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Hither as to their proper place, arise
All various founds from earth, and feas, and skies,
Or fpoke aloud, or whifper'd in the ear;
Nor ever filence, reft, or peace is here.
As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes
The finking ftone at first a circle makes ;
The trembling furface by the motion stirr'd,
Spreads in a fecond circle, then a third;
Wide, and more wide, the floating rings advance, 440
Fill all the wat'ry plain, and to the margin dance:
Thus ev'ry voice and found, when first they break,
On neighb'ring air a foft impreffion make;
Another ambient circle then they move;
That, in its turn, impels the next above;
Thro' undulating air the founds are fent,
And spread o'er all the fluid element.
There various news I heard of love and ftrife,
Of peace and war, health, fickness, death and life,
Of lofs and gain, of famine and of store,
Of storms at sea, and travels on the shore,
VER. 448. There various news I beard, etc.]
Of werres, of peace, of marriages,
Of reft, of labour, of voyages,
Of abode, of dethe, and of life,
Of love and hate, accord and ftrife,
Of lofs, of lore, and of winnings,
Of hele, of fickness, and leffings,
Of divers tranfmutations
Of prodigies, and portents feen in air,
Of fires and plagues, and ftars with blazing hair,
Of turns of Fortune, changes in the ftate,
The falls of fav'rites, projects of the great,
Of eftates and eke of regions,
Of truft, of drede, of jealoufy,
Of wit, of winning, and of folly,
Of good, or bad government,
Of fire, and of divers accident,
Of old mifmanagements, taxations new:
All neither wholly falfe, nor wholly true.
Above, below, without, within, around,
Confus'd, unnumber'd multitudes are found,
Who pafs, repafs, advance, and glide away;
Hofts rais'd by fear, and phantoms of a day:
Aftrologers, that future fates foreshew,
Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few;
And priests, and party-zealots, num'rous bands
With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands; 465
Each talk'd aloud, or in some secret place,
And wild impatience ftar'd in ev'ry face.
rumours gather'd as they roll'd,
tale was fooner heard than told;
And all who told it added fomething new,
And all who heard it made enlargements too,
In ev'ry ear it spread, on ev'ry tongue it grew.
Thus flying eaft and weft, and north and fouth,
News travel'd with increase from mouth to mouth.
VER. 458. Above, below, without, within, etc.]
But fuch a grete congregation
Of folke as I faw roame about,
Some within, and fome without,
Was never seen, ne fhall be eft-
And every wight that I saw there
Rowned everich in others ear
A new tyding privily,
Or else he told it openly
Right thus, and faid, Knowft not thou
That is betide to night now?
No, quoth he, tell me what?
And then he told him this and that, etc.
Thus north and fouth
Went every tiding fro mouth to mouth,
And that encreasing evermo,
As fire is wont to quicken and go
From a fparkle fprong amifs,
Till all the citee brent up is.
So from a fpark, that kindled firft by chance,
With gath'ring force the quick'ning flames advance ;
Till to the clouds their curling heads afpire,
And tow'rs and temples fink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection fprung,
Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue,
Thro' thoufand vents, impatient, forth they flow,
And rufh in millions on the world below,
Fame fits aloft, and points them out their course,
Their date determines, and prescribes their force:
Some to remain, and fome to perish soon;
Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.
Around, a thousand winged wonders fly,
Born by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd thro' the sky.
There, at one paffage, oft you might furvey
A lie and truth contending for the way;
And long 'twas doubtful, both so closely pent,
Which firft fhould iffue thro' the narrow vent:
At laft agreed, together out they fly,
Infeparable now, the truth and lye;
The strict companions are for ever join'd,
And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall find.
While thus I ftood, intent to fee and hear,
One came, methought, and whifper'd in my ear:
VER. 497. While thus I food, etc.] The hint is taken from a paffage in another part of the third book, but here more naturally made the conclufion, with the Addition of a Moral to the whole. In Chaucer he only anfwers he came to fee the place ;" and the book ends abruptly, with his being furprized at the fight of a Man of great Authority, and awakin g in a fright.
And no man, be he ever fo wrothe,
Shall have one of these two, but bothe, etc.
What could thus high thy rash ambition raise ?
Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise ?
'Tis true, faid I, not void of hopes I came,
For who fo fond as youthful bards of Fame ? :
But few, alas! the cafual bleffing boast,
So hard to gain, so easy to be lost.
How vain that second life in others breath,,
Th' eftate which wits inherit after death!
Eafe, health, and life, for this they must refign,
(Unfure the tenure, but how vaft the fine!)
The great man's curfe, without the gains, endure,
Be envy'd, wretched, and be flatter'd, poor; .
All lucklefs wits their enemies profeft,
And all successful, jealous friends at best.
Nor Fame I flight, nor for her favours call;
She comes unlook'd for, if she comes at all.
But if the purchase costs fo dear a price.
As foothing Folly, or exalting Vice:
Oh! if the Mufe muft flatter lawless fway,
And follow still where fortune leads the way;
Ór if no bafis bear my rifing name,
But the fall'n ruins of another's fame;
Then, teach me, heav'n! to scorn the guilty bays,
Drive from my breast that wretched luft of praise,
Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown;
Oh grant an honeft fame, or grant me none!