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And he, to raise his voice with ariful care, Who, true to love, was all for recreation,
Not louder cries, when Ilium was in flames, From sweet Cecilia down to Chanticleer;
Were sent to Heaven by woful Trojan dames, Not Maro's Muse, who sung the mighty man, When Pyrrhus foss'd on high his burnish'd blade, Nor Pindar's heavenly lyre, nor Horace when a swan. And offer'd Priam to his father's shade, Your ancestors proceed from race divine: Than for the cock the widow'd poultry made. From Brennus and Belinus is your line ;
Fair Partlet first, when he was borne from sight, Who gave to sovereign Rome such loud alarms, With sovereign shrieks bewail'd her captive knight: That ev'n the priests were not excus'd from arms. Far louder than the Carthaginian wife,
“ Besides, a famous monk of modern times When Asdrubal, her husband, lost his life, Has left of cocks recorded in his rhymes,
When she beheld the smouldering flames ascend That of a parish-priest the son and heir,
And all the Punic glories at an end :
With greater ease than others seek their bed;
Shriek'd for the downfall in a doleful cry,
For which their guiltless lords were doom'd to die. Yet for the sake of sweet saint Charity;
Now to my story I return again : Make hills and dales, and Earth and Heaven rejoice, The trembling widow, and her daughters twain, And emulate your father's angel voice.”
This woful cackling cry with horror heard, The cock was pleas'd to hear him speak so fair, of those distracted damsels in the yard; And proud beside, as solar people are ;
And, starting up, beheld the heavy sight, Nor could the treason from the truth descry, How Reynard to the forest took his flight, So was he ravish'd with this flattery:
And cross his back, as in triumphant scorn, So much the more, as, from a little elf,
The hope and pillar of the house was borne. He had a high opinion of himself;
· The fox, the wicked fox !" was all the cry: Though sickly, slender, and not large of limb, Out from his house ran every neighbor nigh; Concluding all the world was made for him. The vicar first, and after him the crew Ye princes, rais'd by poets to the gods,
With forks and staves, the felon to pursue. And Alexander'd up in lying odes,
Ran Coll our dog, and Talbot with the band ; Believe not every flattering knave's report, And Malkin, with her distaff in her hand; There's many a Reynard lurking in the court; Ran cow and calf, and family of hogs, And he shall be receiv'd with more regard In panic horror of pursuing dogs; And listen'd to, than modest Truth is heard. With many a deadly grunt and doleful squcak.
This Chanticleer, of whom the story sings, Poor swine, as if their pretty hearts would break. Stood high upon his toes, and clapp'd his wings; The shouts of men, the women in dismay, Then stretch'd his neck, and winkd with both his With shrieks augment the terror of the day ; eyes,
The ducks, that heard the proclamation cried, Ambitious, as he sought thi Olympic prize.
And fear'd a persccution might betide, But, while he paind himself to raise his note, Full twenty miles from town their voyage take, False Reynard rush'd, and caught him by the throat. Obscure in rushes of the liquid lake. Then on his back he laid the precious load, The geese fly o'er the barn; the bees in arms And sought his wonted shelter of the wood; Drive headlong from their waxen cells in swarms. Swiftly he made his way, the mischief done, Jack Straw at London-stone, with all his rout, Of all unheeded, and pursu'd by none.
Struck not the city with so loud a shout; Alas, what stay is there in human state,
Not when with English hate they did pursue Or who can shun inevitable fate?
A Frenchman, or an unbelieving Jew; The doom was written, the decree was past, Not when the welkin rung with one and all ; Ere the foundations of the world were cast! And echoes bounded back from Fox's hall; In Aries though the Sun exalted stood,
Earth seem'd to sink beneath, and Heaven above to His patron-planet to procure his good ;
fall. Yet Saturn was his mortal foe, and he,
With might and main they chas'd the murderous fox, In Libra rais'd, oppos’d the same degree :
With brazen trumpets and inflated box,
On Friday morn he dreamt this direful dream, But see, how Fortune can confound the wise, Cross to the worthy native, in his scheme ! And, when they least expect it, turn the dice. Ah, blissful Venus, goddess of delight,
The captive cock, who scarce could draw his breath How couldst thou suffer thy devoted knight, And lay within the very jaws of Death ; On thy own day, to fall by foe oppress'd,
Yet in this agony his fancy wrought, The wight of all the world who serv'd thee best? And Fear supplied him with this happy thought.
“ Your's is the prize, victorious prince," said he,
THE FLOWER AND THE LEAF: “The vicar my defeat, and all the village see. Enjoy your friendly fortune while you may,
OR, THE LADY IN THE ARBOR.
