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Before my view appear'd a fructure fair,
Above, below, without, within, around, Its lite uncertain, if in earth or air;
Confus'd, unnumber'd multitudes are found, With rapid motion turn'd the mansion round; Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away; 460 With ceaseless noise the ringing walls refouod; Hofts rais'd by fear, and phantoms of a day : Nor less in oumber were the spacious doors, Astrologers, that future fates forelhew, Than leaves on trees, or sands upon the shores; Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few ; Which kill unfolded stand, by night, by day, And priests, and party zealots, numerous bands Pervious to winds, and open every way.
With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands : As flames by nature to the skies ascend,
Each talk'd aloud, or in some secret place,
And wild impatience star'd in every face.
And all who told it added something new, 470 All various sounds from earth, and feas, and skies, And all who heard it made enlargements too, Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd in the ear;
In every ear it spread, on every tongue id grew, Nor ever llence, rett, or peace, is here.
Thus flying eart and west, and north and south, As on the impoth expanse of crystal lakes
News travellid with increase from mouth to mouth, The linking stone at first a circle makes;
So from a spark, that kindled first hy chance, The crembling surface, by the motion stirr’d, With gathering force the quickening fames adSpreads in a second circle, then a third;
vance; Wide, and more wide, the filoacing rings ad
Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire, vance,
And towers and temples fink in floods of fire. Fill all the watery plain, and to the margin dance : When thus ripe lies are to perfe&tion sprung, Thus every voice and sound, when first they break, Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue, 480 On neighbouring air a soft impression make; Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they Arother ambient circle then they move ;
flow, That, in its turn, impels the next above;
And rush in millions on the world below, Through undulating air the sounds are sent, Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course, And spread o'er all the fluid element.
Their date determines, and prescribes their force :
peace and war, health, fickness, death, and life, Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.
the sky. Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair, There, at one passage, oft you might furvey Of turps of fortune, changes in the state,
A lie and truth contending for the way; 490
But such a grete congregation
Of folke as I saw roame about,
Some within, and fome without, And in the roof yet men may fene
Was never scen, ne shall be eft A thousand hoels and well mo
And every wight that I faw there To letten the soune out-go;
Rowned everich in others ear And by day in every tide,
A new tyding privily, Ben all the doors open wide,
Or else he told it openly And by night cach one uelhet;
Right thus, and said, Knowft not thou No porter is there one to let,
That is betide to-night now? No manner tydings in to pace :
No, quoch he, tell me what? Ne never red is in that place.
And then he told him this and that, &c. Ver. 148. There various news I heard, &c.]
Thus north and south Of werres, of peace, of marriages,
Went every cyding from mouth co mouth, Of reft, of labour, of voyages,
And that encreasing evermo, Of abode, of dethe, and of life,
As fire is wont to quicken and go Of love and hate, accord and strife,
From a sparkle sprong amifs, Of loss, of lore, and of winnings,
Till all the citee brent up is. Of hele, of lickness, and lellings,
Ver. 489. There, at one passage, &c.] Of divers transmutations,
And sometime I faw there at once, Of elates and eke of regions,
A leising and a sad sooch saw Of trust, of dred, of jealousy,
That gonnen at adventure draw Of wit, of winning, and of folly,
Out of a window forth to pacem Of good, or bad government,
And no man, be he ever so wrothe, Of Gre, and of divers accident
Shall have one of these two, but botke, &
And trust me, Sir, the challert you can choose Those endless joys were ill-exchang'd far enefe ; Will alk observance, and exact her dues.
Then clear this doubt, and set my mind at ease. If what I speak my noble lord offend,
This Justin heard, nor could his spleen controul, My tedious sermon here is at an end.
Touch'd to the quick, and tickled at the soul. 'Tis well, 'uis wond'rous well, the knight re Sir Knight, he cry'd, if this be all you dread, plies,
Heaven pat it pait your doubt, whene'er you wed; Most, worthy kinsman, faith you're nrighty wise ! And to my fervent prayers so far consent, We, Sirs, are fools, and must resign the caufe That, ere che rites are o'er, you may repent! To heathenish authors, proverbs, and old saws. Good Heaven, no doubt, the nuptial state approvesy He spoke with scorn, and turn'd another way : Since it chastises itill what bett it loves. What does my friend, my dear Placebo say? Then be not, Sir, abandon’d to despair ;
I say, quoth he, by heaven the man's to blame, Seek, and perhaps you'll find among the fair. To flander wives, and wedlock's holy name. One that may do your business to a hair;
Acthis the council rose, without delay ; Not ev’n in with, your happiness delay, Each, in his own opinion, went his way;
But prove the scourge to lash you on your way : With full consent, that, all disputes appeas'd, Then to the skies your mounting foul shall go, The knight should marry, when and where he Swift as an arrow soaring from the bow! pleas'd.
