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Those ills we dared, thy inspiration own;
What virtue seem'd, was done for thee alone.'
'Ambitious fools!' the queen replied, and frown'd,
'Be all your acts in dark oblivion drown'd;
There sleep forgot with mighty tyrants gone,
Your statues moulder'd, and your names unknown!'
A sudden cloud straight snatch'd them from my sight,
And each majestic phantom sunk in night.

Then came the smallest tribe I yet had seen:
Plain was their dress, and modest was their mien.
Great idol of mankind; we neither claim
The praise of merit, nor aspire to fame!

Bat, safe in deserts from the applause of men,
Would die unheard-of as we lived unseen.
'Tis all we beg thee, to conceal from sight
Those acts of goodness which themselves requite.
O let us still the secret joys partake,
To follow virtue e'en for virtue's sake.'

*And live there men, who slight immortal Fame?
Who then with incense shall adore our name?
But mortals! know, 'tis still our greatest pride,
To blaze those virtues which the good would hide.
Rise! Muses, rise! add all your tuneful breath;
These must not sleep in darkness and in death.'
She said: in air the trembling music floats,
And on the winds triumphant swell the notes;
So soft, though high, so loud, and yet so clear,
E'en listening angels lean from heaven to hear;
To farthest shores the ambrosial spirit flies,
Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies.

Next these a youthful train their vows express'd,
With feathers crown'd, with gay embroidery dress'd:
'Hither,' they cried, 'direct your eyes, and see
The men of pleasure, dress, and gallantry;
Ours is the place at banquets, balls, and plays;
Sprightly our nights, polite are all our days;
Courts we frequent, where 'tis our pleasing care
To pay due visits, and address the fair:
In fact, 'tis true, no nymphs we could persuade,
But still in fancy vanquish'd every maid;
Of unknown dutchesses lewd tales we tell,
Yet, would the world believe us, all were well.
The joy let others have, and we the name,
And what we want in pleasure, grant in fame.
The queen assents, the trumpet rends the skies,
And at each blast a lady's honour dies.

Pleased with the same success, vast numbers press'd
Around the shrine, and made the same request:
'What you,' she cried, 'unlearn'd in arts to please,
Slaves to yourselves, and e'en fatigued with ease,
Who lose a length of undeserving days,
Would you usurp the lover's dear-bought praise?
To just contempt, ye vain pretenders, fall,
The people's fable, and the scorn of all.'
Straight the black clarion sends a horrid sound,
Loud laughs burst out, and bitter scoffs fly round;
Whispers are heard, with taunts reviling loud,
And scornful hisses run through all the crowd.
Last, those who boast of mighty mischiefs done,
Enslave their country, or usurp a throne;
Or who their glory's dire foundation laid
On sovereigns ruin'd, or on friends betray'd;
Calm thinking villains, whom no faith could fix,
Of crooked counsels and dark politics:
Of these a gloomy tribe surround the throne,
And beg to make the immortal treasons known.
The trumpet roars, long flaky flames expire,
With sparks that seem'd to set the world on fire.

At the dread sound, pale mortals stood aghast,
And startled nature trembled with the blast.

This having heard and seen, some power unknown Straight changed the scene, and snatch'd me from the throne.

Before my view appear'd a structure fair,
Its site uncertain, if in earth or air:

With rapid motion turn'd the mansion round;
With ceaseless noise the ringing walls resound:
Not less in number were the spacious doors,
Than leaves on trees, or sands upon the shores;
Which still unfolded stand, by night, by day,
Pervious to winds, and open every way.
As flames by nature to the skies ascend,
As weighty bodies to the centre tend,
As to the sea returning rivers roll,

And the touch'd needle trembles to the pole;
Hither, as to their proper place, arise

All various sounds from earth, and seas, and skies,
Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd in the ear;
Nor ever silence, rest, or peace, is here.
As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes
The sinking stone at first a circle makes;
The trembling surface, by the motion stirr'd,
Spreads in a second circle, then a third;
Wide, and more wide, the floating rings advance,
Fill all the watery plain, and to the margin dance:
Thus every voice and sound, when first they break,
On neighbouring air a soft impression make;
Another ambient circle then they move;
That, in its turn, impels the next above;
Through undulating air the sounds are sent,
And spread o'er all the fluid element.

There various news I heard of love and strife,
Of peace and war, health, sickness, death, and life,
Of loss and gain, of famine and of store,
Of storms at sea, and travels on the shore,
Of prodigies, and portents seen in air,

Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair,
Of turns of fortune, changes in the state,
The falls of favourites, projects of the great,
Of old mismanagements, taxations new;
All neither wholly false, nor wholly true.

