Like as a farmer scat’ring seeds in Spring,
a noble Lady spread her kind words there,
and unexpectedly she seemed to bring
new life to ground so recently laid bare.
And if that ground seems lavishly well sown,
it is no fault of hers, but of her son.
She tarried but to gather in her own
and seeds, by chance, fell as she watched him run.
Or, was that seed yet dropped there by her choice
in hope that it may grow? And do I see
in her attentions and hear in her voice
what comes from her, or comes from my fancy?
Fancy or no, I’ll tend this seedling well.
What harvest comes, still only time will tell.
(Nov 20, 1994)
As beaut’ful bride stands with the conf’dent groom,
the marriage will be great that starts this day.
Proud families and friends here in this room
hear love, respect, and joy in all they say.
To spend an hour in such good company,
with friends both old and new, to celebrate
and share their wedding joy, it seems to me
that this life has no pleasure half as great.
E’en as the mist doth vanish with the sun,
so fears and worries vanished with this day.
May all the problems of their life so run,
testing their strength, then mist-like fade away.
May, as their journey now together starts,
God’s wisdom fill their minds, and love their hearts.
Fair Atalanta made her suitor’s run
a footrace, betting life against her hand.
Hippomenes had apples like the sun,
a gift from Venus, and used them as planned.
The apples, o’er the race, the maiden chose.
Forgetting Venus, both were punished. Yet,
my mistress’ golden apples rival those
that foolish Atalanta stopped to get.
And o’er this fruit my mistress’ beauty shines
with courtesy and courtly grace most rare.
For favors giv’n, she proper tribute finds
(and would quickly correct me if I err).
Though apples Atalanta’s folly showed,
with them my mistress’ wisdom is bestowed.
E’en Aristotle, Wisest of the Greeks,
the great philosopher of ancient days,
upon first hearing a fair maiden speak
forgot his wisdom and his noble ways.
This maid, who did hear Aristotle chide
his student for his love-struck actions, then
by trickery the Master she did ride
to demonstrate love’s power over men.
So, if I seem a fool for writing verse,
or fawning o’er a love that’s newly met,
your beauty could make men do much that’s worse.
I’ll fear no scorn, the precedent’s been set.
If Aristotle, how e’er wise, did fall,
then none, for love, can blame me after all.
Based on the story of Aristotle and Phyllis, which was popular in the middle ages. See http://www.jehsmith.com/1/2013/04/phyllis-rides-aristotle.html for the story.