Page images
PDF
EPUB

Another of the Same Shepherds.
As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made;
Beasts did leap, and birds did sing,
Trees did grow and plants did spring;
Everything did banish moan,
Save the nightingale alone.
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean'd her breast against a thorn;
And there sung the dolefull'st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity.
Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry;
Teru, teru! by and by;
That to hear her so complain
Scarce I could from tears refrain;
For her griefs, so lively shown,
Made me think upon mine own.
Ah! thought I, thou mourn'st in vain!
None takes pity on thy pain:
Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee,
Ruthless beasts they will not cheer thee:
King Pandion he is dead;
All thy friends are lapp'd in lead;
All thy fellow birds do sing,
Careless of thy sorrowing!
Even so, poor bird, like thee,
None alive will pity me.
Finis. Ignoto.

The last two lines, Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps says, are new ones added to the first twenty-six in "The Passionate Pilgrim." Our own edition of the latter has those two lines, and the only variation is in the tenth line—"up-till" for "against." There are thirty lines more in our edition. But we have another version of the whole, omitting the aforesaid two lines and a subsequent couplet. This version, curiously enough, is headed "Address to the Nightingale," and is credited to Richard Barnfield, "about 1610." (Encyc. of Poetry; No. 121.) In 1598 it is said that the first twenty-six lines of this idyl appeared in an appendix to Barnfield's "Encomium;" in 1599 it reappeared enlarged to twice the length and was credited to Shakspere; in 1600 the first twenty-eight lines were republished in "England's Helicon" and subscribed "Ignoto."

We now transcribe from the "Helicon," No. xx of '" The Passionate Pilgrim" much amended and enlarged:

The Passionate Shepherd to his love.
Come live with ine, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, gloves, [and] hills and fields,
Woods, or steepie mountains 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 slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold:
A belt of straw, and ivy buds
With coral clasps and amber studs.

* The grammar of this verse is shocking both here and in the version of 1599. And there are considerable variations in the two versions. In that of 139 the first word " Come " is omitted, without which the song could hardly be sung. Other slight defects of measure appear in both. But the editor of Marlowe's Works has carefully corrected the grammar and the measure.

And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delights each May-morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.
Finis. Chr. Marlowe.

Here we have Marlowe credited with this song in 1600, seven years after his death. Is there any other evidence that he wrote it? A single line at the close of a ditty in his "Jew of Malta" parallels with the first line of this, except the first word:

"Shall live with me and be my love." The song, with many verbal amendments, and omitting the last stanza, is inserted in his "Works," 1826.

In the " Merry Wives of Windsor" act hi, scene 1, Sir Hugh Evans sings the following four lines:

'' To shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals;
There we will make our peds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies."

This play was written in the latter part of 1599. In the earliest form of it Sir Hugh transposes and varies the lines thus:

"And then she made him beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies."

Then after three lines of incoherent speech:
"To shallow rivers, and to falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals."

It would seem as if the song was familiar to the public in 1599.

We now add from the "Helicon" the rest of No. xx of "The Passionate Pilgrim," enlarged from one stanza to six:

The Nymph's reply to the Shepherd.

If all the world and love were young, And truth in every shepherd's tongue, These pretty pleasures might me move, To live with thee, aud be thy love. Time drives the flocks from field to fold, When rivers rage, and rocks grow cold: And Philomel becometh dumb; The rest complain of cares to come. The flowers do fade, and wanton fields To wayward Winter reckoning yields: A honey tongue, a heart of gall, Is fancy's Spring, but sorrow's fall. Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses, Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies, Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten, In folly ripe, in reason rotten. Thy belt of straw, and ivy buds, Thy coral clasps and amber studs, All these in me no means can move, To come to thee and be thy love. But could youth last, and love still breed, Had joys no date, nor age no need, Then these delights my mind might move, To live with thee and be thy love. Finis. Ignoto. The editor of the third edition of the "Helicon" 1812, says in regard to "Ignoto:"

"This signature appears to have been generally, though not exclusively, subscribed to the pieces of Sir Walter Raleigh. It is also subscribed to one piece since appropriated to Shakspere, [No. xviii,] and to one which, according to Ellis, belongs to Richard Barnfield [No. xxi.] The celebrated answer to Marlowe's, ' Gome live with me,' here subscribed Ignoto, is given expressly to Raleigh by Isaac Walton in his ' Complete Angler,' first published in 1653."

What could Walton know about it fifty years after the publication of the song and answer as above? On such worthless testimony the Nymph's Answer is credited to Raleigh. And we have in the "Encyclopedia of Poetry," 1873, first the song by Marlowe, "about 1590,'' and then the Nymph's Reply by Raleigh " about 1610." Strange that the Nymph should wait about twenty years to reply, and should then repeat the lines credited to Shakspere in 1599 and to "Ignoto" in 1600! The song perhaps existed before the death of Marlowe in 1593, but was probably composed by "Ignoto," who also wrote "The Nymph's Reply" and numerous other poetical pieces that were published in the " Helicon " in 1600.

"Ignoto" was undoubtedly a concealed poet. Marlowe, Raleigh and Barnfield were not. As early as January 1590, if not a little sooner, "Ignoto" contributed to Spenser's first publication of the "Faery Queen" the following lines:

"To look upon a work of rare devise

The which a workman setteth out to view,
And not to yield it the deserved prize

That unto such a workmanship is due,
Doth either prove the judgment to be naught,
Or else doth show a mind with envy fraught.

"To labor to commend a piece of work

Which no man goes about to discommend,
Would raise a jealous doubt that there did lurk

Some secret doubt whereto the praise did tend:
For when men know the goodness of the wine
'Tis needless for the host to have a sign.

"Thus then, to show my judgment to be such
As can discern of colors black and white,
As als to free my mind from envy's touch,
That never gives to any man his right:

« PreviousContinue »