網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Pope, 'to mark out the general course of our poetry; deformed by a number of obsolete uncouth phrases Chaucer, Spenser, Milton, and Dryden, are the great (the Chaucerisms of Spenser, as Dryden designated landmarks for it.' We can now add Cowper and them), yet containing traces of a superior original Wordsworth; but, in Pope's generation, the list he genius. The fable of the Oak and Briar is finely has given was accurate and complete. Spenser was, told; and in verses like the following, we see the like Chaucer, a native of London, and like him, also, germs of that tuneful harmony and pensive reflection he has recorded the circumstance in his poetry : in which Spenser excelled :Merry London, my most kindly nurse,

You naked buds, whose shady leaves are lost, That to me gave this life's first native source, Wherein the birds were wont to build their bower, Though from another place I take my name, And now are clothed with moss and hoary frost, An house of ancient fame.

Instead of blossoms wherewith your buds did flower : Prothalamion.

I see your tears that from your boughs do rain,
He was born at East Smithfield, near the Tower, Whose drops in dreary icicles remain.

All so my lustful life is dry and sere,
My timely buds with wailing all are wasted;
The blossom which my branch of youth did bear,
With breathed sighs is blown away and blasted,
And from mine eyes the drizzling tears descend,
As on your boughs the icicles depend.

These lines form part of the first eclogue, in which the shepherd boy (Colin Clout) laments the issue of his love for a country lass,' named Rosalinda happy female name, which Thomas Lodge, and, following him, Shakspeare, subsequently connected with love and poetry. Spenser is here supposed to have depicted a real passion of his own for a lady in the north, who at last preferred a rival, though, as Gabriel Harvey says, 'the gentle Mistress Rosalind' once reported the rejected suitor to have all the intelligences at command, and another time christened him Signior Pegaso. Spenser makes his shepherds discourse of polemics as well as love, and they draw characters of good and bad pastors, and institute comparisons between Popery and Protes. tantism. Some allusions to Archbishop Grindal

(* Algrind' in the poem) and Bishop Aylmer are Edmund Spenser.

said to have given offence to Lord Burleigh ; but the

patronage of Leicester and Essex must have made about the year 1553. The rank of his parents, or Burleigh look with distaste on the new poet. For the degree of his affinity with the ancient house of ten years we hear little of Spenser. He is found Spenser, is not known. Gibbon says truly, that the corresponding with Harvey on a literary innovation noble family of Spenser should consider the Faery contemplated by that learned person, and even by Queen as the most precious jewel in their coronet.* Sir Philip Sidney. This was no less than banishing The poet was entered a sizer (one of the humblest rhymes and introducing the Latin prosody into class of students) of Pembroke College, Cambridge, English verse. Spenser seems to have assented to in May 1569, and continued to attend college for it, fondly overcome with Sidney's charm;' he susseven years, taking his degree of M.A. in June pended the Faery Queen, which he had then begun, 1576. While Spenser was at Pembroke, Gabriel and tried English hexameters, forgetting, to use the Harvey, the future astrologer, was at Christ's Col- witty words of Nash, that the hexameter, though lege, and an intimacy was formed between them, a gentleman of an ancient house, was not likely to which lasted during the poet's life. Harvey was thrive in this clime of ours, the soil being too craggy learned and pedantic, full of assumption and con- for him to set his plough in.' Fortunately, he did ceit, and in his • Venetian velvet and pantofles of not persevere in the conceit; he could not have pride,' formed a peculiarly happy subject for the gained over his contemporaries to it (for there were satire of Nash, who assailed him with every species then too many poets, and too much real poetry in of coarse and contemptuous ridicule. Harvey, how the land), and if he had made the attempt, Shak ever, was of service to Spenser. The latter, on re- speare would soon have blown the whole away. As tiring from the University, lived with some friends a dependent on Leicester, and a suitor for court in the north of England; probably those Spensers favour, Spenser is supposed to have experienced of Hurstwood, to, whose family he is said to have many reverses. The following lines in Mother Hub belonged. Harvey induced the poet to repair to bard's Tale, though not printed till 1581, seem to London, and there he introduced him to Sir Philip belong to this period of his life: Sidney, one of the very diamonds of her majesty's

