Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
Minstrel’s Marriage-Song (from Œlla: a Tragical Interlude)
By Thomas Chatterton (1752–1770)
 
First Minstrel.
THE BUDDING floweret blushes at the light:
  The meads are sprinkled with the yellow hue;
In daisied mantles is the mountain dight;
  The slim 1 young cowslip bendeth with the dew;
The trees enleafèd, into heaven straught,        5
When gentle winds do blow, to whistling din are brought.
 
The evening comes and brings the dew along;
  The ruddy welkin sheeneth to the eyne;
Around the ale-stake minstrels sing the song;
  Young ivy round the doorpost doth entwine;        10
I lay me on the grass; yet, to my will,
Albeit all is fair, there lacketh something still.
 
Second Minstrel.
So Adam thought, what time, in Paradise,
  All heaven and earth did homage to his mind.
In woman and none else man’s pleasaunce lies,        15
  As instruments of joy are kind with kind. 2
Go, take a wife unto thine arms, and see,
Winter and dusky hills will have a charm for thee.
 
Third Minstrel.
When Autumn stript and sunburnt doth appear,
  With his gold hand gilding the falling leaf,        20
Bringing up Winter to fulfil the year,
  Bearing upon his back the ripened sheaf;
When all the hills with woody seed are white;
When levin-fires and gleams do meet from far the sight;—
 
When the fair apples, red as even-sky,        25
  Do bend the tree unto the fruitful ground;
When juicy pears and berries of black dye
  Do dance in air and call the eyes around;
Then, be it evening foul or evening fair,
Methinks my joy of heart is shadowed with some care.        30
 
Second Minstrel.
Angels are wrought to be of neither kind;
  Angels alone from hot desire are free;
There is a somewhat ever in the mind,
  That, without woman, cannot stillèd be:
No saint in cell, but, having blood and cheer, 3        35
Doth find the spirit joy in sight of woman fair.
 
Women are made not for themselves but man,—
  Bone of his bone and child of his desire;
They from an useless member first began,
  Y-wrought with much of water, little fire;        40
Therefore they seek the fire of love, to heat
The milkiness of kind, and make themselves complete.
 
Albeit, without women, men were peers
  To savage kind, and would but live to slay;
Yet woman oft the spirit of peace so cheers,—        45
  Dowered with angelic joy, true angels they. 4
Go, take thee straightway to thy bed a wife;
Be banned, or highly blest, in proving marriage-life.
 
Note 1. ‘Nesh,’ tender.—Chatterton. [back]
Note 2.
  ‘Ynn womman alleyne mannès pleasaunce lyes,
As instruments of joie were made the kynde.’
Chatterton.    
 [back]
Note 3. ‘Tere.’ health.—Chatterton. [back]
Note 4. ‘Tochelod yn Angel joie heie (they) Angeles bee.’—Chatterton. [back]
 
 
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