The Second Eclogues

Dicus and Dorus

Dicus. Dorus , tell me, where is thy wonted motion
To make these woods resound thy lamentation?
Thy saint is dead, or dead is thy devotion
For who doth hold his love in estimation,
To witness that he thinks his thoughts delicious,
Seeks to make each thing badge of his sweet passion

Dorus. But what doth make thee, Dicus , so suspicious
Of my due faith, which needs must be immutable?
Who others' virtue doubt, themselves are vicious.
Not so; although my metal were most mutable,
Her beams have wrought therein most sure impression:
To such a force soon change were nothing suitable.

Dicus. The heart well set doth never shun confession;
If noble be thy bands, make them notorious;
Silence doth seem the mask of base oppression.
Who glories in his love doth make love glorious;
But who doth fear, or bideth muett wilfully,
Shows guilty heart doth deem his state opprobrious.
Thou, then, that fram'st both words and voice most skilfully,
Yield to our ears a sweet and sound relation,
If Love took thee by force, or caught thee guilefully.

Dorus. If sunny beams shame heav'nly habitation;
If three-leaved grass seem to the sheep unsavoury,
Then base and sour is Love's most high vocation.
Or if sheep's cries can help the sun's own bravery,
Then may I hope my pipe may have ability
To help her praise, who decks me in her slavery.
No, no: no words ennoble self-nobility.
As for your doubts, her voice was it deceived me,
Her eyes the force beyond my possibility.

Dicus. Thy words well voiced, well graced, had almost heaved me
Quite from myself to love Love's contemplation;
Till of these thoughts thy sudden end bereaved me.
Go on, therefore, and tell us by what fashion
In thy own proof he gets so strange possession,
And, how possessed, he strengthens his invasion?

Dorus. Sight is his root, in thought is his progression,
His childhood wonder, 'prenticeship attention,
His youth delight, his age the soul's oppression;
Doubt is his sleep, he waketh in invention;
Fancy his food, his clothing is of carefulness;
Beauty his book, his play lovers' dissension;
His eyes are curious search, but veiled with warefulness;
His wings desire oft clipped with desperation;
Largess his hands could never skill of sparefulness.
But how he doth by might or by persuasion
To conquer, and his conquest how to ratify,
Experience doubts, and schools hold disputation.

Dicus. But so thy sheep may thy good wishes satisfy
With large increase, and wool of fine perfection,
So she thy love, her eyes thy eyes may gratify,
As thou wilt give our souls a dear refection,
By telling how she was, how now she framed is
To help or hurt in thee her own infection.

Dorus. Blest be the name wherewith my mistress named is,
Whose wounds are salves, whose yokes please more than pleasure doth;
Her stains are beams, virtue the fault she blamed is
The heart, eye, ear here only find his treasure doth;
All numb'ring arts her endless graces number not;
Time, place, life, wit scarcely her rare gifts measure doth.
Is she in rage? So is the sun in summer hot,
Yet harvest brings. Doth she, alas, absent herself?
The sun is hid; his kindly shadows cumber not.
But when to give some grace she doth content herself,
O then it shines; then are the heav'ns distributed,
And Venus seems, to make up her, she spent herself.
Thus then (I say) my mischiefs have contributed
A greater good by her divine reflection;
My harms to me, my bliss to her attributed.
Thus she is framed: her eyes are my direction;
Her love my life; her anger my instruction;
Lastly, what so she be, that's my protection.

Dicus. Thy safety sure is wrapped in destruction;
For that construction thy own words do bear.
A man to fear a woman's moody eye,
Or reason lie a slave to servile sense,
There seek defence where weakness is the force,
Is late remorse in folly dearly bought.

Dorus. If I had thought to hear blasphemous words,
My breast to swords, my soul to hell have sold
I sooner would than thus my ears defile
With words so vile, which viler breath doth breed.
O herds, take heed! for I a wolf have found
Who, hunting round the strongest for to kill,
His breast doth fill with earth of others' woe,
And loaden so, pulls down; pulled down, destroys.
O shepherd boys, eschew these tongues of venom
Which do envenom both the soul and senses!
Our best defences are to fly these adders.
O tongues, right ladders made to climb dishonour,
Who judge that honour which hath scope to slander!

Dicus. Dorus , you wander far in great reproaches,
So love encroaches on your charmed reason;
But it is season for to end our singing,
Such anger bringing; as for me, my fancy
In sick man's franzy rather takes compassion
Than rage for rage: rather my wish I send to thee,
Thou soon may have some help or change of passion.
She oft her looks, the stars her favour, bend to thee;
Fortune store, Nature health, Love grant persuasion.
A quiet mind none but thyself can lend to thee,
Thus I commend to thee all our former love.

