18. To a Lady

William Dunbar. 1465-1520?

SWEET rois of vertew and of gentilness,
Delytsum lily of everie lustynes,
    Richest in bontie and in bewtie clear,
    And everie vertew that is wenit dear,
Except onlie that ye are mercyless

Into your garth this day I did persew;
There saw I flowris that fresche were of hew;
    Baith quhyte and reid most lusty were to seyne,
    And halesome herbis upon stalkis greene;
Yet leaf nor flowr find could I nane of rew.

I doubt that Merche, with his cauld blastis keyne,
Has slain this gentil herb, that I of mene;
    Quhois piteous death dois to my heart sic paine
    That I would make to plant his root againe,--
So confortand his levis unto me bene.

that I of mene
that I complain of, mourn for
to seyne
to see
weened, esteemed
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