« AnteriorContinuar »
“ Curse on th' unpardoning prince, whom tears And grace his arms so far in equal fight, can draw
From out the bars to force his opposite, To no remorse; who rules by lions' law;
Or kill, or make him recreant on the plain, And deaf to prayers, by no submission bow'd, The prize of valour and of love shall gain; Rends all alike; the penitent, and proud."
The vanquish'd party shall their claim release, At this, with look serene, he rais'd his head; And the long jars conclude in lasting peace. Reason resum'd her place, and Passion fled : The charge be mine t'adorn the chosen ground, Then thus aloud he spoke: “ The power of Love, The theatre of war, for champions so renown'd; In Earth, and seas, and air, and Heaven above, And take the patron's place of either knight, Rules, unresisted, with an awful nod;
With eyes impartial to behold the fight; By daily miracles declar'd a god :
And Heaven of me so judge, as I shall judge aright. He blinds the wise, gives eye-sight to the blind; If both are satisfied with this accord, And moulds and stamps anew the lover's mind. Swear by the laws of knighthood on my sword.” Behold that Arcite, and this Palamon,
Who now but Palamon exults with joy? Freed from my fetters, and in safety gonc,
And ravish'd Arcite seems to touch the sky: What hinder'd either in their native soil
The whole assembled troop was pleas'd as well, At ease to reap the harvest of their toil ;
Extol th' award, and on their knees they fell But Love, their lord, did otherwise ordain,
To bless the gracious king. The knights, with leave And brought them in their own despite again, Departing from the place, his last commands receive; To suffer death deserv'd; for well they know, On Emily with equal ardour look, 'Tis in my power, and I their deadly foe;
And from her eyes their inspiration took : The proverb holds, that to be wise and love,
From thence to Thebes' old walls pursue their way, Is hardly granted to the gods above.
Each to provide bis champions for the day. See how the madmen bleed; behold the gains
It might be deem'd, on our historian's part,
If he forgot the vast magnificence
He first enclos'd for lists a level ground,
The form was circular; and all without
| A trench was sunk, to moat the place about.
Height was allow'd for him above to see.
Eastward was built a gate of marble white; And all are fools and lovers, first or last :
The like adorn'd the western opposite. This both by others and myself I know,
A nobler object than this fabric was, Fe I have serv'd their sovereign long ago;
Rome never saw : nor of so vast a space : Oft have been caught within the winding train For, rich with spoils of many a conquer'd land, Of female snares, and felt the lover's pain,
All arts and artists Theseus could command: And learn's how far the god can human hearts Who sold for hire, or wrought for better fame, constrain.
The master-painters, and the carvers, came.
An age's work, a glorious theatre.
Then o'er its eastern gate was rais'd, above, To do me homage as their sovereign lord;
A temple, sacred to the queen of love; And as my vassals, to their utmost might,
An altar stood below; on either hand Assist my person, and assert my right.”
A priest with roses crown'd, who held a myrtle wand This freely sworn, the knights their grace obtain'd. The dome of Mars was on the gate opposid, Then tirus the king his secret thoughts explain'd: | And on the north a turret was enclos'd, If wealth, or honour, or a royal race,
Within the wall, of alabaster white, Ot each, or all, may win a lady's grace,
And crimson coral, for the queen of night, Then either of you knights may well deserve Who takes in sylvan sports her chaste delight. A princess born; and such is she you serve :
Within these oratories might you see For Emnily is sister to the crown,
Rich carvings, portraitures, and imagery: And but too well to both her beauty known : Where every figure to the life expressid Bat should you combat till you both were dead, | The godhead's power to whom it was address'd. Two lovers cannot share a single bed :
In Venus' temple on the sides were seen As therefore both are equal in degree,
The broken slumbers of enamour'd men, The lot of both be left to Destiny.
