Sir Martyn: A Poem, in the Manner of Spenser
A POEM, IN THE MANNER OF SPENSER.
TO THIS FELL CARLE GAY DISSIPATION LED—
L O N D O N :
Printed for Flexney, Holbourn, Evans, in the Strand; and Bew, in Pater-noster Row.
THIS Attempt in the Manner of Spenser was first published in 1767, since which time it has passed through some Editions under the Title of the Concubine; a title which, it must be confessed, conveyed a very improper idea both of the subject and spirit of the Poem. It is now more properly intitled Sir Martyn, and the Author is happy to find that the public approbation of the Work has given him an opportunity to alter its name so much to advantage.
The first Publication was not accompanied with any prefatory Address, by which either the intention of the Writer might be explained, or the candour of the Reader solicited. To solicit candour for the poetical execution he still declines, for Taste is not to be bribed; but perhaps justice to himself may require some explanation of his design, and some apology for his use of the Manner of Spenser.
It is an established maxim in criticism, That an interesting moral is essential to a good poem. The character of the Man of Fortune is of the utmost importance both in the political and moral world; to throw, therefore, a just ridicule on the pursuits and pleasures which often prove fatal to the important virtues of the Gentleman, must afford an interesting moral, but it is the management of the Writer which alone must render it striking. Yet however he may have failed in attaining this, the Author may decently assert, that to paint false pleasure as it is, ridiculous and contemptible, alike destructive to virtue and to happiness, was, at least, the purpose of his Poem.
It is also an established maxim in criticism, That the subject of a poem should be One; that every part should contribute to the completion of One design, which, properly pursued, will naturally diffuse itself into a regular Beginning, Middle, and End. Yet in attaining this Unity of the Whole, the necessary Regularity must still be poetical, for the spirit of poetry cannot exist under the shackles of logical or mathematical arrangement. Or, to use the words of a very eminent Critic, "As there must needs be a connexion, so that connexion will best answer its end, and the purpose of the writer, which, whilst it leads by a sure train of thinking to the conclusion in view, conceals itself all the while, and leaves to the Reader the satisfaction of supplying the intermediate links, and joining together, in his own mind, what is left in a seeming posture of neglect and inconnexion."
If therefore the delineation of the character of the Man of Birth, who, with every advantage of natural abilities and amiable disposition, is at once lost to the Public and Himself, if this character has its beginning, middle, and end, the Poem has all the unity that propriety requires: how far such unity is attained, may perhaps be seen at one view in the following Argument.
After an innovation to the Genius of Spenser, and proposition of the subject, the Knight's first attachment to his Concubine, his levity, love of pleasure, and dissipation, with the influence over him which on this she assumes, are parts which undoubtedly constitute a just Beginning.
The effects of this influence, exemplified in the different parts of a gentleman's relative character,—in his domestic elegance of park, gardens, and house—in his unhappiness as a lover, a parent, and a man of letters—behaviour as a master to his tenants, as a friend, and a brother—and in his feelings in his hours of retirement as a man of birth, and a patriot, naturally complete the Middle, to which an allegorical catastrophe furnishes the proper and regular End.
Some reasons, perhaps, may be expected for having adopted the manner of Spenser. To propose a general use of it were highly absurd; yet it may be presumed there are some subjects on which it may be used with advantage. But not to enter upon any formal defence, the Author will only say, That the fulness and wantonness of description, the quaint simplicity, and above all, the ludicrous, of which the antique phraseology and manner of Spenser are so happily and peculiarly susceptible, inclined him to esteem it not solely as the best, but the only mode of composition adapted to his subject.
ACCLOYD, disgusted, cloyed.
Adred, frightened. Anglo Sax. Adrædan.
Attonce, at once, together.
Bale, harm, sorrow.
Beene, Frequently used by the old Poets for the Indicative Imperfect of the Verb To be.
Blin, cease, blinnan. Sax.
Brede, to knit, plait, bredan.
Carle, old Man.
Certes, certainly, truly.
Chorle, a Peasant.
Clept, named, called.
Dan, a Prefix, quasi Mr.
Defly, neatly, finely.
Depeinten, figured, displayed.
Dearnly, sadly, secretly.
Dight, adorned, clad.
Dreare, dismal, frightful.
Eftsoons, by and by, forthwith.
Elfe, Young One, Child.
Frytor, Villain, Deceiver.
Forby, beside, near to.
Fordone, undone, ruined.
Forefend, to guard beforehand.
Fray, tumult, bustle.
Geer, furniture, tackle.
Gent, fine, noble.
Gin, gan, begin, began.
Glen, a dell, a hollow between two hills.
Goody, a Countrywoman.
Han, Preterite Plural of the Verb To have.
Heare, hair. Often used by Spenser.
Hight, called, is called, was called, or named.
Hoyden, slattern, coarse.
Imp, Infant, Child.
Ken, v. to see.
Knare, a knotty Arm of a Tree.
Lemman, Mistress, Concubine.
Lewdly, basely, foolishly.
Malengines, Persons villainously employed, Toad-eaters.
Mote, v. might, mot.
Nathemore, not the more.
Nathlesse, nevertheless, nadeleſ.
Nolens volens, willing or unwilling.
Perdie, an Asseveration, quasi verily.
Portaunce, Behaviour, Manner.
Quaid, quelled, conquered.
Quight, to quit, leave.
Read, to warn, to prophesy.
Recks, heeds, cares for.
Requere, require. Often used by Spenser.
Rew, to repent.
Ruth, ruthless, pity, pityless.
Seneshall, Master of Ceremonies, Steward.
Sheen, bright, shining, fine.
Shent, disgraced, ſcende, ſcendid.
Skyen, adj. Sky.
Sooth, soothly, truths, truly.
Emotion, Fit, Stir,
Sues, pursues, follows.
Teen, Grief, Sorrow.
Thewes, Habits, Manners.
Thilk, this, that.
Traines, Devices, Traps.
Transmewd, changed, transformed.
Treachor, Traitor, Deceiver.
Uneath, not easy, difficult.
Ween, weend, or wend, think, deemed.
Wend, move, go.
Weet, much the same as ween.
Whilom, formerly, hƿilum.
a Whitt, a jot, any thing, a hƿre, aliquid.
Whyleare, erewhile, hƿilæn.
Wight, Person, ƿiht.
Wilding, the Crab-tree.
Wonne, to dwell.
Yclept, called, named.
Youthede, quasi Youthhood.
Youthly, lively, youthful.
Ypight, placed, fixed.
Ywis, truly, verily.
The letter Y in all the old English Poets is frequently prefixed to verbs and verbal adjectives, but without any particular signification. The use of it is purely Saxon, though after the Conquest the ᵹe gave place to the Norman y. It is always to be pronounced as the pronoun ye.
Spenser has also frequently followed the Saxon Formation, in adding the letter N to his verbs, as tellen, worken, &c. When affixed to a substantive, it forms the plural number, as Eyen, Eyes, &c.
Sir MARTYN, &c.
