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Colin Clouts Come Home Againe

Edmund Spenser 1552 (London) – 1599 (London)

Colin Clouts Come Home Againe
THe shepheards boy (best knowen by that name)
That after Tityrus first sung his lay,
Laies of sweet loue, without rebuke or blame,
Sate (as his custome was) vpon a day,
Charming his oaten pipe vnto his peres,
The shepheard swaines, that did about him play:
Who all the while with greedie listfull eares,
Did stand astonisht at his curious skill,
Like hartlesse deare, dismayed with thunders sound.
At last when as he piped had his fill,
He rested him: and sitting then around,
One of those groomes (a iolly groome was he,
As euer piped on an oaten reed,
And lou'd this shepheard dearest in degree,
Hight Hobbinol) gan thus to him areed.
Colin my liefe, my life, how great a losse
Had all the shepheards nation by thy lacke?
And I poore swaine of many greatest crosse:
That sith thy Muse first since thy turning backe
Was heard to sound as she was wont on hye,
Hast made vs all so blessed and so blythe.
Whilest thou wast hence, all dead in dole did lye:
The woods were heard to waile full many a sythe,
And all their birds with silence to complaine:
The fields with faded flowers did seem to mourne,
And all their flocks from feeding to refraine:
The running waters wept for thy returne,
And all their fish with langour did lament:
But now both woods and fields, and floods reuiue,
Sith thou art come, their cause of meriment,
That vs late dead, hast made againe aliue:
But were it not too painfull to repeat
The passed fortunes, which to thee befell
In thy late voyage, we thee would entreat,
Now at thy leisure them to vs to tell.
To whom the shepheard gently answered thus,
Hobbin thou temptest me to that I couet:
For of good passed newly to discus,
By dubble vsurie doth twise renew it.
And since I saw that Angels blessed eie,
Her worlds bright sun, her heauens fairest light,
My mind full of my thoughts satietie,
Doth feed on sweet contentment of that sight:
Since that same day in nought I take delight,
Ne feeling haue in any earthly pleasure,
But in remembrance of that glorious bright,
My lifes sole blisse, my hearts eternall threasure.
Wake then my pipe, my sleepie Muse awake,
Till I haue told her praises lasting long:
Hobbin desires, thou maist it not forsake,
Harke then ye iolly shepheards to my song.
With that they all gan throng about him neare,
With hungrie eares to heare his harmonie:
The whiles their flocks deuoyd of dangers feare,
Did round about them feed at libertie.
One day (quoth he) I sat, (as was my trade)
Vnder the foot of Mole that mountaine hore,
Keeping my sheepe amongst the cooly shade,
Of the greene alders by the Mullaes shore:
There a straunge shepherd chaunst to find me out,
Whether allured with my pipes delight,
Whose pleasing sound yshrilled far about,
Or thither led by chaunce, I know not right:
VVhom when I asked from what place he came,
And how he hight, himselfe he did ycleepe,
The shepheard of the Ocean by name,
And said he came far from the main-sea deepe.
He sitting me beside in that same shade,
Prouoked me to plaie some pleasant fit,
And when he heard the musicke which I made,
He found himselfe full greatly pleased at it:
Yet æmuling my pipe, he tooke in hond
My pipe before that æmuled of many,
And plaid thereon; (for well that skill he cond)
Himselfe as skilfull in that art as any.
He pip'd, I sung; and when he sung, I piped,
By chaunge of turnes, each making other mery,
Neither enuying other, nor enuied,
So piped we, vntill we both were weary,
There interrupting him, a bonie swaine,
That Cuddy hight, him thus atweene bespake:
And should it not thy ready course restraine,
I would request thee Colin, for my sake,
To tell what thou didst sing, when he did plaie.
For well I weene it worth recounting was,
VVhether it were some hymne, or morall laie,
Or carol made to praise thy loued lasse.
Nor of my loue, nor of my losse (quoth he)
I then did sing, as then occasion fell:
For loue had me forlorne, forlorne of me,
That made me in that desart chose to dwell.
But of my riuer Bregogs loue I soong,
VVhich to the shiny Mulla he did beare,
And yet doth beare, and euer will, so long
As water doth within his bancks appeare.
Of fellowship (said then that bony Boy)
Record to vs that louely lay againe:
The staie whereof, shall nought these eares annoy,
VVho all that Colin makes, do couet faine.
Heare then (quoth he) the tenor of my tale,
In sort as I it to that shepheard told:
No leasing new, nor Grandams fable stale,
But auncient truth confirm'd with credence old.
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Edmund Spenser

Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. more…

All Edmund Spenser poems | Edmund Spenser Books

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