Parliament of Fowls

Translation by Joanne D'silva


Life is so short, the craft is so long to learn,
The attempt is hard, so challenging is the conquering of it,
The fearful joy always that slips so quickly:
All this mean I by Love, that my consciousness
Astounded with his wonderful working
Is so sore, indeed, that when I think on him
I know not whether I sink or swim.

It is known that I know not Love in deed,
I know not about how he rewards people's efforts who pursue his desires
But it so happens that often I read in books
Of his miracles and his cruel ire.
There I read that he desires to be lord and master;
I dare not say, for his aim causes us to be sore,
But "God save such a lord!" - I cannot say again.
Of custom, of desire, and of knowledge,
I have often read about in books, as I already told you.

But why do I speak all this?
You might wonder. Not long ago
Hence, it happened that I beheld
A book, that was written with ancient letters;
And thereupon, in order to learn about a certain thing,
I eagerly read the long day through.
For out of old fields, as men say,
Comes all this new corn from year to year;
And out of old books, in good faith,
Comes all this new science that men learn.
But now to (heart)purpose of this matter -
To read it again gave me delight,
That I thought the day was too short.

This book of which I make of mention,
Was entitled as I shall tell you,
Cicero's "The dream of Scipio";
It had seven chapters, of heaven and hell,
And earth, and souls that therein dwell,
Of which, as shortly as I can tell,
I will give you the gist of his meaning.

It first tells of when Scipion arrived
In Africa, how he met Masinissa,
Who welcomed him in his arms in joy.
Then it says in the story of their peaceful discussion
That was between them, till dusk;
And how Scipion's ancestor,
Affrycan who was so dear to him,
Appeared to him in his sleep that night.

Than it tells that, from a starry place,
How Affrycan had showed him Cartage,
And warned him before of all his grace,
And told him which man was learned and which ignorant,
Who cared for the public welfare, and was endowed with virtues,
He shall go unto a blissful place,
There as joy is that lasts without end.

Than Scipion asked, that if people that are dead here on earth
Have life and dwelling in another place;
And Affrycan said, "you, without dread,"
And that our time of life in this present world
Is but a manner death, the trail we follow,
And rightful folk shall follow, after they die,
To heaven; and then Affrycan showed him the galaxy.

Then Affrycan showed him the littleness of earth, that we live on,
In comparison to the heavens quantity;
And after he showed him the nine spheres,
And after that Scipion heard the melody
That comes from the spheres thrice three,
That beautiful is the music and melody
In this world here, and causes beautiful harmony.

Than he advised him that on earth, sin was considered irrelevant,
And deceptive and of hard grace,
That Affrycan decided not to show him delight in the world.
Then he told him that, in a certain amount of years,
That every star would come into its proper place
Where it was in the beginning of time; and all should know
That in this world is the hardships of all mankind.

Then Scipion asked him to tell him all
The ways to come unto that heavenly bliss;
And Affrycan said, "know thyself first immortal,
And busily look to your work and direct yourself
To care for the public welfare, and thou shall not miss
To come swiftly to that place dear,
That is full of bliss is and of souls clear.

But breakers of the law, to truly say,
And lecherous folk, after they are dead,
Should always whirl about the earth in pain,
Until many ages are passed, out of dread,
And then, forever all their wicked deeds,
Then should they come unto that blissful place,
To which to God sends his grace to them."

The day began failing, and the dark night,
That steals best from their business,
Deprived me of light enough to read my book,
And so I began to dress for bed,
Full of thought and intense drowsiness;
For I had both that thing which I wouldn't,
And also I didn't have that thing that I would.

But finally my spirit, at the last,
For I was weary of my labour all the day,
That made me to sleep fast, and so took rest,
And in my sleep I dreamt, as I lay,
How Affrycan, right in the same condition
That Scipion saw him before that tide,
Came and stood right at my bedside.

The weary hunter, sleeping in his bed,
To the woods again his mind goes at once;
The judge dreams that his cases are successful;
The charioteer dreams of how his chariot steers accurately;
The rich, of gold; the knight about fighting with his foes;
The ailing person dreams he drinks of the cure (cask);
The lover dreams he has won his lady.

I cannot say if the cause of the dream was
That I had read of Affrycan before,
That made me to dream that he stood there;
But thus he said, "thou hast thee so well born
In looking of my old distraught book,
Of which Macrobius wrote not a little,
That a part of thy labour would I reward."