Now, turning from the wintry signs, the Sun
His course exalted through the Ram had run, He shall be pluck'd and eaten to the bone.” And, whirling up the skies, his chariot drove “ 'Tis well advis'd, in faith it shall be done ;" Through Taurus and the lightsome realms of Love; This Reynard said: but, as the word he spoke, Where Venus from her orb descends in showers, The prisoner with a spring from prison broke : To glad the ground, and paint the fields with Then stretch'd his feather'd fans with all his might,
flowers : And to the neighboring maple wing'd his flight; When first the tender blades of grass appear, Whom when the traitor safe on tree beheld, And buds, that yet the blast of Eurus fear, He curs'd the gods, with shame and sorrow fillid; Stand at the door of life, and doubt to clothe the year. Shame for his folly, sorrow out of time,
Till gentle heat, and soft repeated rains, For plotting an unprofitable crime ;
Make the green blood to dance within their veins. Yet, mastering both, th' artificer of lies
Then, at their call embolden'd, out they come, Renews th' assault, and his last battery tries. And swell the germs, and burst the narrow room ; • Though I,” said he, "did ne'er in thought of- Broader and broader yet, their blooms display, fend,
Salute the welcome Sun, and entertain the day. How justly may my lord suspect his friend! Then from their breathing souls the sweets repair, Th' appearance is against me, I confess,
To scent the skies, and purge th' unwholesome air: Who seemingly have put you in distress :
Joy spreads the heart, and, with a general song, You, if your goodness does not plead my cause, Spring issues out, and leads the jolly months along, May think I broke all hospitable laws,
In that sweet season, as in bed 1 lay,
I turn'd my wearied side, but still in vain,
Though full of youthful health, and void of pain Though, Heaven can witness, with no bad intent: Cares I had none, to keep me from my rest, I practis'd it, to make you taste your cheer For Love had never enter'd in my breast; With double pleasure, first prepar'd by fear. I wanted nothing Fortune could supply, So loyal subjects often seize their prince,
Nor did she slumber till that hour deny.
I wonder'd then, but after found it true,
“ Nay," quoth the cock; “ but I beshrew us both, Should weary Nature so, to make her want repair. If I believe a saint upon his oath :
When Chanticleer the second watch had sung, An honest man may take a knave's advice, Scorning the scorner Sleep, from bed I sprung; But idiots only may be cozen'd twice:
And, dressing by the Moon, in loose array,
Of oaks unshorn a venerable wood;
At distance planted in a due degree,
Stretch'd to their neighbors with a long embrace, “ A peace, with all my soul,” said Chanticleer; And the new leaves on every bough were seen, “But, with your favor, I will treat it here: Some ruddy colorid, some of lighter green. And, lest the truce with treason should be mixt, The painted birds, companions of the Spring, "Tis my concern to have the tree betwixt." Hopping from spray to spray, were heard to sing.
Both eyes and ears receiv'd a like delight,
And listen'd for the queen of all the quire ;
And wanted yet an omen to the spring. And learn beside of flatterers to beware,
Attending long in vain, I took the way, Then most pernicious when they speak too fair. Which through a path but scarcely printed lay; The cock and fox, the fool and knave imply ; In narrow mazes oft it seem'd to meet, The truth is moral, though the tale a lie.
And look'd as lightly press'd by fairy feet. Who spoke in parables, 1 dare not say ;
Wandering I walk'd alone, for still methought But sure he knew it was a pleasing way,
To some strange end so strange a path was wrought: Sound sense, by plain example, to convey ; At last it led me where an arbor stood, And in a heathen author we may find,
The sacred receptacle of the wood : That pleasure with instruction should be join'd; This place unmark'd, though oft I walk'd the green, So take the corn, and leave the chaff behind. In all my progress I had never seen :
And, seiz'd at once with wonder and delight, Nor till her lay was ended could I move,
And all three senses in full gust enjoy d.
And what alone did all the rest surpass, And all around the shades defended it from day: The sweet possession of the fairy place; For sycamores with eglantine were spread, Single, and conscious to myself alone A hedge about the sides, a covering over-head. Of pleasures to th' excluded world unknown : And so the fragrant brier was wove between, Pleasures which nowhere else were to be found, The sycamore and flowers were mix'd with green, And all Elysium in a spot of ground. That Nature seem'd to vary the delight;
Thus while I sat intent to see and hear,
And drew perfumes of more than vital air,
A train less fair, as ancient fathers tell,
I pass their form, and every charming grace, But all that pass'd without with ease was seen, Less than an angel would their worth debase : As if nor fence nor tree was plac'd between. Lut their attire, like liveries of a kind "Twas borderd with a field; and some was plain All rich and rare, is fresh within my mind. With grass, and some was sow'd with rising grain. In velvet white as snow the troop was gown'd, That (now the dew with spangles deck'd the ground) The seams with sparkling emeralds set around : A sweeter spot of earth was never found.
