of verse that once existed. In spite of its perennial
freshness the charge of want of originality has not unreasonably been
brought even against the best compositions of the kind. It could hardly be
otherwise. Except in the rarest cases originality was impossible. The
impulse was to write a certain kind of amatory verse, for which the
fashionable medium was pastoral; not to write pastoral for its own sake.
The demand was for convention, the familiar, the expected; never for
originality or truth. The fault was in the poetic requirements of the age,
and must not be laid to the charge of those admirable craftsmen who gave
the age what it wanted; especially when in so doing they enriched English
poetry with some of its choicest gems.

The pastoral lyric of the next two reigns is far too wide a subject to be
entered upon here. Grave or gay, satirical or idyllic, coy or wanton,
there is scarcely a poet of note or obscurity who did not contribute his
share. Nowhere is a rarer note of pastoral to be found than in
_L'Allegro_, with its

every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the vale.

Before, however, saying farewell to this, the lighter side of English
pastoral verse, I would call attention to a poem which perhaps more than
any other illustrates the spirit of _voluttà idillica_, characteristic of
so much that possesses abiding value in pastoral. Unfortunately Carew's
_Rapture_ is almost throughout of a nature that forbids reproduction
except in a scientific edition, or an admittedly erotic collection. Though
its licence is coterminous with the bounds of natural desire, the candour
of its appeal to unvitiated nature saves it from reproach, and the
perfection of its form makes it an object of never-failing beauty. The
idea with which the poem opens, the escape to a land where all
conventional restrictions cease to have a meaning, was of course suggested
by the first chorus of the _Aminta_:

quel vano
Nome senza soggetto,
Quell' idolo d' errori, idol d' inganno;
Quel che dal volgo insano
Onor poscia fu detto--
Che di nostra natura 'l feo tiranno.

I can only extract one short passage out of Tom Carew's poem, that which
describes how

Daphne hath broke her bark, and that swift foot
Which th' angry Gods had fast'ned with a root
To the fix'd earth, doth now unfetter'd run
To meet th' embraces of the youthful Sun.
She hangs upon him, like his Delphic Lyre;
Her kisses blow the old, and breath new, fire;
Full of her God, she sings inspired lays,
Sweet odes of love, such as deserve the Bays,
Which she herself was. Next her, Laura lies
In Petrarch's learned arms, drying those eyes
That did in such sweet smooth-paced numbers flow,
As made the world enamoured of his woe.

This is not itself pastoral, but it belongs to that idyllic borderland
which we previously noticed in dealing with Italian verse. And again, as
in Italy, so in England, we find the same spirit infusing the mythological
tales. Did time and space allow it would be an interesting diversion to
trace how the pastoral spirit evinced itself in such works as Peele's
_Tale of Troy_, Lodge's _Scilla's Metamorphosis_, Drayton's _Man in the
Moon_, Brathwaite's _Narcissus Change_ (in the _Golden Fleece_), and found
articulate utterance in the voluptuous cadences of _Venus and Adonis_.


There are two specimens of English pastoral verse which I have reserved
for separate discussion in this place, namely, _Lycidas_ and _Britannia's
Pastorals_. The one is probably the most perfect example of the
allegorical pastoral produced since first the form was invented by Vergil,
the other the longest and most ambitious poem ever composed on a pastoral

Milton's poem was written on the occasion of the death of Edward King,
fellow of Christ's College, who was drowned on his way to Ireland during
the long vacation of 1637, and first appeared in a collection of memorial
verses by his Cambridge friends published in 1638. It gathers together
within its narrow compass as it were whole centuries of pastoral
tradition, fusing them into an organic whole, and inspiring the form with
a poetic life of its own.

Yet once more, O ye Laurels, and once more
Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never sear,
I com to pluck your Berries harsh and crude,
And with forc'd fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.

For Lycidas is dead and claims his meed of song.

Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well,
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring;
Begin, and somwhat loudly sweep the string.

Sing first their friendship, nursed upon the self-same hill, their youth
spent together. But oh! the heavy change; now the very caves and woods
mourn his loss. Where then were the Muses, that their loved poet should
die? And yet what could they do for Lycidas, who had no power to shield
Orpheus himself,

When by the rout that made the hideous roar,
His goary visage down the stream was sent,
Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore.

What then avails the poet's toil? Were it not better to taste the sweets
of love as they offer themselves since none can count on reward in this
life? The prize, however, lies elsewhere--

Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil.

But such thoughts are too lofty for the swains of Arethusa and Mincius.
Listen rather as the herald of the sea questions the god of winds about
the fatal wreck. It was no storm drove the ill-starred boat to

The Ayr was calm, and on the level brine,
Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd,

sounds the reply. Next, footing slow, comes the tutelary deity of Alma
Mater, and in one sad cry mourns the promise of a life so soon cut short.
Lastly, 'The Pilot of the Galilean lake,' with denunciation of the
corrupt hirelings of a venal age, laments the loss of the church in the
death of Lycidas. As his solemn figure passes by, the gracious fantasies
of pastoral landscape shrink away: now

Return Alpheus, the dread voice is past,
That shrunk thy streams,

bid the nymphs bring flowers of every hue,

To strew the Laureat Herse where Lycid lies--

and yet indeed even this comfort is denied, we dally with false

Whilst thee the shores, and sounding Seas
Wash far away, where ere thy bones are hurld,
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world,

or on the Cornish coast,

Where the great vision of the guarded Mount
Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold.

But enough!

Weep no more, woful Shepherds weep no more,
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watry floar,
So sinks the day-star in the Ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new spangled Ore,
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky.

On this note the elegy ends, and there follow eight lines in which the
poet glances at his own pastoral self that has been singing, and realizes
that the world will go on even though Lycidas be no more, and that there
are other calls in life than that of piping on an oaten reed. These lines
correspond to the plain stanzaic frames in which Spenser set his lyrics in
the _Shepherd's Calender_:

Thus sang the uncouth Swain to th' Okes and rills,
While the still morn went out with Sandals gray,
He touch'd the tender stops of various Quills,
With eager thought warbling his Dorick lay:
And now the Sun had stretch'd out all the hills,
And now was dropt into the Western bay;
At last he rose, and twitch'd his Mantle blew:
To morrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new.

The poem, in common with the whole class of allegorical pastorals, is
undoubtedly open to the charge of artificiality, since, in truth, the
pastoral garb can never illustrate, but only distort and obscure subjects
drawn from other orders of civilization. Yet none but a great master
could, to produce a desired effect, have utilized every association which
tradition afforded with the consummate skill observable in Milton's poem.
He has been blamed for the introduction of St. Peter, on the ground of
incongruity; but he has tradition on his side. St. Peter, as we have
already seen, figures, under the name of Pamphilus, in the eclogues of
Petrarch, and his introduction by Milton is in nicest keeping with the
spirit of the kind. The whole poem, and indeed a great deal more, must
stand or fall with the Pilot of the Galilean Lake, for to censure his
introduction here is to condemn the whole pastoral tradition of three
centuries, a judgement which may or may not be just, but which is not a
criticism on Milton's poem. So again with the flowers that are to be
strewn on the laureate hearse. Three kinds of berries and eleven kinds of
flowers are mentioned, and it has been pointed out with painful accuracy
that nine of the latter would have been over, and none of the former ripe
on August 11, when King was drowned; while all the flowers, with the
exception of the amaranth, if it were of the true breed, would have been
dead and rotten in November, when the poem was presumably written. It
would be foolish to quarrel with Milton on this point, since where all is
imaginary such licence is as natural as the strictest botany; yet it must
not be forgotten that it is just this disseverance from actuality that has
made the eclogue the type of all that is frigid and artificial in
literature. The dissatisfaction felt by many with _Lycidas_ was voiced by
Dr. Johnson, when he wrote: 'It is not to be considered the effusion of
real passion, for passion runs not after remote allusions and obscure
opinions.... Where there is leisure for fiction there is little
grief[134].' This is so absolutely true, with regard to the present poem
at all events, that it would appear hardly worth saying were it not that
there have always been found persons to maintain the contrary. There is no
reason whatever to suppose that Milton felt any keen personal grief at the
death of Edward King. There is nothing spontaneous, nothing, one might
almost say, genuine in the lament. This is indeed strictly irrelevant to
the question of its artistic merit, but it must nevertheless be admitted
that there is thus much justice in the censure, that the poem purports to
be the expression of an intimate sorrow, of the reality of which the
reader is never wholly convinced. In so far as it lacks this
'soul-compelling power,' it may be said, not unfairly, to fail of its own
artistic purpose.

