Imatges de pàgina

Myn herte was ful glad of this.

For wel wende I ful sikerly

Have been in Paradys erthly ;1

So faire it was, that trusteth wel,

It semede a place espirituel. 650

For certys, as at my devys,

Ther is no place in Paradys

So good inne for to dwelle or be,

As in that gardyne, thoughte me.

For there was many a bridde syngyng,

Thorough-oute the yerde al thringyng.*

In many places were nyghtyngales, Alpes,* fynches, and wodewales,4 That in her swete song deliten In thilke places as they habiten. 660 There myghte men see many flokkes Of turtles and laverokkes.5 Chalaundres 6 fele sawe I there, That wery nygh forsongen were. And thrustles, terins,7 and mavys, That songen for to wynne hem prys, And eke to sormounte in her songe That other briddes hem amonge, By note made faire servyse.

These briddes, that I you devise, 670 They songe her songe as faire and wele As angels don espirituel.

1 The Terrestrial Paradise, according to Dante's cosmogony, was at the antipodes of Jerusalem. The Rose of the Blessed was beyond the Empyrean. See Paradiso, xxxi. 1 Thronging. • Bullfinches. < Orioles. 1 Larks. • A kind of lark. 7 The French tarm, named Voni its long.



And, trusteth wel, that I'hem herd

Ful lustily, and wel I ferde;

For never yitt sich melodye

Was herd of man that myghte dye.

Sich swete song was hem amonge,

That me thought it no briddis songe,

But it was wondir lyk to be

Song of meremaydens of the see; 680

That, for her syngyng is so clere,

Though we mermaydens depe hem here

In English, as is oure usaunce,

Men clepe hem sereyns 1 in Fraunce.

Ententif weren for to synge These briddis, that nought unkunnyng Were of her craft, and apprentys, For of songe sotil and wys. And certis, whan I herde her songe, And sawe the grene place amonge, 690 In herte I wexe so wondir gay, That I was never erst, er that day, So jolyf, nor so wel bigoo,s Ne merye in herte, as I was thoo. And than wist I, and sawe ful welle, That Ydelnesse me servede welle, That me putte in sich jolite. Hir freend wel ought I for to be, Sith she the dore of that gardyne Hadde opened, and me leten inne. 700

Fiom hennes-forth, hou that I wroughte

1 Siren*. Cf. Odys*ty, xii. 37. 2 In so good * way.

I shal you tellen, as me thoughte.

First wherof Myrthe servede there,

And eke what folk there with hym were,

Withoute fable I wol discryve.

And of that gardyne eke as blyve

[ wole you tellen aftir this.

The faire fasoun 1 alle, ywys,

That wel y-wrought was for the nones,

I may not telle you alle at ones; 710

But as I may and can, I shalle

By ordre tellen you it alle.

Ful faire servise and eke ful swete These briddis maden as they sete. Layes of love, ful wel sownyng, They songen in their yarkonyng ;2 Summe high, and summe eke lowe songe Upon the braunches grene spronge. The swetnesse of her melodye Made al myn herte in reverye. jao And whan that I hadde herde, I trowe, These briddis syngyng on a rowe, Than myght I not withholde me That I ne wente inne for to see Sir Myrthe; for my desiryng Was hym to seen, over alle thyng, His countenaunce and his manere: That sight was tho to me ful dere.

Tho wente I forth on my right honde Doun by a lytel path I fonde 730

1 Fashion. • Jargon.


Of mentes 1 fulle, and fenelle grene;
And faste by, without wene,2
Sir Myrthe I fonde; and right anoon
Unto Sir Myrthe gan I goon,
There as he was hym to solace.
And with hym in that lusty place,
So faire folk and so fresh had he,
That whan I sawe, I wondrede me
Fro whenne siche folk myghte come,
So faire they weren alle and some; 740
For they were lyk, as to my sighte,
To angels, that ben fethered brighte.
This folk, of which I telle you soo,
Upon a karole * wenten thoo.
A lady karolede4 hem, that hyghte
Gladnesse, blisfulle, and the lighte.
Wei coude she synge and lustyly,
Noon half so wel and semely;
And couthe make in song sich refreynynge,
It sat hir wondir wel to synge. 750
Hir voice ful clere was and ful swete.
She was nought rude ne unmete,
But couthe6 ynow of sich doyng
As longeth ' unto karolyng:
For she was wont in every place
To syngen first, folk to solace,
For syngyng moost she gaf hir to;
No craft hadde she so leef to do.
Tho myghtist thou karoles sene,

< Hint. • Doubt. 1 Dauce. * Caroled • Knew. • BdongMk

And folke daunce and mery bene,
And made many a faire tournyng
Upon the grene gras springyng.
There myghtist thou see these flowtours,
Mynstrales, and eke jogelours,
That wel to synge dide her peyne.
Somme songe songes of Loreyne ;1
For in Loreyn her notes bee
Fulle swetter than in this contre.

There was many a tymbestere,*
And saillouris,* that I dar wel swere
Couthe her craft ful parfitly.
The tymbres up ful sotilly
They casten, and hente fulle ofte
Upon a fynger faire and softe,
That they failide never mo.
Ful fetys damyseles two,
Ryght yonge, and fulle of semelyhede,
In kirtles, and noon other wede,4
And faire tressed every tresse,
Hadde Myrthe doon, for his noblesse,
Amydde the karole for to daunce;
But herof lieth no remembraunce,
Hou that they dauncede queyntely.

That oon wolde come alle pryvyly \gayn * that other; and whan they were To-gidre almost, they threwe yfere' Her mouthis so, that thorgh her play

11 .jraioe. 1 Female player on the timbrel. s Dancers Itr, to project; Lat. sajir*, to jump, leap)- * Dress. 1

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