Chosen and Edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch
TO THE PRESIDENT FELLOWS AND SCHOLARS OF TRINITY COLLEGE OXFORD A HOUSE OF LEARNING ANCIENT LIBERAL HUMANE AND MY MOST KINDLY NURSE
FOR this Anthology I have tried to range over the whole field of English Verse from the beginning, or from the Thirteenth Century to this closing year of the Nineteenth, and to choose the best. Nor have I sought in these Islands only, but wheresoever the Muse has followed the tongue which among living tongues she most delights to honour. To bring home and render so great a spoil compendiously has been my capital difficulty. It is for the reader to judge if I have so managed it as to serve those who already love poetry and to implant that love in some young minds not yet initiated.
My scheme is simple. I have arranged the poets as nearly as possible in order of birth, with such groupings of anonymous pieces as seemed convenient. For convenience, too, as well as to avoid a dispute-royal, I have gathered the most of the Ballads into the middle of the Seventeenth Century; where they fill a languid interval between two winds of inspiration—the Italian dying down with Milton and the French following at the heels of the restored Royalists. For convenience, again, I have set myself certain rules of spelling. In the very earliest poems inflection and spelling are structural, and to modernize is to destroy. But as old inflections fade into modern the old spelling becomes less and less vital, and has been brought (not, I hope, too abruptly) into line with that sanctioned by use and familiar. To do this seemed wiser than to discourage many readers for the sake of diverting others by a scent of antiquity which—to be essential— should breathe of something rarer than an odd arrangement of type. But there are scholars whom I cannot expect to agree with me; and to conciliate them I have excepted Spenser and Milton from the rule.
Glosses of archaic and otherwise difficult words are given at the foot of the page: but the text has not been disfigured with reference-marks. And rather than make the book unwieldy I have eschewed notes—reluctantly when some obscure passage or allusion seemed to ask for a timely word; with more equanimity when the temptation was to criticize or 'appreciate.' For the function of the anthologist includes criticizing in silence.
Care has been taken with the texts. But I have sometimes thought it consistent with the aim of the book to prefer the more beautiful to the better attested reading. I have often excised weak or superfluous stanzas when sure that excision would improve; and have not hesitated to extract a few stanzas from a long poem when persuaded that they could stand alone as a lyric. The apology for such experiments can only lie in their success: but the risk is one which, in my judgement, the anthologist ought to take. A few small corrections have been made, but only when they were quite obvious.
The numbers chosen are either lyrical or epigrammatic. Indeed I am mistaken if a single epigram included fails to preserve at least some faint thrill of the emotion through which it had to pass before the Muse's lips let it fall, with however exquisite deliberation. But the lyrical spirit is volatile and notoriously hard to bind with definitions; and seems to grow wilder with the years. With the anthologist—as with the fisherman who knows the fish at the end of his sea-line—the gift, if he have it, comes by sense, improved by practice. The definition, if he be clever enough to frame one, comes by after-thought. I don't know that it helps, and am sure that it may easily mislead.
Having set my heart on choosing the best, I resolved not to be dissuaded by common objections against anthologies—that they repeat one another until the proverb [Greek] loses all application—or perturbed if my judgement should often agree with that of good critics. The best is the best, though a hundred judges have declared it so; nor had it been any feat to search out and insert the second-rate merely because it happened to be recondite. To be sure, a man must come to such a task as mine haunted by his youth and the favourites he loved in days when he had much enthusiasm but little reading.
A deeper import Lurks in the legend told my infant years Than lies upon that truth we live to learn.
Few of my contemporaries can erase—or would wish to erase—the dye their minds took from the late Mr. Palgrave's Golden Treasury: and he who has returned to it again and again with an affection born of companionship on many journeys must remember not only what the Golden Treasury includes, but the moment when this or that poem appealed to him, and even how it lies on the page. To Mr. Bullen's Lyrics from the Elizabethan Song Books and his other treasuries I own a more advised debt. Nor am I free of obligation to anthologies even more recent—to Archbishop Trench's Household Book of Poetry, Mr. Locker-Lampson's Lyra Elegantiarum, Mr. Miles' Poets and Poetry of the Century, Mr. Beeching's Paradise of English Poetry, Mr. Henley's English Lyrics, Mrs. Sharp's Lyra Celtica, Mr. Yeats' Book of Irish Verse, and Mr. Churton Collins' Treasury of Minor British Poetry: though my rule has been to consult these after making my own choice. Yet I can claim that the help derived from them—though gratefully owned—bears but a trifling proportion to the labour, special and desultory, which has gone to the making of my book.
For the anthologist's is not quite the dilettante business for which it is too often and ignorantly derided. I say this, and immediately repent; since my wish is that the reader should in his own pleasure quite forget the editor's labour, which too has been pleasant: that, standing aside, I may believe this book has made the Muses' access easier when, in the right hour, they come to him to uplift or to console— [Greek]
My thanks are here tendered to those who have helped me with permission to include recent poems: to Mr. A. C. Benson, Mr. Laurence Binyon, Mr. Wilfrid Blunt, Mr. Robert Bridges, Mr. John Davidson, Mr. Austin Dobson, Mr. Aubrey de Vere, Mr. Edmund Gosse, Mr. Bret Harte, Mr. W. E. Henley, Mrs. Katharine Tynan Hinkson, Mr. W. D. Howells, Dr. Douglas Hyde, Mr. Rudyard Kipling, Mr. Andrew Lang, Mr. Richard Le Gallienne, Mr. George Meredith, Mrs. Meynell, Mr. T. Sturge Moore, Mr. Henry Newbolt, Mr. Gilbert Parker, Mr. T. W. Rolleston, Mr. George Russell ('A. E.'), Mrs. Clement Shorter (Dora Sigerson), Mr. Swinburne, Mr. Francis Thompson, Dr. Todhunter, Mr. William Watson, Mr. Watts-Dunton, Mrs. Woods, and Mr. W. B. Yeats; to the Earl of Crewe for a poem by the late Lord Houghton; to Lady Ferguson, Mrs. Allingham, Mrs. A. H. Clough, Mrs. Locker-Lampson, Mrs. Coventry Patmore; to the Lady Betty Balfour and the Lady Victoria Buxton for poems by the late Earl of Lytton and the Hon. Roden Noel; to the executors of Messrs. Frederic Tennyson (Captain Tennyson and Mr. W. C. A. Ker), Charles Tennyson Turner (Sir Franklin Lushington), Edward FitzGerald (Mr. Aldis Wright), William Bell Scott (Mrs. Sydney Morse and Miss Boyd of Penkill Castle, who has added to her kindness by allowing me to include an unpublished 'Sonet' by her sixteenth-century ancestor, Mark Alexander Boyd), William Philpot (Mr. Hamlet S. Philpot), William Morris (Mr. S. C. Cockerell), William Barnes, and R. L. Stevenson; to the Rev. H. C. Beeching for two poems from his own works, and leave to use his redaction of Quia Amore Langueo; to Mssrs. Macmillan for confirming permission for the extracts from FitzGerald, Christina Rossetti, and T. E. Brown, and particularly for allowing me to insert the latest emendations in Lord Tennyson's non-copyright poems; to the proprietors of Mr. and Mrs. Browning's copyrights and to Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. for a similar favour, also for a copyright poem by Mrs. Browning; to Mr. George Allen for extracts from Ruskin and the author of Ionica; to Messrs. G. Bell & Sons for poems by Thomas Ashe; to Messrs. Chatto & Windus for poems by Arthur O'Shaughnessy and Dr. George MacDonald, and for confirming Mr. Bret Harte's permission; to Mr. Elkin Mathews for a poem by Mr. Bliss Carman; to Mr. John Lane for two poems by William Brighty Rands; to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge for two extracts from Christina Rossetti's Verses; and to Mr. Bertram Dobell, who allows me not only to select from James Thomson but to use a poem of Traherne's, a seventeenth-century singer rediscovered by him. To mention all who in other ways have furthered me is not possible in this short Preface; which, however, must not conclude without a word of special thanks to Dr. W. Robertson Nicoll for many suggestions and some pains kindly bestowed, and to Professor F. York Powell, whose help and wise counsel have been as generously given as they were eagerly sought, adding me to the number of those many who have found his learning to be his friends' good fortune. October 1900 A.T.Q.C.
Anonymous. c. 1250
1. Cuckoo Song
SUMER is icumen in, Lhude sing cuccu! Groweth sed, and bloweth med, And springth the wude nu— Sing cuccu!
Awe bleteth after lomb, Lhouth after calve cu; Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth, Murie sing cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu, well singes thu, cuccu: Ne swike thu naver nu; Sing cuccu, nu, sing cuccu, Sing cuccu, sing cuccu, nu!
lhude] loud. awe] ewe. lhouth] loweth. sterteth] leaps. swike] cease.
Anonymous. c. 1300
BYTUENE Mershe ant Averil When spray biginneth to spring, The lutel foul hath hire wyl On hyre lud to synge: Ich libbe in love-longinge For semlokest of alle thynge, He may me blisse bringe, Icham in hire bandoun. An hendy hap ichabbe y-hent, Ichot from hevene it is me sent, From alle wymmen my love is lent Ant lyht on Alisoun.
On heu hire her is fayr ynoh, Hire browe broune, hire eye blake; With lossum chere he on me loh; With middel smal ant wel y-make; Bote he me wolle to hire take For to buen hire owen make, Long to lyven ichulle forsake Ant feye fallen adoun. An hendy hap, etc.
Nihtes when I wende and wake, For-thi myn wonges waxeth won; Levedi, al for thine sake Longinge is y-lent me on. In world his non so wyter mon That al hire bounte telle con; Hire swyre is whittore than the swon, Ant feyrest may in toune. An hendy hap, etc.
Icham for wowyng al for-wake, Wery so water in wore; Lest eny reve me my make Ichabbe y-yerned yore. Betere is tholien whyle sore Then mournen evermore. Geynest under gore, Herkne to my roun— An hendy hap, etc.
on hyre lud] in her language. ich libbe] I live. semlokest] seemliest. he] she. bandoun] thraldom. hendy] gracious. y-hent] seized, enjoyed. ichot] I wot. lyht] alighted. hire her] her hair. lossum] lovesome. loh] laughed. bote he] unless she. buen] be. make] mate. feye] like to die. nihtes] at night. wende] turn. for-thi] on that account. wonges waxeth won] cheeks grow wan. levedi] lady. y-lent me on] arrived to me. so wyter mon] so wise a man. swyre] neck. may] maid. for-wake] worn out with vigils. so water in wore] as water in a weir. reve] rob. y-yerned yore] long been distressed. tholien] to endure. geynest under gore] comeliest under woman's apparel. roun] tale, lay.
Anonymous. c. 1300
LENTEN ys come with love to toune, With blosmen ant with briddes roune, That al this blisse bryngeth; Dayes-eyes in this dales, Notes suete of nyhtegales, Vch foul song singeth; The threstlecoc him threteth oo, Away is huere wynter wo, When woderove springeth; This foules singeth ferly fele, Ant wlyteth on huere winter wele, That al the wode ryngeth.
The rose rayleth hire rode, The leves on the lyhte wode Waxen al with wille; The mone mandeth hire bleo, The lilie is lossom to seo, The fenyl ant the fille; Wowes this wilde drakes, Miles murgeth huere makes; Ase strem that striketh stille, Mody meneth; so doth mo (Ichot ycham on of tho) For loue that likes ille.