One further question, however, inevitably presents itself when we have to
consider such a work as _Lycidas_, a work, that is, in which art has
attained the highest perfection in one particular kind. Although the
objections urged against the individual poem may be shown to miss their
mark as criticisms on that poem, may they not have force as criticisms on
the class? The allegorical pastoral, though in one sense, as I have said,
created by Vergil, was yet, in another, a plant of slow growth, and
represents a tradition gradually evolved to meet the needs of a long line
of poets. Petrarch, Mantuan, Marot, Spenser were more than mere imitators
of Vergil or of one another; they wrote in a particular form because it
answered to particular requirements, and they fashioned it in the using.
Nevertheless it may be urged with undoubted force, that the requirements
were not primarily of an artistic nature, being ever governed by some
alien purpose, and that consequently the form which evolved itself in
answer to those requirements and to fulfil that purpose, was not by nature
calculated to yield the highest artistic results. And thus, though any
attempt to question the perfection of the art which Milton brought to the
composition of his elegy must needs be foredoomed to failure, the question
of the propriety of the form as an artistic medium remains open; and in so
far as critical opinion tends to give an unfavourable answer, in so far
does the form of pastoral instituted by Vergil and handed down without
break from the fourteenth century to Milton's own time stand condemned in
its most perfect flower.

Few things could be less like _Lycidas_ than the work which next claims
our attention. Unique of its kind, and, in spite of its shortcomings,
possessed of no small poetic interest, William Browne's _Britannia's
Pastorals_ may be regarded at pleasure either as a pastoral epic or as a
versified romance. It resembles the prose romances in being by nature
discursive, episodic and inconsequent, and like not a few it remained
unfinished. Little would be gained by giving any detailed analysis of the
plot developed through the leisurely amplitude of its 10,000 lines, while
any attempt to deal, however slightly, with the sources and literary
analogues of the work would lead us far beyond the scope of the present
chapter[135]. With regard to the latter, it must suffice to note that
among the works to which incidents can be directly traced are Tasso's
_Gerusalemme_, Montemayor's _Diana_, and Fletcher's _Faithful
Shepherdess_, while a more general indebtedness may in particular be
observed to Chaucer, _Piers Plowman_, and the _Faery Queen_. The plot
involves two more or less connected threads of action, the one dealing
with the adventures of the swains and shepherdesses, the other concerned
with the progress of Thetis and her court. This latter recalls the poetic
geography of Drayton's _Polyolbion_. The principal episodes in the former
are the loves of Celandine and Marina, and the allegorical story of Fida
and Aletheia, each of which leads to numerous ramifications. Indeed, so
far as the pastoral action is concerned, the whole is one string of barely
connected episodes.

Celandine loves the shepherdess Marina, who is readily brought to return
his affection. To the love thus easily won he soon becomes indifferent,
and Marina in despair seeks to end her sorrows in a stream. Saved by the
god of the fountain, she is carried off to Mona, and there imprisoned in a
cave by the monster Limos (hunger). With her loss, Celandine's love
revives, and in his search for her he is led to visit the faery realm,
where he finds Spenser lying asleep. The poem ends abruptly in the midst
of his adventures. The story of Fida centres round the slaughter of her
pet hind by the monster Riot. From the mangled remains of the animal rises
the beautiful form of Aletheia (truth). The new-transformed nymph is the
daughter of Chronos (time), born, Pallas-like, without a mother. The
narrative of her rejection by the world gives occasion for some biting
satire on the ill-living of the religious orders, the vanity of the court,
and the dishonesty of the crafts. Meanwhile Riot, who from this point
ceases to be an embodiment of cruelty, and comes to typify fallen
humanity--the _Humanum Genus_ of the moralities--passing successively by
Remembrance, Remorse, and Repentance, is purged of his foul shape, and
appears as the shepherd Amyntas, finally to be united in marriage with
Aletheia. With these adventures is interwoven the progress of Thetis, who
comes to view her dominions. From the Euxine and the Hellespont her train
sweeps on by Adriatic and Atlantic shores, past lands which call up the
names of a long line of poets--Vergil, Ovid, Ariosto, Petrarch, Tasso, Du
Bartas, Marot, Ronsard--till ultimately she arrives off the coast of
Devon--the Devon of Browne and Drake. Here the shepherds assemble to do
her honour, from Colin Clout down to Browne's immediate circle, Brooke,
Davies, and Wither, and here the poet entertains her with the tale of
Walla and Tavy, which forms a charming incidental piece. The nymph Walla
loved the river-god Tavy, and while gathering flowers to weave a garland
for him was surprised by a satyr, who pursued her into a wood. She sought
refuge in a cave, where, being overtaken by her pursuer, she prayed to
Diana, and in the last resort to Ina, by whom she was transformed into a
spring, which, after drowning the venturesome satyr, ran on to join its
waters with those of her beloved Tavy. Thus Browne wove the common names
of his familiar home into a romance of pastoral invention. The
metamorphosis of Arethusa pursued by Alpheus, of Ambra by Ombrone, of the
nymphs by the satyrs of the _Salices_, or as frescoed on the temple of
Pales in the _Arcadia_, the loves of Mulla and Mollana in Spenser, and the
mythological impersonations of the _Polyolbion_, find, as it were, a
meeting-place in Browne's lay of Walla.

The three parts of _Britannia's Pastorals_ did not appear together. Book
I was published during the winter of 1613-14, Book II in 1616, each
containing five songs; while the fragment of Book III, containing two
songs only, remained in manuscript till 1853, when it was discovered in
the Cathedral Library at Salisbury, and printed for the Percy

The narrative, as may have been inferred from what has already been said,
is sufficiently fantastic. In the introduction of allegorical characters
Browne was probably influenced by Spenser, and in a lesser degree by the
masque literature of his day and by the study of Langland. Since the work
is unfinished, we may in charity suppose that had Browne completed his
design the whole would have presented a somewhat less incongruous
appearance; there is, however, a marked tendency towards the accumulation
of unexplained incidents, which may most plausibly be referred to the
influence of the Spanish romances, especially of the _Diana_, which was
already accessible in Yong's translation, and one incident of which Browne
did undoubtedly borrow.

In style and poetic merit Browne's work is most astonishingly unequal,
though the general level of _Britannia's Pastorals_ is distinctly higher
than that of the _Shepherd's Pipe_. The author passes at times abruptly
from careful and loving realism to the most stilted conventionality, and
from passages of impassioned eloquence to others grotesquely banal. In
some of his peculiarities, as in the perpetuai use of elaborate similes
and in the indulgence in inflated paraphrases, he anticipates some of the
worst faults of style cultivated by writers of the next century. There are
portions of the poem where the narrative is literally carried on through a
succession of highly wrought comparisons, each paragraph beginning with an
'As' followed by a correlative 'So' half a page further on. No such series
of pictures, however fairly wrought--and Browne's too often end in
bathos--can possibly convey the impression of continuons action. It is the
same with periphrasis. Used with discretion it may be one of the subtlest
ornaments of style, and even when fulfilling no particular purpose is
capable of imparting a luxuriant and somewhat rococo richness to the
verse. The effect, however, is frequently one of unrelieved frigidity, as
in the lines:

And now Hyperion from his glitt'ring throne
Sev'n times his quick'ning rays had bravely shown
Unto the other world, since Walla last
Had on her Tavy's head the garland plac'd;
And this day, as of right, she wends abroad
To ease the meadows of their willing load.
(II. iii. 855.)

