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Now strike the golden lyre again :
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain. Bacchus' blessings are a treasure,
Break his bands of sleep asunder, Drinking is the soldier's pleasure;
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark, the horrid sound
Has rais'd up his head!
As awak'd from the dead,
And amaz'd, he stares around.
Fought all his battles o'er again; the slain. See the Furies arise ;
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes ! And, while he Heaven and Earth defy'd,
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand !
Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,
And unbury'd remain
Inglorious on the plain :
Give the vengeance due
To the valiant crew.
Behold how they toss their torches on high,
How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glittering temples of their hostile gods By those his former bounty fed :
The princes applaud, with a furious joy; On the bare earth expos'd he lies,
And the king seiz'd a flambeau with zeal to destroy ; With not a friend to close his eyes.
Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fir'd another Troy.
And the king seiz’da flambeau with zeal to destroy;
Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey,
Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow, The mighty master smil'd, to see
While organs yet were mute; That love was in the next degree:
Timotheus, to his breathing flute, 'Twas but a kindred sound to move,
And sounding lyre, For pity melts the mind to love.
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarg'd the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before. If the world be worth thy winning,
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown;
He rais'd a mortal to the skies ;
She drew an angel down.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarg‘d the former narrow bounds, At length, with love and wine at once oppress’d,
And added length to solemn sounds, The ranquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.
old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown;
He rais'd a mortal to the skies;
She drew an angel down.
Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again :
Let fall some drops of pity on our grief,
If what we beg be just, and we deserve relief :
For none of us, who now thy grace implore, OR THE KNIGHT'S TALE.
But held the rank of sovereign queen before ;
Till, thanks to giddy Chance, which never bears, Book I.
That mortal bliss should last for length of years,
She cast us headlong from our bigh estate, In days of old, there liv'd, of mighty fame, And here in hope of thy return we wait : A valiant prince, and Theseus was his name: And long have waited in the temple nigh, A chief, who more in feats of arms excell’d, Built to the gracious goddess Clemency. The rising nor the setting Sun beheld.
But reverence thou the power whose name it les Of Athens he was lord; much land he won, Relieve th' oppress'd, and wipe the widow's tears And added foreign countries to his crown.
1, wretched I, have other fortune seen, In Scythia with the warrior queen he strove, The wife of Capaneus, and once a
queen; Whom first by force he conquered, then by love; At Thebes he fell, curst be the fatal day! He brought in triumph back the beauteous dame, And all the rest thou seest in this array With whom her sister, fair Emilia, came.
To make their moan, their lords in battle lost With honour to his home let Theseus ride,
Before that town, besieg'd by our confederate les: With Love to friend, and Fortune for his guide, But Creon, old and impious, who commands And his victorious army at his side.
The Theban city, and usurps the lands, I pass their warlike pomp, their proud array, Denies the rites of funeral fires to those Their shouts, their songs, their welcome on the way Whose breathless bodies yet he calls his foes. But, were it not too long, I would recite
Unburn'd, unbury'd, on a heap they lie; The feats of Amazons, the fatal figlit
Such is their fate, and such his tyranny; Betwixt the hardy queen and hero knight;
No friend has leave to bear away the dearl, The town besieg'd, and how much blood it cost But with their lifeless limbs his hounds are fecha The female army and th’Athenian host;
At this she shrick'd aloud; the mournful train The spousals of Hippolita, the queen ;
Echo'd her grief, and, groveling on the plain, What tilts and turneys at the feast were seen; With groans, and hands upheld, to move luis mini. The storm at their return, the ladies' fear :
Besought his pity to their helpless hind! But these, and other things, I must forbear.
The prince was touch'd, his tears began to flou, The field is spacious 1 design to sow,
And, as his tender heart would break in two, With oxen far unfit to draw the plow :
He sigh’d, and could not but their fate deplore, The remnant of my tale is of a length
So wretched now, so fortunate before.
And raising, one by one, the suppliant crew,
That by the faith which knights to knighthood burt' That he whose tale is best, and pleases most, And whate'er else to chivalry belongs, Should win his supper at our common cost. He would not cease, till he revengd their wings
And therefore where I left, I will pursue That Greece should see perforin'd whiat lie declardi This ancient story, whether false or true,
And cruel Creon find his just reward.