Provided still you moderate your joy, Who now but January exults with joy ? Nor in your pleasures all your might employ, The charms of wedlock all his soul employ; Let reason's rule your strong desires abate, Each aymph by turns his wavering mind poteft, Nor please too lavishly your gentle mate. And reign's the short-liv'd tyrant of his breast; Old wives there are, of judgment most acute, While fancy pictur'd every lively part,
Who solve those questions beyond all dispute; And each bright image wander'd o'er his heart. Consult with those, and be of better cheer; Thus, in some public forum fix'd on high, Marry, do penance, and dismiss your fear. A mirror thews the figures moving by;
So faid, they role, nor more the work delay'd; Still one by one, in swift fucceflion, pass
The match was offer'd, the proposals made. The gliding shadows o'er the polith'd glafs. The parents, you may think, would soon comply, This lady's charms the nicest could not blame. The old have interest ever in their eye. But vile fufpicions had aspers'd her fame;
Nor was it hard to move the lady's mind; That was with fenfe, but not with virtue bleft; When fortune favours, still the fair are kind. And one had grace that wanted all the relt. I pass each previous settlement and deed, 'Thus doubting long what nymph he should obey, Too long for me to write, or you to read; He fix'd at last upon the youthful May.
Nor will with quaint impertinence display Her faults he knew not, Love is always blind, The pomp, the pageantry, the proud array. But every charm revoly'd within his mind : The time approach'd, to church the parties went, Her tender age, her form divinely fair,
At once with carnal and devout intent : Her easy notion, her attractive air,
Forxh came the priest, and bade th' obedient wife Her sweet behaviour, her enchanting face,
Like Sarah of Rebecca lead her life ; Her moving softness, and majestic grace.
Then pray'd the powers the fruitful bed to bless, Much in his prudence did our knight rejoice, And made all sure enough with holiness. And thought no mortal could dispute his choice : And now the palace gates are open'd wide, Once more in hafte he summon'd every friend, The guests appear in order, side by side, And told them all, their pains were at an end. And plac'd in state the bridegroom and the bride, Heaver, that (faid he) inspir'd me first to wed, The breathing flute's soft notes are heard around, Provides a confort worthy of my bed :
And the thrill trumpets mix their lilver found; Let none oppose th' election, since on this The vaulted roofs with echoing music ring, Depends my quiet, and my future bliss.
These touch the vocal flops, and those the crembe A dame there is, the darling of my eyes,
ling ftring, Young, beauteous, artless, innocent, and wise; Not thus Amphion tun'l the warbling lyse, Chalte, though not rich; and, though not nobly Nor Joab the founding clarion could inspire, born,
Nor tierce Theodamas, whose Sprightly strain of honeft parents, and may serve my tun. Could swell the soul to rage, and fire che martial Her will I wed, if gracious Heaven to please,
train. To pass my age in lanclity and ease;
Bacchus himself, the nuptial feast to grace,
And danc'd around, and smild on every knight,
Thit not your softest numbers can display' When now the fourth revolving day was run, The matchicis glories of this blissful day : ('Twas June, and Cancer had receiv'd the sun) The joys are such, as far transcend your sage, Forth from her chamber came the beauteous bride; When tender youth has wedded stooping age. The good old Knight mov'd slowly by her side.
The beauteous dame fat smiling at tho board, High mass was fung; they feafted in the hall; And Jarted amorous glances at her lord.
