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Before my view appear'd a structure fair,
Its fite uncertain, if in earth or air;
With rapid motion turn'd the mansion round;
With ceaseless noife the ringing walls refound;
Not lefs in number were the fpacious doors,
Than leaves on trees, or fands upon the fhores;
Which still unfolded stand, by night, by day,
Pervious to winds, and open every way.
As flames by nature to the skies afcend,
As weighty bodies to the centre tend,
of Rumour, which is almost entirely Chaucer's. The
Tho faw I ftonde in a valey,
Under the castle fast by
A house, that Domus Dedali
That Labyrinthus cleped is,
Nas made fo wonderly, I wis,
Ne half fo queintly y-wrought;
And evermo as fwift as thought,
This queint house about went,
That never more it ftill ftent-
And eke this houfe hath of entrees,
As many as leaves are on trees
In Summer, when they ben grene;
And in the roof yet men may fene
A thoufand hoels and well mo
To letten the foune out-go;
And by day in every tide,
Ben all the doors open wide,
And by night each one unfhet
No porter is there one to let,
No manner tydings in to pace:
Ne never reft is in that place.
As to the fea returning rivers roll,
And the touch'd needle trembles to the pole ;
Hither as to their proper place, arise
All various founds from earth, and feas, and skies,
Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd in the ear;
Nor ever filence, reft, or peace, is here.
As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes
The finking stone at firft 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 watery plain, and to the margin dance :
Thus every voice and found, when first they break,
On neighbouring air a foft impreffion make;
Another ambient circle then they move;
That, in its turn, impels the next above;
Through undulating air the founds are fent,
And spread o'er all the fluid element.
There various news I heard of love and strife,
Of peace and war, health, fickness, death, and life,
Ver. 448. There various news I heard, &c.]
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 sickness, and leffings,
Of divers tranfmutations,
Of eftates and eke of regions,
Of truft, of dred, of jealoufy,
Of wit, of winning, and of folly,
Of lofs and gain, of famine and of store,
Of storms at fea, and travels on the fhore,
Of prodigies, and portents feen in air,
Of fires and plagues, and ftars with blazing hair,
Of turns of Fortune, changes in the state,
The falls of favorites, projects of the great,
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 :
Of good, or bad government,
Of fire, and of divers accident.
Ver. 458. Above, below, without, within, &c.]
But fuch a grete congregation
Of folke as I faw roame about,
Some within, and fome without,
Was never feen, ne fhall be eft-
And every wight that I faw there
Rowned everich in others ear
A new tyding privily,
Or elfe 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, &c.
-Thus north and fouth
Went every tyding from 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.
Aftrologers, that future fates foreshew,
Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few;
And priests, and party zealots, numerous bands
With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands; 465
Each talk'd aloud, or in fome fecret place,
And wild impatience star'd in every face.
The flying rumors gather'd as they roll'd,
Scarce any tale was fooner heard than told;
And all who told it added fomething new,
And all who heard it made enlargements too,
In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew.
Thus flying eaft and weft, and north and fouth,
News travel'd with increase from mouth to mouth.
So from a fpark, that kindled first by chance,
With gathering force the quickening flames ad-
Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
And towers and temples fink 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,
And rush 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,
Borne by the trumpet's blaft, and scatter'd through the
There, at one paffage, oft you might furvey
A lie and truth contending for the way;
And long 'twas doubtful, both fo closely pent,
Which firft fhould iffue through the narrow vent :
At laft agreed, together out they fly,
Infeparable now, the truth and lye ;
The ftrict companions are for ever join'd,
And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er fhall find.
While thus I ftood, intent to fee and hear,
One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear:
What could thus high thy rafh ambition raise?
Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praife?
'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 fecond 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 luckless wits their enemies profest,
And all fuccefsful, jealous friends at beft.
Ver. 489. There, at one paffage, &c.]
And fometime I faw there at once,
A leifing and a fad footh faw
That gonnen at adventure draw
Out of a window forth to pace-
And no man, be he ever fo wrothe,
Shall have one of thefe two, but bothe, &c.