At times it was Browne's moral preoccupation that curbed his muse, as in
his description of the golden age where, for the sensuous glow of Tasso
and for Carew's pagan paradise, he substitutes the insipid convention of a
philosophical age of innocence[137]. In his genuine mood as a loving
observer of country life he is a very different poet. His feeling is
delicate in tone and his observation keen; he was familiar with every tree
that grew in the woods, every fish that swam in the waters of his beloved
Devon; he entered tenderly into the homely life of the farm--

By this had chanticleer, the village clock,
Bidden the goodwife for her maids to knock,
And the swart ploughman for his breakfast stay'd,
That he might till those lands were fallow laid;
The hills and vailles here and there resound
With the re-echoes of the deep-mouth'd hound;
Each shepherd's daughter, with her cleanly peal,[138]
Was come afield to milk the morning's meal.
(I. iv. 483.)

When, however, naturalism of this kind is introduced into pastoral it is
already on the high road toward ceasing to be pastoral at all. Nor are
touches of higher poetic imagination wanting, as when Time is described as

a lusty aged swain,
That cuts the green tufts off th' enamell'd plain,
And with his scythe hath many a summer shorn
The plough'd-lands lab'ring with a crop of corn.
(I. iv. 307.)

The love of his country is, however, the altar at which Browne's poetic
genius takes fire:

Hail, thou my native soil! thou blessed plot,
Whose equal all the world affordeth not!
Show me who can so many crystal rills,
Such sweet-cloth'd valleys or aspiring hills,....
And if the earth can show the like again,
Yet will she fail in her sea-ruling men.
Time never can produce men to o'ertake
The fames of Grenville, Davies, Gilbert, Drake,
Or worthy Hawkins, or of thousands more
That by their power made the Devonian shore
Mock the proud Tagus, for whose richest spoil
The boasting Spaniard left the Indian soil
Bankrupt of store, knowing it would quit cost
By winning this, though all the rest were lost.
(II. iii. 601.)

It is after all in such a passage as this that we see the true William
Browne, with all his high-handedness and worthy enthusiasm, the poet who
not only loves his country with a lover's passion and cannot tolerate that
any should be compared to her in fairness of feature, in stateliness of
stature, or in virtue of mind; but who, first perhaps among English poets,
has that more local patriotism, narrower and more intimate, for his own
home, for its moors, its streams, its associations, all the actual or
imagined surroundings of his beloved Tavistock, and carries in his heart
for ever the cry of the wild west--

Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain!


Approaching the romance, as we do, from the point of view rather of the
development of the pastoral ideal than of the history of prose narrative
or of the novel, we may spare ourselves any detailed consideration of the
famous work of John Lyly. Although in the novel which has made 'Euphuism'
a word and a bye-word in the language he supplied the literary medium for
the work of subsequent pastoral writers such as Greene and Lodge, his
own compositions in this kind are confined entirely to the drama.

The translations in this department are for the most part negligible.
There is, however, one notable exception, namely, the rendering by
Bartholomew Yong or Young of Montemayor's _Diana_, together with the
continuations of Ferez and Gil Polo. Completed as early as May, 1583, the
work remained in manuscript until 1598, when it was published in the form
of a handsome folio. Although, as we have already had occasion to notice,
the verse portions were not for the most part of a nature to add lustre to
an anthology such as _England's Helicon_, the whole forms a not unworthy
Tudor translation. We learn from Yong's preface that portions of the
romance had already been Englished by Edward Paston, a descendant of the
famous Norfolk letter-writers, who had family relations with Spain and
possessed an intimate knowledge of the language. Of this work nothing
further is known. Some two years, however, before Yong's version issued
from the press, the first book of Montemayor's portion was again
translated by Thomas Wilson, and of this a manuscript yet survives[139].
Passing mention may also be made of Angel Day's translation of _Daphnis
and Chloe_ containing the original insertion of the _Shepherd's Holiday_
with the praises of Elizabeth in verse, and of Robert Tofte's _Honours
Academy_ (1610), distantly following Ollenix du Mont-Sacré's _Bergerie de
Juliette_, but which, as also John Pyper's version of d'Urfé's _Astrée_
(1620), have received sufficient notice in being recorded in connexion
with their originals.

Earlier in date of publication and belonging to an elder tradition than
the _Arcadia_, though later in date of composition, and it may be at times
betraying a familiarity with Sidney's manuscript, the romances of the
Bohemian Robert Greene, and the buccaneer-physician Thomas Lodge, are
naturally the first to claim our attention.

With the exception of _Menaphon_, Greene's romances offer little that is
important in pastoral, apart from the more notable works which they
inspired. And even _Menaphon_, in so far as the general conception is
concerned, can hardly be said necessarily to involve the existence of any
antecedent pastoral tradition. Greene's novel is, indeed, far from being
purely pastoral; no more than in Sidney's, to use Professor Herford's
happy phrase, are we allowed to forget that Arcadia bordered on Sparta. In
this it undoubtedly resembles the Spanish romances, but the resemblance
does not appear to go much further; it is on the whole warlike without
being chivalric, the tone Greek, or what Greene considered such, rather
than medieval--indeed it might be argued that in its martial incidents it
rather recalls _Daphnis and Chloe_ than the _Diana_. There is certainly
nothing chivalric about King Democles, who, when some ten score shepherds
are besieging a castle, sends to the 'General of his Forces,' and not only
has ten thousand men brought secretly and by night at three days'
notice--in itself a notable piece of strategy--but when they arrive on the
scene places furthermore the whole force in ambush! No wonder that when
the soldiers are let loose out of their necessarily cramped quarters,
they kill many of the shepherds, and putting the rest to flight remain
masters of the situation.

The plot might perhaps be considered improbable as well as intricate for
anything but a pastoral or chivalric romance: judged by the standards
prevailing in these species it is neither. Democles, king of Arcadia, has
a daughter Sephistia, who contrary to his wishes has contracted a secret
marriage with Maximus. When the birth of a son leads to discovery,
Democles has them placed in an oarless boat and so cast adrift. A storm
arising they are not unnaturally wrecked, and ultimately husband and wife
are cast upon different points of the Arcadian coast(!), where, either
supposing the other to have perished, they adopt the pastoral life,
assuming the names respectively of Melicertus and Samela. The young mother
has with her child Pleusidippus, but while still in early boyhood he is
carried off by pirates and presented as a gift to the King of Thessaly. In
the meantime Menaphon, 'the king's shepherd of Arcadia,' has fallen in
love with Samela, but while accepting his hospitality she meets her
husband in his shepherd's guise, and without recognizing one another
husband and wife again fall in love. Years pass on and Pleusidippus, who
has risen to fame at court, hears of the beauty of the shepherdess of
Arcadia, and must needs go to test the truth of the report himself. He
does so, and promptly falls in love with his own mother. Nor is this all,
for Democles equally hears of Samela's fame, and disguising himself as a
shepherd falls in love with his own daughter. He endeavours to command
Samela's affection by revealing to her his own identity, but Pleusidippus
is beforehand with more drastic measures, and with the help of a few
associates carries Samela off to a neighbouring castle, to which Democles
and the shepherds, headed by Melicertus, proceed to lay siege. A duel
between father and son is unceremoniously interrupted by the inroad of
Democles' soldiery. Upon this the identity of Samela is revealed by a
convenient prophetess, and all ends happily.

In the relation of verse and prose Greene's work differs from that of
Sannazzaro and Sidney, the former being of considerably greater merit than
the latter. The style adopted exhibits a very marked Euphuism, and the
whole form of narrative is characterized by that fondness for petty
conceit which not seldom gives an air of puerility to the lighter
Elizabethan prose. Puerile in a sense it had every right to be, for modern
prose narration was then in its very infancy in this country. No artistic
form destined to contribute to the main current of literature is born
perfect into the world; the early efforts appear not only tentative,
uncouth, at times rugged, but often childish and futile, unworthy the
consideration of serions men. The substance of the _Gesta Romanorum_ and
the style of the _Novellino_ appear so, considered in relation to the
_Decameron_; the mystery plays are an obvious instance, not to be
explained by any general immaturity of medieval ideas. Traces of the
tendency may even be noticed where revival or acclimatization, rather than
original invention, is the aim; we find it in the _Shepherd's Calender_,
nor was it absent in the days of the romantic revival, either from the
German _Lenores_ or the English _Otrantos_. And so it is with the
novelists of the Elizabethan age. Renouncing the traditions of the older
romance, which was adult and perfect a hundred years before in Malory, but
had now fallen into a second childhood, and determined on the creation of
a new and genuine form of literary expression, they paid the price of
originality in the vein of childishness that runs through their writings.