Dorus. Well do I prove error lies oft in zeal;
Yet is it seal (though error) of true heart.
Naught could impart such heats to friendly mind,
But for to find thy words did her disgrace,
Whose only face the little heaven is,
Which who doth miss his eyes are but delusions,
Barred from their chiefest object of delightfulness,
Thrown on this earth the chaos of confusions:
As for thy wish to my enraged spitefulness,
The lovely blow with rare reward, my prayer is
Thou mayst love her that I may see thy sightfulness.
The quiet mind (whereof myself impairer is,
As thou dost think) should most of all disquiet me
Without her love, than any mind who fairer is.
Her only cure from surfeit woes can diet me:
She holds the balance of my contentation;
Her cleared looks (naught else) in storms can quiet me.
Nay, rather than my ease discontentation
Should breed to her, let me for ay dejected be
From any joy which might her grief occasion.
With so sweet plagues my happy harms infected be:
Pain wills me die, yet will of death I mortify,
For though life irks, in life my loves protected be.
Thus for each change my changeless heart I fortify.


Fair rocks, goodly rivers, sweet woods, when shall I see peace?
Peace? What bars me my tongue? Who is it that comes me so nigh?
O! I do know what guest I have met: it is Echo.
Well met, Echo , approach; then tell me thy will too.
Echo , what do I get yielding my sprite to my griefs?
What medicine may I find for a pain that draws me to death?
O poisonous medicine! What worse to me can be than it?
In what state was I then, when I took this deadly disease?
And what manner a mind which had to that humour a vein?
Hath not reason enough vehemence the desire to reprove?
Oft prove I; but what salve when reason seeks to be gone?
O! what is it? What is it that may be a salve to my love?
What do lovers seek for, long seeking for to enjoy?
What be the joys for which to enjoy they went to the pains?
Then to an earnest love what doth best victory lend?
End? But I can never end; Love will not give me the leave.
How be the minds disposed that cannot taste thy physic?
Yet say again thy advice for th'ills that I told thee
Doth th'infected wretch of his ill th'extremity know?
But if he know not his harms what guides hath he whilst he be blind?
What blind guides can he have that leans to a fancy?
Can fancies want eyes, or he fall that steppeth aloft?
What causes first made these torments on me to light?
Can then a cause be so light that forceth a man to go die?
Yet tell what light thing I had in me to draw me to die?
Eyesight made me to yield, but what first pierced to mine eyes?
Eyes' hurters, eyes' hurt; but what from them to me falls?
But when I first did fall, what brought most fall to my heart?
Art? What can be that art which thou dost mean by thy speech?
What be the fruits of speaking art? What grows by the words?
O much more than words: those words served more to me bless.
O when shall I be known where most to be known I do long?
Long be thy woes for such news; but how recks she my thoughts?
Then, then what do I gain, since unto her will I do wind?
Wind, tempests, and storms; yet in end what gives she desire?
Silly reward! Yet among women hath she of virtue the most.
What great name may I give to so heav'nly a woman?
Woe? But seems to me joy that agrees to my thought so.
Think so, for of my desired bliss it is only the course.
Cursed be thyself for cursing that which leads me to joys
What be the sweet creatures where lowly demands be not heard?
Hard to be got, but got, constant, to be held like steels.
How can they be unkind? Speak, for th'hast narrowly pried.
Whence can pride come there, since springs of beauty be thence?
Horrible is this blasphemy unto the most holy.
Thou liest, false Echo , their minds as virtue be just.
Mock'st thou those diamonds which only be matched by the gods?
Odds? What an odds is there since them to the heav'ns I prefer?
Tell yet again me the names of these fair formed to do ev'ls.
Dev'ls? If in hell such dev'ls do abide, to the hells I do go.


My Muse what ails this ardour
To blaze my only secrets?
Alas, it is no glory
To sing my own decayed state.
Alas, it is no comfort
To speak without an answer.
Alas, it is no wisdom
To show the wound without cure.

My Muse what ails this ardour?
My eyes be dim, my limbs shake,
My voice is hoarse, my throat scorched,
My tongue to this my roof cleaves,
My fancy amazed, my thoughts dulled,
My heart doth ache, my life faints,
My soul begins to take leave
So great a passion all feel,
To think a sore so deadly
I should so rashly rip up.

