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The ladies dress'd in rich cymarr were seen The laurel champions with their swords invade Of Florence satin, flower'd with white and green, The neighbouring forests, where the justs were made, And for a shade betwixt the bloomy gridelin. And serewood from the rotten hedges took, The borders of their petticoats below
And seeds of latent fire from flints provoke: Were guarded thick with rubies on a row;
A cheerful blaze arose, and by the fire [attire. And every damsel wore upon her head
They warm'd their frozen feet, and dry'd their wet Of flowers a garland blended white and red. Refresh'd with heat, the ladies sought around Attir'd in mantles all the knights were seen, For virtuous herbs, which gather'd from the ground That gratify'd the view with cheerful green: They squeez'd the juice, and cooling ointment made, Their chaplets of their ladies colours were, (hair. Which on their sun-burnt cheeks and their chapt Compos'd of white and red, to shade their shining
skins they laid : Before the merry troop the minstrels play'd ; Then sought green salads, which they bade them eat, All in their master's liveries were array'd,
A sovereign remedy for inward heat. And clad in green, and on their temples wore The lady of the leaf ordain'd a feast, The chaplets white and red their ladies bore. And made the lady of the flower her guest: Their instruments were various in their kind, When lo, a bower ascended on the plain, Some for the bow, and some for breathing wind : With sudden seats ordain'd, and large for either train. The sawtry, pipe, and hautboy's noisy band, [hand. This bower was near my pleasant arbour plac'd, And the soft lute trembling beneath the touching That I could hear and see whatever pass’d : A tuft of daisies on a flowery lay
The ladies sat with each a knight between, and thitherward they bent their way; Distinguish'd by their colours, white and green; To this both knights and dames their homage made, The vanquish'd party with the victors join'd, [mind. And due obeisance to the daisy paid.
Nor wanted sweet discourse, the banquet of the And then the band of Autes began to play, Meantime the minstrels play'd on either side, To which a lady sung a virelay :
Vain of their art, and for the mastery vy'd : And still at every close she would repeat
The sweet contention lasted for an hour, The burthen of the song, “ The daisy is so sweet. And reach'd my secret arbour from the bower. " The daisy is so sweet,” when she begun,
The Sun was set; and Vesper, to supply
But soon their pleasure pass'd : at noon of day, Fled from her laurel shade, and wing'd her flight
Directly to the queen array'd in white; Not Sirius shoots a fiercer flame from high, And, hopping, sat familiar on her hand, When with his poisonous breath he blasts the sky: A new musician, and increas'd the band. Then droop'd the fading flowers (their beauty fed) The goldfinch, who, to shun the scalding hea, And clos'd their sickly eyes, and hung the head; Had chang'd the medlar for a safer seat, And, rivel'd up with heat, lay dying in their bed. And, hid in bushes, 'scap'd the bitter shower, The ladies gasp'd, and scarcely could respire : Now perch'd upon the lady of the flower ; The breath they drew, no longer air, but fire; And either songster holding out their throats, The fainty knights were scorch'd; and knew not And folding up their wings, renew'd their notes : where
As if all day, preluding to the fight, To run for shelter, for no shade was near ;
They only had rehears'd, to sing by night : And after this the gathering clouds amain
The banquet ended, and the battle done, Pour'd down a storm of rattling hail and rain : They danc'd by star-light and the friendly Moon: And lightning flash'd betwixt : the field, and flowers, And when they were to part, the laureat queen Burnt up before, were buried in the showers. Supply'd with steeds the lady of the green, The ladies and the knights, no shelter nigh, Her and her train conducting on the way, Bare to the weather, and the wintery sky,
The Moon to follow, and avoid the day. Were dropping wet, disconsolate, and wan,
This when I saw, inquisitive to know
pass in vain th' assault, and stood from danger Some nymph to satisfy my longing mind: ,
respect my body I inclin'd, Saluting, took her rival by the hand :
As to some being of superior kind, So did the knights and dames, with courtly grace, And made my court according to the day, And with behaviour sweet, their foes embrace : Wishing her queen and her a happy May. Then thus the queen with laurel on her brow, “ Great thanks, my daughter," with a gracious bow * Fair sister, I have suffer'd in your woe;
She said ; and I, who much desir'd to know Nor shall be wanting aught within my power Of whence she was, yet fearful how to break For your relief in my refreshing bower.”
