A Lovely Morning in May

strange dunbarTaken from “The Golden Targe,” by William Dunbar

Right as the star of day began to shine,
When gone to bed were Vesper and Lucine,
I rose and by a rosere did me rest.
Up sprang the golden candle matutine
With clear depured beamis cristalline
Glading the merry fowlis in their next.
Ere Phebus was in purple cape revest
Up rose the lark, the heaven’s minstrel fine,
In May into a morrow mirthfullest.


Full angel-like these birdis sang their hours
Within their curtains green into their bowers
Appareled white and red with bloomis sweet;
Enameled was the field with all colours.
The pearly droppis shook in silver showers,
While all in balm did branch and leavis flete.
To part from Phoebus did Aurora grete
Her crystal tears I saw hang on the flowers.
Which he for love all drank up with his heat.


For mirth of May with skippis and with hops
The birdis sang upon the tender crops
With curious note, as Venus’ chapel clerks.
The rosis young, new spreading of their knops,
Were powdered bright with heavenly beryl drops
Through beamis red burning as ruby sparks.
The skies rang for shouting of the larks,
The purple heaven, o’ersealed in silver slops,
O’ergilt the trees’ branchis, leaf, and barks.


Down through the ryce a river ran with streams
So lustily against those lykand leams
That all the lake as lamp did leam of light
Which shadowed all about with twinkling gleams.
The boughs bathed were in second beams
Through the reflext of Phoebus’ visage bright.
On every side the hedges rose on hight,
The bank was green, the brook was full of breams,
The stanners clear as stars in frosty night.


The crystal air, the sapphire firmament,
The ruby skies of orient,
Cast beryl beams on emerald boughis green.
The rosy garth, depaint and redolent,
With purple, azure, gold, and gulis gent
Arrayed was by Dame Flora, the queen,
So nobily that joy was for to seen
The rock against the river resplendent;
As low enlumined all the leavis sheen.

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