My Muse what ails this ardour?
If that to sing thou art bent,
Go sing the fall of old Thebes ,
The wars of ugly centaurs,
The life, the death of Hector ,
So may thy song be famous;
Or if to love thou art bent,
Recount the rape of Europe ,
Adonis ' end, Venus ' net,
The sleepy kiss the Moon stale;
So may thy song be pleasant.

My Muse what ails this ardour
To blaze my only secrets?
Wherein do only flourish
The sorry fruits of anguish,
The song thereof a last will,
The tunes be cries, the words plaints,
The singer is the song's theme
Wherein no ear can have joy,
Nor eye receives due object,
Ne pleasure here, ne fame got

My Muse what ails this ardour?
" Alas," she saith, " I am thine,
So are thy pains my pains too.
Thy heated heart my seat is,
Wherein I burn, thy breath is
My voice, too hot to keep in
Besides, lo here the author
Of all thy harms; lo here she
That only can redress thee,
Of her I will demand help."

My Muse, I yield, my Muse sing,
But all thy song herein knit:
The life we lead is all love,
The love we hold is all death,
Nor aught I crave to feed life,
Nor aught I seek to shun death,
But only that my goddess
My life, my death, do count hers.


Reason, tell me thy mind, if here be reason
In this strange violence, to make resistance;
Where sweet graces erect the stately banner
Of virtue's regiment, shining in harness
Of fortune's diadems, by beauty mustered.
Say then, Reason, I say what is thy counsel?

Her loose hair be the shot, the breasts the pikes be,
Scouts each motion is, the hands the horsemen,
Her lips are the riches the wars to maintain,
Where well couched abides a coffer of pearl,
Her legs carriage is of all the sweet camp.
Say then, Reason, I say what is thy counsel?

Her cannons be her eyes, mine eyes the walls be,
Which at first volley gave too open entry,
Nor rampire did abide; my brain was up-blown,
Undermined with a speech, the piercer of thoughts.
Thus weakened by myself, no help remaineth.
Say then, Reason, I say what is thy counsel?

And now Fame, the herald of her true honour,
Doth proclaim (with a sound made all by men's mouths)
That Nature, sovereign of earthly dwellers,
Commands all creatures to yield obeisance
Under this, this her own, her only darling
Say then, Reason, I say what is thy counsel?

Reason sighs, but in end he thus doth answer:
" Naught can Reason avail in heav'nly matters."
Thus Nature's diamond, receive thy conquest;
Thus pure pearl, I do yield my senses and soul;
Thus sweet pain, I do yield whate'er I can yield.
Reason, look to thyself, I serve a goddess.


O sweet woods, the delight of solitariness!
O how much I do like your solitariness!
Where man's mind hath a freed consideration
Of goodness to receive lovely direction;
Where senses do behold th'order of heav'nly host,
And wise thoughts do behold what the creator is.
Contemplation here holdeth his only seat,
Bounded with no limits, borne with a wing of hope,
Climbs e'en unto the stars; Nature is under it.
Naught disturbs thy quiet, all to thy service yield,
Each sight draws on a thought (thought mother of science),
Sweet birds kindly do grant harmony unto thee,
Fair trees' shade is enough fortification,
Nor danger to thyself, if be not in thyself.

O sweet woods, the delight of solitariness!
O how much I do like your solitariness!
Here no treason is hid, veiled in innocence,
Nor envy's snaky eye finds any harbour here,
Nor flatterers' venomous insinuations,
Nor cunning humorists' puddled opinions,
Nor courteous ruin of proffered usury,
Nor time prattled away, cradle of ignorance,
Nor causeless duty, nor cumber of arrogance,
Nor trifling title of vanity dazzleth us,
Nor golden manacles stand for a paradise;
Here wrong's name is unheard; slander a monster is.
Keep thy sprite from abuse, here no abuse doth haunt.
What man grafts in a tree dissimulation?

O sweet woods, the delight of solitariness!
O how well I do like your solitariness!
Yet dear soil, if a soul closed in a mansion
As sweet as violets, fair as a lily is,
Straight as cedar, a voice stains the canary birds,
Whose shade safety doth hold, danger avoideth her:
Such wisdom that in her lives speculation;
Such goodness that in her simplicity triumphs;
Where envy's snaky eye winketh or else dieth,
Slander wants a pretext, flattery gone beyond:
O! if such a one have bent to a lonely life,
Her steps glad we receive, glad we receive her eyes;
And think not she doth hurt our solitariness,
For such company decks such solitariness.
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