The mone mandeth hire lyht, So doth the semly sonne bryht. When briddes singeth breme; Deowes donketh the dounes, Deores with huere derne rounes Domes forte deme; Wormes woweth under cloude, Wymmen waxeth wounder proude, So wel hit wol hem seme, Yef me shal wonte wille of on, This wunne weole y wole forgon Ant wyht in wode be fleme.
to toune] in its turn. him threteth oo] is aye chiding them. huere] their. woderove] woodruff. ferly fele] marvellous many. wlyteth] whistle, or look. rayleth hire rode] clothes herself in red. mandeth hire bleo] sends forth her light. lossom to seo] lovesome to see. fille] thyme. wowes] woo. miles] males. murgeth] make merry. makes] mates. striketh] flows, trickles. mody meneth] the moody man makes moan. so doth mo] so do many. on of tho] one of them. breme] lustily. deowes] dews. donketh] make dank. deores] dears, lovers. huere derne rounes] their secret tales. domes forte deme] for to give (decide) their decisions. cloude] clod. wunne weole] wealth of joy. y wole forgon] I will forgo. wyht] wight. fleme] banished.
Anonymous. c. 1300
4. Blow, Northern Wind
ICHOT a burde in boure bryht, That fully semly is on syht, Menskful maiden of myht; Feir ant fre to fonde; In al this wurhliche won A burde of blod ant of bon Never yete y nuste non Lussomore in londe. Blou northerne wynd! Send thou me my suetyng! Blou northerne wynd! blou, blou, blou!
With lokkes lefliche ant longe, With frount ant face feir to fonge, With murthes monie mote heo monge, That brid so breme in boure. With lossom eye grete ant gode, With browen blysfol under hode, He that reste him on the Rode, That leflych lyf honoure. Blou northerne wynd, etc.
Hire lure lumes liht, Ase a launterne a nyht, Hire bleo blykyeth so bryht. So feyr heo is ant fyn. A suetly swyre heo hath to holde, With armes shuldre ase mon wolde, Ant fingres feyre forte folde, God wolde hue were myn! Blou northerne wynd, etc.
Heo is coral of godnesse, Heo is rubie of ryhtfulnesse, Heo is cristal of clannesse, Ant baner of bealte. Heo is lilie of largesse, Heo is parvenke of prouesse, Heo is solsecle of suetnesse, Ant lady of lealte.
For hire love y carke ant care, For hire love y droupne ant dare, For hire love my blisse is bare Ant al ich waxe won, For hire love in slep y slake, For hire love al nyht ich wake, For hire love mournynge y make More then eny mon. Blou northerne wynd! Send thou me my suetyng! Blou northerne wynd! blou, blou, blou!
Ichot] I know. burde] maiden. menskful] worshipful. feir] fair. fonde] take, prove. wurhliche] noble. won] multitude. y nuste] I knew not. lussomore in londe] lovelier on earth. suetyng] sweetheart. lefliche] lovely. fonge] take between hands. murthes] mirths, joys. mote heo monge] may she mingle. brid] bird. breme] full of life. Rode] the Cross. lure] face. lumes] beams. bleo] colour. suetly swyre] darling neck. forte] for to. hue, heo] she. clannesse] cleanness, purity. parvenke] periwinkle. solsecle] sunflower. won] wan.
Anonymous. c. 1300
5. This World's Joy
WYNTER wakeneth al my care, Nou this leves waxeth bare; Ofte I sike ant mourne sare When hit cometh in my thoht Of this worldes joie, hou hit goth al to noht.
Nou hit is, and nou hit nys, Al so hit ner nere, ywys; That moni mon seith, soth hit ys: Al goth bote Godes wille: Alle we shule deye, thah us like ylle.
Al that gren me graueth grene, Nou hit faleweth albydene: Jesu, help that hit be sene Ant shild us from helle! For y not whider y shal, ne hou longe her duelle.
this leves] these leaves. sike] sigh. nys] is not. al so hit ner nere] as though it had never been. soth] sooth. bote] but, except. thah] though. faleweth] fadeth. albydene] altogether. y not whider] I know not whither. her duelle] here dwell.
Anonymous. c. 1300
6. A Hymn to the Virgin
OF on that is so fayr and bright Velut maris stella, Brighter than the day is light, Parens et puella: Ic crie to the, thou see to me, Levedy, preye thi Sone for me, Tam pia, That ic mote come to thee Maria.
Al this world was for-lore Eva peccatrice, Tyl our Lord was y-bore De te genetrice. With ave it went away Thuster nyth and comz the day Salutis; The welle springeth ut of the, Virtutis.
Levedy, flour of alle thing, Rose sine spina, Thu bere Jhesu, hevene king, Gratia divina: Of alle thu ber'st the pris, Levedy, quene of paradys Electa: Mayde milde, moder es Effecta.
on] one. levedy] lady. thuster] dark. pris] prize.
Anonymous. c. 1350
7. Of a rose, a lovely rose, Of a rose is al myn song.
LESTENYT, lordynges, both elde and yinge, How this rose began to sprynge; Swych a rose to myn lykynge In al this word ne knowe I non.
The Aungil came fro hevene tour, To grete Marye with gret honour, And seyde sche xuld bere the flour That xulde breke the fyndes bond.
The flour sprong in heye Bedlem, That is bothe bryht and schen: The rose is Mary hevene qwyn, Out of here bosum the blosme sprong.
The ferste braunche is ful of myht, That sprang on Cyrstemesse nyht, The sterre schon over Bedlem bryht That is bothe brod and long.
The secunde braunche sprong to helle, The fendys power doun to felle: Therein myht non sowle dwelle; Blyssid be the time the rose sprong!
The thredde braunche is good and swote, It sprang to hevene crop and rote, Therein to dwellyn and ben our bote; Every day it schewit in prystes hond.
Prey we to here with gret honour, Che that bar the blyssid flowr, Che be our helpe and our socour And schyd us fro the fyndes bond.
lestenyt] listen. word] world. xuld] should. schen] beautiful. hevene qwyn] heaven's queen. bote] salvation.
Robert Mannyng of Brunne. 1269-1340
8. Praise of Women
NO thyng ys to man so dere As wommanys love in gode manere. A gode womman is mannys blys, There her love right and stedfast ys. There ys no solas under hevene Of alle that a man may nevene That shulde a man so moche glew As a gode womman that loveth true. Ne derer is none in Goddis hurde Than a chaste womman with lovely worde.
nevene] name. glew] gladden. hurde] flock.
John Barbour. d. 1395
A! Fredome is a noble thing! Fredome mays man to haiff liking; Fredome all solace to man giffis, He levys at ese that frely levys! A noble hart may haiff nane ese, Na ellys nocht that may him plese, Gyff fredome fail; for fre liking Is yarnyt our all othir thing. Na he that ay has levyt fre May nocht knaw weill the propyrte, The angyr, na the wretchyt dome That is couplyt to foule thyrldome. Bot gyff he had assayit it, Than all perquer he suld it wyt; And suld think fredome mar to prise Than all the gold in warld that is. Thus contrar thingis evirmar Discoweryngis off the tothir ar.
liking] liberty. na ellys nocht] nor aught else. yarnyt] yearned for. perquer] thoroughly, by heart.
Geoffrey Chaucer. 1340?-1400
10. The Love Unfeigned
O YONGE fresshe folkes, he or she, In which that love up groweth with your age, Repeyreth hoom from worldly vanitee, And of your herte up-casteth the visage To thilke god that after his image Yow made, and thinketh al nis but a fayre This world, that passeth sone as floures fayre.
And loveth him, the which that right for love Upon a cros, our soules for to beye, First starf, and roos, and sit in hevene a-bove; For he nil falsen no wight, dar I seye, That wol his herte al hoolly on him leye. And sin he best to love is, and most meke, What nedeth feyned loves for to seke?
repeyreth] repair ye. starf] died.
Geoffrey Chaucer. 1340?-1400
HYD, Absolon, thy gilte tresses clere; Ester, ley thou thy meknesse al a-doun; Hyd, Jonathas, al thy frendly manere; Penalopee, and Marcia Catoun, Mak of your wyfhod no comparisoun; Hyde ye your beautes, Isoude and Eleyne; My lady cometh, that al this may disteyne.
Thy faire body, lat hit nat appere, Lavyne; and thou, Lucresse of Rome toun, And Polixene, that boghten love so dere, And Cleopatre, with al thy passioun, Hyde ye your trouthe of love and your renoun; And thou, Tisbe, that hast of love swich peyne; My lady cometh, that al this may disteyne.
Herro, Dido, Laudomia, alle y-fere, And Phyllis, hanging for thy Demophoun, And Canace, espyed by thy chere, Ysiphile, betraysed with Jasoun, Maketh of your trouthe neyther boost ne soun; Nor Ypermistre or Adriane, ye tweyne; My lady cometh, that al this may distevne.
disteyne] bedim. y-fere] together.
Geoffrey Chaucer. 1340?-1400
12. Merciles Beaute
A TRIPLE ROUNDEL
YOUR eyen two wol slee me sodenly, I may the beaute of hem not sustene, So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.
And but your word wol helen hastily My hertes wounde, whyl that hit is grene, Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly, I may the beaute of hem not sustene.
Upon my trouthe I sey yow feithfully, That ye ben of my lyf and deeth the quene; For with my deeth the trouthe shal be sene. Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly, I may the beaute of hem not sustene, So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.
So hath your beaute fro your herte chaced Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne; For Daunger halt your mercy in his cheyne.
Giltles my deeth thus han ye me purchaced; I sey yow sooth, me nedeth not to feyne; So hath your beaute fro your herte chaced Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne.
Allas! that nature hath in yow compassed So greet beaute, that no man may atteyne To mercy, though he sterve for the peyne. So hath your beaute fro your herte chaced Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne; For Daunger halt your mercy in his cheyne.
Sin I fro Love escaped am so fat, I never thenk to ben in his prison lene; Sin I am free, I counte him not a bene.
He may answere, and seye this or that; I do no fors, I speke right as I mene. Sin I fro Love escaped am so fat, I never thenk to ben in his prison lene.
Love hath my name y-strike out of his sclat, And he is strike out of my bokes clene For ever-mo; ther is non other mene. Sin I fro Love escaped am so fat, I never thenk to ben in his prison lene; Sin I am free, I counte him not a bene.
halt] holdeth. sclat] slate.
Thomas Hoccleve. 1368-9?-1450?
13. Lament for Chaucer
ALLAS! my worthi maister honorable, This landes verray tresor and richesse! Deth by thy deth hath harme irreparable Unto us doon: hir vengeable duresse Despoiled hath this land of the swetnesse Of rethorik; for unto Tullius Was never man so lyk amonges us.
Also who was hier in philosophie To Aristotle in our tonge but thou? The steppes of Virgile in poesie Thou folwedist eeke, men wot wel ynow. Thou combre-worlde that the my maister slow— Wolde I slayn were!—Deth, was to hastyf To renne on thee and reve the thi lyf...
She myghte han taried hir vengeance a while Til that sum man had egal to the be; Nay, lat be that! sche knew wel that this y1e May never man forth brynge lyk to the, And hir office needes do mot she: God bad hir so, I truste as for the beste; O maister, maister, God thi soule reste!
hier] heir. combre-worlde] encumberer of earth. slow] slew.
John Lydgate. 1370?-1450?