The servants round stood ready at their call. No Heter's self, whose charms the Hebrews fing, The Squire alone was absent from the board, L'er look'd so lovely on her Persian king: And much his fickness griev'd his worthy lord. Bright as the rising fun in fummer's day, Who pray'd his fpouse, attended with her train, And fresh and blooming as the month of May ! To visit Damian, and divert his pain. The joyful knight survev'd her by his side, Th' obliging dames obey'd with one consent; Nor envy'd Paris with the Spartan bride : They left the hall, and to his lodging went. Still as his mind revolv'd with valt delight The female tribe surround him as he lay, T'entrancing raptures of th' approaching night and close beside him sat the gentle May: Restless he fat, invoking every power
Where, as she try'd his pulle, he softly drew To speed his bliss, and haste the happy hour. A heaving high, and cast a mournful view! Aleantime the vigorous dancers beat the ground, Then gave his bill, and brib'd the powers divine, . And songs were fung, and flowing bowls went With secret vows, to favour his delign. round.
Who studies now but discontented May? With odorous spices they perfum'd the place, On her soft couch uneasily she lay : And mirth and pleasure shone in every face. The lumpish husband snor'd away the night, Damian alone, of all the menial train,
Till coughs awak'd him near the morning light. Sad in the midst of triumphs, figh'd for pain; What then he did, I'll not presume to tell, Damian alone, the Knight's obsequious Squire, Nor if she thought herself in heaven or hell: Confum'd at heart, and fed a secret fire.
Honest and dull in nuptial bed they lay, His lovely mistress all his foul possess'd;
Till the bell toll'd, and all arose to pray. He look d, he languish d, and could take no rest : Were it by forceful destiny decreed, His talk perform'd, he sadly went his way, Or did from chance, or nature's power proceed; Fell on bis bed, and loth'd the light of day. Or that some star, with aspect kind to love, There let him lie, till his relenting dame
Shed its selected influence from above; Weep in her turn, and waste in equal flame. Whatever was the cause, the tender dame The weary fun, as learned poets write,
Felt the first motions of an infant flame; Forlook th' horizon, and rollid down the light; Receiv'd th' impressions of the love-lick Squire, While glittering stars his absent beams supply, And wasted in the soft infectious fire. And night's dark mantle overspread the sky. Ye fair, draw near, let May's example move Theoref: the guests; and, as the time requir’d, Your gentle ininds co pity those who love! Eh pad his thanks, and decently retir’d. (dress, Had some fierce tyrant in her stead been found,
The fue once gone, our knight prepar'd t' un The poor adorer sure had hang'd, or drown'd: Sa keen he was, and eager to poffels :
But she, your fex's mirror, free from pride, Pu: first thought fit th' affiftance to receive, Was much too meek to prove a homicide. Wach grave physicians fcruple not to give; But to my tale : Some lages have defin'd Sayrion near, with bot Eringos stood,
Pleasure the soverei bliss of human kind : Ciocharides, to fire the lazy blood,
Our knight (who trudy'd much, we may suppose)
His house was stately, his retinue gay;
His spacious garden, made to yield to none,
A place to tire the rumbling wits of France He kiss' his balmy spouse with wanton play, In long descriptions, and exceed romance; And fecbly sung a luty roundely :
Enougó to shame the gentlest bard that fings Then on the couch his weary limbs he cast; Of painted meadows, and of purling springs. For every labour must have reft at last.
Full in the centre of the flowery ground, But anxious cares the pensive Squire oppress'd, A crystal fountain spread its Itreams around, Sleep ficd his eyes, and peace forsook his breast : Thefruitful bankswith verdant laurels crown'd: "The ragiog flames that in his bosom dwell, About this fpring (if ancient fame say true) He wanted art to hide, and means to tell; The dapper elves their moon-light sports pursue : Yet hoping time th' occafion might betray, Their pigmy king, and little fairy queen, Campos'd a founet to the lovely May;
In circling dances gambol'd on the green, Which, writ and folded with the nicest art, While tuneful sprites a merry concert made, He wrapp'd in tilk, and laid upon his heart. And airy mulic warbled through the fhade.
Hicher the noble knight would oft repais, The winter's past; the clouds and tempests Ay; (His scene of pleasure, and peculiar care)
The sun adorns the fields, and brightens all the sky. For this he held it dear. and always bore
Fair without spot, whose every charming part The filver key that lock'd the garden-door. My besom wounds, and captivates my heart; To this sweet place, in sammier's sultry heat, Come, and in mutual pleasure let's engage, He us'd from noist and businels to retreat; Joy of my life, and comfort of my age. And here in dalliance spend the live-long day, This heard, to Damian straight a ligo she made, “ Solus cum fola," with his sprightly May: To halte before ; the gentle Squire obey'd : For whate'er work was undischarg'd a-bed, Secret, and undesery'd, he took his way, The duteous knight in this fair garden (ped. And ambush'd close behind an arbour lay.
