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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

A Ditty

Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)

In Praise of Eliza, Queen of the Shepherds

SEE where she sits upon the grassy green,

O seemly sight!

Yclad in scarlet, like a maiden Queen,

And ermines white:

Upon her head a crimson coronet

With Damask roses and Daffadillies set:

Bay leaves between,

And Primroses green,

Embellish the sweet Violet.

Tell me, have ye beheld her angelic face

Like Phœbe fair?

Her heavenly haviour, her princely grace,

Can ye well compare?

The Red rose medled with the White yfere,

In either cheek depeincten lively cheer:

Her modest eye,

Her majesty,

Where have you seen the like but there?

I saw Calliope speed her to the place

Where my goddess shines;

And after her the other Muses trace

With their violines.

Bin they not bay-branches which they do bear

All for Eliza in her hand to wear?

So sweetly they play,

And sing all the way,

That it a heaven is to hear.

Lo, how finely the Graces can it foot

To the instrument:

They dancen deftly, and singen soot

In their merriment.

Wants not a fourth Grace to make the dance even?

Let that room to my Lady be given.

She shall be a Grace,

To fill the fourth place,

And reign with the rest in heaven.

Bring hither the Pink and purple Columbine,

With Gillyflowers;

Bring Coronations, and Sops-in-wine

Worn of Paramours:

Strow me the ground with Daffadowndillies,

And Cowslips and Kingcups and loved Lilies

The pretty Paunce

And the Chevisaunce

Shall match with the fair Flower-delice.