Prayers, that even spoke, and pity seem'd to call, Now hear th' award, and happy may it prove | And issuing sighs, that smok'd along the wall, To ber, and him who best deserves her love! | Complaints, and hot desires, the lover's Hell, Depart from hence in peace, and free as air, And scalding tears, that wore a channel where they Seach the wide world, and where you please repair ; ]
fell: Bet on the day when this returning Sun
And all around were nuptial bonds, the ties, To the same point through every sign has run, Of love's assurance, and a train of lies, Then esch of you his hundred knights shall bring, That, made in lust, conclude in perjuries. la royal lists, to fight before the king; . Beauty, and Youth, and Wealth, and Luxury, And then the knight, whom Fate or happy Chance And sprightly Hope, and short-enduring Jog: Shall with his friends to victory advance,
And sorceries to raise th' infernal powers, | Thence issued such a blast, and hollow roar,
As threaten'd from the hinge to heave the door ; Expense, and Afterthought, and idle Care, In through that door, a northern light there shone; And Doubts of motley hue, and dark Despair ; 'Twas all it had, for windows there were none; Suspicions, and fantastical Surmise,
The gate was adamant, eternal frame ! And Jealousy suffus'd, with jaundice in her eyes, Which, hew'd by Mars himself, from Indian quarries Discolouring all she view'd, in tawny dress'd, Down-look'd, and with a cuckoo on her fist. The labour of a god; and all along Oppos’d to her, on t' other side advance
Tough iron plates were clench'd to make it strong. The costly feast, the carol, and the dance,
A tun about was every pillar there; Minstrels, and music, poetry, and play,
A polish'd mirror shone not half so clear. And balls by nights, and tournaments by day. There saw I how the secret felon wrought, All these were painted on the wall, and more : And Treason labouring in the traitor's thought : With acts and monuments of times before : And midwife Time the ripen'd plot to murder And others added by prophetic doom,
brought. And lovers yet unborn, and loves to come :
There the red Anger dar'd the pallid Fear; For there th' Idalian mount, and Citheron,
Next stood Hypocrisy, with holy leer, The court of Venus was in colours drawn :
Soft smiling, and demurely looking down, Before the palace-gate, in careless dress,
But hid the dagger underneath the gown: And loose array, sat portress Idleness :
Th' assassinating wife, the household fiend, There, by the fount, Narcissus pin'd alone:
And, far the blackest there, the traitor-friend. There Samson was; with wiser Solomon,
On t' other side there stood Destruction bare, And all the mighty names by love undone,
Unpunished Rapine, and a waste of war. Medea's charms were there, Circean feasts,
Contest, with sharpen'd knives, in cloisters drawn, With bowls that turn’d enamour'd youth to beasts. And all with blood bespread the holy lawn. Here might be seen, that beauty, wealth, and wit, Loud menaces were heard, and foul Disgrace, And prowess, to the power of love submit:
And bawling Infamy, in language base: (place. The spreading snare for all mankind is laid ; Till sense was lost in sound, and Silence fled the And lovers all betray, and are betray'd.
The slayer of himself yet saw I there, The goddess' self some noble hand had wrought; The gore congeal'd was clotted in his hair : Smiling she seem'd, and full of pleasing thought: With eyes half clos'd, and gaping mouth he lay, From ocean as she first began to rise,
And grim, as when he breath'd his sudden soul And smooth'd the ruffled seas and clear'd the skies,
And Madness laughing in his ireful mood;
And arm'd Complaint on Theft; and cries of Blood. Her turtles fann'd the buxom air above;
There was the murder'd corpse, in covert laid, And, by his mother, stood an infant Love,
And violent Death in thousand shapes display'd; With wings unfledg'd; his eyes were banded | The city to the soldiers' rage resign’d; o'er;
Successless wars, and Poverty behind; His hands a bow, his back a quiver bore,
Ships burnt in fight, or forc'd on rocky shores, Supply'd with arrows bright and keen, a deadly store. And the rash hunter strangled by the boars : But in the dome of mighty Mars the red
The new-born babe by nurses overlaid; With different figures all the sides were spread; And the cook caught within the raging fire he made. This temple, less in form, with equal grace,
All ills of Mars's nature, flame and steel; Was imitative of the first in Thrace:
The gasping charioteer, beneath the wheel For that cold region was the lov'd abode,
Of his own car ; the ruin'd house, that falls And sovereign mansion of the warrior god.
And intercepts her lord betwixt the walls : The landscape was a forest wide and bare ;
The whole division, that to Mars per tains, Where neither beast, nor human kind repair; All trades of death, that deal in steel for gains, The fowl, that scent afar, the borders fly,
Were there: the butcher, armourer, and smith, And shun the bitter blast, and wheel about the sky. | Who forges sharpen'd faulchions, or the scythe. A cake of scurf lies baking on the ground,
The scarlet Conquest on a tower was plac'd,
Sustain'd but by a slender twine of thread.
These, and a thousand more, the fane adorn; Such was the face without; a mountain stood Their fates were painted ere the men were born, Threatening from high, and overlook'd the wood: All copied from the Heavens, and ruling force Beneath the lowering brow, and on a bent,
Of the red star, in his revolving course. The temple stood of Mars armipotent :
| The form of Mars high on a chariot stood, The frame of burnish'd steel, that cast a glare All sheath'd in arms, and gruffly look'd the god : From far, and seem'd to thaw the freezing air. | Two geomantic figures were display'd A straight long entry to the temple led,
| Above his head, a warrior and a maid; Blind with high walls, and Horrour over head: One when direct, and one when retrograde.
