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The Goldyn Targe

Ryght as the stern of day begouth to schyne,
Quhen gone to bed war Vesper and Lucyne,
I raise and by a rosere did me rest.
Up sprang the goldyn candill matutyne
With clere depurit bemes cristallyne
Glading the mery foulis in thair nest.
Or Phebus was in purpur cape revest
Up raise the lark, the hevyns menstrale fyne,
In May intill a morow myrthfullest.

Full angel-like thir birdis sang thair houris
Within thair courtyns grene into thair bouris
Apparalit quhite and rede wyth blomes suete;
Anamalit was the felde wyth all colouris.
The perly droppis schuke in silvir schouris,
Quhill all in balme did branch and levis flete.
To part fra Phebus did Aurora grete –
Hir cristall teris I saw hyng on the flouris,
Quhilk he for lufe all drank up wyth his hete.

For mirth of May wyth skippis and wyth hoppis
The birdis sang upon the tender croppis
With curiouse note, as Venus chapell clerkis.
The rosis yong, new spreding of thair knopis,
War powderit brycht with hevinly beriall droppis
Throu bemes rede birnyng as ruby sperkis.
The skyes rang for schoutying of the larkis,
The purpur hevyn, ourscailit in silvir sloppis,
Ourgilt the treis branchis, lef, and barkis.

Doun throu the ryce a ryvir ran wyth stremys
So lustily agayn thai lykand lemys
That all the lake as lamp did leme of licht,
Quhilk schadowit all about wyth twynkling glemis.
The bewis bathit war in secund bemys
Throu the reflex of Phebus visage brycht.
On every syde the hegies raise on hicht,
The bank was grene, the bruke was full of bremys,
The stanneris clere as stern in frosty nycht.

The cristall air, the sapher firmament,
The ruby skyes of the orient,
Kest beriall bemes on emerant bewis grene.
The rosy garth, depaynt and redolent,
With purpur, azure, gold, and goulis gent
Arayed was by Dame Flora, the quene,
So nobily that joy was for to sene
The roch agayn the rivir resplendent,
As low enlumynit all the leves schene.

Quhat throu the mery foulys armony
And throu the ryveris soun rycht ran me by,
On Florais mantill I slepit as I lay;
Quhare sone into my dremes fantasy
I saw approch agayn the orient sky
A saill als quhite as blossum upon spray,
Wyth merse of gold brycht as the stern of day,
Quhilk tendit to the land full lustily,
As falcoun swift desyrouse of hir pray.

And hard on burd unto the blomyt medis
Amang the grene rispis and the redis
Arrivit sche; quhar fro anon thare landis
Ane hundreth ladyes, lusty into wedis,
Als fresch as flouris that in May up spredis,
In kirtillis grene, withoutyn kell or bandis.
Thair brycht hairis hang gleting on the strandis
In tressis clere, wyppit wyth goldyn thredis,
With pappis quhite and mydlis small as wandis.

Discrive I wald, bot quho coud wele endyte
How all the feldis wyth thai lilies quhite
Depaynt war brycht, quhilk to the hevyn did glete?
Noucht thou, Omer, als fair as thou coud wryte,
For all thine ornate stilis so perfyte.
Nor yit thou, Tullius, quhois lippis swete
Of rethorike did into termes flete.
Your aureate tongis both bene all to lyte
For to compile that paradise complete.

Thare saw I Nature and Venus, quene and quene,
The fresch Aurora and Lady Flora schene,
Juno, Appollo, and Proserpyna,
Dyane, the goddesse chaste of woddis grene,
My Lady Cleo, that help of makaris bene,
Thetes, Pallas, and prudent Minerva,
Fair feynit Fortune, and lemand Lucina.
Thir mychti quenis in crounis mycht be sene
Wyth bemys blith, bricht as Lucifera.

Thare saw I May, of myrthfull monethis quene,
Betuix Aprile and June hir sistir schene,
Within the gardyng walking up and doun,
Quham of the foulis gladdith all bedene.
Scho was full tender in hir yeris grene.
Thare saw I Nature present hir a goun
Rich to behald and nobil of renoun,
Of eviry hew under the hevin that bene,
Depaynt and broud be gude proporcioun.

