Page images

any besides that of Chaucer, produced in England | Of her array the form if I shall write,
before the reign of Elizabeth-as will be testified by
the following verses :-

[James I., a Prisoner in Windsor, first sees Lady Jane
Beaufort, who afterwards was his Queen.]

Bewailing in my chamber, thus alone,
Despaired of all joy and remedy,
For-tired of my thought, and woe-begone,
And to the window gan I walk in hyl
To see the world and folk that went forbye, 2
As, for the time, though I of mirthis food
Might have no more, to look it did me good.
Now was there made, fast by the towris wall,
A garden fair; and in the corners set
Ane arbour green, with wandis long and small
Railed about, and so with trees set

Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet,
That lyf was none walking there forbye,
That might within scarce any wight espy
So thick the boughis and the leavis green
Beshaded all the alleys that there were,
And mids of every arbour might be seen
The sharpe greene sweete juniper,

Growing so fair with branches here and there,
That as it seemed to a lyf without,
The boughis spread the arbour all about.
And on the smalle greene twistis3 sat,
The little sweete nightingale, and sung
So loud and clear, the hymnis consecrat
Of lovis use, now soft, now loud among,
That all the gardens and the wallis rung
Right of their song.

Cast I down mine eyes again,
Where as I saw, walking under the tower,
Full secretly, new comen here to plain,
The fairist or the freshest younge flower
That ever I saw, methought, before that hour,
For which sudden abate, anon astart, 4
The blood of all my body to my heart.

And though I stood abasit tho a lite,5
No wonder was; for why? my wittis all
Were so overcome with pleasance and delight,
Only through letting of my eyen fall,
That suddenly my heart became her thrall,
For ever of free will,-for of menace
There was no token in her sweete face.

And in my head I drew right hastily,
And eftesoons I leant it out again,
And saw her walk that very womanly,
With no wight mo', but only women twain.
Then gan I study in myself, and sayn,6

[ocr errors]

Ah, sweet! are ye a worldly creature,

Or heavenly thing in likeness of nature?
Or are ye god Cupidis own princess,
And comin are to loose me out of band!
Or are ye very Nature the goddess,

That hare depainted with your heavenly hand,
This garden full of flowers as they stand?
What shall I think, alas! what reverence
Shall I mister7 unto your excellence?

If ye a goddess be, and that ye like

To do me pain, may it not astart :8
If ye be warldly wight, that doth me sike,9
Why list 10 God make you so, my dearest heart,
To do a seely 11 prisoner this smart,

That loves you all, and wot of nought but wo!
And therefore mercy, sweet! sin' it is so.'

[blocks in formation]

Towards her golden hair and rich attire,
In fretwise couchit with pearlis white
And great balas leaming as the fire,
With mony ane emneraut and fair sapphire;
And on her head a chaplet fresh of hue,
Of plumis parted red, and white, and blue.
Full of quaking spangis bright as gold,
Forged of shape like to the amorets,
So new, so fresh, so pleasant to behold,
The plumis eke like to the flower jonets,4
And other of shape, like to the flower jonets;
And above all this, there was, well I wot,
Beauty enough to make a world to doat.
About her neck, white as the fire amail,5
A goodly chain of small orfevory,6
Whereby there hung a ruby, without fail,
Like to ane heart shapen verily,
That as a spark of low,7 so wantonly
Seemed burning upon her white throat,
Now if there was good party, God it wot.
And for to walk that fresh May's morrow,
Ane hook she had upon her tissue white,
That goodlier had not been seen to-forow,9
As I suppose; and girt she was alite,10
Thus halflings loose for haste, to such delight
It was to see her youth in goodlihede,
That for rudeness to speak thereof I dread.
In her was youth, beauty, with humble aport,
Bounty, richess, and womanly feature,
God better wot than my pen can report:
Wisdom, largess, estate, and cunning11 sure,
In every point so guided her measure,
In word, in deed, in shape, in countenance,
That nature might no more her child avance!


