Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Edmund Spenser. 1552–1599
  
80. A Ditty
In praise of Eliza, Queen of the Shepherds
  
SEE where she sits upon the grassie greene, 
        (O seemely sight!) 
Yclad in Scarlot, like a mayden Queene, 
        And ermines white: 
Upon her head a Cremosin coronet         5
With Damaske roses and Daffadillies set: 
        Bay leaves betweene, 
        And primroses greene, 
Embellish the sweete Violet. 
 
Tell me, have ye seene her angelick face  10
        Like Phoebe fayre? 
Her heavenly haveour, her princely grace, 
        Can you well compare? 
The Redde rose medled with the White yfere, 
In either cheeke depeincten lively chere:  15
        Her modest eye, 
        Her Majestie, 
Where have you seene the like but there? 
 
I see Calliope speede her to the place, 
        Where my Goddesse shines;  20
And after her the other Muses trace 
        With their Violines. 
Bene they not Bay braunches which they do beare, 
All for Elisa in her hand to weare? 
        So sweetely they play,  25
        And sing all the way, 
That it a heaven is to heare. 
 
Lo, how finely the Graces can it foote 
        To the Instrument: 
They dauncen deffly, and singen soote,  30
        In their meriment. 
Wants not a fourth Grace to make the daunce even? 
Let that rowme to my Lady be yeven. 
        She shal be a Grace, 
        To fyll the fourth place,  35
And reigne with the rest in heaven. 
 
Bring hether the Pincke and purple Cullambine, 
        With Gelliflowres; 
Bring Coronations, and Sops-in-wine 
        Worne of Paramoures:  40
Strowe me the ground with Daffadowndillies, 
And Cowslips, and Kingcups, and lovèd Lillies: 
        The pretie Pawnce, 
        And the Chevisaunce, 
Shall match with the fayre flowre Delice.  45
 
Now ryse up, Elisa, deckèd as thou art 
        In royall aray; 
And now ye daintie Damsells may depart 
        Eche one her way. 
I feare I have troubled your troupes to longe:  50
Let dame Elisa thanke you for her song: 
        And if you come hether 
        When Damsines I gether, 
I will part them all you among. 
 
GLOSS:  medled] mixed.  yfere] together.  soote] sweet.  coronations] carnations.  sops-in-wine] striped pinks.  pawnce] pansy.  chevisaunce] wallflower.  flowre delice] iris.
 
 
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