Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Parliament of Fowls by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Parliament of Fowls is perhaps the first St. Valentine's Day poem
ever written. Brewer suggests that it was begun in May of 1382 and finished
for Valentine's day in 1383.

A gardyn saw I, ful of blosmy bowes
Upon a ryver, in a grene mede,
There as swetnesse everemore inow is,
With floures whyte, blewe, yelwe, and rede,
And colde welle-stremes, nothyng dede,
That swymmen ful of smale fishes lighte,
With fynnes rede and skales sylver bryghte.

On every bow the bryddes herde I synge,
With voys of aungel in here armonye;
Some busied hem hir bryddes forth to brynge;
The litel conyes to here pley gonne hye.
And ferther al aboute I gan espye
The dredful ro, the buk, the hert and hynde,
Squyrels, and bestes smale of gentil kynde.

Of instruments of strenges in acord
Herde I so pleye a ravyshyng swetnesse,
That God, that makere is of al and lord,
Ne herde nevere beter, as I gesse.
Therwith a wynd, unnethe it myghte be lesse,
Made in the leves grene a noyse softe
Acordaunt to the foules songe alofte.

Th'air of that place so attempre was
That nevere was grevaunce of hot ne cold.
Ther wex ek every holsom spice and gras;
No man may there waxe sek ne old;
Yit was there joye more a thousandfold
Than man can telle; ne nevere wolde it nyghte,
But ay cler day to any mannes syghte.

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