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Gather therefore the rose, while yet is prime,

But, when as long le looked had in rain,
For snon comes age, that will her pride deflower : Yet saw her forward still to make her flight,
Cathi.r the rose of love, while yet is time,

His weary eye return’d to him again,
While loving thou mayst loved be with equal crime.' Full of discomfort and disquiet plight,

That both his jewel he had lost so light,

And eke his dear companion of his care. [The Squire and the Dove.]

But that sweet bird departing, flew forth right Well said the wise man, now prov'd true by this,

Through the wide region of the wasteful air, Which to this gentle squire did happen late;

Until she came where wonned his Belphoebe fair. That the displeasure of the mighty is

There found she her (as then it did betide) Than death itself more dread and desperate :

Sitting in covert shade of arbors sweet, For nought the same may calm, nor mitigate,

After late weary toil, which she had tried
Till time the tempest do thereof allay

In savage chace, to rest as seem'd her meet.
With sufferance soft, which rigour can abate, There she alighting, fell before her feet,
And have the stern remembrance wip'd away. And gan to her, her mournful plaint to make,
Of bitter thoughts, which deep therein infixed lay.

As was her wont: thinking to let her weet
Like as it fell to this unhappy boy,

The great tormenting grief, that for her sake Whose tender heart the fair Belphebe had

Her gentle squire through her displeasure did partake With one stern look so daunted, that no joy

She, her beholding with attentive eye, In all his life, which afterwards he lad,

At length did mark about her purple breast He ever tasted; but with penance sad,

That precious jewel, which she formerly And pensive sorrow, pind and wore away,

Had known right well, with colour'd ribbon drest ; Nor ever laugh’d, nor once show'd countenance glad; Therewith she rose in haste, and her addrest But always wept and wailed night and day,

With ready hand it to have reft away. As blasted blossom, through heat, doth languish and But the swift bird obey'd not her behest, decay;

But swerv'd aside, and there again did stay ; Till on a day (as in his wonted wise

She follow'd her, and thought again it to assay. His dole he made) there chanc'd a turtle-dove And ever when she nigh approach'd, the dove To come, where he his dolours did devise,

Would fit a little forward, and then stay That likewise late had lost her dearest love;

Till she drew near, and then again remove; Which loss her made like passion also prove. So tempting her still to pursue the prey, Who seeing his sad plight, her tender heart

And still from her escaping soft away: With dear compassion deeply did emmove,

Till that at length, into that forest wide That she gan moan his underserved smart,

She drew her far, and led with slow delay. And with her doleful accent, bear with him a part. In the end, she her unto that place did guide, She, sitting by him, as on ground he lay,

Whereas that woful man in languor did abide. Her mournful notes full piteously did frame, He her beholding, at her feet down fell, And thereof made a lamentable lay,

And kiss'd the ground on which her sole did trea:), Bo sensibly compiled, that in the same

And wash'd the same with water, which did well Him seemed oft he heard his own right name. From his moist eyes, and like two streams proceed; With that, he forth would pour so plenteous tears, Yet spake no word, whereby she might aread And beat his breast unworthy of such blame, What mister wight he was, or what he meant; And knock his head, and rend his rugged hairs, But as one daunted with her presence dread, That could have pierc'd the hearts of tigers and of Only few rueful looks unto her sent, bears.

As messengers of his true meaning and intent. Thus long this gentle bird to him did use,

Yet nathemore his meaning she ared,
Withouten dread of peril to repair

But wondered much at his so uncouth case ;
Unto his wonne; and with her mournful muse And by his person's secret seemlihed
Himn to recomfort in his greatest care,

Well ween'd, that he had been some man of place,
That much did ease his mourning and misfare : Before misfortune did his hue deface:
And every day, for guerdon of her song,

That being moved with ruth she thus bespake. He part of his small feast to her would share ; Ah! woful man, what heaven's hard disgrace, That, at the last, of all his woe and wrong,

