Abbildungen der Seite

almost all the year; closing in the evening and in wet weather, and opening on the return of the sun :

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

No flower has been more frequently celebrated by our poets, our best poets ; Chaucer, in particular, expatiates at great length upon it. He tells us that the Queen Alceste, who sacrificed her own life to save that of her husband Admetus, and who was afterwards restored to the world by Hercules, was, for her great goodness, changed into a Daisy. He is never weary of praising this little flower:

“ Whan that the month of May
Is comen, and that I heare the foules sing,
And that the floures ginnen for to spring,
Farewell my booke, and my devocion,
Now have I than eke this condicion,
That of all the floures in the mede,
Than love I most these floures white and rede,
Such that men callen daisies in our town:
To them I have so great affectioun,
As I sayd erst, whan comen in the Maie,
That in my bedde there daweth me no daie,
That I nam up, and walking in the mede
To seen this floure ayenst the sunne sprede,
Whan it upriseth early by the morrow,
That blissful sight softeneth my sorow,
So glad am I, when that I have presence
Of it, to done it all reverence,
As she that is of all floures the floure,
Fulfilled of all vertue and honoure,
And every ilike faire, and fresh of hewe,
And ever I love it, and ever ilike newe,
And ever shall, until mine herte die,
All sweare I not, of this I woll not lie.
There loved no wight nothen in this life,
And whan that it is eve I renne blithe,

As soone as ever the sunne ginneth west,
To seen this floure, how it woll go to rest,
For feare of night, so hateth she darkenesse,
Her chere is plainly spred in the brightnesse
Of the sunne, for there it woll unclose :

My busie ghost, that thursteth alway new,
To seen this floure so yong, so fresh of hew,
Constrained me with so gredy desire,
That in my haste, I fele yet the fire,
That made me rise ere it were day
And this was now the first morowe of Maie,
With dreadfull herte, and glad devocion
For to been at the resurrection
Of this floure, whan that it should unclose.
Again the sunne, that rose as redde as rose,
That in the brest was of the beast that day
That Angenores daughter ladde away.
And doune on knees anon right I me sette,
And as I coulde, this fresh floure I grette,
Kneeling alway till it unclosed was,
Upon the small soft swete grass,
That was with floures swete embrouded all,
Of such sweteness, and odour over all,
That for to speak of gomme, herbe, or tree,
Comparison may not imaked be,
For it surmounteth plainly all odoures,
And of riche beaute of floures.

[blocks in formation]

And Zephyrus and Flora gentelly
Yave to the floures soft and tenderly,
Hir swete breth, and made hem for to sprede,
As god and goddesse of the flourie mede,
In which me thought I might day by daie,
Dwellen alway the joly month of Maie,
Withouten slepe, withouten meat, or drinke:
Adowne full softly I gan to sinke,
And leaning on my elbow and my side,
The long day I shope me for to abide,
For nothing els and I shall not lie,
But for to look upon the daisie,
That well by reason men it call may
The daisie, or els the iye of the day,

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

And from a ferre come walking in the mede,
The god of love, and in his hand a queene,
And she was clad in royal habit greene,
A fret of golde she had next her heere,

that a white croune she bare,
With florouns small, and I shall not lié,
For all the world right as a daisie
Icrouned is, with white leaves lite,
So were the florounes of her croune white,
And of a perle fine orientall,
Her white croune was imaked all,
For which the white croune above the grene
Made her like a daisie for to seme,
Considred eke her fret of gold above:

Quod Love

[ocr errors]

Hast thou not a book in thy cheste
The great goodnesse of the Queene Alceste
That turned was into a daisie,
She that for her husband chose to die,
And eke to gone to hell rather than he,
And Hercules rescued her parde
And brought her out of hell again to bliss ?
And I answerde againe, and said, 'Yes,
Now I knowe her, and is this good Alceste,

The daisie, and mine owne hertes rest?'"* Chaucer makes a perfect plaything of the Daisy. Not contented with calling to our minds its etymology as the eye of day, he seems to delight in twisting it into every possible form; and, by some name or other, introduces it continually. Commending the showers of April, as bringing forward the May flowers, he adds :

And in speciall one called se of the daie,

The daisie, a flower white and rede,

[ocr errors]


* See Chaucer's Prologue to the Legend of Good Women

And in Frenche called La Bel Margarete.
O commendable floure, and most in minde!
O floure and gracious of excellence!
O amiable Margarite! of natife kind”-

In another poem, describing an arbour, he says:

“ With margarettes growing in ordinaunce
To shewe hem selfe as folke went to and fro,
That to beholde it was a great plesaunce,
And how they were accompanied with mo,
Ne momblisnesse and soneness also
The poure pensis were not dislogid there,
Ne God wote ther place was every where.”

He tells us that the Queen Alceste was changed into this flower: that she had as many virtues as there are florets in it.

“ Cybilla made the daisie, and the flour

Icrownid all with white, as man may se,
And Mars yave her a corown red, parde,
In stede of rubies set among the white."

“ The daisy scattered on each meade and downe,

A golden tufte within a silver croune.
Fayre fall that dainty flowre! and may there be
No shepherd graced that doth not honor thee !”


But the Field Daisy is not an inhabitant of the flowergarden: it were vain to cultivate it there. We have but to walk into the fields, and there is a profusion for us. It is the favourite of the great garden of Nature:

« Meadows trim with daisies pied.”

The reader will doubtless remember Burns's Address to a Mountain Daisy, beginning

“Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flower.”

The Scotch commonly call it by the name of Gowan; a

name which they likewise apply to the dandelion, hawkweed, &c.:

The opening gowan, wet with dew.”

Wordsworth, with a true poet's delight in the simplest beauties of nature, has addressed several little poems to the Daisy :

“ In youth from rock to rock I went,

From hill to hill, in discontent
Of pleasure high and turbulent,

Most pleased when most uneasy;
But now my own delights I make,-
My thirst at every rill can slake,
And gladly Nature's love partake

Of thee, sweet daisy!

• When soothed awhile by milder airs,

Thee Winter in the garland wears
That thinly shades his few grey hairs ;

Spring cannot shun thee;
Whole summer fields are thine by right;
And Autumn, melancholy wight,
Doth in thy crimson head delight

When rains are on thee.

“ In shoals and bands, a morrice train,

Thou greet'st the traveller in the lane;
If welcomed once, thou count'st it gain;

Thou art not daunted,
Nor carest if thou be set at nought:
And oft alone in nooks remote
We meet thee, like a pleasant thought,

When such are wanted.

“ Be violets in their secret mews

The flowers the wanton Zephyrs choose ;
Proud be the rose, with rains and dews

Her head impearling;
Thou liv'st with less ambitious aim,
Yet hast not gone without thy fame;
Thou art indeed by many a claim

The poet's darling,

« ZurückWeiter »