He said no more, but, shunning all delay,
Red was his sword, and shield, and whole attire, At his approach they rais'd a rueful cry,
And all the godhead seem'd to glow with fire ; And beat their breasts, and held their hands on high, Ev'n the ground glitter'd where the standard tier. Creeping and crying, till they seiz'd at last And the green grass was dy'd to sanguine inue. His courser's bridle, and his feet embrac'd. High on his pointed lance his pennon bore “ Tell me," said Theseus, “ what and whence His Cretan fight, the conquer'd Minotaur : you are,
The soldiers shout around with generous rage, And why this funeral pageant you prepare? And in that victory their own presage. Is this the welcome of my worthy deeds,
He prais'd their ardour ; inly pleas'd to see To meet my triumph in ill-omen'd weeds ? His host the flower of Grecian chivalry. Or envy you my praise, and would destroy All day he inarch'd; and all th’ ensuing night; With grief my pleasures, and pollute my joy? And saw the city with returning light. Or are you injur'd, and demand relief?
The process of the war I need not tell, Name your request, and I will ease your grief.” How Theseus conquer'd, and how Creon fell:
The most in years of all the mourning train Or after, how by storin the walls were won, Began (but swooned first away for pain);
Or how the victor sack'd and burn'd the town: Then scarce recover'd spoke: “ Nor envy we How to the ladies he restor'd again Thy great renown, nor grudge thy victory; The bodies of their lords in battle slain : "Tis thine, O king, th' afflicted to redress,
And with what ancient rites they were interr'd, And Fame has fill'd the world with thy success : All these to fitter times shall be deferr'd : We, wretched women, sue for that alone,
} spare the widows' tears, their woeful tjes, Which of thy goodness is refus'd to none;
And howling at their husbands' ob
low Theseus at these funerals did assist,
Ev'n wondering Philomel forgot to sing, und with what gifts the mourning dames disiniss’d. And learn'd from her to welcome in the Spring.
Thus when the victor chief had Creon slain, The tower, of which before was mention made, nd conquer'd Thebes, he pitch'd upon the plain Within whose keep the captive knights were laid, lis mighty camp, and, when the day return'd, Built of a large extent, and strong withal, he country wasted, and the hamlets burn'd, Was one partition of the palace wall: nd left the pillagers, to rapine bred,
The garden was enclos'd within the square, Vithout control to strip and spoil the dead. Where young Emilia took the morning air. There, in a heap of slain, among the rest
It happen'd Palamon, the prisoner knight, wo youthful knights they found beneath a load Restless for woe, arose before the light, oppress'd
And with his gaoler's leave desir’d to breathe of slaughter'd foes, whom first to death they sent, An air more wholesome than the damps beneath : he trophies of their strength, a bloody monument. This granted, to the tower he took his way, oth fair, and both of royal blood they seem’d, Cheer'd with the promise of a glorious day : Whom kinsmen to the crown the heralds deem'd; Then cast a languishing regard around, rhat day in equal arms they fought for fame; And saw with hateful eyes the temples crown'd -heir swords, their shields, their surcoats, were the With golden spires, and all the hostile ground. same.
He sigh'd, and turn'd his eyes, because he knew lose by each other laid, they press'd the ground, 'Twas but a larger gaol he had in view : heir manly bosoms pierc'd with many a griesly Then look'd below, and, from the castle's height, wound;
Beheld a nearer and more pleasing sight, or well alive, nor wholly dead they were, The garden, which before he had not seen, ut some faint signs of feeble life appear :
In Spring's new livery clad of white and green, he wandering breath was on the wing to part, Fresh flowers in wide parterres, and shady walks Teak was the pulse, and hardly heav'd the heart.
between. hese two were sisters' sons; and Arcite one, This view'd, but not enjoy'd, with arms across such fam'd in fields, with valiant Palamon. He stood, reflecting on his country's loss; rom these their costly arins the spoilers rent, Himself an object of the public scorn, nd softly both convey'd to Theseus' tent : And often wish'd he never had been born. Thom, known of Creon's line, and cur’d with care, At last, for so his destiny requir’d, se to his city sent as prisoners of the war, With walking giddy, and with thinking tir’d, lopeless of ransom, and condemn'd to lie
He through a little window cast his sight, a durance, doom'd a lingering death to die. Though thick of bars, that gave a scanty light: his done, he march'd away with warlike sound, But ev'n that glimmering serv'd him to descry .nd to his Athens turn'd with laurels crown'd, Th' inevitable charms of Emily. There happy long he liv'd, much lov'd, and more Scarce had he seen, but, seiz'd with sudden smart, renown'd.