If, however, Greene was content in the main to adopt the style of the new
novel, he, as indeed Lyly too, could at times snatch a straightforward
thought or a vigorous phrase from current speech or controversial
literature, and invest it with all the greater effectiveness by
contrasting it with its surroundings. Here, as an example of euphuistic
composition, is Democles' address to the champions about to engage in
single combat:

Worthy mirrors of resolved magnanimitie, whose thoughts are above your
fortunes, and your valour more than your revenewes, know that Bitches
that puppie in hast bring forth blind whelpes; that there is no herbe
sooner sprung up than the Spattarmia nor sooner fadeth; the fruits too
soone ripe are quickly rotten; that deedes done in hast are repented at
leisure: then, brave men in so weightie a cause,... deferre it some
three daies, and then in solemn manner end the combat[140].

With this we may contrast the closing sentence of the work:

And lest there should be left any thing imperfect in this pastorall
accident, Doron smudged himselfe up, and jumped a marriage with his old
friend Carmela.

This is, of course, intentionally cast in a homely style in contrast to
the courtliness of the main plot; but Greene, as some of his later works
attest, knew the value of strong racy English no less than his friend
Nashe, who, in the preface he prefixed to this very work, pushed
colloquialism and idiom to the verge of affectation and beyond.

The incidental verse, on the other hand, though very unequal, is of
decidedly higher merit. Sephistia's famous song should alone suffice to
save any book from oblivion, while there are other verses which are not
unworthy of a place beside it. I may instance the opening of the
'roundelay' sung by Menaphon, the only character strictly belonging to
pastoral tradition, with its picture of approaching night:

When tender ewes brought home with evening Sunne
Wend to their foldes,
And to their holdes
The shepheards trudge when light of day is done.

Such as it was, _Menaphon_ appealed in no small degree to the taste of the
moment. We know how great was Greene's reputation as an author, how
publishers were ready to outbid one another for the very dregs of his wit.
Thomas Brabine was but voicing the general opinion when, in some verses
prefixed to _Menaphon_, he wrote, condescending to an inevitable pun, but
also to a less excusable mixed metaphor:

Be thou still Greene, whiles others glorie waine.

Of his other romances it is sufficient in this place to mention that
_Pandosto_, which contains the pastoral loves of Dorastus and Fawnia, and
supplied Shakespeare with the outlines of the _Winter's Tale_, appeared
the year before _Menaphon_, while the year after saw his _Never Too Late_,
which is likewise of a generally pastoral character, but does not appear
to have suggested or influenced any subsequent work.

The remarks that have been made concerning Greene apply in a large
measure also to his fellow euphuist Thomas Lodge. His earliest romance,
_Forbonius and Prisceria_, published in 1584, is partly pastoral in plot,
a faithful lover being driven by the opposition of his lady's father into
assuming the pastoral habit; but it is chiefly the connexion of his
_Rosalynde_ of 1590 with Shakespeare's _As You Like It_ that gives him a
claim upon our attention. _Rosalynde_ is not only on this account the
best-known, but is also intrinsically the most interesting of his
romances. The story is too familiar to need detailing. Its origin, as is
also well known, is the _Tale of Gamelyn_, the story which Chaucer
intended putting into the mouth either of the cook, or more probably of
the yeoman, and the hero of which apparently belongs to the Robin Hood
cycle. The interest centres round the three sons of Sir John of Bordeaux,
who retains his name with Lodge and is Shakespeare's Sir Roland de Bois,
and whose youngest son, Lodge's Rosader and Shakespeare's Orlando, is
named Gamelyn, and the outlaw king, Lodge's king of France and
Shakespeare's Duke senior[141]. The entire pastoral element, as well as
the courtly scenes of the earlier portion of the novel, are Lodge's own
invention. His shepherds, whether genuine, as Coridon and Phoebe, or
assumed, as Rosalynde and Rosader, are all alike Italian Arcadians,
equally polished and poetical. Montanus, a shepherd corresponding to
Shakespeare's Silvius, is a dainty rimester, and is not only well posted
in the loves of Polyphemus and Galatea, but can rail on blind boy Cupid in
good French, and on his mistress too--

Son cuer ne doit estre de glace,
Bien que elle ait de Neige le sein.

Thus Lodge added to the original story the figures of the usurper,
Rosalynde, Alinda (Celia), and the shepherds Montanus (Silvius), Coridon
(Corin) and Phoebe, while to Shakespeare we owe Amiens, Jacques,
Touchstone, Audre, and a few minor characters; whence it appears that
Lodge's contribution forms the mainstay of the plot as familiar to modern
readers. Moreover, in spite of the stiltedness of the style where the
author yet remembers to be euphuistic, in spite of the long 'orations,'
'passions,' 'meditations' and the like, each carefully labelled and giving
to the whole the air of a series of rhetorical exercises, in spite of the
mediocre quality of most of the verses, if we except its one perfect gem,
the romance yet retains not a little of its silvan and idyllic sweetness.

Before leaving the school of Lyly, which included a number of more or less
famous writers, I may take the opportunity of mentioning two authors
usually reckoned among them. One, John Dickenson, left two works of a
pastoral nature. His short romance entitled _Arisbas_ appeared in 1594,
and may have supplied Daniel with a hint for the kidnapping of Silvia in
_Hymen's Triumph_. Another yet shorter work, entitled the _Shepherd's
Complaint_, which is undated, but was probably printed in the same year,
is remarkable for being composed more than half in verse, largely
hexameters. In it the author falls asleep and is transported in his dreams
to Arcady, where he listens to the lament of a shepherd for the love of
Amaryllis. The cruel nymph is, however, soon punished, for, challenging
Diana in beauty, she falls a victim to the shafts of the angry goddess,
and is buried with full bucolic honours, whereupon the author awakes. The
other writer is William Warner, well known from his _Albion's England_,
published in 1586, who left a work entitled _Pan his Syrinx_, which
appeared in 1584; but in this pastoralism does not penetrate beyond the