The mirthfull bowres and flowery dales
Of Pleasures faerie land,
Where Virtues budds are blighted as
By foul Enchanters wand.
And, Fancy, to thy faerie bowre betake!
Even now, with balmie freshnesse, breathes the gale,
Dimpling with downy wing, the stilly lake;
Through the pale willows faultering whispers wake,
And Evening comes with locks bedropt with dew;
On Desmonds mouldering turrets slowly shake
The trembling rie-grass and the hare-bell blue,
And ever and anon faire Mullas plaints renew.
That powre of charme thy Naiads once possest,
Melodious Mulla! when, full oft whyleare,
Thy gliding murmurs soothd the gentle brest
Of haplesse Spenser; long with woes opprest,
Long with the drowsie Patrons smyles decoyd,
Till in thy shades, no more with cares distrest,
No more with painful anxious hopes accloyd,
The sabbath of his life the milde good man enjoyd:
The Muses wooed him, when each evening grey
Luxurious Fancy, from her wardrobe drest
Brought forth her faerie knights in sheen array
By forrest edge or welling fount, where lay,
Farre from the crowd, the carelesse Bard supine:
Oh happy man! how innocent and gay,
How mildly peacefull past these houres of thine!
Ah! could a sigh avail, such sweete calme peace were mine!
Unbidden transports through my bosome swell;
With pleasing reverence awd mine eyes survey
The hallowed shades where Spenser strung his shell.
The brooke still murmurs through the bushy dell,
Still through the woodlands wild and beauteous rise
The hills green tops; still from her moss-white cell
Complayning Echoe to the stockdove sighs,
And Fancy, wandering here, still feels new extacies.
Ye wilde-wood Muses of the native lay!
Ye who these bancks did whilom constant roam,
And round your Spenser ever gladsom play!
Oh come once more! and with your magick ray
These lawns transforming, raise the mystick scene——
The lawns already own your vertual sway,
Proud citys rise, with seas and wildes atweene;
In one enchanted view the various walks of men.
Fronting the sunne, a rock fantastick rose;
From every rift the pink and primrose smild,
And redd with blossoms hung the wildings boughs;
On middle cliff each flowry shrub that blows
On Mayes sweete morne a fragrant grove displayd,
Beauteous and wilde as ever Druid chose;
From whence a reverend Wizard through the shade
Advaunst to meet my steps; for here me seemd I strayd.
A few thin hairs; bright in his eagle eye,
Meint with Heavens lightning, social mildnesse glowd;
Yet when him list queynt was his leer and slie,
Yet wondrous distant from malignitie;
For still his smyle did forcibly disclose
The soul of worth and warm hart-honestie:
Such winning grace as Age but rare bestows
A purple girdle loosely tyd his waist
Enwove with many a flowre from many a shore,
And half conceald and half reveald his vest,
His vest of silk, the Faerie Queenes bequest
What time she wooed him ere his head was grey;
A lawrell bough he held, and now addrest
To speech, he points it to the mazy way
That wide and farre around in wildest prospect lay.
The wilderness of life extensive lies;
The path of blustering fame and warlike Ire,
Of scowling Powre and lean-boned Covetise,
Of thoughtlesse Mirth and Folly's giddy joys;
And whither all those paths illusive end,
All these at my command didactick rise,
And shift obedient as mine arm I bend.
He said, and to the field did strait his arm extend.
But certes, lever would I see and hear,
How, oft, the gentle plant of generous ground
And fairest bloom no ripend fruit will bear:
Oft have I shed, perdie, the better tear
To see the shoots of Vertue shrink and dy,
Untimely blasted in the soft greene eare:
What evil blight thus works such villainy,
To tell, O reverend Seer, thy prompt enchantment try.
Foresee the sorrowes of their elder age!
Full oft, quoth he, my Bosom melts with ruth
To note the follies of their early stage,
Where Dissipations cup full deepe they pledge;
Ne can the Wizards saws disperse to flight
The ills that soon will warre against them wage,
Ne may the spells that lay the church-yarde Spright,
From Pleasures servile bands release the luckless Wight.
An ample field of British clime I ween,
A field which never by poetick Eyes
Was viewd from hence. Thus, though the rural scene
Has by a thousand artists pencild beene,
Some other may, from other point, explore
A view full different, yet as faire beseene:
So shall these lawns present one lawnskepe more;
For certes where we stand stood never wight before.
Fleet as he spake still rose the imagerie
Of all he told depeinten to the sight;
It was, I weet, a goodly baronie:
Beneath a greene-clad hill, right faire to see,
The castle in the sunny vale ystood;
All round the east grew many a sheltering tree,
And on the west a dimpling silver flood
Ran through the gardins trim, then crept into the wood.
And fill with worthy deed the fleeting houres!
What pleasaunce mote a learned wight enjoy
Emong the hills and vales and shady bowres,
To mark how buxom Ceres round him poures
The hoary headed wheat, the freckled corne,
The bearded barlie, and the hopp that towres
So high, and with his bloom salews the morne,
And with the orchard vies the lawnskepe to adorn;
Pomona lavishes on everie tree,
The velvet-coated peach, the plumb so hore,
The nectrines redd, and pippins sheene to see,
That nod in everie gale with wanton glee:
How happy here with Woodstocks laughing Swain
And Avons Bard of peerlesse memorie
To saunter through the dasie-whitened plain,
When Fancys sweetest Impe Dan Spenser joins the train.
Oft by the brooke his infant steps they led,
And oft the Fays, with many a warbling tone
And laughing shape, stood round his morning bed:
Such happiness bloomd fair around his head.
Yet though his mind was formd each joy to taste,
From him, alas! dear homefelt Joyaunce fled,
Vain meteors still his cheated arms embraced;
Where all seemd flowrie gay, he found a dreary waste.
Lured by the fragrance of the new-mown hay,
As carelesse sauntering through the elm-fenced green,
He with his book beguild the closing day,
The dairy-Maide hight Kathrin frisk'd that way;
A roguish twinkling look the gypsie cast,
For much she wishd the lemmans part to play;
Nathlesse unheeding on his way he past,
Ne enterd in his heart or wish or thought unchast.
Her easie waiste in milch-white boddice dight,
Her golden locks curld down her shoulders sleek,
And halfe her bosome heaving met the sight,
Whiles gayly she accosts the sober wight:
Freedom and glee blythe sparkling in her eye
With wanton merrimake she trips the Knight,
And round the younkling makes the clover flye:
But soon he starten up, more gamesome by and bye.
But certes you shall woo and strive in vain.
Fast in his armes he caught her then ywis;
Yfere they fell; but loud and angry then
Gan she of shame and haviour vild complain,
While bashfully the weetlesse Boy did look:
With cunning smyles she viewd his awkward pain;
The smyle he caught, and eke new courage took,
And Kathrin then a kiss, perdie, did gentlie brook.
One thought bestowd on what would surely be;
But well his Aunt perceivd his dangerous toy,
And sore she seard her auncient familie
Should now be staind with blood of base degree:
For sooth to tell, her liefest hearts delight
Was still to count her princely pedigree,
Through barons bold all up to Cadwall hight,
Thence up to Trojan Brute ysprong of Venus bright.
