The Rowley Poems - ECLOGUE THE THIRD


Wouldst thou kenn Nature in her better parte?
Goe, serche the logges <1> and bordels <2> of the hynde <3>;
Gyfe <4> theye have anie, itte ys roughe-made arte,
Inne hem <5> you see the blakied <6> forme of kynde <7>.
Haveth your mind a lycheynge <8> of a mynde?
Woulde it kenne everich thynge as it mote <9> bee;
Woulde ytte here phrase of the vulgar from the hynde,
Wythoute wiseegger <10> wordes and knowlache <11> free,
Gyf soe, rede thys, whych Iche dysporteynge <12> pende,
Gif nete besyde, yttes rhyme maie ytte commend. 10


Botte whether, fayre mayde do ye goe,
O where do ye bend yer waie?
I wile knowe whether you goe,
I wylle not be asseled <13> naie.


To Robyn and Nell, all downe in the Delle,
To hele <14> hem at makeynge of haie.


Syr Rogerre the Parsone hav hyred mee there,
Comme, Comme, lette us tryppe ytte awaie;
We'lle wurche <15> and wylle synge, and wylle drenche <16> of stronge Beere,
As longe as the merrie sommers daie. 20


Howe harde ys mie dome to wurch!
Moke is mie woe:
Dame Agnes whoe lies ynne the Chyrche,
With birlette <17> golde;
Wythe gelten <18> aumeres <19> stronge ontolde,
What was shee moe than me, to be soe?


I kenne Syr Roger from afar,
Tryppynge over the Lea,
Ich ask whie the loverds <20> son
Is moe than mee. 30


The sweltrie <21> sonne dothe hie apace hys wayne <22>.
From everich beme, a seme <23> of lyfe doe falle;
Swythyn <24> scille <25> oppe the haie uponne the playne,
Methynckes the cockse begynneth to gre <26> talle:
Thys ys alyche oure doome <27>, the great, the smalle,
Moste withe and be forwyned <29> by Deathis darte;
See the swote <30> flourette <31> hathe noe swote at alle;
Itte wythe the ranke wede berethe evalle <32> parte,
The cravent <33>, warriour, and the wyse be blent <34>:
Alyche to drie awaie, with those thele did bemente <35>. 40


All-a-Boon <36> Syr Priest, all-a-boon,
Bye yer preesteschype nowe saye unto mee:
Sir Gaufryd the knyghte, who lyveth harde bie,
Whie should hee, than me
Bee moe greate,
Inne honnoure, knyghtehoode and estate?


Attourne <37> thine eyne arounde thys haied mee,
Tentyflie <38> loke arounde the chaper <39> delle <40>;
An answer to thie barganette <41> here see,
Thys welked <42> flouertte wylle a leson telle 50
Arist <43>, it blew <44>, itte florished, and dyd welle,
Lokeynge ascaunce <45> upon the naighboure greene,
Yet with the deigned <46> greene, yttes rennome <47> felle,
Eftsonnes <48> ytte shronke upon the daie-brente <48> playne,
Didde not yttes loke, whilest ytte there dyd stonde,
To croppe ytte in the bodde move somme drede honde.

Syke <50> ys the waie of lyffe: the loverds <51> ente <52>,
Mooveth the robber hym therfor to slea: <53>
Gyf thou has ethe <54>, the shadowe of contente,
Believe the trothe <55>, theres none moe haile <56> yan thee: 60
Thou wurchest <57>; welle, canne thatte, a trobble bee?
Slothe moe wulde jade thee, than the roughest daie,
Couldest thou the kivercled <58> of soughlys <59> see,
Thou wuldst eftsoones <60> see trothe, inne whatte I saie;
Botte lette mee heere thie waie offe lyffe; and thenne
Heare thou from mee the lyffs of odher menne.


I ryse wythe the Sonne,
Lyche hym to dryve the wayne <61>
And eere mie wurche is don
I synge a Songe or twayne. <62> 70

I followe the plough tayle,
Wythe a long jubb <63> of ale.
Botte of the Maydens, oh!
Itte lacketh notte to telle;

Syr Preeste mote notte crie woe,
Culde hys bull do as welle
I daunce the beste heiedeygnes <64>,
And foile the wysest feygnes.

On everych Seynctes his daie,
Wythe the mynstrelle <67> am I seen, 80
All a footeynge it awaie,
Wythe maydens on the greene
But oh! I wyshe to be moe greate,
In rennome, tenure and estate.


Has thou ne sene a tree uponne a hylle,
Whose unliste <68> braunces <69> rechen far toe syghte;
Whan fuired <70> unwers <71> doe the heaven fylle,
Itte shaketh deere <72> yn dole <73> and moke affryghte:
Whilst the congeon <74> flowrette abessie <75> dyghte <76>,
Stondeth unhurte, unquaced <77> bie the storme; 90
Syke is a picte <78> of lyffe: the manne of myghte,
Is tempest-chaft <79>: hys woe greate as hys forme
Thieself a flourette of a small accounte,
Wouldst harder felle the wynde, as hygher thee dydste mount.


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