The Northern Way

Song and Legend From the Middle Ages

French Literature

Page 14

Ll. 49-91--- That it was May me thought(e) tho (15)

It is five year or more ago;

That it was May, thus dreamed me,

In time of love and jollity.

That all thing 'ginneth waxen gay,

For there is neither busk nor hay (16)

In May, that it nill (17) shrouded been

And (18) it with new(e) leaves wrene (19)

These wood(e)s eek recover green,

That dry in winter been to seen; (20)

And the earth waxeth proud withal

For sweet dews that on it fall.

And the poor estate forget

In which that winter had it set.

And then becometh the ground so proud,

That it will have a new(e) shroud,

And maketh so quaint his robe and fair

That it had hews an hundred pair,

Of grass and flowers, inde and perse (21)

And many hew(e)s full diverse:

That is the robe, I mean, ivis, (22)

Through which the ground to praise(n) (23) is.

The birds that have(n) left their song,

While they have suffered cold so strong,

In weathers grill (24) and dark to sight,

Ben (25) in May for (26) the sun(en) bright

So glad(e), that they show in singing

That in (t)heir hearts is such liking, (27)

That they mote (28) sing(en) and be light.

Then doth the nightingale her might

To make noise and sing(en) blithe,

Then is blissful many sithe, (29)

The calandra (30) and the popinjay. (31)

Then young(e) folk entend(en) (32) aye

For to be gay and amorous,

The time is then so favorous. (33)

Hard is the heart that loveth nought,

In May when all this mirth is wrought:

When he may on these branches hear

The small(e) bird(e)s sing(en) clear

(T)heir blissful, sweet song piteous,

And in this season delightous (34)

When love affrayeth (35) all(e) thing.

The poet sees in vision the Garden of Love. He knocks at "a wiket smalle," which was finally opened by a maiden.

L.l. 539.--- Her hair was as yellow of hew

As any basin scoured new,

Her flesh tender as is a chick,

With bent brow(e)s, smooth and sleek;

And by measure large were

The opening of her eyen (36) clere,

Her nose of good proportion,

Her eyen gray as is a falcon,

With sweet(e) breath and well savored,

Her face white and well colored,

With little mouth and round to see;

A clove (37) chin eek had(de) she.

Her neck(e) was of good fashion (38)

In length and greatness of reason, (39)

Without(e) blain(e), (40) scab or roigne. (41)

From Jerusalem unto Burgoyne,

There nys (42) a fairer neck, iwis, (43)

To feel how smooth and soft it is.

Her throat also white of hew

As snow on branch(e) snowed new.

Of body full well wrought was she;

Men needed not in no country

A fairer body for to seek,

And of fine orphreys (44) had she eek

A chap(e)let; so seemly one,

Ne (45) werede (46) never maid upon,

And fair above that chap(e)let

A rose garland had she set.

She had a gay mirror,

And with a rich(e) gold treasure

Her head was tressed (47) quaint(e)ly;

Her sleeves sewed fetisely, (48)

And for to keep her hand(e)s fair

Of gloves white she had a pair.

And she had on a coat of green,

Endnotes

15. Then.  (back)

16. Bush nor hedge.  (back)

17. Will not.  (back)

18. As if.  (back)

19. Were covered.  (back)

20. Are to be seen.  (back)

21. Azure and sky-colored.  (back)

22. Certainly.  (back)

23. To be praised.  (back)

24. Severe.  (back)

25. Are.  (back)

26. On account of.  (back)

27. Good bodily condition.  (back)

28. Must.  (back)

29. Times.  (back)

30. A kind of lark.  (back)

31. Parrot.   (back)

32. Attend.  (back)

33. Favorable  (back)

34. Delightful  (back)

35. Moveth.  (back)

36. Eyes.  (back)

37. Dimpled.  (back)

38. Form.  (back)

39. Proportion.  (back)

40. Pustule.  (back)

41. Pimple.  (back)

42. Is not.  (back)

43. Certainly.  (back)

44. Fringe of gold.  (back)

45. Not.  (back)

46. Wore.  (back)

47. Plaited.  (back)

48. Neatly.  (back)

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