Or wrath of cruel wight on thee ywrake, Companion she became, and so continued long. Or self-disliked life, doth thec thus wretched make? i Upon a day, as she him sate beside,

If heaven, then none may it redress or blame, By chance he certain miniments forth drew,

Since to his power we all are subject born : Which yet with him as relics did abide

If wrathful wight, then foul rebuke and shame Of all the bounty which Belphoebe threw

Be theirs, that have so cruel thee forlorn; On him, while goodly grace she did him shew : But if through inward grief, or wilful scorn Amongst the rest, a jewel rich he found,

Of life it be, then better do avise. That was a ruby of right perfect hue,

For, he whose days in wilful woe are worn, Shap'd like a heart, yet bleeding of the wound, The grace of his Creator doth despise, And with a little golden chain about it bound. That will not use his gifts for thankless niggardise. The same he took, and with a ribbon new

When so he heard her say, eftsoons he brake (In which his lady's colours were) did bind

His sudden silence, which he long had pent, About the turtle's neck, that with the view

And sighing inly deep, her thus bespake; Did greatly solace his engrieved mind.

Then have they all themselves against me bent: All imawares the bird, when she did find

For heaven (first author of my languishment)
Herself so deck'd, her nimble wings display'd, Envying my too great felicity,
And flew away, as lightly as the wind :

Did closely with a cruel one consent,
Which sudden accident him much dismay'd, To cloud my days in doleful misery,
And looking after long, did mark which way she stray'd. And make me loath this life, still longing for to die.

Nor any but yourself, O dearest dread,

And after him the famous rivers came Hath done this wrong; to wreak on worthless wight Which do the earth enrich and beautify; Your high displeasure, through misdeeming bred : The fertile Nile, which creatures now doth frame; That when your pleasure is to deem aright,

Long Rhodanus, whose course springs from the sky; Ye may redress, and me restore to light.

Fair Ister, flowing from the mountains high ; Which sorry words, her mighty heart did mate Divine Scamander, purpled yet with blood With mild regard, to see his rueful plight,

Of Greeks and Trojans, which therein did die ; That her in-burning wrath she gan abate,

Pactolus, glistering with his golden flood, And him received again to former favour's state. And Tigris fierce, whose streams of none may be with


Great Ganges, and immortal Euphrates ; [Wedding of the Medway and the Thames.] Deep Indus, and Meander intricate ;

Slow Peneus, and tempestuous Phasides ; [This piece is a remarkable specimen of the allegorical man- Swift Rhine and Alpheus still immaculate ; ner of the poet. Natural objects are here personified in an abun: Ooraxes, feared for great Cyrus' fate ; dance, and with a facility which almost bewilders the reader.) Tybris, renowned for the Roman’s fame ; It fortun'd then a solemn feast was there,

Rich Oranochy, though but knowen late ; To all the sea-gods and their fruitful seed,

And that huge river which doth bear his name In honour of the spousals which then were

Of warlike Amazons, which do possess the same. Betwixt the Medway and the Thames agreed. Then was there heard a most celestial sound Long had the Thames (as we in records read) Of dainty music, which did next ensue Before that day her wooed to his bed,

Before the spouse, that was Arion crown'd, But the proud nymph would for no wordly meed, Who playing on his harp, unto him drew Nor no entreaty, to his love be led,

The ears and hearts of all that godly crew : Till now at last relenting, she to him was wed. That even yet the dolphin which him bore

Through the Egean seas from pirate's view, So both agreed that this, their bridal feast,

Stood still by him, astonish'd at his lore,
Should for the gods in Proteus' house be made,

And all the raging seas for joy forgot to roar.
To which they all repair'd, both most and least,
As well which in the mighty ocean trade

So went he playing on the watery plain ;
As that in rivers swim, or brooks do wade ;

Soon after whom the lovely bridegroom came, All which not if an hundred tongues to tell,

The noble Thames, with all his goodly train ; And hundred mouths, and voice of brass, I had.