Above, below, without, within, around,
Confused, unnumber'd multitudes are found,
Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away;
Hosts raised by fear, and phantoms of a day:
Astrologers, that future fates foreshow,
Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few;
And priests, and party zealots, numerous bands,
With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands;
Each talk'd aloud, or in some secret place,
And wild impatience stared in every face.
The flying rumours gather'd as they roll'd,
Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told;
And all who told it added something new,
And all who heard it made enlargements too;
In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew.
Thus flying east and west, and north and south,
News travell'd with increase from mouth to mouth.
So from a spark, that kindled first by chance,
With gathering force the quickening flames advance;
Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
And towers and temples sink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung,
Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue,
Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow,
And rush in millions on the world below,

Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course,
Their date determines, and prescribes their force:
Some to remain, and some to perish soon;
Or wane and wax alternate with the moon.
Around, a thousand winged wonders fly,

Once ere he died, to taste the blissful life
Of a kind husband and a loving wife.

These thoughts he fortified with reasons still, (For none want reasons to confirm their will.) Grave authors say, and witty poets sing,

Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd through That honest wedlock is a glorious thing:

the sky.

There, at one passage, oft you might survey
A lie and truth contending for the way;
And long 'twas doubtful, though so closely pent,
Which first should issue through the narrow vent
At last agreed, together out they fly,
Inseparable now the truth and lie;

The strict companions are for ever join'd,
And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall find.
While thus I stood, intent to see and hear,
One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear:
'What could thus high thy rash ambition raise?
Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise?'
''Tis true,' said I; 'not void of hopes I came;
For who so fond as youthful bards of Fame?
But few, alas! the casual blessing boast,
So hard to gain, so easy to be lost.
How vain that second life in others' breath,
The estate which wits inherit after death!
Ease, health, and life, for this they must resign,
(Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine!)
The great man's curse, without the gains, endure,
Be envied, wretched, and be flatter'd, poor;
All luckless wits their enemies profess'd,
And all successful, jealous friends at best:
Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favours call;
She comes unlook'd-for, if she comes at all.
But if the purchase cost so dear a price,
As soothing folly, or exalting vice,

Oh! if the muse must flatter lawless sway,
And follow still where fortune leads the way;
Or if no basis bear my rising name,
But the fallen ruins of another's fame;
Then, teach me, Heaven! to scorn the guilty bays;
Drive from my breast that wretched lust of praise:
Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown;
Oh, grant an honest fame, or grant me none!'

JANUARY AND MAY;

OR,

THE MERCHANTS TALE.

FROM CHAUCER.

THERE lived in Lombardy, as authors write,
In days of old, a wise and worthy knight,
Of gentle manners, as of generous race,

But depth of judgment most in him appears,
Who wisely weds in his maturer years.

Then let him choose a damsel young and fair,

To bless his age, and bring a worthy heir:

To soothe his cares, and, free from noise and strife,
Conduct him gently to the verge of life.
Let sinful bachelors their woes deplore,
Full well they merit all they feel, and more
Unawed by precepts human or divine,
Like birds and beasts promiscuously they join:
Nor know to make the present blessing last,
To hope the future, or esteem the past:
But vainly boast the joys they never tried,
And find divulged the secrets they would hide.
The married man may bear his yoke with ease,
Secure at once himself and Heaven to please;
And pass his inoffensive hours away,

In bliss all night, and innocence all day:
Though fortune change, his constant spouse remains,
Augments his joys, or mitigates his pains.

But what so pure, which envious tongues will spare?
Some wicked wits have libell'd all the fair.
With matchless impudence they style a wife,
The dear-bought curse, and lawful plague of life;
A bosom-serpent, a domestic evil,

A night-invasion, and a mid-day devil.

Let not the wise these slanderous words regard,
But curse the bones of every lying bard..
All other goods by fortune's hand are given;
A wife is the peculiar gift of Heaven.
Vain fortune's favours, never at a stay,
Like empty shadows, pass, and glide away;
One solid comfort, our eternal wife,
Abundantly supplies us all our life:
This blessing lasts (if those who try say true)
As long as heart can wish-and longer too.

Our grandsire Adam, ere of Eve possess'd,
Alone, and e'en in Paradise unbless'd,
With mournful looks the blissful scenes survey'd,
And wander'd in the solitary shade:
The Maker saw, took pity, and bestow'd
Woman, the last, the best reserved of God.