Tir'd with deformities of death, I haste
| There breathes not scarce a man on British ground To the third temple of Diana chaste.
(An isle for love and arms of old renown'd) A sylvan scene with various greens was drawn, But would have sold his life to purchase fame, Shades on the sides, and on the midst a lawn : To Palamon or Arcite sent his name: The silver Cynthia, with her nymphs around, And had the land selected of the best, (rest. Pursued the flying deer, the woods with horns re Half had come hence, and let the world provide the
A hundred knights with Palamon there came, Calisto there stood manifest of shame,
Approv'd in fight, and men of mighty name; And, turn'd a bear, the northern star became : Their arms were several, as their nations were, Her son was next, and, by peculiar grace,
But furnish'd all alike with sword and spear. In the cold circle held the second place:
Some wore coat armour, imitating scale; The stag Acteon in the stream had spy'd
And next their skins were stubborn shirts of mail. The naked huntress, and, for seeing, dy'd:
Some wore a breast-plate and a light juppon,
Some for defence would leathern bucklers use, Peneian Daphne too was there to see,
Of folded hides; and others shields of pruce. Apollo's love before, and now his tree :
One hung a pole-axe at his saddle-bow, TH' adjoining fane th' assembled Greeks express'd, And one a heavy mace to shun the foe. And hunting of the Caledonian beast.
One for his legs and knees provided well, Oenides' valour, and his envy'd prize;
With jambeaux arm’d, and double plates of steel. The fatal power of Atalanta's eyes;
This on his helmet wore a lady's glove,
And that a sleeve embroider'd by his love.
Black was his beard, and manly was his face;
long. And at her back a painted quiver wore.
Four milkwhite bulls (the Thracian use of old) She trod a wexing moon, that soon would wane, Were yok'd to draw his car of burnish'd gold. And drinking borrow'd light, be fill'd again ; Upright he stood, and bore aloft his shield, With downcast eyes, as secrning to survey
Conspicuous from afar, and overlook'd the field. The dark dominions, her alternate sway.
His surcoat was a bear-skin on his back; Before her stood a woman in her throes,
His hair hung long behind, and glossy raven black. And call'd Lucina's aid, her burden to disclose. His ample forehead bore a coronet, All these the painter drew with such command, With sparkling diamonds and with rubies set : Toat Nature snatch'd the pencil from his hand, Ten brace, and more, of greyhounds, snowy fair, Ashan'd and angry that his art could feign
And tall as stags, ran loose, and cours'd around his And inead the tortures of a mother's pain.
chair, Theseus beheld the fanes of every god,
A match for pards in flight, in grapling for the bear: And thought his mighty cost was well bestow'd. With golden muzzles all their mouths were bound, So princes now their poets should regard;
And collars of the same their necks surround. But few can write, and fewer can reward.
Thus through the fields Lycurgus took his way: The theatre thus rais'd, the lists enclos'd,
His hundred knights attend in pomp and proud And all with vast magnificence dispos'd,
array. We leave the monarch pleas'd, and haste to bring To match this monarch, with strong Arcite came The knights to combat; and their arms to sing. | Emetrius, king of Inde, a mighty name,
On a bay courser, goodly to behold, [gold.
The trappings of his horse adorn'd with barbarous Book III.
Not Mars bestrode a steed with greater grace;
His surcoat o'er his arms was cloth of Thrace, Tez day approach'd when Fortune should decide Adorn'd with pearls, all orient, round, and great ; Th' important enterprize, and give the bride ; His saddle was of gold, with emeralds set. For now, the rivals round the world had sought, His shoulders large, a mantle did attire, And each his rival, well appointed, brought. With rubies thick, and sparkling as the fire : The nations, far and near, contend in choice, His amber-colour'd locks in ringlets run, And send the flower of war by public voice; With graceful negligence, and shone against the That after, or before, were never known Sach chiefs, as each an army seem'd alone : His nose was aquiline, his eyes were blue, Beside the champions, all of high degree,
Ruddy his lips, and fresh and fair his hue : Who knighthood lov'd, and deeds of chivalry, Some sprinkled freckles on his face were seen, Theong'd to the lists, and envy'd to behold
Whose dusk set off the whiteness of the skin : The names of others, not their own, enroll’d. His awful presence did the crowd surprise, Nor seerns it strange ; for every noble knight Nor durst the rash spectator meet his eyes, Who loves the fair, and is endu'd with might, Eyes that confess'd him born for kingly sway, It such a quarrel would be proud to fight. So fieree, they flash'd intolerable day.
