Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
The Garmond of Fair Ladies
By Robert Henryson (1430?–1506?)
WALD my gud Lady lufe me best,
  And wirk eftir my will,
I suld ane Garmond gudliest
  Gar mak hir body till.
Off hie honour suld be hir hud,        5
  Upoun hir heid to weir,
Garneist with governance so gud,
  Na demyng 1 suld hir deir. 2
Hir sark suld be hir body nixt,
  Of chestetie so quhyt,        10
With schame and dreid togidder mixt,
  The same suld be perfyt.
Hir kirtill suld be of clene constance,
  Lasit with lesum 3 lufe,
The mailyheis 4 of continuance        15
  For nevir to remufe.
Hir gown suld be of gudliness
  Weill ribband with renowne,
Purfillit with plesour in ilk place,
  Furrit with fyne fassoun. 5        20
Hir belt suld be of benignitie,
  About hir middill meit;
Hir mantill of humilitie,
  To tholl 6 bayth wind and weit.
Hir hat suld be of fair having        25
  And hir tepat 7 of trewth,
Hir patelet 8 of gude pansing, 9
  Hir hals-ribbane 10 of rewth.
Hir slevis suld be of esperance,
  To keip hir fra dispair;        30
Hir gluvis of the gud govirnance,
  To hyd hir fyngearis fair.
Hir schone 11 suld be of sickernes, 12
  In syne that scho nocht slyd;
Hir hoiss 13 of honestie, I ges,        35
  I suld for hir provyd.
Wald scho put on this Garmond gay,
  I durst sweir by my seill, 14
That scho woir nevir grene nor gray
  That set 15 hir half so weill.        40
Note 1. suspicion. [back]
Note 2. harm. [back]
Note 3. lawful. [back]
Note 4. eylet-holes. [back]
Note 5. good manners. [back]
Note 6. withstand. [back]
Note 7. tippet. [back]
Note 8. ruffet. [back]
Note 9. fair thought. [back]
Note 10. neck-ribband. [back]
Note 11. shoes. [back]
Note 12. security. [back]
Note 13. hosen. [back]
Note 14. soul. [back]
Note 15. suited. [back]

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