Stung to the quick, he felt it at his heart; lut in a tower, and never to be loos'd,
Struck blind with over-powering light he stood, 'he woeful captive kinsmen are enclos'd.
Then started back amaz'd, and cry'd aloud. Thus year by year they pass, and day by day, Young Arcite heard; and up he ran with haste, 'ill once, 'twas on the morn of cheerful May, To help his friend, and in his arms embrac'd; 'he young Emilia, fairer to be seen
And ask'd him why he look'd so deadly wan, 'han the fair lily on the flowery green,
And whence and how his change of cheer began, sore fresh than May herself in blossoms new, Or who had done th' offence? “ But if,” said he, 'or with the rosy colour strove her hue,
“ Your grief alone is hard captivity, Vak'd, as her custom was, before the day,
For love of Heaven, with patience undergo 'o do th' observance due to sprightly May : A cureless ill, since Fate will have it so : or sprightly May commands our youth to keep So stood our horoscope in chains to lie, he vigils of her night, and breaks their sluggard | And Saturn in the dungeon of the sky, sleep;
Or other baleful aspect, rul'd our birth, Cach gentle breast with kindly warmth she moves ; / When all the friendly stars were under Earth: nspires new flames, revives extinguish'd loves. Whate'er betides, by Destiny 'tis done ; n this remembrance Emily, ere day,
And better bear like men, than vainly seek to shun." rose, and dress'd herself in rich array;
“ Nor of my bonds,” said Palamon again, "resh as the month, and as the morning fair; “ Nor of unhappy planets I complain ; down her shoulders fell her length of hair : But when my mortal anguish caus'd me cry, ribband did the braided tresses bind,
That moment I was hurt through either eye ; The rest was loose, and wanton'd in the wind. Pierc'd with a random shaft, I faint away, urora had but newly chas'd the night,
And perish with insensible decay : ind purpled o'er the sky with blushing light, A glance of some new goddess gave the wound, Vhen to the garden walk she took her way, Whom, like Acteon, unaware I found. Co sport and trip along in cool of day,
Look how she walks along yon shady space, nd offer maiden vows in honour of the May. Not Juno moves with more majestic grace ; At every turn, she made a little stand,
And all the Cyprian queen is in her face. and thrust among the thorns her lily hand If thou art Venus (for thy charms confess 'o draw the rose; and every rose she drew, That face was form'd in Heaven, nor art thou less ; he shook the stalk, and brush'd away the dew: Disguis'd in habit, undisguis'd in shape) Then party-colour'd flowers of white and red O help us captives from our chains to escape; he wove, to make a garland for her head : But if our doom be past, in bonds to lie
chane and carol'd out so clear, For life, and in a loathsome dungeon die,
Then be thy wrath appeas'd with our disgrace,
If then the laws of friendship I transgress, And show compassion to the Theban race,
I keep the greater, while I break the less; Oppress'd by tyrant power !” While yet he spoke, And both are mad alike, since neither can paras Arcite on Emily had fix'd his look ;
Both hopeless to be ransom'd, never more The fatal dart a ready passage found,
To see the Sun, but as he passes o'er." And deep within his heart infix'd the wound : Like Æsop's hounds contending for the bord So that if Palamon were wounded sore,
Each pleaded right, and would be lord alone : Arcite was hurt as much as he, or more :
The fruitless fight continued all the day: Then from his inmost soul he sigh'd, and said, A cur came by, and snatch'd the prize away. “ The beauty I behold has struck me dead : “ As courtiers therefore justle for a grant, Unknowingly she strikes, and kills by chance ; And, when they break their friendship, plead ia Poison is in her eyes, and death in every glance. So, thou, if Fortune will thy suit advance, 0, I must ask, nor ask alone, but move
Love on, nor envy me my equal chance : Her mind to mercy, or must die for love." For I must love, and am resolv'd to try Thus Arcite : and thus Palamon replies,
My fate, or failing in th' adventure, die." (Eager his tone, and ardent were his eyes.)