Their hoods and sleeves the same; and purfled o'er I look'd and look'd, and still with new delight; With diamonds, pearls, and all the shining store Such joy my soul, such pleasures fill'd my sight: Of eastern pomp: their long descending train, And the fresh eglantine exhald a breath,
With rubies edg'd, and sapphires, swept the plain : Whose odors were of power to raise from death. High on their heads, with jewels richly sei, Nor sullen discontent, nor anxious care,
Each lady wore a radiant coronet. Ev'n though brought thither, could inhabit there : Beneath the circles, all the quire was grac'd But thence they fled as from their mortal foe; With chaplets green, on their fair foreheads plac'd. For this sweet place could only pleasure know. Of laurel some, of woodbine many more ; Thus as I mus'd, I cast aside my eye,
And wreaths of agnus-castus others bore : And saw a medlar-tree was planted nigh.
These last, who with those virgin crowns were dress'd. The spreading branches made a goodly show, Appear'd in higher honor than the rest. And full of opening blooms was every bough: They danc'd around: but in the midst was seen A goldfinch there I saw with gaudy pride
A lady of a more majestic mien; or painted plumes, ibat hopp'd from side to side, By stature and by beauty mark'd their sovereign Still pecking as she pass'd; and still she drew
queen. The sweets from every flower, and suck'd the dew: She in the midst began with sober grace ; Suflic'd at length, she warbled in her throat, Her servants' eyes were fixed upon her face, And tun'd her voice to many a merry note, And, as she mov'd or turn'd, her motions view'd, But indistinct, and neither sweet nor clear, Her measures kept, and step by step pursued. Yet such as sooth'd my soul and pleas'd my ear. Methought she trod the ground with greater grace,
Her short performance was no sooner tried, With more of godhead shining in her face ; When she I sought, the nightingale replied: And as in beauty she surpass 'd the quire, So sweet, so shrill, so variously she sung,
So, nobler than the rest, was her attire. That the grove echo 'd, and the valleys rung: A crown of ruddy gold inclos'd her brow, And I su ravish'd with her heavenly note,
Plain without pomp, and rich without a show. I stood entranc'd, and had no room for thought, A branch of agnus-castus in her hand Bui, all o'erpower'd with ecstacy of bliss, She bore aloft (her sceptre of command ;) Was in a pleasing dream of Paradise :
Admir’d, ador'd, by all the circling crowd, At length I wak’d, and looking round the bower, For wheresoe'er she turn'd her face, they bow'd : Search'd every tree, and pry'd on every flower, And as she danc'd, a roundelay she sung, If anywhere by chance I might espy,
In honor of the laurel, ever young : The rural poet of the melody;
She rais'd her voice on high, and sung so clear, For still methought she sung not far away: The fawns came scudding from the groves to hear; At last I found her on a laurel spray.
And all the bending forest lent an ear. Close by my side she sat, and fair in sight,
At every close she made, th' attending throng Full in a line against her opposite;
Replied, and bore the burthen of the song : Where stood with eglantine the laurel twin'd ; So just, so small, yet in so sweet a note, And both their native sweets were well conjoin'd. It seem'd the music melted in the throat. On the green bank I sal, and listen'd long
Thus dancing on, and singing as they danc'd. (Sitting was more convenient for the song :) They to the middle of the mead advanc'd,
Till round my arbor a new ring they made,
Like to their lords their equipage was seen, And footed it about the secret shade.
And all their foreheads crown'd with garlands green O'erjoy'd to see the jolly troop so near,
And after these came, arm’d with spear and shield But somewhat aw'd, I shook with holy fear;' An host so great, as cover'd all the field, Yet not so much, but that I noted well
And all their foreheads, like the knights before, Who did the most in song or dance excel.
With laurels ever-green were shaded o'er,
Tenacious of the stem, and firm against the wind.
Or branches for their mystic emblems took,
Thus marching to the trumpet's lofty sound,
Drawn in two lines adverse they wheeld around, On barbed steeds they rode in proud array,
And in the middle meadow took their ground. Thick as the college of the bees in May,
Among themselves the tourney they divide,
And, at the sign, against each other pressid :
The mix'd events, and fortunes of the field.
man, The trumpets issued, in white mantles dress'd, And round the field the lighten'd coursers ran. A numerous troop, and all their heads around An hour and more, like tides, in equal sway With chaplets green of cerrial-oak were crown'd; They rush'd, and won by turns, and lost the day: And at each trumpet was a banner bound,
At length the nine (who still together held) Which, waving in the wind, display'd at large Their fainting foes to shameful flight compellid, Their master's coat of arms, and knightly charge. And with resistless force o'er-ran the field. Broad were the banners, and of snowy hue, Thus, to their fame, when finish'd was the fight, A purer web the silk-worm never drew.