But him before there went, as best became, And endless memory, that mote excell,

His ancient parents, namely th' ancient Thame; In order as they came could I recount them well. But much more aged was his wife than he,

The Ouse, whom men do Isis rightly name; Help, therefore, 0 thou sacred imp of Jove !

Full weak, and crooked creature seemed she, The nursling of dame memory, his dear,

And almost blind through eld, that scarce her way To whom those rolls, laid up in heaven above,

could see. And records of antiquity appear, To which no wit of man may comen near ;

Therefore on either side she was sustain'd Help me to tell the names of all those floods,

Of two small grooms, which by their names were hight And all those nymphs, which then assembled were

The Churn and Charwell, two small streams which To that great banquet of the watery gods,

Themselves her footing to direct aright,

[pain'd And all their sundry kinds, and all their hid Which failed oft through faint and feeble plight; abodes.

But Thame was stronger, and of better stay,

Yet seem'd full aged by his outward sight, First came great Neptune, with his threeforkt mace, With head all hoary and his beard all gray, That rules the seas, and makes them rise or fall ; Dewed with silver drops that trickled down alway: His dewy locks did drop with brine apace Under his diadem imperial ;

And eke somewhat seemed to stoop afore And by his side his queen with coronal,

With bowed back, by reason of the load Fair Amphitrite, most divinely fair,

And ancient heavy burden which he bore Whose ivory shoulders weren cover'd all,

Of that fair city, wherein make abode As with a robe, with her own silver hair,

So many learned imps, that shoot abroad, And deck'd with pearls which the Indian seas for her And with their branches spread all Britany,

No less than do her elder sister's brood : prepare.

Joy to you both, ye double nursery These marched far afore the other crew,

Of arts, but Oxford ! thine doth Thame most glorify And all the way before them, as they went,

But he their son full fresh and jolly was, Triton his trumpet shrill before them blew,

All decked in a robe of watchet hue, For goodly triumph and great jollyment,

On which the waves, glittering like crystal glass, That made the rocks to roar as they were rent ;

So cunningly inwoven were, that few And after them the royal issue came,

Could weenen whether they were false or true; Which of them sprung by lineal descent;

And on his head like to a coronet First the sea-gods, which to themselves do claim

He wore, that seemed strange to common view, The power to rule the billows, and the waves to In which were many towers and castles set, tame.

That it encompass'd round as with a golden fret. Next came the aged ocean and his dame,

Like as the mother of the gods they say, Old Tethys, th' oldest two of all the rest,

In her great iron chariot wonts to ride, For all the rest of those two parents came,

When to love's palace she doth take her way, Which afterward both sea and land possest.

Old Cybele, array'd with pompous pride,
Of all which Nereus, th' eldest and the best,

Wearing a diadem embattled wide
Did first proceed, than which none more upright, With hundred turrets, like a turribant ;
Ne more sincere in word and deed profest,

With such an one was Thamis beautified,
Most void of guile, most free from foul despite, That was to weet the famous Troynovant,
Doing himself, and teaching others to do right. In which her kingdom's throne is chietiy resiant.

And round about him many a pretty page

In the above extracts from the Faery Queen, we ! Attended duly, ready to obey ;

have, for the sake of perspicuity, modernised the All little rivers which owe vassalage

spelling, without changing a word of the original To him, as to their lord, and tribute pay ;

The following two highly poetical descriptions are The chalky Kennet, and the Thetis gray;

given in the poet's own orthography :-
The moorish Cole, and the soft-sliding Breane ;
The wanton Lee, that oft doth lose his way,

[The House of Sleep.]
And the still Darent in whose waters clean,
Ten thousand fishes play, and deck his pleasant stream. He making speedy way through spersed ayre,
Then came his neighbour floods which nigh him dwell, To Morpheus' house doth hastily repaire.