A wife! ah gentle deities, can he
That has a wife, e'er feel adversity?
Would men but follow what the sex advise,

All things would prosper, all the world grow wise
'Twas by Rebecca's aid that Jacob won
His father's blessing from an elder son :
Abusive Nabal owed his forfeit life

Bless'd with much sense, more riches, and some grace; To the wise conduct of a prudent wife:

Yet, led astray by Venus' soft delights,
He scarce could rule some idle appetites :
For long ago, let priests say what they could,
Weak sinful laymen were but flesh and blood.
But in due time, when sixty years were o'er,
He vow'd to lead this vicious life no more:
Whether pure holiness inspired his mind,
Or dotage turn'd his brain, is hard to find:
But his high courage prick'd him forth to wed,
And try the pleasures of a lawful bed.
This was his nightly dream, his daily care,
And to the heavenly powers his constant prayer,

Heroic Judith, as old Hebrews show,
Preserved the Jews, and slew the Assyrian foe:
At Esther's suit, the persecuting sword
Was sheathed, and Israel lived to bless the Lord.
These weighty motives, January the sage
Maturely ponder'd in his riper age;
And, charm'd with virtuous joys and sober life,
Would try that Christian comfort, call'd a wife.
His friends were summon'd on a point so nice,
To pass their judgment, and to give advice;
But fix'd before, and well resolved was he;
(As men that ask advice are wont to be.)

'My friends,' he cried, (and cast a mournful look
Around the room, and sigh'd before he spoke :)
'Beneath the weight of threescore years I bend,
And worn with cares and hastening to my end;
How I have lived, alas! you know too well,
In worldly follies, which I blush to tell;
But gracious Heaven has ope'd my eyes at last,
With due regret I view my vices past,
And, as the precept of the Church decrees,
Will take a wife, and live in holy ease.
But, since by counsel all things should be done,
And many heads are wiser still than one;
Choose you for me, who best shall be content
When my desire 's approved by your consent.
'One caution yet is needful to be told,

To guide your choice; this wife must not be old.
There goes a saying, and 'twas shrewdly said,
Old fish at table, but young flesh in bed.
My soul abhors the tasteless, dry embrace
Of a stale virgin with a winter face:

In that cold season Love but treats his guest
With bean-straw, and tough forage at the best.
No crafty widows shall approach my bed;
Those are too wise for bachelors to wed;
As subtle clerks, by many schools are made,
Twice-married dames are mistresses of the trade;
But young and tender virgins, ruled with ease,
We form like wax, and mould them as we please.
'Conceive me, sirs, nor take my sense amiss;
'Tis what concerns my soul's eternal bliss:
Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse,
As flesh is frail, and who (God help me) knows?
Then should I live in lewd adultery,
And sink downright to Satan when I die.
Or were I cursed with an unfruitful bed,
The righteous end were lost for which I wed;
To raise up seed to bless the powers above,
And not for pleasure only, or for love.
Think not I dote; 'tis time to take a wife,
When vigorous blood forbids a chaster life:
Those that are bless'd with store of grace divine,
May live like saints, by Heaven's consent and mine.
'And since I speak of wedlock, let me say,

(As thank my stars, in modest truth I may,)
My limbs are active, still I'm sound at heart,
And a new vigour springs in every part.
Think not my virtue lost, though time has shed
These reverend honours on my hoary head;

But, with the wise man's leave, I must protest,
So may my soul arrive at ease and rest,
As still I hold your own advice the best.

'Sir, I have lived a courtier all my days,
And studied men, their manners, and their ways;
And have observed this useful maxim still,
To let my betters always have their will.
Nay, if my lord affirm that black was white,
My word was this: 'Your honour's in the right."'
The assuming wit, who deems himself so wise,
As his mistaken patron to advise,

Let him not dare to vent his dangerous thought:
A noble fool was never in a fault.
This, sir, affects not you, whose every word
Is weigh'd with judgment, and befits a lord:
Your will is mine; and is (I will maintain)
Pleasing to God, and should be so to man!
At least your courage all the world must praise,
Who dare to wed in your declining days.
Indulge the vigour of your mounting blood,
And let gray folks be indolently good,
Who, past all pleasure, damn the joys of sense,
With reverend dulness, and grave impotence.'
Justin, who silent sat, and heard the man,
Thus, with a philosophic frown, began;

