The Shepheardes Calender:
is copyright © The University
Oregon; it is distributed for scholarly and nonprofit purposes
only. Risa S. Bear
A R G
V M E N
two shepheards boyes taking occasion of the season, beginne to make
of loue and other pleasaunce, which to springtime is most agreeable.
speciall meaning hereof is, to giue certaine markes and tokens, to know
Cupide the Poets God of Loue. But more particularlye I thinke, in the
of Thomalin is meant some secrete freend, who scorned Loue and his
so long, till at length him selfe was entangled, and unwares wounded
the dart of some beautifull regard, which is Cupides arrowe.
As weren ouerwent
Vpon so fayre a morow?
The ioyous time now nighest
That shall alegge
this bitter blast,
And slake the winters sorowe.
Sicker Willye, thou warnest
For Winters wrath beginnes
And pleasant spring
The grasse now ginnes to be
peepes out of her nest,
And clowdie Welkin
Seest not thilke same
How bragly it beginnes to
And vtter his tender head?
now calleth forth eche flower,
And bids make ready Maias
That newe is vpryst from
Tho shall we sporten in
And learne with Lettice
to wexe light,
That scornefully lookes askaunce,
Tho will we little Loue
That nowe sleepeth in Lethe
And pray him leaden our
Willye, I wene thou bee assott:
For lustie Loue still
But is abroad at his game.
How kenst thou, that he is
Or hast thy selfe his
Or made preuie to the same?
No, but happely I hym spyde,
Where in a bush he did him
purple and blewe.
And were not, that my sheepe
The preuie marks I would
Whereby by chaunce I him
Thomalin, haue no care for
My selfe will haue a double
Ylike to my flocke and thine:
home I haue a syre,
A stepdame eke as whott as
That dewly adayes counts
Nay, but thy seeing will not
My sheepe for that may
And fall into some mischiefe.
For sithens is but the third
That I chaunst to fall a
And waked againe with griefe:
The while thilke same
Whose clouted legge her hurt
Fell headlong into a
And there vnioynted both her
Mought her necke bene
She shoulde haue neede no
Thelf was so wanton and so
(But now I trowe can better
She mought ne gang
on the greene,
Let be, as may be, that is
That is to come, let be
Now tell vs, what thou hast
It was vpon a holiday,
When shepheardes groomes han
I cast to goe a shooting.
Long wandring vp and downe
With bowe and bolts in
For birds in bushes tooting:
At length within an
(There shrouded was the
I heard a busie bustling.
I bent my bow against the
Listening if any thing did
But then heard no more
Tho peeping close into the
Might see the mouing of some
Whose shape appeared not:
But were it faerie, feend,
My courage earnd it to awake,
And manfully thereat shotte.
With that sprong forth a
With spotted winges like
And laughing lope to a tree.
His gylden quiuer at his
And silver bowe, which was
Which lightly he bent at me.
That seeing, I leuelde
And shott at him with might
As thicke, as it had hayled.
So long I shott, that al was
Tho pumie stones I hastly
And threwe: but nought
He was so wimble,
and so wight,
From bough to bough he
And oft the pumies latched.
Therewith affrayd I ranne
But he, that earst seemd but
A shaft in earnest snatched,
And hit me running in
For then I little smart did
But soone it sore encreased.
And now it ranckleth more
And inwardly it festreth
Ne wote I, how to cease it.
Thomalin, I pittie thy
Perdie with loue thou
I know him by a token.
I heard my father say,
How he him caught vpon a day,
(Whereof he wilbe wroken)
Entangled in a fowling net,
Which he for carrion Crowes
That in our Peeretree
Tho sayd, he was a winged
But bowe and shafts as then
Els had he sore be daunted.
But see the Welkin thicks
And stouping Phebus
steepes his face:
Yts time to hast vs homeward.
