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song of

The poet replies, that the spring of the present year was un-
promising and ungenial; unattended with the usual
birds, and serenity of sky: and that storms and showers, and
the loud blasts of the horn of lord Eolus, had usurped her mild
dominion, and hitherto prevented him from wandering at leisure
under the vernal branches. May rejects his excuse, and with
a smile of majesty commands him to arise, and to perform his
annual homage to the flowers, the birds, and the sun. They
both enter a delicious garden, filled with the richest colours
and odours. The sun suddenly appears in all his glory, and
is thus described in the luminous language of Lydgate.

The purpour sone, with tendir bemys reid,
In orient bricht as angell did appeir,
Throw goldin skyis putting up his heid,
Quhois gilt tressis schone so wondir cleir,

That all the world tuke comfort fer and neir. Immediately the birds, like the morning-stars, singing together, hail the unusual appearance of the sun-shine.

And, as the blissful sone of cherarchy ?,
The foulis sung throu comfort of the lycht;
The burdis did with oppin voices cry,
To luvaris so, “ Away thow duly nicht,
And welcum day that comfortis every wicht.
Hail May, hail Flora, hail Aurora schene,

Hail princes Nature, hail Venus, luvis quene.* Nature is then introduced, issuing her interdict, that the progress of the spring should be no longer interrupted, and that Neptune and Eolus should cease from disturbing the waters and air,

Dame Nature gaif an inhibitioun thair,
To fers Neptune, and Eolus the bauld,
Nocht to perturb the wattir nor the air;

y St. viii.

v. 7. The morning-stars singing toge* St. ix.

bold. 2 The hierarchy. See Jos, ch, xxxviï. ther,

And that no schouris and no blastis cawld
Effray suldd flouris, nor fowlis on the fauld;
Scho bad eik Juno goddes of the sky

That scho the bevin suld keip amene and dry. This preparation and suspence are judicious and ingenious; as they give dignity to the subject of the poem, awaken our curiosity, and introduce many poetical circumstances. NATURE immediately commands every bird, beast, and flower, to appear in her presence; and, as they had been used to do every Maymorning, to acknowledge her universal sovereignty. She sends the roe to bring the beasts, the swallow to collect the birds, and the yarrow' to summon the flowers. They are assembled before her in an instant. The lion advances first, whose figure is drawn with great force and expression.

This awfull beist full terrible of cheir,
Persing of luke, and stout of countenance,
Rygłat strong of corpes, of fassoun fair, but feir,
Lusty of shaip, lycht of deliverance,
Reid of his cullour as the ruby glance,
In field of gold he stude full mychtely

With floure de lucis sirculit b lustely. I This is an elegant and ingenious mole of blazoning the Scottish arms, which are a lion with a border, or tressure, adorned with flower de luces. We should remember, that heraldry was now a science of high importance and esteem. Nature lifting up his cluvis cleir, or shining claws, and suffering him to rest on her knee, crowns him with a radiant diadem of precious stones, and creates him the king of beasts: at the same time she injoins him to exercise justice with mercy,

с

e St. X.

read Scho-u-ris.

derived from Arrow, being held a remedy A should hurt, [affright. )

for healing wounds inflicted by that wea

pon. The poet, to apologise for his ' The yarrow is Achillea, or Millefo- boldness in personifying a plant, has lium, commonly called Sneeswort. There added, "full craftely conjurit scho." is no reason for selecting this plant to St. xii. go on a message to the towers; but

& fierce.

encircled. that its name has been supposed to be St. xiv.

and not to suffer his subjects of the smallest size or degree, to be oppressed by those of superior strength and dignity. This part of NATURE's charge to the lion, is closed with the following beautiful stroke, which indicates the moral tenderness of the poet's heart.

And lat no bowgle with his busteousk hornis
The meik pluch-oxi oppress for all hys pryd,

Bot in the yok go peciable him besyd.m She next crowns the eagle king of fowls: and sharpening bis talons like darts of steel, orders him to govern great and small, the wren or the peacock, with an uniform and equal impartiality. I need not point out to my reader the political lessons couched under these commands. NATURE now calls the flowers; and observing the thistle to be surrounded with a bush of spears, and therefore qualified for war, gives him a crown of rubies, and says, “In field go forth and fend the laifn.” The poet continues elegantly to picture other parts of the royal arms; in ordering the thistle, who is now king of vegetables, to prefer all herbs, or flowers, of rare virtue, and rich odour : nor ever to permit the nettle to associate with the flour de lys, nor any ignoble weed to be ranked in competition with the lily. In the next stanza, where NATURE directs the thistle to honour the rose above all other flowers, exclusive of the heraldic meaning, our author with much address insinuates to king James the Fourth an exhortation to conjugal fidelity, drawn from the high birth, beauty, and amiable accomplishments, of the royal bride the princess Margareto. * boisterous, strong.

gold for to gyffe to the most fayre of the l plough-ox.

