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The loudest sound is hardly heard within :
It bars all passage to the inner room;
No sounding voice unto his seat may come :
In which three hearing instruments reside;
Their native temper being hard and dry,
Fitting the sound with their firm quality,
Lie on the drum ; but with his swelling end
The stirrup's sharp side by the stithe embrac'd ;
XLIV. Two I little windows ever open lie,
The sound unto the cave's third part conveying ;
* The drum parteth the first and second passage. To it are joined three little bones, the instruments of hearing; which never grow, or decrease, in child hood or age : they are all in the second passage.
+ The hammer, stithe (or anvil), and stirrup, all take their names from their likeness; and are all tied to the drum by a small string.
These are two small passages, admitting the sounds into the head, and cleansing the air.
And slender pipe, whose narrow cavity,
Would else corrupt, and still supplies the spending :
The cave's third part in twenty by-ways bending,
Which crafty Dædal with a cunning hand
Fair Rosamond, fled jealous Ellenore;
Whom late a shepherd taught to weep so sore,
Perfects the sound, and gives more sharp accenting;
There the 'gust judge attending day and night, Receives the ent’ring sounds, and dooms each voice aright.
Prints in the angry stream a wrinkle round,
All so the air, struck with some violence night,
Begets a world of circles in the sky;
* The last passage is called the Cochlea, snail, or periwinkle, where the nerves of hearing plainly appear.
Enter the gate, and strike the warning drum :
Sharpens each sound, and quick conveys it thence;
Till by the flying post 'tis hurry'd hence,
Prefers petitions to the prince's ear :
Oftimes he lets in anger-stirring lies,
Oft melts the prince with oily flatteries. Ill mought he thrive, that loves his master's enemies !
Plac'd in the suburbs' centre ; whose high top,
Admitting passage to the air's ascending;
And divers odours to the city sending, Revives the heavy town, his lib'ral sweets dispending.
This vaulted tow'r's half built of massy stone,
The other half of stuff less hard and dry,
Olfactus * dwells within this lofty fort;
But in the city is his chief resort, Where 'twixt two little hills he keeps his judging coart.
:* The sense of smelling.
Most like the nipples of a virgin's breast;
The odours pressing in, are here all stay'd ;
Till by the sense impartially weigh’d,
More fair than that in which rich Thessaly
Here in two colours beauty shining bright,
Dressing her white with red, her red with white, With pleasing chain enthrals, and binds loose wand'ring'sight.
And under strew'd with purple tapestry,
Whom $ Tactus (some affirm) got of his mother :
For by their nearest likeness one to th' other,
(Whose office meanest, yet of all the race
Hath his abode in none, yet every place : * These are those two little paps or teats spoken of in the xvth stanza of this canto.
+ The cheeks.
Tactus, the sense of feeling.
Through all the Isle distended is his dwelling;
He rules the streams that from the Cephal swelling, Run all along the Isle, both sense and motion dealing.
Endow'd with strange and adverse qualities :
Or best, or worst; no mean : made all of fire,
Which sometimes Hell, and sometimes Heav'n inspire, By whom truth's self oft speaks, oft that first murd'ring liar.
Breathing his fiery steeds in Gibeon :
Her voice oft open breaks the stubborn skies,
And holds th' Almighty's hands with suppliant cries: Her voice tears open Hell with horrid blasphemies.
. . LVIII. Therefore that great Creator, well foreseeing
To what a monster she would soon be changing, (Though lovely once, perfect and glorious being) . Curb’d her with iron † bit, and held from ranging;
And with strong bonds her looser steps enchaining,
Bridling her course, too many words refraining,
Whose harden'd temper could not soon be mov'd:
| It is guarded by the teeth and lips, both which help and sweeten the voice.