Of the books which everybody knows and nobody reads, _The Countess of
Pembroke's Arcadia_ is perhaps the most famous[142]. Yet though an account
of the romance may be found in the pages of every literary textbook, the
history of how the work came to be printed has never been fully cleared
up[143]. The _Arcadia_, as it remained at Sidney's death, was
fragmentary. Two books and a portion of a third were all that had
undergone revision, and possibly represented the portion which Sidney
compiled while living with his sister at Wilton, after his retirement from
court in 1581--the portion for the most part actually written in his
sister's presence. Even of this trustworthy manuscripts were rare, most of
those that circulated being copies of the unrevised text. Sidney died on
October 17, 1586, and even before the end of the year we find his friend
Fulke Greville, afterwards Lord Brooke, writing to Sidney's father-in-law,
Sir Francis Walsingham, to the effect that the bookseller, William
Ponsonby, had informed him that some one was about to print the _Arcadia_,
and that if they were acting without authority a notification of the fact
should be lodged with the archbishop. Greville proceeds to say that he had
sent to Walsingham's daughter, that is, Lady Sidney, the corrected
manuscript of the work 'don 4 or 5 years sinse, which he left in trust
with me; wherof there is no more copies, and fitter to be reprinted then
the first, which is so common[144].' A complaint was evidently lodged, and
the publication stayed, and we may assume that Ponsonby was rewarded for
his notification by being entrusted with the publication of the revised
manuscript mentioned by Greville, for it was from his house that issued
the quarto edition of 1590. Evidence that it was Greville who was
responsible for the publication of the _Arcadia_ is found in the
dedication of Thomas Wilson's manuscript translation from the _Diana_,
where, addressing Greville, the translater speaks of Sir Philip's
_Arcadia_, 'w^{ch} by yo^{r} noble vertue the world so hapily enjoyes.' In
this edition, containing the first two and a half books only, the division
into chapters and the arrangement of the incidental verse were the work of
the 'over-seer of the print.' The text, however, was not considered
satisfactory, and when the romance was reprinted in 1593 the division into
chapters was discarded, certain alterations were made in the arrangement
of the verse, and there was added another portion of the third book,
together with a fourth and fifth, compiled by the Countess of Pembroke
from the loose sheets sent her from time to time by her brother. This
edition has been commonly regarded as the first published with due
authority, and the term 'surreptitious' has been quite unjustly applied to
the original quarto. The charge, indeed, receives colour from the preface,
signed H. S., to the second edition; but, whoever H. S. may have been,
there is nothing to make one suppose that he was speaking with authority.
The quarto of 1590 having been duly licensed on August 23, 1588, the
rights of the work were in Ponsonby's hands, and to him the publication of
the revised edition had to be entrusted. In 1598 a third edition, to which
other remains of the author were for the first time added, was also
published by Ponsonby. There still remained, however, a lacuna in Book
III, which was not remedied till 1621, when a supplement was added from
the pen of Sir William Alexander. In the edition of 1627 a sixth book was
appended, the work of one Richard Beling, whose initials alone, however,
appear. The early editors seem to have assumed that the unfinished state
of the work, or rather the unrevised state of the later portions, was due
to the author's early death, but most of it must have been written between
the years 1581 and 1583, and it may well be questioned whether in any case
Sidney would have bestowed any further attention upon it. Jonson, indeed,
has preserved the tradition that it had been Sir Philip's intention 'to
have transform'd all his Arcadia to the stories of King Arthure[145],'
though how the transformation was to be accomplished he forbore to hint;
but the more familiar tradition of Sidney's having expressed on his
death-bed a desire that the romance should be destroyed assorts better
with what else we know of his regard for his 'idle worke.'

For the name of his romance Sidney was no doubt indebted to Sannazzaro,
whom he twice mentions as an authority in his _Defence of Poesy_, but
there in all probability his direct obligation ends, since even the _rime
sdrucciole_, which he occasionally affected, may with equal probability be
referred to the influence of the _Diana_. It was, undoubtedly,
Montemayor's romance which served as a model for, or rather suggested the
character of, Sidney's work[146]. Thus the chivalric element, unknown to
Sannazzaro, is with Sidney even more prominent than with Montemayor and
his followers. It is, however, true that, like Greene's, his heroes are
rather of a classical than a medieval stamp, and he also chose to lay the
scene of the action in Greece rather than in his native land, as was the
habit of Spanish writers. The source upon which Sidney chiefly drew for
incidents was the once famous _Amadis of Gaul_, but a diligent reading of
the other French and Spanish romances of chivalry would probably lengthen
the list of recorded creditors. Heliodorus supplies several episodes, and
an acquaintance at least can be traced with both Achilles Tatius and

The intricate plot, with its innumerable digressions, episodes, and
interruptions, need not here be followed in detail, especially as we shall
have ample opportunity of becoming familiar with its general features when
we come to discuss the plays founded upon it. Here it will be sufficient
to note one or two points. In the first place the romance contains no
really pastoral characters, the personae being all either shepherds in
their disguise only, or else, like Greene's Doron and Carmela, burlesque
characters of the rustic tradition. Secondly, it may be observed that the
amorous confusion is even greater than in _Menaphon_, Pyrocles disguising
himself as an Amazon in order to enjoy the company of his beloved
Philoclea, which leads to her father Basilius falling in love with him in
his disguise, and endeavouring to use his daughter to forward his suit,
while her mother Gynecia likewise falls in love with him, having detected
his disguise, and becomes jealous of her daughter, who on her part
innocently accepts her lover as bosom companion[147].

In general the _Arcadia_ is no more than it purports to be, the 'many
fancies' of Sidney's fertile imagination poured forth in courtly guise for
the entertainment of his sister, though his own more serious thoughts
occasionally find expression in its pages, and he even introduces himself
under the imperfect anagram of Philisides, and shadows forth his
friendship with the French humanist Languet. More than this it would be
rash to assert, and Greville did his friend an equivocal service when he
sought to find a deep philosophy underlying the rather formal characters
of the romance[148]. These characters, as we have seen, are for the most
part essentially courtly; the pastoral guise is a mere veil shielding them
from the crude uncompromising light of actuality, with its prejudice in
favour of the probable; while the few rustic personages merely supply a
not very successful comic antimasque.

To the popularity of the _Arcadia_ it is hardly necessary to advert. It
has been repeatedly printed, added to, imitated, abbreviated, modernized,
popularized; four editions appeared during the last decade of the
sixteenth century, nine between the beginning of the seventeenth and the
outbreak of the civil wars[149]. It was first published at a moment when
the public was beginning to tire of Euphuism, and when the heroic death of
the author had recently set a seal upon the brilliance of his fame.
Looking back in after years, writers who, like Drayton, had lived through
the movement from its very birth, could speak of Sidney as of the author

did first reduce
Our tongue from Lyly's writing then in use,

and could praise his style as a model of pure English. In spite of the
generous, if misguided, efforts of occasional critics, posterity has not
seen fit to endorse this view. While finding in Sidney's style the same
historical importance as in Lyly's, we cannot but recognize that in itself
Arcadianism was little if at all better than Euphuism. It is just as
formal, just as much a trick, just as stilted and unpliable, just as
painful an illustration of the fact that a figure of rhetoric may be an
occasional ornament, but cannot by any degree of ingenuity be made to
serve as a basis of composition. In the same way as Euphuism is founded
upon a balance of the sentence obtained by antithetical clauses, and the
use of intricate alliteration, together with the abuse of simile and
metaphor drawn from what has been aptly termed Lyly's 'un-natural
history'; so Sidney's style in the _Arcadia_ is based on a balance usually
obtained by a repetition of the same word or a jingle of similar ones,
together with the abuse of periphrasis, and, it may be added, of the
pathetic fallacy. These last have been dangers in all periods of stylistic
experiment; the former, figures duly noted as ornaments by contemporary
rhetoricians, Sidney no doubt borrowed from Spain. There in one famous
example they were shortly to excite the enthusiasm of the knight of La
Mancha--'The reason of the unreason which is done to my reason in such
manner enfeebles my reason that with reason I lament your beauty'--a
sentence which one is sometimes tempted to imagine Sidney must have set
before him as a model. Thus it would appear that, for their essential
elements, Euphuism and Arcadianism, though distinct, alike sought their
models, direct or indirect, in the Spanish literature of the day. Almost
any passage, chosen at random, will illustrate Sidney's style. Observe the
balance of clauses in the following sentence from Kalander's speech, which
inclines perhaps towards Euphuism:

I am no herald to enquire of mens pedegrees, it sufficeth me if I know
their vertues, which, if this young mans face be not a false witnes, doe
better apparrell his minde, then you have done his body. (1590, fol.

Or again, as an instance of the jingle of words, take the following from
the steward's narration:

I thinke you thinke, that these perfections meeting, could not choose
but find one another, and delight in that they found, for likenes of
manners is likely in reason to drawe liking with affection; mens actions
doo not alwaies crosse with reason: to be short, it did so in deed. (ib.
fol. 20.)

Of Sidney's power of description the stock example is his account of the
Arcadian landscape (fol. 7), and it is perhaps the best and at the same
time the most characteristic that could be found; the author's peculiar
tricks are at once obvious. There are 'the humble valleis, whose base
estate semed comforted with refreshing of silver rivers,' and the
'thickets, which being lined with most pleasant shade, were witnessed so
to by the chereful deposition of many wel-tuned birds'; there are the
pastures where 'the prety lambs with bleting oratory craved the dams
comfort,' where sat the young shepherdess knitting, whose 'voice comforted
her hands to work, and her hands kept time to her voices musick,' a
country where the scattered houses made 'a shew, as it were, of an
accompanable solitarines, and of a civil wildnes,' where lastly--_si sic
omnia_!--was the 'shepheards boy piping, as though he should never be
old.' It must not be supposed that these are occasional embroideries; they
are the very cloth of which the whole pastoral habit is made. The above
examples all occur within a few pages, and might even have been gathered
from a yet smaller plot. It is, however, on the prose, such as it is, that
the reputation of the _Arcadia_ rests; a good deal of occasional verse is
introduced, but it has often been subject of remark how wholly unworthy of
its author most of it is.