Full little knowest thou that hast not tried, court.' In 1579, the poet published his Shepherd's

What hell it is in suing long to bide ; Calendar, dedicated to Sidney, who afterwards patronised him, and recommended him to his uncle,

To lose good days that inight be better spent; the powerful Earl of Leicester. The Shepherd's

To waste long nights in pensive discontent; Calendar is a pastoral poem, in twelve eclogues,

To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow;

To feed on hope, to pine with fear and sorrow; one for each month, but without strict keeping

To have thy prince's grace, yet want her peers'; as to natural description or rustic character, and

To have thy asking, yet wait many years; * It was lately announced, that the family to which the poet's

To fret thy soul with crosses and with cares; father belonged has been ascertained as one settled at Hurst To eat thy heart through comfortless despairs; wood, near Burnley, in Lancashire, where it flourished till To fawn, to crouch, to wait, to ride, to run,

To spend, to give, to wait, to be undone !

86

[graphic]

'690

Strong feeling has here banished all antique and approved of his friend's poem ; and he persuaded affected expression: there is no fancy in this gloomy Spenser, when he had completed the three first books, painting. It appears, from recently-discovered do- to accompany him to England, and arrange for their cuments, that Spenser was sometimes employed in publication. The Faery Queen appeared in January inferior state missions, a task then often devolved 1589-90, dedicated to her majesty, in that strain of on poets and dramatists. At length an important adulation which was then the fashion of the age. appointment came. Lord Grey of Wilton was sent To the volume was appended a letter to Raleigh, to Ireland as lord-deputy, and Spenser accompanied explaining the nature of the work, which the author him in the capacity of secretary. They remained said was a continued allegory, or dark conceit.' there two years, when the deputy was recalled, and He states his object to be to fashion a gentleman, the poet also returned to England. In June 1586, or noble person, in virtuous and gentle discipline, Spenser obtained from the crown a grant of 3028 and that he had chosen Prince Arthur for his hero. acres in the county of Cork, out of the forfeited lands He conceives that prince to have beheld the Faery of the Earl of Desmond, of which Sir Walter Raleigh Queen in a dream, and been so enamoured of the had previously, for his military services in Ireland, vision, that, on awaking, he resolved to set forth and obtained 12,000 acres. The poet was obliged to seek her in Faery Land. The poet further de reside on his estate, as this was one of the conditions vises' that the Faery Queen shall keep her annual of the grant, and he accordingly repaired to Ireland, feast twelve days, twelve several adventures hapand took up his abode in Kilcolman Castle, near pening in that time, and each of them being underDoneraile, which had been one of the ancient strong- taken by a knight. The adventures were also to holds or appanages of the Earls of Desmond. The express the same number of moral virtues. The poet's castle stood in the midst of a large plain, by first is that of the Redcross Knight, expressing the side of a lake; the river Mulla ran through his Holiness ; the second Sir Guyon, or Temperance; grounds, and a chain of mountains at a distance and the third, Britomartis, å lady knight,' repre

senting Chastity. There was thus a blending of chivalry and religion in the design of the Faery Queen. Spenser had imbibed (probably from Sidney) a portion of the Platonic doctrine, which overflows in Milton's Comus, and he looked on chivalry as a sage and serious thing.* Besides his personification of the abstract virtues, the poet made his allegorical personages and their adventures represent historical characters and events. The queen, Gloriana, and the huntress Belphæbe, are both symbolical of Queen Elizabeth ; the adventures of the Redcross Knight shadow forth the history of the Church of England; the distressed knight is Henry IV.; and Envy is intended to glance at the unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots. The stanza of Spenser is the Italian ottava rima, now familiar in English poetry; but he added an Alexandrine, or long line, which gives a full and sweeping close to the verse. The poet's diction is rich and abundant. He introduced, however, a number of obsolete expressions, 'new grafts of old and withered words,' for which he was censured by his contemporaries and their successors, and in which he was certainly not copied by Shakspeare. His Gothic subject

[graphic]

Fit for herself.'