To be wise
and eke to
Is graunted scarce to
Of Hony and
in loue there is store:
The Honye is much, but
seemeth somewhat to resemble that same of Theocritus, wherein the boy
telling the old man, that he had shot at a winged boy in a tree, was by
hym warned, to beware of mischiefe to come.
to lessen or aswage.
quell) to abate.
swallow) which bird vseth to be counted the messenger, as it were, the
fore runner of springe.
the Goddesse of flowres, but indede (as saith Tacitus) a famous harlot,
which with the abuse of her body hauing gotten great riches, made the
of Rome her heyre: who in remembraunce of so great beneficence,
a yearely feste for the memoriall of her, calling her, not as she was,
nor as some doe think, Andronica, but Flora: making her the Goddesse of
all floures, and doing yerely to her solemne sacrifice.
bowre) that is the pleasaunt fielde, or rather the Maye bushes. Maia is
a Goddes and the mother of Mercurie, in honour of whome the moneth of
is of her name so called, as sayth Macrobius.
the name of some country lasse.
askewe or asquint.
is a lake in hell, which the Poetes call the lake of forgetfulnes. For
Lethe signifieth forgetfulnes. Wherein the soules being dipped, did
the cares of their former lyfe. So that by loue sleeping in Lethe lake,
he meaneth he was almost forgotten and out of knowledge, by reason of
hardnesse, when al pleasures, as it were, sleepe and weare out of mynde.
slomber) To breake Loues slomber, is to exercise the delightes of Loue
and wanton pleasures.
of purple) so is he feigned of the Poetes.
als) he imitateth Virgils verse.
domi pater, est iniusta nouerca &c.
a hole in the ground.
is a kind of verse or charme, that in elder tymes they vsed often to
ouer euery thing, that they would haue preserued, as the Nightspel for
theeues, and the woodspell. And herehence I thinke is named the
as it were Gods spell or worde. And so sayth Chaucer, Listeneth
to my spell.
Yuie todde) a thicke bushe.
a boye: for so he is described of the Poetes, to be a boye .s. alwayes
freshe and lustie: blindfolded, because he maketh no difference of
wyth diuers coloured winges, .s. ful of flying fancies: with bowe and
that is with glaunce of beautye, which prycketh as a forked arrowe. He
is sayd also to haue shafts, some leaden, some golden: that is, both
for the gracious and loued, and sorow for the louer that is disdayned
forsaken. But who liste more at large to behold Cupids colours and
let him reade ether Propertius, or Moschus his Idyllion of wandring
being now most excellently translated into Latine by the singuler
man Angelus Politianus: Whych worke I haue seene amongst other of thys
Poets doings, very wel translated also into Englishe Rymes.
and wighte) Quicke and deliuer.
the heele) is very Poetically spoken, and not without speciall
For I remember, that in Homer it is sayd of Thetis, that shee tooke her
young babe Achilles being newely borne, and holding him by the heele,
him in the River of Styx. The vertue whereof is, to defend and keepe
bodyes washed therein from any mortall wound. So Achilles being washed
al ouer, saue anely his hele, by which his mother held, was in the rest
[invulnerable]: therfore by Paris was feyned to bee shotte with a
arrowe in the heele, whiles he was busie about the marying of Polyena
the temple of Apollo. Which mysticall fable Eustathius vnfolding,
that by wounding in the hele, is meant lustfull loue. For from the
(as say the best Phisitions) to the preuie partes there passe certaine
veines and slender synnewes, as also the like come from the head, and
carryed lyke little pypes behynd the eares: so that (as sayth
yf those veynes there be cut a sonder, the partie straighte becometh
and vnfruiteful. which reason our Poete wel weighing, maketh this
boye of purpose to be wounded by Loue in the heele.
once) In this tale is sette out the simplicitye of shepheards opinion
Phaebus) Is a Periphrasis of the sunne setting.
all the delights of Loue, wherein wanton youth walloweth, be but follye
mixt with bitternesse, and sorow sawced with repentaunce. For besides
the very affection of Loue it selfe tormenteth the mynde, and vexeth
body many wayes, with vnrestfulnesse all night, and wearines all day,
for that we can not haue: euen the selfe things which best before vs
in course of time and chaung of ryper yeares, whiche also therewithall
chaungeth our wonted lyking and former fantasies, will then seeme
and breede vs annoyaunce, when yougthes flowre is withered, and we
our bodyes and wits aunswere not to suche vayne iollitie and lustfull
Go on to April.