Cytherea (Venus), Thou blissful lady sweet,
That with thy fire-brand, conquers whom thee please,
And made me this dream for to dream,
Be thou my help in this, for you know best;
As wisely as I saw thee not at all,
When I began my dream for to write,
So if I might to rhyme and write.


This foresaid Affrycan seized me at once,
And brought me forth with him to a gate
Right of a park, walled of green stone;
And over the gate, with largely wrought letters,
There was verse written, as I thought,
On either half, of radically opposing forces,
Of which I shall tell you the meaning plainly.

"Through me men go into that blissful place
Where hearts heal and deadly wounds are cured;
Through me men go unto the well of Grace,
There green and lusty May shall ever endure;
This is the way to all good adventure;
Be glad, thou reader, and thy sorrow cast off,
Sll open am I; pass in, and go thee fast!"

"Through me men go," then spoke that other side,
"Unto the mortal strokes of the sphere,
Of which Disdain and Danger is the guide,
There trees shall never bear fruit, nor leaves.
This stream leads you to the sorrowful waterfall,
There as in a prison all dry the fish dwell;
The avoidance of it is only the remedy."

These verses were written in gold and black,
Of which I was astounded to behold,
For with that evil one increased my fear,
And with that other my heart began to be vitalized;
That good one excited me, that other did chill me,
I couldn't decide, for error, for to choose
To enter or flee, or to save or lose myself.

Right as, between two magnets
Of even might, a piece of iron is set,
That has no might to move to or fro
For what that good one may attract, that evil other repels -
I feared; that I didn't know which was better for me,
To enter or leave, till Affrycan my guide
Seized me, and shoved me in at the gates wide,

And said, "it stands written in thy face,
Your error, though thou tell it not to me;
But dread the not to come into this place,
For this writing is nothing meant by thee,
Not by noon, but he Loves servant be;
For thou of love hast lost thy taste, I guess,
As seek man has of sweet and bitterness.
But nonetheless, although that you are dull,
If you can not do that, you may see it;
For many a man that may not stand a pull,
It likes him at the wrestling for to be,
And deems it where he do bet or not;
And if thou had cunning for writing,
I shall thee shown matter to write."

With that my hand in his he took at once,
Which caused me to have comfort, and went in fast;
But, lord, I was so glad and well begun!
For overall, where that I cast my eye,
Were trees clad with leaves that shall always last,
Each in his kind, of colour fresh and green
As emerald, that joy was to seen.

The builder oak, and also the hardy ash;
The pillar elm, the coffin for corpses;
The box tree piper; holly for whiplashes;
The sapling fir; the Cyprus, for lamenting death;
The sheltering yew, the aspen for plain arrow shafts;
The olive of peace, and also the drunken vine,
The victorious palm, the laurel so divine.

A garden saw I, full of blossomy bows,
Upon a river, in a green meadow,
There as sweetness evermore is now,
With flowers white, blue, yellow, and red;
And cold springs, nothing dead,
That abounds with small lively fishes,
With red fins and scalessilver-bright.

The air of that place was so perfect
That never was there grievance of hot or cold;
There was also every wholesome spice and grass,
no man there may grow sick nor old;
Yet was there joy more a thousand fold
Then man can tell; nor never would it become night,
But stay clear day, to any man's sight.
Under a tree, beside a wall, I say
Cupid our lord his arrows forged and filed;
And at his feet his bow already lay,
And Wille (carnal desire/appetite), his
daughter, tempered all this while
The heads in the wall, and with her skill
She placed them, after as they should serve,
Some for to slay, and some to wound and carve.
Though was I aware of Pleasure already,
And of Clothing, and Lust, and Courtesy,
And of the Craft that can and has the might
To perform by force a person to attain foolishness -
Disfigured was she, I will not lie;
And by himself, under an oak, I guess,

