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words. The several books are introduced with metrical prologues, which are often highly poetical; and shew that Douglas's proper walk was original poetry. In the prologue to the sixth book, he wishes for the Sybills golden bough, to enable him to follow his master Virgil through the dark and dangerous labyrinth of the infernal regions'. But the most conspicuous of these prologues is a description of May. The greater part of which I will insert. s
As fresche Aurore, to mychty Tithone spous,
Ischit' of her saffron bed, and euyru hous;
In crammesy w clad and granite violate,
With sanguyne cape, the selvage* purpurate;
Unschety the wyndois of hir large hall,
Spred all with rosis, and full of balme royall.
And eik the hevinly portis cristallyne
Upwarpis brade, the warlde till illumyne.
The twynkling stremouris 2 of the orient
Sched purpour sprayngis with gold and asure ment*.
Eous the stede, with ruby hammys rede,
Abouf the seyis liftis furth his hede
Of culloure sore, and somedele broun as bery,
For to alichtin and glad our emispery;
The flambe out brastin at the neis thirlis.
Quhil schortlie, with the blesando torche of day,
Abulzeit in his lemand fresche array,
Furth of his palice ryall ischit Phebus,
With golden croun and visage glorious,
Crisp haris, bricht as chrissolite or thopas;
For quhais hew' mycht nane behold his face:
The firie sparkis brasting from his ene,
To purge the air, and gilt the tender grene.
* In the PROLOGUE to the eighth hook, the alliterative manner of Pierce Plowman is adopted. * Pag. 400.
crimson. edge. y unshut, i. e. opened VOL. II.
a streaks, mingled with, &c.
© Fr. habillè; cloathed.
d luminous. e curled locks.
f whosc excessive brightness.
The auriat phanis 3 of his trone soverane
With glitterand glance overspred the octianeh;
The large fludis, lemand all of licht,
Bot with ane blenki of his supernal sicht,
For to behald, it was ane glore to se
The stabillytk wyndis, and the calmyt se;
The soft sessoun', the firmament serene;
The loune illuminate arem, and firthamene:
The silver-scalit fyschis on the grete',
Ouer thowrtP clere stremes sprinkilland for the hete,
With fynnys schinand broune as synopare',
And chesal talis, stourand here and there! :
The new cullour, alichting“ all the landis,
Forgane the stanryis schene ", and beriall strandis :
Quhil the reflex of the diurnal bemes
The bene bonkis * kest ful of variant glemes:
And lustie Flora did her blomes sprede
Under the fete of Phebus fulzearty stede,
The swardit soyll enbrode with selkouth hewis,
Wod and forest obumbrate with bewisa,
Quhais blysful branchis, porturate on the ground,
With schaddois schene schew rocchis rubicund:
Towris, turrettis, kirnallis“, and pynnakillis hie,
Of kirkis, castellis, and ilk faire citie,
Stude payntit, every fane, phiolld, and stage,
Apoun the playn grounde by thaire awn umbrage',
Of Eolus north blastis havand no drede,
The sulze spred hir brad bosum on bredeh.
The cornis croppis, and the bere new-brerde',
With gladsum garment revesting the erdek.--
The variant vesture of the venust vale
Schrowdis the scherand fur', and every falem
Querfrett" with fulzeis', and fyguris ful dyuers,
The pray P bysprent with spryngand sproutis dyspers,
For callour humours on the dewy nycht,
Rendryng sum place the gyrs pylis thare licht,
Als fer as catal the lang somerys day
Had in thare pasture ete and gnyp away:
And blyssful blossomys in the blomyt zard
Submittis thare hedys in the zoung sonnys safgard :
Iue leius 9 rank ouerspred the barmkyn" wall,
The blomit hauthorne cled his pykis all,
Furth of fresche burgeounss the wyne grapis' zing
Endlang the trazileysu dyd on twistis hing,
The loukit w buttouns on the gemyt treis
Ouerspredand leuis of naturis tapestryis.