My mind, adventur'd humbly thus to speak : That other answer'd with a lowly look,
“ Madam, might I presume and not offend, And soon the gracious invitation took :
Su may the stars and shining Moon attend Por ill at ease both she and all her train
Your nightly sports, as you vouchsafe to tell The scorching Sun had borne, and beating rain. What nymphs they were who mortal forms excel, Like courtesy was us'd by all in white, [knight. And what the knights who fought in listed fields so Fach damodoma
To this the dame reply'd : “ Fair daughter, know, Our England's ornament, the crown's defence, That what you saw was all a fairy show :
In battle brave, protectors of their prince : And all those airy shapes you now behold, (mold, Unchang’d by fortune, to their sovereign true, Were human bodies once, and cloth’d with earthly For which their manly legs are bound with blue. Our souls, not yet prepar'd for upper light, These, of the garter call's, of faith unstain'd, Till doomsday wander in the shades of night; In fighting fields the laurel have obtain'd, This only holiday of all the year,
And well repaid the honours which they gain'de We privileg'd in sunshine may appear :
The laurel wreaths were first by Cæsar worn, With songs and dance we celebrate the day, And still they Cæsar's successors adorn: And with due honours usher in the May.
One leaf of this is immortality, At other times we reign by night alone,
And more of worth than all the world can buy." And posting through the skies pursue the Moon: “ One doubt remains," said I, “ the dames is But when the morn arises, none are found;
green, For cruel Demogorgon walks the round,
What were their qualities, and who their queen ?" And if he finds a fairy lag in light,
“ Flora commands," said she," those nymphs and He drives the wretch before, and lashes into night.
knights, “ All courteous are by kind; and ever proud Who liv'd in slothful ease and loose delights; With friendly offices to help the good.
Who never acts of honour durst pursue, In every land we have a larger space
The men inglorious knights, the ladies all untrue Than what is known to you of mortal race : Who, nurs'd in idleness, and train'd in courts, Where we with green adorn our fairy bowers,
Pass'd all their precious hours in plays and sports, And ev'n this grove, unseen before, is ours.
Till Death behind came stalking on, unseen, (green. Know farther : every lady cloth'd in white, And wither'd (like the storm) the freshness of their And, crown’d with oak and laurel every knight, These, and their mates, enjoy their present hour, Are servants to the Leaf, by liveries known And therefore pay their homage to the Flower. Of innocence; and I myself am one.
But knights in knightly deeds should persevere, Saw you not her so graceful to behold
And still continue what at first they were; In white attire, and crown'd with radiant gold? Continue, and proceed in honour's fair career. The sovereign lady of our land is she,
No room for cowardice, or dull delay; Diana call'd, the queen of chastity :
From good to better they should urge their way. And, for the spotless name of maid she bears, For this with golden spurs the chiefs are grac'd, That agnus-castus in her hand appears ;
With pointed rowels arm'd to mend their
haste ; And all her train, with leafy chaplets crown'd, For this with lasting leaves their brows are bound; Were for unblam'd virginity renown'd;
l'or laurel is the sign of labour crown'd, [ground: But those the chief and highest in command Which bears the bitter blast, nor shaken falls to Who bear those holy branches in their hand : From winter winds it suffers no decay, The knights adorn'd with laurel crowns are they, For ever fresh and fair, and every month is May. Whom death nor danger never could dismay, Ev’n when the vital sap retreats below, Victorious names, who made the world obey : Ev'n when the hoary head is hid in snow; Who, while they liv'd, in deeds of arms excell'd, The life is in the leaf, and still between And after death for deities were held.
