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Fables of John Gay (Somewhat Altered)   By: (1685-1732)

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First Page:

FABLES OF JOHN GAY (SOMEWHAT ALTERED).

[Illustration]

FABLES OF JOHN GAY (SOMEWHAT ALTERED).

AFFECTIONATELY PRESENTED TO MARGARET ROSE,

BY HER UNCLE JOHN BENSON ROSE.

[ FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION. ]

LONDON: PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES & SONS, STAMFORD STREET, AND CHARING CROSS.

1871.

DEDICATION.

Si doulce la Margarite.

When I first saw you never mind the year you could speak no English, and when next I saw you, after a lapse of two years, you would prattle no French; when again we met, you were the nymph with bright and flowing hair, which frightened his Highness Prince James out of his feline senses, when, as you came in by the door, he made his bolt by the window. It was then that you entreated me, with "most petitionary vehemence," to write you a book a big book thick, and all for yourself

"Apollo heard, and granting half the prayer, Shuffled to winds the rest and tossed in air."

I have not written the book, nor is it thick: but I have printed you a book, and it is thin. And I take the occasion to note that old Geoffry Chaucer, our father poet, must have had you in his mind's eye, by prescience or precognition, or he could hardly else have written two poems, one on the daisy and one on the rose. They are poems too long for modern days, nor are we equal in patience to our fore fathers, who read 'The Faƫrie Queen,' 'Gondibert,' and the 'Polyolbion,' annually, as they cheeringly averred, through and out . Photography, steam, and electricity make us otherwise, and Patience has fled to the spheres; therefore, if feasible, shall "brevity be the soul of wit," and we will eschew "tediousness and outward flourishes" in compressing 'The Flower and the Leaf' into little:

THE FLOWER AND THE LEAF.

A maiden in greenwood in month of sweet May, Arose and awoke at the dawn of the day: As she wended along, She heard fairie song "Si doulce est la Margarite." There the Ladye the Flower and Ladye the Leaf, With knights and squires of fairie chief, Were met upon mead, For devoir and deed Homage unto "La doulce Margarite."

There the ladye in white and the ladye in green Sat on their thrones by the Fairie Queen, Whilst knights did their duty, And bowed down to beauty "Si doulce est la Margarite," When the skies grew hot and the ladies pale, And the storm descended in lightning and hail, As they danced and sung, And the burden rung "Sous la feuille, sous la feuille, meet."

Our Ladye of Leaf asked her of the Flower And fairie Nymphs to shelter in bower: And they danced and sung, And the refrain rung "Si doulce est la Margarite." All woe begone shivered the Ladye Flower, The Ladye Leaf glittered in gems from the shower: As they danced and sung, And the refrain rung "Si doulce est la Margarite."

And knights and squires then wended forth, East and west, and south, and north: To free forests and shores From giants and boars, And shelter in night and in storm; And every knight bore in chief on his shield The foyle en verte on an argent field: And they rode and they sung The huge oaks among: "Sous la feuille, sous la feuille, dorme."

The maiden then asked of the Fairie Queen To tell her the moral of what she had seen: Who answered and sung In her fairie tongue "Si doulce est la Margarite." The knight that is wise will lead from bower The lasting Leaf not the fading Flower: And when storms arise To turmoil life's skies "Sous la feuille, sous la feuille, meet."

Romaunt of the Rose.

Within my twentie yeares of age, When Love asserteth most his courage, I dreamed a dream, now fain to tell A dream that pleased me wondrous well... Continue reading book >>




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