Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Extract from Polyolbion: ‘The Naiads and the nymphs extremely overjoy’d’
By Michael Drayton (1563–1631)
 
[Song xv. l. 147.]

THE NAIADS and the nymphs extremely overjoy’d,
And on the winding banks all busily employ’d,
Upon this joyful day, some dainty chaplets twine:
Some others chosen out, with fingers neat and fine,
Brave anadems do make: some baldrics up do bind:        5
Some, garlands: and to some the nosegays were assigned
As best their skill did serve. But for that Thame should be
Still man-like as himself, therefore they will that he
Should not be drest with flowers to garden that belong
(His bride that better fit), but only such as sprung        10
From the replenish’d meads and fruitful pastures near.
To sort which flowers, some sit, some making garlands were;
The primrose placing first, because that in the spring
It is the first appears, then only flourishing;
The azur’d hare-bell next with them they neatly mix’d,        15
T’ allay whose luscious smell they woodbind plac’d betwixt.
Amongst those things of scent, there prick they in the lily:
And near to that again her sister daffodilly.
To sort these flowers of show, with th’ other that were sweet,
The cowslip then they couch, and the oxlip for her meet:        20
The columbine amongst they sparingly do set,
The yellow kingcup wrought in many a curious fret,
And now and then among, of eglantine a spray,
By which again a course of lady-smocks they lay:
The crow-flower, and thereby the clover flower they stick,        25
The daisy, over all those sundry sweets so thick,
As Nature doth herself to imitate her right:
Who seems in that her pearl so greatly to delight,
That every plain therewith she powd’reth to behold:
The crimson darnel flowers, the blue-bottle and gold,        30
Which though esteem’d but weeds, yet for their dainty hues,
And for their scent not ill, they for this purpose choose.
Thus having told you how the bridegroom Thame was drest,
I ’ll show you how the bride fair Isis was invest;
Sitting to be attired under her bower of state,        35
Which scorns a meaner sort than fits a princely rate,
In anadems, for whom they curiously dispose
The red, the dainty white, the goodly damask rose;
For the rich ruby, pearl, and amethyst, men place
In kings’ imperial crowns, the circle that enchase.        40
The brave carnation then, with sweet and sovereign power
(So of his colour call’d, although a July flower),
With th’ other of his kind, the speckled and the pale:
Then th’ odoriferous pink, that sends forth such a gale
Of sweetness; yet in scents as various as in sorts.        45
The purple violet then, the pansy there supports:
The marygold above t’ adorn the arched bar:
The double daisy, thrift, the button-bachelor,
Sweet-william, sops-in-wine, the campion: and to these
Some lavender they put, with rosemary and bays:        50
Sweet marjoram, with her like, sweet basil rare for smell,
With many a flower, whose name were now too long to tell:
And rarely with the rest, the goodly fleur-de-lis.
 
 
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