14. Vox ultima Crucis
TARYE no lenger; toward thyn heritage Hast on thy weye, and be of ryght good chere. Go eche day onward on thy pylgrymage; Thynke howe short tyme thou hast abyden here. Thy place is bygged above the sterres clere, Noon erthly palys wrought in so statly wyse. Come on, my frend, my brother most entere! For the I offered my blood in sacryfice.
bygged] built. palys] palace.
King James I of Scotland. 1394-1437
15. Spring Song of the Birds
WORSCHIPPE ye that loveris bene this May, For of your blisse the Kalendis are begonne, And sing with us, Away, Winter, away! Cum, Somer, cum, the suete sesoun and sonne! Awake for schame! that have your hevynnis wonne, And amorously lift up your hedis all, Thank Lufe that list you to his merci call!
suete] sweet. Lufe] Love.
Robert Henryson. 1425-1500
16. Robin and Makyne
ROBIN sat on gude green hill, Kepand a flock of fe: Mirry Makyne said him till 'Robin, thou rew on me: I haif thee luvit, loud and still, Thir yeiris twa or thre; My dule in dern bot gif thou dill, Doutless but dreid I de.'
Robin answerit 'By the Rude Na thing of luve I knaw, But keipis my scheip undir yon wud: Lo, quhair they raik on raw. Quhat has marrit thee in thy mude, Makyne, to me thou shaw; Or quhat is luve, or to be lude? Fain wad I leir that law.'
'At luvis lair gif thou will leir Tak thair ane A B C; Be heynd, courtass, and fair of feir, Wyse, hardy, and free: So that no danger do thee deir Quhat dule in dern thou dre; Preiss thee with pain at all poweir Be patient and previe.'
Robin answerit hir agane, 'I wat nocht quhat is lufe; But I haif mervel in certaine Quhat makis thee this wanrufe: The weddir is fair, and I am fain; My scheip gois haill aboif; And we wald prey us in this plane, They wald us baith reproif.'
'Robin, tak tent unto my tale, And wirk all as I reid, And thou sall haif my heart all haill, Eik and my maiden-heid: Sen God sendis bute for baill, And for murnyng remeid, In dern with thee bot gif I daill Dowtles I am bot deid.'
'Makyne, to-morn this ilka tyde And ye will meit me heir, Peraventure my scheip may gang besyde, Quhyle we haif liggit full neir; But mawgre haif I, and I byde, Fra they begin to steir; Quhat lyis on heart I will nocht hyd; Makyn, then mak gude cheir.'
'Robin, thou reivis me roiff and rest; I luve bot thee allane.' 'Makyne, adieu! the sone gois west, The day is neir-hand gane.' 'Robin, in dule I am so drest That luve will be my bane.' 'Ga luve, Makyne, quhair-evir thow list, For lemman I luve nane.'
'Robin, I stand in sic a styll, I sicht and that full sair.' 'Makyne, I haif been here this quhyle; At hame God gif I wair.' 'My huny, Robin, talk ane quhyll, Gif thow will do na mair.' 'Makyn, sum uthir man begyle, For hamewart I will fair.'
Robin on his wayis went As light as leif of tre; Makyne murnit in hir intent, And trowd him nevir to se. Robin brayd attour the bent: Then Makyne cryit on hie, 'Now may thow sing, for I am schent! Quhat alis lufe at me?'
Makyne went hame withowttin fail, Full wery eftir cowth weip; Then Robin in a ful fair daill Assemblit all his scheip. Be that sum part of Makynis aill Out-throw his hairt cowd creip; He fallowit hir fast thair till assaill, And till her tuke gude keip.
'Abyd, abyd, thow fair Makyne, A word for ony thing; For all my luve, it sall be thyne, Withowttin departing. All haill thy hairt for till haif myne Is all my cuvating; My scheip to-morn, quhyle houris nyne, Will neid of no keping.'
'Robin, thow hes hard soung and say, In gestis and storeis auld, The man that will nocht quhen he may Sall haif nocht quhen he wald. I pray to Jesu every day, Mot eik thair cairis cauld That first preissis with thee to play Be firth, forrest, or fauld.'
'Makyne, the nicht is soft and dry, The weddir is warme and fair, And the grene woid rycht neir us by To walk attour all quhair: Thair ma na janglour us espy, That is to lufe contrair; Thairin, Makyne, baith ye and I, Unsene we ma repair.'
'Robin, that warld is all away, And quyt brocht till ane end: And nevir agane thereto, perfay, Sall it be as thow wend; For of my pane thow maid it play; And all in vane I spend: As thow hes done, sa sall I say, "Murne on, I think to mend."'
'Makyne, the howp of all my heill, My hairt on thee is sett; And evirmair to thee be leill Quhill I may leif but lett; Never to faill as utheris feill, Quhat grace that evir I gett.' 'Robin, with thee I will nocht deill; Adieu! for thus we mett.'
Makyne went hame blyth anneuche Attour the holttis hair; Robin murnit, and Makyne leuche; Scho sang, he sichit sair: And so left him baith wo and wreuch, In dolour and in cair, Kepand his hird under a huche Amangis the holttis hair.
kepand] keeping. fe] sheep, cattle. him till] to him. dule in dern] sorrow in secret. dill] soothe. but dreid] without dread, i.e. there is no fear or doubt. raik on raw] range in row. lude] loved. leir] learn. lair] lore. heynd] gentle. feir] demeanour. deir] daunt. dre] endure. preiss] endeavour. wanrufe] unrest. haill] healthy, whole. aboif] above, up yonder. and] if. tak tent] give heed. reid] advise. bute for baill] remedy for hurt. bot gif] but if, unless. daill] deal. mawgre haif I] I am uneasy. reivis] robbest. roiff] quiet. drest] beset. lemman] mistress. sicht] sigh. in hir intent] in her inward thought. brayd] strode. bent] coarse grass. schent] destroyed. alis] ails. be that] by the time that. till] to. tuke keip] paid attention. hard] heard. gestis] romances. mot eik] may add to. be] by. janglour] talebearer. wend] weened. howp] hope. but lett] without hindrance. anneuche] enough. holttis hair] grey woodlands. leuche] laughed. wreuch] peevish. huche] heuch, cliff.
Robert Henryson. 1425-1500
17. The Bludy Serk
THIS hinder yeir I hard be tald Thair was a worthy King; Dukis, Erlis, and Barronis bald, He had at his bidding. The Lord was ancean and ald, And sexty yeiris cowth ring; He had a dochter fair to fald, A lusty Lady ying.
Off all fairheid scho bur the flour, And eik hir faderis air; Off lusty laitis and he honour, Meik bot and debonair: Scho wynnit in a bigly bour, On fold wes nane so fair, Princis luvit hir paramour In cuntreis our allquhair.
Thair dwelt a lyt besyde the King A foull Gyand of ane; Stollin he has the Lady ying, Away with hir is gane, And kest her in his dungering Quhair licht scho micht se nane; Hungir and cauld and grit thristing Scho fand into hir waine.
He wes the laithliest on to luk That on the grund mycht gang: His nailis wes lyk ane hellis cruk, Thairwith fyve quarteris lang; Thair wes nane that he ourtuk, In rycht or yit in wrang, Bot all in schondir he thame schuk, The Gyand wes so strang.
He held the Lady day and nycht Within his deip dungeoun, He wald nocht gif of hir a sicht For gold nor yit ransoun— Bot gif the King mycht get a knycht, To fecht with his persoun, To fecht with him beth day and nycht, Quhill ane wer dungin doun.
The King gart seik baith fer and neir, Beth be se and land, Off ony knycht gif he mycht heir Wald fecht with that Gyand: A worthy Prince, that had no peir, Hes tane the deid on hand For the luve of the Lady cleir, And held full trew cunnand.
That Prince come prowdly to the toun Of that Gyand to heir, And fawcht with him, his awin persoun, And tuke him presoneir, And kest him in his awin dungeoun Allane withouten feir, With hungir, cauld, and confusioun, As full weill worthy weir.
Syne brak the bour, had hame the bricht Unto her fadir fre. Sa evill wondit wes the Knycht That he behuvit to de; Unlusum was his likame dicht, His sark was all bludy; In all the world was thair a wicht So peteouss for to se?
The Lady murnyt and maid grit mane, With all her mekill mycht— 'I luvit nevir lufe bot ane, That dulfully now is dicht; God sen my lyfe were fra me tane Or I had seen yone sicht, Or ellis in begging evir to gane Furth with yone curtass knycht.'
He said 'Fair lady, now mone I De, trestly ye me trow; Take ye my serk that is bludy, And hing it forrow yow; First think on it, and syne on me, Quhen men cumis yow to wow.' The Lady said 'Be Mary fre, Thairto I mak a vow.'
Quhen that scho lukit to the sark Scho thocht on the persoun, And prayit for him with all hir hart That lowsit hir of bandoun, Quhair scho was wont to sit full merk Into that deip dungeoun; And evir quhill scho wes in quert, That was hir a lessoun.
Sa weill the Lady luvit the Knycht That no man wald scho tak: Sa suld we do our God of micht That did all for us mak; Quhilk fullily to deid was dicht, For sinfull manis sak, Sa suld we do beth day and nycht, With prayaris to him mak.
This King is lyk the Trinitie, Baith in hevin and heir; The manis saule to the Lady, The Gyand to Lucefeir, The Knycht to Chryst, that deit on tre And coft our synnis deir; The pit to Hele with panis fell, The Syn to the woweir.
The Lady was wowd, but scho said nay With men that wald hir wed; Sa suld we wryth all sin away That in our breist is bred. I pray to Jesu Chryst verray, For ws his blud that bled, To be our help on domisday Quhair lawis ar straitly led.
The saule is Godis dochtir deir, And eik his handewerk, That was betrayit with Lucefeir, Quha sittis in hell full merk: Borrowit with Chrystis angell cleir, Hend men, will ye nocht herk? And for his lufe that bocht us deir Think on the BLUDY SERK!
hinder yeir] last year. ring] reign. fald] enfold. ying] young. fairheid] beauty. air] heir. laitis] manners. bot and] and also. scho wynnit] she dwelt. bigly] well-built. fold] earth. paramour] lovingly. our allquhair] all the world over. a lyt besyde] a little, (i.e. close) beside. of ane] as any. kest] cast. dungering] dungeon. into hir waine] in her lodging. hellis cruk] hell-claw. quhill] until. dungin doun] beaten down. his awin persoun] himself. withouten feir] without companion. the bricht] the fair one. likame] body. lowsit hir of bandoun] loosed her from thraldom. quert] prison. coft] bought. straitly led] strictly carried out. hend] gentle.
William Dunbar. 1465-1520?
18. To a Lady
SWEET rois of vertew and of gentilness, Delytsum lily of everie lustynes, Richest in bontie and in bewtie clear, And everie vertew that is wenit dear, Except onlie that ye are mercyless
Into your garth this day I did persew; There saw I flowris that fresche were of hew; Baith quhyte and reid most lusty were to seyne, And halesome herbis upon stalkis greene; Yet leaf nor flowr find could I nane of rew.
I doubt that Merche, with his cauld blastis keyne, Has slain this gentil herb, that I of mene; Quhois piteous death dois to my heart sic paine That I would make to plant his root againe,— So confortand his levis unto me bene.
rois] rose. wenit] weened, esteemed. garth] garden-close. to seyne] to see. that I of mene] that I complain of, mourn for.
William Dunbar. 1465-1520?