Given the widespread popularity of the work, the influence exercised by
the story on English letters is hardly a matter for wonder. Of its general
influence on the drama it will be my business to speak later; at present
we may note that while yet in manuscript it probably supplied Lodge with
certain hints for his _Rosalynde_, and so indirectly influenced _As You
Like It_. One of the best-known episodes, again, that of Argalus and
Parthenia, was versified by Quarles in 1632, and, adorned with a series of
cuts, went through a large number of editions before the end of the
century, besides being dramatized by Glapthorne. The incident of Pyrocles
heading the Zelots has been thought to have suggested the scene in the
_Two Gentlemen of Verona_ in which Valentine consents to lead the robber
band, while to Sidney Shakespeare was likewise indebted, not only for the
cowards' fight in _Twelfth Night_, but in the 'story of the Paphlagonian
unkinde king,' for the original of the Gloster episode in _King Lear_. A
certain prayer out of the later portion of the romance was, as is well
known, a favourite with Charles I in the days of his misfortune, but the
controversial use made of the fact by Milton it is happily possible to
pass over in silence.

Finally, it is worth mentioning as illustrating the vogue of Sidney's
romance, that it not only had the very singular honour of being translated
into French in the first half of the seventeenth century, but that two
translations actually appeared, the rivalry between which gave rise to a
literary controversy of some asperity[150].

Thus we take leave of the pastoral novel or romance, a kind which never
attained to the weighty tradition of the eclogue, or the grace of the
lyric, nor was subjected to the rigorous artistic form of the drama[151].
It remained throughout nerveless and diffuse, and, in spite of much
incidental beauty, was habitually wanting in interest, except in so far as
it renounced its pastoral nature. As Professor Raleigh has put it: 'To
devise a set of artificial conditions that shall leave the author to work
out the sentimental inter-relations of his characters undisturbed by the
intrusion of probability or accident is the problem; love _in vacuo_ is
the beginning and end of the pastoral romance proper.' A similar attempt
is noticeable in the drama, but the conditions soon came to be recognized
as impossible for artistic use. The operation of human affection under
utterly imaginary and impossible conditions is not a matter of human
interest; the resuit was a purely fictitious amatory code, as absurd as it
was unhealthy, and, when sustained by no extrinsic interest of allegory or
the like, the kind soon disappeared. As it is, in the pastoral novel, it
is only when the enchanted circle is broken by the rough and tumble of
vulgar earthly existence that on the featureless surface of the waters
something of the light and shade of true romance replaces the steady
pitiless glare ot a philosophical or sentimental ideal.

Chapter III.

Italian Pastoral Drama


We have now passed in review the main classes of non-dramatic pastoral
both abroad and in this country. Such preliminary survey was necessary in
order to obtain an idea of the history and nature of pastoral composition
in general. It was further rendered imperative by more particular
considerations which will appear in the course of the present chapter, for
we shall find that the pastoral drama comes into being, not through the
infusion of the Arcadian ideal into pre-existing dramatic forms, but
through the actual evolution of a new dramatic form from the pre-existing
non-dramatic pastoral.

It is time to retrace our steps and to pick up the thread which we dropped
in a former chapter, the development, namely, of the vernacular eclogue in
Italy. If in so doing we are forced to enter at greater length upon the
discussion of individual works, we shall find ample excuse, not only in
their intrinsic merit, but likewise in their more direct bearing upon what
is after all the main subject of this volume. The pastoral drama of Italy
is the immediate progenitor of that of England. Further, it might be
pleaded that special interest attaches to the Arcadian pastoral as the
only dramatic form of conspicuous vitality for which Italy is the crediter
of European letters.

The history of the rise of the pastoral drama in Italy is a complicated
subject, and one not altogether free from obscurity. Many forces were at
work determining the development of the form, and these it is difficult so
to present as at once to leave a clear impression and yet not to allow any
one element to usurp an importance it does not in reality possess. Any
account which gives a specious appearance of simplicity to the case
should be mistrusted. That I have been altogether successful in my
treatment I can hardly hope, but at least the method followed has not been
hastily adopted. I propose to consider, first of all and apart from the
rest, the early mythological drama, which while exercising a marked
influence over the spirit of the later pastoral can in no way be regarded
as its origin. Next, I shall trace the evolution of the pastoral drama
proper from its germ in the non-dramatic eclogue, by way of the _ecloghe
rappresentative_, and treat incidentally the allied rustic shows, which
form a class apart from the main line of development. Lastly, I shall have
to say a few words concerning the early pastoral plays by Beccari and
others before turning to the masterpieces of Tasso and Guarini, the
consideration of which will occupy the chief part of this chapter[152].

The class of productions known as mythological plays, which powerfully
influenced the character of the pastoral drama, sprang from the union of
classical tradition with the machinery of native religious
representations, in Poliziano's _Favola d' Orfeo_. This was the first
non-religious play in the vernacular, and its dependence on the earlier
religious drama is striking. Indeed, the blending of medieval and
classical forms and conventions may be traced throughout the early secular
drama of Italy. Boiardo's _Timone_, a play written at some unknown date
previous to 1494, preserves, in spite of its classical models, much of the
allegorical character of the morality, and was undoubtedly acted on a
stage comprising two levels, the upper representing heaven in which Jove
sat enthroned on the seat of Adonai. The same scenic arrangement may well
have been used in the _Orfeo_, the lower stage representing Hades[153];
while Niccolò da Correggio's _Cefalo_ was evidently acted on a polyscenic
stage, the actors passing in view of the audience from one part to
another[154]. At a yet earlier period Italian writers in the learned
tongue had taken as the subjects of their plays stories from classical
legend and myth, and among these we find not only recognized tragedy
themes such as the rape of Polyxena dramatized by Lionardo Bruni, but
tales such as that of Progne put on the stage by Gregorio Corrado, both of
which preceded by many years the work of Politian and Correggio.

The earliest secular play in Italian is, then, nothing but a _sacra
rappresentazione_ on a pagan theme, a fact which was probably clearly
recognized when, in the early editions from 1494 onwards, the piece was
described as the 'festa di Orpheo[155].' It was written in 1471, when
Poliziano was about seventeen, and we learn from the author's epistle
prefixed to the printed edition that ît was composed in the short space of
two days for representation before Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga at Mantua.
From the same epistle we learn that the author desired, or at least
assumed the attitude of desiring, that his composition should share the
fate of the ill-fashioned Lacedaemonian children; 'Cognoscendo questa mia
figliuola essere di qualità da fare più tosto al suo padre vergogna che
onore; e più tosto atta a dargli malinconia che allegrezza.' The _favola_
as originally put forth continued to be reprinted without alteration, till
1776, when Ireneo Affò published the _Orphei Tragoedia_ from a collation
of two manuscripts. This differs in various respects from the printed
version, among others in being divided, short as it is, into five acts,
headed respectively 'Pastorale,' 'Ninfale,' 'Eroico,' 'Negromantico,' and
'Baccanale.' It is now known to represent a revision of the piece made,
probably by Antonio Tebaldeo, for representation at Ferrara, and in it
much of the popular and topical element has been eliminated. The action
of the piece is based in a general manner upon the story given by Ovid in
the tenth book of the _Metamorphoses_.

The performance begins with a prologue by Mercury which is nothing but a
short argument of the whole plot. 'Mercurio annunzia la festa' is the
superscription in the original, evidently suggested by the appearance of
'un messo di Dio' with which the religious _rappresentazioni_ usually
open. At the end of this prologue a shepherd appears and finishes the
second octave with the couplet:

State attenti, brigata; buono augurio;
Poi che di cielo in terra vien Mercurio.

