Edmund Spenser

(1552 - 13 January 1599 / London / England)

A Ditty


In praise of Eliza, Queen of the Shepherds

SEE where she sits upon the grassie greene,
   (O seemely sight!)
Yclad in Scarlot, like a mayden Queene,
   And ermines white:
Upon her head a Cremosin coronet
With Damaske roses and Daffadillies set:
   Bay leaves betweene,
   And primroses greene,
Embellish the sweete Violet.

Tell me, have ye seene her angelick face
   Like Phoebe fayre?
Her heavenly haveour, her princely grace,
   Can you well compare?
The Redde rose medled with the White yfere,
In either cheeke depeincten lively chere:
   Her modest eye,
   Her Majestie,
Where have you seene the like but there?

I see Calliope speede her to the place,
   Where my Goddesse shines;
And after her the other Muses trace
   With their Violines.
Bene they not Bay braunches which they do beare,
All for Elisa in her hand to weare?
   So sweetely they play,
   And sing all the way,
That it a heaven is to heare.

Lo, how finely the Graces can it foote
   To the Instrument:
They dauncen deffly, and singen soote,
   In their meriment.
Wants not a fourth Grace to make the daunce even?
Let that rowme to my Lady be yeven.
   She shal be a Grace,
   To fyll the fourth place,
And reigne with the rest in heaven.

Bring hether the Pincke and purple Cullambine,
   With Gelliflowres;
Bring Coronations, and Sops-in-wine
   Worne of Paramoures:
Strowe me the ground with Daffadowndillies,
And Cowslips, and Kingcups, and loved Lillies:
   The pretie Pawnce,
   And the Chevisaunce,
Shall match with the fayre flowre Delice.

Now ryse up, Elisa, decked as thou art
   In royall aray;
And now ye daintie Damsells may depart
   Eche one her way.
I feare I have troubled your troupes to longe:
Let dame Elisa thanke you for her song:
   And if you come hether
   When Damsines I gether,
I will part them all you among.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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  • Steven Fearnley (9/6/2008 8:36:00 AM)

    I fell that Spencer is a treasure still waiting to be unearthed, and easily comparerable with verse of that time from further-a-field. (Report) Reply

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