'A heathen author of the first degree
(Who though not faith, had sense as well as we,)
Bids us be certain our concerns to trust
To those of generous principles, and just.
The venture's greater, I'll presume to say,
To give your person, than your goods away:
And therefore, sir, as you regard your rest,
First learn your lady's qualities at least:
Whether she's chaste or rampant, proud or civil,
Meek as a saint, or haughty as the devil;
Whether an easy, fond familiar fool,

Or such a wit as no man e'er can rule.
'Tis true, perfection none must hope to find
In all this world, much less in womankind;
But, if her virtues prove the larger share,

Bless the kind Fates, and think your fortune rare.
Ah, gentle sir, take warning of a friend,

Who knows too well the state you thus com.

mend;

And, spite of all his praises, must declare,

All he can find is bondage, cost, and care. Heaven knows, I shed full many a private tear, And sigh in silence, lest the world should hear!

Thus trees are crown'd with blossoms white as snow, While all my friends applaud my blissful life,

The vital sap then rising from below:
Old as I am, my lusty limbs appear
Like winter greens, that flourish all the year.
Now, sirs, you know to what I stand inclined,
Let every friend with freedom speak his mind.'
He said; the rest in different parts divide;
The knotty point was urged on either side:
Marriage, the theme on which they all declaim'd,
Some praised with wit, and some with reason blamed:
Till what with proofs, objections, and replies,
Each wondrous positive, and wondrous wise,
There fell between his brothers a debate;
Placebo this was call'd, and Justin that.

First to the knight Placebo thus begun
(Mild were his looks, and pleasing was his tone:)
Such prudence, sir, in all your words appears,
As plainly proves, experience dwells with years!
Yet you pursue sage Solomon's advice,
To work by counsel when affairs are nice:

L

And swear no mortal's happier in a wife;
Demure and chaste as any vestal nun,
The meekest creature that beholds the sun!
But, by the immortal powers, I feel the pain,
And he that smarts has reason to complain.
Do what you list, for me; you must be sage,
And cautious sure; for wisdom is in age;
But at these years, to venture on the fair!
By him who made the ocean, earth, and air,
To please a wife, when her occasions call,
Would busy the most vigorous of us all.
And trust me, sir, the chastest you can choose
Will ask observance, and exact her dues.
If what I speak my noble lord offend,
My tedious sermon here is at an end.'

"Tis well, 'tis wondrous well,' the knight replies,
Most worthy kinsman; 'faith you're mighty wise!
We, sirs, are fools; and must resign the cause
To heathenish authors, proverbs, and old saws.'

He spoke with scorn, and turn'd another way :'What does my friend, my dear Placebo, say?"

'I say,' quoth he, 'by Heaven the man's to blame,
To slander wives, and wedlock's holy name.
At this the council rose, without delay;
Each, in his own opinion, went his way;
With full consent, that, all disputes appeased,
The knight should marry, when and where he pleased.
Who now but January exults with joy:
The charms of wedlock all his soul employ;
Each nymph by turns his wavering mind possess'd,
And reign'd the short-lived tyrant of his breast;
While fancy pictured every lively part,

And each bright image wander'd o'er his heart.
Thus, in some public forum fix'd on high,
A mirror shows the figures moving by ;
Still one by one, in swift succession, pass
The gliding shadows o'er the polish'd glass.
This lady's charms the nicest could not blame,
But vile suspicions had aspersed her fame:
That was with sense, but not with virtue bless'd;
And one had grace, that wanted all the rest.
Thus doubting long what nymph he should obey,
He fix'd at last upon the youthful May.
Her faults he knew not, Love is always blind,
But every charm revolved within his mind:
Her tender age, her form divinely fair,
Her easy motion, her attractive air,
Her sweet behaviour, her enchanting face,
Her moving softness and majestic grace.

Much in his prudence did our knight rejoice,
And thought no mortal could dispute his choice;
Once more in haste he summon'd every friend,
And told them all, their pains were at an end.
'Heaven that (said he) inspired me first to wed,
Provides a consort worthy of my bed:
Let none oppose the election, since on this
Depends my quiet, and my future bliss.

A dame there is, the darling of my eyes,
Young, beauteous, artless, innocent, and wise;
Chaste, though not rich; and, though not nobly
born,

Of honest parents, and may serve my turn.
Her will I-wed, if gracious Heaven so please,
To pass my age in sanctity and ease:
And thank the powers, I may possess alone
The lovely prize, and share my bliss with none!
If you, my friends, this virgin can procure,
My joys are full, my happiness is sure.

