Franco Sacchetti (c. 1335 – c. 1400 / Florence)
ONCE, deep in thought, I, passing 'neath some trees,
Beheld a troop of maidens gathering flowers;
One cried: 'Ah look'; another: 'Nay, see these,'
'What hast thou there? ' 'I doubt not lily-showers.'
'And here, I trow, are violets blue.'
A rose — woe's me, a thorn hath pricked my finger through! '
'Alas, alas! '
What's that in the grass? '
'A cricket.' 'Make haste,
Here are salads to taste.'
'No, no! '
'But it's so.'
97 'Thee and thee I will show
Where the mushrooms do grow:
And this is the way
For the wild-thyme spray.'
'Come homewards, it darkeneth and soon it will rain,
It lightens, it thunders, hark! vespers again! '
'But it's early still! '
'Lend an ear if you will.'
'The nightingale, I'll be bound.'
'I hear a louder sound.'
' 'Tis strange to me.'
'O what can it be? '
'Where, where? '
'Out there? '
'In the bushes.' Tic, toc.
Ever nearer the knock,
Till a snake crept out:
Then they turned about
In a wild affright:
'Ah me, sorry plight! '
'Alack aday! '
'Flee away! '
Then the rain poured down forlorn,
One slipped, another fell,
One trod upon a thorn,
Bossoms were spilled pell-mell,
Some cast aside, some left to lie,
Most fortunate who could swiftest fly:
And while I watched what they would do
The rain-shower drenched me through and through.
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