The victors from their losty steeds alight: The chief about their necks the scutcheons wore, Like them dismounted all the warlike train, With orient pearls and jewels powder'd o'er : And two by two proceeded o'er the plain : Broad were their collars too, and every one Till to the fair assembly they advanc'd, Was set about with many a costly stone.
Who near the secret arbor sung and danc'd. Next these of kings-at-arms a goodly train
The ladies left their measures at the sight, In proud array came prancing o'er the plain : To meet the chiefs returning from the fight, Their cloaks were cloth of silver mix'd with gold, And each with open arms embrac'd her chosen And garlands green around their temples rollid;
knight. Rich crowns were on their royal scutcheons plac'd, Amid the plain a spreading laurel stood, With sapphires, diamonds, and with rubies grac'd: The grace and ornament of all the wood : And as the trumpets their appearance made, That pleasing shade they sought, a soft retreat So these in habits were alike array'd;
From sudden April showers, a shelter from the heat: But with a pace more sober, and more slow; Her leafy arms with such extent were spread, And tweniy, rank in rank, they rode a row. So near the clouds was her aspiring head, The pursuivants came next, in number more ; That hosts of birds, that wing the liquid air, And like the heralds each his scutcheon bore : Perch'd in the boughs, had nightly lodging there; Clad in white velvet all their troop they led, And nocks of sheep beneath the shade from far With each an oaken chaplet on his head.
Might hear the ratiling hail, and wintry war, Nine royal knights in equal rank succeed, From Heaven's inclemency here found retreat, Each warrior mounted on a fiery steed:
Enjoy'd the cool, and shunnd the scorching heat : In golden armor glorious to behold ;
A hundred knighis might there at ease abide;
And seem'd to venerate the sacred shade.
These rites perform'd, their pleasures they pursue, Three henchmen were for every knight assign'd, With song of love, and mix with pleasures new; All in rich livery clad, and of a kind :
Around the holy tree their dance they frame, White velvet, but unshorn, for cloaks they wore, And every champion leads his chosen dame. And each within his hand a truncheon bore :
I cast my sight upon the farther field, The foremost held a helm of rare device;
And a fresh object of delight beheld : A prince's ransom would not pay the price. For from the region of the west I heard The second bore the buckler of his knight, New music sound, and a new troop appeard ; The third of cornel-wood a spear upright,
Of knights, and ladies mix’d, a jolly band, Headed with piercing steel, and polish'd bright. But all on foot they march’d, and hand in hand.
The ladies dress'd in rich cymar were seen The laurel champions with their swords invade Of Florence satin, flower'd with white and green, The neighboring foresis, where the jousts were made, And for a shade betwixt the bloomy gridelin. And serewood from the rotten hedges took, The horders of iheir 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 dried 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 gratified the view with cheerful green: They squeez'd the juice, and cooling ointment made, Their chaplets of their ladies' colors were, [hair: Which on their sun-burnt cheeks and their chapt skins Compos'd of white and red, to shade their shining
they laid : Before the merry troop the minstrels play'd ; Then sought green salads, which they bade them eat, All in their masters' liveries were array'd,
A sovereign remedy for inward heai. 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 bad, (hand. This bower was near my pleasant arbor plac'd, And the soft lute trembling beneath the touching That I could hear and sce whatever pass'd: A tuft of daisies on a flowery lay
The ladies sat with each a knight between, They saw, and thitherward they bent their way; Distingu id by their colors, white and green; To this both knights and dames their homage made, The vanquish'd party with the victors join'd, And due obeisance to the daisy paid.
Nor wanted sweet discourse, the banquet of the mind. And then the band of flutes 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 vied: And still at every close she would repeat
The sweet contention lasted for an hour,
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
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 fled) The goldfinch, who, to shun the scalding heat, And clos'd their siekly eyes, and hung the head; Had chang’d the medlar for a saser scat, 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 laureate queen Burnt up before, were buried in the showers. Supplied 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 wintry sky,
The Moon to follow, and avoid the day.
This when I saw, inquisitive to know
As to some being of superior kind,
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 :
So may the stars and shining Moon attend For 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 Each dame a dame receiv'd, and every knight a