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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 touched 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 whispered 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 stirred,
Spreads in a second circle, then a third ;
Wide, and more wide, the floating rings ad-
vance,

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

strife,

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.
2 “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 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,
Of trust, of drede, of jealousy,
Of wit, of winning, and of folly,
Of good or bad government,
Of fire, and of divers accident.”—P.
1 “But such a grete congregation
Of folke as I saw 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, Knowst 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 south
Went every tyding fro mouth to mouth,
And that encreasing evermo,
As fire is wont to quicken and go
From a sparkle sprong amiss,
Till all the citee brent up is.”—P.

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.
There, at one passage, oft you might survey
1 “And sometime I saw there at once,

A lesing and a sad sooth saw
That gonnen at adventure draw

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-
And no man be he ever so wrothe,
Shall have one of these two, but bothe,” &c.-P.

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,
And all successful, jealous friends at best.
Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favours call;
She comes unlooked for, if she comes at all.
But if the purchase cost so dear a price, 515
As soothing folly, or exalting vice :
Oh! if the Muse must flatter lawless sway,
And follow still where fortune leads the way;
Or if no basis bear my rising name,
But the fallen ruins of another's fame; 520
Then teach me, Heaven! to scorn the guilty

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 !”

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