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Ours is the place at banquets, balls, and plays; Before my view appear'd a structure fair,,
With ceaseless noise the ringing walls resound;
Than leaves on trees, or sands upon the shores ; Of unknown dutchesses lewd tales we tell,
Which still unfolded stand, by night, by day, Yet, would the world believe us, all were well.
Pervious to winds, and open every way. The joy let others have, and we the name,
As flames by nature to the skies ascend, And what we want in pleasure, grant in fame.”. As weighty bodies to the centre tend,
The queen assents, the trumpet rends the skies, As to the sea returning rivers roll, And at each blast a lady's honour dies.
And the touch'd needle trembles to the pole; Pleas'd with the same success, vast numbers prest Hither as to their proper place, arise Around the shrine, and made the same request :
All various sounds from earth, and seas, and skies; “What you,” (she cry'd)“untearn'din arts to please, Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd in the ear; Slaves to yourselves, and ev'n fatigued with case, Nor ever silence, rest, or peace, is here. Who lose a length of undeserving days,
As on the smootb expanse of crystal lakes Would you usurp the lover's dear-bought praise? The sinking stone at first a circle makes; To just contempt, ye vain pretenders, fall, The trembling surface, by the motion stirr'd, The people's fable, and the scorn of all.”
Spreads in a second circle, then a third ; Straight the black clarion sends a horrid sound, Wide, and inore wide, the floating rings advance, Loud laughs burst out, and bitter scoffs fly round, Fill all the watery plain, and to the margin dance: Whispers are heard, with taunts reviling loud, Thus every voice and sound, when first they break, And scornful hisses run through all the croud. On neighbouring air a soft impression make; Last those who boast of mighty mischiefs done,
Another ambient circle then they move; Enslave their country, or usurp a throne; [406 That, in its turn, impels the next above; Or who their glory's dire foundation lay'd
Through undulating air the sounds are sent, On sovereigns ruin'd, or on friends betray'd; And spread o'er all the fuid element. Calm, thinking villains, whom no faith could fix, There various news I heard of love and strif, 449 Of crooked counsels and dark politics;
Of peace and war, health, sickness, death, and Of these a gloomy tribe surround the throne, Of loss and gain, of famine and of store, [life, And beg to make th' immortal treasons known. Of storms at sea, and travels on the shore, The trumpet roars, long flaky flames expire, Of prodigies, and portents seen in air, With sparks that seem'd to set the world on fire. Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair, At the dread sound, pale mortals stood aghast, Of turns of fortune, changes in the state, And startled Nature trembled with the blast. The falls of favourites, projects of the great, This having heard and seen, some power in
Of old mismanagements, taxations new: known
418 All neither wholly false, nor wholly true. Straight chang'd the scene, and snatch'd me from Above, below, without, within, around, 458 the throne.
Confus'd, unnumber'd multitudes are found,
Ver. 406. Last, those who boast of mighty, &c.]
Tho came another companye,
That had y-done the treachery, &c.
Tho saw I stonde in a valey,
Of werres, of peace, of marriages,
Of fire, and divers accident,
But such a grete congregation
And every wight that I saw there
Thus north and south
Who pass, repass, adrance, and glide away; Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favours call;
But if the purchase costs so dear a price
Or if no basis bear my rising name,
But the fall'n ruins of another's fame; The flying rumours gather'd as they rolld, Then, teach me, heaven! to scorn the guilty bays, Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told; Drive from my breast that wretched lust of praise ; And all who told it added something new,
Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown; And all who heard it made enlargements too, Oh, grant an honest fame, or grant me none !" 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 month to mouth. So from a spark, that kindled first by chance,
JANUARY AND MAY:-
OR, THE MERCHANT'S TALE.
There liv'd in Lombardy, as authors write,
In days of old, a wise and worthy knight; Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow, of gentle manners, as of generous race, And rush in millions on the world below,
Blest with much sense, more riches, and some grace; Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course,
Yet, led astray, by Venus' soft delights, Their date determines, and prescribes their force :
He scarce could rule some idle appetites : Some to remain, and some to perish soon;
For long ago, let priests say what they could, Or wane and wax alternate like the Moon.
Weak sinful laymen were but fiesh and blood. Arouz:d a thousand winged wonders fly,
But in due time, when sixty years were o'cr, Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd through He vow'd to lead this vicious life no more: the sky.
