Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Alexander Hume. 1560–1609
106. A Summer Day
O PERFECT Light, which shaid away 
  The darkness from the light, 
And set a ruler o'er the day, 
  Another o'er the night— 
Thy glory, when the day forth flies,         5
  More vively doth appear 
Than at mid day unto our eyes 
  The shining sun is clear. 
The shadow of the earth anon 
  Removes and drawis by,  10
While in the East, when it is gone, 
  Appears a clearer sky. 
Which soon perceive the little larks, 
  The lapwing and the snipe, 
And tune their songs, like Nature's clerks,  15
  O'er meadow, muir, and stripe. 
Our hemisphere is polisht clean, 
  And lighten'd more and more, 
While everything is clearly seen 
  Which seemit dim before:  20
Except the glistering astres bright, 
  Which all the night were clear, 
Offuskit with a greater light 
  No longer do appear. 
The golden globe incontinent  25
  Sets up his shining head, 
And o'er the earth and firmament 
  Displays his beams abread. 
For joy the birds with boulden throats 
  Against his visage sheen  30
Take up their kindly musick notes 
  In woods and gardens green. 
The dew upon the tender crops, 
  Like pearlis white and round, 
Or like to melted silver drops,  35
  Refreshis all the ground. 
The misty reek, the clouds of rain, 
  From tops of mountains skails, 
Clear are the highest hills and plain, 
  The vapours take the vales.  40
The ample heaven of fabrick sure 
  In cleanness does surpass 
The crystal and the silver pure, 
  Or clearest polisht glass. 
The time so tranquil is and still  45
  That nowhere shall ye find, 
Save on a high and barren hill, 
  An air of peeping wind. 
All trees and simples, great and small, 
  That balmy leaf do bear,  50
Than they were painted on a wall 
  No more they move or steir. 
Calm is the deep and purple sea, 
  Yea, smoother than the sand; 
The waves that weltering wont to be  55
  Are stable like the land. 
So silent is the cessile air 
  That every cry and call 
The hills and dales and forest fair 
  Again repeats them all.  60
The flourishes and fragrant flowers, 
  Through Phoebus' fostering heat, 
Refresht with dew and silver showers 
  Cast up an odour sweet. 
The cloggit busy humming bees,  65
  That never think to drone, 
On flowers and flourishes of trees 
  Collect their liquor brown. 
The Sun, most like a speedy post 
  With ardent course ascends;  70
The beauty of the heavenly host 
  Up to our zenith tends. 
The burning beams down from his face 
  So fervently can beat, 
That man and beast now seek a place  75
  To save them from the heat. 
The herds beneath some leafy tree 
  Amidst the flowers they lie; 
The stable ships upon the sea 
  Tend up their sails to dry.  80
With gilded eyes and open wings 
  The cock his courage shows; 
With claps of joy his breast he dings, 
  And twenty times he crows. 
The dove with whistling wings so blue  85
  The winds can fast collect; 
Her purple pens turn many a hue 
  Against the sun direct. 
Now noon is went; gone is midday, 
  The heat doth slake at last;  90
The sun descends down West away, 
  For three of clock is past. 
The rayons of the sun we see 
  Diminish in their strength; 
The shade of every tower and tree  95
  Extendit is in length. 
Great is the calm, for everywhere 
  The wind is setting down; 
The reek throws right up in the air 
  From every tower and town. 100
The gloming comes; the day is spent; 
  The sun goes out of sight; 
And painted is the occident 
  With purple sanguine bright. 
Our west horizon circular 105
  From time the sun be set 
Is all with rubies, as it were, 
  Or roses red o'erfret. 
What pleasure were to walk and see, 
  Endlong a river clear, 110
The perfect form of every tree 
  Within the deep appear. 
O then it were a seemly thing, 
  While all is still and calm, 
The praise of God to play and sing 115
  With cornet and with shalm! 
All labourers draw home at even, 
  And can to other say, 
Thanks to the gracious God of heaven, 
  Which sent this summer day. 120
GLOSS:  shaid] parted.  stripe] rill.  offuskit] darkened.  boulden] swollen.  sheen] bright.  skails] clears.  simples] herbs.  cessile] yielding, ceasing.  flourishes] blossoms.
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