Kloolman Castle.

* The Platonism of Spenser is more clearly seen in his hymns

on Love and Beauty, which are among the most passionate and seemed to bulwark in the romantic retreat. Here exquisite of his productions. His account of the spirit of love he wrote most of the Faery Queen, and received the is not unlike Ovid's description of the creation of man: the visits of Raleigh, whom he fancifully styled “the soul, just severed from the sky, retains part of its heavenly Shepherd of the Ocean;' and here he brought home power— his wife, the “ Elizabeth' of his sonnets, welcom *And frames her house, in which she will be placod, ing her with that noble strain of pure and fervent passion, which he has styled the Epithalamium, and which forms the most magnificent spousal verse' But he speculates further

. So every spirit, as it is most pure, in the language. Kilcolman Castle is now a ruin;

And hath in it the more of heavenly light, its towers almost level with the ground; but the spot

So it the fairer body doth procure must ever be dear to the lovers of genius. Raleigh's

To habit in, and it more fairly dight visit was made in 1589, and, according to the figu

With cheerful grace and amiable sight; rative language of Spenser, the two illustrious friends,

For of the soul the body form doth takes while reading the manuscript of the Faery Queen,

For soul is form, and doth the body make. sat

Spenser afterwards wrote two religious hymns, to counteract * Amongst the coolly shade

the effect of those on love and beauty, but though he spiritual. Of the green alders, by the Mulla’s shore.' ises his passion, he does not abandon his early belief, that the

fairest body encloses the fairest mind : he still saysWe may conceive the transports of delight with

• For all that's good is beautiful and fair.' which Raleigh perused or listened to those strains The Grecian philosophy was curiously united with Puritanism of chivalry and gorgeous description, which revealed in both Spenser and Milton. Our poet took the fable of his great to him a land still brighter than any he had seen in poem from the style of the Gothic romance, but the deep sense his distant wanderings, or could have been present of beauty which pervades it is of classical origin, elevated and even to his romantic imagination! The guest warmly purified by strong religious feeling.

and story' had probably, as Mr Campbell conjec- 16th January 1599. He was buried near the tomb tures, made him lean towards words of the olden of Chaucer in Westminster Abbey, the Earl of time, and his antiquated expression, as the same Essex defraying the expense of the funeral, and his critic finely remarks, 'is beautiful in its antiquity, hearse attended (as Camden relates) by his brother and, like the moss and ivy on some majestic build- poets, who threw 'mournful clegies' into his grave. ing, covers the fabric of his language with romantic A monument was erected over his remains thirty and venerable associations.' The Faery Queen was years afterwards by Anne, countess of Dorset. His enthusiastically received. It could scarcely, indeed, widow, the fair Elizabeth, whose bridal bower at be otherwise, considering how well it was adapted Kilcolman he had decked with such gay garlands' to the court and times of the Virgin Queen, where of song, probably remained in Ireland, where two gallantry and chivalry were so strangely mingled sons of the unfortunate poet long resided. with the religious gravity and earnestness induced Spenser is the most luxuriant and melodious of by the Reformation, and considering the intrinsic all our descriptive poets. His creation of scenes beauty and excellence of the poem. The few first and objects is infinite, and in free and sonorous stanzas, descriptive of Una, were of themselves suf- versification he has not yet been surpassed. His ficient to place Spenser above the whole hundred lofty rhyme' has a swell and cadence, and a conpoets that then offered incense to Elizabeth,

