Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  48. The Night is Near Gone

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

Alexander Montgomerie. 1540?–1610?

48. The Night is Near Gone

HEY! now the day dawis; 
The jolly cock crawis; 
Now shroudis the shawis 
  Thro’ Nature anon. 
The thissel-cock cryis         5
On lovers wha lyis: 
Now skaillis the skyis; 
  The nicht is neir gone. 
The fieldis ouerflowis 
With gowans that growis,  10
Quhair lilies like low is 
  As red as the rone. 
The turtle that true is, 
With notes that renewis, 
Her pairty pursuis:  15
  The nicht is neir gone. 
Now hairtis with hindis 
Conform to their kindis, 
Hie tursis their tyndis 
  On ground quhair they grone.  20
Now hurchonis, with hairis, 
Aye passis in pairis; 
Quhilk duly declaris 
  The nicht is neir gone. 
The season excellis  25
Through sweetness that smellis; 
Now Cupid compellis 
  Our hairtis echone 
On Venus wha waikis, 
To muse on our maikis,  30
Syne sing for their saikis— 
  ‘The nicht is neir gone!’ 
All courageous knichtis 
Aganis the day dichtis 
The breist-plate that bright is  35
  To fight with their fone. 
The stonèd steed stampis 
Through courage, and crampis, 
Syne on the land lampis: 
  The nicht is neir gone.  40
The freikis on feildis 
That wight wapins weildis 
With shyning bright shieldis 
  At Titan in trone; 
Stiff speiris in reistis  45
Ouer corseris crestis 
Are broke on their breistis: 
  The nicht is neir gone. 
So hard are their hittis, 
Some sweyis, some sittis,  50
And some perforce flittis 
  On ground quhile they grone. 
Syne groomis that gay is 
On blonkis that brayis 
With swordis assayis:—  55
  The nicht is neir gone. 
GLOSS:  shroudis] dress themselves.  shawis] woods.  skaillis] clears.  gowans] daisies.  low] flame.  rone] rowan.  pairty] partner, mate.  tursis] carry.  tyndis] antlers.  grone] groan, bell.  hurchonis] hedgehogs, ‘urchins.’ maikis] mates.  fone] foes.  stonèd steed] stallion.  crampis] prances.  lampis] gallops.  freikis] men, warriors.  wight wapins] stout weapons.  at Titan] over against Titan (the sun), or read ‘as.’ flittis] are cast.  blonkis] white palfreys.