19. In Honour of the City of London
LONDON, thou art of townes A per se. Soveraign of cities, seemliest in sight, Of high renoun, riches and royaltie; Of lordis, barons, and many a goodly knyght; Of most delectable lusty ladies bright; Of famous prelatis, in habitis clericall; Of merchauntis full of substaunce and of myght: London, thou art the flour of Cities all.
Gladdith anon, thou lusty Troynovaunt, Citie that some tyme cleped was New Troy; In all the erth, imperiall as thou stant, Pryncesse of townes, of pleasure and of joy, A richer restith under no Christen roy; For manly power, with craftis naturall, Fourmeth none fairer sith the flode of Noy: London, thou art the flour of Cities all.
Gemme of all joy, jasper of jocunditie, Most myghty carbuncle of vertue and valour; Strong Troy in vigour and in strenuytie; Of royall cities rose and geraflour; Empress of townes, exalt in honour; In beawtie beryng the crone imperiall; Swete paradise precelling in pleasure; London, thou art the flour of Cities all.
Above all ryvers thy Ryver hath renowne, Whose beryall stremys, pleasaunt and preclare, Under thy lusty wallys renneth down, Where many a swan doth swymme with wyngis fair; Where many a barge doth saile and row with are; Where many a ship doth rest with top-royall. O, towne of townes! patrone and not compare, London, thou art the flour of Cities all.
Upon thy lusty Brigge of pylers white Been merchauntis full royall to behold; Upon thy stretis goeth many a semely knyght In velvet gownes and in cheynes of gold. By Julyus Cesar thy Tour founded of old May be the hous of Mars victoryall, Whose artillary with tonge may not be told: London, thou art the flour of Cities all.
Strong be thy wallis that about thee standis; Wise be the people that within thee dwellis; Fresh is thy ryver with his lusty strandis; Blith be thy chirches, wele sownyng be thy bellis; Rich be thy merchauntis in substaunce that excellis; Fair be their wives, right lovesom, white and small; Clere be thy virgyns, lusty under kellis: London, thou art the flour of Cities all.
Thy famous Maire, by pryncely governaunce, With sword of justice thee ruleth prudently. No Lord of Parys, Venyce, or Floraunce In dignitye or honour goeth to hym nigh. He is exampler, loode-ster, and guye; Principall patrone and rose orygynalle, Above all Maires as maister most worthy: London, thou art the flour of Cities all.
gladdith] rejoice. Troynovaunt] Troja nova or Trinovantum. fourmeth] appeareth. geraflour] gillyflower. are] oar. small] slender. kellis] hoods, head-dresses. guye] guide.
William Dunbar. 1465-1520?
20. On the Nativity of Christ
RORATE coeli desuper! Hevins, distil your balmy schouris! For now is risen the bricht day-ster, Fro the rose Mary, flour of flouris: The cleir Sone, quhom no cloud devouris, Surmounting Phebus in the Est, Is cumin of his hevinly touris: Et nobis Puer natus est.
Archangellis, angellis, and dompnationis, Tronis, potestatis, and marteiris seir, And all ye hevinly operationis, Ster, planeit, firmament, and spheir, Fire, erd, air, and water cleir, To Him gife loving, most and lest, That come in to so meik maneir; Et nobis Puer natus est.
Synnaris be glad, and penance do, And thank your Maker hairtfully; For he that ye micht nocht come to To you is cumin full humbly Your soulis with his blood to buy And loose you of the fiendis arrest— And only of his own mercy; Pro nobis Puer natus est.
All clergy do to him inclyne, And bow unto that bairn benyng, And do your observance divyne To him that is of kingis King: Encense his altar, read and sing In holy kirk, with mind degest, Him honouring attour all thing Qui nobis Puer natus est.
Celestial foulis in the air, Sing with your nottis upon hicht, In firthis and in forrestis fair Be myrthful now at all your mycht; For passit is your dully nicht, Aurora has the cloudis perst, The Sone is risen with glaidsum licht, Et nobis Puer natus est.
Now spring up flouris fra the rute, Revert you upward naturaly, In honour of the blissit frute That raiss up fro the rose Mary; Lay out your levis lustily, Fro deid take life now at the lest In wirschip of that Prince worthy Qui nobis Puer natus est.
Sing, hevin imperial, most of hicht! Regions of air mak armony! All fish in flud and fowl of flicht Be mirthful and mak melody! All Gloria in excelsis cry! Heaven, erd, se, man, bird, and best,— He that is crownit abone the sky Pro nobis Puer natus est!
schouris] showers. cumin] come, entered. seir] various. erd] earth. lest] least. synnaris] sinners. benyng] benign. attour] over, above. perst] pierced. raiss] rose. best] beast.
William Dunbar. 1465-1520?
21. Lament for the Makers
I THAT in heill was and gladness Am trublit now with great sickness And feblit with infirmitie:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Our plesance here is all vain glory, This fals world is but transitory, The flesh is bruckle, the Feynd is slee:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
The state of man does change and vary, Now sound, now sick, now blyth, now sary, Now dansand mirry, now like to die:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
No state in Erd here standis sicker; As with the wynd wavis the wicker So wannis this world's vanitie:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Unto the Death gois all Estatis, Princis, Prelatis, and Potestatis, Baith rich and poor of all degree:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
He takis the knichtis in to the field Enarmit under helm and scheild; Victor he is at all mellie:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
That strong unmerciful tyrand Takis, on the motheris breast sowkand, The babe full of benignitie:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
He takis the campion in the stour, The captain closit in the tour, The lady in bour full of bewtie:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
He spairis no lord for his piscence, Na clerk for his intelligence; His awful straik may no man flee:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Art-magicianis and astrologgis, Rethoris, logicianis, and theologgis, Them helpis no conclusionis slee:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
In medecine the most practicianis, Leechis, surrigianis, and physicianis, Themself from Death may not supplee:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
I see that makaris amang the lave Playis here their padyanis, syne gois to grave; Sparit is nocht their facultie:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
He has done petuously devour The noble Chaucer, of makaris flour, The Monk of Bury, and Gower, all three:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
The good Sir Hew of Eglintoun, Ettrick, Heriot, and Wintoun, He has tane out of this cuntrie:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
That scorpion fell has done infeck Maister John Clerk, and James Afflek, Fra ballat-making and tragedie:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Holland and Barbour he has berevit; Alas! that he not with us levit Sir Mungo Lockart of the Lee:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Clerk of Tranent eke he has tane, That made the anteris of Gawaine; Sir Gilbert Hay endit has he:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
He has Blind Harry and Sandy Traill Slain with his schour of mortal hail, Quhilk Patrick Johnstoun might nought flee:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
He has reft Merseir his endite, That did in luve so lively write, So short, so quick, of sentence hie:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
He has tane Rowll of Aberdene, And gentill Rowll of Corstorphine; Two better fallowis did no man see:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
In Dunfermline he has tane Broun With Maister Robert Henrysoun; Sir John the Ross enbrast has he:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
And he has now tane, last of a, Good gentil Stobo and Quintin Shaw, Of quhom all wichtis hes pitie:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Good Maister Walter Kennedy In point of Death lies verily; Great ruth it were that so suld be:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Sen he has all my brether tane, He will naught let me live alane; Of force I man his next prey be:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
Since for the Death remeid is none, Best is that we for Death dispone, After our death that live may we:— Timor Mortis conturbat me.
heill] health. bruckle] brittle, feeble. slee] sly. dansand] dancing. sicker] sure. wicker] willow. wannis] wanes. mellie] mellay. sowkand] sucking. campion] champion. stour] fight. piscence] puissance. straik] stroke. supplee] save. makaris] poets. the lave] the leave, the rest. padyanis] pageants. anteris] adventures. schour] shower. endite] inditing. fallowis] fellows. wichtis] wights, persons. man] must. dispone] make disposition.
Anonymous. 15th Cent.
22. May in the Green-Wood
IN somer when the shawes be sheyne, And leves be large and long, Hit is full merry in feyre foreste To here the foulys song.
To se the dere draw to the dale And leve the hilles hee, And shadow him in the leves grene Under the green-wode tree.
Hit befell on Whitsontide Early in a May mornyng, The Sonne up faire can shyne, And the briddis mery can syng.
'This is a mery mornyng,' said Litulle Johne, 'Be Hym that dyed on tre; A more mery man than I am one Lyves not in Christiante.
'Pluk up thi hert, my dere mayster,' Litulle Johne can say, 'And thynk hit is a fulle fayre tyme In a mornynge of May.'
Anonymous. 15th Cent.
I SING of a maiden That is makeles; King of all kings To her son she ches.
He came al so still There his mother was, As dew in April That falleth on the grass.
He came al so still To his mother's bour, As dew in April That falleth on the flour.
He came al so still There his mother lay, As dew in April That falleth on the spray.
Mother and maiden Was never none but she; Well may such a lady Goddes mother be.
makeles] matchless. ches] chose.
Anonymous. 15th Cent. (?)
24. Quia Amore Langueo
IN a valley of this restles mind I sought in mountain and in mead, Trusting a true love for to find. Upon an hill then took I heed; A voice I heard (and near I yede) In great dolour complaining tho: See, dear soul, how my sides bleed Quia amore langueo.
Upon this hill I found a tree, Under a tree a man sitting; From head to foot wounded was he; His hearte blood I saw bleeding: A seemly man to be a king, A gracious face to look unto. I asked why he had paining; [He said,] Quia amore langueo.
I am true love that false was never; My sister, man's soul, I loved her thus. Because we would in no wise dissever I left my kingdom glorious. I purveyed her a palace full precious; She fled, I followed, I loved her so That I suffered this pain piteous Quia amore langueo.
My fair love and my spouse bright! I saved her from beating, and she hath me bet; I clothed her in grace and heavenly light; This bloody shirt she hath on me set; For longing of love yet would I not let; Sweete strokes are these: lo! I have loved her ever as I her het Quia amore langueo.
I crowned her with bliss and she me with thorn; I led her to chamber and she me to die; I brought her to worship and she me to scorn; I did her reverence and she me villany. To love that loveth is no maistry; Her hate made never my love her foe: Ask me then no question why— Quia amore langueo.
Look unto mine handes, man! These gloves were given me when I her sought; They be not white, but red and wan; Embroidered with blood my spouse them brought. They will not off; I loose hem nought; I woo her with hem wherever she go. These hands for her so friendly fought Quia amore langueo.
Marvel not, man, though I sit still. See, love hath shod me wonder strait: Buckled my feet, as was her will, With sharpe nails (well thou may'st wait!) In my love was never desait; All my membres I have opened her to; My body I made her herte's bait Quia amore langueo.
In my side I have made her nest; Look in, how weet a wound is here! This is her chamber, here shall she rest, That she and I may sleep in fere. Here may she wash, if any filth were; Here is seat for all her woe; Come when she will, she shall have cheer Quia amore langueo.
I will abide till she be ready, I will her sue if she say nay; If she be retchless I will be greedy, If she be dangerous I will her pray; If she weep, then bide I ne may: Mine arms ben spread to clip her me to. Cry once, I come: now, soul, assay Quia amore langueo.
Fair love, let us go play: Apples ben ripe in my gardayne. I shall thee clothe in a new array, Thy meat shall be milk, honey and wine. Fair love, let us go dine: Thy sustenance is in my crippe, lo! Tarry thou not, my fair spouse mine, Quia amore langueo.
If thou be foul, I shall thee make clean; If thou be sick, I shall thee heal; If thou mourn ought, I shall thee mene; Why wilt thou not, fair love, with me deal? Foundest thou ever love so leal? What wilt thou, soul, that I shall do? I may not unkindly thee appeal Quia amore langueo.