Saw I Delight, that stood with Gentleness.
I saw Beauty, without any adornment,
And Youth, fullof game and merriment,
Foolhardiness, Flattery, and Desire,
Messengers, and Reward, and another three -
whose names shall not here be told by me -
And upon pillars great of jasper long
I saw a temple of brass founded strong.
About the temple danced always
Women a great deal, of which some there were
attracted to Affrycan, and some of whom were happy;
In frocks, all dishevelled, went they there.
That was their office always, year by year.
And on the temple, of doves white and fair
Saw I sitting many a hundred pairs.
Before the temple door full soberly
Dame Peace sat, with a curtain in her hand,
and beside her, wonder discreetly,
Dame Patience sitting there I found
With a pale face, sitting upon a hill of sand;
And nearest of all, within and also without,
Promises and Skill, and their people made a company.
Within the temple, were sighs hot as fire
I heard a gust (sound of wind) that began to run about,
Which sighs were filled with desire,
That made every altar burn
with new flame; and I observed well then
That all the cause of sorrows that they endure
Came from the bitter goddess Jealousy.
The god (of fertility) Priapus I saw, as I went,
Within the temple, in a sovereign place he stood,
In such state as when the ass ruined his rape attempt of the nymph Lotis
With cries (yells) by night, and with sceptre in hand;
Full zealously men began to test and strive
to set upon his head, of sundry hue,
Garlands full of new fresh flowers.
And in a private corner, in amusement,
I found Venus and her caretaker Richness,
whose carriage was full noble and dignified -
Dark was that place, but afterward appeared lightness
I saw a light; so small that it might be lost -
And on a bed of gold she lay to rest,
Till that the hot sun began to go west.
Her gilt hairs with a golden thread
was bound, loose as she lay,
And naked from the breast to the head
Men might her see; and, truly for to say,
I was satisfied that the remaining was well covered
Right with a subtle kerchief made of Valence,
There was no thicker cloth available that could do a better job.
The place gives a thousand sweet tastes,
And Bacchus, god of wine, sat beside her,
And Ceres next, that provides the remedy;
And, as I said, amidst them lay Cypride,
To whom on knees two young people cried
To get her help; but thus I let her lie,
And further in the temple I again discerned
That, in despite of Diane the chaste,
Full many a bow that broke hangs on the wall
Of maidens, such as begun her times waste
In her service; and painted over all
Of many a story, of which I shall touch
A few, as of Callisto and Atalanta,
And many a maiden, of which the name I want;
Semyramus, Candace, and Hercules,
Biblis, Dido, Thisbe, and Pyramus,
Tristan, Isoulde, Paris, and Achilles, Helen, Cleopatra, and Troilus,
Silla, and also the mother of Romulus: all these were
painted on that other side of Venus' temple,
And all their love, and in what plight they died.
When I was come again unto the place
That I speak of, that was so sweet and green,
I walked forth though myself to solace.
Though was I aware that there sat a queen
That, like the light of the summer sunshine/
Passes the star, right so over measure
She was fairer than any creature.
And in a land, upon an hill of flowers,
Was set this noble goddess Nature;
Of branches were her halls and her bowers,
it was fashioned after her craft and her measure;
Nor was there no fowl that comes of procreation,
That they in her presence weren't ready,
To take her judgement and give her audience.
For this was Saint Valentines Day,
When every fowl comes there to choose his mate,
Of every kind, that men may think of,
And that they began to make so huge a noise,
That earth, and air, and tree, and every lake
was so full that there hardly was space
For me to stand, so full was all the place.
And right as Alanus, in the Complaint of Kynde
Devised Nature of clothes and face,
In such display as men might find on her there.
This noble empress, full of grace,
Bade every fowl to take his own place,
As they were wont to do always from year to year,
Saint Valentines day, to stand there.
That is to say, the raptor-fowl
Were set highest, and then the small fowl
That eats, as his Nature would consent,
As worm or things of which I will tell no tale;
And water-fowl sat lowest in the dale;
But fowl that lives by eating seeds sat on the green,
And that it was a wonder that so many were to be seen.
There might men find the royal eagle,
That with his sharp look pierces the sun;
And other eagles of a lower kind,
Of which that clerks know how to distinguish well between them.
There was the tyrant with his feathers dun-coloured
And grey, I mean the goshawk, that does harm
To other birds because of his outrageous hunger.
The gentle falcon, that with his feet grasps
The king's hand; the hardy sparrow hawk who is,
The quails foe; the Merlin that punished
Himself full oft, the lark often sick;
There was the dove, with her meek eyes;
The jealous swan, that sings in anticipation of his death;
The owl also, that brings the portent of death;
The crane, the giant, with his trumpet sound;
The thief, the chough (crow); and also the jangling magpie;
The scorning jay; the eel's foe, heron;
The deceitful lapwing, full of treachery;
The starling, that can betray thy counsel;
The tame robin, and the cowardly kite;
The rooster, who is the timepiece of small villages;
The sparrow, Venus' lecherous son; the nightingale, /
That calls forth the fresh leaves anew;
The swallow, murderer of the bees
That makes honey from flowers of fresh hue;
The wedded turtledove, with her heart true;
The peacock, with his angels feathers bright;
The pheasant, scorner of the cock by night;
The watchful goose; the cuckoo ever unnatural;
The parrot, full of self-indulgence;
The drake, destroyer of his own kind;
The stork, the punisher of adultery;
The cormorant of hot gluttony;
The raven wise, the crow with voice so sad;
The thrush old; the white breasted fieldfare.
What should I say? About fowl every kind
That in this world have feathers and stature,
Men might find assembled in that place
before the noble goddess Nature,
and every single one of them worked