Soft gresy verdoure eftir balmy schouris,
On curland stalkis smyland to thare flowris :
Behaldand thame sa mony divers hew
Sum piers*, sum pale, sum burnet, and sum blew,
Sum gres, sum gowlis, sum purpure, sum sanguane,
Blanchit or broun, fauch zallow mony ane,
here the description of corn-fields ends : h The soil, the country, spread abroad and that of pasture-lands begins at, The her expansive bosom.
pray bysprent, &c. Pray, not as the new-sprung barley.
printed glossary says, corruptedly for * earth.
spray, but formed, through the French, I furrow.
from the Lat. Pratum, and Spryngand It is evident our author intends to Sproutis, rising springs, from the Ital. describe two distinct things, viz. corn- sprussare, spruzzolare, aspergere. fields and meadows or pasture-lands : leaves. the former in the three first lines; the P mead.
ivy-leaves. varyant vesture, &c. is plainly arable, rampart. and the fuzis and fyguris full dyuers, sprigs.
young. are the various leaves and flowers of the trellisses; espaliers for vines. weeds growing among the corn, and locked, enclosed, gemmed. making a piece of embroidery. And
Sum heuinly colourit in celestial gre,
Sum wattyy hewit as the haw wally ? se,
And sum departe in freklis rede and quhyte,
Sum bricht as gold with aureate leuis lyte.
The dasy did on bredea hir crownel smale,
And euery flour unlappit in the dale,
In battil gerst burgeouns, the banwart wyld,
The clauir, cateluke, and the cammomylde;
The flourdelyce furth sprede his heuynly hew,
Floure damas, and columbe blak and blew,
Sere downis smal on dentilioun sprang,
The zoung grene" blomit strabery leus amang,
Gimp jereflourise thareon leuis unschet,
Fresche prymrois, and the pourpour violet,
The rois knoppis, tetand furth thare hede,
Gan chyp, and kyth thare vernale lippis rede,
Crysp skarlet leuis sum scheddand baith at attanis,
Kestf fragrant smel amyd fra goldin granis,
Heuinlie lyllyis, with lokkerand toppis quhyte,
Opynnit and schew thare creistis redemyte",
The balmy vapour from thare sylkyn croppis
Distilland halesum sugurat hony droppis,
And sylver schakerisi gan fra leuis hing,
With chrystal sprayngis on the verdure zing:
The plane pouderit with semelie seitis sound,
Bedyit ful of dewy peirlys round;
meant to describe the flowers in general; blue and wavy
a unbraid. and the balmy vapour to be the same with grass embattelled.
the fresche liquorir, and the dulce hue e dandelion.
mouris quhareof the beis wrocht thare e Gilliflowers. Gariophilum, Lat. Kæ- hony swete, an exhalation distinct from puspurdov. Gr. The Scotch word is that which causes the scent. Afterwards nearer the original. Probably the poet redolent odour, is general ; for be cerwrote thare awin. See ver. 72. thare tainly means to close his description of awin umbrage.
the vegetable world, by one universal It is observable, that our Poet never cloud of fragrance from all nature. once mentions the scent of flowers till he
& seeds. comes to the rose, and never at all the Redeemed. Released, opened. The scent of any particular flower, except the glossary says, Decked, Beautiful, from rose, not even of the lily; for I take it, Redimitus, Lat. the words, from thare sylkyn croppnis, are
So that ilk burgeon, syon, herbe, or floure,
Wox all embalmit of the fresche liquour,
And baithit hait did in dulce humouris flete,
Quhareof the beis wrocht thare hony swete.-
Swannisk souchis throw out the respand' redis,
Quer all the lochism and the fludis gray,
Sersand by, kynd ane place quhare they suld lay;
Phebus rede foule his curale creist can stere,
Oft strekand furth his hekkil crawand clere
Amyd the wortis, and the rutis gent,
Pickland hys mete in alayis quhare he went,
His wyffis Toppa and Partolet hym by,
As bird al tyme that hantis bygamy;
The payntit powne" paysand with plumys gym,
Kest up his tale ane proud plesand quhile rymo,
Ischrowdit in his fedderane bricht and schene,
Schapand the prent of Argois hundreth ene;
Amang the bronysP of the olyue twistis,
Sere smale foulis, wirkand crafty nestis,
Endlang the hedgeis thik, and on rank akis ?
Ilk bird reiosand with thare mirthful makis:
In corneris and clere fenesteris of glas
Full besely Arachne weuand was,
To knyt hyr nettis and hyr wobbis sle,
Tharewith to cauch the litil mige' or fle:
Under the bewis bene in lufely valis,
Within fermance and parkis clois of palis,