What shall I do now with my spouse But abide her of my gentleness, Till that she look out of her house Of fleshly affection? love mine she is; Her bed is made, her bolster is bliss, Her chamber is chosen; is there none mo. Look out on me at the window of kindeness Quia amore langueo.
My love is in her chamber: hold your peace! Make ye no noise, but let her sleep. My babe I would not were in disease, I may not hear my dear child weep. With my pap I shall her keep; Ne marvel ye not though I tend her to: This wound in my side had ne'er be so deep But Quia amore langueo.
Long thou for love never so high, My love is more than thine may be. Thou weepest, thou gladdest, I sit thee by: Yet wouldst thou once, love, look unto me! Should I always feede thee With children meat? Nay, love, not so! I will prove thy love with adversite Quia amore langueo.
Wax not weary, mine own wife! What mede is aye to live in comfort? In tribulation I reign more rife Ofter times than in disport. In weal and in woe I am aye to support: Mine own wife, go not me fro! Thy mede is marked, when thou art mort: Quia amore langueo.
yede] went. het] promised. bait] resting-place. weet] wet. in fere] together. crippe] scrip. mene] care for.
Anonymous. 15th Cent.
25. The Nut-Brown Maid
He. BE it right or wrong, these men among On women do complain; Affirming this, how that it is A labour spent in vain To love them wele; for never a dele They love a man again: For let a man do what he can Their favour to attain, Yet if a new to them pursue, Their first true lover than Laboureth for naught; for from her thought He is a banished man.
She. I say not nay, but that all day It is both written and said That woman's faith is, as who saith, All utterly decayd: But nevertheless, right good witness In this case might be laid That they love true and continue: Record the Nut-brown Maid, Which, when her love came her to prove, To her to make his moan, Would not depart; for in her heart She loved but him alone.
He. Then between us let us discuss What was all the manere Between them two: we will also Tell all the pain in fere That she was in. Now I begin, So that ye me answere: Wherefore all ye that present be, I pray you, give an ear. I am the Knight. I come by night, As secret as I can, Saying, Alas! thus standeth the case, I am a banished man.
She. And I your will for to fulfil In this will not refuse; Trusting to show, in wordes few, That men have an ill use— To their own shame—women to blame, And causeless them accuse. Therefore to you I answer now, All women to excuse— Mine own heart dear, with you what cheer? I pray you, tell anone; For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. It standeth so: a deed is do Whereof great harm shall grow: My destiny is for to die A shameful death, I trow; Or else to flee. The t' one must be. None other way I know But to withdraw as an outlaw, And take me to my bow. Wherefore adieu, mine own heart true! None other rede I can: For I must to the green-wood go, Alone, a banished man.
She. O Lord, what is this worldis bliss, That changeth as the moon! My summer's day in lusty May Is darked before the noon. I hear you say, farewell: Nay, nay, We depart not so soon. Why say ye so? whither will ye go? Alas! what have ye done? All my welfare to sorrow and care Should change, if ye were gone: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. I can believe it shall you grieve, And somewhat you distrain; But afterward, your paines hard Within a day or twain Shall soon aslake; and ye shall take Comfort to you again. Why should ye ought? for, to make thought, Your labour were in vain. And thus I do; and pray you to, As hartely as I can: For I must to the green-wood go, Alone, a banished man.
She. Now, sith that ye have showed to me The secret of your mind, I shall be plain to you again, Like as ye shall me find. Sith it is so that ye will go, I will not live behind. Shall never be said the Nut-brown Maid Was to her love unkind. Make you ready, for so am I, Although it were anone: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. Yet I you rede to take good heed What men will think and say: Of young, of old, it shall be told That ye be gone away Your wanton will for to fulfil, In green-wood you to play; And that ye might for your delight No longer make delay Rather than ye should thus for me Be called an ill woman Yet would I to the green-wood go, Alone, a banished man.
She. Though it be sung of old and young That I should be to blame, Theirs be the charge that speak so large In hurting of my name: For I will prove that faithful love It is devoid of shame; In your distress and heaviness To part with you the same: And sure all tho that do not so True lovers are they none: For in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. I counsel you, Remember how It is no maiden's law Nothing to doubt, but to run out To wood with an outlaw. For ye must there in your hand bear A bow ready to draw; And as a thief thus must you live Ever in dread and awe; Whereby to you great harm might grow: Yet had I liever than That I had to the green-wood go, Alone, a banished man.
She. I think not nay but as ye say; It is no maiden's lore; But love may make me for your sake, As I have said before, To come on foot, to hunt and shoot, To get us meat and store; For so that I your company May have, I ask no more. From which to part it maketh my heart As cold as any stone; For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. For an outlaw this is the law, That men him take and bind: Without pitie, hanged to be, And waver with the wind. If I had need (as God forbede!) What socours could ye find? Forsooth I trow, you and your bow For fear would draw behind. And no mervail; for little avail Were in your counsel than: Wherefore I'll to the green-wood go, Alone, a banished man.
She. Right well know ye that women be But feeble for to fight; No womanhede it is, indeed, To be bold as a knight: Yet in such fear if that ye were With enemies day and night, I would withstand, with bow in hand, To grieve them as I might, And you to save; as women have From death men many one: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. Yet take good hede; for ever I drede That ye could not sustain The thorny ways, the deep valleys, The snow, the frost, the rain, The cold, the heat; for dry or wete, We must lodge on the plain; And, us above, no other roof But a brake bush or twain: Which soon should grieve you, I believe; And ye would gladly than That I had to the green-wood go, Alone, a banished man.
She. Sith I have here been partynere With you of joy and bliss, I must als part of your woe Endure, as reason is: Yet I am sure of one pleasure, And shortly it is this— That where ye be, me seemeth, parde, I could not fare amiss. Without more speech I you beseech That we were shortly gone; For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. If ye go thyder, ye must consider, When ye have lust to dine, There shall no meat be for to gete, Nether bere, ale, ne wine, Ne shetes clean, to lie between, Made of thread and twine; None other house, but leaves and boughs, To cover your head and mine. Lo, mine heart sweet, this ill diete Should make you pale and wan: Wherefore I'll to the green-wood go, Alone, a banished man.
She. Among the wild deer such an archere, As men say that ye be, Ne may not fail of good vitayle Where is so great plent And water clear of the rivere Shall be full sweet to me; With which in hele I shall right wele Endure, as ye shall see; And, or we go, a bed or two I can provide anone; For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. Lo yet, before, ye must do more, If ye will go with me: As, cut your hair up by your ear, Your kirtle by the knee; With bow in hand for to withstand Your enemies, if need be: And this same night, before daylight, To woodward will I flee. If that ye will all this fulfil, Do it shortly as ye can: Else will I to the green-wood go, Alone, a banished man.
She. I shall as now do more for you Than 'longeth to womanhede; To short my hair, a bow to bear, To shoot in time of need. O my sweet mother! before all other For you I have most drede! But now, adieu! I must ensue Where fortune doth me lead. All this make ye: Now let us flee; The day cometh fast upon: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. Nay, nay, not so; ye shall not go, And I shall tell you why— Your appetite is to be light Of love, I well espy: For, right as ye have said to me, In likewise hardily Ye would answere whosoever it were, In way of company: It is said of old, Soon hot, soon cold; And so is a woman: Wherefore I to the wood will go, Alone, a banished man.
She. If ye take heed, it is no need Such words to say to me; For oft ye prayed, and long assayed, Or I loved you, parde: And though that I of ancestry A baron's daughter be, Yet have you proved how I you loved, A squire of low degree; And ever shall, whatso befall To die therefore anone; For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. A baron's child to be beguiled, It were a cursed deed! To be felaw with an outlaw— Almighty God forbede! Yet better were the poor squyere Alone to forest yede Than ye shall say another day That by my cursed rede Ye were betrayed. Wherefore, good maid, The best rede that I can, Is, that I to the green-wood go, Alone, a banished man.
She. Whatever befall, I never shall Of this thing be upbraid: But if ye go, and leave me so, Then have ye me betrayed. Remember you wele, how that ye dele; For if ye, as ye said, Be so unkind to leave behind Your love, the Nut-brown Maid, Trust me truly that I shall die Soon after ye be gone: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. If that ye went, ye should repent; For in the forest now I have purveyed me of a maid Whom I love more than you: Another more fair than ever ye were I dare it well avow; And of you both each should be wroth With other, as I trow: It were mine ease to live in peace; So will I, if I can: Wherefore I to the wood will go, Alone, a banished man.
She. Though in the wood I understood Ye had a paramour, All this may nought remove my thought, But that I will be your': And she shall find me soft and kind And courteis every hour; Glad to fulfil all that she will Command me, to my power: For had ye, lo, an hundred mo, Yet would I be that one: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. Mine own dear love, I see the prove That ye be kind and true; Of maid, of wife, in all my life, The best that ever I knew. Be merry and glad; be no more sad; The case is changed new; For it were ruth that for your truth Ye should have cause to rue. Be not dismayed, whatsoever I said To you when I began: I will not to the green-wood go; I am no banished man.
She. These tidings be more glad to me Than to be made a queen, If I were sure they should endure; But it is often seen When men will break promise they speak The wordis on the splene. Ye shape some wile me to beguile, And steal from me, I ween: Then were the case worse than it was, And I more wo-begone: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone.
He. Ye shall not nede further to drede: I will not disparage You (God defend), sith you descend Of so great a linage. Now understand: to Westmoreland, Which is my heritage, I will you bring; and with a ring, By way of marriage I will you take, and lady make, As shortly as I can: Thus have you won an Earles son, And not a banished man.
Here may ye see that women be In love meek, kind, and stable; Let never man reprove them than, Or call them variable; But rather pray God that we may To them be comfortable; Which sometime proveth such as He loveth, If they be charitable. For sith men would that women should Be meek to them each one; Much more ought they to God obey, And serve but Him alone.
never a dele] never a bit. than] then. in fere] in company together. rede I can] counsel I know. part with] share with. tho] those. hele] health. yede] went. on the splene] that is, in haste.
Anonymous. 16th Cent.
26. As ye came from the Holy Land
AS ye came from the holy land Of Walsinghame, Met you not with my true love By the way as you came?
How should I know your true love, That have met many a one As I came from the holy land, That have come, that have gone?
She is neither white nor brown, But as the heavens fair; There is none hath her form divine In the earth or the air.
Such a one did I meet, good sir, Such an angelic face, Who like a nymph, like a queen, did appear In her gait, in her grace.
She hath left me here alone All alone, as unknown, Who sometime did me lead with herself, And me loved as her own.
What 's the cause that she leaves you alone And a new way doth take, That sometime did love you as her own, And her joy did you make?
I have loved her all my youth, But now am old, as you see: Love likes not the falling fruit, Nor the withered tree.
Know that Love is a careless child, And forgets promise past: He is blind, he is deaf when he list, And in faith never fast.
His desire is a dureless content, And a trustless joy; He is won with a world of despair, And is lost with a toy.
Of womenkind such indeed is the love, Or the word love abused, Under which many childish desires And conceits are excused.
But true love is a durable fire, In the mind ever burning, Never sick, never dead, never cold, From itself never turning.
Anonymous. 16th Cent. (?)
27. The Lover in Winter Plaineth for the Spring
O WESTERN wind, when wilt thou blow That the small rain down can rain? Christ, that my love were in my arms And I in my bed again!
