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Before my view appear'd a structure fair, 420
Its site uncertain, if in earth or air ;
With rapid motion turn'd the mansion round ;
With ceaseless noise the ringing walls resound;
Not less in number were the spacious doors,
Than leaves on trees, or sands 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 ascend,
As weighty bodies to the centre tend,
As to the sea returning rivers roll,

430
And the touch'd needle trembles to the pole;
Hither, as to their proper place, arise
All various sounds from earth, and seas, and skies,
Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd in the ear;
Nor ever silence, rest, or peace, is here. 435
As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes
The sinking stone at first a circle makes ;
The trembling surface by the motion stirr’d,
Spreads in a second circle, then a third ; 439
Wide, and more wide, the floating rings advance,
Fill all the wat’ry plain, and to the margin dance :

IMITATIONS.

A thousand hoels and well mo,
To letten the soune out go;
And by day in every tide
Ben all the doors open wide,
And by night each one unshet;
No porter is there one to let,
No manner tydings in to pace:

Ne never rest is in that place.” Ver. 428. As flames by nature to the, &c.] This thought is transferred hither out of the third book of Fame, where it takes up no less than one hundred and twenty verses, beginning thus :

“ Geffrey, thou wottest well this,” etc. P.

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Thus ev'ry voice and sound, when first they break,
On neighb’ring air a soft impression make;
Another ambient circle then they move;
That, in its turn, impels the next above ; 445
Through undulating air the sounds are sent,
And spread o'er all the fluid element.

There various news I heard of love and strife, Of peace and war, health, sickness, death, and life, Of loss 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 mismanagements, taxations new : All neither wholly false, nor wholly true.

Above, below, without, within, around, Confus'd, unnumber'd multitudes are found,

IMITATIONS.
Ver. 448. There various news I heard, &c.]

“ Of werres, of peace, of marriages,
Of rest, of labour, of

voyages,
Of abode, of dethe, and of life,
Of love and hate, accord and strife,
Of loss, of lore, and of winnings,
Of hele, of sickness, and lessings,
Of divers transmutations
Of estates 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.”
Ver. 458. Above, below, without, within, &c.]

“ But such a grete congregation
Of folke as I saw roam about
Some within, and some without,

P.

Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away; 460
Hosts raised by fear, and phantoms of a day :
Astrologers 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 some secret place, 466
And wild impatience star'd in ev'ry face.
They flying rumours gather'd as they rolld,

tale was sooner heard than told ;
And all who told it added something new, 470
And all who heard it, made enlargements too,
In ev'ry ear it spread, on ev'ry tongue it

grew. Thus flying east and west, and north and south, News travellid with increase from mouth to mouth; So from a spark, that kindled first by chance, 475 With gath’ring force the quick’ning flames advance ; Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire, And tow’rs and temples sink in floods of fire.

Scarce any

IMITATIONS.
Was never seen, ne shall be eft-

And every wight that I saw there
Rowned everich in others ear.
A new tyding privily,
Or else he told it openly
Right thus, and said, Knowst 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 south
Went every tiding fro mouth to mouth,
And that encreasing evermo,
As fire is wont to quicken and go
From a sparkle sprong amiss,
Till all the citee brent

up

is.”

When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung, Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue, 480 Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow, 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 some 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 through

the sky

There, at one passage, oft you might survey, A lie and truth contending for the way;

490 And long 'twas doubtful, both so closely pent, Which first should issue through the narrow vent: At last agreed, together out they fly, Inseparable now, the truth and lie ; The strict companions are for ever join'd, 495 And this or that unmix’d, no mortal e'er shall find,

NOTES.

Ver. 496. And this or that unmir'd] The President Montesquieu observes (in his Grandeur of the Romans), that the rank or place which posterity bestows is subject, like all others, to the whim and caprice of fortune. Woolaston said, in his own epitaph, that he retired early from the world, propter iniqua hominum judicia.

IMITATIONS.

Ver. 489. There, at one passage, &c.]

“ And sometime I saw there at once,
A lesing and a sad sooth saw
That gonnen at adventure draw
Out of a window forth to pacem
And no man, be he ever so wrothe,
Shall have one of these two, but bothe," etc.

P.

While thus. I stood, intent to see 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 praise ? 500

'Tis true, said I, not void of hopes I came, For who so fond as youthful bards of Fame? But few, alas! the casual blessing boast, So hard to gain, so easy to be lost. How vain that second life in others' breath, 505 Th' estate which wits inherit after death! Ease, health, and life, for this they must resign, (Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine !) The great man's curse, without the gains, endure, Be envy'd, wretched, and be flatter'd, poor; 510 All luckless wits their enemies profest, And all successful, jealous friends at best. Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favours call; She comes unlook'd for, if she comes at all. But if the purchase cost so dear a price,

515 As soothing Folly, or exalting Vice: Oh! if the Muse must flatter lawless sway, And follow still where fortune leads the way; Or if no basis bear my rising name, But the fall'n ruins of another's fame;

520 Then teach me, Heav'n! to scorn the guilty bays, Drive from my breast that wretched lust of praise;

NOTES.

Ver. 497. While thus I stood, &c.] The hint is taken from a passage in another part of the third book, but here more naturally made the conclusion, with the addition of a moral to the whole. In Chaucer he only answers," he came to see the place;" and the book ends abruptly, with his being surprised at the sight of a Man of great Authority, and awakening in a fright.

P.

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