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There sleep forgot, with mighty tyrants gone, "Yourstatues moulder'd, and your names unknown!" A suddin cloud straight snatch'd them from my sight, And each majestic phanom sunk in night.
Then came the smallest tribe I yet had seen, 356
Plain was theirdress, and modest was their mien;
"Great Idol of mankind! we neither claim
The praise of merit, nor aspire to fame!
But safe in deserts from th' applause of men, 360
"Would die unheard of, as we liv'd unseen;
'Tis all we beg thee, to conceal from sight
Those acts of goodness which themselves requite.
O let us still the secret joy partaIce,
To follow virtue ev'n for virtue's sake." 365
"And live there men who slight immortal fame?
Who then with incense shall adore our name?
But, Mortals! know, 'tis still our greatest pride
To blaze thoe virtues which the good would hide.
Rise! Muses, rise ! add all your tuneful breath; 370
These must not sleep in darkness and in death."
She said: in air the trembling music floats,
And on the winds triumphant swell the notes;
"So soft, though high, so loud, and yet so clear,
Ev'n list'ning angels lean'd from heav'n to hear;
To farthest shores th' ambrosial spirit flies, 376
Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies.
Next these a youthful train their vows express'd, With feathers crown'd, with gay embroid'ry dress'd: "Hither (they cry'd) direct yuur eyes, and see 380 The men of pleasure, dress, a: d gallantry;
Ours is the place at banquets, balls, and plays,
Sprightly cur nightf, polite are all our days;
Courts we frequent, where 'tis our pleasing care
To pay due visits, and address the fair: 385
In fact, 'tis true, no nymph we could persuade,
But still in fancy vanqmsh'd ev'ry maid;
Of unknown Duchesses lewd tales we tell,
Yet, would the world believe us, all were well.
The joy let others have, and we the name, 390
And what we waiit in pleasure, grant in fame."
The Queen assents; the trumpet rends the skies, And at e:.ch blast a lady's honour dies.
Pleas'd with the st&ange success, vast numbers prest
Around the shrine, and made the same request: 395
"What, you, (she cry'd) unlearn'd in arts to please;
Slaves to yourselves, and ev'n fatigu'd with ease,
Who lose a length of undeserving days,
Would you usurp the lover's dear-bought praise?
To just contempt, ye vain pretenders! fall; 400
The people's fable, and the scorn of all."
Straight the black clarion sends a horrid sound,
Loud laughs burst out, and bitter scoffs fly round;
Whispers are heard, with taunts reviling loud,
And scornful hisses run through all the crowd. 405
Last, those who boast of mighty mischiefs done,
Enslave their country, or usurp a throne;
Or who their glory's dire foundation laid
On sov'reigns ruin'd, or on friends betray'd;
Calm, thinking villains, whom no faith could fix,
Of crooked counsels and dark politics; 411.
Of these a gloomy tribe surround the throne,
And beg to make th' immortal treasons known.
The trumpet roars, long flaky flames expire,
With sparks that seem'd to set the world on fire.
At the dread sound pale mortals stood aghast, 416
And startled Nature trembled with the blast.
This having heard and seen, some pow'r unknown Straight chang'd the scene, and snatch'd me from the Before my view appear'd a structure fair, [throne, Its site uncertain, if in earth or air; 428
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; 425
Which still unfolded stand, by night, by day,
Pervious to winds, and open ev'ry way.
As flames by nature to the skies ascend,
As weighty bodies to the centre tend,
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 seas, 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 wat'ry plain, and to the margin dance i
Thus ev'ry voice and sound, when firit ihey break,
On neighb'ring air a soft impression make;
Another ambient circle then they move;
That, in its turn, impels the next above; 445
Through undulating air the sounds are sent,
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,
Of loss and gain, of famine and of store, 450
Of storms at sea, and travels on the shore,
Of prodigies, and portents seen in air,
Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair,
Of turns of fortune, changes in the state,
The falls of fav'rites, projects of the great, 45 5
Of old mismanagements, taxations new;
All neither wholly false, nor wholly true.
Above, below, without, within, around,
Confus'd, unnumber'd multitudes are found,
Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away, 460
Hosts rais'd bv fear, and phantoms of a day;
Astrologers, that future fates foreshew,
Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few;
And priests, and party-zealots, num'rous bands,
With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands;
Each talk'd aloud, or in some secret place, 466
And wild impatience star'd in ev'ry face.
They flying rumours gather'das they roll'd.
Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told;
And all who told it added something new, 470
And all who heard it, made enlargements too;
In ev'ry ear it spread, on ev'ry tongue it grew.
Thus flying east and west, and north and south,
News travell'd with increase from mouth to mouth.
So from a spark, that kindled first by chance, 475
With gath'ring force the quick'ning flames advance,
Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
And tow'rs and temples sink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung,
Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue, 480
Thro' thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow,
And rush in millions on the world below;
Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course,
Their date determines, and prescribes their force:
Some to remain, and some to perish soon, 485
Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.
Around, a thousand winged wonders fly,
Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd thro' the
There, at one passage, oft you might survey [sky.
A lie and truth contending for the way; 493
And long 'twas doubtful, both so closely pent,
Which first should issue thro' the narrow vent.
At last agreed, together out they fly,
Inseparable now the truth and lie;
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,