As I have seen upon a bridal day

William Browne of Tavistock

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[The Birth of the River Tavis]

As I have seen upon a bridal day
Full many maids clad in their best array,
In honour of the bride come with their flaskets
Filled full with flowers: others in wicker baskets
Bring from the marish^ rushes to o'erspread
The ground whereon to church the lovers tread;
Whilst that the quaintest youth of all the plain
Ushers their way with many a piping strain:
So, as in joy at this fair river's* birth,
Triton came up a channel with his mirth,
And called the neighboring nymphs each in her turn
To pour their pretty rivulets from their urn.
To wait upon this new-delivered spring,
Some running through the meadows, with them bring
Cowslip and mint; and 'tis another's lot
To light upon some gardener's curious knot,
Whence she upon her breast, love's sweet repose,
Doth bring the queen of flowers, the English Rose.
Some from the fen bring reeds, wild thyme from downs;
Some from a grove the bay that poets crowns;
Some from an aged rock the moss hath torn,
And leaves him naked unto winter's storm;
Another from her banks, in mere goodwill,
Brings nutriment for fish, the camomile.
Thus all bring somewhat, and do overspread
The way the spring unto the sea doth tread.

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