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Full secretly, new comyn her to pleyne,"
For which sudden abate anon astert*
The blood of all my body to my heart.
And though I stood abased tho a lyte,”
No wonder was; for why my wittis all Were so o'ercome with pleasance and delight,
Only through letting of mine eyen fall,
That suddenly my heart become her thrall
And in my head I drew right hastily;
And eft-soones I lent it forth again: And saw her walk that very womanly,
With no wight mo but only women twain.
Then gan I study in myself, and sayn, “Ah sweet, are ye a worldly créature, “Or heavenly thing in likeness of nature ?
* This seems to mean complain, but should it not rather be playen, to play or sport 2 * Started back. * Then a little.
xx IV. “Or are ye god Cupidis own princess, “And comen are to loose me out of band “Or are ye very Nature the goddess, “That have depainted with your heavenly hand “This garden full of flouris as they stand “What shall I think, alas! what reverence
“Shall I mester" [un]to your excellence?
“Giff ye a goddess be, and that ye like
“To do me pain, I may it not astert: “Giff ye be worldly wight, that doth me sike,”
“Why lest 3 God make you so, my dearest heart,
“To do a silly prisoner thus smart, “That loves you all, and wote of nought but wo “And, therefore, mercy sweet! sen it is so.”
The dress and figure of his mistress are minutely painted as follows:
* Administer P (Tytler).
* Mr. Tytler supposes this word to stand for site or syte, signifying sorrow, altered for the sake of the metre:—but qu. ”
* “If thou art a goddess, I cannot resist thy power; but “if only a mortal creature, God surely cannot lest or in“cline you to grieve, or give pain to a poor creature that “loves you.” (Tytler).
In fret-wise couched with pearlis white,
Full of quaking spangis 3 bright as gold,
Forged of shape like to the amorettis; 4. So new, so fresh, so pleasant to behold;
The plumis eke like to the floure-jonettis, 5
And other of shape like to the floure-jonettis;" And above all this there was, well I wote, Beauty enough to make a world to dote '
* A sort of precious stones (says Urry) brought from Balassia, in India. Tyrwhitt says, the balais Fr. is a sert of bastard ruby. * Shining. * Spangles. * “Made in the form of a love-knot or garland.” (Tytler.) * Probably the fleur de genét, (genista) broom. * The repetition of this word is apparently a mistake of the original transcriber. 7 Qu. Is this an error for fair email, i. e. enamel P * Fr. Goldsmith's-work. * Fire. (Ruddiman's Glossary.)
Seemed burning upon her white throat:
And for to walk, that freshe Maye's morrow,
An hook she had upon her tissue white, That goodlier had not been seen to forrow,'
As I suppose; and girt she was a lyte; *
Thus halfting * loose for haste, to such delight It was to see her youth in goodlihead, That, for rudeněss, to speak thereof I dread.
In her was youth, beauty, with humble aport,
Bounty, richess, and womanly feature; God better wote than my pen can report:
Wisdom, largess, estate, and cunning sure,
In every point so guided her measure,
It would, perhaps, be difficult to select even from Chaucer's most finished works a long specimen of descriptive poetry so uniformly elegant as this: indeed some of the verses are so highly finished, that they would not disfigure the compositions of Dryden, Pope, or Gray. Nor was King James's talent confined to serious and pathetic compositions. Two poems of a ludicrous cast, and which have been the constant favourites of the Scotish people to the present day, are now universally attributed to this monarch. These are Christ's Kirk on the Green, and Peblis to the Play; the first composed in the northern, and the second in the southern dialect of Scotland. A third, called Falkland on the Green, which Mr. Pinkerton supposes to have described the popular sports of the central district of the kingdom, and to have been written in the Fifeshire dialect, has hitherto eluded the researches of antiquaries. In Mr. Pinkerton's Ancient Scotish Poems (London, 1786, p. 214) is found a Song on Absence, which the editor suspects to be the same described by Major, as beginning with the words Yassen &c. Of the King's Quair only one MS. is known to exist: it is a small folio, in the Bodleian library (Seld. Archiv. B. xxiv.). Mr. Tytler, having procured a transcript of this MS. published it at Edinburgh, 1783, together with Christ's Kirk on the Green, under the title of “Poetical Remains of James I.” The work is illustrated with copious notes, and with two dissertations; the first on the
* Before. A little. 3 Half.