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The castle hight of Indolence,
Where for a little time, alas!
The second canto is decidedly inferior to the first. It relates to
The Knight of Arts and Industry,
It does not admit of such a pleasing variety of imagery, and the matter which it contains is of a more conventional and less poetic character. And yet its merits are of no mean order.
EXTRACTS FROM "THE CASTLE OF
THE LAND OF DROWSINESS.
In lowly dale, fast by a river's side,
With woody hill o'er hill encompass'd round,
Than whom a fiend more fell 2 is nowhere found.
1 "This poem being writ in the manner of Spenser, the obsolete words, and a simplicity of diction in some of the lines, which borders on the ludicrous, were necessary to make the imitation more perfect. And the style of that admirable poet, as well as the measure in which he wrote, are, as it were, appropriated by custom to allegorical poems writ in our language; just as in French the style of Marot, who lived under Francis I., has been used in tales and familiar epistles by the political writers of the age of Louis XIV."-Author's Advertisement.
3 think, fancy.
And there a season atween June and May,
Half prankt1 with spring, with summer half imbrowned,
A listless climate made, where, sooth 2 to say,
Was naught around but images of rest : Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between; And flowery beds that slumberous influence kest, From poppies breathed, and beds of pleasant green, Where never yet was creeping creature seen. Meantime, unnumbered glittering streamlets played And hurled everywhere their waters sheen; 4 That, as they bickered 5 through the sunny glade, Though restless still themselves, a lulling murmur
Joined to the prattle of the purling rills
And flocks loud bleating from the distant hills
Full in the passage of the vale, above,
A sable, silent, solemn forest stood,
Where naught but shadowy forms were seen to move, As Idleness fancied in her dreaming mood;
2 truth. • The nightingale.
♦ bright. 7 noise, bustle.
And up the hills, on either side, a wood
A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
The landscape such, inspiring perfect ease,
Thither continual pilgrims crowded still,
For, as they chaunced to breath on neighboring hill,
Till clustering round the enchanter false they hung, Ymolten1 with his siren melody;
While o'er the enfeebling lute his hand he flung, And to the trembling chords these tempting verses
"Here naught but candor reigns, indulgent ease, Good-natured lounging, sauntering up and down. They who are pleas'd themselves must always please; On others' ways they never squint a frown, Nor heed what haps in hamlet or in town. Thus from the source of tender Indolence, With milky blood the heart is overflown, Is sooth'd and sweeten'd by the social sense; For interest, envy, pride, and strife are banish'd hence.
"What, what is virtue, but repose of mind,
A pure ethereal calm, that knows no storm ;
Across the enliven'd skies, and make them still more
"The best of men have ever lov'd repose:
E'en those whom fame has lent her fairest ray,
From a base world at last have stolen away: So Scipio,1 to the soft Cumaan shore Retiring, tasted joy he never knew before.
"But if a little exercise you choose,
Some zest for ease, 'tis not forbidden here: Amid the groves you may indulge the muse. Or tend the blooms 2 and deck the vernal year; Or softly stealing, with your watery gear, Along the brooks, the crimson-spotted fry You may delude; the whilst, amused, you hear Now the hoarse stream, and now the zephyr's sigh Attuned to the birds, and woodland melody.
"O grievous folly! to heap up estate,
Losing the days you see beneath the sun;
To toil for what you here untoiling may obtain."
He ceased. But still their trembling ears retained
1 See note 3, page 59.
3 headlong. As the players of pall-mall rush into the game. From Italian palla, ball, and maglia, mallet.