In the Ferrarese revision these stanzas appear as 'Argomento' without
mention of Mercury, while for the above lines are substituted the
astonishing doggerel:

Or stia ciascuno a tutti gli atti intento,
Che cinque sono; e questo è l' argomento.

Thereupon (beginning Act I of the revision) enters Mopso, an old shepherd,
meeting Aristeo, a youthful one, with his herdsman Tirsi. Mopso asks
whether his white calf has been seen, and Aristeo, who fancies he has
heard a lowing from beyond the hill, sends his boy to see. In the
meanwhile he detains Mopso with an account of his love for a nymph he met
the day before, and sings a _canzona_:

Ch' i' so che la mia ninfa il canto agogna[156].

It runs on the familiar themes of love: 'Di doman non c' è certezza.'

Digli, zampogna mia, come via fugge
Con gli anni insieme la bellezza snella;
E digli come il tempo ne distrugge,
Ne l' età persa mai si rinovella;
Digli che sappi usar sua forma bella,
Che sempre mai non son rose e viole...
Udite, selve, mie dolci parole,
Poi che la ninfa mia udir non vole.

The boy Tirsi now returns, having with much trouble driven the strayed
calf back to the herd, and narrates how he saw an unknown nymph of
wondrous beauty gathering flowers about the hill. Aristeo recognizes from
this description the object of his love, and, leaving Mopso and Tirsi to
shake their heads over his midsummer madness, goes off to find her.

So far we might be reading one of the _ecloghe rappresentative_ which we
shall have to consider shortly, but of which the earliest known examples
cannot well be less than ten or twelve years later than Poliziano's play.
With the exception, indeed, of one or two in Boccaccio's _Ameto_, it is
doubtful whether any vernacular eclogues had appeared at the time. The
character of Tirsi belongs to rustic tradition, and must be an experiment
contemporary with, if not prior to, Lorenzo's _Nencia_. The portion before
the _canzone_ is in _terza rima_; that after it, like the prologue, in

The original proceeds without break to the song of Aristeo as he pursues
the flying Euridice (Act II in the revision):

Poi che 'l pregar non vale,
E tu via ti dilegui,
El convien ch' io ti segui.
Porgimi, Amor, porgimi or le tue ale.

While Aristeo is following Euridice, Orfeo enters upon the scene with a
Latin ode in Sapphic metre in honour of Cardinal Gonzaga. A note informs
us that this was originally sung by 'Messer Braccio Ugolino, attore di
detta persona d' Orfeo.' In place of this ode the revised text contains a
long 'Coro delle Driadi,' with two speeches in _terza rima_ by the
choragus, announcing and lamenting the death of Euridice, who as she fled
from Aristeo has been stung in the foot by a serpent. After this the news
of her death is reported to Orfeo--by a shepherd in the original, by a
dryad in the revised version. That the substitution of the chorus for the
Sapphic ode is an improvement from the poetic point of view will hardly be
denied, yet this improvement has been attained at the cost of some
dramatic sacrifice. In the original Orfeo is introduced naturally enough
in his character of supreme poet and musician to do honour to the
occasion, and it is only after he has been on the stage some time that the
news of Euridice's death is brought. In the revision he is merely
introduced for the purpose of being informed of his wife's death--he has
hardly been so much as mentioned before. He thus loses the slight
opportunity previously afforded him of presenting a dramatic individuality
apart from the very essence of his tragedy.

The announcement to Orfeo of Euridice's death begins the third act of the
revised text, which is amplified at this point by the introduction of a
satyr Mnesillo, who acts as chorus to Orfeo's lament. The character of a
friendly satyr is interesting in view of the role commonly assigned to his
species in pastoral.

After this we have in the original the direction 'Orfeo cantando giugne
all' Inferno,' while in the revision there is again a new act, the fourth.
Symonds pointed out that the merits of the piece are less dramatic than
lyrical, and that fortunately the central scene was one in which the
situation was capable of lyrical expression. The pleading of Orfeo before
the gates of Hades and at the throne of Pluto forms the lyrical kernel of
the play, and gives it its poetic value. The bard appears before the
iron-bound portals of the nether world, and the pains of hell surcease.
'Who is he?' asks Pluto--

Chi è costui che con sì dolce nota
Muove l' abisso, e con l' ornata cetra?
Io veggo ferma d' Ission la rota,...
Nè più P acqua di Tantalo s' arretra;
E veggo Cerber con tre bocche intente,
E le furie acquietar il suo lamento.

At length he stands before Pluto's throne, the seat of the God of the
_sacre rappresentazioni_, the rugged rock-seat surrounded by the monstrous
demons of Signorelli's _tondo_[157]. Here in presence of the grim ravisher
and of his pale consort, in whom the passionate pleading of the Thracian
bard stirs long-forgotten memories of spring and of the plains of Enna,
Orfeo's song receives adequate expression. It is closely imitated from the
corresponding passage in Ovid, but the lyrical perfection and passionate
crescendo of the stanzas are Poliziano's own. Addressing Pluto, Orfeo
discovers the object of his quest:

Non per Cerber legar fo questa via,
Ma solamente per la donna mia.

May not love penetrate even the forbidden bounds of hell?--

se memoria alcuna in voi si serba
Del vostro celebrato antico amore,
Se la vecchia rapina a mente avete,
Euridice mia bella mi rendete.

Why should death grudge the few years at most which complete the span of
human life?--

Ogni cosa nel fine a voi ritorna;
Ogni vita mortal quaggiù ricade:
Quanto cerchia la luna con sue corna
Convien che arrivi alle vostre contrade--

or why reap amid the unmellowed corn?--

Così la ninfa mia per voi si serba,
Quando sua morte gli darà natura.
Or la tenera vite e l' uva acerba
Tagliata avete con la falce dura.

Chi è che mieta la sementa in erba
E non aspetti ch' ella sia matura?
Dunque rendete a me la mia speranza:
Io non vel chieggio in don, questa è prestanza.

Next he invokes the pity of the stern god by the name of Chaos whence the
world had birth, and by the dread rivers of the nether world, by Styx and
Acheron: 'E pel sonante ardor di Flegetonte'; and lastly, turning to 'the
faery-queen Proserpina,'

Pel pome che a te già, Regina, piacque,
Quando lasciasti pria nostro orizzonte.
E se pur me la niega iniqua sorte,
Io no vo' su tornar, ma chieggio morte![158]

Hell itself relents, and, as Boccaccio had written,

forse lieta gli rendeo
La cercata Euridice a condizione--

the condition being that he shall not turn to behold her before attaining
once again to the land of the living. The condition, of course, is not
fulfilled. Orfeo seeks to clasp 'his half regain'd Eurydice,' with the
triumphant cry of Ovid holding the conquered Corinna in his arms:

Ite triumphales circum mea tempora lauri.
Vicimus: Eurydice reddita vita mihi est.
Haec est praecipuo Victoria digna triumpho.
Hue ades, o cura parte triumphe mea[159].

He turns, and his unsubstantial love sinks back into the realm of shadows
with the cry:

Oimè che 'I troppo amore
Ci ha disfatti ambe dua.
Ecco ch' io ti son tolta a gran furore,
Nè sono ormai più tua.

Ben tendo a te le braccia; ma non vale,
Che indietro son tirata. Orfeo mio, _vale_.

As he would follow her once more a fury bars the road.

Desperate of his love, the bard now forswears for ever the company of
women (Act V of the revised text).

Da qui innanzi vo corre i fior novelli ...
Ouesto è più dolce e più soave amore;
Non sia chi mai di donna mi favelli,
Poi che morta è colei ch' ebbe il mio core.

Now that she is dead, what faith abides in woman?--

Quanto è misero l' uom che cangia voglia
Per donna, o mai per lei s' allegra, o duole!...
Che sempre è più leggier ch' al vento foglia,
E mille volte il di vuole e disvuole.
Segue chi fugge; a chi la vuol, s' asconde,
E vanne e vien come alla riva l' onde.