tinuous sweetness, that we can find nowhere else. The queen settled a pension of £50 per annum on In richness of fancy and invention he can scarcely Spenser, and he returned to Ireland. His smaller be ranked below Shakspeare, and he is fully as oripoems were next published— The Tears of the Muses, ginal. His obligations to the Italian poets (Ariosto Mother Hubbard, &c., in 1591; Daphnaida, 1592; and supplying a wild Gothic and chivalrous model for Amoretti and the Epithalamium (relating his court- the Faery Queen, and Tasso furnishing the texture ship and marriage) in 1595. His Elegy of Astrophel, of some of its most delicious embellishments) still on the death of the lamented Sidney, appeared leave him the merit of his great moral design-the about this time. In 1596, Spenser was again in conception of his allegorical characters—his exubeLondon to publish the fourth, fifth, and sixth books rance of language and illustration--and that original of the Faery Queen. These contain the legend of structure of verse, powerful and harmonious, which Cambel and Triamond, or Friendship; Artegal, or he was the first to adopt, and which must ever bear Justice; and Sir Caledore, or Courtesy. The double his name. His faults arose out of the fulness of his allegory is continued in these cantos as in the pre- riches. His inexhaustible powers of circumstantial vious ones : Artegal is the poet's friend and patron, description betrayed him into a tedious minuteness, Lord Grey ; and various historical events are re which sometimes, in the delineation of his personified lated in the knight's adventures. Half of the ori- passions, becomes repulsive, and in the painting of ginal design was thus finished; six of the twelve natural objects led him to group together trees and adventures and moral virtues were produced; but plants, and assemble sounds and instruments, which unfortunately the world saw only some fragments were never seen or heard in unison out of Faery more of the work. It has been said that the remain- Land. The ingenuity and subtlety of his intellect ing half was lost, through the disorder and abuse' tempted him to sow dark meanings and obscure of a servant sent forward with it to England. This allusions across the bright and obvious path of his is highly improbable. Spenser, who came to London allegory. This peculiarity of his genius was early himself with each of the former portions, would not displayed in his Shepherd's Calendar; and if Bur. have ventured the largest part with a careless ser- leigh's displeasure could have cured the poet of the vant. But he had not time to complete his poetical habit, the statesman might be half forgiven his illiand moral gallery. There was an interval of six berality. His command of musical language led years between his two publications, and he lived him to protract his narrative to too great a length, only three years after the second. During that till the attention becomes exhausted, even with its period, too, Ireland was convulsed with rebellion. very melody, and indifference succeeds to languor. The English settlers, or undertakers,' of the crown Had Spenser lived to finish his poem, it is doubtful lands, were unpopular with the conquered natives whether he would not have diminished the number of Ireland. They were often harsh and oppressive; of his readers. His own fancy had evidently begun and even Spenser is accused, on the authority of to give way, for the last three books have not the existing legal documents, of having sought unjustly same rich unity of design, or plenitude of imaginato add to his possessions. He was also in office over tion, which fills the earlier cantos with so many inthe Irish (clerk of the council of Munster); he had teresting, lofty, and ethereal conceptions, and steeps been recommended by the queen (1598) for the them in such a flood of ideal and poetical beauty. office of sheriff of Cork; and he was a strenuous The two first books (of Holiness and Temperance) advocate for arbitrary power, as is proved by a poli- are, like the two first of Paradise Lost, works of contical treatise on the state of Ireland, written by him summate taste and genius, and superior to all the in 1596 for the government of Elizabeth, but not others. We agree with Mr Hazlitt, that the alleprinted till the reign of Charles I. The poet was, gory of Spenser is in reality no bar to the enjoy.nent therefore, a conspicuous object for the fury of the of the poem. The reader may safely disregard the irritated and barbarous natives, with whom 'revenge symbolical applications. We may allow the poet, was virtue.' The storm soon burst forth. In Oc- like his own Archimago, to divide his characters tober 1598, an insurrection was organised in Mun- into 'double parts,' while one only is visible at a ster, following Tyrone's rebellion, which had raged time. While we see Una, with her heavenly looks, for some years in the province of Ulster. The insurgents attacked Kilcolman, and having robbed

