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Your aureate tongis 1 both bene 2 all too lyte 3
For to compile that paradise complete. [The next stanza, which we omit, names many personages that the poet saw : Nature, dame Venus queen, fresh Aurora, Lady Flora sheen, Juno, Diana, and other "mighty queens.']
There saw I May, of mirthful monthis queen,
Within the garden walking up and down,
There saw I Nature présent her a gown
Depaynt, and broad by good proportioun.
Full lustily these ladies all in fere 5
Where that I lay o'er-helit? with leavis rank.8
And every bloom on branch, and eke on bank,
Openyt and spread their balmy leavis dank,
Whom of their noble nourishing 13 they thank.
Syne 14 to dame Flora, on the samyn wise, 15
100 They sàlute, and they thank a thousand syse ;18
And to dame Venus, lovis mighty queen,
As they that had love in their heartis green; 105
Their honey throatis, openyt from the spleen,
While loud resownyt 19 the firmament serene. 'Tongues. 2 Are. 8 Little. Quickly, at once. Company. 6 Pleasure. ?Covered over, concealed. 8 Close and high. 9 Countenance, manner. 10 Saluted. 1 In their (own) manner or way. 12 Bright and fair. 13 For nourishing them nobly. 14 Then. 15 In the same manner. 16 Times over (or repeated). 17 Fashion. 16 Pleasant to tell or relate. 19 Resown't (two syllables), resounded.
[The poet next sees another court, a court of gods : Cupid the king, Mars, Saturn, Mercurius, &c.]
And every one of these, in green arrayit,
And sang ballåds with mighty notis clear ;
130 Along the lusty river so they mayit,1
Their observance right heavenly was to hear ;
Then crept 2 I through the leavis and drew near,
All through a look, which I have bought full dear. [The Queen of Love espies him, and sends her 'archers keen' to arrest him. He is not very greatly alarmed, however, the party was so pleasing for to see.' Then came Reason, with Shield of Gold' (THE GOLDEN TARGE) 'in plate and mail, as Mars armipotent,' to defend him. The fair archers shower their arrows upon him in vain, till a picked company with all the choice of Venus' chivalry' come up: then the shower of arrows rappit * on as rain.']
Thick was the shot of grounden 3 dartis keen;
And then as drunken man he all forwayit :11
When he was blind the fool with him they playit, 205 And banished him among the boughis green;
That sorry sight me suddenly affrayit.
[The poet, as he had feared, is now wounded 'to the death well near,' and becomes a woeful prisoner to Lady Beauty. Several of the fair archers smile or speak comfort to him ; at last he is delivered ‘unto Heaviness.' Presently 'the Lord of Winds, god Eolus,' blows his bugle with wodenes' (madness, fury), and all take to ship. As they sail off, they fire guns 'with powder violent,' causing the poet to spring to his feet.]
1 Mayed, celebrated May. 2 Orig. crap. 8 Orig. grundyn, sharpened by grinding. Warded off. 5The 'thick shot' pouring on. 6 Sustain. 7 Till. 8 Beauty. Orig. pulder (cf. note to 23). 10 Eyes (cf. old eyen). 11 Wandered, went hither and thither.
* Struck, knocked.
And as I did awake of my sueving 1
The air attemperit, sober, and amene ;5
In mirthful May, of every moneth Queen.
O reverend Chaucer, rose of rhetors all,
That raise 7 in Britain ever, who reads right,
This matter could illuminit have full bright:
Was thou not of our English all the light,
As far as Mayës morrow does midnight ?
O moral Gower, and Lydgate laureate,
Bene to our earis cause of great delight;
And fair o'er-gilt our speech, that imperfyte 10
Stood ere 11 your golden pennis schupe 12 to write ;
Of rhetoric, or lusty fresh endite.13
Thou little Quair, 14 be ever obedient,
Before the face of every cunning 16 wight:
1 From my dreaming. 2 Morning. Orig. halesum. Young. 5 Pleasant, delightful (Lat. amænus). Covered, decked out. Rose. 8 Celestial.
Tongues. 10 Imperfect. 11 Orig. or. 12 Shaped, prepared. 13 Writing (especially in verse). 14 Or Quhair, book. 15 Unpretending. 16 Orig. connyng, knowing, well-instructed.
Is none in to thy garland set on height:
Eschame 1 thereof, and draw thee out of sight!
Well ought thou be aférit 4 of the light.
1. Star. In original, 'stern :' cf. Ger. / ing man and nature; hence Phoebus stern, and mod. Scotch starn.
= the sun.- Cape, loose frock or Began. Orig. 'begouth ;' begoude,' | gown without sleeves, commonly mod. Scotch, also occurs elsewhere worn by ecclesiastics. in the poem.
