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The little sweete nightingale, and sung
Of lovis use, now soft, now loud among,
That all the gardens and the wallis rung Right of their song; and on the couple next
Of their sweet harmony: and lo the text.
XV. “ Worshippe ye that lovers be this May,
“ For of your bliss the calends are begun : “ And sing with us, away! winter away!
“Come summer, come ! the sweet season and sun !
“ Awake, for shame! that have your heavens won ! “ And amorously lift up your headis all ; « Thank love, that list you to his mercy call!"
They stent (b) awhile, and therewith unafraid,
From bough to bough they hipped (c) and they play'd,
And freshyl, in their birdis kind, array'd Their feathers new, and frit (d) them in the sun, And thanked love that had their makis (e) won.
Whereas I saw, walking under the tow'r,
The fairest or the freshest younge flow'r
That ever I saw, methought, before that hour;
(a) A little time. (6) Stopped. (c) Hopped. (d) Pecked. (e) Mates. () This seems to mean complain ; but should it not rather be playen, to play or sport? (g) Started back.
And though I stood abased tho a lite, (a)
No wonder was; for why? my wittis all Were so overcome with pleasance and delight,
Only through letting of mine eyen fall,
That suddenly my heart became her thrall
And (then) eft-soons I lean’d it out again :
With no wight mo but only women twain.
Then gan I study with myself, and sayn, “ Ah sweet, are ye a worldly creature, “ Or heavenly thing in likeness of nature ?
“ Or are ye god Cupidis own princèss ;
“ And comen are to loose me out of band? “ Or are ye very Nature the goddess, “ That have depainted with your heavenly hand
“ This garden full of flowers as they stand ? “ What shall I think, alas ! what reverence “ Shall I mester unto your excellence ?
XXV. “ Giff ye a goddess be, and that ye like
“ To do me pain, I may it not astart; “ Giff ye be worldly wight, that doth me sike,
“ Why list God make you so, my dearest heart,
“ To do a silly prisoner thus smart, “ That loves you all, and wots of nought but wo: “ And, therefore, mercy sweet ! sen it is so."
(a) A little.
Toward her golden hair and rich attire,
And greate balas (a) lemyng (b) as the fire,
With many an emerald and fair saphire,
In her was youth, beauty, with humble aport,
Bounty, richesse, and womanly feature;
Wisdom, largess, estate, and cunning sure,
In every point so guided her measure,
The comic poetry ascribed to King James I. has been ever more popular in Scotland than his romantic and sentimental effusions. Christ's Kirk on the Green is as just, if not so comprehensive, a picture of low-life as any that Chaucer has given. According to Mr Tytler, this prince improved the national music in a very high degree, though others reserve this praise for James V., who was also a poet. To the latter, indeed, some antiquaries ascribe all the humorous poetry which goes under the name of both these princes; and the conjecture appears not improbable.
While the native Muses languished in England
(a) A sort of precious stones (says Urry) brought from Balassia, in India.
throughout several reigns, the annals of Scotland in the fifteenth century were illustrated by some of the brightest names that the early poetry of the island can boast. The chief of the Scottish poets was WILLIAM DUNBAR, born at Salton, in EastLothian, about the year 1465. He became a novi. ciate of the Franciscan order, and travelled into England and to France. The moral vigour and occasional tenderness of Dunbar are even more remarkable than the fertility and beauty of his invention, when the period at which he wrote is considered. His diction far outstrips his age in force and happiness, and his phraseology is singularly copious and free.
The Thistle and the Rose of Dunbar is a beautiful piece of poetic fancy ; but in The Golden Terge the peculiarities of his genius are more strikingly displayed. His Friars of Berwick is an excellent story in the comic style, and not without its moral uses. The philosophy of Dunbar seems to have been of the happiest kind ; and it appears that he needed its consolations. In his solicitations at the court of James IV. for honours or church-preferment, he seems to have experienced Spenser's fate, and felt the bitterness which dictated his memorable lines :
To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow,
Dunbar died in 1530, the Muse having proved to him her own reward.
The Thistle and the Rose was written to cele. brate the union of James IV. with Margaret of Tudor, daughter of Henry VII. It opens with a fine description of the return of spring. The young May, who is personified with many touches of beauty, stands by the bed of the poet, and com. mands him to rise to sing her praises, as had been his wont in former years. After some farther so. lemnities and hymns to Nature and May, Dame Nature herself comes on the scene, and summons the birds, the beasts, and the flowers, to do her homage on this bright May morn. The lion leads on the beasts, the swallow the birds, the yarrow the flowers, to perform their graceful homage to their sovereign mother. The lion, under whose image the reader is to understand the royal Lion of Scotland, thus comes on the scene :
This awefull beist full terrible was of cheir,
He is appointed by Nature King of the Beasts, and counselled not to let the stronger animals trample on the weaker. The Thistle, under which the King of Scotland is emblemed, is crowned King of the Flowers ; a ruby crown is set amid