Whether pure holiness inspir’d his mind, There, at one passage, oft you might survey 489 Or dotage turn'd his brain, is hard to find; A lie and truth contending for the way;
But his high courage prick'd him forth to wed, And long 'twas doubtful though so closely pent,
And try the pleasures of a lawful bed. Which first should issue through the narrow vent:
This was his nightly dream, his daily care, At last agreed, together out they fly,
And to the heavenly powers his constant prayer, Inseparable now the truth and lie;
Once ere he dy'd, to taste the blissful life The strict companions are for ever join'd,
Of a kind husband and a loring wife. And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall find.
These thoughts he fortify'd with reasons still, While thus I stood, intent to see and hear,
(For none want reasons to contirin their will.) One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear:
Grave authors say, and witty poets sing, “ What could thus high thy rash ambition raise?
That honest wedlock is a glorious thing:
But depth of judgment most in him appears, Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise?” “* ?Tis true," said I, not void of hopes I came, Then let him chuse a danısel young and fair,
Who wisely weds in his maturer years.
To bless his age, and bring a worthy heir ;
To sooth his cares, and, free from noise and strife, How vain that second life in others breath,
Copduct him gently to the verge of life.
Let sinful batchelors their woes deplore,
Full well they merit all they feel, and more : (l'nsure the tenur’, but how vast the fine!)
Unaw'd by precepts human or divine, The grrat man's rurse, without the gains, endure, Like birds and beasts promiscuously they join : Be envy'd, wrethu, and be fatter'd, poor;
Nor know to make the present blessing last, All luckless wits their enemies profest,
To hope the future, or esteem the past :
But rainly boast the joys they never try'd, And all successful, jealous friends at best.
And find viiruly'd the secrets they would hide.
The marry'd man may bear his yoke with ease, IMITATIONS
Secure at once himself and Heaven to please; And that encreasing evermo,
and pass his invitensive hours away, As fire is wont to quicken and go
In bliss all night, and innocence all day :
Though fortune change, hisconstant spouse remains,
Auginents his joys, or mitigates liis pains.
But what so pure which envious tongues will spare? Ver. 489. There, at one passage, &c.)
Some wickest wits hare libell'd all the fair.
With matchless impude ce they style a wife
The (car-bought curse, and lawful plague of life
A boson-serpent, a doinestic evil,
A night invasion, and a mid-day devil.
Let not the wise these slanderous words regards
All other goods by Fortune's hand are given, To raise up sced to bless the powers above,
And not for pleasure only, or for love.
Think not I doat; 'tis time to take a wife, Like empty shadows, pass, and glide away ; When vigorous blood forbids a chaster life : One solid confort, our eterual wife,
Those that are blest with store of grace divine, Abundantly supplies us all our life :
May live like saints, by Heaven's consent and This blessing lasts (if those who try say true)
mine. As long as heart can wish- and longer too.
* And since I speak of wedlock, let me say, Our grandsire Adam, ere of Eve possess'd, (As, thank my stars, in modist truth I may) Alone, and ev'n in Paradise unbless'd,
My limbs are active, still I'm sound at beart, With inournful looks the blissful scenes survey'd, And a new vigour springs in every part. And wander'd in the solitary shade :
Think not any virtue lost, though time has shed The Maker saw, took pity, and testow'd
These reverend honours on my hoary head; Woman, the last, the best reserv'd of God. Thus trees are crown'd with blossoms white as snow, A wife! ah, gentle deities, can he
The vital sap then rising from below: That has a wife, e'er feel adversity ?
Old as I am, iny lusty limbs appear Would men but follow what the sex advise, Like winter greens, that flourish all the year. All things would prosper, all the world grow wise. Now, sirs, you know to what I stand inclin'd, 'Twas by Rebecca's aid that Jacob won
every friend with freedom speak his mind.”. His father's bicssing from an elder son :
He said ; the rest in different parts divide ; Abusive Nabal ow'd his forfait life
The knotty point was urg'd on either side: To the wise conduct of a prulent wife :
Marriage, the theme on which they all declaim'd, Heroic Judith, as old Hebrews show,
Some prais'd with wit, and some with reason blam'd; Preserv'd the Jews, and slew th’ Assyrian foe: Till, what with proofs, objections, and replies, At Hester's suit, the persecuting sword
Fach wondrous positive, and wondrous wise, Was sheath'd, and Israel liv'd to bless the Lord. There fell between his brothers a debate,
These weighty motives, January the sage Placebo this was call'd, and Justin that. Maturely ponder'd in his riper age;
Pirst to the knight Placebo thus begun And, charu'd with virtuous joys and sober life, (Mild were his looks, and pleasing was his tone): Would try that christian comfort, call'd a wife. " Such prudence, sir, in all your words appears, His friends were sunmon'd on a point so nice, As plainly proves, experience dwells with years ! To pass their judgment, and to give advice; Yet you pursue sage Solomon's advice, But fix'd before, and well resolv'd was he; To work by counsel when affairs are nice: (As men that ask advice are wont to be.)