And when she walked had a little thraw
Under the sweete greene boughis bent,
Her fair fresh face, as white as any snaw,
She turned has, and furth her wayis went ;
But tho began mine aches and torment,
To see her part and follow I na might;
Methought the day was turned into night.


JOHN THE CHAPLAIN, THOMAS OCCLEVE, a lawyer, and JOHN LYDGATE, were the chief immediate followers of Chaucer and Gower. The performances of the two first are of little account. Lydgate, who was a monk of Bury, flourished about the year 1430. His poetical compositions range over a great variety of styles. His muse,' says Warton, was of universal access; and he was not only the poet of the monastery, but of the world in general. If a disguising was intended by the company of goldsmiths, a mask before his majesty at Eltham, a Maygame for the sheriffs and aldermen of London, a mumming before the Lord Mayor, a procession of pageants from the Creation for the festival of Corpus Christi, or a carol for the Coronation, Lydgate was consulted, and gave the poetry.' The principal works of this versatile writer are entitled, The History of Thebes, The Fall of Princes, and The Destruction of Troy. He had travelled in France and Italy, and studied the poetry of those countries; and though his own writ

1 Inlaid like fretwork. ? A kind of precious stone. 3 Glittering. 4 A kind of lily. It is conjectured that the royal poet may here allude covertly to the name of his mistress, which, in the diminutive, was Janet or Jonet.-Thomson's Edition of King's Quhair. Ayr, 1824.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

One bade me buy a hood to cover my head ; But, for want of money, I might not be sped. Then I hied me unto East-Cheap,

ings contain only a few good passages, he is allowed to have improved the poetical language of the country. He at one time kept a school in his monastery, for the instruction of young persons of the upper ranks in the art of versification; a fact which proves that poetry had become a favourite study among the few who acquired any tincture of letters in that age. In the words of Mr Warton, "there is great soft-Some sung of Jenkin and Julian for their meed; ness and facility" in the following passage of Lydgate's Destruction of Troy :

[Description of a Sylvan Retreat.]

Till at the last, among the bowes glade,
Of adventure, I caught a pleasant shade;
Full smooth, and plain, and lusty for to seen,
And soft as velvet was the yonge green:
Where from my horse I did alight as fast,

And on the bow aloft his reine cast.
So faint and mate of weariness I was,
That I me laid adown upon the grass,
Upon a brinke, shortly for to tell,
Beside the river of a crystal well;
And the water, as I reherse can,
Like quicke silver in his streams y-ran,
Of which the gravel and the brighte stone,
As any gold, against the sun y-shone.

A fugitive poem of Lydgate, called the London Lyckpenny, is curious for the particulars it gives respecting the city of London in the early part of the fifteenth century. The poet has come to town in search of legal redress for some wrong, and visits, in succession, the King's Bench, the Court of Common Pleas, the Court of Chancery, and Westminster Hall.

The London Lyckpenny.

Within the hall, neither rich, nor yet poor
Would do for me ought, although I should die :
Which seeing, I gat me out of the door,

Where Flemings began on me for to cry,
"Master, what will you copen' or buy?
Fine felt hats? or spectacles to read?
Lay down your silver, and here you may speed.'
Then to Westminster gate I presently went,
When the sun was at high primne:

Cooks to me they took good intent, 2

And proffered me bread, with ale, and wine,
Ribs of beef, both fat and full fine;

A fair cloth they gan for to spread,
But, wanting money, I might not be sped.
Then unto London I did me hie,

Of all the land it beareth the price; 'Hot peascods!' one began to cry,

'Strawberry ripe, and cherries in the rise !'3
One bade me come near and buy some spice;
Pepper, and saffron they gan me beed ;4
But, for lack of money, I might not speed.
Then to the Cheap I gan me drawn,

Where much people I saw for to stand;
One offered me velvet, silk, and lawn,
Another he taketh me by the hand,

