« ZurückWeiter »
But passing this, as from our tale apart, How dar'st thou tell thy dame thou art affear'd? Dame Partlet was the sovereign of his heart : Hast thou no manly heart, and hast a beard ? Ardent in love, outrageous in his play,
“If aught from fearful dreams may be divin'd, He feather'd her a hundred times a day :
They signify a cock of dunghill kind. And she, that was not only passing fair,
All dreams, as in old Galen I have read, But was withal discreet, and debonnaire,
Are from repletion and complexion bred; Resolv'd the passive doctrine to fulfil,
From rising fumes of indigested food, Though loth ; and let him work his wicked will : And noxious humors that infect the blood : At board and bed was affable and kind,
And sure, my lord, if I can read aright,
Are certain symptoms in the canting style)
Engenders all these visionary thoughts.
Red dragons, and red beasts, in sleep we view,
And wasps and hornets with their double wings. But, Oh! whai joy it was to hear him sing Choler adust congeals our blood with fear, In summer, when the day began to spring,
Then black bulls toss us, and black devils tear. Stretching his neck, and warbling in his throat, In sanguine airy dreams aloft we bound, · Solus cum sola," then was all his note.
With rheums oppress'd we sink, in rivers drown'd. For in the days of yore, the birds of parts
“ More I could say, but thus conclude my theme, Were bred to speak, and sing, and learn the liberal The dominating humor makes the dream.
Cato was in his time accounted wise,
And purge the peccant humors that abound.
I should be loth to lay you on a bier; Heard all his piteous moan, and how he cried And though there lives no 'pothecary near, For help from gods and men: and sore aghast I dare for once prescribe for your disease, She peck'd and pull’d, and waken'd him at last. And save long bills, and a damn'd doctor's fees. “ Dear heart," said she, “ for love of Heaven, declare “ Two sovereign herbs, which I by practice Your pain, and make me partner of your care.
know, You groan, sir, ever since the morning-light, And both at hand (for in our yard they grow ;) As something had disturb'd your noble spright." On peril of my soul shall rid you wholly
“ And, madam, well I might,” said Chanticleer, Of yellow choler, and of melancholy: “ Never was shrovetide cock in such a fear; You must both purge and vomit; but obey, Ev'n still I run all over in a sweat,
And for the love of Heaven make no delay. My princely senses not recover'd yet.
Since hot and dry in your complexion join, For such a dream I had of dire portent,
Beware the Sun when in a vernal sign;
For when he mounts exalted in the Ram,
Replete with choler, I dare lay a groat,
A day or two before your laxative,
Your father's son was never born to fear." “Now fy for shame," quoth she,“ by Heaven above, “ Madam," quoth he, “gramercy for your care, Thou hast for ever lost thy lady's love;
But Cato, whom you quoted, you may spare : No woman can endure a recreant knight,
'Tis true, a wise and worthy man he seems, He must be bold by day, and free by night: And (as you say) gave no belief to dreams · Our sex desires a husband or a friend,
But other men of more authority, Who can our honor and his own defend;
And, by th' immortal powers, as wise as he, Wise, hardy, secret, liberal of his purse :
Maintain, with sounder sense, that dreams forebode; A fool is nauseous, but a coward worse :
For Homer plainly says they come from God.
“ Believe me, madam, morning dreams foreshow Ye magistrates, who sacred laws dispense, Th' event of things, and future weal or woe: On you I call, to punish this offence.' Some truths are not by reason to be tried,
" The word thus given, within a little space, But we have sure experience for our guide. The mob came roaring out, and throng'd the place. An ancient author, equal with the best,
All in a trice they cast the cart to ground, Relates this tale of dreams among the rest. And in the dung the murder'd body found;
“ Two friends or brothers, with devout intent, Though breathless, warm, and reeking from the On some far pilgrimage together went.
wound. It happen'd so, that, when the Sun was down, Good Heaven, whose darling attribute we find They just arriv'd by twilight at a town:
mercy to mankind, That day had been the baiting of a bull,
Abhors the cruel; and the deeds of night 'Twas at a seast, and every inn so full,
By wondrous ways reveals in open light: That no void room in chamber, or on ground, Murder may pass unpunish'd for a time, And but one sorry bed, was to be found :
But tardy Justice will o'ertake the crime. And that so little it would hold but one,
And oft a speedier pain the guilty feels : Though till this hour they never lay alone. The hue and cry of Heaven pursues him at the heels:
“So were they forc'd to part; one stay'd behind, Fresh from the fact, as in the present case, His fellow sought what lodging he could find : The criminals are seiz'd upon the place : At last he found a stall where oxen stood,
Carter and host confronted face to face. And that he rather chose than lie abroad.