But with the wise man's leave, I must protest, “My friends," he cry'd, (ard cast a mournful look So may my soul arrive at ease and rest Around the room, and sigh'd before he spoke) As still I hold your own advice the best. “ Beneath the weight of threescore years I bend, Sir, I have liv'd a courtier all my days, And worn with cares, and hastening to my end; And study'd men, their manners, and their ways; How I have liv'd, alas ! you know too well, And have observ'd this useful maxiın still, In worldly follies, which I blush to tell';
To let my betters always have their will. But gracious Heaven has ope'd my eyes at last, Nay, if ny lord affirm that black was white, With due rigret I view my vices past,
My word was this, 'Your honour's in the right.' And, as the precept of the church decrces, Th' assuming wit, who deerns himself so wise, Will take a wife, and live in holy ease.
As bis mistaken patron to advise, But, since by counsel all things should be done, Let hiin not dare to vent his dangerous thought, And many heads are wiser still than one;
A noble fool was never in a fault. Chus · you for me, who best shail be content This, sir, affects not you, wliose erery word When my desire's approv'd by your consent. Is weigh'd
! with judgment, and befits a lord : “ One caution yet is needful to be told,
Your will is mine; and is (I will maintain) To guide your choice; this wife must not be old : Pleasing to God, and should be so to man! There goes a saying, and 'twas shroudly said, At least, your courage all the world must praise, Old fish at tble, but young fesh in bed.
Who dare to wed in your declining days. My soul abhors the tasteless, dry embrace
Indulge th: vigour of your mounting blood, Of a stal, virgine with a winter face :
And let grey fools b: indolently good, In that old season Lovi, bat treats his guest Who, past all plcasure, damn the joys of sense, With bean-straw, and tough forage at the best. With rcverend (lulness, and grave impotence.” No crafty widows shall approach iny bed;
Justin who silent sat, and heard the man, Those are too wise for batchelors to wud;
Thus, with a philosophic frown, began. As subtle clerks by many schools are made,
“ A bathin author of the first degree, Twie-marty" dames are mistresses oth’trade: (Who, though not faith, had sense as well as we) Bu: young and senler virgins, rul'd with case, Bids us be certain our concerns to trust We forn: iko wax and mould them ay y* please. l'o those of generosis principles, and just. “ Conceiur me,
sirs, nor 'ake my sense amiss; The venture's greater, I'll presume to say, 'Tis what conc rns my soul's eternal bliss :
To give your person, than your gooiis away: Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse,
And therefore, sir, as yoll recaril your rest, As flesh is frail, and who (God help ine) knows? First learn your lady's qualities at least: Then should I live in lewil adultery,
Whether she's chasti or rampant, proud or civil, An sink downright to satan when I die.
Me k as a saint, or haughts as the devil; Or vere I cursd with an unfruitful berd,
Whether an easy, fonil, fainiliar fonul, Tb righteous ond were lost for which I wod; Or such a wit as no man e'er can rule.
'Tis true, perfection none must hope to find Chaste, though not rich; and, though not nobly In all this world, much less in womankind; Of honest parents, and may serve my turn. (born But, if her virtues prove the larger share,
Her will I wed, if gracious Heaven so please,
And thank the powers, I may possess alone
The bliss of Heaven above, and Farth below. Demure and chaste as any vestal nun,
Now should the nuptial pleasures prove so great, The meekest creature that beholds the Sun ! To match the blessings of the future state, But, by th' immortal powers, I feel the pain, Those endless joys were ill-exchang'd for these; And he that smarts has reason to complain. Then clear this doubt, and set my mind at ease.” Do what you list, for me; you must be sage, This Justin heard, nor could his spleen control, And cautious sure; for wisdom is in age :
Touch'd to the quick, and tickled at the soul, But at these years, to venture on the fair ; “Sir Knight," he cry'd," if this be all you dread, By him who made the ocean, earth, and air, Heaven put it past your doubt, whene'er you wed; To please a wife, when her occasions call,
And to my fervent prayers so far consent, Would busy the most vigorous of us all.
