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By juft degrees they ev'ry moment rife,
Fill the wide earth, and gain upon the skies.
At ev'ry breath were balmy odours shed,
Which still grew sweeter as they wider spread; 315
Lefs fragrant scents th' unfolding rose exhales,
Or fpices breathing in Arabian gales.
Next these the good and juft, an awful train, Thus on their knees address the facred fane. Since living virtue is with envy curs'd, And the best men are treated like the worst, Do thou, just Goddess, call our merits forth, And give each deed th' exact intrinfic worth.
VER. 318. the good and just, etc.]
Tho came the third companye,
And gan up to the dees to hye,
And down on knees they fell anone,
And faiden: We been everichone
Folke that han full truely
Deserved Fame right-fully,
And prayen you it might be knowe
Right as it is, and forth blowe.
I grant, quoth she, for now we lift
That your good works shall be wist.
And yet ye shall have better loos,
Right in defpite of all your foos,
Than worthy is, and that anone.
Let now (quoth fhe) thy trump gone-
And certes all the breath that went
Out of his trump's mouth smel'd
As men a pot of baume held
Among a basket full of rofes- P.
Not with bare juftice fhall your act be crown'd
(Said Fame) but high above defert renown'd: 325
Let fuller notes th' applauding world amaze,
And the loud clarion labour in your praise.
This band difmifs'd, behold another croud Prefer'd the fame request, and lowly bow'd; The constant tenour of whofe well-spent days No less deferv'd a juft return of praise. But ftrait the direful Trump of flander founds; Thro' the big dome the doubling thunder bounds; Loud as the burft of cannon rends the skies, The dire report thro' ev'ry region flies, In ev'ry ear inceffant rumours rung, And gath'ring scandals grew on ev'ry tongue, From the black trumpet's rufty concave broke Sulphurious flames, and clouds of rolling smoke:
VER. 328, 338. beheld another craud, etc.-From the black trumpet's rusty, etc.
Therewithal there came anone
Another huge companye,
Of good folke-
What did this Eolus, but he
Tooke out his trump of brass,
That fouler than the devil was:
And gan this trump for to blowe,
As all the world fhould overthrowe.
Throughout every regione
Went this foul trumpet's foune.
The pois'nous vapour blots the purple skies, 340 And withers all before it as it flies.
A troop came next, who crowns and armour
And proud defiance in their looks they bore: For thee (they cry'd) amidst alarms and ftrife, We fail'd in tempefts down the stream of life; 345 For thee whole nations fill'd with flames and blood,
And fwam to empire thro' the purple flood.
Those ills we dar'd, thy inspiration own,
What virtue feem'd, was done for thee alone.
Ambitious fools! (the Queen reply'd, and frown'd)
Be all your acts in dark oblivion drown'd; 351
There fleep forgot, with mighty tyrants gone,
Your statues moulder'd, and your names unknown!
A sudden cloud straight fnatch'd them from my
And each majestic phantom funk in night. 355 Then came the smallest tribe I yet had feen ; Plain was their drefs, and modeft was their mien.
Swift as a pellet out of a gunne,
When fire is in the powder runne.
And fuch a fmoke gan, out wende,
Out of the foul trumpet's ende-etc. P,
VER. 356. Then came the fmalleft, etc.]
I faw anone the fifth route.
That to this lady gan loute,
Great idol of mankind! we neither claim
The praise of merit, nor aspire to fame !
But fafe in deserts from th' applause of men, 360
Would die unheard of, as we liv'd unseen,
'Tis all we beg thee, to conceal from fight
Thofe acts of goodness, which themselves requite.
O let us still the fecret joy partake,
To follow virtue ev'n for virtue's fake.
And live there men, who flight immortal fame? Who then with incenfe fhall adore our name? But mortals! know, 'tis ftill our greatest pride To blaze those virtues, which the good would hide.
And down on knees anone to fall,
And to her they befoughten all,
To hiden their good works eke.
And faid, they yeve not a leke
For no fame ne fuch renowne;
For they for contemplacyoune,
And Goddes love had it wrought,
Ne of fame would they ought.
What, quoth fhe, and be ye wood?
And ween ye for to do good,
And for to have it of no fame ?
Have ye despite to have my name?
Nay ye fhall lien everichone:
Blowe thy trump, and that anone
(Quoth fhe) thou Eolus, I hote,
And ring these folks works by rote.
That all the world may of it heare;
And he gan blow their loos fo cleare,
In his golden clarioune,
Through the World went the foune,
All fo kindly, and eke so soft,
That their fame was blown aloft. P.
Rife! Muses, rife! add all your tuneful breath,
These must not fleep in darkness and in death. 371
She faid in air the trembling mufic floats,
And on the winds triumphant swell the notes;
So foft, tho' high, fo loud, and yet fo clear,
Ev'n lift'ning Angels lean'd from heav'n to hear:
To farthest shores th' Ambrofial spirit flies, 376
Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies.
Next these a youthful train their vows express'd, With feathers crown'd, with gay embroid'ry drefs'd:
Hither, they cry'd, direct your eyes, and fee 380
The men of pleasure, drefs, and gallantry;
Ours is the place at banquets, balls, and plays,
Sprightly our nights, polite are all our days;
Courts we frequent, where 'tis our pleasing care
To pay due vifits, and addrefs the fair:
In fact, 'tis true, no nymph we could perfuade,
But ftill in fancy vanquish'd ev'ry maid;
Of unknown Ducheffes leud tales we tell,
Yet, would the world believe us, all were well,
VER. 378. Next thefe a youthful train, etc.] The Reader might compare these twenty-eight lines following, which contain the fame matter, with eighty-four of Chaucer, beginning thus:
Tho came the fixth companye, And gan fafte to Fame cry, etc. being too prolix to be here inferted. P.