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So sweetly would he wake the winter-day,
Ah blissful Venus, goddess of delight, That matrons to the church mistook their way, How could'st thou suffer thy devoted knight, And thought they heard the merry organ play. On thy own day to fall by foe oppress'd, And he, to raise his voice with artful care,
The wight of all the world who serv'd thee best? (What will not beaux attempt to please the fair?) Who, true to love, was all for recreation, On tiptoe stood to sing with greater strength, And minded not the work of propagation. And stretch'd his comely neck at all the length: Gaufride, who could'st so well in rhyme complain And while he'strain’d his voice to pierce the skies, The death of Richard with an arrow slain, As saints in raptures use, would shut his eyes, Why had not I thy Muse, or thou my heart, That the sound striving through the narrow throat, To sing this heavy dirge with equal art ! His winking might avail to mend the note.
That I like thee on Friday might complaiu; By this, in song, he never had his peer,
For on that day was Caur de Lion slain. From sweet Cecilia down to Chanticleer;
Not louder cries, when Ilium was in flames, Not Maro's Muse, who sung the mighty man, Were sent to Heaven by woful Trojan dames, Nor Pindar's heavenly lyre, nor Horace when a When Pyrrhus toss'd on high his burnish'd blade,
And offer'd Priam to his father's shade,
Fair Partiet first, when he was borne from sight, Who gave to sovereign Rome such loud alarms, With sovereign shrieks bewail'd her captive knight: That ev'u the priests were not excus'd from arins. Far louder than the Carthaginian wife,
“ Besides, a famous monk of modern times When Asdrubal, her husband, lost his life, Has left of cocks recorded in his rhymes,
When she beheld the smouldering flames ascend, That of a parish-priest the son and heir,
And all the Punic glories at an end : (When sons of priests were from the proverb clear) Willing into the fires she plung'd her head, Affronted once a cock of noble kind,
With greater ease than others seek their bed. And either lam'd his legs, or struck bim blind; Not more aghast the matrons of renown, For which the clerk his father was disgrac'd, When tyrant Nero burn'd th’ imperial town, And in bis benefice another plac'd.
Shriek'd for the downfal in a doleful cry, Now sing, my lord, if not for love of me,
For which their guiltless lords were doom'd to die. Yet for the sake of sweet saint Charity;
Now to my story I return again : Makehills and dales, and Earth and Heaven rejoice, The trembling widow, and her daughters twain, And emulate your father's angel voice."
This woful cackling cry with horrour heard, The cock was pleasd to hear him speak so fair, Of those distracted damsels in the yard; And proud beside, as solar people are;
And, starting up, beheld the heavy sight, Nor could the treason from the truth descry, How Reynard to the forest took his flight, So was he ravish'd with this flattery :
And cross his back, as in triumphant scorn, So much the more, as, from a little elf,
The hope and pillar of the house was bornc. He had a high opinion of himself;
The fox, the wicked fox!” was all the cry; Though sickly, slender, and not large of limb, Out from his house ran every neighbour nigh : Concluding all the world was made for him, The vicar first, and after him the crew Ye princes, rais'd by poets to the gods,
With forks and staves, the felon to pursue. And Alexander'd up in lying odes,
Ran Coll our dog, and Talbot with the band, Believe not every flattering kuave's report, And Malkin, with her distaff in her hand; There's many a Reynard lurking in the court; Ran cow and calf, and family of hogs, And he shall be receiv'd with more regard
In panic horrour of pursuing dogs; And listend to, than modest Truth is heard. With many a deadly grunt and doleful squeak
This Chanticleer, of whom the story sings, Poor swine, as if their pretty hearts would break. Stood high upon his toes, and clapp'd bis wings; The shouts of men, the women in disınay, Then stretch'd his neck, and wink'd with both his With shrieks augment the terrour of the day, eyes,
The ducks, that heard the proclamation cry'd, Ambitious, as he sought th’Olympic prize. And feard a persecution might betide, But, while he pain'd himself to raise his note, Full twenty mile from town their voyage take, False Reynard rush'd, and caught him by the Obscure in rushes of the liquid lake. throat,
The geese fiy o'er the barn; the bees in arms Then on his back he laid the precious load,
Drive headlong from their waxen cells in swarms. And sought his wonted shelter of the wood ; Jack Straw at London-stone, with all his rout, Swiftly he made his way, the mischief done, Struck not the city with so loud a shout; Of all unheeded, and pursued by none.
