Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Extracts from Sixe Idillia: Helen’s Epithalamion
By Sir Edward Dyer (1543–1607)
 
LIKE as the rising morning shows a grateful lightening,
When sacred night is past and winter now lets loose the spring,
So glittering Helen shined among the maids, lusty and tall.
As is the furrow in a field that far outstretcheth all,
Or in a garden is a Cypress tree, or in a trace        5
A steed of Thessaly, so she to Sparta was a grace.
No damsel with such works as she her baskets used to fill,
Nor in a diverse coloured web a woof of greater skill
Doth cut from off the loom; nor any hath such songs and lays
Unto her dainty harp, in Dian’s and Minerva’s praise,        10
As Helen hath, in whose bright eyes all Loves and Graces be.
O fair, O lovely maid, a matron now is made of thee;
But we will every spring unto the leaves in meadows go
To gather garlands sweet, and there not with a little woe,
Will often think of thee, O Helen, as the sucking lambs        15
Desire the strouting bags and presence of their tender dams,
We all betimes for thee a wreath of Melitoe will knit,
And on a shady plane for thee will safely fasten it,
And all betimes for thee, under a shady plane below,
Out of a silver box the sweetest ointment will bestow;        20
And letters shall be written in the bark that men may see
And read, Do humble reverence, for I am Helen’s tree.
 
 
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