« السابقةمتابعة »
As flames by nature to the skies ascend,'
440 Fill all the watery plain, and to the margin
dance : Thus every voice and sound, when first they
break, On neighbouring 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
1 This thought is transferred hither out of the second book of Fame, where it takes up no less than one hundred and twenty verses, beginning thus :
“Geffray, thou wottest well this,” &c.—P.
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 favourites, projects of the great, 455 Of old mismanagements, taxations new : All neither wholly false, nor wholly true.
Above, below, without, within, around, Confused, unnumbered multitudes are found, Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away ; 460 Hosts raised by fear, and phantoms of a day : Astrologers, that future fates foreshew, Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few
Of estates and eke of regions,
“And every wight that I saw there
- Thus north and south
And priests, and party-zealots, numerous bands With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands;
465 Each talked aloud, or in some secret place, And wild impatience stared in every face. The flying rumours gathered as they rolled, 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 every ear it spread, on every tongue it
grew. Thus flying east and west, and north and south, News travelled with increase from mouth to
mouth. So from a spark, that kindled first by chance, 475 With gathering force the quickening flames
advance ; Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire, And towers 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 Through 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 scattered
through the sky.
A lesing and a sad sooth saw
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 lie; The strict companions are for ever joined, 495 And this or that unmixed, no mortal e'er shall
find. While thus I stood, intent to see and hear, One came, methought, and whispered 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,
501 For who so fond as youthful bards of fame ? But few, alas ! the casual blessing boast, So hard to gain, so easy to be lost. How vain that second life in others' breath, 505 The estate which wits inherit after death! Ease, health, and life, for this they must resign, Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine! The great man's curse, without the gains, en
dure, Be envied, wretched, and be flattered, poor; 510
Out of a window forth to pace-
i The hint is taken from a passage in another part of the third book, but here more naturally made the conclusion, with the addition of a moral to the whole. In Chaucer he only answers, “he came to see the place ;” and the book ends abruptly, with his being surprised at the sight of a man of great authority, and awaking in a fright.-P.
All luckless wits their enemies professed,
bays, Drive from my breast that wretched lust of
praise ; Unblemished let me live, or die unknown; Oh! grant an honest fame, or grant me none !”