Here is Paris thread, the finest in the lan 1 !'
I never was used to such things, indeed;
And, wanting money, I might not speed.
Then went I forth by London Stone,5
Throughout all Canwick Street:
Drapers much cloth me offered anon;

Then comes me one cried hot sheep's feet;'
One cried mackerel, rushes green, another gan greet,6

1 Koopen, (Flem.) is to buy. 2 Took notice; paid attention.
3 On the twig.
4 Offer. 5 A fragment of

One cries ribs of beef, and many a pie; Pewter pots they clattered on a heap; There was harp, pipe, and minstrelsy; Yea by cock! nay by cock! some began cry; But, for lack of money, I might not speed. Then into Cornhill anon I yode,

Where was much stolen gear among;

I saw where hung mine owne hood,
That I had lost among the throng;
To buy my own hood I thought it wrong:
I knew it well, as I did my creed ;
But, for lack of money, I could not speed.
The taverner took me by the sleeve,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'Sir,' saith he, will you our wine assay?'
I answered, That can not much me grieve,
A penny can do no more than it may ;'
I drank a pint, and for it did pay;
Yet, sore a-hungered from thence I yede,
And, wanting money, I could not speed, &c.

The reigns of Edward IV., Richard III., and Henry VII., extending between the years 1461 and 1509, were barren of true poetry, though there was no lack of obscure versifiers. It is remarkable, that this period produced in Scotland a race of genuine poets, who, in the words of Mr Warton, displayed a degree of sentiment and spirit, a command of phraseology, and a fertility of imagination, not to be found in any English poet since Chaucer and Lydgate.' Perhaps the explanation of this seeming mystery is, that the influences which operated upon Chaucer a century before, were only now coming with their full force upon the less favourably situated nation which dwelt north of the Tweed. Overlooking some obscurer names, those of Henryson, Dunbar, and Douglas, are to be mentioned with péculiar respect.


Of this poet there are no personal memorials, except that he was a schoolmaster at Dunfermline, and died some time before 1508. His principal poem is The Testament of Cresseid, being a sequel to Chaucer's romantic poem, Troylus and Cresseide. He wrote a series of fables, thirteen in number, aud some miscellaneous poems, chiefly of a moral character. One of his fables is the common story of the Town Mouse and Country Mouse, which he treats with much humour and characteristic description, and concludes with a beautifully expressed moral. [Dinner given by the Town Mouse to the Country Mouse.] their harboury was tane

Intill a spence, where victual was plenty,
Baith cheese and butter on lang shelves richt hie,
With fish and flesh enough, baith fresh and salt,
And pockis full of groats, baith meal and malt.
After, when they disposit were to dine,
Withouten grace they wuish and went to meat,
On every dish that cookmen can divine,
Mutton and beef stricken out in telyies grit ;
Ane lordis fare thus can they counterfeit,
Except ane thing-they drank the water clear
Instead of wine, but yet they made gude cheer.
With blyth upcast and merry countenance,
The elder sister then spier'd at her guest,
Gif that sho thoucht by reason difference
Betwixt that chalmer and her sairy nest.

[ocr errors]

London stone is still preserved in Cannon Street, formerly Yea, dame,' quoth sho, but how lang will this last !'

called Canwick, or Candlewick Street.

& Cry.

1 Washed.

2 Sorry.

For evermair, I wait, and langer too ;'
* Gif that be true, ye are at ease,' quoth sho.
To cik the cheer, in plenty furth they broucht
A plate of groatis and a dish of meal,

A threif2 of cakes, I trow sho spared them noucht,
Abundantly about her for to deal.

Furmage full fine sho broucht instead of jeil,
A white candle out of a coffer staw,
Instead of spice, to creish their teeth witha'.

Thus made they merry, while they micht nae mair,
And, Hail Yule, hail!' they cryit up on hie;
But after joy aftentimes comes care,
And trouble after grit prosperity.
Thus as they sat in all their solity,
The Spenser cam with keyis in his hand,
Opened the door, and thein at dinner fand.

