Gateway to the Classics: Oxford Book of English Verse, Part 1 by Arthur Quiller-Couch
Oxford Book of English Verse, Part 1 by  Arthur Quiller-Couch

Of a Rose, a Lovely Rose, of a Rose Is Al Myn Song

Lestenyt, lordynges, both elde and yinge,

How this rose began to sprynge;

Swych a rose to myn lykynge

In al this word ne knowe I non.

The Aungil came fro hevene tour,

To grete Marye with gret honour,

And seyde sche xuld bere the flour

That xulde breke the fyndes bond.

The flour sprong in heye Bedlem,

That is bothe bryht and schen:

The rose is Mary hevene qwyn,

Out of here bosum the blosme sprong.

The ferste braunche is ful of myht,

That sprang on Cyrstemesse nyht,

The sterre schon over Bedlem bryht

That is bothe brod and long.

The secunde braunche sprong to helle,

The fendys power doun to felle:

Therein myht non sowle dwelle;

Blyssid be the time the rose sprong!

The thredde braunche is good and swote,

It sprang to hevene crop and rote,

Therein to dwellyn and ben our bote;

Every day it schewit in prystes hond.

Prey we to here with gret honour,

Che that bar the blyssid flowr,

Che be our helpe and our socour

And schyd us fro the fyndes bond.

— Anonymous
c. 1350   

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