Anonymous. 16th Cent.
BALOW, my babe, lie still and sleep! It grieves me sore to see thee weep. Wouldst thou be quiet I'se be glad, Thy mourning makes my sorrow sad: Balow my boy, thy mother's joy, Thy father breeds me great annoy— Balow, la-low!
When he began to court my love, And with his sugred words me move, His faynings false and flattering cheer To me that time did not appear: But now I see most cruellye He cares ne for my babe nor me— Balow, la-low!
Lie still, my darling, sleep awhile, And when thou wak'st thoo'le sweetly smile: But smile not as thy father did, To cozen maids: nay, God forbid! But yet I fear thou wilt go near Thy father's heart and face to bear— Balow, la-low!
I cannot choose but ever will Be loving to thy father still; Where'er he go, where'er he ride, My love with him doth still abide; In weal or woe, where'er he go, My heart shall ne'er depart him fro— Balow, la-low!
But do not, do not, pretty mine, To faynings false thy heart incline! Be loyal to thy lover true, And never change her for a new: If good or fair, of her have care For women's banning 's wondrous sare— Balow, la-low!
Bairn, by thy face I will beware; Like Sirens' words, I'll come not near; My babe and I together will live; He'll comfort me when cares do grieve. My babe and I right soft will lie, And ne'er respect man's crueltye— Balow, la-low!
Farewell, farewell, the falsest youth That ever kist a woman's mouth! I wish all maids be warn'd by me Never to trust man's curtesye; For if we do but chance to bow, They'll use us then they care not how— Balow, la-low!
Anonymous. 16th Cent. (?)
29. The Old Cloak
THIS winter's weather it waxeth cold, And frost it freezeth on every hill, And Boreas blows his blast so bold That all our cattle are like to spill. Bell, my wife, she loves no strife; She said unto me quietlye, Rise up, and save cow Crumbock's life! Man, put thine old cloak about thee!
He. O Bell my wife, why dost thou flyte? Thou kens my cloak is very thin: It is so bare and over worn, A cricke thereon cannot renn. Then I'll no longer borrow nor lend; For once I'll new apparell'd be; To-morrow I'll to town and spend; For I'll have a new cloak about me.
She. Cow Crumbock is a very good cow: She has been always true to the pail; She has helped us to butter and cheese, I trow, And other things she will not fail. I would be loth to see her pine. Good husband, counsel take of me: It is not for us to go so fine— Man, take thine old cloak about thee!
He. My cloak it was a very good cloak, It hath been always true to the wear; But now it is not worth a groat: I have had it four and forty year'. Sometime it was of cloth in grain: 'Tis now but a sigh clout, as you may see: It will neither hold out wind nor rain; And I'll have a new cloak about me.
She. It is four and forty years ago Sine the one of us the other did ken; And we have had, betwixt us two, Of children either nine or ten: We have brought them up to women and men: In the fear of God I trow they be. And why wilt thou thyself misken? Man, take thine old cloak about thee!
He. O Bell my wife, why dost thou flyte? Now is now, and then was then: Seek now all the world throughout, Thou kens not clowns from gentlemen: They are clad in black, green, yellow and blue, So far above their own degree. Once in my life I'll take a view; For I'll have a new cloak about me.
She. King Stephen was a worthy peer; His breeches cost him but a crown; He held them sixpence all too dear, Therefore he called the tailor 'lown.' He was a king and wore the crown, And thou'se but of a low degree: It 's pride that puts this country down: Man, take thy old cloak about thee!
He. Bell my wife, she loves not strife, Yet she will lead me, if she can; And to maintain an easy life I oft must yield, though I'm good-man. It 's not for a man with a woman to threap, Unless he first give o'er the plea: As we began, so will we keep, And I'll take my old cloak about me.
flyte] scold. cloth in grain] scarlet cloth. sigh clout] a rag for straining. threap] argue.
John Skelton. 1460?-1529
30. To Mistress Margery Wentworth
WITH margerain gentle, The flower of goodlihead, Embroidered the mantle Is of your maidenhead. Plainly I cannot glose; Ye be, as I divine, The pretty primrose, The goodly columbine.
Benign, courteous, and meek, With wordes well devised; In you, who list to seek, Be virtues well comprised. With margerain gentle, The flower of goodlihead, Embroidered the mantle Is of your maidenhead.
John Skelton. 1460?-1529
31. To Mistress Margaret Hussey
MERRY Margaret As midsummer flower, Gentle as falcon Or hawk of the tower: With solace and gladness, Much mirth and no madness, All good and no badness; So joyously, So maidenly, So womanly Her demeaning In every thing, Far, far passing That I can indite, Or suffice to write Of Merry Margaret As midsummer flower, Gentle as falcon Or hawk of the tower. As patient and still And as full of good will As fair Isaphill, Coliander, Sweet pomander, Good Cassander; Steadfast of thought, Well made, well wrought, Far may be sought, Ere that ye can find So courteous, so kind As merry Margaret, This midsummer flower, Gentle as falcon Or hawk of the tower.
Isaphill] Hypsipyle. coliander] coriander seed, an aromatic. pomander] a ball of perfume. Cassander] Cassandra.
Stephen Hawes. d. 1523
32. The True Knight
FOR knighthood is not in the feats of warre, As for to fight in quarrel right or wrong, But in a cause which truth can not defarre: He ought himself for to make sure and strong, Justice to keep mixt with mercy among: And no quarrell a knight ought to take But for a truth, or for the common's sake.
Stephen Hawes. d. 1523
33. An Epitaph
O MORTAL folk, you may behold and see How I lie here, sometime a mighty knight; The end of joy and all prosperitee Is death at last, thorough his course and might: After the day there cometh the dark night, For though the daye be never so long, At last the bells ringeth to evensong.
Sir Thomas Wyatt. 1503-1542
34. Forget not yet The Lover Beseecheth his Mistress not to Forget his Steadfast Faith and True Intent
FORGET not yet the tried intent Of such a truth as I have meant; My great travail so gladly spent, Forget not yet!
Forget not yet when first began The weary life ye know, since whan The suit, the service, none tell can; Forget not yet!
Forget not yet the great assays, The cruel wrong, the scornful ways, The painful patience in delays, Forget not yet!
Forget not! O, forget not this!— How long ago hath been, and is, The mind that never meant amiss— Forget not yet!
Forget not then thine own approved, The which so long hath thee so loved, Whose steadfast faith yet never moved: Forget not this!
Sir Thomas Wyatt. 1503-1542
35. The Appeal An Earnest Suit to his Unkind Mistress, not to Forsake him
AND wilt thou leave me thus! Say nay, say nay, for shame! —To save thee from the blame Of all my grief and grame. And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay! say nay!
And wilt thou leave me thus, That hath loved thee so long In wealth and woe among: And is thy heart so strong As for to leave me thus? Say nay! say nay!
And wilt thou leave me thus, That hath given thee my heart Never for to depart Neither for pain nor smart: And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay! say nay!
And wilt thou leave me thus, And have no more pitye Of him that loveth thee? Alas, thy cruelty! And wilt thou leave me thus? Say nay! say nay!
Sir Thomas Wyatt. 1503-1542
36. A Revocation
WHAT should I say? —Since Faith is dead, And Truth away From you is fled? Should I be led With doubleness? Nay! nay! mistress.
I promised you, And you promised me, To be as true As I would be. But since I see Your double heart, Farewell my part!
Thought for to take 'Tis not my mind; But to forsake One so unkind; And as I find So will I trust. Farewell, unjust!
Can ye say nay But that you said That I alway Should be obeyed? And—thus betrayed Or that I wist! Farewell, unkist!
Sir Thomas Wyatt. 1503-1542
37. Vixi Puellis Nuper Idoneus...
THEY flee from me that sometime did me seek, With naked foot stalking within my chamber: Once have I seen them gentle, tame, and meek, That now are wild, and do not once remember That sometime they have put themselves in danger To take bread at my hand; and now they range, Busily seeking in continual change.
Thanked be fortune, it hath been otherwise Twenty times better; but once especial— In thin array: after a pleasant guise, When her loose gown did from her shoulders fall, And she me caught in her arms long and small, And therewithal so sweetly did me kiss, And softly said, 'Dear heart, how like you this?'
It was no dream; for I lay broad awaking: But all is turn'd now, through my gentleness, Into a bitter fashion of forsaking; And I have leave to go of her goodness; And she also to use new-fangleness. But since that I unkindly so am served, 'How like you this?'—what hath she now deserved?
Sir Thomas Wyatt. 1503-1542
38. To His Lute
MY lute, awake! perform the last Labour that thou and I shall waste, And end that I have now begun; For when this song is said and past, My lute, be still, for I have done.
As to be heard where ear is none, As lead to grave in marble stone, My song may pierce her heart as soon: Should we then sing, or sigh, or moan? No, no, my lute! for I have done.
The rocks do not so cruelly Repulse the waves continually, As she my suit and affectin; So that I am past remedy: Whereby my lute and I have done.
Proud of the spoil that thou hast got Of simple hearts thorough Love's shot, By whom, unkind, thou hast them won; Think not he hath his bow forgot, Although my lute and I have done.
Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain, That makest but game of earnest pain: Trow not alone under the sun Unquit to cause thy lover's plain, Although my lute and I have done.
May chance thee lie wither'd and old The winter nights that are so cold, Plaining in vain unto the moon: Thy wishes then dare not be told: Care then who list! for I have done.
And then may chance thee to repent The time that thou has lost and spent To cause thy lover's sigh and swoon: Then shalt thou know beauty but lent, And wish and want as I have done.
Now cease, my lute! this is the last Labour that thou and I shall waste, And ended is that we begun: Now is this song both sung and past— My lute, be still, for I have done.
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. 1516-47
39. Description of Spring Wherein each thing renews, save only the Lover
THE soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings, With green hath clad the hill and eke the vale: The nightingale with feathers new she sings; The turtle to her make hath told her tale. Summer is come, for every spray now springs: The hart hath hung his old head on the pale; The buck in brake his winter coat he flings; The fishes flete with new repaired scale. The adder all her slough away she slings; The swift swallow pursueth the flies smale; The busy bee her honey now she mings; Winter is worn that was the flowers' bale.
And thus I see among these pleasant things Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs.
make] mate. mings] mingles, mixes.
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. 1516-47
40. Complaint of the Absence of Her Lover being upon the Sea
O HAPPY dames! that may embrace The fruit of your delight, Help to bewail the woful case And eke the heavy plight Of me, that wonted to rejoice The fortune of my pleasant choice: Good ladies, help to fill my mourning voice.
In ship, freight with rememberance Of thoughts and pleasures past, He sails that hath in governance My life while it will last: With scalding sighs, for lack of gale, Furthering his hope, that is his sail, Toward me, the swete port of his avail.
Alas! how oft in dreams I see Those eyes that were my food; Which sometime so delighted me, That yet they do me good: Wherewith I wake with his return Whose absent flame did make me burn: But when I find the lack, Lord! how I mourn!
When other lovers in arms across Rejoice their chief delight, Drowned in tears, to mourn my loss I stand the bitter night In my window where I may see Before the winds how the clouds flee: Lo! what a mariner love hath made me!
And in green waves when the salt flood Doth rise by rage of wind, A thousand fancies in that mood Assail my restless mind. Alas! now drencheth my sweet foe, That with the spoil of my heart did go, And left me; but alas! why did he so?
