George Dyer

(1755 - 1841 / England)

To A Lady, Requesting Some Verses On The Birth Of Her Sister's First Born Child - Poem by George Dyer

Damzell, right wel ye wot, that I of yore
Forlorne the hilles, and plaines, and silver springes,
And oaten pipe, a fon at tuneful lore,
And now am close — ypent o'er auncient thinges;
(Eld that mought michel muse, is slowe to sing)
Stil ye, as in dispite, persyste to saie,
My sister's newe-born sonne fit subject bringes:
Colin, be once againe, as whilome gaie,
The litell frenne is come, and claymes your roundelaie.

Heare tho' my roundelaie; or rather heare
What youthly I heard by browne Sibyl sung,
Beside an impe, y-rock'd by moder deare;
Whyles I, as fix'd by spel, y-wondering hung,
To weet, what wysdome flow'd from Beldame's tongue.
The powers of hearbes she couth, als fortunes told;
And now fro meddled hearbes shee juices prest
In mazer mirke and brade; and eke shee roll'd
Upwardes her blacke bold eyen, as with Heav'n's counsels blest.

The juices meynt, she ever and anon
Into hem dipt her finger, and eche time
With fixt arch eie prophetic gazine on,
Touch'd that Impe's face, redding a charmed rime—
'—With Genius rathe, but ne too hie to climbe—
—With so moche richesse, as a wight mought crave—
—With wizzard lear, but moe of motherr sense—
—With so much beautie, as man neede have—
—And witt, that ne can give no honest heart offence.

'—A warrfare brave, but ne in bloodie fielde—
(In vallie lowlie lyves lyfe's lustie tree)
—Caution to warre with daunger, dreed to yielde—
—In Love's sweet Faerie-Lond awhyle to bee—
Tho gang to Hymen's court with buxom glee:
Lo! in the welkin bryghte a bickerying cloud;
Joyaunce aye linckt with bale, pleasaunce with payne;
Musyc mote han its notes both lowe and lowde;
And Lyfe is an excheat; and Death to all gives shrowd.'

Tho louting revrendly with matron grace,
Shee took the gentle parent by the hond;
And castyng with prophetic eyne her face,
Sain'd mystic meanings, but in language blond:—
'Thilke impe ben true-love's gage, if ryght I trace:
Heart linckt with heart, and minde with mind agree;—
Lyfe is a traveil; keepe peregall pace;
Thus your true-lover's knott entrayled bee,
Wyles I a priestess stond, and againe marrie yee.

'An take this ring, fro faerie lond ybrought;
And it so charmed been, as fewe may tel;
Your finger ring with ilk, ne less your thought;
Use it ne wrong, and ilk wil use ye wel:
Heales deadly bale, I weet; and south can quel
That inborn feend; sprights itt can putt to flyghte,
The caytiffs of this world, and broode of hell;
Y-spredds in dungeon dark a cheary lyght;
And into distant dayes deigns straunge seraphic sight.

'I drem'd a dreme — oh! sweete dame, what a dreme!
Beares, gryfones, tygers, lyons, rampant soche
In forme; with foregn blood yet swelt, they seme
Bursting amaine, and I ywonder'd muche;
Yet moe, to see them live, as by some touch
Of Demogorgon, and for fyghte upspring;
And they wil fyghten: wo worth each one's clutch!
Ne brede hem, dame; I plyghte mee by thinkle ring,
Soche fyghtes shall ne'er your Impe into no daunger bring.

'On a blacke mountain's side a Dragon drere
His long long length yspredd; dreadful to see!
To warre no needes beseme him to requere;
Yet cause and umpire of that warre was hee;
And he itt kent, I wot, with ravenous glee,
And held in clutch a globe, ywrought with gold,
Which salvage beastes eied mochel greedilee:—
There the world's valour, sweet ye behold:
That prize been theirs; long live your Impe for virtue bold.'

Lady, yf my song flows not as of yore,
Know, Colin, no nis Colin never more;
He mote ne, con ne, pipe, as heretofore:
Weleaway! leave seely olde man, to muse on auncient lore.'

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 9, 2012

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