Spenser Shepherds Calendar Analysis Essay


Tell me Perigot, what shall be the game,
Wherefore [with which] with mine thou dare thy music match?
Or been thy Bagpipes run far out of frame?
Or hath the cramp thy joints benumbʼd with ache?


Ah Willye, when the heart is ill assayʼd [afflicted],
How can Bagpipe, or joints be well apaid [pleased]?


What the foul evil hath thee so bestad?
Whilom thou was paregal to the best,
And wont to make the jolly shepheards glad
With piping and dancing, didst pass [surpass] the rest.


Ah Willye now I have learned a new dance:
My old music marred by a new mischance.


Mischief mought to that new mischance befall,
That hath so raft us of our meriment.
But read [inform] me, what pain doth thee so appall?
Or lovest thou, or been thy younglings miswent?


Love hath misled both my younglings, and me:
I pine for pain, and they my pain to see.


Pardie and wellaway [alas]: ill may they thrive:
Never knew I loverʼs sheep in good plight [condition].
But and if in rhymes with me thou dare strive,
Such fond fancies shall soon be put to flight.


That shall I do, though mickle [much] worse I fared:
Never shall be said that Perigot was dared [challenged in vain].


Then lo Perigot the Pledge which I plight [put up]:
A mazer [wooden bowl] ywrought of the Maple ware:
Wherein is enchased many a fair sight
Of Bears and Tigers, that maken fierce war:
And over them spred a goodly wild vine,
Entrailed with a wanton Ivy twine.

Thereby is a Lamb in the Wolveʼs jaws:
But see, how fast runeth the shepheard swain,
To save the innocent from the beasteʼs paws:
And here with his sheephook hath him slain.
Tell me, such a cup hast thou ever seen?
Well might it beseem any harvest Queen.


Thereto will I pawn yon spotted Lamb,
Of all my flock there nʼis sike another:
For I brought him up without the Dam [mother].
But Colin Clout raft [deprived] me of his brother,
That he purchas‘d of me in the plain field [on even ground]:
Sore against my will was I forced to yield.


Sicker, make like account of his brother.[3]
But who shall judge the wager won or lost?


That shall yonder herdgroom, and none other,
Which over the pease hitherward doth post.


But for the Sunbeam so sore doth us beat,

Were not better, to shun the scorching heat?


Well agreed Willy: then sit thee down, swain:
Sike a song never heardest thou, but Colin sing.


ʼGin, when ye list, ye jolly shepheards twain:
Sike a judge, as Cuddie, were for a king.

Perigot. ʼT fell upon a holy eve,
Willye. hey ho, holiday, [4]  
Per. When holy fathers wont to shrive [hear confession]:
Wil. now ginneth this roundelay.

Per. Sitting upon a hill so high,
Wil.   hey ho, the high hill,
Per. The while my flock did feed thereby,
Wil.   the while the shepheard self did spill [was idle]:
Per. I saw the bouncing Bellibone,[5]
Wil.   hey ho, Bonibell,
Per. Tripping over the dale alone,
Wil.   she can trip it very well:
Per. Well decked in a frock of gray,
Wil.   hey ho, gray is greet,
Per. And in a Kirtle [tunic] of green saye [cloth],
Wil.   the green is for maidens meet:
Per. A chapelet on her head she wore,
Wil.   hey ho, chapelet,
Per. Of sweet Violets therein was store,
Wil.   she sweeter than the Violet.
Per. My sheep did leave their wonted food,
Wil.   hey ho seely sheep,
Per. And gazʼd on her, as they were wood,
Wil.   wood as he, that did them keep.
Per. As the bonnilasse passed by,
Wil.   hey ho, bonnilasse,
Per. She roved [shot arrows] at me with glancing eye,
Wil.   as clear as the christal glass:
Per. All as the sunny beam so bright,
Wil.   hey ho, thʼ Sun-beam,
Per. Glanceth from Phoebusʼ face forthright,
Wil.   so love into thy heart did stream:
Per. Or as the thunder cleaves the clouds,
Wil.   hey ho, the Thunder,
Per. Wherein the lightsome [radiant] levin shrouds,
Wil.   so cleaves thy soul asunder:
Per. Or as Dame Cynthia‘s silver ray
Wil.   hey ho, the Moonlight,
Per. Upon the glittering wave doth play:
Wil.   such play is a piteous plight [moving effect].
Per. The glance into my heart did glide,
Wil.   hey ho, the glider,
Per. Therewith my soule was sharply gride,
Wil.   such wounds soon waxen wider.
Per. Hasting to ranch [wrench] the arrow out,
Wil.   hey ho, Perigot,
Per. I left the head in my heart-root:
Wil.   it was a desperate [painful] shot.
Per. There it ranckleth ay more and more,
Wil.   hey ho, the arrow,
Per. Ne can I find salve for my sore:
Wil.   love is a cureless sorrow.
Per. And though my bale [misery] with death I bought,
Wil.   hey ho, the heavy cheer,
Per. Yet should thilk [this] lass not from my thought:
Wil.   so you may buy gold too dear.
Per. But whether in painful love I pine,
Wil.   hey ho, pinching pain,
Per. Or thrive in wealth, she shall be mine,
Wil.   but if [not unless] thou can her obtain.
Per. And if for graceless grief I die,
Wil.   hey ho, graceless grief,
Per. Witness, she slew me with her eye:
Wil.   let thy folly be the prief [proof].
Per. And you, that saw it, simple sheep,
Wil.   hey ho, the fair flock,
Per. For prief thereof, my death shall weep,
Wil.   and moan with many a mock.
Per. So learnʼd I love on a holy eve,
Wil.   hey ho, holiday,
Per. That ever since my heart did grieve,
Wil.   now endeth our roundelay.