Thre, which he gave to Venus. In the

scarfawst was also represented the Saludefend the rest.

tacion of Gabriell to the Virgyne in Among the pageants exhibited at saying Ave gratia, and sens after (next,] Edinburgh in honour of the nuptials, the sollempnizacion of the very maryage she was complimented with the following betwix the said Vierge (Virgin) and Jocurious mixture of classical and scrip- seph.” Leland, Coll. iii. APPEND. tural history. Ny to that cross was a p. 289. ut supr. Not to mention the scarfawst (scaffold) made, where was great impropriety, which they did not represented Paris and the three Deesses, perceive, of applying such a part of with Mercure that gaff hym the apyll of scripture.

m St. xvi.

Nor hald no udir flour in sic denty P
As the fresche Rose, of cullor reid and quhyt;
For gif thou dois , hurt is thyne honesty,
Considdering that no flour is so perfyt,
So full of vertew, plesans, and delyt,
So ful of blissfull angelik bewty,

Imperial birth, honour, and dignite'. Nature then addresses the rose, whom she calls, “O lusty daughter most benyng," and whose lineage she exalts above that of the lily. This was a preference of Tudor to Valois. She crowns the rose with clarefied gems, the lustre of which illumines all the land. The rose is hailed queen by the flowers, . Last, her praises are sung by the universal chorus of birds, the sound of which awakens the poet from his delightful dream. The fairy scene is vanished, and he calls to the muse to perpetuate in verse the wonders of the splendid vision.

Although much fine invention and sublime fabling are displayed in the allegorical visions of our old poets, yet this mode of composition, by dealing only in imaginary personages, and by excluding real characters and human actions, necessarily fails in that chief source of entertainment which we seek in antient poetry, the representation of antient manners.

Another general observation, immediately resulting from the subject of this poem, may be here added, which illustrates the present and future state of the Scotch poetry. The marriage of a princess of England with a king of Scotland, from the new communication and intercourse opened between the two courts and kingdoms by such a connection, must have greatly contributed to polish the rude manners, and to improve the language, literature, and arts, of Scotland.

The design of Dunbar's GOLDEN TERGE, is to shew the gradual and imperceptible influence of love, when too far indulged, over reason. The discerning reader will observe, that the cast of this poem is tinctured with the morality and imagery

P dainty, price.

9 if thou doest.

" St. xxi.

of the RoMAUNT OF THE Rose, and the FLOURE AND LEAFE, of Chaucer.

The poet walks forth at the dawn of a bright day. The effects of the rising sun on a vernal landscape, with its accompaniments, are thus delineated in the manner of Lydgate, yet with more strength, distinctness, and exuberance of ornament.

Richt as the sterne of day begouth to schyne,
Quhen gone to bed was Vesper and Lucyne,
I raise, and by ane roseres did me rest:
Upsprang the goldyn candill matutine,
With cleir depurit bemys chrystallyne,
Glading the mery fowlis in thair nest :
Or Phebus wes in purpour kaip“ revest,
Upraise the lark, the hevenis menstral syne",
In May intill a morrow mirthfullest.
Full angelyk the birdis sang thair houris, ,
Within their courtyngis grene, into thair bouris
Apperrellit quhite and reid with blumys sweit:
Ennamelit wes the feild with all cullouris,
The perlie droppis schuke in silver schouris ,
Quhyle al in balme did branche and levis fleit
To pairt fra Phebus, did Aurora greit,
Hir chrystall teiris I saw hing on the flouris,
Quhilk he for lufe all drank up with his heit.
For mirth of May, with skippis and with hoppis,
The birdis sang upon the tendir croppis”,
With curious note, as Venus' chapell-clarkes :
The rosis yung, new spreiding of their knoppisa,
Were powderit bricht with hevinly berial-droppis,

z branches.

rose-tree. purified

The pearled drops fell from the cape. Ere Phebus was dressed in trees like silver showers. his purple robe.

then. [The printed copies read a knobs; buds. fyne, instead of syne as given by War besprinkled. An heraldic term. See ton.-Edır.)

OBSERVATIONS on the Fairy QUEEN, ii. * curtains.

p. 158. seq. VOL. III.

H

b

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