From baselie matching with plebeian bloud,
Whole nights she schemd to shonne thilk foull disgrace,
And Kathrin's bale in wondrous wrath she vowd:
Yet could she not with cunning portaunce shroud,
So as might best succede her good intent,
But clept her lemman and vild slut aloud;
That soon she should her gracelesse thewes repent,
And stand in long white sheet before the parson shent.
And prompt the scenerie rose, where listless lay
The Knight in shady bowre, by streamlet lavd,
While Philomela sooth'd the parting day:
Here Kathrin him approachd with features gay,
And all her store of blandishments and wiles;
The Knight was touchd—but she with soft delay
And gentle teares yblends her languid smiles,
And of base falsitie th' enamourd Boy reviles.
And, faultring oft, exclaims with wondring stare,
What mean these sighs? dispell thine ydle feares;
And, confident in me, thy griefes declare.
And need, quoth she, need I my heart to bare,
And tellen what untold well knowne mote be?
Lost is my friends good-will, my mother's care—
By you deserted—ah! unhappy me!
Left to your Aunts fell spight, and weakfull crueltie.
No; sooner shall yond hill forsake his place,
He laughing said, and would have caught her hand;
Her hand she shifted to her blubberd face
With prudish modestie, and sobd, Alas!
Grant me your bond, or else on yonder tree
These silkin garters, pledge of thy embrace,
Ah, welladay! shall hang my babe and me,
And everie night our ghostes shall bring all hell to thee.
As when, aloft on well-stored cherrie-tree,
The thievish elfe beholds with pale affright
The gardner near, and weets not where to flee:
And will my bond forefend thilk miserie?
That shalt thou have; and for thy peace beside,
What mote I more? Housekeeper shalt thou be—
An awfull oath forthwith his promise tied,
And Kathrin was as blythe as ever blythesome bride.
Her kindest counsels scornd, and sore did pine
To think what well she knew would shortly be,
Cadwallins bloud debasd in Kathrins line;
For very dole she died. Oh sad propine,
Syr Knight, for all that care which she did take!
How many a night, for coughs and colds of thine,
Has she sat up rare cordial broths to make,
And cockerd thee so kind with many a daintie cake!
Extends its twinkling line from spray to spray,
Gently as sleep the weary lids invades,
So soft, so gently Pleasure mines her way:
But whither will the smiling Fiend betray,
Ah, let the Knights approaching dayes declare!
Though everie bloome and flowre of buxom May
Bestrew her path, to desarts cold and bare
The mazy path betrays the giddy wight unware.
His manlie sense that fairest blossoms bore,
His temper gentle as the whispering gale,
His native goodnesse, and his vertuous lore!
Now through his veins, all uninflamd before,
Th' enchanted cup of Dissipation hight
Has shedd, with subtil stealth, through everie pore,
Its giddy poison, brewd with magicke might,
Each budd of gentle worth and better thought to blight.
To chace the foming bore and fallow deer,
At first the trader's beverage shylie tastes;
But soon with headlong rage, unfelt whyleare,
Inflamd he lusts for the delirious cheer:
So bursts the Boy disdainful of restrent
Headlong attonce into the wylde career
Of jollitie, with all his mind unbent,
And dull and yrksome hangs the day in sports unspent.
Each day affords a floode of roring joy;
The Springs green months ycharmd with Cocking flee,
The jolly Horse-race Summers grand employ,
His Harvests Sports the foxe and hare destroy;
But the substantial Comforts of the Bowl
Are thine, O Winter! thine to fire the Boy
With Englands cause, and swell his mightie soul,
Till dizzy with his peres about the flore he rowl.
Hangs many a badgers snout and foxes tail,
The which he had through many a hedge persewd,
Through marsh, through meer, dyke, ditch, and delve and dale;
To hear his hair-breadth scapes would make you pale;
Which well the groome hight Patrick can relate,
Whileas on holidays he quaffs his ale;
And not one circumstance will he forgett,
So keen the braggard chorle is on his hunting sett.
Beholds the springing Racers sweep the ground;
Now lightlie by the post the foremost flies,
And thondring on, the rattling hoofs rebound;
The coursers groan, the cracking whips resound:
And gliding with the gale they rush along
Right to the stand. The Knight stares wildly round
And, rising on his sell, his jocund tongue
Is heard above the noise of all the noisie throng.
As youthly spirits thoughtlesse led the way,
Her gilden baits, ah, gilded to decoy!
Kathrin did eve and morn before him lay,
Watchfull to please, and ever kindlie gay;
Till, like a thing bewitchd, the carelesse wight
Resigns himself to her capricious sway:
Then soon, perdie, was never charme-bound spright
In Necromancers thrall in halfe such pitteous plight.
What need her now, she recks, one smyle bestow;
Each care to please were trouble thrown away,
And thriftlesse waste, with many maxims moe,
As, What were she the better did she so?
She conns, and freely sues her native bent:
Yet still can she to guard his thralldom know,
Though grimd with snuff in tawdrie gown she went,
Though peevish were her spleen and rude her jolliment.
And roving through the trees his mattin sings,
Lively with joy, till on a lucklesse thorne
He lights, where to his feet the birdlime clings;
Then all in vain he flapps his gaudie wings;
The more he flutters still the more foredone;
So fares it with the Knight: each morning brings
His deeper thrall; ne can he brawling shun,
For Kathrin was his thorne and birdlime both in one.
The ruddie Sunne appears to rest his chin,
When not a breeze disturbs the murmuring rill,
And mildlie warm the falling dewes begin,
The gamesome Trout then shews her silverie skin,
As wantonly beneath the wave she glides,
Watching the buzzing flies, that never blin,
Then, dropt with pearle and golde, displays her sides,
While she with frequent leape the ruffled streame divides.
Well has the urchin markt her mery play,
An ashen rod obeys his guilefull hands,
And leads the mimick fly across her way;
Askaunce, with wistly look and coy delay,
The hungrie Trout the glitteraund treachor eyes,
Semblaunt of life, with speckled wings so gay;
Then, slylie nibbling, prudish from it flies,
Till with a bouncing start she bites the truthless prize.
Struck with amaze she feels the hook ypight
Deepe in her gills, and, plonging where the beech
Shaddows the poole, she runs in dred affright;
In vain the deepest rocke, her late delight,
In vain the sedgy nook for help she tries;
The laughing elfe now curbs, now aids her flight,
The more entangled still the more she flies,
And soon amid the grass the panting captive lies.
That wanton bounding, and exulting joy,
That lately welcomd the retourning ray,
When by the rivletts bancks, with blushes coy,
April walkd forth—ah! never more to toy
In purling streame, she pants, she gasps and dies!
Aye me! how like the fortune of the Boy,
His days of revel and his nights of noise
Have left him now, involvd, his Lemman's hapless prize.
The parke where rural Elegance had placed
Her sweete retreat, where cunning Art did play
Her happiest freaks, that Nature undefaced
Received new charmes; ah, see, how foul disgraced
Now lies thilke parke so sweetly wylde afore!