Sicker, sike a roundel never heard I none.
Little lacketh Perigot of the best.
And Willye is not greatly overgone,
So weren his undersongs [responses] well addrest.


Herdgroom, I fear me, thou have a squint eye:
Aread uprightly [say fairly], who has the victory?


Faith of my soul, I deem each have gained [won],
for-thy let the Lamb be Willye his own:
And for Perigot, so well hath him pained,
To him be the wroughten [carved] mazer alone.


Perigot is well pleased with the doom.
Ne can Willyewite the witeless herdgroom.


Never dempt more right of beauty I ween,
The shepheard of Ida, that judged Beautyʼs Queen.


But tell me shepheards, should it not yshend [shend]
Your roundels fresh, to hear a doleful verse
Of Rosalend (who knows not Rosalend?)
That Colin made, ilk [the same] can I you rehearse.


Now say it Cuddie, as thou art a lad:
With merry thing itʼs good to medle sad.


Faith of my soul, thou shalt y-crowned be
In Colinʼs stead, if thou this song aread [recite]:
For never thing on earth so pleaseth me,
As him to hear, or matter of his deed [verse of his making].


Then listenth each unto my heavy lay,
And tune your pipes as ruthful, as ye may.


The wasteful woods bear witness of my woe,
  Wherein my plaints did oftentimes resound: [6]
  The careless birds are privy to my cries,
  Which in your songs were wont to make a part:
  Thou, pleasant spring, hast lullʼd me oft asleep,
  Whose streams my trickling tears did oft augment.
Resort of people doth my griefs augment,
  The walled towns do work my greater woe:
  The forest wide is fitter to resound
  The hollow Echo of my careful cries,
  I hate the house, since thence my love did part,
  Whose wailful want [lack] debars mine eyes from sleep.
Let streams of tears supply the place of sleep:
  Let all that sweet is, void [depart]: and all that may augment
  My dole, draw near. More meet to wail my woe,
  Been the wild woods, my sorrows to resound,
  Then bed, or bower, both which I fill with cries,
  When I them see so waste, and find no part
Of pleasure past. Here will I dwell apart
  In ghastful [fearsome] grove therefore, till my last sleep
  Do close mine eyes: so shall I not augment
  With sight of such a change my reckless woe:
  Help me, ye baneful birds, whose shrieking sound
  Is sign of dreary death, my deadly cries
Most ruthfully [pitiably] to tune. And as my cries
  (Which of my woe cannot bewray [reveal] least part)
  You hear all night, when nature craveth sleep,
  Increase, so let your irksome [grievous] yells augment.
  Thus all the night in plaints, the day in woe
  I vowed have to waste, till safe and sound
She home return, whose voices silver sound
  To cheerful songs can change my cheerless cries.
  Hence with the Nightingale will I take part,[7]
  That blessed bird, that spends her time of sleep
  In songs and plaintive pleas, the more tʼaugment
  The memory of his misdeed, that bred her woe:

And you that feel no woe,

  when as the sound
Of these my nightly cries

  ye hear apart [in the distance],
Let break your sounder sleep

  and pity augment.


O Colin, Colin, the shepheardʼs joy,
How I admire each turning [ending] of thy verse:
And Cuddie, fresh Cuddie, the liefest [dearest] boy,
How dolefully his dole thou didst rehearse.


Then blowe your pipes, shepheards, till you be at home:
The night nigheth fast, itʼs time to be gone.


Perigot his Emblem.

Vincenti gloria victi.

[The glory of the conquered belongs to the conqueror]


Willyes Emblem.

Vinto non vitto. [Conquered, not overcome]


Cuddies Emblem.