The fits of falling snow appears the streaky greti. But those, who wear the woodbine on their brow,
Not so the flower, which lasts for little space, Were knights of love, who never broke their vow;
A short-liv'd good, and an uncertain grace ; Firm to their plighted faith, and ever free
This way and that the feeble stem is driven, From fears, and fickle chance, and jealousy. Weak to sustain the storms and injuries of Heave The lords and ladies, who the woodbine bear, Propp'd by the spring, it lifts aloft the head, As true as Tristrain and Isotta were." [nine, But of a sickly beauty, soon to shed :
“But what are those,” said I, “ th' unconquer'd in summer living, and in winter dead. Who crown'd with laurel-wreaths in golden armour For things of tender kind, for pleasure made, shine ?
Shoot up with swift increase, and sudden are And who the knights in green, and what the train
decay'd." Of ladies dress'd with daisies on the plain?
With humble words, the wisest I could frame, Why both the bands in worship disagree,
And proferr'd service, I repaid the dame; And some adorn the flower, and some the tree?" That, of her grace, she gave her maid to know
“ Just is your suit, fair daughter," said the dame: The secret meaning of this moral show. “ Those laurel'd chiefs were men of mighty fame; And she, to prove what profit I had made Nine worthies were they call'd of different rites, Of mystic truth, in fables first convey'd, Three Jews, three Pagans, and three Christian Demanded, till the next returning May, knights.
Whether the Leaf or Flower I would obey? These, as you see, ride foremost in the field, I chose the leaf; she smil'd with sober chear, As they the foremost rank of honour held,
And wish'd me fair adventure for the year, And all in deeds of chivalry excell'd:
And gave me charms and sigils, for defence Their temples wreath’d with leaves, that still renew; Against ill tongues that scandal innocence : For deathless laurel is the victor's due:
“ But I,” said she, “my fellows must pursue, Who bear the bows were knights in Arthur's reign, Already past the plain, and out of view." Twelve they, and twelve the peers of Charlemain; We parted thus; I homeward sped my way, For bows the strength of brawny arms imply, Bewilder'd in the wood till dawn of day : Emblems of valour and of victory.
And met the merry crew who danc'd about the May, Behold an order yet of newer date
Then, late refresh'd with sleep, I rose to write Doubling their number, equal in their state ; The visionary vigils of the night :
Blush, as thou may'st, my Little Book, with shame, He look'd like Nature's errour, as the mind
The ruling rod, the father's forming care,
Now scorn'd of all, and grown the public shame,
The people from Galesus chang'd his name,
So well his name did with his nature suit.
His father, when he found his labour lost, The power of beauty I remember yet. (wit. And care employ'd that answer'd not the cost, - Which once inflam'd my soul, and still inspires my Chose an ungrateful object to remove, If love be folly, the severe divine
And loath'd to see what Nature made him love; Has felt that folly, though he censures mine; So to his country farm the fool confin'd; Pollutes the pleasures of a chaste embrace, Rude work well suited with a rustic mind. Acts what I write, and propagates in grace,
Thus to the wilds the sturdy Cymon went, (ment. With riotous excess, a priestly race.
A squire among the swains, and pleas’d with banishSuppose him free, and that I forge th' offence, His corn and cattle were his only care, He show'd the way, perverting first my sense : And his supreme delight, a country fair In malice witty, and with venom fraught,
It happen'd on a summer's holiday, He makes me speak the things I never thought. That to the green-wood shade he took his way; Compute the gains of his ungovern’d zeal ; For Cymon shunn'd the church, and us’d not much Ill suits his cloth the praise of railing well. The world will think, that what we loosely write, His quarter-staff, which he could ne'er forsake, Though now arraign'd, he read with some delight; Hung half before, and half behind his back. Because he seems to chew the cud again,
He trudg'd along, unknowing what he sought, When his broad comment makes the text too plain; And whistled as he went for want of thought. And teaches more in one explaining page,
By Chance conducted, or by thirst constrain'd, Than all the double-meanings of the stage.
The deep recesses of the grove he gain'd; What needs he paraphrase on what we mean? Where, in a plain defended by the wood, We were at worst but wanton; he's obscene. Crept through the matted grass a crystal flood, I not my fellows nor myself excuse;
By which an alabaster fountain stood : But love's the subject of the comic Muse;
And on the margin of the fount was laid Nor can we write without it, nor would you (Attended by her slaves) a sleeping maid. A tale of only dry instruction view;
Like Dian and her nymphs, when, tir'd with sport, Nor love is always of a vicious kind,
To rest by cool Eurotas they resort :
Not more distinguish'd by her purple vest,
Where two beginning paps were scarcely spy'd, Soften'd the fierce, and made the coward bold : For yet their places were but signify'd : The world, when waste, he peopled with increase, The fanning wind upon her bosom blows, And warring nations reconcil'd in peace.