That, ere the rites are o'er, you may repent ! And trust me, sir, the chastest you can chuse Good Heaven, no doubt, the nuptial state approves, Will ask observance, and exact her dues,
Since it chastiscs still what best it loves. If what I speak my noble lord offend,
Then be not, sir, abandon'd to despair; My tedious sermon here is at an end.
Seek, and perhaps you'll find among the fair, “ 'Tiswell,'tis wonderous well,” the Knight replics, One that may do your business to a hair; “ Most worthy kinsman, faith you're mighty wise! Not ev'n in wish, your happiness delay, We, sirs, are fouls, and must resign the cause But prove the scourge to lash you on your way: To heathenish authors, proverbs, and old saws.” Then to the skies your mounting soul shall go, He spoke with scorn, and tum'd another way :- Swift as an arrow soaring from the bow! What does my friend, my dear Placebo, say? Provided still, you moderate your joy,
“I say," quoth he,“ by heaven the man's to blame, Nor in your pleasures all your might employ, To slander wives, and wedlock's holy name." Let reason's rule your strong desires abate,
At this the council rose, without delay; Nor please too lavishly your gentle mate. Each, in his own opinion, went his way ;
Old wives there are, of judgment most acute, With full consent, that, all disputes appeasid, Who solve these questions beyond all dispute ; The knight should marry, when and where he Consult with those, 'and be of better cheer;
Who now but January exults with joy? (pleas'd. Marry, do penance, and dismiss your fear.”
So said, they rose, no more the work delay'd ;
The old have interest ever in their eye. And each bright image wander'd o'er his heart, Nor was it hard to move the lady's mind; Thus, in some public forum fix'd on high,
When fortune favours, still the fair are kind. A mirror shows the figures moving ty;
I pass each previous settlement and deed, Still one by one, in swift succession, pass
Too long for me to write, or you to read ; The gliding shadows o'er the polish'd glass. Nor will with quaint impertinence display This lady's charms the nicest could not blame, The pomp, the pageantry, the proud array. But vile suspicions had aspers'd her farne ;
The time approach'd, to church the parties went, That was with sense, but not with virtue, blest; At once with carnal and devout intent: And one had grace, that wanted all the rest. Forth came the priest, and bade th' obedient wife Thus doubting long what nymph he should obey, Like Sarah or Rebecca lead her life; He fix'd at last upon the youthful May.
Then pray'd the powers the fruitful bed to bless, Her faults he knew not, Love is always blind, And made all sure enough with holiness. But every charın revolv'd within his mind :
And now the palace-gates are open'd wide, Her tender age, her form divinely fair,
The guests appear in order, side by side, Her easy motion, her attractive air,
And plac'd in state the bridegroom and the bride, Her sweet behaviour, her enchanting face, The breathing flute's soft notes are heard around, Her moving softness, and majestic grace.
And the shrill trumpets mix their silver sound; Much in his prudence did our knight rejoice, The vaulted roofs with echoing inusic ring, (string. And thought no mortal could dispute his choice: These touch the vocal stops, and those the trembling Once more in haste he summon'd every friend, Not thus Amphion tun'd the warbling lyre, And told them all, their pains were at an end. Nor Joab the sounding clarion could inspire,
Heaven, that” (said he) " inspir'd me first to wed, Nor fierce Theodamas, whose sprightly strain Provides a consort . worthy of my bed :
Could swell the soul to rage, and fire the martialtrain. Let none oppose th' election, since on this
Bacchus himself, the nuptial feast to grace, Depends my quiet, and my future bliss.
(So poets sing) was present on the place : A dame there is, the darling of my eyes,
And lovely Venus, goddess of delight, Young, beauteous, artless, innocent, and wise ; Shook high her faming torch in open sight,
And danc'd around, and smild on every knight: When now the fourth revolving day was run, Pleas'd her best servant would his courage try, ('Twas June, and Cancer had receiv'ŭ the Sun) No less in wedlock, than in liberty.