And through the world of waters wide and deepe, And water all the English soil throughout;

Amid the bowels of the earth full steepe, They all on him this day attended well,

And low, where dawning day doth never peepe, And with meet service waited him about,

His dwelling is, there Tethys his wet bed Ne none disdained low to him to lout;

Doth ever wash, and Cynthia still doth steepe, No, not the stately Severn grudg’d at all,

In silver deaw, his ever drouping hed, Ne storming Humber, though he looked stout,

Whiles sad Night over him her mantle black doth But both him honor'd as their principal,

spred. And let their swelling waters low before him fall. There was the speedy Tamar, which divides

Whose double gates he findeth locked fast,

The one fayre fram'd of burnisht yvory, The Cornish and the Devonish confines,

The other all with silver overcast; Through both whose borders swiftly down it glides,

And wakeful dogges before them farre doe lye, And ineeting Plim, to Plymouth thence declines ;

Watching to banish Care their enimy, And Dart, nigh chok'd with sands of tinny mines ;

Who oft is wont to trouble gentle sleepe. But Aron marched in more stately path,

By them the sprite doth passe in quietly, Proud of his adamants with which he shines

And unto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deepe And glisters wide, as als' of wondrous Bath, And Bristow fair, which on his waves he builded hath. In drowsie fit ħe findes ; of nothing

he takes keepe.

And more to lulle him in his slumber soft, Next there came Tyne, along whose stony bank

A trickling streame from high rock tumbling downe, That Roman monarch built a brazen wall,

And ever-drizling raine upon the loft, Which mote the feebled Britons strongly flank

Mixt with a murmuring winde, much like the sowne Against the Picts, that swarmed over all,

Of swarming bees, did cast him in a swowne. Which yet thereof Gualsever they do call;

No other noyse, nor peoples troublous cryes, And Tweed, the limit betwixt Logris' land

As still are wont t' annoy the walled towne, And Albany ; and Eden, though but small,

Might there be heard ; but careless Quiet lyes
Yet often stain'd with blood of many a band

Wrapt in eternal silence farre from enimyes.
Of Scots and English both, that tyned on his strand.
These after came the stony shallow Lone,

[Description of Belphoebe.] That to old Loncaster his name doth lend,

In her faire eyes two living lamps did flame, And following Dee, which Britons long ygone, Kindled above at th' heavenly Maker's light, Did call divine, that doth by Chester tend;

And darted fyrie beames out of the same, And Conway, which out of his stream doth send

So passing persant, and so wondrous bright, Plenty of pearls to deck his dames withal ;

That quite bereav'd the rash beholders sight: And Lindus, that his pikes doth most commend,

In them the blinded god his lustfull fyre Of which the ancient Lincoln men do call :

To kindle oft assayd, but had no might; All these together marched toward Proteus' hall.

For, with dredd majestie and awfull yre, Then came the bride, the lovely Medua came,

She broke his wanton datts, and quenched base desyre. Clad in a vesture of unknowen gear,

Her yvorie forhead, full of bountie brave, And uncouth fashion, yet her well became,

Like a broad table did itselfe dispred, That seem'd like silver sprinkled here and there,

For Love his loftie triumphes to engrave, With glittering spangs that did like stars appear,

And write the battailes of his great godhed : And war'd upon like water chamelot,

All good and honour might therein be red ; To hide the metal, which yet everywhere

For there their dwelling was. And, when she spake, Bewray'd itself, to let men plainly wot,

Sweete wordes, like dropping honey, she did shed; It was no mortal work, that seem'd and yet was not.

And 'twixt the perles and rubins softly brake Her goodly locks adown her back did flow

A silver sound, that heavenly musicke seemd to make. Unto her waist, with flowers bescattered, The which ambrosial odours forth did throw

Upon her eyelids many Graces sate,

Under the shadow of her even browes,
To all about, and all her shoulders spread,
As a new spring; and likewise on her head

Working belgardes and amorous retrate ;

And everie one her with a grace endowes,
A chapelet of sundry flowers she wore,
From under which the dewy humour shed

And everie one with meekenesse to her bowes :
Did trickle down her hair, like to the hoar

So glorious mirrhour of celestiall grace,

And soveraine moniment of mortall vowes, Congealed little drops, which do the morn adore.