To meet the fanning wind the bosom rose; Ormond, the first, and all the fair may find, The fanning wind, and purling streams, continue In this one legend, to their fame design'd,
her repose. When Beauty fires the blood, how love exalts the The fool of Nature stood with stupid eyes, mind.
And gaping mouth that testify'd surprise,
Fix'd on her face, nor could remove his sight, In that sweet isle where Venus keeps her court, New as he was to love, and novice to delight : And every Grace, and all the Loves, resort; Long mute he stood, and leaning on his staff, Where either sex is form’d of softer earth,
His wonder witness'd with an idiot laugh; And takes the bent of pleasure from their birth; Then would have spoke, but by his glimmering sense There liv'd a Cyprian lord above the rest
First found his want of words, and fear'd offence : Wise, wealthy, with a numerous issue bless'd. Doubted for what he was he should be known, But as no gift of Fortune is sincere,
By his clown accent, and his country tone. Was only wanting in a worthy heir ;
Through the rude chaos thus the running light His eldest born, a goodly youth to view,
Shot the first ray that piero'd the native night: Excell'd the rest in shape, and outward show, Then day and darkness in the mass were mix'd, Fair, tall, his limbs with due proportion join'd, Till gather'd in a globe the beams were fix'd : But of a heavy, dull, degenerate mind.
Last shone the Sun, who, radiant in his sphere, His soul bely'd the features of his face;
Illumin’d Heaven and Earth, and rollid around the Beauty was there, but beauty in disgrace.
year. A clownish mien, a voice with rustic sound, So reason in this brutal soul began, And stupid eyes that ever lov'd the ground. Love made him first suspect he was a man ;
Love made him doubt his broad barbarian sound; This to prevent, she wak'd her sleepy crew,
Then Cymon first his rustic voice essay'd, To knowledge, and disclos'd the promise of a day. With proffer'd service to the parting maid
What not his father's care, nor tutor's art, To see her safe ; his hand she long deny'd, Could plant with pains in his unpolish'd heart, But took at length, asham'd of such a guide. The best instructor, Love, at once inspir'd, So Cymon led her home, and leaving there, As barren grounds to fruitfulness are fir’d: No more would to his country clowns repair, Love taught him shame; and Shame, with Love at But sought his father's house, with better mind, strife,
Refusing in the farm to be confin'd. Soon caught the sweet civilities of life;
The father wonder'd at the son's return, His gross material soul at once could find
And knew not whether to rejoice or mourn; Somewhat in her excelling all her kind :
But doubtfully receiv'd, expecting still Exciting a desire till then unknown,
To learn the secret causes of his alter'd will. Somewhat unfound, or found in her alone.
Nor was he long delay'd : the first request This made the first impression on his mind,
He made, was like his brothers to be dress'd, Above, but just above, the brutal kind.
And, as his birth requir'd, above the rest. For beasts can like, but not distinguish too,
With ease his suit was granted by his sire, Nor their own liking by reflection know;
Distinguishing his heir by rich attire : Nor why they like or this or t’other face,
His body thus adorn'd, he next design'd Or judge of thus or that peculiar grace;
With liberal arts to cultivate his mind : But love in gross, and stupidly admire :
He sought a tutor of his own accord, As fies, allur'd by light, approach the fire. And study'd lessons he before abhorr'd. Thus our man-beast, advancing by degrees,
Thus the man-child advanc'd, and learn'd so fast, First likes the whole, then separates what he sees ; That in short time his equals he surpass's : On several parts a several praise bestows,
His brutal manners from his breast exil'd, The ruby lips, the well-proportion'd nose,
His mien he fashion'd, and his tongue he fil'd; The snowy skin, and raven-glossy hair,
In every exercise of all admir'd, The dimpled cheek, and forehead rising fair, He seem’d, nor only seem'd, but was inspir'd: And, ev'n in sleep itself, a smiling air.
