"Ranging" (butterfly language)


When "Ephelia" writes that she was "Ranging the Plain one's Summers Night," she was using the correct language for butterfly movement; I recently came upon a precedent in Spenser's butterfly poem, Muiopotmos (1590), in which the quick flight of the resplendent butterfly, Clarion, is described as follows:

"The fresh yong flie, in whom the kindly fire
Of lustfull youngth began to kindle fast,
Did much disdaine to subject his desire
To loathsome sloth, or houres in ease to wast,
But joy'd to range abroad in fresh attire;
Through the wide compas of the ayrie coast,
And with unwearied wings each part t'inquire
Of the wide rule of his renowned sire."
(II. 33-40; italics added)