Great was their strife, which hourly was rEDEE. “ Speak'st thou in earnest, or in jesting vein ?”. Till each with mortal hate his rival view'd: “ Jesting,” said Arcite, “ suits but ill with pain." Now friends no more, nor walking hand in hsd; “ It suits far worse" (said Palamon again, But when they met, they made a surly stand; And bent his brows) " with men who honour weigh, And glar'd like angry lions as they pass’d, Their faith to break, their friendship to betray;
And wish'd that every look might be their last. But worst with thee, of noble lineage born,
It chanc'd at length, Pirithous came t' attend My kinsman, and in arms my brother sworn. This worthy Theseus, his familiar friend; Have we not plighted each our holy oath,
Their love in early infancy began, That one should be the common good of both;
And rose as childhood ripen'd into man: One soul should both inspire, and neither prove
Companions of the war, and lov'd so well, His fellow's hindrance in pursuit of love ? That when one dy'd, as ancient stories tell, To this before the Gods we gave our hands,
His fellow to redeem him went to Hell. And nothing but our death can break the bands. But to pursue my tale: to welcome home This binds thee, then, to further my design: His warlike brother is Pirithous coine : As I am bound by vow to further thine :
Arcite of Thebes was known in arms long sint Nor canst, nor dar'st thou, traitor, on the plain And honour'd by this young Thessalian prince. Appeach my honour, or thine own maintain, Theseus, to gratify his friend and guest, Since thou art of my council, and the friend
Who made our Arcite's freedom his request, Whose faith I trust, and on whose care depend : Restor'd to liberty the captive knight, And would'st thou court my lady's love, which I But on these hard conditions I recite : Much rather than release would choose to die? That if hercafter Arcite should be found But thou, false Arcite, never shalt obtain
Within the compass of Athenian ground, Thy bad pretence; I told thee first my pain : By day or night, or on whate'er pretence, For first my love began ere thine was born; His head should pay the forfeit of th' offence. Thou, as my council, and my brother sworn,
To this Pirithous for his friend agreed, Art bound i assist my eldership of right,
And on his promise was the prisoner freed. Or justly to be deem'd a perjur'd knight."
Unpleas'd and pensive hence he takes his way, Thus Palamon: but Arcite, with disdain, At his own peril ; for his life must pay. In haughty language, thus reply'd again :
Who now but Arcite mourns his bitter fate, “ Forsworn thyself": the traitor's odious name Finds his dear purchase, and repents too late? I first return, and then disprove thy claim.
“ What have I gain’d," he said, “ in prison pie If love be passion, and that passion nurst
If I but change my bonds for banishment? With strong desires, I lov'd the lady first.
And banish'd from her sight, I suffer more Canst thou pretend desire, whom zeal inflam'd In freedom, than I felt in bonds before: To worship, and a power celestial nam'd ?
Forc'd from her presence, and condemnd tolik: Thine was devotion to the blest above,
Unwelcome freedom, and unthank'd reprieve : I saw the woman, and desir'd her love;
Heaven is not, but where Emily abides; First own'd my passion, and to thee commend And where she's absent, all is Hell besides. Th' important secret, as my chosen friend. Next to my day of birth, was that accurst, Suppose (which yet I grant not) thy desire Which bound my friendship to Pirithous first: A moment older than my rival fire;
Had I not known that prince, I still had been Can chance of seeing first thy title prove ?
In bondage, and had still Emilia seen : And know'st thou not, no law is made for love; For, though I never can her grace deserve, Law is to things, which to free choice relate; "Tis recompense enough to see and serve. Love is not in our choice, but in our fate ; O Palamon, my kinsman and my friend, Laws are but positive; love's power, we see, How much more happy fates thy love attend! Is Nature's sanction, and her first decree.
Thine is th' adventure; thine the victory: Each day we break the bond of human laws Well has thy fortune turn'd the dice for thee: For love, and vindicate the common cause.
Thou on that angel's face may'st feed thine eses, Laws for defence of civil rights are plac'd,
In prison, no; but blissful Paradise ! Love throws the fences down, and makes a general Thou daily seest that sun of beauty shine, waste :
And lov'st at least in love's extremest line. Maids, widows, wives, without distinction fall; I mourn in absence, love's eternal night ; The sweeping deluge, love, comes on, and covers And who can tell but since thou hast her sigh.
ortunc (a various power) may cease to frown, He with the rest is liable to pain, **nd by some ways unknown thy wishes crown? And like the sheep, his brother-beast, is slain. ut I, the most forlorn of human kind,
Cold, hunger, prisons, ills without a cure, for help can hope, nor remedy can find ;
All these he must, and, guiltless, oft endure ; ut, doom'd to drag my loathsome life in care, Or does your justice, power, or prescience fail, 'or my reward, must end it in despair.
