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
 
From the Prologue to The Dreme
By Sir David Lindsay (1490?–1555)
 
EFTER that I the lang wynteris nycht
  Had lyne walking, 1 in to my bed, allone,
Throuch hevy thocht, that no way sleip 2 I mycht,
  Rememberyng of divers thyngis gone:
  So, up I rose, and clethit me anone;        5
Be this, fair Tytane with his lemis 3 lycht
Ouer all the land had spred his baner brycht.
 
With cloke and hude I dressit me belyve, 4
  With dowbyll schone, and myttanis on my handis:
Howbeit the air was rycht penetrative,        10
  Yit fure I furth, lansing ouirhorte 5 the landis,
  Toward the see, to schorte 6 me on the sandis;
Because unblomit was baith bank and braye,
And so, as I was passing be the waye,
 
I met dame Flora, in dule weid dissagysit, 7        15
  Quhilk into May wes dulce, and delectabyll;
With stalwart stormis, hir sweitnes wes supprisit;
  Hir hevynlie hewis war turnit into sabyll,
  Quhilkis umquhile war to luffaris 8 amiabyll.
Fled frome the froste, the tender flouris I saw,        20
Under dame Naturis mantyll, lurking law. 9
*        *        *        *        *
Pensyve in hart, passing full soberlie
  Unto the see, fordward I fure anone;
The see was furth, the sand wes smooth and drye;
  Then up and doune I musit myne allone,        25
  Tyll that I spyit ane lyttill cave of stone,
Heych in ane craig: upwart I did approche.
But tarying, and clam up in the roche:
 
And purposit, for passing of the tyme,
  Me to defend from ociositie        30
With pen and paper to register in ryme
  Sum mery mater of Antiquitie:
  Bot Idelnes, ground of iniquitie,
Scho maid so dull my spreitis, me within,
That I wyste nocht at quhat end to begin.        35
 
But satt styll in that cove, quhare I mycht see
  The wolteryng of the wallis 10 up and down;
And this fals Warldis instabylytie
  Unto that see makkand 11 comparisoun,
  And of this Warldis wracheit variatioun        40
To thame that fixis all thair hole intent,
Consideryng quho most had suld most repent.
 
So, with my hude my hede I happit warme,
  And in my cloke I fauldit boith my feit;
I thocht my corps with cauld suld tak no harme,        45
  My mittanis held my handis weill in heit;
  The skowland craig me coverit frome the sleit:
Thare styll I satt, my bonis for to rest,
Tyll Morpheus, with sleip, my spreit opprest.
 
So throw the bousteous 12 blastis of Eolus,        50
  And throw my walkyng on the nycht before,
And throw the seyis movyng marvellous
  Be Neptunus, with mony route and rore,
  Constrainit I was to sleip, withouttin more:
And quhat I dremit, in conclusion        55
I sall you tell, ane marvellous Visioun.
 
Note 1. waking. [back]
Note 2. Observe the use of ei for several southern vowel-sounds. [back]
Note 3. rays. [back]
Note 4. at once. [back]
Note 5. athwart. [back]
Note 6. amuse. [back]
Note 7. disguised. [back]
Note 8. lovers. [back]
Note 9. low. [back]
Note 10. waves. [back]
Note 11. Northern participial form. [back]
Note 12. boisterous. [back]
 
 
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