Felice chi puo. [Let him be happy who can be]









bestad) disposed, ordered.

whilome) once.

paregal) equal.









raft) bereft, deprived.


miswent) gone astray







ill may) according to Virgil, [Ecloga III] - Infelix semper, ovis, pecus! [Unhappy sheep! yet more unhappy swain!]





A mazer) So also do Theocritus and Virgil feign pledges of their strife.

enchased) engraven. Such pretty descriptions every where useth Theocritus, to bring in his Idyllia. For which special cause indeed he by that name termeth his Aeglogues: for Idyllion in Greek signifieth the shape or picture of any thing, whereof his book is full. And not, as I have heard some fondly guess, that they be called not Idyllia, but Haedilia, of the Goatherds in them.

entrailed) wrought between.

harvest Queen) The manner of country folk in harvest time.
















It fell upon) Perigot maketh his song in praise of his love, to whom Willy answereth every under verse. By Perigot who is meant, I can not uprightly say: but if it be, who is supposed, his love deserveth no less praise, then he giveth her.








greet) weeping and complaint.



chapelet) a kind of Garland like a crown.

















levin) lightning.


Cynthia) was said to be the Moon.





gride) pierced.






































squint eye) partial judgement.



each have) so sayeth Virgil. Et vitula tu dignus, et hic &c. [you deserves the heifer and so does he.] So by interchange of gifts Cuddie pleaseth both parts.




doom) judgement.

wite the witeless) blame the blameless.



dempt) for deemed, judged.

The shepheard of Ida) was said to be Paris.

Beautyʼs Queen) Venus, to whom Paris adjudged the golden Apple, as the prize of her beauty.






































































Perigot his Emblem.

The meaning hereof is very ambiguous: for Perigot by his poesy claiming the conquest, & Willye not yielding, Cuddie the arbiter of their cause, and Patron of his own, seemeth to challenge it as his due, saying, that he is happy which canso abruply ending, but hee meaneth either him that can win the best, or moderate himself being best, and leave of [be content with] with the best.


Pastoral Poetry: The Shepherd's Calendar by Edmund Spenser


Pastoral Poetry is the poetry professing to depict the innocence of shepherd life. Pastoral verses have a variety from love lyrics to long spectacular works and complicated elegies. Classical pastoral poetry arose from the folk pieces of music and observance that respected the pastoral gods. The soonest extant pastoral poetry? (Congleton 544-575) the Idylls? was in writing by the Alexandrine Theocritus in the 3rd 100 years BC; he was pursued by the Greek poets Bion and Moschus in the 2nd 100 years BC. Virgil Latinized the mode in his Bucolics (37 BC).

The pastoral eclogue? a dialogue or dialogue? often was the means by which? in diverging easy shepherds in rustic enclosures with the urbane humanity of a corrupt court or town? the scribe conveyed a lesson or philosophical viewpoint. The pattern was well liked with such Italian Renaissance humanists as Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio. In this paper we will be considering The Shepherd's Calendar by Edmund Spenser. (Lambert 26-78) In England The Shepherd's Calendar in 12 pastoral eclogues (1579) by Edmund Spenser formed a form for posterity. Spenser was the second of the large English poets? and it is but natural to contrast him with Chaucer? who was the first. In esteem of time almost two centuries distinct these elder poets; in all other values? in aspires? ideals? procedures? they are as far apart as two men of the identical rush.


The Shepherd's Calendar (1579) is well renowned as the verse which broadcast that a successor to Chaucer had at last emerged in England. It is an amateurish work in which Spenser endeavoured diverse meters; and to investigate it is to find out two jarring components? which we may call trendy poetry and puritanic preaching. (Lee 45-190) Let us realise these components apparently? for exception from them the Calendar is a meaningless work. It was a latest tendency amidst Italian poets to make eclogues or pastoral verses about shepherds? their promenading? piping? love-making? everything except a shepherd's correct business. Spenser pursued this artificial latest tendency in his Calendar by making twelve pastorals? one for each month of the year. These all take the pattern of dialogues? escorted by melodies and promenading? and the personages are Cuddie? Diggon? Hobbinoll? (Henish 12-196) and other truly unbelievable shepherds. According to poetic made-to-order these should vocalise only of love; but in Spenser's day devout argument was rampant? and flattery might not be unseen by a bard who aspired to regal favor. So while the January pastoral notifies of the sad love of Colin Clout (Spenser) for Rosalind? the springtime of April calls for a recital in applaud of Elizabeth:

Lo? how finely the Graces can it foot

To the instrument!

They dancen deffly and singen soote?

In their merriment.

Wants not a fourth Grace to make the dance even?

Let that room to my Lady be yeven.

She shall be a Grace?

To fill the fourth place?

And reign with the rest in heaven. (Hughes 25-152)

In May the shepherds are competitor pastors of the Reformation? who end their ...

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