That made a sunshine in the shady place, and plundered, set fire to the castle. Spenser and his or Belphæbe flying through the woods, or Britomart wife escaped ; but either in the confusion incidental seated amidst the young warriors, we need not stop to such a calamity, or from inability to render as to recollect that the first is designed to represent the sistance, an infant child of the poet ('new-born,'true church, the second Queen Elizabeth, or the third according to Ben Jonson) was left behind, and an abstract personification of Chastity. They are experished in the flames. The poet, impoverished and quisite representations of female loveliness and truth, broken-hearted, reached London, and died in about unmatched save in the dramas of Shakspeare. The three months, in King Street, Westminster, on the allegory of Spenser leaves his wild enchantments,

trees,

his picturesque situations, his shady groves and lofty A lovely lady rode him fair beside,

Upon a lowly ass more white than snow; (Not pierceable by power of any star),

Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide

Under a veil that wimpled was full low, his Masque of Cupid, and Bower of Bliss, and all the And over all a black stole she did throw, witcheries of his gardens and wildernesses, without As one that inly mourn'd : so was she sad, the slightest ambiguity or indistinctness. There is And heavy sat upon her palfrey slow; no haze over his finest pictures. We seem to walk Seemed in heart some hidden care she had, in the green alleys of his broad forests, to hear the And by her in a line a milk-white lamb she led. stream tinkle and the fountain fall, to enter his So pure and innocent, as that same lamb, caves of Mammon and Despair, to gaze on his knights and ladies, or to join in his fierce combats She was in life and every virtuous lore,

And by descent from royal lineage came and crowded allegorical processions. There is no perplexity, no intercepted lights, in those fine images Their sceptres stretcht from east to western shore,

Of ancient kings and queens, that had of yore and personifications. They may be sometimes fan- And all the world in their subjection held; tastic, but they are always brilliant and distinct. Till that infernal fiend with foul uproar When Spenser fails to interest, it is when our coarser Forewasted all their land and them expelld: taste becomes palled with his sweetness, and when we Whom to avenge, she had this knight from far com feel that his scenes want the support of common pro

pell’d. bability and human passions. We surrender ourselves up for a time to the power of the enchanter, Behind her far away a dwarf did lag, and witness with wonder and delight his marvellous That lazy seem'd in being ever last, achievements; but we wish to return again to the Or wearied with bearing of her bag world, and to mingle with our fellow-mortals in its Of needments at his back. Thus as they past busy and passionate pursuits. It is here that Shaks. The day with clouds was sudden overcast, peare eclipses Spenser; here that he builds upon his And angry Jove an hideous storm of rain beautiful groundwork of fancy—the high and durable Did pour into his leman's lap so fast, structure of conscious dramatic truth and living That every wight to shroud it did constrain, reality. Spenser's mind was as purely poetical, and And this fair couple eke to shroud themselves were fain embraced a vast range of imaginary creation. The Enforced to seek some covert nigh at hand, interest of real life alone is wanting. Spenser's is an A shady grove not far away they spied, ideal world, remote and abstract, yet affording, in its That promised aid the tempest to withstand ; multiplied scenes, scope for those nobler feelings and whose lofty trees, yclad with summer's pride, heroic virtues which we love to see even in transient Did spread so broad, that heaven's light did hide, connexion with human nature. The romantic cha- Nor pierceable with power of any star: racter of his poetry is its most essential and per- And all within were paths and alleys wide, manent feature. We may tire of his allegory and with footing worn, and leading inward far: dark conceit,' but the general impression remains; Fair harbour, that them seems; so in they entered are. we never think of the Faery Queen without recalling its wondrous scenes of enchantment and beauty, and And forth they pass, with pleasure forward led, feeling ourselves lulled, as it were, by the recol- Joying to hear the birds' sweet harmony, lected music of the poet's verse, and the endless flow Which therein shrouded from the tempest dread,

Seem'd in their song to scorn the cruel sky. and profusion of his fancy.