Stiff in denial, as the law appoints, "Twas in a farther yard without a door;
On engines they distend their tortur'd joints : But, for his ease, well litter'd was the floor.
So was confession forc'd, th' offence was known, His fellow, who the narrow bed had kept, And public justice on th' offenders done. Was weary, and without a rocker slept :
“ Here may you see that visions are to dread; Supine he snor'd; but in the dead of night, And in the page that follows this, I read He dreamt his friend appear'd before his sight, Of two young merchants, whom the hope of gain Who, with a ghastly look and doleful cry,
Induc'd in partnership to cross the main. Said, “Help me, brother, or this night I die : Waiting till willing winds their sails supplied, Arise, and help, before all help be vain,
Within a trading town ihey long abide, Or in an ox's stall I shall be slain.'
Full fairly situate on a haven's side ; “ Rous'd from his rest, he waken'd in a start, One evening it befell, that looking out, Shivering with horror, and with aching heart. The wind they long had wish'd was come about: At length to cure himself by reason tries;
Well pleas'd they went to rest ; and if the gale "Tis but a dream, and what are dreams but lies? Till morn continued, both resolvid to sail. So thinking, chang'd his side, and clos’d his eyes. But as together in a bed they lay, His dream returns; his friend appears again: The younger had a dream at break of day. • The murderers come, now help, or I am slain :' A man he thought stood frowning at his side; "Twas but a vision still, and visions are but vain. Who warn'd hin for his safety to provide, He dreamt the third: but now his friend appear'd, Nor put to sea, but safe on shore abide. Pale, naked, pierc'd with wounds, with blood be-'I come, thy genius, to command thy stay; smear'd:
Trust not the winds, for fatal is the day, Thrice warn'd, “Awake,' said he; • relief is late, And Death unhop'd attends the watery way.' The deed is done ; but thou revenge my fate : “The vision said : and vanish'd from his sight: Tardy of aid, unseal thy heavy eyes,
The dreamer waken'd in a mortal fright : Awake, and with the dawning day arise :
Then pull'd his drowsy neighbor, and declar'd Take to the western gate thy ready way,
What in his slumber he had seen and heard. For by that passage they my corpse convey:
His friend smil'd scornful, and with proud contempt My corpse is in a tumbril laid, among
Rejects as idle what his fellow dreamnt. The filth and ordure, and inclos'd with dung: · Stay, who will stay: for me no fears restrain, That cart arrest, and raise a common cry ;
Who follow Mercury the god of gain; For sacred hunger of my gold, I die.'
Let each man do as to his fancy seems, Then show'd his grisly wound; and last he drew I wait not, I, till you have better dreams. A piteous sigh, and took a long adieu.
Dreams are but interludes which Fancy makes; “The frighted friend arose by break of day, When monarch Reason sleeps, this mimic wakes And found the stall where late his fellow lay. Compounds a medley of disjointed things, Then of his impious host inquiring more,
A mob of cobblers, and a court of kings : Was answer'd that his guest was gone before : Light fumes are merry, grosser fumes are sad : • Muttering, he went,' said he, é by morning light, Both are the reasonable soul run mad: And much complain'd of his ill rest by night.' And many monstrous forms in sleep we see, This rais'd suspicion in the pilgrim's mind ; That neither were, nor are, nor e'er can be. Because all hosts are of an evil kind,
Sometimes forgotten things long cast behind And oft to share the spoils with robbers join'd. Rush forward in the brain, and come to mind. " His dream confirin'd his thought : with troubled The nurse's legends are for truths receivid, look
And the man dreams but what the boy believ'd. Straight to the western gate his way he took ; Sometimes we but rehearse a former play, There, as his dream foretold, a cart he found, The night restores our actions done by day ; That carried compost forth to dung the ground. As hounds in sleep will open for their prey. This when the pilgrim saw, he stretch'd his throat, In short, the farce of dreams is of a piece, And cried out murder with a yelling note.
Chimeras all ; and more absurd, or less : • My murder'd fellow in this cart lies dead, You. who believe in tales, abide alone; Vengeance and justice on the villain's head. Whate'er I get this voyage is my own.'
