ページの画像
PDF
ePub

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.

ALICE CAREY.

TO MEADOWS.

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,
You're left here to lament
Your poor estates alone.

ROBERT HERRICK, 1591

FRENCH SONG.
Dear the felicity,

Gentle, and fair, and sweet,
Love and simplicity,

When tender shepherds meet:

Better than store of gold,
Silver and gems untold,
Manners refined and cold,

Which to our lords belong !
We, when our toil is past,
Softest delight can taste,
While summer's beauties last,

Dance, feast, and jocund song;
And in our hearts a joy

No envy can destroy.
Translated by Louisa COSTELLO.

MARTIAL D'AUVERGNE, 1440-150S.

VIII.

The Garland.

A
MONG the pieces in the following group will be found

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 !
Did ever knight so foul a deed !
At first in heart it liked me ill,
When the king praised his clerkly skill.
Thanks to Saint Bothan, son of mine,
Save Gawain, ne'er could pen a line ;
So swore I, and I swear it still-
Let my boy-bishop fret his fill.”

Canto VT. And in another passage we have the poet-bishop himself :

“ Amid that dim and smoky light,
Checkering the silver moonshine bright-

A bishop by the altar stood,

A noble lord of Douglas' blood.
With mitre sheen, and rocquet white.
Yet show'd his meek and thoughtful eye,
But little pride of prelacy;
More pleased that in a barbarous age
He gave rude Scotland Virgil's page,
Than that beneath his rule he held
The bishopric of fair Dunkeld.”

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.

FLOWERS.

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.

SPRING-FLOWERS.

[ocr errors]

And blissful blossoms in the bloomed sward,
Submit their heads in the young sun's safeguard ;
Ivy-leaves rank o'erspread the barkmokyn wall;
The bloomed hawthorn clad his pykis all
Forth of fresh burgeons; the wine-grapis ying,
Endlong the twistis did on trestles hing.
The locked buttons on the gummed trees,
O'erspreadant leaves of nature's tapestries ;
Soft, grassy verdure, after balmy showers,
On curland stalkis smiland to their flowers,
Beholdant them so maine devirs hue :
Some pers, some pale, some burnet, and some blue;
Some gray, some gules, some purpure, some sanguene,
Blanchet, or brown, fauch-colour many one-
Some heavenly-coloured in celestial gré,
Some watery-hued, as the haw-waly sea;
And some depeint in freckles red and white;
Some bright as gold, with aureate levis lite.
The daisie did unbraid her crownal small,
And every flower unlapped in the dale.
The flower-de-luce forth spread out his heavenly hue,
Flower-damas, and columbo black and blue,
Sere downis smale on dandelion sprung,
The young green-bloomed strawberry leaves among ;
Gimp gilliflowers their own leaves unshet
Fresh primrose, and the purpure violet.
The rose-knobbis tetand forth their heads.
Gen chip and kyth their vernal lippis red,
Crisp scarlet leaves sheddant baith at aines,
Cast fragrant smell amid from golden grains.

« 前へ次へ »