The Northern Way

Song and Legend From the Middle Ages

French Literature

Page 16

The lord that thilke (91) garden wrought,

of roses there were great(e) wone, (92)

So fair(e) waxe (93) never in Rone. (94)

Of knop(e)s (95) close, (96) some saw I there

And some well better waxen (97) were,

And some there be of other moison (98)

That dew(e) nigh to their season,

And sped 'em fast(e) for to spread;

I love well such roses red;

For broad (99) roses, and open also,

Be passed in a day or two;

But knop(e)s will(e) fresh(e) be

Two day(e)s at the least, or three,

The knop(e)s greatly liked (100) me,

For fairer may there no man see

Whoso might have one of all

It aught him be full lief (101) withall.

Might I one garland of 'em get

For no riches I would it let. (102)

Among the knop(e)s I chose one

So fair, that of the remnant none

Ne prize I half so well as it,

When I avise (103) it is my wit.

In it so well was enlumined

With color red, as well y-fined (104)

As nature couthe (105) it make fair.

And it had leaves well four pair,

That Kynde (106) hath set through his knowing

About the red roses springing.

The stalk(e) was as rush(e) right

And thereon stood the knop upright,

That it ne bowed upon no side,

The sweet(e) smell(e) sprang so wide

That it did (107) all the place about.

When I had smelled the savor sweet

No will had I from thence yet go

But somedeal (108) nearer it went I tho (109)

To take it: but mine hand for dread

No durst I to the rose bede (110)

For thistles sharp of many manners,

Nettles, thornes, and hooked briers;

For mickle they disturbed me,

For sore I dreaded to harmed be.

Endnotes

91. That.   (back)

92. Quantity.  (back)

93. Waxed, grew.  (back)

94. Provence.  (back)

95. Buds.  (back)

96. Closed.  (back)

97. Much better grown.  (back)

98. Harvest.  (back)

99. Blown.  (back)

100. Pleased.  (back)

101. Pleasing.  (back)

102. Let go.  (back)

103. Consider.  (back)

104. Polished.  (back)

105. Knew not.  (back)

106. Nature.  (back)

107. Filled.  (back)

108. Somewhat.  (back)

109. Then.  (back)

110. Offer.  (back)

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