“ Thus while he spoke, he heard the shouting crew While thou art constant to thy own true knight, That call'd aboard, and took his last adieu. While thou art mine, and I am thy delight, The vessel went before a merry gale,
All sorrows at thy presence take their flight. And for quick passage put on every sail :
For true it is, as in principio, But when least fear'd, and ev’n in open day, Mulier est hominis confusio. The mischief overtook her in the way :
Madam, the meaning of this Latin is, Whether she sprung a leak, I cannot find, That woman is to man his sovereign bliss. Or whether she was overset with wind,
For when by night I feel your tender side,
Though for the narrow perch I cannot ride,
“ By this example you are taught again, He said, and downward flew from off the beam.
Then crowing clapp'd his wings, th' appointed call, “ Kenelm the son of Kenulph, Mercia's king, To chuck his wives together in the hall. Whose holy life the legends loudly sing,
By this the widow had unbarr'd the door, Warn'd in a dream, his murder did foretell And Chanticleer went strutting out before, From point to point as after it befell;
With royal courage, and with heart so light, All circumstances to his nurse he told
As show'd he scorn'd the visions of the night. (A wonder from a child of seven years old :) Now roaming in the yard he spurn'd the ground, The dream with horror heard, the good old wife And gave to Partlet the first grain he found. From treason counsel'd him to guard his life ; Then often feather'd her with wanton play, But close to keep the secret in his mind,
And trod her twenty times ere prime of day: For a boy's vision small belief would find. And took by turns and gave so much delight, The pious child, by promise bound, obey'd, Her sisters pin'd with envy at the sight. Nor was the fatal murder long delay'd :
He chuck'd again, when other corns he found, By Quenda slain, he fell before his time,
And scarcely deign'd to set a foot to ground;
And his seven wives came running at his call. Which at your better leisure you may read.
"Twas now the month in which the world began “ Macrobius too relates the vision sent
(If March beheld the first created man:)
“Of Daniel you may read in holy writ, Both month, and day, and hour, he measur'd right,
Thus numbering times and seasons in his breast, Who by a dream enslav'd th' Egyptian land, His second crowing the third hour confess'd. The years of plenty and of dearth foretold, Then turning, said to Partlet, “See, my dear, When, for their bread, their liberty they sold. How lavish Nature has adorn'd the year; Nor must th' exalted butler be forgot,
How the pale primrose and blue violet spring, Nor he whose dream presag'd his hanging lot. And birds essay their throats, disus'd to sing :
" And did not Cræsus the same death foresee, All these are ours; and I with pleasure see Rais'd in his vision on a lofty tree?
Man strutting on two legs, and aping me:
An unfledg'd creature, of a lumpish frame,
“ Much more I know, which I forbear to speak, Than, since I was an egg, I ever found.” For see, the ruddy day begins to break;
The time shall come when Chanticleer shall wish Let this suffice, that plainly I foresee
His words unsaid, and hate his boasted bliss : My dream was bad, and bodes adversity: The crested bird shall by experience know, But neither pills nor laxatives I like,
Jove made not him his masterpiece below; They only serve to make the well-man sick: And learn the latter end of joy is woe. Of these his gain the sharp physician makes, The vessel of his bliss to dregs is run, And often gives a purge, but seldom takes : And Heaven will have him taste his other tun. They not correct , but poison all the blood,
Ye wise, draw near, and hearken to my tale, And ne'er did any but the doctors good : Which proves that oft the proud by flattery fall: Their tribe, trade, trinkets, I defy them all, The legend is as true, I undertake, With every work of 'pothecary's hall.
As Tristran is, and Launcelot of the lake : These melancholy matters I forbear:
Which all our ladies in such reverence hold, But let me tell thee, Partlet mine, and swear, As if in book of martyrs it were told. That when I view the beauties of thy face, A fox, full-fraught with seeming sanctity, I fear not death, nor dangers, nor disgrace : That fear'd an oath, but, like the Devil, would lie; So may my soul have bliss, as, when I spy Who look'd like Lent, and had the holy leer, The scarlet red about thy partridge eye,
And durst not sin before he said his prayer;
This pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood, For women, with a mischief to their kind,
Where at heart's case he lived ; and might have And in his high imagination cast,
been By stratagem to gratify his taste.