Forth from her chamber came the beauteous Full many an age old Hymen had not spy'd
bride; So kind a bridegroom, or so bright a bride. The good old knight mov'd slowly by her side. Ye bards ! renown'd among the tuneful throng High mass was sung; they feasted in the hall; For gentle lays, and joyous nuptial song,
The servants round stood ready at their call. Think not your softest numbers can display The squire alone was absent from the board, The matchless glories of the blissful day :
And much bis sickness griev'd his worthy lord, The joys are such as far transcend your rage, Who pray'd his spouse, attended with her train, When tender youth has wedded stooping age. To visit Damian, and divert his pain.
The beauteous dame sat smiling at the board, Th'obliging dames obey'd with one consent ; And darted amorous glances at her lord.
They left the hall, and to his lodging went. Not Hester's self, whose charms the Hebrews sing, The female tribe surround him as he lay, E'er look'd so lovely on her Persian king :
And close beside him sate the gentle May: Bright as the rising Sun in summer's day, Where, as she try'd his pulse, he softly drew And fresh and blooming as the month of May ! A heaving sigh, and cast a mournful view! The joyful knight survey'd her by his side, Then gave his bill, and brib'd the powers divine, Nor envy'd Paris with the Spartan bride :
With secret vows to favour his design. Still as his mind revolv'd with vast delight
Who studies now but discontented May Th’entrancing raptures of th' approaching night, On her soft couch uneasily she lay; Restless he sate, invoking every power
The lumpish husband snor'd away the night, To speed his bliss, and haste the happy hour. Till coughs awak'd him near the morning light. Meantime the vigorous dancers beat the ground, What then he did, I'll not presume to tell, And songs were sung, and flowing bowls went round. Nor if she thought herself in Heaven or Hell: With odorous spices they perfum'd the place,
Honest and dull in nuptial bed they lay, And mirth and pleasure shone in every face.
'Till the bell tolld, and all arose to pray. Damian alone, of all the menial train,
Were it by forceful Destiny decreed, Sad in the midst of triumph, sigh'd for pain;
Or did from Chance or Nature's power proceed; Damian alone, the knight's obsequious squire, Or that some star, with aspect kind to love, Consum'd at beart, and fed a secret fire.
Shed its selectest influence from above ; His lovely mistress all his soul possess'd;
Whatever was the cause, the tender dame He look’d, he långuish'd, and could take no rest: Pelt the first motions of an infant flame; His task perform’d, he sadly went his way, Receiv'd th' impressions of the love-sick squire, Fell on his bed, and loath'd the light of day. And wasted in the soft infectious fire. There let him lie, till his relenting dame
Ye fair, draw near, let May's example move Weep in her turn, and waste in equal flame. Your gentle minds to pity those who love!
The wearied Sun, as learned poets write, Had some fierce tyrant in her stead been found, Forsook the horizon, and rolld down the light; The poor adorer sure had hang'd, or drown'd : While glittering stars his absent beams supply, But she, your sex's mirrour, free from pride, And Night's dark mantle overspread the sky. Was much too meek to prove a homicide. Then rose the guests; and, as the time requir'd, But to my tale : Some sages have defin'd Each paid bis thanks, and decently retir’d. Pleasure the sovereign bliss of human kind :
The foe once gone, our knight prepar'd ť undress, Our knight (who study'd much, we may suppose) So keen he was, and eager to possess :
Deriv'd high philosophy from those;
His house was stately, his retinue gay ;
Large was his train, and gorgeous bis array. Whose use old bards describe in luscious rhymes, His spacious garden, made to yield to none, And critics learn'd explain to modern times. Was compass'd round with walls of solid stone;
By this the sheets were spread, the bride undress'd, Priapus could not half describe the grace
Full in the centre of the flowery ground, He kiss'd his balmy spouse with wanton play, A crystal fountain spread its streams around, And feebly sung a lusty mundelay :
The fruitful banks with verdant laurels crown'd: Then on the couch his weary liinbs he cast; About this spring (if ancient Fame say true) For every labour must have rest at last.
The dapper elves their moon-light sports pursue : But anxious cares the pensive squire oppress’d, Their pigmy king, and little fairy queen, Sleep fled his eyes, and peace forsook his breast : In circling dances gambold on the green, The raging flames that in his bosomn dwell, While tuneful sprites a merry concert made, He wanted art to hide, and means to tell; And airy music warbled through the shade. Vet hoping time th'occasion might betray,
Hither the noble knight would oft repair, Compos'd a sonnet to the lovely May;
(His scene of pleasure, and peculiar care) Which, writ and folded with the nicest art, For this he held it dear, and always bore tle wrap'd in silk, and laid upon his heart. The silver key that lock'd the garden door,