Inspir'd by Love, whose business is to please ; From thence his eyes descending view'd the rest, He rode, he fenc'd, he mov'd with graceful ease, Her plump round arms, white hands, and heaving More fam'd for sense, for courtly carriage more, breast.
Than for his brutal folly known before. Long on the last he dwelt, though every part What then of alter'd Cymon shall we say, A pointed arrow sped to pierce his heart.
But that the fire which choak'd in ashes lay, Thus in a trice a judge of beauty grown, A load too heavy for his soul to move, [Love (A judge erected from a country clown)
Was upward blown below, and brush'd away by dle long'd to see her eyes, in slumber hid,
Love made an active progress through his mind, And wish'd his own could pierce within the lid : The dusky parts he clear'd, the gross refin'd, He would have wak'd her, but restrain’d his thought, 'The drowsy wak'd ; and as he went impress'd And Love, new-born, the first good-manners taught. The Maker's image on the human breast. And awful Fear his ardent wish withstood, Thus was the man amended by desire, Nor durst disturb the goddess of the wood. And though he lov'd perhaps with too much fire, For such she seem'd by her celestial face,
His father all his faults with reason scann'd, Excelling all the rest of human race.
And lik'd an errour of the better hand; And things divine, by common sense he knew, Excus'd th' excess of passion in his mind, Must be devoutly seen, at distant view :
By flames too fierce, perhaps too much refind: So checking his desire, with trembling heart So Cymon, since his sire indulg'd his will, Gazing he stood, nor would nor could depart; Impetuous lov’d, and would be Cymon still; Fix'd as a pilgrim wilder'd in his way,
Galesus he disown'd, and chose to bear Who dares not stir by night, for fear to stray, The name of fool confirm'd and bishop'd by the fair. But stands with awful eyes to watch the dawn of To Cipseus by his friends his suit he mov'd, day.
Cipseus the father of the fair he lov'd : At length awaking, Iphigene the fair
But he was pre-engag'd by former ties, (So was the beauty call’d who caus'd his care) While Cymon was endeavouring to be wise : Unclos'd her eyes, and double day reveal'd, And Iphigene, oblig'd by former vows, While those of all her slaves in sleep were seal'd. Had given her faith to wed a foreign spouse :
The slavering cudden, propp'd upon his staff, Her sire and she to Rhodian Pasimond, Stood ready gaping with a grinning laugh, Though both repenting, were by promise bound, To welcome her awake; nor durst begin
Nor could retract; and thus, as Fate decreed, To speak, but wisely kept the fool within.
Though better lov'd, he spoke too late to speed. Then she : “ What makes you, Cymon, here alone?" The doom was past, the ship, already sent, (For Cyanon's name was round the country known Did all his tardy diligence prevent : Because descended of a noble race,
Sigh'd to herself the fair unhappy maid, And for a soul ill sorted with his face).
While stormy Cymon thus in secret said : But still the sot stood silent with surprise, “ The time is come for Iphigene to find With fix'd regard on her new-open'd eyes,
The miracle she wrought upon my mind : And in his breast receiv'd th' envenom'd dart, Her charms have made me man, her ravishi'd love A tickling pain that pleas'd amid the smart. In rank shall place me with the bless'd above. But, conscious of her forin, with quick distrust For mine by love, by force she shall be mine,
Resolv'd he said; and rigg'd with speedy care 1 But all at once; at once the winds arise,
In vain the trembling sailors ply their hands :
And from the first they labour in despair. Nor long expected, for the following tide
The giddy ship betwixt the winds and tides, Sent out the hostile ship and beauteous bride. Forc'd back, and forwards, in a circle rides,
To Rhodes the rival bark directly steer'd, Stunn'd with the different blows; then shoots amain, When Cymon sudden at her back appear’d, Till, counterbuff'd, she stops, and sleeps again. And stopp'd her fight : then, standing on his prow, Not more aghast the proud archangel fell, In haughty terms he thus defy'd the foe :
Plung'd from the height of Heaven to deepest Hell, “ Or strike your sails at summons, or prepare
stood the lover of his love possessid, To prove the last extremities of war.
