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The THISTLE and the ROSE,
O'er flowers and herbage green,
By Lady Nature chose,
Brave King and lovely Queen.
HEN March with varying winds was overpast,
And sweet April had with his silver showers
Ta’n leave of Nature, with an orient blast,
And lusty May, that mother is of flowers,
Had made the birds begin by tymous hours
Among the tender odours red and white,
Whose harmony to her was great delight.
In bed at morrow, sleeping as I lay,
Methought Aurora with her ruby ene,
In at my window looked by the day,
And halfit me, with visage pale and green;
Upon her hand a lark sang frae the spleen,
“ Lovers, awake out of your slumbering,
“ See how the lusty morning does upspring.
Methought fresh May before my bed upstood,
In weed depainted of ilk diverse hue,
Sober, benign, and full of mansuetude,
In bright attire of flowers, all forged new,
Of heavenly colour, white, red, brown and blue,
Balmit in dew, and gilt with Phebus' beams,
While all the house illumin'd with her leams.
IV. Sluggard, she said, awake anon for shame, And in my honour something thou go write ; The lark has done, the merry day proclaim, Lovers to raise with comfort and delight ; Will nought increase thy courage to indite, Whose heart sometime has glad and blissful been, Songs oft to make, under the branches green?
V. Whereto, quoth I, shall I uprise at morrow, For in thy month few birds have I heard sing, They have more cause to weep and plain their
'Thy air it is not wholsome nor benign,
Lord Eolus does in thy season ring,
So boufteous are the blafts of his shrill horn,
Among thy boughs to walk I have forborn.
With that the lady soberly did smile,
And said, uprise and do thy observance :
Thou did promise in May's lusty while,
Then to describe the ROSE of most pleasance.
Go see the birdis how they sing and dance,
And how the skies illumined are bright,
Enamell’d richly with new azure light.
When this was said, away then went the Queen,
And enter'd in a lusty garden gent;
And then methought, full hastily beseen,
In fark and mantle, after her I went
Into this garth most dulce and redolent,
Of herb and flow'r, and tender plants most sweet,
And the green leaves doing of dew down fleit.
The purple fun, with tender rayis red,
In orient bright as Angel did appear,
Thro' golden skies advancing up his head,
Whose gilded treffes shone so wondrous clear,
That all the world took comfort far and near,
his fresh and blissful face, Doing all fable frae the Heavens chace.
IX. And as the blissful sun drove up the sky, All nature sang thro' comfort of the light; The minstrels wing'd, with open voices cry, “ O Lovers now is fled the dully night, “ Come welcome day, that comforts every wight; “ Hail May ! hail Flora ! hail Aurora sheen, “ Hail Princess Nature! hail love's hartsome Queen!
Dame Nature gave an inhibition there,
To Neptune fierce, and Eolus the bold,
Not to perturb the water or the air,
That neither blashy shower, nor blasts more cold
Should flow'rs affray nor fowls upon the fold.
She bade eke Juno, Goddess of the sky,
That she the heav'n should keep amene and dry.
Also ordain’d that every bird and beast
Before her Highness should anon compear;
flow'r of virtue most and leaft,
herb of fair field far and near,
As they had wont in May from year year ;
To her their Queen to make obedience,
Full low inclining with due reverence.
With that anon she sent the swift foot Roe,
To bring in alkind beast from dale and down ;
The restless swallow order'd she to go,
And fetch all fowl of great and small renown,
And to gar flow’rs appear of all fasloun:
Full craftily conjured she the Yarrow,
Which did forth swirk as swift as any arrow.
All brought in were, in twinkling of an eye,
Both beast and bird and flow'r before the Queen;
And first the Lion, greatest of degree,
Was summon'd there ; and he, fair to be seen,
With a full hardy countenance and keen,
Before Dame Nature came, and did incline,
With visage bold, and courage leonine.
This awful beast was terrible of chear,
Piercing of look, and stout of countenance,
Right strong of corps, of fashion fair, but fear,
Lufty of shape, light of deliverance,
Red of his colour, as the ruby glance:
In field of gola he stood full rampantly,
With flow'r-de-lyces circled pleasantly.
This Lady lifted up his claws so clear,
And lute him liftly lean upon her knee,
And crowned him with diadem ful deer,
Of radious stones most royal there to see,
Saying the King of all beasts make I thee;
And the protector chief in woods and shaws,
Go forth, and to thy lieges keep the laws.