Each grove and bowery walke be now laid waste;
The bowling-greene has lost its shaven flore,
And snowd with washing suds now yawns beside the dore.
Crocus, and polyanthus speckled fine,
And daffodils in fayre confusion grew
Emong the rose-bush roots and eglantine;
These now their place to cabbages resign,
And tawdrie pease supply the lillys stead;
Rough artichokes now bristle where the vine
Its purple clusters round the windows spread,
And laisie cucumbers on dung recline the head.
Where oft, by moonshine, on the daisied greene,
In jovial daunce, or tripping side by side,
Pomona and her buxom nymphs were seene;
Or where the clear canal stretchd out atweene,
Deffly their locks with blossomes would they brede;
Or, resting by the primrose hillocks sheene,
Beneath the apple boughs and walnut shade,
They sung their loves the while the fruitage gaily spread:
In all the pride of blossome strewd the plain;
The hillocks gently rising through the land
Must now no trace of Natures steps retain;
The clear canal, the mirrour of the swain,
And bluish lake no more adorn the greene,
Two durty watering ponds alone remain;
And where the moss-floord filbert bowres had beene,
Is now a turnip fielde and cow yarde nothing cleane.
All this devisd for trim Oeconomie;
But certes, ever from her birth bereft
Of elegance, ill fitts her title high:
Coarse were her looks, yet smoothe her courtesie,
Hoyden her shapes, but grave was her attyre,
And ever fixt on trifles was her eye;
And still she plodden round the kitchen fyre,
To save the smallest crombe her pleasure and desyre.
Fast at her side a bounch of keys yhong,
Dull Care sat brooding on her jealous brow,
Sagacious proverbs dropping from her tongue:
Yet sparing though she beene her guestes emong,
Ought by herselfe that she mote gormandise,
The foul curmudgeon would have that ere long,
And hardly could her witt her gust suffice;
Albee in varied stream, still was it Covetise.
This crooked Ronion, for in soothly guise
She was her genius and her counsellor:
Now cleanly milking-pails in careful wise
Bedeck each room, and much can she despise
The Knights complaints, and thriftlesse judgment ill:
Eke versd in sales, right wondrous cheap she buys,
Parlour and bedroom too her bargains fill;
Though useless, cheap they beene, and cheap she purchasd still.
Did like to sing and worken all the day,
At seedtime never were they left behind,
And at the harvest feast still first did play;
And ever at the terme their rents did pay,
For well they knew to guide their rural geer:
All in a row, yclad in homespun gray,
They marchd to church each Sunday of the year,
Their imps yode on afore, the carles brought up the rear.
No more with social hospitable glee
The village hearths at Christmas-tide resound,
No more the Whitsun gamboll may you see,
Nor morrice daunce, nor May daye jollitie
When the blythe maydens foot the deawy green;
But now, in place, heart-sinking penurie
And hopelesse care on every face is seen,
As these the drery times of curfeu bell had been.
And dark of look, a tawdrie villain came,
Muttering some words with serious-meaning face,
And on the church dore he would fix their name;
Then, nolens volens, they must heed the same,
And quight those fieldes their yeomen grandsires plowd
Eer since black Edwards days, when, crownd with fame,
From Cressie field the Knights old grandsire prowd
Led home his yeomandrie, and each his glebe allowd.
Beneath the gripe of Laws stern rapine fall,
The friendlesse widow, from her hearth expelld,
Withdraws to some poor hutt with earthen wall:
And these, perdie, were Kathrins projects all;
For, sooth to tell, grievd was the Knight full sore
Such sinfull deeds to see: yet such his thrall,
Though he had pledgd his troth, yet nathemore
It mote he keep, except she willd the same before.
What for thy witchcraft too secure may be!
Not Circes cup may so transform the heart,
Or bend the will, fallacious Powre, like thee;
Lo, manly Sense, of princely dignitie,
Witchd by thy spells, thy crowching slave is seen;
Lo, high-browd Honour bends the groveling knee,
And every bravest virtue, sooth I ween,
Seems like a blighted flowre of dank unlovely mien.
Such ruthlesse bondage on his slave impose,
As Kathrin on the Knight full deffly can;
Ne may the Knight escape, or cure his woes:
As he who dreams he climbs some mountains brows,
With painful struggling up the steep height strains,
Anxious he pants and toils, but strength foregoes
His feeble limbs, and not a step he gains;
So toils the powrelesse Knight beneath his servile chains.
Learnd was thilk clerk in deeds, and passing slie;
Slow was his speeche, and solemn was his face
As that grave bird which Athens rankt so high;
Pleasd Dullness basking in his glossie eye,
The smyle would oft steal through his native phlegm;
And well he guards Syr Martyns propertie,
Till not one peasant dares invade the game:
But certes, seven yeares rent was soon his own just claim.
Still yawns on everie long-depending case.
The Knights gay bloome the while slid fast away;
Kathrin the while brought bantling imps apace;
While everie day renews his vile disgrace,
And straitens still the more his galling thrall:
See now what scenes his houshold hours debase,
And rise successive in his cheerlesse hall.
So spake the Seer, and prompt the scene obeyd his call.
And discomposd yon stranger he receives;
Lo, how with sulkie look, and moapt with spleen,
His frowning mistresse to his friend behaves;
In vain he nods, in vain his hand he waves,
Ne will she heed, ne will she sign obay;
Nor corner dark his awkward blushes saves,
Ne may the hearty laugh, ne features gay:
The hearty laugh, perdie, does but his pain betray.
Some generous cause did still his lips inspire;
He begs the Knight by friendships long agone
To shelter from his lawyers cruel ire
An auncient hinde, around whose cheerlesse fire
Sat Grief, and pale Disease. The poor mans wrong
Affects the Knight: his inmost hearts desire
Gleams through his eyes; yet all confusd, and stung
With inward pain, he looks, and silence guards his tongue.
See, how with sidelong glaunce and haviour shy
He steals the look to read his Lemmans will,
Watchfull the dawn of an assent to spy.
Look as he will, yet will she not comply.
His friend with scorn beholds his awkward pain;
From him even Pity turns her tear-dewd eye,
And hardlie can the bursting laugh restrain,
With manlie Honor frowns on his unmanlie stain.
He wavd his hand, and other scenes arose.
See there, quoth he, the Knight supinely laid
Invokes the household houres of learnd repose;
An auncient Song its manly joys bestows:
The melting passion of the Nutt-brown Mayde
Glides through his breast; his wandering fancy glows,
Till into wildest reveries betrayd,
He hears th' imagind Faire, and wooes the lovely shade.
How to the green wode shade, betide whateer,
She with her banishd Love would fearlesse goe,
And sweet would be with him the hardest cheer.
Oh heaven! he sighs, what blessings dwell sincere
In love like this!—But instant as he sighd,
Bursting into the room, loud in his ear
His Lemman thonders, Ah! fell dole betide
The girl that trusts in man before she bees his bride!