But, ah! what mortal lives of bliss secure? It was not loog ere January came, How thert a space our worldly joys endure ! And hand in hand with him his lovely dame; O Fortune, fair, like all thy treacherous kind, Blind as he was, not doubting all was sure, But faithless still, and wavering as the wind! He turn'd the key, and made the gate secure. O painted monster, form’d mankind to cheat Here let us walk, he said, observ'd by none, With pleasing poifun, and with soft deceit ! Conscious of pleasures to the world unknown : This rich, this amorous venerable knight, So may my soul have joy, as thou, my wife, Amidst his ease, his folace and delight,
Art far the dearest folace of my life; Struck blind by thee, refigns his days to grief, And rather would I choose, by Heaven above, And calls on death, the wretch's last ralief.
To die this instant, than to lose thy love. The rage of jealousy then seiz'd his mind, Reflect what cruth was in my passion Town, For much he fear'd the faith of woman-kind. When unendow'd I took thee for my own, His wife, not suffer'd from his side to stray, And sought no treasure but thy heart alone. Was captive kept, he watch'd her night and day, Old as I am, and now depriv'd of fight, Abridg'd her pleasures, and coufin'd her (way. Whilst thou art faithful to thy own true knighe, Full oft in tears did hapless May complain, Nor age nor blindness rob me of delight. And ligh'd full oft; but figh'd and wept in vain : Each other loss with patience I can bear, Shc lock'd on Damian with a lover's eye; The loss of thee is what I only fear. For, oh, 'twas fix'd, she must possess or die ! Consider then, my lady, and my wise, Nor less impatience vex'd her amorous Squire, '1'he folid comforts of a virtuous life. Wild with delay, and burning with desire. As, first, the love of Christ himself you gain; Watch'd as she was, yet could he not refrain Next, your own honour undebil'd maintain; Ry secret writing to disclose his pain :
And lastly, that which sure your mind must move,
Ah, gentle knight, what could thy eyes avail, Displays his light, by Heaven, it shall be done.
Have comfort, spouse, nor think chy Lord unkind;
The dame at last, by diligence and care, Such secret transports warm my melting heart. Procur'd the key her knight was wont to bear ; For who, that once poflefs'd those heavenly charms, She took the wards in wax before the fire, Could live one moment abfent from thy arms ? And gave th' impression to the trusty Squire. He ceas'd, and May with modest grace reply'd By means of this, some wonder shall appear, (Weak was her voice, as while the spoke the Which, in due place and season, you may hear.
cry'd): Well lung sweet Ovid, in the days of yore, Heaven knows (with that a tender ligh she drew) What night is that, which love will not explore ? I have a soul to save as well as you; And Pyramus and 1 hifbe plainly show
And, what no less you to my charge commend, The feats true lovers, when they lift, can do : My dearest honour, will to death defend. Though watch'd and captive, yet in spite of all, To you in holy. church I gave my hand, They found the art of killing through a wall. And join'd my heart in wedlock's sacred band :
But now no longer from our tale to stray; Yet, after this, if you distrust my care, It happ'd, that once upon a fummer's day, Then hear, my lord, and witness what I swear. Our reverend knight was urg'd to amorous play;. First, may the yawning earth her bosom rend, he rais'd his spouse ere Matin bell was rung, And let me hence to hell alive descend; And thus his morning canticle he sung.
Or die the death I dread no less than hell, Awake, my love, disclose thy radiant eyes; Sew'd in a sack, and plung'd into a well; Arise, my wife, my beauteous lady, rise !
Ere I my fame by one lewd ad disgrace, Hear how the doves with penlive notes coni Or once renounce the honour of my race : plain,
For know, Sir Knight, of gentle blood I camc; Aud in fol murmurs tell the trees their pain : I lothe a whore, and Aartle at the name,
But jealous men on their own crimes reflea, And will you so, reply'd the queen, indeed?
And all the sex in each succeeding age!