Now curs'd the more, the more he had been bless'd; Thus warn'd, the Rhodians for the fight provide ; More anxious for her danger than his own, Already were the vessels side by side,
Death he defies; but would be lost alone. These obstinate to save, and those to seize the bride. Sad Iphigene to womanish complaints But Cymon soon his crooked grapples cast, Adds pious prayers, and wearies all the saints ; Which with tenacious hold his foes embrac'd, Ev'n if she could, her love she would repent, And, arm'd with sword and shield, amid the press i But, since she cannot, dreads the punishment : he pass'd.
Her forfeit faith, and Pasimond betray'd, Fierce was the fight, but, hastening to his prey, Are ever present, and her crime upbraid. By force the furious lover freed his way :
She blames herself, nor blames her lover less, Himself alone dispers'd the Rhodian crew, Augments her anger, as her fears increase : The weak disdain'd, the valiant overthrew;
From her own back the burthen would remove,
Invade, and violate another's right:
But soon they punish'd his presumptuous pride; Your lives are safe ; your vessel I resign;
That for his daring enterprize she dy'd; Yours be your own, restoring what is mine; Who rather not resisted, than comply'd. In Iphigene I claim my rightful due,
Then, impotent of mind, with alter'd sense, Robb’d by my rival, and detain'd by you : She hugg'd th' offender, and forgave th' offence, Your Pasimond a lawless bargain drore,
Sex to the last : meantime with sails declin'd The parent could not sell the daughter's love; The wandering vessel drove before the wind : Or, if he could, my Love disdains the laws, Toss'd and retoss'd, aloft, and then below, And like a king by conquest gains his cause : Nor port they seek, nor certain course they know, Where arms take place, all other pleas are vain, But every moment wait the coming blow. Love taught me force, and Force shall love maintain, Thus blindly driven, by breaking day they view'd You, what by strength you could not keep, release, The land before them, and their fears renew'd; And at an easy ransom buy your peace.”
The land was welcome, but the tempest bore Fear on the conquer'd side soon sign'd th' accord, The threaten'd ship against a rocky shore. And Iphigene to Cymon was restor'd :
A winding bay was near; to this they bent, While to his arms the blushing bride he took, And just escap'd ; their force already spent : To seeming sadness she compos'd her look ; Secure from storms, and panting from the sea, As if by force subjected to his will,
The land unknown at leisure they survey; Though pleas'd, dissembling, and a woman still. And saw (but soon their sickly sight withdrew) And, for she wept, he wip'd her falling tears, The rising towers of Rhodes at distant view; And pray'd her to dismiss her empty fears;
And curs'd the hostile shore of Pasimond, “For yours I am,” he said, “ and have deserv'd Sav'd from the seas, and shipwreck'd on the ground. Your love much better whom so long I serv'd, The frighted sailors try'd their strength in vain Than he to whom your formal father ty'd
To turn the stern, and tempt the stormy main ; Your vows, and sold a slave, not sent a bride." But the stiff wind withstood the labouring oar, Thus while he spoke, he seiz'd the willing prey, And forc'd them forward on the fatal shore ! As Paris bore the Spartan spouse away..
The crooked keel now bites the Rhodian strand, Faintly she scream'd, and ev'n her eyes confess'd And the ship moor’d constrains the crew to land : She rather would be thought, than was distress'd. Yet still they might be safe, because unknown, Who now exults but Cymon in his mind ?
But, as ill fortune seldom comes alone,
Already shelter'd on their native shore; (cheer;
Not them, but theirs, made prisoners ere they fight, When, like a fiery meteor, sunk the Sun;
Despairing conquest, and depriv'd of flight. The promise of a storm; the shifting gales
The country rings around with loud alarms, Forsake by fits, and fill the flagging sails ;
And raw in fields the rude militia swarms; Hoarse murmurs of the main from far were heard, Mouths without hands; maintain’d at vast expense,
came on, not by degrees prepar'd, In peace a charge, in war a weak defence :