diligently graciously to choose or for to take,
by her accord, his female or his mate.
But to the point: Nature held on her hand
A formel eagle, of the gentlest shape
That she ever found among her works,
The most benign and the goodliest;
In her was every virtue at its rest,
To such an extent, that Nature herself had bliss
To look on her, and oft call her back to kiss.
Nature, the vicar of the almighty Lord,
That hot, cold, heavy, light, and moist and dry
Has knit by even number of harmony,
In easy voice began to speak and say,
"Fowl, take heed of my words, I pray,
And for your ease, in the furthering of your need,
As fast as I may speak, I will assist you.
"You know well how, Saint Valentines Day,
By my status and through my governance,
You come to choose - and then fly your way -
Your mates, as I prick you with pleasure.
But nonetheless, my rightful ordinance
I may not grant, for all this world to win,
That he that most is worthy shall begin.
"The tercel (male) eagle, as you are well known as,
A fowl royal, with no one above you in degree,
The wise and worthy, discreet, true as steel,
The one which I have formed, as you may see,
In every part as I liked best -
It needs not his shape for you to see -
He shall choose first and spoken in his guise.
"And after him, by order you should choose,
After your kind, every single one as you like,
And, as your fortune goes, so should you win or lose;
But which of you that love entangles the most,
God on his behalf that most sorely seeks send him that her."
And thereupon the tercel began to call her,
and said, "My son, the choice is to fall to thee.
"But nonetheless, in this condition
Must be the choice of every single one that is here,
That she agree to his choice,
What-so-ere he be that should be her companion;
This is our usage is always only, from year to year;
And who so may at this time have his grace,
In blissful time he came into this place."
With head inclined and with full humble cheer
This royal tercel spoke and tarried not:
"Unto my sovereign lady, and not my companion,
I choose, and choose with will and heart and thought,
The formel on your hand that so well is wrought,
Whose I am, all and ever will serve her,
Do what she desires, to keep my life or starve.
I am pleading at her mercy and grace,
As she is my sovereign lady;
Or if not let me die here in this place.
For certainly, I may not live long in constant pain,
For in my heart is carved by every vein.
Having reward only to my truth,
My dear Heart, on my troubles have some pity.
And if that I to her be found untrue,
Disobedient, or wilful negligent,
Boaster, or in the course of time love anew,
I pray to you this be my judgement,
That with these fowl I be torn all to pieces,
That ill day that ever she me find
To her untrue, or in my guilt unkind.
And since none love her so well as I,
even though she never promised me love,
Then mustn't she be mine because of her mercy,
For no other bonds can I on her fasten.
For never shall I stop for no woe
To serve her, no matter how far she travels;
Say what you please, my tale is at an end."
Right as the fresh, new red rose
that is coloured against the summer-sun,
is put to shame and in fact enhances the hue
Of this formel, when she heard all
this; She neither well answered, nor said anything amiss,
she was so sorely abashed, that Nature
Said, "daughter, fear you not, I assure you."
Another tercel eagle spoke at once
of lower kind, and said, "this shall not be;
I love her better than you do, by Saint John,
or at least I love her as well as you;
and longer have I served her, in my way,
and if she should have loved for long loving,
to me alone should go the reward.
I also dare say, that if she finds me false,
Unkind, a gossip, or in any manner unruly,
or jealous, she can hang me by the neck!
And, I but abide in her service
as well as that my intelligence can me suffice,
from beginning to end, her honour for to save,
Take she my life, and all the good I have."
The third tercel eagle answered then also,
"Now, sirs, you've seen the little occasion here;
For every fowl cries out to be gone from here
Forth with his mate, or with his lady dear;
And also Nature herself does desire not,
For us to be lingering here, not by half would I say;
And but I speak, I must for sorrow die.
I cannot boast of long service,
But as it is possible for me to die today
For woe is he that has been suffering
These twenty winters, and it may well happen
A man may serve better and more satisfactorily
In half a year, although it were no more,
Than a man that has served a full year.
I say not this by me, for neither can I
do no service that may please my lady (I am lazy);
But I dare say, I am her truest man
As I judge (see) it,
and would contrive her entertainment.
In short words, that till death seizes me
I desire to be hers, whether I wake or sleep,
And true in all that heart (she) may bethink."
In all my life, since that day I was born,
appealed so gently in love or other thing (lust)
I never heard of any man who lived before me -
Who had the opportunity and cunning
to know to rehearse their gaiety and their speaking skills;
And from the morning he began this last speech
Till downward drew the sun wonder fast.
The noise of the fowl waiting to be dismissed.
reverberated so loudly, "Finish fast and let us go!"
That I thought that the wood had shivered.
"Come on, hurry up!" they cried, "Alas, You will ruin us!
When shall your cursed argument finish?
How could a judge believe either party,
to decide Yes or No, without any proof?"
The goose, the cuckoo, and the duck also
in this manner cried, "Keck, Keck! Cuckoo! Quack, Quack!"
loudly, that the noise went right through my ears then.
The goose said, "All this is not worthy of a fly!
But I can hereof develop a remedy,
and I will say my verdict sweet and good
on behalf of water-fowl, no matter who will be angry or happy."
"And I for worm-fowl will judge," said the fool cuckoo,
"For I will of my own authority, for the
common good, take up the matter now,
for to deliver us from this waiting is a great charity."
"You may abide a while yet, by God!"
said the turtledove, "if it is your will
that a creature may speak, him who will still be as fair.
I am a seed-fowl, one of the most pitiful,