How shall frayle pen descrive her heavenly face, On her two pretty handmaids did attend,

For feare, through want of skill, her beauty to disgrace! One call’d the Theise, the other call'd the Crane, Which on her waited, things amiss to mend,

So faire, and thousand thousand times more faire, And both behind upheld her spreading train,

She seemd, when she presented was to sight; Under the which her feet appeared plain,

And was yclad, for heat of scorching aire, Her silver feet, fair wash'd against this day:

All in a silken Camus lily white, And her before there paced pages twain,

Purfled upon with many a folded plight, Both clad in colours like, and like array

Which all above besprinckled was throughout The Doun and eke the Frith, both which prepared her with golden aygulets.

And in her hand a sharpe bore-speare she held,

Greatly aghast with this piteous plea,
And at her backe a bow, and quiver gay

Him rested the good man on the lea,
Stuft with steel-headed dartes, wherewith she queld And bade the Briere in his plaint proceed.
The salvage beastes in her victorious play,

With painted words then gan this proud weed
Knit with a golden bauldricke which forelay (As most usen ambitious folk)
Athwart her snowy brest, and did divide

His colour'd crime with craft to cloke.
Her daintie paps ; which, like young fruit in May, Ah, my Sovereign ! lord of creatures all,
Now little gan to swell, and being tide

Thou placer of plants both humble and tall,
Through her thin weed their places only signifide. Was not I planted of thine own hand,
Her yellow lockes, crisped like golden wyre,

To be the primrose of all thy land,
About her shoulders weren loosely shed,

With flow'ring blossoms to furnish the prime,

And scarlet berries in sommer-time ?
And, when the winde emongst them did inspyre,
They waved like a penon wyde despred,

How falls it then that this faded Vak,
And low behinde her backe were scattered :

Whose body is sere, whose branches broke,

Whose naked arms stretch unto the fire,
And, whether art it were or heedlesse hap,
As through the flouring forrest rash she fled,

Unto such tyranny doth aspire,
In her rude heares sweet flowres themselves did lap,

Hindring with his shade my lorely light, And flourishing fresh leaves and blossomes did enwrap. So beat his old boughs my tender side,

And robbing me of the sweet sun's sight?

That oft the blood springeth from wounds wide, [Fable of the Oak and the Briar.]

Untimely my flowers forced to fall, There grew an aged tree on the green,

That been the honour of your coronal; A goodly Oak sometime had it been,

And oft he lets his canker-worms light With arms full strong and largely display'd,

Upon my branches, to work me more spight; But of their leaves they were disaray'd :

And of his hoary locks down doth cast, The body big and mightily pight,

Wherewith my fresh flowrets been defast : Throughly rooted, and of wondrous height;

For this, and many more such outrage, Whilom had been the king of the field,

Craving your godlyhead to assuage And mochel mast to the husband did yield,

The rancorous rigour of his inight; And with his nuts larded many swine,

Nought ask I but only to hold my right, But now the gray moss marred his rine,

Submitting me to your good sufferance, llis bared boughs were beaten with storms,

And praying to be guarded from grievance. His top was bald, and wasted with worms,

To this this Oak cast him to reply His honour decay'd, his branches sere.

Well as he couth ; but his enemy Hard by his side grew a bragging Briere,

Had kindled such coals of displeasure, Which proudly thrust into th' eleinent,

That the good man nould stay his leisure, And seemed to threat the firmament:

But home him hasted with furious heat, It was embellisht with blossoms fair,

Encreasing his wrath with many a threat ; And thereto aye wonted to repair

His harmful hatchet he hent in hand, The shepherd's daughters to gather flowres,

(Alas ! that it so ready should stand!) To paint their garlands with his colowres,

And to the field alone he speedeth, And in his small bushes used to shroud,

(Aye little help to harm there needeth) The sweet nightingale singing so loud,

Anger nould let him speak to the tree, Which made this foolish Bricre wex so bold,

Enaunter his rage might cooled be, That on a time he cast him to scold,

But to the root bent his sturdy stroke,
And sneb the good Oak, for he was old.