They tarried not to wash, as I suppose,
But on to gae, wha micht the foremost win;
The burgess had a hole and in sho goes,
Her sister had nae place to hide her in;
To see that silly mouse it was great sin,
Sae desolate and wild of all gude rede,
For very fear sho fell in swoon, near dead.
Then as God wald it fell in happy case,
The Spenser had nae leisure for to bide,
Nowther to force, to seek, nor scare, nor chase,
But on he went and cast the door up-wide.
This burgess mouse his passage weel has spied.
Out of her hole sho cam and cried on hie,

How, fair sister, cry peep, where'er thou be.'
The rural mouse lay flatlings on the ground,
And for the deid sho was full dreadand,3
For till her heart strake mony waeful stound,
As in a fever trembling foot and hand;
And when her sister in sic plight her fand,
For very pity sho began to greet,

Syne comfort gave, with words as honey sweet.
Why lie ye thus? Rise up, my sister dear,
Come to your meat, this peril is o'erpast.'
The other answered with a heavy cheer,
I may nought eat, sae sair I am aghast.
Lever I had this forty dayis fast,
With water kail, and green beans and peas.
Then all your feast with this dread and disease.

With fair 'treaty, yet gart she her rise;
To board they went, and on together sat,
But scantly had they drunken anes or twice,
When in cam Gib Huntér, our jolly cat,

And bade God speed. The burgess up then gat,
And till her hole she fled as fire of flint;
Bawdrons the other by the back has hent."
Frae foot to foot he cast her to and frae,
While up, while down, as cant as only kid;
While wald he let her run under the strae
While wald he wink and play with her buik-hid;
Thus to the silly mouse great harm he did;
While at the last, through fair fortune and hap,
Betwixt the dresser and the wall she crap.
Syne up in haste behind the paneling,

Sae hie sho clam, that Gilbert might not get her,
And by the cluiks craftily can hing,

Till he was gane, her cheer was all the better:
Syne down sho lap, when there was nane to let her;
Then on the burgess mouth loud couth sho cry,
'Fareweel sister, here I thy feast defy.
Thy mangery is mingets all with care,

Thy guise is gude, thy gane-full sour as gall;
The fashion of thy feris is but fair,

So shall thou find hereafterward may fall.

I thank yon curtain, and yon parpane wall,

[blocks in formation]

Of my defence now frae yon cruel beast; Almighty God, keep me fra sic a feast! Were I into the place that I cam frae,

For weel nor wae I should ne'er come again.'
With that sho took her leave, and forth can gae,
While through the corn, while through the plain.
When she was furth and free she was right fain,
And merrily linkit unto the muir,

I cannot tell how afterward sho fure.

But I heard syne she passit to her den,
As warm as woo', suppose it was not grit,
Full beinly stuffit was baith butt and ben,
With peas and nuts, and beans, and rye and wheat;
Whene'er sho liked, sho had enough of meat,

In quiet and ease, withouten [ony] dread,
But till her sister's feast nae mair sho gaed.

[From the Moral.]

Blissed be simple life, withouten dreid;
Blissed be sober feast in quieté ;
Wha has eneuch of no more has he neid,
Though it be little into quantity.
Grit abundance, and blind prosperity,
Oft timis make ane evil conclusion;
The sweetest life, theirfor, in this country,
Is of sickerness, with small possession.

The Garment of Good Ladies.
Would my good lady love me best,
And work after my will,

I should a garment goodliest
Gar make her body till.1

Of high honour should be her hood,
Upon her head to wear,
Garnish'd with
governance, good


Na deeming should her deir.2

Her sark3 should be her body next,

Of chastity so white:

With shame and dread together mixt,

The same should be perfyte.+

Her kirtle should be of clean constance,
Lacit with lesum5 love;

The mailies of continuance,

For never to remove.