Much can they praise the trees so straight and high,

The sailing Pine, the Cedar proud and tall, (Una and the Redcross Knight.]

The vine-prop Elm, the Poplar never dry,

The builder Oak, sole king of forests all, A gentle knight was pricking on the plain,

The Aspin good for staves, the Cypress funeral Yclad in mighty arms and silver shield,

The Laurel, meed of mighty conquerors Wherein old dints of deep wounds did remain,

And poets sage, the Fir that weepeth still, The cruel marks of many a bloody field;

The Willow, worn of forlorn paramours, Yet arms till that time did he never wield :

The Yew obedient to the bender's will, His angry steed did chide his foaming bit,

The Birch for shafts, the Sallow for the mill, As much disdaining to the curb to yield :

The Myrrh sweet bleeding in the bitter wound, Full jolly knight he seem'd, and fair did sit,

The warlike Beech, the Ash for nothing ill, As one for knightly jousts and fierce encounters fit.

The fruitful Olive, and the Plantain round, And on his breast a bloody cross he bore,

The carver Holme, the Maple seldom inward sound The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,

Led with delight, they thus beguile the way,
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge he wore, Until the blustering storm is overblown,
And dead (as living) ever him adored :

When, weening to return, whence they did stray, Upon his shield the like was also scored,

They cannot find that path which first was shown, For sovereign hope, which in his help he had : But wander to and fro in ways unknown, Right faithful true he was in deed and word ; Furthest from end then, when they nearest ween, But of his cheer did seem too solemn sad :

That makes them doubt their wits be not their own : Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad. So many paths, so many turnings seen,

That which of them to take, in divers doubt they beca.
Upon a great adventure he was bound,
That greatest Gloriana to him gave,
(That greatest glorious queen of fairy lond,)

[Adventure of Una with the Lion.]
To win him worship, and her grace to have,
Which of all earthly things he most did crave; Yet, she, most faithful lady, all this while
And ever as he rode his heart did yearn

Forsaken, woeful, solitary maid,
To prove his puissance in battle brave

Far from all people's prease, as in exile, Upon his foe, and his new force to learn ;

In wilderness and wasteful deserts strayed, Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stern.

To seek her knight ; who, subtily betrayed

Through that late vision which th'enchanter wrought, One would have thought (so cunningly the rude
Had her abandoned ; she of nought afraid

And scorned parts were mingled with the fine)
Through woods and wasteness wide him daily sought; That nature had for wantonness ensued
Yet wished tidings none of him unto her brought. Art, and that art at nature did repine ;

So striving each th' other to undermine,
One day, nigh weary of the irksome way,

Each did the other's work more beautify; From her unhasty beast she did alight;

So differing both in wills, agreed in fine: And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay,

So all agreed through sweet diversity,
In secret shadow, far from all men's sight;

This garden to adorn with all variety.
From her fair head her fillet she undight,
And laid her stole aside : her angel's face,

And in the midst of all a fountain stood
As the great eye of Heaven, shined bright,

Of richest substance that on earth might be, And made a sunshine in the shady place ;

So pure and shiny, that the silver flood Did never mortal eye behold such heavenly grace.

Through every channel running one might see ;

Most goodly it with curious imagery It fortuned, out of the thickest wood

Was overwrought, and shapes of naked boys, A ramping lion rushed suddenly,

Of which some seem'd with lively jollity Hunting full greedy after savaye blood :

To fly about, playing their wanton toys, Soon as the royal virgin he did spy,

While others did einbaye themselves in liquid joys. With gaping mouth at her ran greedily,

And over all, of purest gold, was spread To have at once devour'd her tender corse :

A trail of ivy in his natire hue : But to the prey when as he drew more nigh,

For, the rich metal was so coloured, His bloody rage assuaged with remorse,

That wight, who did not well advis'd it view, And with the sight amazed forgat his furious

Would surely deem it to be iry true: force.