And made many wounds in the waste Oak.
Why stands there (quoth he) thou brutish block ? The axe's edge did oft turn again,
Nor for fruit nor for shadow serves thy stock ; As half unwilling to cut the grain,
Seest how fresh my flowres been spread,

Seemed the senseless iron did fear,
Died in lily white and crimson red,

Or to wrong holy eld did forbear; With leares engrained in lusty green,

For it had been an ancient tree, Colours meet to cloath a maiden queen ?

Sacred with many a mystery, Thy waste bigness but cumbers the ground,

And often crost with the priests' crew, And dirks the beauty of my blossoms round: And often hallowed with holy-water dew ; The mouldy moss, which thee accloyeth,

But like fancies weren foolery, My cinnamon smell too much annoyeth :

And broughten this Oak to this misery; Wherefore soon I rede thee hence remove,

For nought might they quitten him from decay, Lest thou the price of my displeasure prove.

For fiercely the good man at him did lay. So spake this bold Briere with great disdain,

The block oft groaned under his blow, Little him answer'd the Oak again,

And sighed to see his near overthrow. But yielded, with shame and grief adaw'd,

In fine, the steel had pierced his pith, That of a weed he was over-craw'd.

Then down to the ground he fell forthwith. It chanced after upon a day,

His wondrous weight made the ground to quake, The husband-man's self to come that way,

Th' earth shrunk under him, and seein'd to shake; Of custom to surview his ground,

There lieth the Oak pitied of none. And his trees of state in compass round:

Now stands the Briere like a lord alone, Him when the spiteful Briere har! espyed,

Puff?d up with pride and vain pleasance; Causeless complained, and loudly cryed

But all this glee had no continuance: Unto his lord, stirring up stern strife :

For eftsoons winter 'gan to approach, O my liege Lord ! the god of my life,

The blusturing Boreas did encroach, Please you ponder your suppliant's plaint,

And beat upon the solitary Briere, Caused of wrong and cruel constraint,

For now no succour was seen him near. Which I your poor vassal daily endure ;

Now 'gan he repent his pride too late, And but your goodness the same recure,

For naked left and disconsolate, And like for desperate dole to die,

The biting frost nipt his stalk dead, Through felonous force of mine enemy.

The watry wet weighed down his head,

And heap'd snow burdned him so sore,

Her modest eyes, abashed to behold That now upright he can stand no more;

So many gazers as on her do stare, And being down is trod in the dirt

Upon the lowly ground affixed are ; Of cattle, and brouzed, and sorely hurt.

Ne dare lift up her countenance too bold, Such was th' end of this ambitious Briere,

But blush to hear her praises sung so loud, For scorning eld.

So far from being proud.

Nathless do ye still loud her praises sing, [From the Epithalamion.]

That all the woods may answer, and your echo ring. Wake now, my love, awake; for it is time;

Tell me, ye merchants' daughters, did ye sce The rosy morn long since left Tithon's bed,

So fair a creature in your town before ? All ready to her silver coach to climb;

So sweet, so lovely, and so mild as she, And Phæbus 'gins to show his glorious head.

Adorned with beauty's grace, and virtue's store ; Hark! now the cheerful birds do chant their lays, Her goodly eyes like sapphires shining bright, And carol of Love's praise.

Her forehead ivory white, The merry lark her matins sings aloft ;

Her cheeks like apples which the sun bath rudded, The thrush replies; the mavis descant plays; Her lips like cherries charming men to bite, The ouzel shrills; the ruddock warbles soft;

Her breast like to a bowl of cream uncrudded. So goodly all agree, with sweet consent,

Why stand ye still, ye virgins in amaze, To this day's merriment.

