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The wise distrust the too fair spoken man.
Yet through the gate they cast a wishful eye: .
Not to move on, perdie, is all they can;
For do their very best they cannot fly,
But often each way look, and often sorely sigh.
When this the watchful wicked wizard saw,
With sudden spring he leap'd upon them straight;
And soon as touchd by his unhallow'd paw,
They found themselves within the cursed gate;
Full hard to be repass’d, like that of fate.
Not stronger were of old the giant crew,
Who sought to pull high Jove from regal state;
Though feeble wretch he seem'd of sallow hue: Certes, who bides his grasp, will that encounter rue.
For whomsoe'er the villain takes in hand,
Their joints unknit, their sinews melt apace;
As lithe they grow as any willow.wand,
And of their vanish'd force remains to trace:
So when a maiden fair, of modest grace,
In all her buxom blooming May of charms, .
Is seized in some losel's hot embrace,
She waxeth very weakly as she warms,
Then sighing yields her up to love's delicious harms.
Wak'd by the crowd, slow from his bench arose
A comely full-spread porter, swoln with sleep: :,
His calm, broad, thoughtless aspect breath'd repose,
And in sweet torpor he was plunged deep,
Ne could himself from ceaseless yawning keep;
While o'er his eyes the drowsy liquor ran,
Through which his half-wak'd soul would faintly peep
Then taking his black staff he call’d his man,
And rous'd himself as much as rouse himself he can.
The lad leap'd lightly at his master's call.
He was, to weet, a little roguish page,
Save sleep and play who minded nought at all,
Like most the untaught striplings of his age.
This boy he kept each band to disengage,
Garters and buckles, task for him unfit,
But ill-becoming his grave personage, .
And which his portly paunch would not permi",
So this same limber page to all performed it.
Meantime the master-porter wide display'd
Great store of caps, of slippers, and of gowns;
Wherewith he those that enter'd in, array'd
Loose, as the breeze that plays along the downs,
And waves the suminer-woods when evening frowns.
O fair undress, best dress! it checks no vein,
But every flowing limb in pleasure drowns,
And heightens ease with grace. This done, right fain, Sir porter sat him down, and turn’d to sleep again.
Thus easy rob'd, they to the fountain sped,
That in the middle of the court up-threw
A stream, high sponting from its liquid bed,
And falling back again in drizzly dew;
There each deep draughts, as deep he thirsted, drew.
It was a fountain of Nepenthe rare:
Whence, as Dan Homer sings, huge pleasaunce grew,
And sweet oblivion of vile earthly care;
Fair gladsome waking thoughts, and joyous dreams more
fair. This rite performid, all inly pleas'd and still, Withouten tromp, was proclamation made. “ Ye sons of Indolence, do what you will; “ And wander where you list, through hall or glade ! “ Be no man's pleasure for another staid ; « Let each as likes him best his hours employ, “ And curs'd be he who minds his neighbour's trade!
“ Here dwells kind ease and unreproving joy : “ He little merits bliss who others can annoy.'
Straight of these endless nunsbers, swarming round,
As thick as idle motes in sunny ray,
Not one eftsoons in view was to be found,
But every man strollid off his own glad way,
Wide o'er this ample court's blank area,
With all the lodges that thereto pertain'd,
No living creature could be seen to stray ;
While solitude and perfect silence reign'd:
So that to think you dreamt you almost was constrain
As when a shepherd of the Hebrid-isles,
Plac'd far amid the melancholy main,
(Whether it be lone fancy him beguiles;
Or that aërial beings sometimes deign
To stand embodied, to our senses plain)
Sees on the naked hill, or valley low,
The whilst in ocean Phæbus dips his wain,
A vast assembly moving to and fro;
Then all at once in air dissolves the wondrous show,
Ye gods of quiet, and of sleep profound !
Whose soft dominion o'er this castle sways,
And all the widely silent places round,.
Forgive me, if my trembling pen displays
What never yet was sung in mortal lays.
But how shall I attempt such arduous string,
I who have spent my nights and nightly days,
In this soul-deadening place, loose-loitering?
Ah! how shall I for this uprear my molted wing?
Come on, my muse, nor stoop to low despair,
Thou imp of Jove, touch'd by celestial fire!
Thou yet shalt sing of war, and actions fair,
Which the bold sons of Britain will inspire;
Of ancient bards thou yet shall sweep the lyre;
Thou yet shall tread in tragic pall the stage,
Paint love's enchanting woes, the hero's ire,
The sages calm, the patriot's noble rage,
Dashing corruption down through every worthless age.
