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For your coming, softly spread,
Is the dead lamb's snowy fleece.'' Passed the sweetest of all eves
Morn was breaking for our flocks ; “Let us go and bind the sheaves,
All the slim and golden stocks ; Wake, my Wurtha, wake”—but still
Were her lips as still could be, And her folded hands too chill
Ever more to glean for me.
Ye have been fresh and green,'
Ye have been filled with flowers; And ye the walks have been
Where maids have spent their hours. Ye have beheld where they
With wicker arks did come, To kiss and bear away
The richer cowslips home. You've heard them sweetly sing,
And seen them in a round; Each virgin, like the spring,
With honeysuckles crowned. But now we see none here
Whose silvery feet did tread, And with disheveled hair
Adorned this smoother mead.
Like unthrifts, having spent
Your stock, and needy grown,
ROBERT HERRICK, 1591
Gentle, and fair, and sweet,
When tender shepherds meet:
Better than store of gold,
Which to our lords belong !
Dance, feast, and jocund song;
No envy can destroy.
MARTIAL D'AUVERGNE, 1440-150S.
some old verses of Gawain Douglas, bishop of Dunkeld. This ancient Scottish poet and Church dignitary was a son of the famous Archibald, earl of Argus, surnamed Bell-theCat, from his share in one of the peculiar conspiracies of that strange period--a conspiracy which resulted in hanging a number of the royal favorites of James III., chiefly architects and musicians, ennobled by that prince. James was in this respect too liberal in his tastes to please the fierce old barons surrounding bis throne, though doubtless his favor was often weakly lavished upon those in whose society he took pleasure. But one would hardly have expected to find the leader of such a conspiracy the father of a distinguished poet; such, however, was the fact. Bishop Gawain was a great clerk in his day. He wrote a metrical version of the Æneid in the Scot. tish dialect, and many lesser poetical works, admitted to possess great merit. Sir Walter Scott has introduced both father and son in Marmion. He makes old Bell-the-Cat appear in his true character:
• A letter forged ! Saint Jude to speed !
Canto VT. And in another passage we have the poet-bishop himself :
“ Amid that dim and smoky light,
A bishop by the altar stood,
A noble lord of Douglas' blood.
Canto VI. Bishop Gawain was compelled by the troubles in Scotland to flee from his native country, and to take refuge at the court of Henry VIII., where he lived for years an honored exile, dying in 1522, at London, of the plague. He was born in 1474. Each canto of his translation of Virgil was preceded by an original prologue ; the address to Spring—whence the extract on flowers is taken-is one of the most pleasing of these, and forms his introduction to the 12th Canto of the Æneid. Far from regretting the Scotticisms of his style, the bishop only mourned that his verses were still so English in their aspect : a defect which will not be likely to strike the modern reader. But in spite of the obsolete words and rugged style, the touch of a poetical spirit, and something of the freshness of the natural blossoms still lingers about Bishop Gawain's Spring chaplet.
Through their beauty, and variety of coloure, and exquisite forme, they do bringe to a liberal and gentle minde the remembrance of honestie, comelinesse, and all kinds of virtues; for it would be an unseemly thing (as a certain wise man saith) for him that doth look upon and handle faire and beautiful things, and who frequenteth and is conversant in faire and beautiful places, to have his minde not faire also.
Jonn GERARDE, 1545–1607.
And blissful blossoms in the bloomed sward,