Low his lascivious arms adown did creep, Instead thereof he kiss'd her weary feet,

That themselves dipping in the silver dew And lick'd her lily hands with fawning tongue ;

Their fleecy flowers they fearfully did steer As he her wronged innocence did weet.

Which drops of crystal seem'd for wantonness to weep. O how can beauty master the most strong,

Infinite streams continually did well And simple truth subdue avenging wrong !

Out of this fountain, sweet and fair to see, Whose yielded pride and proud submission,

The which into an ample laver fell, Still dreading death, when she had marked long,

And shortly grew to so great quantity, Her heart gan melt in great compassion,

That like a little lake it seem'd to be ; And drizzling tears did shed for pure affection. Whose depth exceeded not three cubits height, "The lion, lord of every beast in field,'

That through the waves one might the bottom see, Quoth she, ‘his princely puissance doth abate,

All pav'd beneath with jasper shining bright, And mighty proud to humble weak does yield,

That seem'd the fountain in that sea did sail upright Forgetful of the hungry rage, which late

And all the margin round about was set Him prick’d, in pity of my sad estate:

With shady laurel trees, thence to defend But he, my lion, and my noble lord,

The sunny beams, which on the billows beat,
How does he find in cruel heart to hate

And those which therein bathed might offend.
Her that him loved, and erer most adored,
As the God of my life? why hath he me abhorred !' Eftsoons they heard a most melodious sound,

Of all that inight delight a dainty car,
Redounding tears did choke th' end of her plaint, Such as at once might not on living ground,
Which softly echoed from the neighbour wood; Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere:
And, sad to see her sorrowful constraint,

Right hard it was for wight which did it hear, The kingly beast upon her gazing stood :

To read what manner music that might be : With pity calm'd down fell his angry mood.

For all that pleasing is to living ear, At last, in close heart shutting up her pain,

Was there consorted in one harmony ; Arose the virgin born of heav'nly brood,

Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree. And to her snowy palfrey got again, To seek her strayed chainpion if she might attain.

The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade,

Their notes unto the voice attemper'd sweet ; The lion would not leave her desolate,

Th' angelical soft trembling voices made But with her went along, as a strong guard

To th’instruments divine respondence ineet; Of her chaste person, and a faithful mate

The silver sounding instruments did meet Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard :

With the base murinur of the water's fall : Still when she slept, he kept both watch and ward ; The water's fall with difference discreet, And when she waked, he waited diligent,

Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call: With humble service to her will prepared ;

The gentle warbling wind low answered to all. From her fair eyes he took commandément,

The while, some one did chaunt this lovely lay; And ever by her looks conceived her intent.

* Ah see, whoso fair thing thou dost fain to see,

In springing flower the image of thy day; [The Bower of Bliss.]

Ah see the virgin rose, how sweetly she

Doth first peep forth with bashful modesty, There the most dainty paradise on ground

That fairer seems, the less ye see her may ; Itself doth offer to his sober eye,

Lo, see soon after, how more bold and free In which all pleasures plenteously abound,

ller bared bosom she doth broad display ; And none does others happiness envy;

Lo, see soon after, how she fades and falls away! The painted flowers, the trees upshooting high, So passeth, in the passing of a day, The dales for shade, the hills for breathing space, Of mortal life, the leaf, the bud, the flower, The trembling groves, the crystal running by ; Nor more doth flourish after first decay, And that which all fair works doth inost aggrace, That erst was sought to deck both bed and bower The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place. Of many a lady, and many a paranour

« 上一頁繼續 »