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That of all the flowrés in the mead
Then love I most these flowrés white and red,
Such as men callen daisies in their town.
To them have I so great affection
As I said erst, when comen is the May,
That in my bed there dawneth me no day,
But I am up and walking in the mead,
To see this flower again the sunné spread,
When it upriseth early by the morrow;
That blissful sight softeneth all my sorrow,
So glad am I, when that I have presence
Of it, to do it all reverence.
As she that is of all flowrés flower,
Fulfilled of all virtue and honour,
And ever alike fair, and fresh of hue.
And I love it, and ever alike
And ever shall, till that mine hearté die.
And when that it is eve, I run blyve,
As soon as ever the sunné gynneth west,
To see this flower, how it will go to rest,
For fear of night, so hateth she darkness !
Her cheer is plainly spread in the brightness
Of the sunné, for there it will unclose.
TRUTH SHALL DELIVER THEE.
FLEE from the press, and dwell with soothfastness
Suffice to thee thy good, though it be small :
For hoard hath hate, and climbing tickleness;
Press hath envy, and weal is blent over all ;
Savour these no more than thee behove shall;
Do well thyself that other folk canst rede ;
And truth thee shall deliver, it is no drede.
Pain thee not each crooked to redress,
In trust of her that turneth as a ball ;
Great rest stands in light business ;
Beware also to spurn against a nail :
Strive not as doth a croke with a wall;
Daunt thou thyself that dauntest others' deed,
And truth thee shall deliver, it is no drede.
That thee is sent receive in buxumness,
The wrestling of this world asketh a fall:
Here is no home, here is but wilderness :
Forth, pilgrim, forth best out of thy stall,
Look up on high, and thank God of all;
Waive thy lust, and let thy ghost thee lead
And truth shall thee deliver, it is no drede.
EDMUND SPENSER. Born 1552; died 1599.
Through his friend, Sir Philip Sidney, Spenser procured favour
at Court, and eventually obtained a grant of land in Ireland.
Here he passed the later years, of his life, until calamity, in
the plunder of his house and the killing of his child, drove
him to England, to die in distress. The blank of two centuries from Chaucer, in our poetical litera
ture, ends with Spenser. He took Chaucer for his model; and affects the language of an older time. But to Chaucer's freshness he adds a harmony of versification never surpassed, and a wealth imagination fed by all the stories which mediæval chivalry, and ancient poetry, philosophy, and my
thology, could yield. His chief work is the Faerie Queene, the characters in which are
partly typical of abstract virtues, partly of the great personages of his day.
THE PASSING OF THE SEASONS AND THE MONTHS.
So forth issued the Seasons of the year:
First, lusty Spring, all dight in leaves of flowers
That freshly budded and new blooms did bear,
In which a thousand birds had built their bowers
That sweetly sung to call forth paramours;
And in his hand a javelin he did bear,
And on his head (as fit for warlike stoures)
A gilt engraven morion ? he did wear;
That as some did him love so others did him fear.
Then came the jolly Sommer, being dight
In a thin silken cassock coloured green,
That was unlined all, to be more light;
And on his head a garland well beseen
He wore, from which as he had chaufféd 1 been
The sweat did drop; and in his hand he bore
A bow and shafts, as he in forest green
Had hunted late the leopard or the boar,
And now would bathe his limbs, with labour heated
Then came the Autumn, all in yellow clad,
As though he joyed in his plenteous store,
Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad
That he had banisht hunger, which to-fore
Had by the belly oft him pinchéd sore;
Upon his head a wreath, that was enrolled
With ears of corn of every sort, he bore;
And in his hand a sickle he did hold,
To reap the ripened fruits the which the earth had
Lastly came Winter, clothéd all in frieze,
Chattering his teeth for cold that did him chill;
Whilst on his hoary beard his breath did freeze,
And the dull drops, that from his purpled bill
As from a limbeck3 did adown distill :
In his right hand a tippéd staff he held,
With which his feeble steps he stayéd still ;
For he was faint with cold and week with eld;
That scarce his looséd limbs he able was to wield.
These, marching softly, thus in order went;
And after them the Months all riding came.
First, sturdy March, with brows full sternly bent
And armed strongly, rode upon a ram,
The same which over Hellespontus swam ;
Yet in his hand a spade he also bent,
And in a bag all sorts of seeds ysame,
Which on the earth he strewed as he went,
And filled her womb with fruitful hope of nourishment.
Next came fresh April, full of lusty head,
And wanton as a kid whose horn new buds;
Upon a bull he rode, the same which led
Europa floating through th' Argolic floods;
His horns were gilden all with golden studs,
And garnished with garlands goodly dight
Of all the fairest flowers and freshest buds
Which th' earth brings forth; and wet he seemed in
sight With waves, through which he waded for his love's
delight. Then came fair May, the fairest maid on ground, Decked all with dainties of her season's pride, And throwing flowers out of her lap around : Upon two brethren's shoulders she did ride, The twins of Leda ; which on either side Supported her like to their sovereign queen : Lord! how all creatures laughed when her they spied, And leapt and danced as they had ravished been ! And Cupid's self about her fluttered all in green.