Her gown should be of goodliness,
Well ribbon'd with renown;
Purfill'd 7 with pleasure in ilk place,
Furrit with fine fashioùn.

Her belt should be of benignity,
About her middle meet;
Her mantle of humility,

To thole 9 both wind and weit. 10
Her hat should be of fair having,
And her tippet of truth;
Her patelet of good pansing,11
Her hals-ribbon of ruth.12

Her sleeves should be of esperance,
To keep her fra despair:
Her glovis of good governance,
To hide her fingers fair.

Her shoen should be of sickerness,
In sign that she not slide;
Her hose of honesty, I guess,
I should for her provide.

1 Cause to be made to her shape. injure her. 3 Shift.

4 Perfect.

8 Each.

6 Eyelet-holes for lacing her kirtle. fringed, or bordered. 11 Thinking.

? No opinion should 5 Lawful. 7 Parfilé (French), 10 Wet.

9 Endure.

12 Her neck-ribbon of pity.

Would she put on this garment gay,

durst swear by my seill,1
That she wore never green nor gray
That set2 her half so weel.


allegorical poems are the Thistle and the Rose (a triumphant nuptial song for the union of James and the Princess Margaret), the Dance, and the Golden Terge; but allegory abounds in many others, which do not strictly fall within this class. Perhaps the most remarkable of all his poems is one of those here enumerated, the Dance. It describes a procession of the seven deadly sins in the infernal regions, and for strength and vividness of painting, would

The most solemn and impressive of the more ex-
clusively moral poems of Dunbar, is one in which he
represents a thrush and nightingale taking opposite
sides in a debate on earthly and spiritual affections,
recommendation of a lusty life in Love's service,'
the thrush ending every speech or stanza with a
and the nightingale with the more melodious decla
ration, All Love is lost but upon God alone.'
There is, however, something more touching to com-
mon feelings in the less laboured verses in which he
moralises on the brevity of existence, the shortness
and uncertainty of all ordinary enjoyments, and the
wickedness and woes of mankind.

This wavering warld's wretchedness
The failing and fruitless business,
The misspent time, the service vain,

For to consider is ane pain.

The sliding joy, the gladness short,
The feigned love, the false comfort,
The sweir abade, the slightful train,2

For to consider is ane pain.

The suggared mouths, with minds therefra,
The figured speech, with faces tway;
The pleasing tongues, with hearts unplain,
For to consider is ane pain.

WILLIAM DUNBAR, a poet,' says Sir Walter unrivalled by any that Scotland has ever Scott, produced,' flourished at the court of James IV., at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the six-stand a comparison with any poem in the language. teenth centuries. His works, with the exception of one or two pieces, were confined, for above two centuries, to an obscure manuscript, from which they were only rescued when their language had become so antiquated, as to render the world insensible in a great measure to their many excellencies. To no other circumstance can we attribute the little justice that is done by popular fame to this highly-gifted poet, who was alike master of every kind of verse, the solemn, the descriptive, the sublime, the comic, and the satirical. Having received his education at the university of St Andrews, where, in 1479, he took the degree of master of arts, Dunbar became a friar of the Franciscan order (Grey Friars), in which capacity he travelled for some years not only in Scotland, but also in England and France, preaching, as was the custom of the order, and living by the alms of the pious, a mode of life which he himself acknowledges to have involved a constant exercise of falsehood, deceit, and flattery. In time, he had the grace, or was enabled by circumstances, to renounce this sordid profession. It is supposed, from various allusions in his writings, that, from about the year 1491 to 1500, he was occasionally employed by the king (James IV.) in some subordinate, but not unimportant capacity, in connexion with various foreign embassies, and that he thus visited Germany, Italy, Spain, and France, besides England and Ireland. He could not, in such a life, fail to acquire much of that knowledge of mankind which forms so important a part of the education of the poet. In 1500, he received from the king a pension of ten pounds, afterwards increased to twenty, and finally to eighty. He is supposed to have been employed He is, at the same time, by no means disposed habituby James in some of the negotiations preparatory to ally to take gloomy or desponding views of life. He his marriage with the Princess Margaret, daughter has one poem, of which each stanza ends with 'For of Henry VII., which took place in 1503. For some to be blyth methink it best.' In another, he advises, years ensuing, he seems to have lived at court, re- since life is so uncertain, that the good things of this galing his royal master with his poetical composi-world should be rationally enjoyed while it is yet tions, and probably also his conversation, the charms of which, judging from his writings, must have been very great. It is sad to relate of one who possessed so buoyant and mirthful a spirit, that his life was not, as far as we can judge, a happy one. He appears to have repined greatly at the servile courtlife which he was condemned to lead, and to have longed anxiously for some independent source of income. Amongst his poems, are many containing nothing but expressions of solicitude on this subject. He survived the year 1517, and is supposed to have died about 1520, at the age of sixty; but whether he ultimately succeeded in obtaining preferment, is not known. His writings, with scarcely any exception, remained in the obscurity of manuscript till the beginning of the last century; but his fame has been gradually rising since then, and it was at length, in 1834, so great as to justify a complete edition of his works, by Mr David Laing.

