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Upon the leaves at any balmè sweet,
Till fiery Titan with his persant heat
Had dried up the lusty liquor new

Upon the herbès in the greenè mead;
And that the flow'rs of many divers hue,
Upon her stalkès 'gannè for to spreal,
And for to 'splayè out her leaves in brede
Against the sun, gold-burned in his sphere,
That downè to them cast his beames clear.
And by a river forth I 'gan costay

Of water clear as beryl or crystal, Till at the last I found a little way Toward a park, enclosed with a wall In compass round, and by a gatè small, Whoso that wouldè, freely mightè gone Into this park walled with greenè stone. And in I went to hear the birdes song, Which on the branches, both in plain and vaie, So loudè sang that all the woodè rung Like as it should shiver in pieces smiale, And as methoughtè that the nightingale With so great might her voicè 'gan out-wrest Right as her heartè for love wouldé brest.

Therè saw I ekè the fresh hawthorn,

In white motley, that so sootè doth smell,
Ash, fir and oak, with many a young acorn,
And many a tree mo than I can tell;
And, me before, I saw a little well
That had its coursè, as I 'gan behold,
Under a hill, with quické streamés cold.
The gravel gold: the water pure as glass;
The bankes round the well environing;
And softé as velvet the youngé grass,

That thereupon lustily came springing,
The suit of trees abouté compassing
Her shadow casté, closing the well round,
And all the herbés growing on the ground.




Thus it befel upon a night
When there was naught but starre light,
She was vanish'd right as her list,
That no wight but herselfe wist,
And that was at midnight tide;
The world was still on every side.
With open head, and foot all bare
His heare to spread, she 'gan to fare :
Upon the clothes girt she was,
And speecheless upon the grass
She glode forth as an adder doth.



So thick the boughis and the leavis green
Beshaded all the alleys that there were.
And, midst of every herbere, might be seen
The sharpé, greené, sweeté, juniper,

Growing so fair, with branches here and there,
That, as it seemed to a life without,

The boughis spread the arbour all about.

And therewith cast I down mine eyes again,
Where as I saw, walking under the tower

Full secretly new comen her to playen,

The fairest or the freshest youngé flower
That e'er I saw, methought, before that hour;

For which sudden abate, anon astart
The blood of all my body to my heart.
And when she walked had a little thraw

Under the sweeté, greené boughis bent,
Her fair fresh face, as white as ony snaw,
She turned has, and forth her wayis went.
But tho began mine aches and torment,
To sene her part and follow I na might;
Methought the day was turned into night.

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IV.* ANDREW WINTON, about 1420.


This holy man had a ram

That he had fed up of a lamb,
And used him till follow aye,
Wherever he passed in his way.
A thief this sheep in Achren stale,
And ate him up in pieces smale.
When Saint Serf his ram had missed,
Wha that it stale was few that wist:
On presumption nevertheless

He that it stale arrested was;

And till Saint Serf syne was he brought;
That sheep he said that he stale nought,
And therefore for to swear an aith
He said that he would rob be laith.
But soon he werthed red for shame;
The sheep there bleated in his wamb,
So was he tainted shamefully,
And at Saint Serf asked mercy.

IV.** ROBERT HENRYSON, 1425-1495.


Blessed be simple life, withouten dread;
Blessed be sober feast in quieté;
Who has enough, of no more has he need,
Though it be little into quantity.
Great abundance, and blind prosperity,
Oft-times make an evil conclusion ;
The sweetest life, therefore, in this country,
Is of sickness, with small possession.

.*** BLIND HARRY, about 1460.



On Wednesday the false Southron forth him brought
To martyr him, as they before had wrought.
Of men in arms led him a full great rout,
With a bold sprite good Wallace blent about:
A priest he asked, for God that died on tree
King Edward then commanded his clergy,

And said, "I charge you, upon pain of loss of life,
None be so bold yon tyrant for to shrive.
He has reigned long in contrar my highness."
A blith bishop soon, present in that place;
Of Canterbury he then was righteous lord:
Against the king he made this right record,
And said, "Myself shali hear his confession,
If I have might in contrar of thy crown.
An thou through force will stop me of this thing.
I vow to God, who is mv righteous king,
O'er all England I shall thee interdict,
And make it known thou art an heretic.
The sacrament of kirk I shall him give:
Syne take thy choice, to starve or let him live.
It were more well, in worship of thy crown,
To keep sic one in life in thy bandoun,

Than all the land and good that thou hast reived,
But cowardice thee aye from honour drived.
Thou hast thy life rougin in wrongeous deed,
That shall be seen on thee or on thy seed."

The king garr'd charge they should the bishop ta', But sad lords counselled to let him ga.

All Englishmen said that his desire was right,
To Wallace then he rakit in their sight,
And sadly heard his confession till an end:
Humbly to God his sprite he there commend
Lowly him served with hearty devotion
Upon his knees, and said an oration.

A prayer-book Wallace had on him ever
From his childhood-from it would nought dissever:
Better he trowet in voyage for to speed.
But then he was dispalyed of his weed.

This grace he asked at Lord Clifford, that knight,
To let him have his psalter-book in sight.
He garr d a priest it open before him hold,
While they till him had done all that they would.
Steadfast he read for aught they did him there;
Fiel Southrons said that Wallace felt no sair.
Guid devotion, sae, was his beginning,
Contained therewith, and fair was his ending.



Fortitude then stood steadfast in his might, Defended widows; cherished chastity; Knighthood in prowess gave so clear a light. Girt with his sword of truth and equity.


God hath a thousand handes to chastise;
A thousand dartes of punition;

A thousand bowes made in divers wise;
A thousand arblastes bent in his dungeon



Have mind that eld aye follows youth,
Death follows life with gaping mouth,
Devouring fruit and flowering grain;
All earthly joy returns in pain.

Wealth, worldly gloir, and rich array,
Are all but thorns laid in thy way,
O'ercower'd with flowers laid in a train :
All earthly joy returns in pain.

Freedom returns in wretchedness,
And truth returns in doubleness,
With feigned words to make men fain:
All earthly joy returns in pain.

Virtue returnes into vice,
And honour into avarice;

With covetise in conscience slain :
All eathly joy returns in pain.

Since earthly joy abideth never,
Work for the joy that lastis ever;
For other joy is all but vain ;
All earthly joy returns in pain.

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