And when the seas wax calm again To chase fro me annoy, My doubtful hope doth cause me plain; So dread cuts off my joy. Thus is my wealth mingled with woe And of each thought a doubt doth grow; —Now he comes! Will he come? Alas! no, no.
drencheth] i. e. is drenched or drowned.
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. 1516-47
41. The Means to attain Happy Life
MARTIAL, the things that do attain The happy life be these, I find:— The richesse left, not got with pain; The fruitful ground, the quiet mind;
The equal friend; no grudge, no strife; No charge of rule, nor governance; Without disease, the healthful life; The household of continuance;
The mean diet, no delicate fare; True wisdom join'd with simpleness; The night discharged of all care, Where wine the wit may not oppress.
The faithful wife, without debate; Such sleeps as may beguile the night: Contented with thine own estate Ne wish for death, ne fear his might.
Nicholas Grimald. 1519-62
42. A True Love
WHAT sweet relief the showers to thirsty plants we see, What dear delight the blooms to bees, my true love is to me! As fresh and lusty Ver foul Winter doth exceed— As morning bright, with scarlet sky, doth pass the evening's weed— As mellow pears above the crabs esteemed be— So doth my love surmount them all, whom yet I hap to see! The oak shall olives bear, the lamb the lion fray, The owl shall match the nightingale in tuning of her lay, Or I my love let slip out of mine entire heart, So deep reposed in my breast is she for her desart! For many blessed gifts, O happy, happy land! Where Mars and Pallas strive to make their glory most to stand! Yet, land, more is thy bliss that, in this cruel age, A Venus' imp thou hast brought forth, so steadfast and so sage. Among the Muses Nine a tenth if Jove would make, And to the Graces Three a fourth, her would Apollo take. Let some for honour hunt, and hoard the massy gold: With her so I may live and die, my weal cannot be told.
Alexander Scott. 1520?-158-
43. A Bequest of His Heart
HENCE, heart, with her that must depart, And hald thee with thy soverane! For I had liever want ane heart, Nor have the heart that dois me pain. Therefore, go, with thy love remain, And let me leif thus unmolest; And see that thou come not again, But bide with her thou luvis best.
Sen she that I have servit lang Is to depart so suddenly, Address thee now, for thou sall gang And bear thy lady company. Fra she be gone, heartless am I, For quhy? thou art with her possest. Therefore, my heart, go hence in high, And bide with her thou luvis best.
Though this belappit body here Be bound to servitude and thrall, My faithful heart is free entier And mind to serve my lady at all. Would God that I were perigall Under that redolent rose to rest! Yet at the least, my heart, thou sall Abide with her thou luvis best.
Sen in your garth the lily quhyte May not remain amang the laif, Adieu the flower of whole delite! Adieu the succour that may me saif! Adieu the fragrant balme suaif, And lamp of ladies lustiest! My faithful heart she shall it haif To bide with her it luvis best.
Deploir, ye ladies cleir of hue, Her absence, sen she must depart! And, specially, ye luveris true That wounded bene with Luvis dart. For some of you sall want ane heart As well as I; therefore at last Do go with mine, with mind inwart, And bide with her thou luvis best!
hald] keep. sen] since. belappit] downtrodden. perigall] made equal to, privileged. garth] garden-close. laif] rest. with mind inwart] with inner mind, i. e. in spirit.
Alexander Scott. 1520?-158-
44. A Rondel of Love
LO, quhat it is to love Learn ye that list to prove, By me, I say, that no ways may The ground of grief remove, But still decay both nicht and day: Lo, quhat it is to love!
Love is ane fervent fire Kindlit without desire, Short pleasure, long displeasure, Repentance is the hire; Ane pure tressour without measour; Love is ane fervent fire.
To love and to be wise, To rage with good advice; Now thus, now than, so gois the game, Incertain is the dice; There is no man, I say, that can Both love and to be wise.
Flee always from the snare, Learn at me to beware; It is ane pain, and double trane Of endless woe and care; For to refrain that danger plain, Flee always from the snare.
Robert Wever. c. 1550
45. In Youth is Pleasure
IN a harbour grene aslepe whereas I lay, The byrdes sang swete in the middes of the day, I dreamed fast of mirth and play: In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.
Methought I walked still to and fro, And from her company I could not go— But when I waked it was not so: In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.
Therefore my hart is surely pyght Of her alone to have a sight Which is my joy and hartes delight: In youth is pleasure, in youth is pleasure.
Richard Edwardes. 1523-66
46. Amantium Irae
IN going to my naked bed as one that would have slept, I heard a wife sing to her child, that long before had wept; She sighed sore and sang full sweet, to bring the babe to rest, That would not cease but cried still, in sucking at her breast. She was full weary of her watch, and grieved with her child, She rocked it and rated it, till that on her it smiled. Then did she say, Now have I found this proverb true to prove, The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.
Then took I paper, pen, and ink, this proverb for to write, In register for to remain of such a worthy wight: As she proceeded thus in song unto her little brat, Much matter utter'd she of weight, in place whereas she sat: And proved plain there was no beast, nor creature bearing life, Could well be known to live in love without discord and strife: Then kissed she her little babe, and sware by God above, The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.
She said that neither king nor prince nor lord could live aright, Until their puissance they did prove, their manhood and their might. When manhood shall be matched so that fear can take no place, Then weary works make warriors each other to embrace, And left their force that failed them, which did consume the rout, That might before have lived their time, their strength and nature out: Then did she sing as one that thought no man could her reprove, The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.
She said she saw no fish nor fowl, nor beast within her haunt, That met a stranger in their kind, but could give it a taunt: Since flesh might not endure, but rest must wrath succeed, And force the fight to fall to play in pasture where they feed, So noble nature can well end the work she hath begun, And bridle well that will not cease her tragedy in some: Thus in song she oft rehearsed, as did her well behove, The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.
I marvel much pardy (quoth she) for to behold the rout, To see man, woman, boy and beast, to toss the world about: Some kneel, some crouch, some beck, some check, and some can smoothly smile, And some embrace others in arm, and there think many a wile, Some stand aloof at cap and knee, some humble and some stout, Yet are they never friends in deed until they once fall out: Thus ended she her song and said, before she did remove, The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love.
George Gascoigne. 1525?-77
47. A Lover's Lullaby
SING lullaby, as women do, Wherewith they bring their babes to rest; And lullaby can I sing too, As womanly as can the best. With lullaby they still the child; And if I be not much beguiled, Full many a wanton babe have I, Which must be still'd with lullaby.
First lullaby my youthful years, It is now time to go to bed: For crooked age and hoary hairs Have won the haven within my head. With lullaby, then, youth be still; With lullaby content thy will; Since courage quails and comes behind, Go sleep, and so beguile thy mind!
Next lullaby my gazing eyes, Which wonted were to glance apace; For every glass may now suffice To show the furrows in thy face. With lullaby then wink awhile; With lullaby your looks beguile; Let no fair face, nor beauty bright, Entice you eft with vain delight.
And lullaby my wanton will; Let reason's rule now reign thy thought; Since all too late I find by skill How dear I have thy fancies bought; With lullaby now take thine ease, With lullaby thy doubts appease; For trust to this, if thou be still, My body shall obey thy will.
Thus lullaby my youth, mine eyes, My will, my ware, and all that was: I can no more delays devise; But welcome pain, let pleasure pass. With lullaby now take your leave; With lullaby your dreams deceive; And when you rise with waking eye, Remember then this lullaby.
Alexander Montgomerie. 1540?-1610?
48. The Night is Near Gone
HEY! now the day dawis; The jolly cock crawis; Now shroudis the shawis Thro' Nature anon. The thissel-cock cryis On lovers wha lyis: Now skaillis the skyis; The nicht is neir gone.
The fieldis ouerflowis With gowans that growis, Quhair lilies like low is As red as the rone. The turtle that true is, With notes that renewis, Her pairty pursuis: The nicht is neir gone.
Now hairtis with hindis Conform to their kindis, Hie tursis their tyndis On ground quhair they grone. Now hurchonis, with hairis, Aye passis in pairis; Quhilk duly declaris The nicht is neir gone.
The season excellis Through sweetness that smellis; Now Cupid compellis Our hairtis echone On Venus wha waikis, To muse on our maikis, Syne sing for their saikis— 'The nicht is neir gone!'
All courageous knichtis Aganis the day dichtis The breist-plate that bright is To fight with their fone. The stoned steed stampis Through courage, and crampis, Syne on the land lampis: The nicht is neir gone.
The freikis on feildis That wight wapins weildis With shyning bright shieldis At Titan in trone; Stiff speiris in reistis Ouer corseris crestis Are broke on their breistis: The nicht is neir gone.
So hard are their hittis, Some sweyis, some sittis, And some perforce flittis On ground quhile they grone. Syne groomis that gay is On blonkis that brayis With swordis assayis:— The nicht is neir gone.
shroudis] dress themselves. shawis] woods. skaillis] clears. gowans] daisies. low] flame. rone] rowan. pairty] partner, mate. tursis] carry. tyndis] antlers. grone] groan, bell. hurchonis] hedgehogs, 'urchins.' maikis] mates. fone] foes. stoned steed] stallion. crampis] prances. lampis] gallops. freikis] men, warriors. wight wapins] stout weapons. at Titan] over against Titan (the sun), or read 'as.' flittis] are cast. blonkis] white palfreys.
William Stevenson. 1530?-1575
49. Jolly Good Ale and Old
I CANNOT eat but little meat, My stomach is not good; But sure I think that I can drink With him that wears a hood. Though I go bare, take ye no care, I nothing am a-cold; I stuff my skin so full within Of jolly good ale and old. Back and side go bare, go bare; Both foot and hand go cold; But, belly, God send thee good ale enough, Whether it be new or old.
I love no roast but a nut-brown toast, And a crab laid in the fire; A little bread shall do me stead; Much bread I not desire. No frost nor snow, no wind, I trow, Can hurt me if I wold; I am so wrapp'd and thoroughly lapp'd Of jolly good ale and old. Back and side go bare, go bare, &c.
And Tib, my wife, that as her life Loveth well good ale to seek, Full oft drinks she till ye may see The tears run down her cheek: Then doth she trowl to me the bowl Even as a maltworm should, And saith, 'Sweetheart, I took my part Of this jolly good ale and old.' Back and side go bare, go bare, &c.
Now let them drink till they nod and wink, Even as good fellows should do; They shall not miss to have the bliss Good ale doth bring men to; And all poor souls that have scour'd bowls Or have them lustily troll'd, God save the lives of them and their wives, Whether they be young or old. Back and side go bare, go bare; Both foot and hand go cold; But, belly, God send thee good ale enough, Whether it be new or old.
Anonymous. 16th Cent. (Scottish)
50. When Flora had O'erfret the Firth
QUHEN Flora had o'erfret the firth In May of every moneth queen; Quhen merle and mavis singis with mirth Sweet melling in the shawis sheen; Quhen all luvaris rejoicit bene And most desirous of their prey, I heard a lusty luvar mene —'I luve, but I dare nocht assay!'
'Strong are the pains I daily prove, But yet with patience I sustene, I am so fetterit with the luve Only of my lady sheen, Quhilk for her beauty micht be queen, Nature so craftily alway Has done depaint that sweet serene: —Quhom I luve I dare nocht assay.