[blocks in formation]

Or, in another poem

Evermair unto this warld's joy,
As nearest heir, succeeds annoy;
Therefore when joy may not remain,

His very heir, succeedés Pain.

possible. Thine awn gude spend,' says he, while thou has space.' There is yet another, in which these Horatian maxims are still more pointedly enforced, and from this we shall select a few stanzas :

Be merry, man, and tak not sair in mind

The wavering of this wretched world of sorrow;
To God be humble, to thy friend be kind,
And with thy neighbours gladly lend and borrow;
His chance to-night, it may be thine to-morrow;
Be blyth in hearte for my aventure,

For oft with wise men it has been said aforow,
Without Gladness availes no Treasure.

Make thee gude cheer of it that God thee sends,

For warld's wrak but welfare3 nought avails;
Nae gude is thine save only that thou spends,
Remanant all thou bruikes but with bails 4
Seek to solace when sadness thee assails;
In dolour lang thy life may not endure,

Wherefore of comfort set up all thy sails;
Without Gladness availes no Treasure.

[blocks in formation]

Follow on pity, flee trouble and debate,
With famous folkis hald thy company;
Be charitable and hum'le in thine estate,
For warldly honour lastes but a cry.
For trouble in earth tak no melancholy;
Be rich in patience, if thou in gudes be poor;
Who lives merrily he lives mightily;
Without Gladness availes no Treasure.

The philosophy of these lines is excellent.
Dunbar was as great in the comic as in the solemn
strain, but not so pure. His Twa Married Women
and the Widow is a conversational piece, in which
three gay ladies discuss, in no very delicate terms,
the merits of their husbands, and the means by
which wives may best advance their own interests.
The Friars of Berwick (not certainly his) is a clever
but licentious tale. There is one piece of peculiar
humour, descriptive of an imaginary tournament
between a tailor and a shoemaker, in the same low
region where he places the dance of the seven deadly
sins. It is in a style of the broadest farce, and full
of very offensive language, yet as droll as anything
in Scarron or Smollett.

The Merle and Nightingale.

In May, as that Aurora did upspring,
With crystal een chasing the cluddes sable,
I heard a Merle with merry notis sing

A sang of love, with voice right comfortable,
Again' the orient beamis, amiable,
Upon a blissful branch of laurel green;
This was her sentence, sweet and delectable,
A lusty life in Lovis service been.