When the good suffer, and the bad prevail ? ire, water, air, and earth, and force of fates What worse to wretched Virtue could befall, hat governs all, and Heaven that all creates, If Fate or giddy Fortune govern'd all ? Tor art, nor Nature's hand can ease my grief; Nay, worse than other beasts is our estate; Tothing but death, the wretch's last relief : Them, to pursue their pleasures, you create ; Then farewell youth, and all the joys that dwell, We, bound by harder laws, must curb our will, Vith youth and life, and life itself farewell. And your commands, not our desires, fulfil; But why, alas ! do mortal men in vain
Then when the creature is unjustly slain, of Fortune, Fate, or Providence complain? Yet after death at least lie feels no pain; iod gives us what he knows our wants require, But man, in life surcharg'd with woe before, And better things than those which we desire : Not freed when dead, is doom'd to suffer more. ome pray for riches ; riches they obtain;
A serpent shoots his sting at unaware ;
Vhen guilty of their vows, to fall at home; One gains the thickets, and one thrids the brake.
Just or unjust, I have my share of woe,
My pangs of jealousy for Arcite's love." let knows not how to find th' uncertain place, Let Palamon, oppress'd in bondage, mourn, And blunders on, and staggers every pace.
While to his exil'd rival we return. hus all seek happiness; but few can find,
By this, the Sun, declining from his height, for far the greater part of men are blind.
The day had shorten’d, to prolong the night : This is my case, who thought our utmost good The lengthened night gave length of misery Vas in one word of freedom understood
Both to the captive lover and the free ; The fatal blessing came : from prison free,
For Palamon in endless prison mourns, starve abroad, and lose the sight of Emily."
And Arcite forfeits life if he returns : Thus Arcite: but if Arcite thus deplore
The banish'd never hopes his love to see, His sufferings, Palamon yet suffers more.
Nor hopes the captive lord his liberty : For when he knew his rival freed and gone, 'Tis hard to say who suffers greater pains : He swells with wrath; he makes outrageous moan : One sees his love, but cannot break his chains : He frets, he fumes, he stare3, he stamps the ground; One free, and all his motions uncontrold, The hollow tower with clamours rings around : Beholds whate'er he would, but what he would be With briny tears he bath'd his fetter'd feet,
hold. And dropt all o'er with agony of sweat.
Judge as you please, for I will baste to tell 56 Alas!" he cry'd, “ I wretch in prison pine, What fortune to the banish'd knight befell. Too happy rival, while the fruit is thine :
When Arcite was to Thebes return'd again, Thou liv'st at large, thou draw'st thy native air, The loss of her he lov'd renew'd his pain; Pleas'd with thy freedom, proud of my despair : What could be worse, than never more to see Thou magst, since thou hast youth and courage His life, his soul, his charming Emily? join'd,
He rav’d with all the madness of despair, A sweet behaviour, and a solid mind,
He roar'd, he beat his breast, he tore his hair. Assemble ours, and all the Theban race,
Dry sorrow in his stupid eyes appears, To vindicate on Athens they disgrace;
For, wanting nourishment, he wanted tears : And after, hy some treaty made, possess
His eye-balls in their hollow sockets sink : Fair Emily, the pledge of lasting peace.
Bereft of sleep, he loathis his meat and drink : So thine shall be the beauteous prize, while I He withers at his heart, and looks as wan Must languish in despair, in prison die.
As the pale spectre of a murder'd man : Thus all th' advantage of the strife is thine, That pale turns yellow, and his face receives 'llay portion double joys, and double sorrows The faded hue of sapless boxen leaves : mine."
In solitary groves he makes his moan, The rage of jealousy then fir'd his soul,
Walks early out, and ever is alone : And his face kindled like a burning coal:
Nor, mix'd in mirth, in youthful pleasures shares, Now cold Despair, succeeding in her stead, But sighs when songs and instruments he hears : To livid paleness turns the glowing red,
His spirits are so low, his voice is drown'd,
Uncomb'd his lochs, and squalid his attire,
Unlike the trim of Love and gay Desire : And write whatever time shall bring to pass, But full of museful mopings, which presage With pens of adamant, on plates of brass;
The loss of reason, and conclude in rage. What, is the race of human kind your care,
This when he had endur'd a year and more, Beyond what all bis fellow-creatures are ?
Now wholly changed from what he was before,