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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 seem'd to set the world on fire. At the dread found, pale mortals stood aghast, And startled nature trembled with the blaft.
This having heard and feen, fome pow'runknown Strait chang'd the scene, 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,
Before my view appear'd a structure fair,
Than leaves on trees, or fands
upon the shores; 425 Which still unfolded stand, by night, by day, Pervious to winds, and open ev'ry way.
As flames by nature to the skies afcend,
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,
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 verses, beginning thus,
Geffray, thou wotteft well this, etc. P.
Thus ev'ry voice and found, when first they break,
There various news I heard of love and ftrife,
Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair,
VER. 448. There various news I heard, etc.]
Above, below, without, within, around, Confus'd, unnumber'd multitudes are found, Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away; 460 Hosts rais'd by fear, and phantoms of a day : Aftrologers, that future fates forefhew, 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 some secret place, 466 And wild impatience ftar'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,
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.
Went every tiding fro mouth to mouth,
And that encreafing evermo,
As fire is wont to quicken and go
And all who told it added fomething new, 470 And all who heard it, made enlargements too, In ev'ry ear it spread, on every tongue it grew. Thus flying eaft and weft, and north and fouth, News travell'd with increase from mouth to mouth. So from a fpark, that kindled first by chance, 475 With gath'ring force the quick'ning flames ad
Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
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,
There, at one paffage, oft you might survey, A lie and truth contending for the way;
VER. 489. There, at one passage, etc.]
And fometime I faw there at once,