Full lustily thir ladyes all in fere
Enterit within this park of most plesere,
Quhare that I lay ourhelit wyth levis ronk.
The mery foulis blisfullest of chere
Salust Nature, me thoucht, on thair manere;
And eviry blome on branch and eke on bonk
Opnyt and spred thair balmy levis donk,
Full low enclynyng to thair quene so clere
Quham of thair noble norising thay thonk.

Syne to Dame Flora on the samyn wyse
Thay saluse and thay thank a thousand syse,
And to Dame Venus, lufis mychti quene,
Thay sang ballettis in lufe, as was the gyse,
With amourouse notis lusty to devise
As thay that had lufe in thair hertis grene.
Thair hony throtis opnyt fro the splene
With werblis suete did perse the hevinly skyes,
Quhill loud resownyt the firmament serene.

Aneothir court thare saw I consequent
Cupide the king, wyth bow in hand ybent
And dredefull arowis grundyn scharp and square.
Thare saw I Mars the god armypotent,
Aufull and sterne, strong and corpolent.
Thare saw I crabbit Saturn, ald and haire –
His luke was lyke for to perturb the aire.
Thare was Mercurius, wise and eloquent,
Of rethorike that fand the flouris faire.

Thare was the god of gardingis, Priapus,
Thare was the god of wildernes, Phanus,
And Janus, god of entree delytable.
Thare was the god of fludis, Neptunus,
Thare was the god of wyndis, Eolus,
With variand luke rycht lyke a lord unstable.
Thare was Bacus, the gladder of the table,
There was Pluto, the elrich incubus,
In cloke of grene – his court usit no sable –

And eviry one of thir in grene arayit.
On harp or lute full merily thai playit,
And sang ballettis with michty notis clere.
Ladyes to dance full sobirly assayit,
Endlang the lusty ryvir so thai mayit
Thair observance rycht hevynly was to here.
Than crap I throu the levis and drew nere
Quhare that I was rycht sudaynly affrayt,
All throu a luke quhilk I have boucht full dere.

And schortly for to speke, be lufis quene
I was aspyit. Scho bad hir archearis kene
Go me arrest, and thay no tyme delayit.
Than ladyes fair lete fall thair mantillis grene,
With bowis big in tressit hairis schene
All sudaynly thay had a felde arayit.
And yit rycht gretly was I noucht affrayit,
The party was so plesand for to sene.
A wonder lusty bikkir me assayit.

And first of all with bow in hand ybent
Come Dame Beautee, rycht as scho wald me schent.
Syne folowit all hir dameselis yfere,
With mony diverse aufull instrument.
Unto the pres Fair Having wyth hir went,
Fyne Portrature, Plesance, and Lusty Chere.
Than come Resoun with schelde of gold so clere;
In plate and maille as Mars armypotent,
Defendit me that nobil chevallere.

Syne tender Youth come wyth hir virgyns ying,
Grene Innocence, and schamefull Abaising,
And quaking Drede wyth humble obedience.
The goldyn targe harmyt thay nothing.
Curage in thame was noucht begonne to spring,
Full sore thay dred to done a violence.
Suete Womanhede I saw cum in presence –
Of artilye a warld sche did in bring,
Servit wyth ladyes full of reverence.

Sche led wyth hir Nurture and Lawlynes,
Contenence, Pacience, Gude Fame, and Stedfastnes,
Discrecioun, Gentrise, and Considerance,
Levefull Company, and Honest Besynes,
Benigne Luke, Mylde Chere, and Sobirnes:
All thir bure ganyeis to do me grevance.
Bot Reson bure the targe wyth sik constance,
Thair scharp assayes mycht do no dures
To me, for all thair aufull ordynance.

Unto the pres persewit Hie Degree:
Hir folowit ay Estate and Dignitee,
Comparisoun, Honour, and Noble Array,
Will, Wantonnes, Renoun, and Libertee,
Richesse, Fredome, and eke Nobilitee.
Wit ye thay did thair baner hye display.
A cloud of arowis as hayle schour lousit thay,
And schot quhill wastit was thair artilye,
Syne went abak reboytit of thair pray.