The doors, that knew no shrill alarming bell,
Ne cursed knocker ply'd by villain's hand,
Self-open'd into halls, where, who can tell
What elegance and grandeur wide expand
The pride of Turkey and of Persia land ?
Soft quilts on quilts, on carpets carpets spread,
And couches stretch'd around in seemly band;
And endless pillows rise to prop the head;
So that each spacious room was one full-swelling-bed.
And every where huge cover'd tables stood,
With wines high-flavour'd and rich viands crown'd;
Whatever sprightly juice or tasteful food
Ou the green bosom of this earth are found,
And all old ocean genders in his round:
Some hand upseen these silently display'd,
Ev'n undemanded by a sign or sound;
You need but wish, and, instantly obey'd,
Fair rang'd the dishes rose, and thick the glasses play'd.
Here freedom reign'd, without the least alloy;
Nor gossip's tale, nor ancient maiden's gall,
Nor saintly spleen durst murmur at our joy,
And with envenom'd tongue our pleasures pall,
For why? there was but one great rule for all ;
To wit, that each shou'd work his own desire,
And eat, drink, study, sleep, as it may fall,
Or melt the time in love, or wake the lyre,
And carol what, unbid, the muses might inspire.
The rooms with costly tapestry were hung,
Where was inwoven many a gentle tale ;
Such as of old the rural poets sung,
Or of Arcadian or Sicilian vale:
Reclining lovers, in the lonely dale,
Pour'd forth at large the sweetly tortur'd heart;
Or, sighing tender passion, swellid the gale,
And taught charm'd echo to resound their sinart; While flocks, woods, streams, around, repose, and peace
impart. Those pleas'd the most, where, by a cunning hand, Depainted was the patriarchial age; What time Dan Abraham left the Chaldee land, And pastur'd on from verdant stage to stage, Where fields and fountains fresh could best engage. Toil was not then. Of nothing took they heed, But with wild beasts the sylvan war to wage,
And o'er vast plains their herds and flocks to feed : Blest sons of Nature they! true golden age indeed !
Sometimes the pencil, in cool airy halls,
Bade the gay bloom of vernal landscapes rise,
Or autumn's varied shades imbrown the walls :
Now the black tempest strikes th' astonish'd eyes,
Now down the steep the flashing torrent flies;
The trembling sun now plays o'er ocean blue,
And now rude mountains frown amid the skies;
Whate'er Lorraine light-touch'd with softening hue, Or savage Rosa dash'd, or learned Poussin drew.
Each sound too here, to languishment inclin'd,
Lulld the weak bosom, and induced ease,
Aerial music in the warbling wind,
At distance rising oft by small degrees,
Nearer and nearer came, till o'er the trees
It hung, and breath'd such soul-dissolving airs,
As did, alas! with soft perdition please :
Entangled deep in its enchanting snares,
The listening heart forgot all duties and all cares.
A certain music, never known before,
Here luild the pensive melancholy mind;
Full easily obtain'd. Behoves no more,
But sidelong, to the gently-waving wind,
To lay the well-tun'd instrument reclin'd;
From which, with airy flying fingers light,
Beyond each mortal touch the most refin'd,
The god of winds drew sounds of deep delight : Whence, with just cause, the harp of Æolus it hight.
Ah me! what hand can touch the string so fine ?
Who up the lofty diapasan roll
Such sweet, such sad, such solemn airs divine,
Then let them down again into the soul ?
Now rising love they fann'd; now pleasing dole
They breath’d, in tender musings, through the heart;
And now a graver sacred strain they stole,
As when seraphic hands an hymn impart :
Wild-warbling nature all, above the reach of art!
Such the gay splendor, the luxurious state,
Of Caliphs old, who on the Tygris' shore,
In mighty Bagdat, populous and great,
Held their bright court, where was of ladies store;
And verse, love, music, still the garland wore:
When sleep was coy, the bard in waiting there,
Chear'd the lone midnight with the muse's lore:
Composing music bade his dreams be fair,
And music lent new gladness to the morning air,
Near the pavilions where we slept, still ran
Soft-tinkling streams, and dashing waters fell,
And sobbing breezes sigh’d, and oft began
(So work'd the wizard) wintry storms to swell,
As heaven and earth they would together mell :
At doors and windows, threatening seem'd to call
The demons of the tempest, growling fell,
Yet the least entrance found they none at all ; Whence sweeter grew our sleep, secure in massy hall.