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To bear you from your palace-yard by might,
And put your noble person in a fright.
This, since you take it ill, I must repent,
Though heaven can witness, with no bad intent
I practised it, to make you taste your cheer
With double pleasure, first prepared by fear.
So loyal subjects often seize their prince,
Forced (for his good) to seeming violence,
Yet mean his sacred person not the least offence.
Descend ; so help me Jove, as you shall find,
That Reynard comes of no dissembling kind.

Nay, quoth the cock; but I beshrew us both,
If I believe a saint upon his oath :
An honest man may take a knave's advice,
But idiots only will be cozen'd twice :
Once warn’d is well bewared; no flattering lies
Shall sooth me more to sing with winking eyes,
And open mouth, for fear of catching flies.
Who blindfold walks upon a river's brim,
When he should see, has he deserved to swim ?-
Better, sir Cock, let all contention cease,
Come down, said Reynard, let us treat of peace.-
A peace with all my soul, said Chanticleer;
But, with your favour, I will treat it here:
And lest the truce with treason should be mixt,
Tis my concern to have the tree betwixt.*

* In the original, the tale concludes by a reflection of the Fox. The cock had said,

-he that winketh when he should see
Al wilfully God let him never the.

Nay, quoth the Fox, but God give him mischance
That is so indiscreet of governance,
That jangleth when that he should hold his peace.

THE MORAL.

In this plain fable you the effect may see Of negligence, and fond credulity : And learn besides of flatterers to beware, Then most pernicious when they speak too fair. The cock and fox, the fool and knave imply ; The truth is moral, though the tale a lie. Who spoke in parables, I dare not say ; But sure he knew it was a pleasing way, Sound sense, by plain example, to convey. And in a heathen author we may find, That pleasure with instruction should be join'd; So take the corn, and leave the chaff behind.

VOL. XI.

THE

FLOWER AND THE LEAF.

The argument of this piece, as given by the editors of Chau. cer, runs thus :

A gentlewoman, out of an arbour, in a grove, seeth a great company of knights and ladies in a dance, upon the

green grass. The which being ended, they all kneel down, and do honour to the daisy, some to the flower, and some to the leaf. Afterwards this gentlewoman learneth, by one of these ladies, the meaning hereof, which is this : They which honour the flower, a thing fading wih every blast, are such as look after beauly and worldly pleasure ; but they that honour the leaf, which abideth with the root, nol withstanding the frosts and the winter storms, are they which follow virtue and during qualities, without regard of worldly respects."

Some farther allegory was perhaps implied in this poem. Froissart, and other French poets, had established a sort of romantic devotion to the marguerite, or daisy, probably because the homage was capable of being allegorically transferred to any distinguished lady bearing that name. Chaucer might obliquely insinuate the superior valour of the warriors, and virtue of the ladies of Albion, by proposing to them the worship of the laurel, as a more worthy object of devotion than the flower. Nor is this interpretation absolutely disproved by the homage which Chaucer himself pays to the daisy in the Legend of Alcestis.* A poet is no more obliged to be consistent in his mythological creed, than constant in his devotion to one beauty, and may shift from the Grecian to the Gothic creed, or from the worship of Venus to that of Bellona. If every separate poem is consistent with itself, it would be hard to require any farther uniformity.

Mr Godwin has elegantly and justly characterized the present version :-" The poem of • The Floure and the Lefe' is a production of Chaucer, with which Dryden was so particularly plea

* Godwin's Life of Chaucer, Vol. I. p. 346.

ed, both for the invention and the moral,' as to induce him to transfuse it into modern English. He has somewhat obscured the purpose of the tale, which, in the original, is defective in perspicuity; but he has greatly heightened the enchantment of its character. He has made its personages fairies, who annually hold a jubilee, such as is here described, on the first of May; Chaucer had left the species of the beings he employs vague and unexplained. In a word, the poem of Dryden, regarded merely as the exhibition of a soothing and delicious luxuriance of fancy, may be classed with the most successful productions of human genius.“ -Life of Chaucer, Vol. I. p. 344.

THE

FLOWER AND THE LEAF;

OR, THE

LADY IN THE ARBOUR.

A VISION

Now turning from the wintry signs, the sun
His course exalted through the Ram had run,
And whirling up the skies, his chariot drove
Through Taurus, and the lightsome realms of love;
Where Venus from her orb descends in showers,
To glad the ground, and paint the fields with flowers:
When first the tender blades of grass appear,
And buds, that yet the blast of Eurus fear,
Stand at the door of life, and doubt to clothe the

year;
Till gentle heat, and soft repeated rains,
Make the green blood to dance within their veins :
Then, at their call embolden'd, out they come,
And swell the gems, and burst the narrow room ;

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