As free from sorrow as he was from sin.
Silence in times of suffering is the best,
Legends of lying wits together bound,
These are the words of Chanticleer, not mine, More false than Gano was to Charlemain! I honor dames, and think their sex divine. O Chanticleer, in an unhappy hour
Now to continue what my tale begun; Didst thou forsake the safety of thy bower: Lay madam Partlet basking in the Sun, Better for thee thou hadst believ'd thy dream, Breast-high in sand: her sisters, in a row, And not that day descended from the beam! Enjoy'd the beams above, the warmth below. But here the doctors eagerly dispute :
The cock, that of his flesh was ever free,
Sung merrier than the mermaid in the sea :
Among the coleworts, on a butterfly,
I need not swear he had no list to crow:
As sore dismay'd and frighted at his heart; As bad for us as prescience had not been,
For birds and beasts, inform’d by Nature, know For first, or last, he's author of the sin.
Kinds opposite to theirs, and fly their foe.
Yet shunn'd him as a sailor shuns the rocks.
But the false loon, who could not work his will To punish man, who sins because he must? By open force, employ'd his flattering skill; Or, how can he reward a virtuous deed,
“I hope, my lord,” said he, “I not offend; Which is not done by us; but first decreed? Are you afraid of me, that am your friend? - I cannot bolt this matter to the bran,
I were a beast indeed to do you wrong, As Bradwardin and holy Austin can;
I, who have lov'd and honor'd you so long:
Stay, gentle sir, nor take a false alarm,
To learn the secrets of your soft recess.
Far be from Reynard so profane a thought, Another sort there is conditional.
But by the sweetness of your voice was brought : The first so binds the will, that things foreknown For, as I bid my beads, by chance I heard By spontaneity, not choice, are done.
The song as of an angel in the yard ; Thus galley-slaves tug willing at their oar, A song that would have charm’d th' infernal gods, Content to work, in prospect of the shore ; And banish'd horror from the dark abodes; But would not work at all, if not constrain'd before. Had Orpheus sung it in the nether sphere, That other does not liberty constrain,
So much the hymn had pleas'd the tyrant's ear, But man may either act, or may refrain.
The wife had been detain'd, to keep the husband Heaven made us agents free to good or ill,
there. And forc'd it not, though he foresaw the will. “My lord, your sire familiarly I knew, Freedom was first bestow'd on human race, A peer deserving such a son as you : And prescience only held the second place. He, with your lady-mother (whom Heaven rest)
If he could make such agents wholly free, Has often grac'd my house, and been my guest : I not dispute, the point's too high for me; (sound, To view his living features, does me good; For Heaven's unfathom'd power what man can For I am your poor neighbor in the wood; Or put to his Omnipotence a bound?
And in my cottage should be proud to see He made us to his image, all agree ;
The worthy heir of my friend's family. That image is the soul, and that must be,
“ But since I speak of singing, let me say, Or not the Maker's image, or be free.
As with an upright heart I safely may, But whether it were better man had been That, save yourself, there breathes not on the By nature bound to good, not free to sin,
ground I waive, for fear of splitting on a rock.
One like your father for a silver sound. The tale I tell is only of a cock,
So sweetly would he wake the winter-day, Who had not run the hazard of his life,
That matrons to the church mistook their way, Had he believ'd his dream, and not his wife : And thought they heard the merry organ play
And he, to raise his voice with artful care,
Who, true to love, was all for recreation, (What will not beaux attempt to please the fair ?) And minded not the work of propagation. On tiptoe stood to sing with greater strength, Gaufride, who couldst so well in rhyme complain And stretch'd his comely neck at all the length: The death of Richard with an arrow slain, And while he strain'd his voice to pierce the skies, Why had not I thy Muse, or thou my heart, As saints in raptures use, would shut his eyes, To sing this heavy dirge with equal art! That the sound striving through the narrow throat, That I like thee on Friday might complain ; His winking might avail to mend the note. For on that day was Caur de Lion slain. By this, in song, he never had his peer,
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 toss'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 squeak,
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 wink'd with both his With shrieks augment the terror of the day ; eyes,
The ducks, that heard the proclamation cried, Ambitious, as he sought th' Olympic prize.
And fear'd a persecution might betide, But, while he pain’d 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
A Frenchman, or an unbelieving Jew;
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 or all the world who serv'd thee best ? And Fear supplied him with this happy thought.