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country has received all its wisdom from the town, the moment has come when in American society many of the higher influences of civilization may rather be sought in the fields, when we may learn there many valuable lessons of life, and particularly all the happy lessons of simplicity.


The flower and the Leaf.

This charming fairy tale of Chaucer has never yet, it is

believed, been reprinted entire in America. The poem, complete, in its quaint, original garb, has been placed among these selections with the hope that its intrinsic beauty and its rarity may alike prove sources of interest to the reader. Unfortunately there is much of Chaucer which will not bear to be generally read-much against which we are justly cautioned. But the grossness with which he is reproached must have been rather the fault of the age to which he belonged, than of the man himself, for the passages open to us are full of sweetness and delicacy, so fresh and original, so quaintly fanciful, so altogether delightful, that one can never cease to deplore that all his pages should not be equally fair and clean. Here, however, we have a complete work of the old master quite free from objection ; in this instance the delicacy of the fancy appears to have shielded him from the prevailing coarseness of the period in which he wrote. The uncouth old spelling need not deprive any one of the pleasure of enjoying the poem, as a few minutes' practice will accustom the eye and the ear to the strangeness of the orthography and rhythm. It would have been very easy to obviate those last obstacles en. tirely by giving the reader Dryden's version, instead of the original ; but there are a thousand charming touches in Chaucer quite peculiar to himself, and which Dryden, with all his higher polish, could never really improve. Every original work of a man of genius, even when imperfect and faulty, must always possess a life and reality which no imitation, even the most finished, can hope to equal; and in this, as in every other instance, we have preferred carrying our bucket to the fountain head. Let us hope the reader will enjoy the draught offered to him from

“Dan Chaucer, well of English undefiled.”



A gentlewoman out of an arbour in a grove, seeth a great companie of knights and ladies in a

daunce upon the greene grasse : the which belog ended, they all kneele downe, and do honour to the daisie, some to the flower, and some to the leafe. Afterward this bentlewoman learneth by one of these ladies the meaning bereof, which is this : They which honour the flower, a thing fading with every blast, are such as looke after beautie and worldly pleasure. But they that honour the lease, which abideth with the root, notwithstanding the frosts and winter stories, are they which follow vertue and during qualities, without regard of worldly respecte.

Whan that Phebus his chair of golde so hie,
Had whirled up the sterry sky aloft,
And in the Boole was entred certainly,
When shoures sweet of raine descended soft,
Causing the ground fele times and oft,
Up for to give many an wholsome aire,
And every plaine was clothed faire
With new greene, and maketh small floures
To springen here and there in field and in mede,
So very gooil and wholsome be the shoures,
That it renueth that was old and dele,
In winter time; and out of every se le
Springeth the hearbe, so that every wight
Of this season wexeth glad and light,

And I so glad of the season swete
Was happed thus upon a certaine night,
As I lay in my bed, sleepe full unmete
Was unto me, but why that I ne might
Rest, I ne wist : for there n'as earthly wight
As I suppose had more herts ease
Than I; for I n'ad sicknesse nor disease.

Wherefore I mervaile greatly of my selfe,
That I so long withouten sleepe lay,
And up I rose three houres after twelfe,
About the springing of the daye;
And I put on my geare and my arraye,
And to a pleasaunt grove I gan passe,
Long er the bright Sunne up risen was.

In which were okes great, streight as a line,
Under the which the grasse so fresh of hew,
Was newly sprong, and an eight foot or nine
Every tree well fro his fellow grew,
With branches brode, laden with leves newe
That sprongen out ayen the sunne-shene
Some very red, and some a glad light grene.

Which as me thought was right a pleasant sight,
And eke the briddles songe for to here,
Would have rejoiced any earthly wight,
And I that couth not yet in no manere,
Heare the nightingale of all the yeare,
Ful busily herkened with herte and with eare,
If I her voice perceive coud any where.

And, at the last, a path of little brede
I found, that greatly had not used be,
For it forgrowen was with grasse and weede,
That well unneth a wighte might it se:
Thought I, this path some whider goth, pardè;
And so I followed, till it me brought
To right a pleasaunt herber well ywrought,

That benched was, and with turfes new
Freshly turved, whereof the grene gras,
So small, so thicke, so shorte, so fresh of hew,
That most like unto green wool wot I it was:
The hegge also that yede in compas,

And closed in all the greene herbere,
With sicamour was set and eglatere;

Wrethen in fere so well and cunningly,
That every branch and leafe grew by mesure,
Plaine as a bord, of an height by and by,
I sie never thing I you ensure,
So well done; for he that tooke the cure
It to make ytrow, did all his peine
To make it passe all tho that men have seine.

And shapen was this herber roof and all,
As a prety parlour; and also
The hegge as thicke as a castle wall,
That who that list without, to stond or go,
Though he would all day prien to and fro,
He should not see if there were any wight
Within or no; but one within well might

Perceive all tho thot yeden there without
In the field, that was on every side
Covered with corn and grasse, that out of doubt,
Though one would seeke all the world wide,
So rich a fielde coud not be espide
On no coast, as of the quantity,
For of all good thing there was plenty.
And I that all this pleasaunt sight sie,
Thought sodainly I felt so sweet an aire
Of the eglentere, that certainely,
There is no hert, I deme, in such dispaire,
Ne with thoughts froward, and contraire,
So overlaid, but it should soon have bote,
If it had onos felt this savour sote.

And as I stood and cast aside mine eie,
I was ware of the fairest medler tree,
That ever yet in all my life I sie,
As full of blossomes as it might be,
Therein a goldfinch leaping pretile
Fro bough to bough; and, as him list, he eet
Here and there of buds and floures sweet.

And to the herber side was joyning
This faire tree, of which I have you told,
And at the last the bird began to sing,
Whan he had eaten what he eat woll;

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