The cry wrung from him by his grief anticipates the cynical philosophy of
later pastorals. Upon this the scene is invaded by 'The riot of the tipsy
Bacchanals,' eager to avenge the insult offered to their sex[160]. They
drive the poet out, and presently returning in triumph with his 'gory
visage,' break out into the celebrated chorus 'full of the swift fierce
spirit of the god.' This gained considerably by revision, and in the later
text runs as follows:

Ciascun segua, o Bacco, te;
Bacco, Bacco, oè oè.
Di corimbi e di verd' edere
Cinto il capo abbiam così
Per servirti a tuo richiedere
Festeggiando notte e dì.
Ognun beva: Bacco è quì;
E lasciate here a me.
Ciascun segua, ec.

Io ho vuoto già il mio corno:
Porgi quel cantaro in qua.
Questo monte gira intorno,
O 'l cervello a cerchio va:
Ognun corra in qua o in là,
Come vede fare a me.
Ciascun segua, ec.

Io mi moro già di sonno:
Sono io ebra o sì o no?
Più star dritti i piè non ponno.
Voi siet' ebri, ch' io lo so;
Ognun faccia com' io fo;
Ognun succe come me.
Ciascun segua, ec.

Ognun gridi Bacco, Bacco,
E poi cacci del vin giù;
Poi col sonno farem fiacco,
Bevi tu e tu e tu.
Io non posso ballar più;
Ognun gridi Evoè.[161]
Ciascun segua, o Bacco, te;
Bacco, Bacco, oè oè.

Lyrical beauty rather than dramatic power was, it has already been
remarked, Poliziano's aim and achievement. The want of characterization in
the hero, the insignificance of the part allotted to Euridice, the total
inadequacy of the tragic climax, measure the author's power as a
dramatist. It is the lyrical passages--Aristeo's song, Orfeo's impassioned
pleading, the bacchanalian dance chorus--that supply the firm supports of
art upon which rests the slight fabric of the play.

The same simplicity of construction, a simplicity in nature rather
narrative than dramatic, characterizes Niccolò da Correggio's _Cefalo_.
The play was represented in state in the great courtyard of the ducal
palace at Ferrara, on the occasion of the marriage of Lucrezia d' Este
with Annibale Bentivogli, on January 21, 1487[162]. Like the _Orfeo_, the
piece exhibits traces of its origin in the religious shows, though, unlike
the original draft of Poliziano's play, it is divided into five acts each
of some length, and is provided with regular choruses on the classical
model. In spite of its inferiority to the _Orfeo_ in lyric power and its
possibly even greater deficiency from a dramatic point of view, it will be
worth while giving some account of the piece in order to get as clear an
idea as possible of the nature and limitations of the mythological drama,
and also because it has never, I believe, been reprinted in modern times,
and is in consequence practically unknown to English readers.

The author, a descendant of the princely house of Correggio, was born
about 1450, and married the daughter of the famous _condottiere_
Bartolommeo Colleoni. He lived for some years at Milan at the court of
Lodovico Sforza; later he migrated to that of the Estensi. In 1493 he sent
an allegorical eclogue to Isabella Gonzaga at Mantua, which may possibly
have been represented, though we have no note of the fact, and the poem
itself has perished[163]. He died in 1508.

After a prologue which resembles that of the _Orfeo_ in giving an argument
of the whole piece, the first act opens with a scene in which Aurora seeks
the love of Cefalo. Offended at finding her advances repulsed, the goddess
hints that the wife to whom Cefalo is so careful of his faith is, for her
part, more free of her favours; and upon Cefalo indignantly refusing
credence to the slander, suggests that he should himself in disguise make
trial of her fidelity. This the unfortunate youth resolves to do. He
approaches Procri in the habit of a merchant, with goods for sale, and
takes the opportunity thus afforded of declaring his love. She turns to
fly, but the pretended passion of his suit stays her, and she is brought
to lend an ear to his cunning. He retails the commonplaces of the
despairing lover:

Deh, non fuggire, e non si altiera in vista;
Odime alquanto, e scolta i preghi mei.
Che fama mai per crudeltà se acquista?
Bellissima sei pur, cruda non dei.
Non sai che Amor non vol che se resista
A colpi soi? così vinto mi dei
Subito ch' io ti viddi; eh, non fuggire,
Forza non ti farò; deh, stammi audire.

Not Jove or Phoebus he to assume strange shapes for her love; he is but
her slave, and can but offer his pedlar's pack; but he knows of hidden
treasure in the earth, and hers, too, shall be vesture of the fairest.
After gold and soft raiment comes the trump card of the seducer--secrecy:

Cosa secreta mai non se riprende;
El tempo che si perde mai non torna;
Qui non serai veduta, or che se attende
Quel se ha a dolere, che al suo ben sogiorna.
Secreto è il loco, el sol pur non vi splende;
Bella sei tu, sol manca che sii adorna
Di veste come io intendo ultra il tesoro.
Deh, non mi tener più; vedi ch' io moro.

She is almost won; one last assault, and her defences fall. Why, indeed,
should she hesitate--

Poi ch' Amor dice, ogni secreta è casta?

This stroke of cynicism is put forward as it were but half intentionally,
and with no appreciation of its intense irony in the mouth of the husband.
Throughout the scene indeed he appears merely as a common seducer, and the
author seems wholly to have failed to grasp the real dramatic value of the
situation. On the other hand, the lesser art of the stage has been
mastered with some success, and there is an adaptation of language to
action which at least argues that the author had a vivid picture of the
staging of his play in his mind when he wrote.

The moment Procri has consented to barter her honour, Cefalo discovers
himself, and the unhappy girl flies in terror. Seeing now, too late, the
resuit of his foolish mistrust, Cefalo follows with prayers and

Son ben certo
Che tu mi cognoscesti ancor coperto--

but in vain. The act ends with a song in which Aurora glories in the
success of her revenge--

Festegiam con tutto il core;
Biastemate hor meco Amore!

In the second act Procri, having recovered from her fright, is bent on
avenging herself for the deceit practised by Cefalo, upon whose supposed
love for Aurora she throws the blame in the matter. She seeks the grove of
Diana, where she is enrolled among the followers of the goddess. Cefalo,
who has followed her flight, rejoins her in the wood, and there renews his
prayers. She refuses to recognize him, denies being his wife, and is about
to renew her flight, when an old shepherd, attracted by Cefalo's
lamentation, stays her and forces her to hear her husband's pleading.
Other shepherds appear on the scene, and the act ends with an eclogue. In
the next we find her reconciled to Cefalo, to whom she gives the
wind-swift dog and the unerring spear which she had received as a nymph of
Diana. Cefalo at once sets the hound upon the traces of a boar, and goes
off in pursuit, while his wife returns home. He shortly reappears, having
lost boar and hound alike, and, tired with the chase, falls asleep.
Meanwhile a faun, finding Procri alone, tells her that he had seen Cefalo
meeting with his love Aurora in the wood--a piece of news in return for
which he seeks her love. She, however, resolves to go and surprise the
supposed lovers, and setting fire to the wood, herself to perish with them
in the flames. On Cefalo's return he is met with bitter reproaches, and
the act ends with a chorus of fauns and satyrs. The fourth contains the
catastrophe. Procri hides in the wood in hope of surprising her husband
with his paramour. Cefalo enters ready for the chase, and, seeing what he
takes to be a wild beast among bushes, throws the fatal spear, which
pierces Procri's breast. A reconciliation precedes her death, and the
close of the act is rendered effective by the successive summoning of the
Muses and nymphs in some graceful stanzas. With a little polishing, such
as Poliziano's bacchanalian chorus received in revision, the scene would
not be unworthy of the time and place of its production.

Oimè sorelle, o Galatea, presto!
Donate al cervo ormai un poco pace;
Soccorrete al pianger quel caso mesto.
Oimè sorelle, Procri morta giace,
L' alma spirata, e il ciel guardando tace.

At Cefalo's desire Calliope summons her sister Muses, Phillis the nymphs,
after which all join in a choral ode calling upon the divinities of
mountain, wood, and stream to join in a universal lament:

Weep, spirits of the woods and of the hills,
Weep, each pure nymph beside her fountain-head,
And weep, ye mountains, in a thousand rills,
For the fair child who here below lies dead:
Mourn, all ye gods, the last of human ills,

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