Delight your fancy! she disdainful cries;
When strait her imps all brawling round her throng,
And, bleard with teares, each for revenge applies:
Him cheife in spleene the father means chastise,
But from his kindlie hand she saves him still;
Yet for no fault, anon, in furious wise
Yon yellew elfe she little spares to kill;
And then, next breath, does all to coax its stubborn will.
Withdraws the curtain of the murderers bed,
So pale and cold at heart, as halfe aswoon
The Knight stares round; yet good nor bad he sed.
Alas! though trembling anguish inward bled,
His best resolve soon as a meteor dies:
His present peace and ease mote chance have fled,
He deems; and yielding, looks most wondrous wise,
As from himself he hopd his grief and shame disguise.
The hallowd temple of Content may be!
While now his days abroad with groomes he wore,
His mistresse with her liefest companie,
A rude unletterd herd! with dearest glee,
Enjoys each whisper of her neighbours shame;
And still anon the flask of ratafie
Improves their tales, till certes not a name
Escapes their blasting tongue, or goody, wench, or dame.
Making sweete solace of some scandall new,
A boistrous noise came thondring at the gate,
And soon a sturdie boy approachd in view;
With gold far glitteraund were his vestments blue
And pye-shapd hat, and of the silver sheen
An huge broad buckle glaunst in either shoe,
And round his necke an India kerchiefe clean,
And in his hand a switch: a jolly wight I ween.
Where ruddie Phœbus slacks his firie team;
(With burning golde then flames th' ethereal steepe,
And Oceans waves like molten silver seem)
Eke had he seen, with diamond glittering beam,
The starre of morn awake the roseate day,
While yet beneath the moone old Nilus stream
Pale through the land reflects the gleamy ray,
As through the midnight skyes appeares the milky way.
Unknown to Carthage, had he frequent sped:
Eke had he beene where flowry Sommer smiles
At Christmas tide, where other heavens are spred,
Besprent with starres that Newton never red,
Where in the North the sun of noone is scene:
Wherever Hannos bold ambition led,
Wherever Gama saild, there had he beene,
Gama, the dearling care of Beautys heavenly Queene.
Where bold Neârch young Ammons fleet did guide;
A task so dred the world-subduing host
Could not another for such feats provide:
And often had he seen that ocean wide
Which to his wearie bands thilke youth did say
None but th' immortal Gods had ever spyd;
Which sight, quoth lie, will all your toils repay:
That none mote see it more als he the Gods did pray.
For ten long seasons did the younkling toil,
Through stormes, through tempests, and the battels fire,
Through cold, through heat, cheerd by the hope the while
Of yet revisiting his natal soil:
And oft, when flying in the monsoon gale,
By Æthiopias coast or Javas ile,
When glauncing over Oceans bosom pale,
The ship hung on the winds with broad and steadie sail:
With wide-spred wing unmovd, the eagle bends,
When, on old Snowdons brow prepard to light,
Sailing the liquid skye he sheer descends:
Thus oft, when roving farre as wave extends,
The scenes of promist bliss would warm the Boy;
To meet his brother with each wish yblends,
And friendships glowing hopes each thought employ;
And now at home arrivd his heart dilates with joy.
To spy the streamlett or the elm-tree shade,
Where oft at eve, beneath the cawing rooks,
He with his feres in merry childhoode playd:
But all was changd!—Unweetingly dismayd
A cold foreboding impulse thrills his breast;
And who but Kathrin now is dearnly frayd
When entering in she kens the stranger guest:
Then with sad mien she rose, and kindlie him embrast.
Then, sobbing deepe, Glad will Syr Martyn be,
Faire Syr, of your retourne, she gently said;
But what mishap! our infant familie,
The dearest babes, though they were nought to me,
That ever breathd, are laid in deadlie plight:
What shall we do!—great were your courtesie
To lodge in yonder tenants house to night;
The skilfull leache forbids that noise my babes should fright.
To wait his brother, at her bidding fares,
Conducted by a gossip pert and sly:
Kathrin the while her malengines prepares.
Now gan the duske suspend the plowmans cares,
When from his rural sportes arrives the Knight;
Soon with his mates the jovial bowl he shares,
His hall resounds!—amazd the stranger wight
Arreads it all as done to him in fell despight.
Of stranger guest; Go, bid him welcome here;
What seeks he there? quoth he. Perdie, what would
You seek? says to the Boy the messenger.
To see the Knight, quoth he, I but requere.
Syr Knight, he scornes to come; the servant said.
Go, bid him still, quoth he, to welcome cheer:
But all contrarywise the faytor made,
Till rage enflamd the Boy; and still his rage they fed:
His faire estate; and certes, well I read,
He weens to hold your patrimonie fast.
Next morne a lawyer beene ybrought with speed,
And wise he lookt, and wisely shook his hede.
Him now impowrd, the youth with rage yblent
Vows never to retourne; then mounts his steed,
And leaves the place in fancy hugely shent:
All which to Kathrins mind gave wondrous great content.
In musefull stownd Syr Martyn rews
His Youthhedes thoughtlesse stage;
But Dissipation haunts him to
The blossomes of old age.
Then thus resumd,—As he whose homeward way
Lies through the windings of some verdant wood;
Through many a mazy turn and arbour gay
He sues the flowery steps of jollie May,
While through the openings many a lawnskepe new
Bursts on his sight; yet, never once astray,
Still home he wends: so we our theme pursue,
Through many a bank and bowre close following still our cue.
A wyld romantick dell its fragrance shed;
Safe from the thonder showre and scorching beame
Their faerie charmes the summer bowres displaid;
Wyld by the bancks the bashfull cowslips spread,
And from the rock above each ivied seat
The spotted foxgloves hung the purple head,
And lowlie vilets kist the wanderers feet:
Sure never Hyblas bees rovd through a wilde so sweet.
So leads a solemn walk its bowry way,
The pale-leaved palms and darker limes among,
To where a grotto lone and secret lay;
The yellow broome, where chirp the linnets gay,
Waves round the cave; and to the blue-streakd skyes
A shatterd rock towres up in fragments gray:
The shee-goat from its height the lawnskepe eyes,
And calls her wanderd young, the call each banck replies.
What time the wondering Boy to manhood rose,
When Fancy first her lawnskepes gan adorne,
And Reasons folded buddes their flowres disclose,
What time young Transport through the spirits flows,
When Nature smyles with charmes unseen before,
When with unwonted hopes the bosome glows,
While wingd with whirlwind speed the thoughts explore
The endlesse wylde of joys that Youth beholds in store.
And hung the dew-drop in the hycinths bell,
For him employd their virtue breathing powres,
And Cambrias Genius bade his worth excell.
His youthful breast confest the wondrous spell;
His generous temper warmd with fayre design,
The friend and patriot now his bosome swell,
The lover and the father now combine,
And smyling visions form, where bliss and honour join.
Must now no more with dreams of bliss decoy;
Yet here he liken still himself to meet,
Though woes, a gloomy train, his thoughts employ:
Oh lost to peace, he sighs, unhappy Boy!
Oh lost to every worth that life adorns!—
Oh lost to peace, to elegance, and joy!
