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
Extracts from The Palice of Honour: A Desert Terrible
By Gawain Douglas (c. 1474–1522)
  MY rauist spreit 1 in that desert terribill,
Approchit neir that vglie flude horribill,
Like till 2 Cochyte the riuer infernall,
With vile water quhilk maid a hiddious trubil,
Rinnand ouirheid, blude reid, and impossibill        5
That it had been a riuer naturall;
With brayis 3 bair, raif 4 rochis like to fall,
Quhairon na gers 5 nor herbis were visibill,
Bot swappis 6 brint with blastis boriall.
  This laithlie flude rumland as thonder routit,        10
In quhome the fisch ȝelland 7 as eluis schoutit,
Thair ȝelpis wilde my heiring all fordeifit,
Thay grym monstures my spreits abhorrit and doutit.
Not throw the soyl bot muskane 8 treis sproutit,
Combust, barrant, vnblomit and vnleifit,        15
Auld rottin runtis quhairin na sap was leifit,
Moch, all waist, widderit with granis moutit,
A ganand 9 den, quhair murtherars men reifit. 10
  Quhairfoir my seluin was richt sair agast,
This wildernes abhominabill and waist,        20
(In quhome nathing was nature comfortand)
Was dark as rock, the quhilk the sey vpcast.
The quhissilling wind blew mony bitter blast,
Runtis rattillit and vneith 11 micht I stand.
Out throw the wod I crap on fute and hand,        25
The riuer stank, the treis clatterit fast.
The soyl was nocht bot marres, 12 slike, 13 and sand.
Note 1. ravished spirit. [back]
Note 2. to. [back]
Note 3. braes, slopes. [back]
Note 4. riven. [back]
Note 5. grass. [back]
Note 6. sedges. [back]
Note 7. screaming. [back]
Note 8. rotten. [back]
Note 9. proper. [back]
Note 10. rob. [back]
Note 11. scarcely. [back]
Note 12. marsh. [back]
Note 13. slime. [back]

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