Synopses & Reviews
Anonymous(15th century, British)"from The Flower and the Leaf"
And as I sat, the briddes herkning thus,
Me thought that I herd voices sodainly,
The most sweetest and most delicious
That ever any wight, I trow trewly,
Herde in his lyf, for (that) the armony
And sweet accord was in so good musyk,
That the voice to angels most was lyk.
At the last, out of a grove even by,
That was right goodly and plesaunt to sight,
A world of ladies; but to tell aright
Their greet beaute, it lyth not in my might,
Ne their array; nevertheless, I shal
Tell you a part, though I speke not of al.
In surcotes whyte, of veluet wel sitting,
They were (y)clad; and the semes echoon,
As it were a maner garnishing,
Was set with emeraudes, oon and oon,
By and by; but many a riche stoon
Was set (up-)on the purfils, out of dout,
Of colours, sieves, and traines round about;
As gret(e) perles, round and orient,
Diamondes fyne and rubies rede,
And many another stoon, of which I want
The names now; and everich on her hede,
A riche fret of gold, which, without drede,
Was ful of statly riche stones set;
And every lady had a chapelet
On her hede, of (leves) fresh and grene,
So wel (y-)wrought, and so merveilously,
That it was a noble sight to sene;
Some of laurer, and some ful plesauntly
Had chapelets of woodbine, and sadly
Some of "agnus-castus" ware also
Chapelets fresh; but there were many tho
That daunced and eek song ful soberly;
But all they yede in maner of compas.
But oon ther yede in-mid the company
Sole by her-self, but alfolowed the pace
(Which) that she kept, whos hevenly-figured face
So plesaunt was, and her wel-shape person,
That of beaute she past hem everichon.
And more richly beseen, by manifold,
She was also, in every maner thing;
On her hede, ful plesaunt to behold,
A crowne of gold, rich for any king;
A braunch of "agnus-castus" eek bering
In her hand; and, to my sight, trewly,
She lady was of (al) the company.
And she began a roundel lustily,
That "Sus le foyl de vert moy" men call,
"Seen, et mon joly cuer endormi; "
And than the company answered all
With voice(s) swete entuned and so small,
That me thought it the sweetest melody
That ever I herde in my lyf, soothly.
And thus they came(n), dauncing and singing,
Into the middes of the mede echone,
Before the herber, where I was sitting,
And, god wot, me thought I was wel bigon;
For that I might avyse hem, on and on,
Who fairest was, who coud best dance or sing,
Or who most womanly was in al thing.
The winner of the 1985 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for "Yin" presents the second volume in this popular anthology series, showcasing relatively unknown poets as well as greats such as Emily Dickinson, Willa Cather, and Sylvia Plath.
About the Author
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carolyn Kizer has compiled this collection devoted to one hundred of the finest poems written by women. She begins with a woman writing anonymously in the fifteenth century and takes us up to the present with such important contemporary authors as Marianne Moore, Adrienne Rich, Margaret Atwood, Sharon Olds, Louise Gluck, Jorie Graham, and Thylias Moss. This extraordinary anthology also contains such major poets as Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, and Gertrude Stein. And there is a generous selection of relatively unknown and wonderfully eccentric poets who wrote in obscurity during the past five hundred years.