'One only doubt remains: full oft I've heard,
By casuists grave, and deep divines averr'd,
That 'tis too much for human race to know
The bliss of heaven above, and earth below:
Now should the nuptial pleasures prove so great,
To match the blessings of the future state,
Those endless joys were ill-exchanged for these.
Then clear this doubt, and set my mind at ease.'
This Justin heard, nor could his spleen control,
Touch'd to the quick, and tickled at the soul.
'Sir knight,' he cried, 'if this be all you dread,
Heaven put it past your doubt, whene'er you wed;
And to my fervent prayers so far consent,
That, ere the rites are o'er you may repent!
Good Heaven, no doubt, the nuptial state approves
Since it chastises still what best it loves.
Then be not, sir, abandon'd to despair;
Seek, and perhaps you'll find among the fair,
One that may do your business to a hair:

Not e'en in wish, your happiness delay,
But
prove the Scourge to lash you on your way:
Then to the skies your mounting soul shall go,
Swift as an arrow soaring from the bow!
Provided still, you moderate your joy,
Nor in your pleasures all your might employ.
Let reason's rule your strong desires abate,
Nor please too lavishly your gentle mate.
Old wives there are, of judgment most acute,
Who solve these questions beyond all dispute;
Consult with those, and be of better cheer;
Marry, do penance, and dismiss your fear.'

So said, they rose, nor more the work delay'd;
The match was offered, the proposals made.
The parents, you may think, would soon comply;
The old have interest ever in their eye.
Nor was it hard to move the lady's mind;
When fortune favours, still the fair are kind.

I pass each previous settlement and deed,
Too long for me to write, or you to read;
Nor will with quaint impertinence display
The pomp, the pageantry, the proud array.
The time approach'd, to church the parties went,
At once with carnal and devout intent:
Forth came the priest, and bade the obedient wife,
Like Sarah or Rebecca lead her life;

Then pray'd the powers the fruitful bed to bless,
And made all sure enough with holiness.

And now the palace gates are open'd wide,
The guests appear in order, side by side,
And placed in state the bridegroom and the bride.
The breathing flute's soft notes are heard around,
And the shrill trumpets mix their silver sound;
The vaulted roofs with echoing music ring,
These touch the vocal stops, and those the trem-

bling string.

Not thus Amphion tuned the warbling lyre,
Nor Joab the sounding clarion could inspire,
Nor fierce Theodamus, whose sprightly strain
Could swell the soul to rage, and fire the martial

train.

Bacchus himself, the nuptial feast to grace, (So poets sing) was present on the place: And lovely Venus, goddess of delight, Shook high her flaming torch in open sight. And danced around, and smiled on every knight: Pleased her best servant would his courage try, No less in wedlock, than in liberty. Full many an age old Hymen had not spied So kind a bridegroom, or so bright a bride. Ye bards! renown'd among the tuneful throng For gentle lays, and joyous nuptial song, Think not your softest numbers can display The matchless glories of the blissful day: The joys are such as far transcend your rage, When tender youth has wedded stooping age.

The beauteous dame sat smiling at the board, And darted amorous glances at her lord. Not Esther's self, whose charms the Hebrews sing, E'er look'd so lovely on her Persian king. Bright as the rising sun in summer's day, And fresh and blooming as the month of May! The joyful knight survey'd her by his side; Nor envied Paris with the Spartan bride : Still as his mind revolved with vast delight The entrancing raptures of the approaching night, Restless he sate, invoking every power To speed his bliss, and haste the happy hour.

Meantime the vigorous dancers beat the ground,

Who studies now but discontented May?

And songs were sung, and flowing bowls went On her soft couch uneasily she lay;

round;

With odorous spices they perfumed the place,
And mirth and pleasure shone in every face.
Damian alone of all the menial train,

Sad in the midst of triumphs, sigh'd for pain;
Damian alone, the knight's obsequious 'squire,
Consumed at heart, and fed a secret fire.
His lovely mistress all his soul possess'd;
He look'd, he languish'd, and could take no rest:
His task perform'd, he sadly went his way,
Fell on his bed, and loathed the light of day.
There let him lie, till his relenting dame
Weep in her turn, and waste in equal flame.
The wearied sun, as learned poets write,
Forsook the horizon, and roll'd down the light;
While glittering stars his absent beams supply,
And night's dark mantle overspread the sky.
Then rose the guests: and, as the time required,
Each paid his thanks, and decently retired.

