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Of these a gloomy tribe furround the throne, And beg to make th' immortal treasons known. The trumpet roars, long flaky flames expire, With sparks, that feem'd to fet the world on fire. At the dread found, pale mortals stood aghaft, And startled nature trembled with the blaft.
This having heard and feen, fome pow'runknown Strait chang'd the fcene, and fnatch'd me from the throne.
VER. 418. This having heard and feen, etc.] The Scene here changes from the temple of Fame to that of Rumour, which is almost entirely Chaucer's. The particulars follow.
Tho faw I ftonde in a valey,
Under the castle fast by
A houfe, that Domus Dedali
That Labyrinthus cleped is,
Nas made fo wonderly, I wis,
Ne half fo queintly y-wrought;
And evermo as fwift as thought,
This queint house about went,
That never more it still stent-
And eke this house hath of entrees
As many as leaves are on trees,
In fummer, when they ben grene;
And in the roof yet men may fene
A thousand hoels and well mo,
To letten the foune out go;
And by day in every tide
Ben all the doors open wide,
And by night each one unfhet;
No porter is there one to let,
No manner tydings in to pace :
Ne never reft is in that place. P.
Before my view appear'd a structure fair,
Its fite uncertain, if in earth or air;
With rapid motion turn'd the mansion round
With ceaseless noise the ringing walls refound;
Not less in number were the spacious doors,
Than leaves on trees, or fands upon the shores; 425
Which still unfolded ftand, by night, by day,
Pervious to winds, and open ev'ry way.
As flames by nature to the skies ascend,
As weighty bodies to the centre tend,
As to the sea returning rivers roll,
And the touch'd needle trembles to the pole;
Hither, as to their proper place, arise
All various founds from earth, and feas, and skies,
Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd in the ear;
Nor ever filence, reft, or peace is here.
As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes
The finking ftone at first a circle makes;
The trembling furface by the motion stirr'd,
Spreads in a fecond circle, then a third;
Wide, and more wide, the floating rings advance,
Fill all the wat❜ry plain, and to the margin dance:
VER. 428. As flames by nature to the, etc.] This thought is tranferr'd hither out of the third book of Fame, where it takes up no less than one hundred and twenty verfes, beginning thus,
Geffray, thou wotteft well this, etc. P.
Thus ev'ry voice and found, when first they break,
On neighb'ring air a foft impreffion make;
Another ambient circle then they move;
That, in its turn, impels the next above; 445
Thro' undulating air the founds are fent,
And spread o'er all the fluid element.
There various news I heard of love and ftrife,
Of peace and war, health, sickness, death, and life,
Of lofs 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 fav'rites, projects of the great, 455
Of old mifmanagements, taxations new:
All neither wholly falfe, nor wholly true.
VER. 448. There various news I heard, etc.]
Of werres, of peace, of marriages,
Of reft, of labour, of voyages,
Of abode, of dethe, and of life,
Of love and hate, accord and ftrife,
Of lofs, of lore, and of winnings,
Of hele, of fickness, and leffings,
Of divers tranfmutations
Of eftates 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.
Above, below, without, within, around, Confus'd, unnumber'd multitudes are found, Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away; 460 Hofts rais'd by fear, and phantoms of a day Aftrologers, that future fates foreshew, Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few; And priests, and party-zealots, num'rous bands With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands; Each talk'd aloud, or in fome fecret place, 466 And wild impatience star'd in ev'ry face. They flying rumours gather'd as they roll'd, Scarce any tale was fooner heard than told;
VER. 458. Above, below, without, within, etc.]
But fuch a grete congregation
Of folke as I faw roam about,
Some within, and fome without,
Was never seen, ne fhall be eft-
And every wight that I faw there
Rowned everich in others ear
A new tyding privily,
Or elfe he told it openly
Right thus, and faid, Knowft not thou
That is betide to night now?
No, quoth he, tell me what?
And then he told him this and that, etc.
-Thus north and fouth
Went every tiding fro mouth to mouth,
And that encreasing evermo,
As fire is wont to quicken and go
From a sparkle fprong amifs,
Till all the citee brent up is.
And all who told it added something new, 470 And all who heard it, made enlargements too, In ev'ry ear it spread, on every tongue it grew. Thus flying east and weft, and north and fouth, News travell'd with increase from mouth to mouth. So from a spark, that kindled first by chance, 475 With gath'ring force the quick'ning flames ad
Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
And tow'rs and temples fink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung,
Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue, 480
Thro' thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow,
And rush in millions on the world below.
Fame fits aloft, and points them out their course,
Their date determines, and prescribes their force :
Some to remain, and fome to perish soon; 485
Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.
Around, a thousand winged wonders fly,
Born by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd thro'
There, at one paffage, oft you might survey, A lie and truth contending for the way; 490
VER. 489. There, at one paffage, etc.]
And fometime I faw there at once,