I know that well, and of a modest understanding.
But it is better that someone not
talk whose tongue is weighty
rather than interfere with such matters,
Of which he neither read can nor sing;
And any fowl that does it overburdens himself full,
For an office taken by one who is not
entrusted is oft disturbed."
Nature, who always had an ear
to murmur behind to of the uncouth conduct,
with eloquent voice said, "Hold your tongues there!
and I shall soon, I hope, find a counsel for
you to deliver, and from this noise free yourselves:
I judge, of every folk of men shall one call
to say the verdict for all you fowl."
We assented to this decision the birds all; and
raptors-fowl Having chosen first, by plain election,
the tercelet the eloquent to state exactly
all their opinion, and grant him, to reach a conclusion;
And to Nature he began to present his case,
and she (Nature) accepted him with glad will.
The tercelet said then in this manner:
"Full hard is it to prove by reason
Who loves best this gentle formel here;
For every single one has such reply
That none of these claims by skills may be refuted;
I see that arguments can't benefit;
Then it seems that there must be a trial by battle."
"We are all ready!" quoth those tercels eagles.
"Nay, sirs," quoth he (the tercelet), "if I must say it,
You have done me wrong, my job is not completed!
For, sirs - don't take offence I pray - It may not
begin as you would want in this way;
ours (mine) is the voice that has the matter in hand,
and to the judges decision you must abide.
"And therefore peace! I say, as to my wit,
I would think about how the worthiest
Of knighthood, and greatest has used it,
Most of healthy condition, of the gentlest lineage,
Was sitting (vying) for her, and if she desires;
And of these three she herself knows, I truthfully tell,
Which that he be, for it is easy to know."
The water-fowl had their heads placed
Together, and of short counsel together,
When every single one had said his large mouthful,
they said truly, all by one consent,
How that the goose, with her genteel eloquence,
"That so desires to pronounce our need,
shall tell our tale (argument)," and prayed "her Godspeed."
And on behalf of these water-fowl then began
The goose to speak, and in her cackling voice
She said, "Peace! Now take heed every man,
And listen to the explanation I shall convey!
My wit is sharp; I do not love lingering;
I say I advise him, as though he were my brother,
But she will love him, let him love another!"
"Lo, here a perfect argument from a goose!"
Quoth the sparrow hawk; "never will she succeed!
Lo, such is it to have a loose tongue! Now pardon, fool, it were
better for thee to Have hold of thy silence than to
have shown thy foolishness! it lies not in his (the
goose's) wit, nor in his (the goose's) willpower,
But truly it is said, 'a fool can not be still.'"
The laughter arose from among all the gentle fowl,
And right at once the seed-fowl had chosen
The true turtledove, and they began to call her,
And asked her to get to the true heart
Of this matter, and asked what she would advise.
And she answered, that her intention plainly
She would show, and truly what she meant.
"Nay, God forbade a lover should change!"
The turtledove said, and blushed all red for shame,
"Though that his lady evermore be distant,
Yet let him serve her ever, till he be dead.
For truly, I praise not the goose's advise;
'For though she died, I would take no other mate;
I desire to be his, till that the death takes me.'"
"Cleverly jested!" quoth the duck, "by my command!
That men should always love unconditionally,
Who can find a reason or intelligent comment in that?
Does he that is mirthless, dance merrily?
Does the one who is careless suddenly care?"
"You quack!" said the goose, "full well and pleasing!
"There are more stars, god knows, than just a pair!"
"Now fie, lout!" quoth the eloquent tercelet,
"Out of the dunghill comes that word full right!
You cannot see that thing which is well set (because youare blind)!
Thou deal with love as owls do with light,
The day blinds him, full well they see by night;
Thy breed is of so low a wretchedness,
That what is love, thou can neither see nor guess."
Though the cuckoo was presented by the crowd as representative
of fowl that ate worms, and said energetically,
"So I," quoth he, "may have my mate in peace,
I care not how long you argue.
Let each of them be alone all their lives!
This is my counsel, since they do not agree;
This short lesson (mistake) needs not be repeated."
"You, the glutton has filled your appetite enough,
Than are we well!" said the Merlin;
"You murderer of the hedge sparrow on the branches
That brought thee forth, you ruthless glutton!
You live alone, worm of corruption,
For no vice is lacking in thy nature;
Go; ignorant be thou while the world endures!"
"Now peace," quoth Nature, "I command here!
For I have heard all your opinions,
And in effect we are no closer to our goal.
But finally, this is my conclusion,
That she herself shall have the choice
of whom she desires; no matter who becomes angry or happy,
Him that she chooses, he shall she have as mate.
"For since it may not be decided here
Who loves her the best, as said the tercelet,
Then will I perform her this favour, that she
Shall rightly have him on whom her heart is set,
And he her that on whom his heart has fastened.
Thus judge I, Nature, for I may not lie;
I have no other situation than you.
But as for advise to choose a mate,
If it were Reason, then I would
Counsel you to take the royal tercel,
As said the tercelet full skilfully,
As for the gentlest and most worthy,
Which I have wrought so well to my pleasure
That to you any of them ought to be sufficient."
With a reverent voice the formel answered her,
"My rightful lady, goddess of Nature!
True is it that I am ever under your authority,
as is every single other creature,
And must be yours while my life endures;
And therefore grant me my first request,
And my purpose I will to you reveal soon."
"I guarantee you it," quoth she; and right at once
This formel eagle spoke in this manner:
"Almighty queen, until this year is over
I ask for respite to counsel myself,
And after that to have my choice all free;
This all and some that I would speak and say;