10. Hours, matins, morning prayers; 2. Vesper, the evening star; name for from the Hore of the Rom. Cath.
Venus, when she appears after sun Missal. Cf. Milton, Par. Lost, v. set. Lat. vesper, Gr. hesperos (even 7, 8: ing).- Lacine, Lucína, goddess of
* The shrill matin song light (Lat. lux, genit. lucis), the Of birds on every bough.' Moon. 4. Candle. Cf. Fight of Brunanburh, 9-12. Compare the precisely similar
30, Godes candel beorht,' for the description in The Thistle and the bright sun.
Rose, lines 4-6; 6. Fowlis, called (10) birdis,' birds.
"And lusty May, that mother is of Like es (as in 5, 'beames'), is is
flowers, plur. ending.
Had made the birdis to begin 7. Ere, orig. 'or,' the ancient or. Cf.
their hours line 268. Cf. also Sir J. Fortescue,
Amang the tender odours red and Monarchy, chap. v.: 'which (assign
: white.' ment) shall peraventure cost him right much or he can get his pay- | 12. Apparellit. The ending it is equiment;' Psalm xc. 2: 'or ever thou valent to ed. It need not be a hadst formed the earth,' where the separate syllable any more than common metrical version has ere;' | ed.' Shakspeare, Macb. iv. 3: “Dying, 16. Aurora, the goddess of dawn, of or e'er they sicken.' Coleridge the red flush of morning. affects the archaic in The Ancient | 17. Hang; orig. 'hing' gives better Mariner (244-7):
21. Venus, goddess of Love. — Clerks, *I looked to heaven, and tried to
priests. The songsters are reprepray;
sented as chanting in worship of the But or ever a prayer had gusht,
goddess. A wicked whisper came, and made
23. Powderit, besprinkled as with My heart as dry as dust.'
powder or fine dust. From Fr. Phæbus, the sun. In Homer, an poudre, Old Fr. pouldre, Lat. pulepithet of Apollo, the bright, pure, věrem, dust. - Beryl, orig. 'beriall,' radiant one; probably from Gr. | shining brilliantly as beryl stones. phaos (phos), light. Later, Apollo The beryl is a precious stone of is the sun-god, regarded as influenc- l deep rich green colour.
1 Be ashamed. 2 Dress. 3 Stained.
26. O’erscalit &c. The silver colour | 52. Merse, mast. In those days ships
begins to supplant the purple; and were gorgeously adorned. •Froisthe poet disposes of the purple by sart, speaking of the French fleet in pouring it in streams, through what 1387, prepared for the invasion of seem to be breaches in the silver England under Richard II., says the space, down upon the trees. There ships were painted with the arms is a conception somewhat similar in of the commanders, and gilt, with the general outline in Coleridge's banners, pennons, and standards of Ancient Mariner (322-6):
silk; and that the masts were 'The thick black cloud was cleft, |
painted from top to bottom, glitterand still
ing with gold. ... At his second The Moon was at its side;
expedition into France in 1417, King Like waters shot from some high
Henry V. was in a ship whose sails crag,
were of purple silk, most richly The lightning fell with never a jag, embroidered with gold' (Warton, A river steep and wide.'
quoted by D. Laing).
57. Lands : apparently singular form 28–30. Notice the alliteration here, and of verb with plur. subject, ‘ladies.' find many other instances in the So ' spreads' (59), ‘has' (266). But poem.
really the form is a genuine plur. 40. Garth, yard, garden, inclosure. | inflection (Northern dialect). Cf. Old English geard.
59. As...as: orig. 'als ... as.' So 42. Flora, the queen of flowers.
als fair as' (67), 'alls fer as' (261). 46–48. Dunbar often employs the In early Scotch (Northern English), device of seeing things in dreams : the first 'as' is given in the fuller he saw the Dance of the Seven form. “As' is for ‘als,' 'alse,' Deadly Sins as he 'lay intill a shortened from older "ealswa,' lit. trance.' This was the way also of all).so, altogether (entirely, quite) the author of Piers the Plowman; so. ‘Also' is the same word, better as Prol. 5–11:
preserved, and turned to another 'On a May morning on Malvern
67. Homer, the great epic poet of Me befell a ferly* of fairy, me
69. Tullins, Marcus Tullius Cicero I was very forwandered, t and went
(106—43.B.C.), the greatest of Roman me to rest
orators. Under a broad bank by a burn's | 85. Whom of, of whom. From, because side,
of, on account of whom. The inAnd as I lay and leaped and looked l version of prep. and relative is comin the waters,
mon. Gladdit, gladded, were glad, I slumbered in a sleeping. it rejoiced; here intrans. In 6, 'gladsweyned i so merry.
ding' is trans., = gladdening. Then gan I to meten i a marvel- 93. Ourhelit: see Beowulf, 2733, note. lous sweuene.'&
Rank, orig. 'ronk.' So 'bonk,'
donk,' 'thonk,' rhyming with it. In Passus V., at the beginning, See Beowulf, 2719, note. Langley falls asleep over his prayers,
101. Syse, or 'syis,' times; the O and sees the vision of the Seven
Eng. sith, journey, road, turn; hence time, in a succession ; as ten
Tired out with wandering.
Sounded. | Dream.