Th' aërial Genius of the cave returns,
Whiles in the bubbling rill the plaintive Naiade mourns.
The dell, the grotto, and the broome-clad hill;
See, quoth the Wizard, where the Knight bestows
An houre to thought and Reasons whispers still;
Whiles, as a nightly vision boding ill,
Seen with pale glymps by lonely wandering swayne,
Truth, gleaming through the fogs of biast will,
Frowns on him sterne, and honest Shame gins fayne
In her reflective glass his life's ignoble straine.
How oft hast Thou, she cries, indignant viewd
The titled Cypher and his solemn traine,
The busie face, and dull solicitude,
That, ever plodding in important mood,
Has not a soul to reach one noble aim,
Nor soul, nor wish—whose vacant mind endewd
With not one talent, yet would lewdly claim
For his vile leaden bust the sacred wreath of Fame:
By labouring in the British clime to rear
Those arts that quencht prowd Romes patrician fire,
And bowd her prone beneath the Gothick spear;
Illustrious cares! befitting patriot peer!
Italian sing-song and the eunuchs squall!
Such arts as soothd the base unmanly ear
Of Greece and Persia bending to their fall;
When Freedome bled unwept, and scornd was Glorys call.
What other views before thee would disclose!
As Fancy painted and thy wish inspird,
What glorious scenes beneath thy shades arose!
Britannias guardians here dispell her woes,
Forming her laws, her artes, with godlike toil;
There Albion, smyling on their learnd repose,
Sees manly Genius in their influence smile,
And spread the hallowd streames of Virtue round the ile.
Such views still opening, still extending higher,
Cares whence the state derives its firmest powres,
And scenes where Friendship sheds her purest fire!
And did, ah shame! these hopes in vain expire
A morning dreame!—As lorn the spendthrift stands,
Who sees the fieldes bequeathed him by his sire,
His own no more, now reapt by strangers hands;
So languid must I view faire Honours fertile lands.
On the greene margin of the streame he lay,
While softlie stealing on his languid mind
Th' ideal scene would hold a moments sway,
And the domestick houre all smyles display,
Where fixt esteeme the fond discourse inspires:
Now through his heart would glide the sprightlie ray
Where Married Love bids light his purest fires,
Where Elegance presides, and wakes the Young Desires.
Shockd he beholds the odious colours rise,
Where selfishnesse, low pride and spleen combind,
Bid every anguishd thought his mate despise,
His mate unformd for sweete Affections ties:
Grovling, indelicate—Stung to the heart
His indignation heaves in stifled sighs;
But soon his passion bursts with suddein start:
His children strike his thoughts with lively piersant smart.
And all the wounded father swells his breast:
Suddein he leaves the cave and mantling trees,
And up the furzie hill his footsteps haste,
While sullenly he soothes his soul to rest:
Meantime the opening prospect wide he gains,
Where, crownd with oake, with meadow flowres ydrest,
His British chaplet, buxom Summer reigns,
And waves his mantle greene farre round the smyling plains.
And old grey towres of rural churches rise,
The fieldes still lengthening shew their crowded charms
In fayre perspective and in richest guise:
His sweeping scythe the white-sleevd mower plies,
The plowman through the fallow guides his teame,
Acrosse the wheaten fielde the milkmayde hies,
To where the kine, foreby the reedy streame,
With frequent lowe to plaine of their full udders seeme.
Dan Æols blustering stormes did long repell,
Till witchd it was, when by an headlong shock,
As the hoar fathers of the village tell,
With horrid crash on All Saints eve it fell:
But from its trunk soon sprouting saplings rose,
And round the parent stock did shadowy swell;
Now, aged trees, they bend their twisted boughs,
And by their moss-greene roots invite the swains repose.
And round the various lawnskepe raunge his eyes:
There stretch the corny fieldes in various greens,
Farre as the sight: there, to the peaceful skyes
The darkning pines and dewy poplars rise:
Behind the wood a dark and heathy lea,
With sheep faire spotted, farre extended lies,
With here and there a lonlie blasted tree;
And from between two hills appears the duskie sea.
Shifts o'er the fieldes, now gilds the woody dale,
The flockes now whiten, now the ocean bay
Beneath the radiance glistens clear and pale;
And white from farre appeares the frequent sail,
By Traffick spread. Moord where the land divides,
The British red-cross waving in the gale,
Hulky and black, a gallant warre ship rides,
And over the greene wave with lordly port presides.
Long gazd the Knight, with fretfull languid air;
Then thus, indulging the reflective houre,
Pours forth his soul: Oh, glorious happy care!
To bid Britannias navies greatly dare,
And through the vassal seas triumphant reign,
To either India waft victorious warre,
To join the poles in Trades unbounded chain,
And bid the British Throne the mighty Whole sustain.
May stedfast Zeal in Albion's Senate shine!
What glorious lawrells court the Patriots hand!
How base the hand that can such Meed decline!
And was, kind Fate! to snatch these honors mine?
Yes! greene they spred, and fayre they bloomd for me;
Thy birth and duty bade the chiefe be thine;
Oh lost, vain Trifler, lost in each degree!
Thy Country never turnd her hopefull eyes on Thee.
Nor Africk yields, nor Chilys earth contains
Such funds of wealth as crown the Plowmans toils,
And tinge with waving gold Britannias plains;
Even on her mountains cheerfull Plenty reigns,
And wildly grand her fleecy wardrobe spreads.
What noble Meed the honest Statesman gains,
Who through these publique nerves new vigour sheds,
And bids the Useful Artes exalt their drooping heads:
His Countrys greatnesse, sees, on every tide,
Her fleets the umpire of the world assume,
And spread her justice as her glories wide—
Oh wonder of the world, and fairest pride,
Britannias Fleet! how long shall Pity mourn
And stain thy honours? from his weeping Bride
And starving babes, how long inhuman torn
Shall the bold Sailor mount thy decks with heart forlorn!
His Brides distresse his restlesse fancy sees,
And fixing on the land his earnest eyes,
Cold is his breast and faint his manly knees.
Ah! hither turn, ye sons of courtlie Ease,
And let the Brave Mans wrongs, let Interest plead:
Say, while his arme his Countrys fate decrees,
Say, shall a Fathers anguish be his meed;
His wrongs unnerve his soul, and blight each mighty deed?
O Thou reservd by Heavens benign decree
To blast those artes that quench the British flame,
And bid the meanest of the Land be free;
Oh, much Humanity shall owe to Thee!
And shall that palm unenvyd still remain!
Yet hear, ye Lordlings, each severitie,
And every woe the labouring tribes sustain,
Upbraids the Man of Powre, and dims his honours vain.
The rousing musicke of the horne he hears
Shrill echoing through the wold; and by the North
Where bends the hill, the sounding chace appears;
The hounds with glorious peal salute his ears,
And wood and dale rebound the swelling lay;
The Youths on coursers fleet as fallow deers
Pour through the downs, while, foremost of the fray;
Away! the jolly Huntsman cries; and Echoe sounds, Away!
Till where a brooke strays hollow through the bent.
