ePub 版
[merged small][ocr errors]

XXXIX. “ Ay, ficker, (quoth the knight) all flesh is frail, “ To pleasant fin and joyous dalliance bent; “ But let not brutish vice of this avail, “ And think to scape deserved punishment. “ Justice were cruel weakly to relent; “ From Mercy's felf she got her facred glaive; 66 Grace be to those who can, and will, repent ;

“ But penance long, and dreary, to the slave, " Who must in floods of fire his gross foul fpirit lave."

Thus, holding high discourse, they came to where
The cursed carle was at his wonted trade;

Still tempting heedless men into his snare,
In witching wife, as before have said.
But when he faw, in goodly geer array'd,
The grave majestic knight approaching nigh,
And by his fide the bard so fage and staid,

His countenance fell; yet oft his anxious eye Mark'd them, like wily fox who roofted cock doth spy.

Nathleis, with feign'd respect, he bade give back
The rabble-rout, and welcom’d them full kind;
Struck with the noble twain, they were not llack
His orders to obey, and fall behind,
Then he resum'd his song; and unconfin'd,
Pourd all his mufic, ran through all his strings:
With magic duft their eyne he tries to blind,

And virtue's tender airs o'er weakness fings.
What pity base his song who fo divinely fings!

XLII. Elate

[ocr errors]

XLII. Elate in thought, he counted them his own, They listen'd lo intent with fix'd delight : But they instead, as if transmew'd to stone, Marvel'd he could with such sweet art unite The lights and shades of manners, wrong and right. Meantime, the silly crowd the charm devour, Wide pressing to the gate. Swift, on the knight

He darted fierce, to drag him to his bower, Who backening shunn’d his touch, for well he knew its XLIII.

[power. As in throng'd amphitheatre, of old, The

wary Retiarius trap'd his foe:
Ev'n so the knight, returning on him bold,
At once involv'd him in the net of woe,
Whereof I mention made not long ago.
Inrag'd at first, he scorn’d so weak a jail,
And leapt, and flew, and flounced to and fro;

But when he found that nothing could avail,
He set him felly down and gnaw'd his bitter nail.

XLIV. Alarm’d, th' inferior demons of the place Rais'd rueful shrieks and hideous yells around; Black stormy clouds deform’d the welkin's face, And from beneath was heard a wailing sound, As of infernal sprights in cavern bound; A folemn sadness every creature strook, [ground: And lightnings flaihd, and horror rock'd the Huge crowds on crowds out-pour’d, with blemish'd

look, As if on time's last verge this frame of things had shook.

XLV. Soon as the short-liv'd tempeft was 'yspent, Steam'd from the jaws of vext Avernus' hole, And hush'd the hubbub of the rabblement, Sir Industry the first calm moment stole. « There must, (he cry'd) amidft so vast a fhoal, “ Be some who are not tainted at the heart, “ Not poison'd quite by this fame villain's bowl :

« Come then, my bard, thy heavenly fire impart; " Touch soul with soul, till forth the latent spirit start.”

The bard obey'd; and taking from his fide,
Where it in seemly sort depending hung,
His British harp, its speaking strings he try'd,
The which with skilful touch he defly trung,
Till tinkling in clear symphony they rung.
Then, as he felt the Muses come along,
Light o'er the chords his raptur'd hand he flung,

And play'd a prelude to his rising song:
The whilft, like midnight mute, ten thousands round


[him throng Thus, ardent, burst his strain.

6 Ye helpless race, « Dire-labouring here to smother reason's ray, " That lights our Maker's image in our face, “ And gives us wide o'er earth unquestion’d fway : " What is th' ador'd Supreme Perfection, say? “ What, but eternal never-resting soul, « Almighty power, and all-directing day;

“ By whom each atom stirs, the planets roll; " Who fills, surrounds, informs, and agitates the whole.

[ocr errors]

XLVIII. o Come, to the beaming God your hearts unfold ! « Draw from its fountain life! 'Tis thence, alone, “ We can excel. Up from unfeeling mold, “ To seraphs burning round th’ Almighty's throne, “ Life rising still on life, in higher tone, “ Perfection forms, and with perfection bliss. 66 In universal nature this clear shewn, " Nor needeth proof: to prove it were, I wis, prove the beauteous world excels the brute abyss.

XLIX. “ Is not the field, with lively culture green, A fight more joyous than the dead morass ? “ Do not the skies, with active ether clean, “ And fann’d by sprighely zephyrs, far furpass “ The foul November fogs, and flumberous mass, “ With which fad nature veils her drooping face! " Does not the mountain-stream, as clear as glass,

“ Gay-dancing on, the putrid pool disgrace? « The same in all holds true, but chief in human race.

L. “ It was not by vile loitering in ease, " That Greece obtain'd the brighter palm of art, “ That soft yet ardent Athens learn’d to please, " To keen the wit, aud to sublime the heart, “ In all supreme complete in every part ! “ It was not thence majestic Rome arose, « And o'er the nations fhook her conquering dart :

“ For Nuggard's brow the laurel never grows ; « Renown is not the child of indolent repose. Vol. I,


LI, “ Had



« Had unambitious mortals minded nought,
“ But in loose joy their time to wear away;
“ Had they alone the lap of dalliance fought,
6 Pleas'd on her pillow their dull heads to lay,
6. Rude Nature's state had been our state to-day;
* No cities e'er their towery fronts had rais’d,
* No arts had made us opulent and gay;

66 With brother-brutes the human race had graz'd;
« None e'er had foar'd to fame, none honour'd been,


[none prais d. • Great Homer's fong had never fir'd the breast “ To thirst of glory, and heroic deeds ; " Sweet Maro's Muse, funk in inglorious reft, “ Had silent flept amid the Mincian reeds : « The wits of modern time had told their beads, < And monkish legends been their only strains; * Our Milton's Eden had lain wrapt in weeds, « Our Shakespeare strolld and laugh’d with Warwick

« swains,
" Ne had my master Spenser charm’d his Mulla's plains.

« Dumb too had been the fage Historic Muse,
“ And perish'd all the fons of ancient fame;
“ Those starry lights of virtue, that diffuse

Through the dark depth of time their vivid flame,
" Had all been lost with such as have no name.
ss Who then had scorn'd his ease for others' good?
“ Who then had toil'd rapacious men to tame ?

" Who in the public breach devoted stood, 6 And for his country's cause been prodigal of blood?

« 上一頁繼續 »