The lumpish husband snored away the night,
Till coughs awaked him near the morning light.
What then he did, I'll not presume to tell,
Nor if she thought herself in heaven or hell;
Honest and dull in nuptial bed they lay,
Till the bell toll'd, and all arose to pray.

Were it by forceful destiny decreed,

Or did from chance, or nature's power proceed;
Or that some star, with aspect kind to love,
Shed its selectest influence from above;
Whatever was the cause, the tender dame
Felt the first motions of an infant flame;
Received the impressions of the love-sick 'squire,
And wasted in the soft infectious fire.

Ye fair, draw near, let May's example move
Your gentle minds to pity those who love!
Had some fierce tyrant, in her stead been found,
The poor adorer sure had hang'd or drown'd:
But she, your sex's mirror, free from pride,

The foe once gone, our knight prepared to un-Was much too meek to prove a homicide.

dress,

So keen he was, and eager to possess:

But first thought fit the assistance to receive,
Which grave physicians scruple not to give:
Satyrion near, with hot eringos stood,
Cantharides, to fire the lazy blood,

Whose use old bards describe in luscious rhymes,
And critics learn'd explain to modern times.
By this the sheets were spread, the bride undress'd,
The room was sprinkled, and the bed was bless'd.
What next ensued beseems not me to say;
"Tis sung, he labour'd till the dawning day,
Then briskly sprung from bed, with heart so light,
As all were nothing he had done by night;
And sipp'd his cordial as he sat upright.
He kiss'd his balmy spouse with wanton play,
And feebly sung a lusty roundelay:
Then on the couch his weary limbs he cast:
For every labour must have rest at last.

But anxious cares the pensive 'squire oppress'd,
Sleep fled his eyes, and peace forsook his breast:
The raging flames that in his bosom dwell,
He wanted art to hide, and means to tell;
Yet hoping time the occasion might betray,
Composed a sonnet to the lovely May;
Which, writ and folded with the nicest art,
He wrapp'd in silk, and laid upon his heart.

When now the fourth revolving day was run, ('Twas June, and Cancer had received the sun,) Forth from her chamber came the beauteous bride; The good old knight moved slowly by her side. High mass was sung; they feasted in the hall; The servants round stood ready at their call. The 'squire alone was absent from the board, And much his sickness grieved his worthy lord, Who pray'd his spouse, attended with her train, To visit Damian, and divert his pain. The obliging dames obey'd with one consent: They left the hall, and to his lodging went. The female tribe surround him as he lay, And close beside him sate the gentle May: Where, as she tried his pulse, he softly drew A heaving sigh, and cast a mournful view! Then gave his bill, and bribed the powers divine With secret vows, to favour his design.

But to my tale: Some sages have defined, Pleasure the sovereign bliss of human-kind : Our knight (who studied much, we may suppose,) Derived his high philosophy from those! For, like a prince, he bore the vast expense Of lavish pomp, and proud magnificence: His house was stately, his retinue gay; Large was his train, and gorgeous his array. His spacious garden, made to yield to none, Was compass'd round with walls of solid stone; Priapus could not half describe the grace (Though god of gardens) of this charming place; A place to tire the rambling wits of France In long descriptions, and exceed romance; Enough to shame the gentlest bard that sings Of painted meadows, and of purling springs.

Full in the centre of the flowery ground,
A crystal fountain spread its streams around
The fruitful banks with verdant laurels crown'd;
About this spring (if ancient fame say true)
The dapper elves their moon-light sports pursue;
Their pigmy king, and little fairy queen,
In circling dances gambol'd on the green,
While tuneful sprites a merry concert made,
And airy music warbled through the shade.

Hither the noble knight would oft repair
(His scene of pleasure, and peculiar care.)
For this he held it dear, and always bore
The silver key that lock'd the garden door.
To this sweet place, in summer's sultry heat,
He used from noise and business to retreat;
And here in dalliance spend the live-long day
Solus cum sola, with his sprightly May:
For whate'er work was undischarged a-bed,
The duteous knight in this fair garden sped.

But ah! what mortal lives of bliss secure?
How short a space our worldly joys endure !
O Fortune, fair, like all thy treacherous kind,
But faithless still, and wavering as the wind!
O painted monster, form'd mankind to cheat
With pleasing poison, and with soft deceit !
This rich, this amorous, venerable knight,
Amidst his ease, his solace, and delight,
Struck blind by thee, resigns his days to grief,
And calls on death, the wretch's last relief.

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