When all confusd, and snuffing wyldlie round,
In vain their fretful! haste explord the scent:
But Reynards cunning all in vain was spent;
The Huntsman from his stand his arts had spyd.
Had markt his doublings and his shrewd intent,
How both the bancks he trac'd, then backward plyd
His track some twentie roods, then bounding sprong aside.
Where, hearkening everie sound, an hare was laid;
Then from the thickest bush he slylie lept,
And wary scuds along the hawthorne shade,
Till by the hills slant foot he earths his head
Amid a briarie thickett: Emblem meet
Of wylie statesman of his foes adred;
He oft misguides the peoples rage, I weet,
On others, whilst himself winds off with slie deceit.
The lurking hare is in an instant slain:
Then opening loud, the beagles scent the track
Right to the hill; while thondring through the plain
With blythe huzzas advaunce the jovial train:
And now the Groomes and Squires, Cowherds and Boys,
Beat round and round the brake; but all in vain
Their poles they ply, and vain their oathes and noise,
Till plonging in his den the Terrier fiercely joys.
The Villain bold, and wildly glares around;
Now here, now there, he bends his knees to fly,
As oft recoils to guard from backward wound,
His frothie jaws he grinds—with horrid sound
The Pack attonce rush on him: foming ire,
Fierce at his throte and sides hangs many a hound;
His burning eyes flash wylde red sparckling fire,
Whiles weltring on the swaird his breath and strength expire.
The Knight perceives it from his oake-crownd hill,
Down the steep furzie height he slow gan wend,
With troublous thoughts keen ruminating still;
While grief and shame by turns his bosom fill.
And now, perchd prowdlie on the topmost spray,
The sootie Blackbird chaunts his vespers shrill;
While Twilight spreads his robe of sober grey,
And to their bowres the Rooks loud cawing wing their way:
Flames the red beam; while on the distant East
Led by her starre, the horned Moone looks o'er
The bending forest, and with rays increast
Ascends; while trembling on the dappled West
The purple radiance shifts, and dies away;
The willows with a deeper green imprest
Nod o'er the brooks; the brooks with gleamy ray
Glide on, and holy Peace assumes her woodland sway.
There, Passions tearing gusts tempestuous rise.
Are these, he murmurs, these my friends! the best
That croud my hall! the Sonnes of madning Noise,
Whose warmest friendship with the revel dies?
Whose glee it were my dearest peace destroy,
Who with my woes could sport, my wrongs despise;
Could round my coffin pledge the cup of Joy,
And on my crimes even then their base-tongued witt employ:
Takes up the barkings of Impiety,
The Scepticks wild disjointed dreams retails,
These modern ravings of Philosophy
Made drunk, the Cavil, the detected Ly,
The witt of Ignorance, and Gloss unfair,
Which honest Dullness would with shame deny;
The hope of Baseness vaumpt in Candours air:
Good Heaven! are such the friends that to my hearth repair!
Even the old Peasant shakes his silverd head,
Old saws and stories babbling evermore,
And adding still, Alas, those dayes be fled!
Here Indignation pausd, when, up the glade,
Pale through the trees his houshold smoke ascends;
Wakd at the sight, his Brothers wrongs upbraid
His melting heart, and grief his bosome rends:
And now the keene Resolve its gleaming comfort lends.
My Knight should rise the flowre of Chivalrie,
Brave as Syr Arthegal or Valentine,
Another Saint George England then should see,
Britannias Genius should his Sabra bee,
Chaind to the rock by Dragon to be slain;
But he the Virgin Princesse soon should free,
And stretch the monster breathlesse on the plain;
Bribery, the Dragon huge, should never rise again.
Escape his false Duessas magicke charms,
And Folly quaid, yclepd an Hydra fell,
Receive a beauteous Lady to his arms;
While Bardes and Minstrales chaunt the soft alarms
Of gentle Love, unlike his former thrall.
Eke should I sing, in courtly cunning terms,
The gallant feast, servd up by Seneshall,
To Knights and Ladies gent in painted bowre and hall.
And does of human frailtie soothly tell,
Unmeet it were indulge the daintie flights
Of Phantasie, that never yet befell:
Uneath it is long habits to expell,
Ne may the best good heart its bliss secure,
Ne may the lively powre of judging well,
In arduous worthy deed long time endure,
Where Dissipation once has fixt her footing sure.
On this faire Nymph: the legend thus is told.
To Dians care her life her Mother owd;
Faire Dian found her naked on the wold,
Some Peasants babe, exposed to deadlie cold,
And to a favourite Satyr gave to rear:
Then, when the Nymph was fifteen springtimes old,
Equipt her with the bow and Huntresse spear,
And of her Woodland Traine her made a welcome fere.
Fain would she at the chace still lag behind:
One sultry noone, as Phœbe sped afore,
Beneath a leafy vine the nymph reclind,
And, Fan my breast, she cried, Oh Western Wind!
Soon at the wishd-for word Favonius came.
From that day forth the conscious Nymph declind
The near inspection of the Sovereign Dame;
Till mid the chace, one morne, her throes betrayd her shame.
The Nymph changd colour, and hung down her head;
Still change thy blushing hue, the Goddess cryd:
Forthwith a freezing languor gan invade
Her limbs; and now, with suddein leaves arrayd,
A Russian Poppey she transmewd remains;
The various colours ever rise and fade,
The tints still shifting mock the Painters pains;
And still her drowsie mood the beauteous Nymph retains.
Soft lapt, on balmy pinions farre away;
And with the Fawns, by Peneus flowry shore,
From earliest youth the laughing Imp did play,
For ever fluttering, debonair, and gay,
And restlesse, as the dove Deucalion sent
To spy if peering oake did yet bewray
Its braunching head above the flooded bent;
But ydlie beating round the day in vain was spent.
To fayre Parnassus groves she took her flight;
There, culling flowretts of a thousand dyes,
Still did her head with tawdry girlonds dight;
As soon the wreath ill sorted would she quight:
Ne ever did she climb the twyforkt hill,
Ne could her eyen explore its lofty height,
Ne did she ever taste the sacred rill
From Inspirations fount that ever doth distill.
Her drowsy dulness from her Mother sprong;
This never would allow her mind aspyre,
That never would allow her patience long,
Thus as she slightly rovd the lawns among,
High Jove beheld her from his starry seat,
And calld her Dissipation: Wylde and young
Still shalt Thou be, he said; and this thy fate,
On Man thy sleights employ, on Man that prowd ingrate.
And holds him injurd when my care denies
The fondling wish, whence sorrow would ensue;
And idle still his prayers invade my skies;
But bold and arduous must that virtue rise
Which I accept, no vague inconstant blaze.
Then be it Thine to spred before his eyes
Thy changing colours, and thy wyld-fire rays,
And fruitlesse still shall be that virtue thou canst daze.
The Fates assented, and the Dæmon flew
Right to the Seats of Men. The robe she wore
Was starrd with dewdrops, and of palest blue;
Faire round her head playd many a beauteous hue,
As when the rainbow through the bean-flowres plays;
The fleeting tints the Swaynes with wonder view,
And ween to snatch a prize beneath the rays;
But through the meadows dank the beauteous meteor strays.