You get no more, although you do kill me!
"I will not serve Venus or Cupid,
For truly as it, by no form or way."
"Now, since it may no otherwise occur,"
Quoth Nature, "here is no more to say.
Then I would that these fowl leave
each with his mate, for not lingering longer here!"
And said them thus, as you shall see after here.
"To you I speak, you tercelets," quoth Nature,
"Be of good heart, and serve all three.
A year is not so long to endure,
And each of you is punished him, in his manner,
and thus do well, for, god knows, that she is free
For you this year; what will befall,
This dish between courses is prepared for you all."
And when this work all brought was to an end,
To every fowl Nature gave his mate
By even numbers, and on their way they traveled.
And, Lord, the bliss and joy that they made!
For each of him began to take wing,
And with their necks each began the other to encircle,
Thanking always the noble goddess of Kynde.
But first were chosen fowl for to sing,
As year by year was always her custom
To sing a roundel at her leaving,
To bring to Nature honour and pleasure.
The tune, I truly tell you, was composed in France,
The words were such as you may find here,
in the next verse, as I now have in mind.
"Now welcome, summer, with thy soft sun,
That has overtaken this winter's storms,
And driven away the long nights black!
"Saint Valentine, that art full high aloft;
Thus sings the small fowl for thy sake -
Now welcome summer, with thy soft sun,
That has shaken off this winter's storms.
"Well have they cause for gladness,
since each of them has recovered his mate;
Full blissfully they may sing when they awaken:
[Now welcome summer, with
thy sun soft, that has shaken off this winter's
storms, and driven away the long nights black!"]
And with this shouting, when the song was done,
The fowl made their flight away,
I woke, and I took up other books
To read upon, and yet as I read I always
hope, indeed, to read so some day
That I shall dream something in order to fare
The better, and thus to read I will not delay.

back to Laurel Amtower
San Diego State University