His age in Nature's youthful prime appear'd, Light sufferings give us leisure to complain ;
Thou know'st it, and I feel too much to pray.
A servant to thy sex, a slave to thee,
A foe profest to barren chastity.
Nor ask I fame or honour of the field,
Let Fate, or partial Chance, dispose the rest :
Find thou the manner, and the means prepare;
In your fifth orb, and rule the realm of love.
Spare me but one small portion of the twine,
But, if you this ambitious prayer deny,
(A wish, I grant, beyond mortality) So 'Theseus will’d, in honour of his guests; | Then let me sink beneath proud Arcite's arms, Himself with open arms the king embrac'd, And, I once dead, let him possess her charms." Then all the rest in their degrees were grac'd. Thus ended he; then, with observance due, No harbinger was needful for a night,
The sacred incense on her altar threw : For every house was proud to lodge a knight. | The curling smoke mounts heavy from the fires : I pass the royal treat, nor must relate
At length it catches flame, and in a blaze expires; The gifts bestow'd, nor how the champions sate : At once the gracious goddess gave the sign, Who first, or last, or how the knights address'd Her statue shook, and trembled all the shrine: Their vows, or who was fairest at the feast; [prise ; | Pleas'd Palamon the tardy omen took : Whose voice, whose graceful dance, did most sur For, since the flames pursu'd the trailing smoke, Soft amorous sighs, and silent love of eyes. He knew his boon was granted; but the day (lay. The rivals call my Muse another way,
To distance driven, and joy adjourn'd with long de To sing their vigils for th’ ensuing day.
Now Morn with rosy light had streak'd the sky, 'Twas ebbing darkness, past the noon of night, Up rose the Sun, and up rose Emily; And Phospher, on the confines of the light, Address'd her early steps to Cynthia's fane, Promis'd the Sun, ere day began to spring; In state attended by her maiden train, The tuneful lark already stretch'd her wing, [sing: Who bore the vests that holy rites require, And, flickering on her nest, made short essays to Incense, and odorous gums, and cover'd fire. When wakeful Palamon, preventing day,
The plenteous horns with pleasant mead they crown, Took, to the royal lists, his early way,
Nor wanted aught besides in honour of the Moon.' To Venus at her fane, in her own house, to pray. Now while the temple smok'd with hallow'd steam, There, falling on his knees before her shrine, They wash the virgin in a living stream: He thus implor'd with prayers her power divine. The secret ceremonies I conceal, “ Creator Venus, genial power of love,
Uncouth, perhaps unlawful, to reveal : The bliss of men below, and gods above! | But such they were as pagan use requir'd, Beneath the sliding Sun thou runn'st thy race, Perform'd by women when the men retir'd, Dost fairest shine, and best become thy place. Whose eyes prophane their chaste mysterious rites For thee the winds their eastern blasts forbear, Might turn to scandal, or obscene delights. Thy month reveals the spring, and opens all the year. Well-meaners think no harın ; but for the rest, Thee, Goddess, thee the storms of winter Ay, Things sacred they pervert, and silence is the best. Earth smiles with flowers renewing, laughs the sky, Her shining hair, uncomb'd, was loosely spread, And birds to lays of love their tuneful notes apply. A crown of mastless oak adorn'd her head : For thee the lion loaths the taste of blood,
When to the shrine approach'd, the spotless maid And roaring hunts his female through the wood: Had kindling fires on either altar laid, For thee the bulls rebellow through the groves, (The rites were such as were observ'd of old, And tempt the stream, and snuff their absent loves. By Statius in his Theban story told,) 'Tis thine, whate'er is pleasant, good, or fair : | Then kneeling with her hands across her breast, All nature is thy province, life thy care :
Thus lowly she preferr'd her chaste request. Thou mad'st the world, and dost the world repair. “ () goddess, haunter of the woodland green, Thou gladder of the mount of Cytheron,
To whom both Heaven and Earth and seas are seen : Increase of Jove, companion of the Sun;
Queen of the nether skies, where half the year If e'er Adonis touch'd thy tender heart,
Thy silver beams descend, and light the gloomy Have pity, goddess, for thou know'st the smart.