Not when with English hate they did pursue Alas, what stay is there in human state,
A Frenchman, or an unbelieving Jew: Or who can shun inevitable fate?
Not when the welkin rung with one and all; The doom was written, the decree was past, And echoes bounded back from Fox's hall: Ere the foundations of the world were cast! Earth seem'd to sink beneath, and Heaven above In Aries though the Sun exalted stood,
to fall. His patron-planet to procure his good;
With might and main they chacd the murderous Yet Saturn was his mortal foe, and he,
fox, In Libra rais'd, oppos’d the same degree:
With brazen trumpets, and inflated box, The rays both good and bad, of equal power, To kindle Mars with military sounds, Each thwarting other made a mingled hour. Nor wanted horns t'inspire sagacious hounds.
On Friday morn he dreamt this direful dream, But see how Fortune can confound the wise, Cross to the worthy native, in his scheme ! And, when they least expect it, turn the dice.
OR THE LADY IN THE ARBOUR.
The captive cock, who scarce could draw his | And in a heathen author we may find, breath,
That pleasure with instruction should be join'd; And lay within the very jaws of Death ;
So take the corn, and leave the chaff behind. Yet in this agony his fancy wrought, And Fear supply'd him with this happy thought : "Your's is the prize, victorious prince,” said he, “The vicar my defeat, and all the village see. Enjoy your friendly fortune while you may,
THE FLOIVER AND THE LEAF: And bid the churls that envy you the prey Call back their mungrilcurs, and cease their cry, See, fools, the shelter of the wood is nigh, And Chanticleer in your despite shall die,
A VISION He shall be pluck'd and eaten to the bone." “ 'Tis well advis'd, iu faith it shall be done;"
Now, turning from the wintery signs, the Sun This Reynard said: but, as the word he spoke, His course exalted through the Ram had run, The prisoner with a spring from prison broke; And, whirling up the skies, his chariot drove Then stretch'd his feather'd fans with all his might, Through Taurus and the lightsome realms of Love; And to the neighbouring maple wing’d his flight;
Where Venus from her orb descends in showers, Whom when the traitor safe on tree beheld, To gla! the ground, and paint the fields with He curs'd the gods, with shame and sorrow fill'd;
flowers: Shame for his folly, sorrow out of time,
When first the tender blades of grass appear, For plotting an unprofitable crime;
And buds, that yet the blast of Eurus fear, Yet, mastering both, th'artificer of lies
Stand at the door of life, and doubt to clothe the Renews th' assault, and his last battery tries.
year: " Though I,” said be,“ did ne'er in thought Till gentle heat, and soft repeated rains, offend,
Make the green blood to dance within their veins: How justly may my lord suspect his friend ! Then, at their call embolden'd, out they come, Th'appearance is against me, I confess,
And swell the germs, and burst the narrow room Who seemingly have put you in distress:
Broader and broader yet, their blooms display, You, if your goodness does not plead my cause,
Salute the welcome Sun, and entertain the day, May think I broke all hospitable laws,
Then from their breathing souls the sweets repair, To bear you from your palace-yard by might, To scent the skies, and purge th' unwholesome And put your noble person in a fright: This, since you take it ill, I must repent,
Joy spreads the heart, and, with a general song, Though, Heaven can wituess, with no bad intent: Spring issues out, and leads the jolly Months I practis'd it, to make you taste your cheer
along. With double pleasure, first prepard by fear.
In that sweet season, as in bed 1 lay, So loyal subjects often seize their prince,
And sought in sleep to pass the night away, Fore'd (for bis good) to seeming violence,
I turn’d my weary'd side, but still in vain, Yet mean his sacred person not the least offence. Though full of youthful health, and void of pain : Descend; so help me Jove as you shall find Cares I had none, to keep ine from my rest, That Reynard comes of no dissembling kind." For Love had never enter'd in my breast;
“Nay,” quoth the cock; “but I beshrew us both, I wanted nothing Fortune could supply, If I believe a saint upon his oath:
Nor did she slumber till that hour deny. An honest man may take a knave's advice, I wonder'd then, but after found it true, But idiots only may be cozen'd twice:
Much joy had dry'd away the balmy dew: Once warn’d is well beward; not flattering lies Seas would be pools, without the brushing air, Shall sooth me more to sing with winking eyes
To curl the waves: and sure some little care And open mouth, for fear of catching flies. Should weary Nature so, to make her want repair. Who blindfold walks upon a river's brim,
When Chanticleer the second watch had suug, When he should see, has he deserv'd to swim?” Scorning the scorner Sleep, from bed I sprung; “ Better, sir cock, let all contention cease, And, dressing, by the Moon, in loose array, " Come down,” said Reynard, “ let us treat of Pass'd out in open air, preventing day, peace.”
And sought a goodly grove, as fancy led my way. “A peace with all my soul,” said Chanticleer; Straight as a line iu beauteous order stood
But, with your favour, I will treat it here: Of oaks unshorn a venerable wood;
Their branching arms in air with equal space
Stretch'd to their neighbours with a long embrace,
and the new leaves on every bough were seen, In this plain fable you th' effect may see Some ruddy colour'd, some of lighter green. Of neg igence and fond credulity:
The painted birds; companions of the Spring, And learn beside of flatteri rs to beware,
Hopping from spray to spray, were heard to sing. Then most pernicious when they speak too fair. Both eyes and ears receiv'd a like delight, The cock and fox, the fool and knave imply; Enchanting music, and a charming sight. The truth is moral, though the tale a lie.
On Philomel I fix'd my whole desire; Who spoke in parables, 1 dare not say;
And listen'd for the queen of all the quire; But sure he knew it was a pleasing way,
Fain would I hear her heavenly voic to sing; Sound sense, by plain example, to convey.
And wanted yet an omen to the spring,
Attending long in vain, I took the way, At length I wak'd, and looking round the bower, Which through a path but scarcely printed lay; Search'd every tree, and pry'd on every flower, In narrow mazes oft it seem'd to meet,
If any-where by chance I might espy, And look'd as lightly pressid by fairy feet. The rural poet of the melody: Wandering 1 walk'd alone, for still methought For still methought she sung not far away: To some strange end so strange a path was wrought: At last I found her on a laurel spray. At last it led me where an arbour stood,
Close by iny side she sat, and fair in sight, The sacred receptacle of the wood : [green, Full in a line against her opposite; This place unmark'd, though oft I walk'd the Where stood with eglantine the laurel twin'd; In all my progress I had never seen:
And both their native sweets were well conjoin'd. And, seiz'd at once with wonder and delight, On the green bank I sat, and listen'd long Gaz'd all around me, new to the transporting (Sitting was inore convenient for the song): sight.
Nor till her lay was ended could I move, 'Twas bench'd with turf, and goodly to be seen,
But wish'd to dwell for ever in the grove. The thick young grass arose in fresher green! Only methought the time too swiftly pass'd, The mound was newly made, no sight could pass And every note I fear'd would be the last. Betwixt the nice partitions of the grass;
My sight, and smell, and hearing were employ'd, The well-united sods so closely lay;
And all three senses in full gust enjoy'd. And all around the shades defended it from day: And what alone did all the rest surpass, For sycamores with eglantine were spread, The sweet possession of the fairy place; A hedge about the sides, a covering over head. Single, and conscious to myself alone And so the fragrant brier was wove between, Of pleasures to th' excluded world unknown: The sycamore and flowers were mix'd with green, Pleasures which no where else were to be found, That Nature seem'd to vary the delight;
And all Elysium in a spot of ground. And satisfy'd at once the smell and sight.
Thus while I sat intent to see and hear, The master workman of the bower was known And drew perfumes of more than vital air, Through fairy lands, and built for Oberon; All suddenly I heard th' approaching sound Who twining leaves with such proportion drew, Of vocal music, on th’ enchanted ground: They rose by measure, and by rule they grew; An host of saints it seem'd, so full the quire; No mortal tongue can balf the beauty tell:
As if the bless'd above did all conspire For none but hands divine could work so well. To join their voices, and neglect the lyre. Both roof and sides were like a parlour made, At length there issued from the grove behind A soft recess, and a cool summer shade;
A fair assembly of the female kind: The hedge was set so thick, no foreign eye
A train less fair, as ancient fathers tell, The persons plac'd within it could espy:
Seduc'd the sons of Heaven to rebel. But all that pass'd without with ease was seen, I pass their form, and every charming grace, As if nor fence nor tree was plac'd between. Less than an angel would their worth debase: "Twas border'd with a field; and some was plain But their attire, like liveries of a kind With grass, and some was sow'd with rising grain. All rich and rare, is fresh within my mind. That (now the dew with spangles deck'd the In velvet white as snow the troop was gown'd, ground)
The seams with sparkling emeralds set around: A sweeter spot of earth was never found.
Their hoods and sleeves the same; and purfled I look'd and look'd, and still with new delight;
o'er Such joy my soul, such pleasures fill'd my sight : With diamonds, pearls, and all the shining store And the fresh eglantine exhal?d a breath,
Of eastern pomp: their long descending train, Whose odours were of power to raise from death. "With rubies edg’d, and sapphires, swept the plain: Nor sullen discontent, nor anxious care,
High on their heads, with jewels richly set, Ev’n though brought thither, could inhabit there Each lady wore a radiant coronet. But thence they fled as from their mortal foe; Beneath the circles, all the quire was grac'd For this sweet place could only pleasure know. With chaplets green, on their fair foreheads plac'd. Thus as I mus'd, I cast aside my eye,
Of laurel some, of woodbine many more; And saw a medlar-tree was planted nigh.
And wreaths of agnus castus others bore: The spreading branches male a goodly show, These last, who with those virgin crowns were And full of opening blooms was every bough:
dressid, A goldfinch there I saw with gawdy pride
Appeard in higher honour than the rest. Of painted plumes, that hopp'd from side to side, They danc'd around: but in the midst was seen Still pecking as she pass'd; and still she drew A lady of a more majestic mien; [quecn. The sweets from every flower, and suck'd the dew: By stature and by beauty mark'd their sovereigia Sufsic'd at length, she warbled in her throat,
She in the midst began with sober grace; And tun'd her voice to many a merry note,
Her servant's eyes were fix'd upou her face, But indistinct, and neither sweet nor clear, And, as she muvid or turn'd, her motions view'd, Yet such as sooth'd my soul, and pleas'd my ear. Her measures kept, and step by step pursued.
Her short performance was no sooner try'd, Methought she trod the ground with greater grace, When she I sought, the nightingale reply'd : With more of godhead shining in her face; So sweet, so shrill, so variously she sung, And as in beauty she surpass'd the quire, That the grove echoed, and the valleys rung: So, nobler than the rest, was her attire. And I so ravish'd with her beavenly note,
A crown of ruddy gold enclos'd her brow, I stood entranc'd, and had no room for thought, Plain without pomp, and rich without a show : But, all o'er-power'd with ecstasy of bliss, · A branch of agnus castus in her hand Was in a pleasing dream of Paradise;
She bore aloft (her sceptre of command);
Admir'd, ador'd by all the circling crowd,
Their surcoats of white ermin fur were made, For wheresoe'er she turn'd her face, they bow'd : With cloth of gold between, that cast a glittering And as she danc'd, a roundelay she sung,
shade; In honour of the laurel, ever young:
The trappings of their steeds were of the same; She rais'd her voice on high, and sung so clear, The golden fringe ev'n set the ground on flame, The fawns came scudding from the groves to And drew a precious trail : a crown divine And all the bending forest lent an ear. [hear: Of laurel did about their temples twine. At every close she made, th' attending throng Three henchmen were for every knight assign'd, Reply'd, and bore the burthen of the song : All in rich livery clad, and of a kind : So just, so small, yet in so sweet a note,
White velvet, but unshorn, for cloaks they wore, It seern'd the music melted in the throat.
And each within his hand a truncheon bore : Thus dancing on, and singing as they danc'd, The foremost held a helın of rare device; They to the middle of the mead advanc'd,
A prince's ransom would not pay the price, Till round my arbour a new ring they made, The second bore the buckler of his knight, And footed it about the secret shade.
The third of cornel-wood a spear upright, O'erjoy'd to see the jolly troop so near,
Headed with piercing steel, and polish'd bright. But somewhat aw'd, I shook with holy fear; Like to their lords their equipage was seen, Yet not so much, but that I noted well
And all their foreheads crown'd with garlands Who did the most in song or dance excel.
[shield, Not long I had observ'd, when from afar
Aud after these came, arm’d with spear and I heard a sudden symphony of war;
An host so great, as cover'd all the field, The neighing coursers, and the soldiers cry, And all their foreheads, like the knights before, And sounding trumps that seem'd to tear the With laurels ever green were shaded o'er, sky:
Or oak, or other leaves of lasting kind, I saw soon after this, behind the grove
Tenacious of the stem, and firm against the wind. From whence the ladies did in order move, Some in their hands, beside the lance and shield, Come issuing out in arms a warrior train, The boughs of woodbine or of hawthorn held, That like a deluge pour'd upon the plain : Or branches for their mystic emblems took, Op barbed steeds they rode in proud array, Of palm, of laurel, or of cerrial oak. Thick as the college of the bees in May,
Thus marching to the trumpet's lofty sound, When swarming o'er the dusky fields they ily, Drawn in two lines adverse they wheel'd New to the flowers, and intercept the sky.
around, So fierce they drove, their coursers were so fleet, And in the middle meadow took their ground. That the turf trembled underneath their feet. Among themselves the turney they divide,
To tell their costly furniture were long, In equal squadrons rang'd on either side. The summer's day would end before the song : Then turn'd their horses heads, and man to man, To purchase but the tenth of all their store, And steed to steed oppos’d, the justs began. Would make the mighty Persian monarch poor. They lightly set their lances in the rest, Yet what I can, I will; before the rest
And, at the sign, against each other press'd: The trumpets issued, in white mantles dress'd: They met. 1, sitting at my ease, beheld A numerous troop, and all their heads around The mix'd events, and fortunes of the field. With chaplets green of cerrial-oak were crowu’d; | Some broke their spears, some tumbled horse And at each trumpet was a banner bound, Which, waring in the wind, display'd at large And round the field the lighten'd coursers ran. Their master's coat of arms, and knightly charge. An hour and more, like tides, in equal sway Broad were the banners, and of snowy hue,
They rush'd, and won by turns, and lost the day: A purer web the silk-worin never drew.
At length the nine (who still together held) The chief about their necks the scutcheons wore, Their fainting foes tu shameful fight compellid, With orient pearls and jewels powder'd o'er: And with resistless force o'er-ran the field. Broad were their collars too, and every one Thus, to their fame, when finished was the fight, Was set about with many a costly stone.
The victors from their lofty steeds alight: Next these of kings at arms a goodly train
Like them dismounted all the warlike train, In proud array came prancing o'er the plain: And two by two proceeded o'er the plain: Their cloaks were cloth of silver mix'd with gold, Till to the fair assembly they advanc'd, And garlands green around their temples rolld; Who near the secret arbour sung and danc'd. Rich crowns were on their royal scutcheons The ladies left their measures at the sight, plac'd,
To mect the chiefs returning from the fight, With sapphires, diamonds, and with rubies grac'd: And each with open arms embrac'd her chosen And as the trumpets their appearance made,
knight. So these in habits were alike array'd;
Amid the plain a spreading laurel stood, But with a pace more sober, and more slow; The grace and ornament of all the wood : And twenty, rank in rank, they rode a row. That pleasing shade they sought, a soft retreat The pursuivants came next, in number more; From sudden April showers, a shelter from the And like the heralds each his scutcheon bore:
heat: Clad in white velvet all their troop they led, Her leafy arms with such extent were spread, With each an oaken chaplet on his head.
So near the clouds was her aspiring head, Nine royal knights in equal rank succeed, That hosts of birds, that wing the liquid air, Each warrior mounted on a fiery steed :
Perch'd in the boughs, had nightly lodging there : lo golden armour glorious to behold;
And flocks of sheep beneath the shade from far The rivets of their arms were nail'd with gold, Might hear the rattling hail, and wintery war,
From Heaven's inclemency here found retreat, And lightning flash'd betwixt: the field, and
The ladies and the knights, no shelter nigh,
And through their thin array receiv'd the rain; The lords and ladies here, approaching, paid While those in white, protected by the tree, Their homage, with a low obeisance made: Saw pass in vain th' assault, and stood from And seem'd to venerate the sacred shade.
danger free. These rites perform'd, their pleasures they pursue, But as compassion mov'd their gentle minds, With song of love, and mix with pleasures new; When ceas'd the storm, and silent were the winds, Around the holy tree their dance they frame, Displeas'd at what, not suffering, they had seen, And every champion leads his chosen dame. They went to cheer the faction of the green: I cast my sight upon the farther field,
The queen in white array, before her band, And a fresh object of delight be held :
Saluting, took her rival by the hand; For from the region of the west I heard
So did the knights and dames, with courtly grace, New music sound, and a new troop appear'd; And with behaviour sweet, their foes embrace : Of knights, and ladies mix'd, a jolly band, Then thus the queen with laurel on her brow, But all on foot they march'd, and band in hand. “Fair sister, I have suffer'd in your woe;
The ladies dress'd in rich symars were seen Nor shall be wanting aught within my power Of Florence satin, flower'd with white and for your relief in my refreshing bower." green,
That other answer'd with a lowly look, And for a shade betwixt the bloomy gridelin. And soon the gracious invitation took: The borders of their petticoats below
For ill at ease both she and all her train Were guarded thick with rubies on a row; The scorching Sun had borne, and beating rain. And every damsel wore upon her head
Like courtesy was us'd by all in white, (knight. Of flowers a garland blended white and red. Each dame a dame receiv'd, and every knight a Attir'd in mantles all the knights were seen, The laurel champions with their swords invade That gratify'd the view with cheerful green: The neighbouring forests, where the justs were Their chaplets of their ladies colours were,
made, Compos'd of white and red, to shade their shin And seretrood from the rotten hedges took, ing hair.
And seeds of latent fire from flints provoke : Before the merry troop the minstrels play'd; A cheerful blaze arose, and by the fire All in their master's liveries were array'd, They warm’d their frozen feet, and dry'd their And clad in green, and on their temples wore
wet attire. The chaplets white and red their ladjes bore. Refresh'd with heat, the ladies sought around Their instruments were various in their kind, For virtuous herbs, which gather'd from the ground Some for the bow, and some for breathing wind : They squeez'd the juice, and cooling ointment The sawtry, pipe, and hautboy's noisy band,
[skins they laid : And the soft lute trembling beneath the touching Which on their sun-burnt cheeks and their chapt hand.
Then sought green sallads, which they bade them A tuft of daisies on a flowery lay
A sovereign remedy for inward heat. [eat, They saw, and thitherward they bent their way; The lady of the leaf ordain'd a feast, To this both knights and dames their homage And made the lady of the flower her guest : made,
When lo, a bower ascended on the plain, (train. And due obeisance to the daisy paid.
With sudden seats ordaind, and large for either And then the band of futes began to play,
This bower was near my pleasant arbour plac d, To which a lady sung a virelay :
That I could hear and see whatever pass'd: And still at every close she would repeat
The ladies sat with each a knight between, The burthen of the song, “The daisy is so sweet.” Distinguish'd by their colours, white and green; “ The daisy is so sweet,” when she begun, The vanquish'd party with the victors join'd, The troop of knights and damos continued on. Nor wanted sweet discourse, the banquet of the The concert and the voice so charm'd my ear,
mind. And sooth'd my soul, that it was Heaven to hear. Mean time the minstrels play'd on either side,
But soon their pleasure pass'd: at noon of day, Vain of their art, and for the mastery vy'd : The Sun with sultry beams began to play:
The sweet contention lasted for an hour, Not Sirius shoots a ficrcer flame from high, And reach'd my secret arbour from the bower. When with his poisonous breath he blasts the sky: The Sun was set; and Vesper, to Then droop'd the fading flowers (their beauty His absent beams, ha: lighted up the sky: fled)
When Philomel, officious all the day And clos'd their sickly eyes, and hung the head; To sing the service of th' ensuing May, And, rivel'd up with heat, lay dying in their bed. Fled from her laurel shade, and wined her flight The ladies gasp'd, and scarcely could respire; Directly to the queen array'd in white; The breath they drew, no longer air, but fire ; And, hopping, sat familiar on her hand, The fainty knights were scorch’d; and knew not A new musician, and increas'd the band. where
The goldfinch, who, to shun the scalding heat, To run for shelter, for no shade was near; Had chang'd the medlar for a safer seat, And after this the gathering clouds amain
And, bid in bushes, 'scap'd the bitter shower, Pour'd down a storm of rattling hail and rain: Now perch'd upon the lady of the flower ;