Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
V. Trees: Flowers: Plants
The Daisy
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400)
From the “Legend of Good Women”

  OF all the floures in the mede,
Than love I most these floures white and rede,
Soch that men callen daisies in our town;
To hem I have so great affection,
As I said erst, when comen is the May,        5
That in my bedde there daweth me no day
That I nam 1 up and walking in the mede,
To seene this flour ayenst the Sunne sprede,
Whan it up riseth early by the morrow.
That blissful sight softeneth all my sorrow,        10
So glad am I, whan that I have the presence
Of it, to done it all reverence,
And ever I love it, and ever ylike newe,
And ever shall, till that mine herte die
All swere I not, of this I will not lie.
*        *        *        *        *
  My busie gost, that thursteth alway newe,
To seen this flour so yong, so fresh of hew,
Constrained me, with so greedy desire,
That in my herte I fele yet the fire,
That made me rise ere it were day,        20
And this was now the first morow of May,
With dreadful 2 herte, and glad devotion
For to been at the resurrection
Of this floure, whan that it should unclose
Againe the Sunne, that rose as redde as rose.        25
And doune on knees anon right I me sette,
And as I could, this fresh floure I grette,
Kneeling alway, till it unclosed was,
Upon the small, soft, swete gras,
That was with floures swete embrouded all,        30
Of such swetenesse, and such odour overall
That for to speke of gomme, herbe, or tree,
Comparison may not ymaked be,
For it surmounteth plainly all odoures,
And of rich beaute of floures.        35
And Zephirus, and Flora gentelly,
Yave to these floures soft and tenderly,
His swote 3 breth, and made him for to sprede,
As god and goddesse of the flourie mede,
In which me thoughte I might day by day,        40
Dwellen alway, the joly month of May,
Withouten slepe, withouten meat or drinke:
Adoune full softly I gan to sinke,
And leaning on my elbow and my side,
The long day I shope me for to abide,        45
For nothing els, and I shall nat lie,
But for to looke upon the daisie,
That well by reason men it call may
The daisie, or els the eye of the day,
The empress and floure of floures all,        50
I pray to God that faire mote she fall,
And all that loven floures for her sake.
Note 1. I am not. [back]
Note 2. Fearful. [back]
Note 3. Sweet. [back]

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