William Smith

From Chloris (1596)

To the most excellent and leaned shepherd, Colin Clout

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"Colin, my dear and most entire beloved"

Colin, my dear and most entire beloved
My muse audacious stoops her pitch to thee,
Desireing that thy patience be not moved
By these rude lines, written here you see;
Fain would my muse, whom cruel love hath wronged,
Shroud her love-labors under thy protection,
And I myself with ardent zeal have longed
That thou mightst know to thee my true affection.
Therefore, good Colin, graciously accept
A few sad sonnets which my muse hath framed;
Though they but newly from the shell are crept,
Suffer them not by envy to be blamed.
But underneath the shadow of thy wings
Give warmth to these young-hatchéd orphan things.

"Feed, silly sheep, although your keeper pineth"

Feed, silly sheep, although your keeper pineth
Yet like to Tantalus doth see his food.
Skip you and leap, no bright Apollo shineth,
Whilst I bewail my sorrows in yon wood
Where woeful Philomela doth record,
And sings with notes of sad and dire lament
The tragedy wrought by her sister's lord;
I'll bear a part in her black discontent.
That pipe which erst was wont to make you glee,
Upon these downs whereon you careless graze,
Shall to her mournful music tuned be,
Let not my plaints, poor lambkins, you amaze;
There underneath that dark and dusky bower
Whole showers of tears to Chloris I will pour.

"Whole showers of tears to Chloris I will pour"

Whole showers of tears to Chloris I will pour
As true oblations of my sincere love;
If that will not suffice, most fairest flower,
Then shall my sighs thee unto pity move.
If neither tears nor sighs can aught prevail,
My streaming blood thine anger shall appease;
This hand of mine by vigor shall assail
To tear my heart asunder thee to please.
Celestial powers, on you I invocate:
You now the chaste affections of my mind,
I never did my faith yet violate,
Why should my Chloris then be so unkind?
That neither tears, nor sighs, nor streaming blood
Can unto mercy move her cruel mood.

"When I more large thy praises forth shall show"

When I more large thy praises forth shall show
That all the world thy beauty shall admire,
Desiring that most sacred nymph to know
Which hath the shepherd's fancy set on fire;
Till then, my dear, let these thine eyes content;
Till then, fair love, think if I merit favor;
Till then, oh, let thy merciful assent
Relish my hopes with some comforting savor.
So shall you add such courage to my muse
That she shall climb the steep Parnassus hill,
That learned poets shall my deeds peruse
When I from thence obtainèd have more skill.
And what I sing shall always be of thee
As long as life or breath remains in me!

Colin Clout, Addressed to Spenser, who had adopted this name.