With wylie traines the Sonnes of Earth besett;
Goodnesse of Heart before her yawns and dies,
And Friendship ever feels the drowsie fitt
Just when its powre to serve could serve a whitt.
And still behind her march Remorse and Shame,
That never will their yron scourge remitt,
Whenso the Fiend resigns her thralls to them:
Sad case, I weet, where still Oneselfe Oneselfe must blame.
In wanton dalliance first her nett she spred,
And soon in mirthfull tumult on his mind
She softlie stole: yet, while at times he sped
To Contemplations bowre, his sight she fled;
Ne on the mountainett with him durst bide;
Yet homewards still she mett him in the glade,
And in the social cup did slily glide,
And still his best resolves eftsoons she scatterd wide.
He homeward wends, in heavie musefull stowre,
The smooth Deceiver gan his heart assail;
His heart soon felt the fascinating powre:
Old Cambrias Genius markt the fatal houre,
And tore the girlond from her sea-greene hair;
The conscious oakes above him rustling lowre,
And through the braunches sighs the gloomy air,
As when indignant Jove rejects the Flamens prayer.
His opening mind with many a raptured dream,
That oft his evening wanderings had inspird,
All by the silent hill or murmuring stream,
Forsake him now; for all as lost they deem:
So home he wends; where, wrapt in jollitie,
His hall to keepen holiday mote seem,
And with the Hunters soon full blythe was he,
The blythest wight of all that blythesome companie.
Looks through the glen besprent with silver hore,
Across the stubble, brushing off the dew,
The younkling Fowler gins the fieldes explore,
And, wheeling oft, his Pointer veres afore,
And oft, sagacious of the tainted gale,
The fluttering bird betrays; with thondring rore
The shott resounds, loud echoing through the dale;
But still the Younkling kills nor partridge, snipe, nor quail.
The dog was rash, a swallow twitterd by,
The gun hung fire, and keenness shook his hand,
And there the wind or bushes hurt his eye.
So can the Knight his mind still satisfye:
A lazie Fiend, Self Imposition hight,
Still whispers some excuse, some gilden lye,
Himselfe did gild to cheat himselfe outright;
God help the man bewitchd in such ungracious plight.
Obsequiously behind at distance due;
And still to Discontents accursed gates,
The House of Sorrow, these ungodlie Two,
Conduct their fainty thralls—Great things to do
The Knight resolvd, but never yet could find
The proper time, while still his miseries grew:
And now these Dæmons of the captive Mind
Him to the drery Cave of Discontent resignd.
Wide was the mouth, the roofe all rudely rent;
Some parts receive, and some exclude the Day,
For deepe beneath the hill its caverns went:
The ragged walls with lightning seemd ybrent,
And loathlie vermin ever crept the flore:
Yet all in sight, with towres and castles gent,
A beauteous lawnskepe rose afore the dore,
The which to view so fayre the Captives grieved sore.
An owl-frequented bowre, some tents were spred;
Here sat a Throng, with eager furious stare
Rattling the dice; and there, with eyes halfe dead,
Some drowsie Dronkards, looking black and red,
Dozd out their days: and by the path-way green
A sprightlie Troupe still onward heedlesse sped,
In chace of butterflies alert and keen;
Honours, and Wealth, and Powre, their butterflies I ween.
Into the Cave they wend with sullen pace;
Each to his meet apartment dernly fares:
Here, all in raggs, in piteous plight most bace,
The Dronkard sitts; there, shent with foul disgrace,
The thriftlesse Heir; and o'er his reeking blade
Red with his Friends heart gore, in woefull cace
The Duellist raves; and there, on vetchie bed,
Crazd with his vaine pursuits, the Maniack bends his head.
Ships, coaches, crownes, and eke the gallow tree;
All that he wishd or feard his ghastlie walls
Present him still, and mock his miserie.
And there, self-doomd, his cursed selfe to flee,
The Gamester hangs in corner murk and dread;
Nigh to the ground bends his ungratious knee;
His drooping armes and white-reclining head
Dim seen, cold Horror gleams athwart th'unhallowed shade.
The Keeper of the Cave all haggard satt,
His pining corse a restlesse ague shook,
And blistering sores did all his carkas frett:
All with himselfe he seemd in keen debate;
For still the muscles of his mouthe he drew
Ghastly and fell; and still with deepe regrate
He lookd him round, as if his heart did rew
His former deeds, and mournd full sore his sores to view.
And dard his wisdom and his will arraign;
For boldly he the ways of God blasphemd,
And of blind governaunce did loudly plain,
While vild Selfe-pity would his eyes distain;
As when an Wolfe, entrapt in village ground,
In dread of death ygnaws his limb in twain,
And views with scalding teares his bleeding wound:
Such fierce Selfe-pity still this Wights dire portaunce crownd.
Where, in the silver age, Content did wonne;
This now was His: yet all mote nought avail,
His loathing eyes that place did ever shun;
But ever through his Neighbours lawns would run,
Where every goodlie fielde thrice goodlie seemd.
Such was this weary Wight all woe-begone;
Such was his life; and thus of things he deemd;
And suchlike was his Cave, that all with sorrowes teemd.
And in his dreary purlieus left the Knight.
From the dire Cave fain would the Knight have fled,
And fain recalld the treachrous Nymphe from flight:
But now the late Obtruder shuns his sight,
And dearly must be wooed: hard by the den,
Where listless Bacchus had his tents ypight,
A transient visit sometimes would he gain,
While Wine and merry Song beguild his inward pain.
The ghastly tyrant at his couch stood near;
And ay with ruthless clamour gan upbraid,
And words that would his very heartstrings tear:
See now, he sayes, where setts thy vain career;
Approching elde now wings its cheerlesse way,
Thy fruitlesse Autumn gins to blanch thy heare,
And aged Winter asks from Youth its stay;
But thine comes poore of joy, comes with unhonourd gray.
Thy kindnesse flowd, and still with scorne repaid;
Even she on whom thy favours heapt remain,
Even she regards thee with a bosome dead
To kindly passion, and by motives led
Such as the Planter of his Negro deems;
What profit still can of the wretch be made
Is all his care, of more he never dreams:
So, farre remote from her, thy troubles she esteems.
Ah, wretched Syre!—but ever from this scene
The wretched Syre precipitates his flight,
And in the Bowls wylde fever shuns his teene.
So pass his dayes, while What he might have beene
Its beauteous views does every morne present:
So pass his dayes, while still the raven Spleen
Croaks in his eares, The brightest parts mispent
Beget an hoarie age of griefe and discontent.
Ye who can calmly spurn the ruind Mayd,
Ye who unmovd can view the deepe distresse
That crushes to the dust the Parents head,
And rends that easie heart by You betrayd,
Boast not that Ye his numerous woes eskew;
Ye who unawd the Nuptial couch invade,
Boast not his weaknesse with contempt to view;
For worthy is He still compard, perdie, to YOU.
This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.