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Of lofs and gain, of famine and of store,
Of storms at fea, and travels on the fhore,
Of prodigies, and portents feen in air,

Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair,
Of turns of Fortune, changes in the state,
The falls of favorites, projects of the great,
Of old mifmanagements, taxations new:
All neither wholly falfe, nor wholly true.
Above, below, without, within, around,
Confus'd, unnumber'd multitudes are found,
Who pafs, repafs, advance, and glide away;
Hofts rais'd by fear, and phantoms of a day:


Of good, or bad government,
Of fire, and of divers accident.





Ver. 458. Above, below, without, within, &c.]
But fuch a grete congregation
Of folke as I faw roame about,
Some within, and fome without,
Was never feen, 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, &c.

-Thus north and fouth

Went every tyding from mouth to mouth,
And that encreasing evermo,

As fire is wont to quicken and go
From a fparkle fprong amifs,
Till all the citee brent up is.

Aftrologers, that future fates forefhew,

Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few;

And priests, and party zealots, numerous bands
With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands; 465
Each talk'd aloud, or in fome fecret place,
And wild impatience ftar'd in every face.


The flying rumors gather'd as they roll'd,
Scarce any
tale was fooner heard than told;
And all who told it added something new,
And all who heard it made enlargements too,
In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew.
Thus flying east and west, and north and south,
News travel'd with increase from mouth to mouth.
So from a spark, that kindled first by chance,
With gathering force the quickening flames ad-


Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
And towers and temples fink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung,
Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue,
Through thousand vents,




480 forth they

And rush in millions on the world below,
Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course,
Their date determines, and prescribes their force:
Some to remain, and fome to perish foon;

Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.

Around, a thousand winged wonders fly,


Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd through the



There, at one paffage, oft you might furvey
A lie and truth contending for the way;
And long 'twas doubtful, both fo closely pent,
Which firft fhould iffue through the narrow vent:
At laft agreed, together out they fly,
Infeparable now, the truth and lye;

The ftrict companions are for ever join'd,

And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er fhall find.
While thus I ftood, intent to fee and hear,

One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear:
What could thus high thy rash ambition raise?
Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praife?

'Tis true, faid I, not void of hopes I came,
For who fo fond as youthful bards of Fame?
But few, alas! the cafual bleffing boast,
So hard to gain, fo eafy to be loft.
How vain that fecond life in others breath,





Th' eftate which wits inherit after death!

Eafe, health, and life, for this they must refign,

(Unfure the tenure, but how vaft the fine!)

The great man's curfe, without the gains, endure,

Be envy'd, wretched, and be flatter'd, poor;


All lucklefs wits their enemies profeft,

And all fuccefsful, jealous friends at best.



Ver. 489. There, at one paffage, &c.]
And fometime I faw there at once,
A leifing and a fad footh faw
That gonnen at adventure draw
Out of a window forth to pace-
And no man, be he ever fo wrothe,
Shall have one of thefe two, but bothe, &c.

Nor Fame I flight, nor for her favours call;
She comes unlook'd-for, if fhe comes at all.
But if the purchase costs fo dear a price
As foothing Folly, or exalting Vice:
Oh! if the Muse must flatter lawless sway,

And follow still where fortune leads the way;
Or if no bafis bear my rifing name,


But the fall'n ruins of another's fame;


Then, teach me, heaven! to fcorn the guilty bays,

Drive from my breast that wretched luft of praise,
Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown;

Oh grant an honeft fame, or grant me none !


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HERE liv'd in Lombardy, as Authors write,

In days of old, a wife and worthy Knight;

Of gentle manners, as of generous race,

Bleft with much fenfe, more riches, and fome grace;

Yet, led aftray by Venus' soft delights,


He scarce could rule fome idle appetites :
For long ago, let Priests say what they cou'd,
Weak finful laymen were but flesh and blood.

But in due time, when fixty years were o'er,
He vow'd to lead this vicious life no more;

Whether pure holiness infpir'd his mind,
Or dotage turn'd his brain, is hard to find;
But his high courage prick'd him forth to wed,
And try the pleasures of a lawful bed.

This was his nightly dream, his daily care,
And to the heavenly powers his constant prayer,
Once ere he dy'd, to tafte the blissful life
Of a kind husband and a loving wife.

These thoughts he fortify'd with reasons still, (For none want reasons to confirm their will.)






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