Quhen Venus had persavit this rebute,
Dissymilance scho bad go mak persute
At all powere to perse the goldyn targe;
And scho, that was of doubilnes the rute,
Askit hir choise of archeris in refute.
Venus the best bad hir go wale at large.
Scho tuke Presence, plicht anker of the barge,
And Fair Callyng, that wele a flayn coud schute,
And Cherising for to complete hir charge.

Dame Hamelynes scho tuke in company,
That hardy was and hende in archery,
And broucht Dame Beautee to the felde agayn
With all the choise of Venus chevalry.
Thay come and bikkerit unabaisitly –
The schour of arowis rappit on as rayn.
Perilouse Presence, that mony syre has slayn,
The bataill broucht on bordour hard us by.
The salt was all the sarar, suth to sayn.

Thik was the schote of grundyn dartis kene,
Bot Resoun, with the scheld of gold so schene,
Warly defendit quhosoevir assayit.
The aufull stoure he manly did sustene,
Quhill Presence kest a pulder in his ene;
And than as drunkyn man he all forvayit.
Quhen he was blynd, the fule wyth him thay playit
And banyst hym amang the bewis grene.
That sory sicht me sudaynly affrayit.

Than was I woundit to the deth wele nere,
And yoldyn as a wofull prisonnere
To Lady Beautee in a moment space.
Me thoucht scho semyt lustiar of chere
(Efter that Resoun tynt had his eyne clere)
Than of before, and lufliare of face.
Quhy was thou blyndit, Resoun, quhi, allace?
And gert ane hell my paradise appere,
And mercy seme quhare that I fand no grace.

Dissymulance was besy me to sile,
And Fair Calling did oft apon me smyle,
And Cherising me fed wyth wordis fair.
New Acquyntance enbracit me a quhile
And favouryt me, quhill men mycht go a myle,
Syne tuke hir leve, I saw hir nevirmare.
Than saw I Dangere toward me repair.
I coud eschew hir presence be no wyle,
On syde scho lukit wyth ane fremyt fare.

And at the last Departing coud hir dresse,
And me delyverit unto Hevynesse
For to remayne, and scho in cure me tuke.
Be this the lord of wyndis with wodenes,
God Eolus, his bugill blew I gesse,
That with the blast the levis all toschuke.
And sudaynly in the space of a luke
All was hyne went – thare was bot wildernes,
Thare was no more bot birdis, bank, and bruke.

In twynklyng of ane eye to schip thai went,
And swyth up saile unto the top thai stent,
And with swift course atour the flude thai frak.
Thai fyrit gunnis with powder violent
Till that the reke raise to the firmament.
The rochis all resownyt wyth the rak,
For rede it semyt that the raynbow brak.
Wyth spirit affrayde apon my fete I sprent
Amang the clewis, so carefull was the crak.

And as I did awake of my sweving,
The joyfull birdis merily did syng
For myrth of Phebus tender bemes schene.
Suete war the vapouris, soft the morowing,
Halesum the vale depaynt wyth flouris ying,
The air attemperit, sobir, and amene.
In quhite and rede was all the felde besene
Throu Naturis nobil fresch anamalyng
In mirthfull May, of eviry moneth quene.

O reverend Chaucere, rose of rethoris all,
As in oure tong ane flour imperiall
That raise in Britane, evir quho redis rycht,
Thou beris of makaris the tryumph riall,
Thy fresch anamalit termes celicall
This mater coud illumynit haue full brycht.
Was thou noucht of oure Inglisch all the lycht,
Surmounting eviry tong terrestriall,
Alls fer as Mayes morow dois mydnycht?

O morall Gower and Ludgate laureate,
Your sugurit lippis and tongis aureate
Bene to oure eris cause of grete delyte.
Your angel mouthis most mellifluate
Oure rude langage has clere illumynate,
And fair ourgilt oure spech that imperfyte
Stude or your goldyn pennis schupe to write.
This ile before was bare and desolate
Of rethorike or lusty fresch endyte.

Thou lytill quair, be evir obedient,
Humble, subject, and symple of entent
Before the face of eviry connyng wicht.
I knaw quhat thou of rethorike hes spent.
Of all hir lusty rosis redolent
Is non into thy gerland sett on hicht.
Eschame tharof and draw thee out of sicht.
Rude is thy wede, disteynit, bare, and rent;
Wele aucht thou be aferit of the licht.

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The Goldyn Targe - WILLIAM DUNBAR