Art shall be theirs, to varnish an offence, Thus while she spoke, a fidelong glance she caft, And fortify their crime with confidence. Where Damian, kneeling, worshipp'd as she past. Nay, were they taken in a lriet embrace, She saw him watch the motions of her eye, Seen with both eyes, and pinion'd on the place ; And singled out a pear-tree planted nigh : All they shall need is to protest and swear, 'Twas charg'd with fruit that made a goodly Breathe a soft figh, and drop a tender tear; show,
Till their wise husbands, gulld by arts like these, And hung with dangling pears was every bough. Grow gentle, tractable, and tame as geese. Thither th' obsequious Squire address'd his pace, What though this fianderous Jew, this Solomon, And, climbing, in the summit took his place; Call'd women tools, and knew full many a one; The knight and lady walk'd beneath in view, The wiser wits of later times declare, Where let us leave them, and our tale pursue. How constant, chaste, and virtuous, women are ;
'Twas now the season when the glorious fun Witness the martyrs, who resign'd their breath, His heavenly progress through the twins had run; Serene in tormenrs, unconcern'd in death; And Jove, cxalted, his mild influence yields, And witness next what Roman authors cell, To glad the glebe, and paint the flowery fields. How Arria, Portia, and Lucretia fell, Clear was the day, and Phæbus, rising bright, But, fince the sacred leaves to all are free, Had ftreak'd the azure firmament with light, And nien interpret texts, why should not we? He pierc'd the glittering clouds with golden streams, | By this no more was meant, than to have shown, And warm'd the womb of earth with genialbeams, That sovereign goodness dwells in him alone It lo befe!, in that fair morning-tide,
Who only is, and is but only One. The fairies sported on the garden side,
But grant the worst; shall women then be weigh'd And in the midit their monarch and his bride. By every word, that Solomon has said? So featly tripp'd the ligh:-foot ladies round, What though this king (as ancient story boasts) The knights so nimbly o'er the greensword Built a fair temple to the Lord of Horts ; bound,
[ground. He ceas'd at last his Maker to adore, That scarce they bent the flowers, or touch'd the. And did as much for idol gods, or more. The dances ended, all the fairy train
Beware what la vifh praises you confer For pinks and daisies search'd the flowery plain ; On a rank lecher and idolater ; While, on a bank reclin’d of rising green, Whose reign, indulgent God, says holy writ, Thus, with a frown, the king bespoke his queen. Did but for David's righteous fake permit;
'Tis too apparent, argue what you can, David, the monarch after heaven's own mind, The treachery you women use to man :
Who lov'd our sex, and honour'd all our kind. A thousand authors have this truth made out, Well, I'm a woman, and as such must speak; And fad experience leaves no room for doubt. Silence would swell me, and my heart would break, Heaven reft thy spirit, noble Solomon,
Know then, I scorn your dull authorities, A wiser monarch never saw the sun;
Your idle wits, and all their learned lics. All wealth, all honours, the supreme degree Hy heaven, those authors are our fex's foes, Of earthly bliss, was well beltow'd on thee! Whom, in our right, I must and will oppose. For sagely haft thou said : Of all mankind,
Nay (quoth che king) dear madam, be not One only juit and righteous hope to find :
wroth : Bnt shouldīt thou search the Spacious world around, 1 yield it up; but since I gave my oath, Yet one good woman is not to be found. That this much-injur'd knight again thould fee,
Thus says the king, who knew your wickedness: it must be done-i am a king, said he,
And one, whose faith has ever sacred been.
And so has mine (she said)-I am a queen: Or fonie devouring plague consume you all. Her answer the shall have, I undertake; As well you view the lecher in the trec,
And thus an end of all dispute I make. And well this honourable knight you see : Try when you lift; and you shall find, my lord, But since he's blind and old (a helpless case), It is not in our sex to break our word. His Squire shall cuckold him before your face. Wc leave them here in this heroic strain,
Now, by my own dread majesty I swear, And to the knight our story turns again; And by this awful sceptre which I bear,
Who in the garded, with his lovely May, No impious wretch fhall 'scape unpunish'd long, Sung merrier than the cuckoo or the jay : That in my presence offers such a wrong. This was his song ; " Oh kind and conltant be, I will this instant undeceive the knight,
“ Constant and kind I'll ever prove to thee." And in the very act restore his fight;
Thus singing as he went, at lait he drew And let the trumpet here in open view,
By easy fteps, to where the pear-tree grew : A warning to thele ladies, and to you,
The longing dame look'd up, and spy'd her love And all the faithless sex, for ever to be true. Full fairly perch'd among the boughs above.