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The ladies dress’d in rich fymars were seen Of Florence fattin, flower'd with white and green, And for a shade betwixt the bloomy gridelin. The borders of their petticoats below Were guarded thick with rubies on a row; And ev'ry damfel wore upon her head Of fiow’rs a garland blended white and red Attir'd in mantles all the knights were seen, That gratify'd the view with chearful green Their chaplets of their ladies colors were, Compos'd of white and red, to shade their shining
hair. Before the merry troop the minstrels play'd; All in their master's liv’ries were array’d, And clad in green, and on their temples wore The chaplets white and red their ladies bore. Their instruments were various in their kind, Some for the bow, and some for breathing wind: The sawtry, pipe, and hautboy's noisy band, And the soft lute trembling beneath the touching
hand. A tuft of daisies on a flow'ry lay They saw, and thitherward they bent their way; Tothis both knights and dames their homage made, And due obeisance to the daily paid.
And then the band of Autes began to play,
To which a lady sung a virelay :
And still at ev'ry close she would repeat
The burden of the song, The daisy is so sweet.
The daily is so sweet, when the begun,
The troop of knights and dames continu'd on.
The confort and the voice so charm'd my ear,
And sooth'd my soul, that it was heav'n to hear.
But soon their pleasure pass’d: at noon of day,
The fun with sultry beams began to play:
Not Sirius shoots a fiercer flame from high,
When with his pois’nous breath he blasts the sky:
Then droop'd the fading flow'rs (their beauty fled))
And clos'd their fickly eyes, and hung the head;
And rivell d up with heat, lay dying in their bed.)
The ladies gasp'd, and scarcely could respire;
The breath they drew, no longer air, but fire;
The fainty knights were scorch'd; and knew not
To run for shelter, for no shade was near;
And after this the gathering clouds amain
Pour'd down a storm of rattling hail and rain :
And lightning flash'd betwixt: the field, and flow'rs,
Burnt up before, were buried in the show'rs.
The ladies and the knights, no shelter nigh,
Bare to the weather and the wintry sky,
Were dropping wet, disconfolate, and wan,
And thro' their thin array, receiv'd the rain;
While those in white protected by the tree
Saw pass in vain th' assault, and stood from danger
But as compassion mov'd their gentle minds,
When ceas'd the storm, and filent were the winds,
Displeas'd at what, not fuffring, they had seen,
They went to chear the faction of the green:
before her band,
Saluting, took her rival by the hand;
So did the knights and dames, with courtly grace,
And with behaviour sweet their foes embrace,
Then thus the queen with laurel on her brow,
Fair filter I have suffer'd in your woe;
Nor shall be wanting ought within my pow'r
your relief in my refreshing bow'r.
That other answer'd with a lowly look,
And soon the gracious invitation took :
For ill at ease both the and all her train
The scorching fun had born, and beating rain.
Like courtesy was us'd by all in white,
Each dame a dame receiv'd, and ev'ry knight a
knight. The laurel champions with their swords invade The neighb'ring forests, where thejusts were made,
And serewood from the rotten hedges took,
And seeds of latent fire, from flints provoke :
A chearful blaze arose, and by the fire
They warm’d their frozen feet, and dry'd their
Refresh'd with heat, the ladies sought around
For virtuousherbs, which gather'd from the ground
They squeez'd the juice, and cooling ointment
Which on their fun-burnt cheeks, and their chapt
skins they laid :
Then soughtgreen falads, which theybade them eat,
A sovereign remedy for inward heat.
The lady of the leaf ordain'd a feast,
And made the lady of the flow'r her guest :
When lo, a bow'r ascended on the plain,
With sudden seats ordain'd, and large for either
This bow'r was near my pleasant arbor plac'd,
That I could hear and see whatever pass'd :
The ladies fat with each a knight between,
Distinguish'd by their colors, white and green ;
The vanquish'd party with the victors join'd,
Nor wanted sweet discourse the banquet of the mind.
Mean time the minstrels play'd on either side,
Vain of their art, and for the mastery vy'd :
The sweet contention lasted for an hour;
secret arbor from the bow'r. The sun was fet ; and Vesper, to supply His absent beams, had lighted up the sky. When Philomel officious all the day To sing the fervice of th' ensuing May, Fled from her laurel shade, and wing’d her flight Directly to the queen array d'in white: And hopping fat familiar on her hand, A new musician, and increas'd the band.
The goldfinch, who, to fhun the fcalding heat, Had chang'd the medlar for a fafer feat, And hid in buthes "fcap'd the bitter show'r, Now perch'd upon the lady of the flow'r; And either fongfter holding out their throats, And folding up their wings, renew'd their notes : As if all day, preluding to the fight, They only had rehears'd, to sing by night: The banquet ended, and the battle done, They danc'd by star-light and the friendly moon : And when they were to part, the laureat queen Supply'd with steeds the lady of the green, Her and her train conducting on the way, The moon to follow, and avoid the day.
This when I saw, inquisitive to know The secret moral of the mystique show,