'She is so bricht of hyd and hue, I luve but her alone, I ween; Is none her luve that may eschew, That blinkis of that dulce amene; So comely cleir are her twa een That she mae luvaris dois affray Than ever of Greece did fair Helene: —Quhom I luve I dare nocht assay!'
o'erfret] adorned. shawis] woods. sheen] beautiful. mene] mourn. hyd] skin. blinkis] gets a glimpse. dulce amene] gentle and pleasant one. mae] more.
Anonymous. 16th Cent. (Scottish)
51. Lusty May
O LUSTY May, with Flora queen! The balmy dropis from Phoebus sheen Preluciand beams before the day: By that Diana growis green Through gladness of this lusty May.
Then Esperus, that is so bricht, Til woful hairtis castis his light, With bankis that bloomis on every brae; And schouris are shed forth of their sicht Through gladness of this lusty May.
Birdis on bewis of every birth, Rejoicing notis makand their mirth Richt plesantly upon the spray, With flourishingis o'er field and firth Through gladness of this lusty May.
All luvaris that are in care To their ladies they do repair In fresh morningis before the day, And are in mirth ay mair and mair Through gladness of this lusty May.
sheen] bright. til] into. schouris] showers. bewis] boughs. birth] kind.
Anonymous. 16th Cent. (Scottish)
52. My Heart is High Above
MY heart is high above, my body is full of bliss, For I am set in luve as well as I would wiss I luve my lady pure and she luvis me again, I am her serviture, she is my soverane; She is my very heart, I am her howp and heill, She is my joy invart, I am her luvar leal; I am her bond and thrall, she is at my command; I am perpetual her man, both foot and hand; The thing that may her please my body sall fulfil; Quhatever her disease, it does my body ill. My bird, my bonny ane, my tender babe venust, My luve, my life alane, my liking and my lust! We interchange our hairtis in others armis soft, Spriteless we twa depairtis, usand our luvis oft. We mourn when licht day dawis, we plain the nicht is short, We curse the cock that crawis, that hinderis our disport. I glowffin up aghast, quhen I her miss on nicht, And in my oxter fast I find the bowster richt; Then languor on me lies like Morpheus the mair, Quhilk causes me uprise and to my sweet repair. And then is all the sorrow forth of remembrance That ever I had a-forrow in luvis observance. Thus never I do rest, so lusty a life I lead, Quhen that I list to test the well of womanheid. Luvaris in pain, I pray God send you sic remeid As I have nicht and day, you to defend from deid! Therefore be ever true unto your ladies free, And they will on you rue as mine has done on me.
wiss] wish. heill] health. invart] inward. venust] delightful. glowffin] blink on awaking. oxter] armpit. a-forrow] aforetime.
Numbers from Elizabethan Miscellanies & Song-books by Unnamed or Uncertain Authors. 1557
53. A Praise of His Lady Tottel's Miscellany ? by John Heywood
GIVE place, you ladies, and begone! Boast not yourselves at all! For here at hand approacheth one Whose face will stain you all.
The virtue of her lively looks Excels the precious stone; I wish to have none other books To read or look upon.
In each of her two crystal eyes Smileth a naked boy; It would you all in heart suffice To see that lamp of joy.
I think Nature hath lost the mould Where she her shape did take; Or else I doubt if Nature could So fair a creature make.
She may be well compared Unto the Phoenix kind, Whose like was never seen or heard, That any man can find.
In life she is Diana chaste, In troth Penelopey; In word and eke in deed steadfast. —What will you more we say?
If all the world were sought so far, Who could find such a wight? Her beauty twinkleth like a star Within the frosty night.
Her rosial colour comes and goes With such a comely grace, More ruddier, too, than doth the rose, Within her lively face.
At Bacchus' feast none shall her meet, Ne at no wanton play, Nor gazing in an open street, Nor gadding as a stray.
The modest mirth that she doth use Is mix'd with shamefastness; All vice she doth wholly refuse, And hateth idleness.
O Lord! it is a world to see How virtue can repair, And deck in her such honesty, Whom Nature made so fair.
Truly she doth so far exceed Our women nowadays, As doth the jeliflower a weed; And more a thousand ways.
How might I do to get a graff Of this unspotted tree? —For all the rest are plain but chaff, Which seem good corn to be.
This gift alone I shall her give; When death doth what he can, Her honest fame shall ever live Within the mouth of man.
Numbers from Elizabethan Miscellanies & Song-books by Unnamed or Uncertain Authors. 1557
54. To Her Sea-faring Lover Tottel's Miscellany ? by John Heywood
SHALL I thus ever long, and be no whit the neare? And shall I still complain to thee, the which me will not hear? Alas! say nay! say nay! and be no more so dumb, But open thou thy manly mouth and say that thou wilt come: Whereby my heart may think, although I see not thee, That thou wilt come—thy word so sware—if thou a live man be. The roaring hugy waves they threaten my poor ghost, And toss thee up and down the seas in danger to be lost. Shall they not make me fear that they have swallowed thee? —But as thou art most sure alive, so wilt thou come to me. Whereby I shall go see thy ship ride on the strand, And think and say Lo where he comes and Sure here will he land: And then I shall lift up to thee my little hand, And thou shalt think thine heart in ease, in health to see me stand. And if thou come indeed (as Christ thee send to do!) Those arms which miss thee now shall then embrace [and hold] thee too:
Each vein to every joint the lively blood shall spread Which now for want of thy glad sight doth show full pale and dead. But if thou slip thy troth, and do not come at all, As minutes in the clock do strike so call for death I shall: To please both thy false heart and rid myself from woe, That rather had to die in troth than live forsaken so!
Numbers from Elizabethan Miscellanies & Song-books by Unnamed or Uncertain Authors. 1589
55. The Faithless Shepherdess William Byrd's Songs of Sundry Natures
WHILE that the sun with his beams hot Scorched the fruits in vale and mountain, Philon the shepherd, late forgot, Sitting beside a crystal fountain In shadow of a green oak tree, Upon his pipe this song play'd he: Adieu, Love, adieu, Love, untrue Love! Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu, Love! Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
So long as I was in your sight I was your heart, your soul, your treasure; And evermore you sobb'd and sigh'd Burning in flames beyond all measure: —Three days endured your love to me, And it was lost in other three! Adieu, Love, adieu, Love, untrue Love! Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu, Love! Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
Another shepherd you did see, To whom your heart was soon enchained; Full soon your love was leapt from me, Full soon my place he had obtained. Soon came a third your love to win, And we were out and he was in. Adieu, Love, adieu, Love, untrue Love! Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu, Love! Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
Sure you have made me passing glad That you your mind so soon removed, Before that I the leisure had To choose you for my best beloved: For all my love was pass'd and done Two days before it was begun. Adieu, Love, adieu, Love, untrue Love! Untrue Love, untrue Love, adieu, Love! Your mind is light, soon lost for new love.
Numbers from Elizabethan Miscellanies & Song-books by Unnamed or Uncertain Authors. 1599
56. Crabbed Age and Youth The Passionate Pilgrim ? by William Shakespeare
CRABBD Age and Youth Cannot live together: Youth is full of pleasance, Age is full of care; Youth like summer morn, Age like winter weather; Youth like summer brave, Age like winter bare. Youth is full of sport, Age's breath is short; Youth is nimble, Age is lame; Youth is hot and bold, Age is weak and cold; Youth is wild, and Age is tame. Age, I do abhor thee; Youth, I do adore thee; O, my Love, my Love is young! Age, I do defy thee: O, sweet shepherd, hie thee! For methinks thou stay'st too long.
Numbers from Elizabethan Miscellanies & Song-books by Unnamed or Uncertain Authors. 1600
57. Phyllida's Love-Call England's Helicon
Phyllida. CORYDON, arise, my Corydon! Titan shineth clear. Corydon. Who is it that calleth Corydon? Who is it that I hear? Phyl. Phyllida, thy true love, calleth thee, Arise then, arise then, Arise and keep thy flock with me! Cor. Phyllida, my true love, is it she? I come then, I come then, I come and keep my flock with thee.
Phyl. Here are cherries ripe for my Corydon; Eat them for my sake. Cor. Here 's my oaten pipe, my lovely one, Sport for thee to make. Phyl. Here are threads, my true love, fine as silk, To knit thee, to knit thee, A pair of stockings white as milk. Cor. Here are reeds, my true love, fine and neat, To make thee, to make thee, A bonnet to withstand the heat.
Phyl. I will gather flowers, my Corydon, To set in thy cap. Cor. I will gather pears, my lovely one, To put in thy lap. Phyl. I will buy my true love garters gay, For Sundays, for Sundays, To wear about his legs so tall. Cor. I will buy my true love yellow say, For Sundays, for Sundays, To wear about her middle small.
Phyl. When my Corydon sits on a hill Making melody— Cor. When my lovely one goes to her wheel, Singing cheerily— Phyl. Sure methinks my true love doth excel For sweetness, for sweetness, Our Pan, that old Arcadian knight. Cor. And methinks my true love bears the bell For clearness, for clearness, Beyond the nymphs that be so bright.
Phyl. Had my Corydon, my Corydon, Been, alack! her swain— Cor. Had my lovely one, my lovely one, Been in Ida plain— Phyl. Cynthia Endymion had refused, Preferring, preferring, My Corydon to play withal. Cor. The Queen of Love had been excused Bequeathing, bequeathing, My Phyllida the golden ball.
Phyl. Yonder comes my mother, Corydon! Whither shall I fly? Cor. Under yonder beech, my lovely one, While she passeth by. Phyl. Say to her thy true love was not here; Remember, remember, To-morrow is another day. Cor. Doubt me not, my true love, do not fear; Farewell then, farewell then! Heaven keep our loves alway!
say] soie, silk.
Numbers from Elizabethan Miscellanies & Song-books by Unnamed or Uncertain Authors. 1600
58. A Pedlar John Dowland's Second Book of Songs or Airs
FINE knacks for ladies! cheap, choice, brave, and new, Good pennyworths—but money cannot move: I keep a fair but for the Fair to view— A beggar may be liberal of love. Though all my wares be trash, the heart is true, The heart is true.
Great gifts are guiles and look for gifts again; My trifles come as treasures from my mind: It is a precious jewel to be plain; Sometimes in shell the orient'st pearls we find:— Of others take a sheaf, of me a grain! Of me a grain!
Numbers from Elizabethan Miscellanies & Song-books by Unnamed or Uncertain Authors. 16th Cent.
59. Hey nonny no! Christ Church MS.
HEY nonny no! Men are fools that wish to die! Is 't not fine to dance and sing When the bells of death do ring? Is 't not fine to swim in wine, And turn upon the toe, And sing hey nonny no! When the winds blow and the seas flow? Hey nonny no!
Numbers from Elizabethan Miscellanies & Song-books by Unnamed or Uncertain Authors. 16th Cent.
60. Preparations Christ Church MS.
YET if His Majesty, our sovereign lord, Should of his own accord Friendly himself invite, And say 'I'll be your guest to-morrow night,' How should we stir ourselves, call and command All hands to work! 'Let no man idle stand!
'Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall; See they be fitted all; Let there be room to eat And order taken that there want no meat. See every sconce and candlestick made bright, That without tapers they may give a light.
'Look to the presence: are the carpets spread, The dazie o'er the head, The cushions in the chairs, And all the candles lighted on the stairs? Perfume the chambers, and in any case Let each man give attendance in his place!'
Thus, if a king were coming, would we do; And 'twere good reason too; For 'tis a duteous thing To show all honour to an earthly king, And after all our travail and our cost, So he be pleased, to think no labour lost.