Upon her so to gaze, Ah! my dear love, why do you sleep thus long, Whiles ye forget your former lay to sing, When meeter were that you should now awake, To which the woods did answer, and your echo ring! Tawait the coming of your joyous make, And hearken to the birds' love-learned song,

But if ye saw that which no eyes can see, The dewy leares among !

The inward beauty of her lively sp’rit, For they of joy and pleasance to you sing,

Garnished with heavenly gifts of high degree, That all the woods them answer and their echo ring.

Much more then would ye wonder at that sight,

And stand astonished like to those which read My love is now awake out of her dream,

Medusa's mazeful head. And her fair eyes, like stars that dimmed were There dwells sweet Love, and constant Chastity, With darksome cloud, now show their goodly beams Unspotted Faith, and comely Womanhood, More bright than Hesperus his head doth rear. Regard of Honour, and mild Modesty ; Come now, ye damsels, daughters of delight,

There Virtue reigns as qucen in royal throne,
Help quickly her to dight:

And giveth laws alone,
But first come, ye fair Hours, which were begot, The which the base affections do obey,
In Jore's sweet paradise, of Day and Night;

And yield their services unto her will ;
Which do the seasons of the year allot,

Ne thought of things uncomely ever may And all, that ever in this world is fair,

Thereto approach to tempt her mind to ill.
Do make and still repair ;

Had ye once seen these her celestial treasures,
And ye three handmaids of the Cyprian Queen, And unrevealed pleasures,
The which do still adorn her beauties' pride, Then would ye wonder and her praises sing,
Help to adorn my beautifullest bride :

That all the woods would answer, and your echo ring.
And, as ye her array, still throw between
Some graces to be seen ;

Open the temple gates unto my love, And, as ye use to Venus, to her sing,

Open them wide that she may enter in, The whiles the woods shall answer, and your echo ring. And all the posts adorn as doth behove,

And all the pillars deck with garlands trim, Now is my love all ready forth to come :

For to receive this saint with honour dut,
Let all the virgins therefore well await ;

That cometh in to you.
And ye, fresh boys, that tend upon her groom, With trembling steps, and humble reverence,
Prepare yourselves, for he is coming straight. She cometh in, before the Almighty's view:
Set all your things in seemly good array,

Of her, ye virgins, learn obedience,
Fit for so joyful day :

When so ye come into those holy places, The joyfull'st day that ever sun did see.

To humble your proud faces : Fair Sun! show forth thy favourable ray,

Bring her up to the high altar, that she may And let thy lifeful heat not fervent be,

The sacred ceremonies there partake, For fear of burning her sunshiny face,

The which do endless matrimony make; Her beauty to disgrace.

And let the roaring organs loudly play O fairest Phæbus ! father of the Muse!

The praises of the Lord in lively notes ;
If ever I did honour thee aright,

The whiles, with hollow throats,
Or sing the thing that might thy mind delight, The choristers the joyous anthem sing,
Do not thy servant's simple boon refuse,

That all the woods may answer, and their echo ring
But let this day, let this one day be mine ;
Let all the rest be thine.

Behold, while she before the altar stands, Then I thy sovereign praises loud will sing,

Hearing the holy priest that to her speaks,
That all the woods shall answer, and their echo ring. And blesseth her with his two happy hands,

How the red roses flush up in her cheeks,
Lo! where she comes along with portly pace, And the pure snow, with goodly vermeil stain,
Like Phoebe, from her chamber of the east,

Like crimson dyed in grain ;
Arising forth to run her mighty race,

That even the angels, which continually Clad all in white, that seems a virgin best.

About the sacred altar do remain, So well it her beseems, that ye would ween

Forget their service and about her fly,
Some angel she had been.

Oft peeping in her face, that seems more fair.
Her long loose yellow locks, like golden wire, The more they on it stare.
Sprinkled with pearl, and pearling flowers atween, But her sad eyes, still fastened on the ground,
Do like a golden mantle her attire ;

Are governed with goodly modesty,
And being crowned with a garland green,

That suffers not a look to glance awry, Seem like some maiden queen.

Which may let in a little thought unsound.

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