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my view appear'd a structure fair,
Its site uncertain, if in earth or air ;
With rapid motion turn’d the mansion round;
With ceaseless noise the ringing walls resound;
Not less in number were the spacious doors,
Than leaves on trees, or sands upon the shores ;
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 particulars follow.
Tho saw I stonde 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 swift as thought,
This queint house about went,
That never more it still stent
And eke this house hath of entrees,
-As many as leaves are on trees
In Summer, when they ben grene ;
And in the roof yet men may sene
A thousand hoels and well mo
To letten the soune out-go;
And by day in every tide,
Ben all the doors open wide,
And by night each one unshet;
No porter is there one to let,
No manner tydings in to pace :
Ne never rest is in that place.
As to the sea returning rivers roll,
430 And the touch'd needle trembles to the pole ; Hither as to their proper place, arise All various sounds from earth, and feas, and skies, Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd in the ear ;;. Nor ever silence, rest, or peace, is here.
435 As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes The sinking stone at first a circle makes ; The trembling surface, by the motion stirr'd, Spreads in a second 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 soft impreffion make; Another ambient circle then they move; That, in its turn, impels the next above;
445 Through undulating air the sounds are fent, And spread o'er all the fluid element.
There various news I heard of love and strife, Of peace and war, health, sickness, death, and life,
Ver. 448. There various news I heard, &c.]
Of werres, of
peace, of marriages,
Of rest, of labour, of voyages,
Of abode, of dethe, and of life,
Of love and hate, accord and strife,
Of loss, of lore, and of winnings,
Of hele, of sickness, and lessings,
Of divers transmutations,
Of estates and eke of regions,
Of trust, of dred, of jealousy,
Of wit, of winning, and of folly,
Of loss and gain, of famine and of ftore,
Of storms at sea, and travels on the shore,
Of prodigies, and portents feen in air,
Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair,
Of turns of Fortune, changes in the state,
The falls of favorites, projects of the great, 455
Of old mismanagements, taxations new :
All neither wholly falfe, nor wholly true.
Above, below, without, within, around,
Confus’d, unnumber'd multitudes are found,
Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away ;
4,60 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 some without,
Was never seen, ne shall be eft-
And every wight that I saw there
Rowned everich in others ear
A new tyding privily,
Or else he told it openly
Right thus, and said, Knowlt 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 sparkle sprong amiss,
Til all the citee brent up is.
Astrologers, 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 some secret place,
And wild impatience star'd in every
The flying rumors gather'd as they rollid,
Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told;
And all who told it added something new,
And all who heard it made enlargements too,
In every ear it fpread, on every tongue it grew.
Thus flying east and west, and north and fouth,
News travel'd with increase from mouth to mouth.
So from a spark, that kindled first by chance, 475
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,
480 Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they
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 some to perish foon ; 485
Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.
Around, a thousand winged wonders fly,
Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd through the
There, at one passage, oft you might survey A lie and truth contending for the way ;
490 And long 'twas doubtful, both so closely pent, Which first should issue through the narrow vent: At last agreed, together out they fly, Inseparable now, the truth and lye ; The strict companions are for ever join'd,
495 And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall find.
While thus I stood, intent to see and hear,
One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear :
What could thus high thy rash ambition raise ?
Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise ?
'Tis true, said I, not void of hopes I came,
For who fo fond as youthful bards of Fame?
But few, alas! the casual blessing boast,
So hard to gain, so easy to be loft.
How vain that second life in others breath,
Th' estate which wits inherit after death!
Eafe, health, and life, for this they must resign,
(Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine !)
The great man's curse, without the gains, endure,
Be envy'd, wretched, and be flatter'd, poor ; 510
All luckless wits their enemies profest,
And all successful, jealous friends at best.
Ver. 489. There, at one passage, &c.]
And sometime I saw there at once,
A leising and a sad footh saw
gonnen at adventure draw
Out of a window forth to pace-
And no man, be he ever so wrothe,
Shall have one of these two, but bothe, .. VOL. I.