Under this branch ran down a river bright,
Of balmy liquor, crystalline of hue,
Again' the heavenly azure skyis light,
Where did upon the tother side pursue
A Nightingale, with sugared notis new,
Whose angel feathers as the peacock shone ;
This was her song, and of a sentence true,
All love is lost but upon God alone.
With notis glad, and glorious harmony,
This joyful merle, so salust she the day,
While rung the woodis of her melody,
Saying, Awake, ye lovers of this May;
Lo, fresh Flora has flourished every spray,
As nature has her taught, the noble queen,
The field been clothit in a new array;
A lusty life in Lovis service been.

Ne'er sweeter noise was heard with living man,
Na made this merry gentle nightingale;
Her sound went with the river as it ran,
Out through the fresh and flourished lusty vale;
O Merle! quoth she, O fool! stint of thy tale,
For in thy song good sentence is there none,
For both is tint, the time and the travail
Of every love but upon God alone.

Cease, quoth the Merle, thy preaching, Nightingale :
Shall folk their youth spend into holiness?
Of young sanctis, grows auld feindís, but fable;
Fye, hypocrite, in yeiris tenderness,
Again the law of kind thou goes express,
That crookit age makes one with youth serene,
Whom nature of conditions made diverse :
A lusty life in Lovis service been.

The Nightingale said, Fool, remember thee,
That both in youth and eild, and every hour,
The love of God most dear to man suld be ;
That him, of nought, wrought like his own figour,

1 Age.

And died himself, fro' dead him to succour ;
O, whether was kythit there true love or none?
He is most true and stedfast paramour,
And love is lost but upon him alone.

The Merle said, Why put God so great beauty
In ladies, with sic womanly having,
But gif he would that they suld lovit be?
To love eke nature gave them inclining,
And He of nature that worker was and king,
Would nothing frustir put, nor let be seen,
Into his creature of his own making;
A lusty life in Lovis service been.
The Nightingale said, Not to that behoof
Put God sic beauty in a lady's face,
That she suld have the thank therefor or luve,
Of beauty, bounty, riches, time, or space,
But He, the worker, that put in her sic grace;
And every gudeness that been to come or gone
The thank redounds to him in every place:
All love is lost, but upon God alone.
O Nightingale! it were a story nice,
That love suld not depend on charity;
And, gif that virtue contrar be to vice,
Then love maun be a virtue, as thinks me;
For, aye, to love envy maun contrar be:

God bade eke love thy neighbour fro the spleen ;2
And who than ladies sweeter neighbours be?

A lusty life in Lovis service been.

The Nightingale said, Bird, why does thou rave!
Man may take in his lady sie delight,
Him to forget that her sic virtue gave,
And for his heaven receive her colour white:
Her golden tressit hairis redomite, 3
Like to Apollo's beamis tho' they shone,
Suld not him blind fro' love that is perfite;
All love is lost but upon God alone.

The Merle said, Love is cause of honour aye,
Love makis cowards manhood to purchase,
Love makis knichtis hardy at essay,
Love makis wretches full of largéness,
Love makis sweir 4 folks full of business,
Love makis sluggards fresh and well be seen,
Love changes vice in virtuous nobleness;
A lusty life in Lovis service been.

The Nightingale said, True is the contrary;
Sic frustis love it blindis men so far,
Into their minds it makis them to vary;
In false vain glory they so drunken are,
Their wit is went, of woe they are not waur,
While that all worship away be fro' them gone,
Fame, goods, and strength; wherefore well say I daur,
All love is lost but upon God alone.

Then said the Merle, Mine error I confess :
This frustis love is all but vanity:
Blind ignorance me gave sic hardiness,
To argue so again' the verity;
Wherefore I counsel every man that he
With love not in the feindis net be tone, 5
But love the love that did for his love die:
All love is lost but upon God alone.

Then sang they both with voices loud and clear,
The Merle sang, Man, love God that has thee wrought.
The Nightingale sang, Man, love the Lord most dear,
That thee and all this world made of nought.
The Merle said, Love him that thy love has sought
Fro' heaven to earth, and here took flesh and bone.
The Nightingale sang, And with his dead thee bought:
All love is lost, but upon him alone.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »