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spirit and freedom of Dryden's versification is nobly exemplified in his expansion of the elder poet's address to May, where he has converted the two lines of his original into a picture of the most exquisite grace and beauty. I need not crave a pardon for the introduction of such a copy by such an artist :
The morning-lark, the messenger of day,
For thee, sweet month, the groves green liv’ries wear :
So may thy tender blossoms fear no blite,
It would appear a difficult and a dangerous task to enter into competition with passages such as I have now given; yet, rich and appropriate as these Chaucerian pictures must be esteemed, they are rivalled, if not surpassed, by the Mornings in Spring of Dunbar. Both the “Golden Terge,” and the “ Thistle and the Rose," open with the most glowing and delicious representations of the dawning of a vernal day. In the first of these the poet is described as leaving his bed with the morning star, and watching for the rising of the sun, the effects of which on the landscape he has painted with a warmth and fidelity worthy of the pencil of Titian :
Right as the starre of day began to shyne,
I raise, and by a rosier* did me rest :
Gladding the mirry fowlis in their nest,
Or Phoebus was in purple cape revest I. Upsprang the lark, the heaven's menstrel synes,
In May intill a morrow mirthfullest.
* Rose tree.
Full angel-like'thir birdis sang their hours
Apparell’d, white and red, with bloomis sweet:
While all in balm did branch and levis fleit * :
Depart fra Phoebus did Aurora greite : Her chrystal tears I saw hang on the flowers,
Which he, for love, all drank up with his heit.
For mirth of May, with skippis and with hoppis,
With curious notes, as Venus chapel-clarks:
Through bemis red lemyng || as ruby sparks ;
The skyis rang with shouting of the larks; The purple heaven owre skald in silver sloppis,
Owre gilt the treis, branches, leaves, and barks.
Down through the rys | ane river ran with stremis
That all the lake as lamp did leme of light,
Through the reflex of Phæbus visage bright;
every side the ege || raise on hicht;
The streamers clear as starres in frosty night.
* Float. + Weep
Branches. $ Buds. ll Shining
** Pleasant. ++ Boughs.
** High-raised edges or banks.
The crystal air, the saphire firmament,
Kest* beryl beams on em'rald bewis green:
Array'd was by Dame Flora the Queen,
So nobilly, that joy was for to sene; The rock against the river resplendent
As low illuminate all the levis schene g.
What through the merry fowlis harmony,
On Flora's mantle I sleeped where I lay;
Ane sail, as blossom white upon the spray,
With mast of gold, bright as the star of day, Which tended to the land full lustily
With swiftest motion through a crystal bay.
After a vision of considerable length, and incomparably rich in allegorical imagery, the poet is thus awakened from his slumber :
And as I did awake of this swowning ||,
For mirth of Phoebus tender bemis schene :
* Cast. + Garden. Gules, the heraldic term for red.
$ The rock resplendent from the reflection of the river, illuminated, as with low or flame, all the bright leaves.
Sweet was the vapours, soft the morrowing,
The air intemperate, sober and amene ;
In white and red was all the earth besene, Through Nature's noble fresh enameling
In mirthful May, of every moneth Queen. If we now turn to the initiatory stanzas of the Thistle and the Rose, in which the bard fancies himself addressed in a dream by May, who urges him to write something in her honour, and to welcome the return of Spring, we shall find a picture of not less consummate elegance and beauty, and perhaps of still greater animation:
When March was with varying windis past,
And April had with her silver showers Tane leave at Nature with ane orient blast,
And lusty May, that mother is of flowers,
Had made the birdis to begin their hours
Methought Aurora with her crystal ene
And halsit t me with visage pale and green;
On whose hand a lark sang, fro the spleen I, “ Awake, Lovers, out of your slumbering, See how the lusty morrow doth upspring !"
# With good will.