sphere; Alas! I have not words to tell my grief;
Goddess of maids, and conscious of our hearts, To vent my sorrow, would be some relief;
So keep me from the vengeance of thy darts,
Which Niobe's devoted Issue felt, were dealt,/ The next returning planetary hour
His steps bold Arcite to the temple bent,
T'adore with pagan rites the power omnipotent: Thy votress from my tender years I am,
Then prostrate, low before his altar lay, And love, like thee, the woods and sylvan game. And rais'd his manly voice, and thus began to pray: Like death, thou know'st, I loath the nuptial state, “ Strong god of arms, whose iron sceptre sways And man, the tyrant of our sex, I hate,
The freezing north, and Hyperborean seas, A lowly servant, but a lofty mate:
And Scythian colds, and Thracia's winter coast, Where love is duty on the female side, (pride. Where stand thy steeds, and thou art honour'd most : On theirs mere sensual gust, and sought with surly There most, but every where thy power is known, Nuw by thy triple shape, as thou art seen
| The fortune of the fight is all thy own :
And disarray and shameful rout ensue,
If aught I have achiev'd deserve thy care :
If to my utmost power with sword and shield Make him my lord, within whose faithful breast I dar'd the death, unknowing how to yield, Is fix'd my image, and who loves me best.
And, falling in my rank, still kept the field : But, oh! ev'n that avert! I choose it not,
Then let my arms prevail, by thee sustain'd, But take it as the least unhappy lot.
That Emily by conquest may be gain'd. A maid I am, and of thy virgin train;
Have pity on my pains; nor those unknown Oh, let me still that spotless name retain !
To Mars, which, when a lover, were his own. Frequent the forests, thy chaste will obey,
Venus, the public care of all above, And only make the beasts of chase my prey !" Thy stubborn heart has softened into love: . The flames ascend on either altar clear,
Now by her blandishments and powerful charins, While thus the blameless maid address'd her prayer. When yielded she lay curling in thy arms, When lo ! the burning fire that shone so bright, Ev'n by thy shame, if shame it may be call’d, , Flew off, all sudden, with extinguish'd light, When Vulcan had thee in his net enthrallid: And left one altar dark, a little space,
O envy'd ignominy, sweet disgrace, Which turn'd self-kindled, and renew'd the blaze; When every God that saw thee wish'd thy place! The other victor-flame a moment stood,
By those dear pleasures, aid my arms in fight, Then fell, and lifeless left th' extinguish'd wood; And make me conquer in my patron's right : For ever lost, th' irrevocable light
For I am young, a novice in the trade, Forsook the blackening coals, and sunk to night: The fool of love, unpractis'd to persuade : At either end it whistled as it flew,
And want the soothing arts that catch the fair, And as the brands were green, so dropp'd the dew, But, caught myself, lie struggling in the snare : Infected as it fell with sweat of sanguine hue. | And she I love, or laughs at all my pain, (dain.
The raid from that ill omen turn'd her eyes, Or knows her worth too well; and pays me with disAnd with loud shrieks and clamours rent the skies, For sure I am, unless I win in arms, Nor knew what signified the boding sign, divine. To stand excluded from Emilia's charms : But found the powers displeas'd, and fear’d the wrath Nor can my strength avail, unless by thee
Then shook the sacred shrine, and sudden light Endued by force I gain the victory; Sprung through the vaulted roof, and made the Then for the fire which warm'd thy gen'rous heart, temple bright.
Pity thy subject's pains, and equal smart. The power, behold! the power in glory shone, So be the morrow's sweat and labour mine, By her bent bow and her keen arrows known; The palm and honour of the conquest thine : The rest, a huntress issuing from the wood,
Then shall the war, and stern debate, and strife Reclining on her curnel spear she stood.
Immortal, be the business of my life; Then gracious thus began : “ Dismiss thy fear, And in thy fane, the dusty spoils among, shung, And Heaven's unchang'd decrees attentive hear : High on the burnish'd roof, my banner shall be More powerful gods have torn thee from my side, Rank'd with my champion's bucklers, and below, Unwilling to resign, and doom'd a bride :
With arms revers’d, th' achievements of my foe : The two contending knights are weigh'd above; And while these limbs the vital spirit feeds, One Mars protects, and one the queen of love : While day to night, and night to day succceds, But which the man, is in the Thunderer's breast; Thy smoking altar shall be fat with food This he pronounc'd, 'tis he who loves thee best. Of incense, and the grateful steam of blood; The fire, that once extinct reviv'd again,
Burnt-offerings morn and evening shall be thine ; Foreshows the love allotted to remain :
And fires eternal in thy temple shine.
Guiltless of steel, and from the razor free,
I ask no more ; let Fate dispose the rest."
| Sent out a jarring sound, and harshly rung: