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“ Believe me, madam, morning dreams foreshow | Yc magistrates, who sacred laws dispense, Th' event of things, and future weal or woe : On you I call, to punish this offence.' Some truths are not by reason to be try'd,
“'The word thus given, within a little space, But we have sure experience for our guide. The mob came roaring out, and throng'd the place. An ancient author, equal with the best,
All in a trice they cast the cart to the ground, Relates this tale of dreams among the rest.
And in the dung the murder'd body found; “ Two friends or brothers, with devout intent, Though breathless, warm, and reeking from the On some far pilgrimage together went.
wound. It happen'd so, that, when the Sun was down, Good Heaven, whose darling attribute we find They just arriv'd by twilight at a town:
Is boundless grace, and mercy to mankind, That day had been the baiting of a bull,
Abhors the cruel; and the deeds of night 'Twas at a feast, and every inn so full,
By wondrous ways reveals in open light : That no void room in chamber, or on ground, Murder may pass unpunish'd for a time, And but one sorry bed was to be found :
But tardy Justice will o'ertake the crime. And that so little it would hold but one,
And oft a speedier pain the guilty feels : Though till this hour they never lay alone.
The hue and cry of Heaven pursues him at the heels: “ So were they forc'd to part; one stay'd behind, Fresh from the fact, as in the present case, His fellow sought what lodging he could find :
The criminals are seiz'd upon the place : At last he found a stall where oxen stood,
Carter and host confronted face to face. And that he rather chose than lie abroad.
Stiff in denial, as the law appoints, 'Twas in a farther yard without a door ;
On engines they distend their tortur'd joints: But, for his ease, well litter'd was the floor.
So was confession forc'd, th' offence was known, “ His fellow, who the narrow bed had kept, And public justice on th' offenders done. and without a rocker slept :
“ Here may you see that visions are to dread; Supine he snor'd; but in the dead of night, And in the page that follows this, I read He dreamt his friend appear'd before his sight, Of two young merchants, whom the hope of gain Who, with a ghastly look and doleful cry, Induc'd in partnership to cross the main. Said, • Help me, brother, or this night I die: Waiting till willing winds their sails supply'd, Arise, and help, before all help be vain,
Within a trading town they long abide, Or in an cx's stall I shall be slain.'
Full fairly situate on a haven's side ; “ Rous'd from his rest, he waken'd in a start, One evening it befell, that looking out, Shivering with horrour, and with aching heart, The wind they long had wish'd was come about : At length to cure himself by reason tries ;
Well pleas'd they went to rest; and if the gale 'Tis but a dream, and what are dreams but lies ? Till morn continued, both resolv’d to sail. So thinking, chang'd his side, and clos'd his eyes. But as together in a bed they lay, His dream returns; his friend appears again : The younger had a dream at break of day. • The murderers come, now help, or I am slain :' A man he thought stood frowning at his side : 'Twas but a vision still, and visions are but vain. Who warn'd him for his safety to provide, He dreamt the third: but now his friend appear'd Nor put to sea, but safe on shore abide. Pale, naked, pierc'd with wounds, with blood be- • I come, thy genius, to command thy stay; smear'd :
Trust not the winds, for fatal is the day, Thrice warn'd, “Awake,' said he ; relief is late, And Death unhop'd attends the watery way.' The deed is done ; but thou revenge my fate: “ The vision said : and vanish'd from his sight : Tardy of aid, unseal thy heavy eyes,
The dreamer waken'd in a mortal fright: Awake, and with the dawning day arise :
Then pull'd his drowsy neighbour, and declar'd Take to the western gate thy ready way,
What in his slumber he had seen and heard. For by that passage they my corpse convey :
His friend smil'd scornful, and with proud contempt My corpse is in a tumbril laid, among
Rejects as idle what his fellow dreamt. The filth and ordure, and enclos'd with dung: Stay, who will stay: for me no fears restrain, That cart arrest, and raise a common cry;
Who follow Mercury the god of gain; For sacred hunger of my gold, I die :
Let each man do as to his fancy seems, Then show'd his grisly wound : and last he drew I wait not, I, till you have better dreams. A piteous sigh, and took a long adieu.'
Dreams are but interludes which Fancy makes “ The frighted friend arose by break of day, When monarch Reason sleeps, this mimic wakes : And found the stall where late his fellow lay. Compounds a medley of disjointed things, Then of his impious host inquiring more,
A mob of coblers, and a court of kings : Was answer'd that his guest was gone before : Light fumes are merry, grosser fumes are sad : • Muttering, he went, said he, by morning light, Both are the reasonable soul run mad: And much complain'd of his ill rest by night.' And many monstrous forms in sleep we see, This rais'd suspicion in the pilgrim's mind; That neither were, nor are, nor e'er can be. Because all hosts are of an evil kind,
Sometimes forgotten things long cast behind And oft to share the spoils with robbers join'd. Rush forward in the brain, and come to mind. “ His dream confirm'd his thought: with troubled The nurse's legends are for truths receiv'd, look
And the man dreams but what the boy believ'd. Straight to the western gate his way he took; Sometimes we but rehearse a former play, There, as his dream. foretold, a cart he found, The night restores our actions done by day ; That carry'd compost forth to dung the ground. As hounds in sleep will open for their prey. This when the pilgriin saw, he stretch'd lis throat, In short, the farce of dreams is of a piece, And cry'd out murder with a yelling note.
Chimeras all; and more absurd, or less : My murder'd fellow in this cart lies dead, You, who believe in tales, abide alone ; Vengeance and justice on the villain's head. Whate'er I get this voyage is my own.
“ Thus while he spoke, he heard the shouting crew While thou art constant to thy own true knight, That call d aboard, and took his last adieu. While thou art mine, and I am thy delight, The vessel went before a merry gale,
All sorrows at thy presence take their flight. And for quick passage put on every sail :
For true it is, as in principio, But when least fear'd, and ev’n in open day, Mulier est hominis confusio. The mischief overtook her in the way :
Madam, the meaning of this Latin is, Whether she sprung a leak, I cannot find,
That woman is to man his sovereign bliss. Or whether she was overset with wind,
For when by night I feel your tender side,
Though for the narrow perch I cannot ride,
He said, and downward flew from off the beam.
Then crowing clapp'd his wings, th' appointed call, “ Kenelm the son of Kenulph, Mercia's king, To chuck his wives together in the hall. Whose holy life the legends loudly sing,
By this the widow had unbarr'd the door, Warn’d in a drearn, his murder did foretell And Chanticleer went strutting out before, From point to point as after it befell;
With royal courage, and with heart so light, All circumstances to his nurse he told
As show'd he scorn'd the visions of the night. (A wonder from a child of seven years old): Now roaming in the yard he spurn'd the ground, The dream with horrour heard, the good old wife And gave to Partlet the first grain he found. From treason counsel'd him to guard his life ; Then often feather'd her with wanton play, But close to keep the secret in his mind,
And trod her twenty times ere prime of day : For a boy's vision small belief would find.
And took by turns and gave so much delight, The pious child, by promise bound, obey'd, Her sisters pin'd with envy at the sight. Nos was the fatal murder long delay'd :
He chuck'd again, when other corns he found, By Quenda slain, he fell before his time,
And scarcely deign'd to set a foot to ground; Made a young martyr by his sister's crime. But swagger'd like a lord about his hall, The tale is told by venerable Bede,
And his seven wives came running at his call. Which at your better leisure you may read.
'Twas now the month in which the world began " Macrobius too relates the vision sent
(If March beheld the first created man): To the great Scipio, with the fam'd event: And since the vernal equinox, the Sun, Objections makes, but after makes replies,
In Aries, twelve degrees, or more, had run, And adds, that dreams are often prophesies. When casting up his eyes against the light, « Of Daniel you may read in holy writ,
Both month, and day, and hour, he measur'd right, Wbo, when the king his vision did forget,
And told more truly than th’Ephemeris : Could word for word the wondrous dream repeat. For Art may err, but Nature cannot miss. Not less of patriarch Joseph understand,
Thus numbering times and seasons in his breast, Who by a dream enslav'd th' Egyptian land, His second crowing the third hour confess'd. The years of plenty and of dearth foretold, Then turning, said to Partlet, “ See, my dear, When, for their bread, their liberty they sold. How lavish Nature has adorn’d the year ; Nor must th' exalted butler be forgot,
How the pale primrose and blue violet spring, Nar he whose dream presag'd his hanging lot. And birds essay their throats, disus'd to sing :
* And did not Cræsus the same death foresee, All these are ours; and I with pleasure see Rais'd in his vision on a lofty tree?
Man strutting on two legs, and aping me: The wife of Hector, in his utmost pride,
An unfledg'd creature, of a lumpish frame, Dreamt of his death the night before he dy'd; Endow'd with fewer particles of flame : Well was he warn'd from battle to refrain, Our dames sit scouring o’er a kitchen fire, But men to death decreed are warn'd in vain : I draw fresh air, and Nature's works admire: He dar'd the dream, and by his fatal foe was slain. And ev’n this day in more delight abound,
* Much more I know, which I forbear to speak, Than, since I was an egg, I ever found.” For see the ruddy day begins to break;
The time shall come when Chanticleer shall wish Let this suffice, that plainly I foresee
His words unsaid, and hate his boasted bliss : My dream was bad, and bodes adversity :
The crested bird shall by experience know, But neither pills nor laxatives I like,
Jove made not him his master-piece below; They only serve to make the well-man sick : And learn the latter end of joy is woe. Of these his gain the sharp physician makes, The vessel of his bliss to dregs is run, And often gives a purge, but seldom takes : And Heaven will have him taste his other tun. They not correct, but poison all the blood,
Ye wise, draw near, and hearken to my tale, Ani ne'e did any but the doctors good :
Which proves that oft the proud by flattery fall : Their tribe, trade, trinkets, I defy them all, The legend is as true, I undertake, Wita every work of 'pothecary's hall.
As Tristran is, and Launcelot of the lake:
Which all our ladies in such reverence hold,
A fox, full-fraught with seeming sanctity,
Who look'd like Lent, and had the holy leer, The scarle: red about thy partridge eye,
And durst not sin before he said his prayer;
This pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood, Who had not run the hazard of his life,
Pervert, with bad advice, our better mind.
A woman's counsel brought us first to woe, On Chanticleer his wicked fancy bent :
And made her man his Paradise forego, And in his high imagination cast,
Where at heart's ease he lived ; and might have been By stratagem to gratify his taste.
As free from sorrow as he was from sin.
Silence in times of suffering is the best,
'Tis dangerous to disturb an hornet's nest. Then sculk'd till afternoon, and watch'd his time, In other authors you may find enough, (As murderers use) to perpetrate his crime. But all they say of dames is idle stuff. O hypocrite, ingenious to destroy,
Legends of lying wits together bound, O traitor, worse than Sinon was to Troy!
The Wife of Bath would throw them to the ground; O vile subverter of the Gallic reign,
These are the words of Chanticleer, not mine,
Now to continue what my tale begun;
Lay madam Partlet basking in the Sun, Better for thee thou hadst believ'd thy dream, Breast-high in sand: her sisters, in a row, And not that day descended from the beam! Enjoy'd the beams above, the warmth below, But here the doctors eagerly dispute :
The cock, that of his flesh was ever free,
Sung merrier than the mermaid in the sea :
Among the coleworts, on a butterfly,
I need not swear he had no list to crow :
But cry'd, “ Cock, cock!" and gave a sudden start, Or its eternal prescience may be vain :
As sore dismay'd and frighted at his heart; As bad for us as prescience had not been,
For birds and beasts, inform'd by Nature, know
Kinds opposite to theirs, and fly their foe.
Yet shunn'd him as a sailor shuns the rocks,
But the false loon, who could not work his will To punish man, who sins because he must ? By open force, employ'd his flattering skill; Or, how can he reward a virtuous deed,
“ I hope, my lord," said he, “ I not offend; Which is not done by us; but first decreed? Are you afraid of me, that am your friend? I cannot bolt this matter to the bran,
I were a beast indeed to do you wrong, As Bradwardin and holy Austin can;
I, who have lov'd and honour'd you so long :
Stay, gentle sir, nor take a false alarm,
To learn the secrets of your soft recess :
Far be from Reynard su profane a thought, Another sort there is conditional.
But by the sweetness of your voice was brought : The first so binds the will, that things foreknown For, as I bid my beads, by chance I heard, By spontaneity, not choice, are done.
The song as of an angel in the yard ; Thus galley-slaves tug willing at their oar,
that would have charm'd th' infernal gods, Content to work, in prospect of the shore;
And banish'd horrour from the dark abodes ; But would not work at all if not constrain'd before. Had Orpheus sung it in the nether sphere, That other does not liberty constrain,
So much the hymn had pleas'd the tyrant's ear, But man may either act, or may refrain.
The wife had been detained, to keep the husband Heaven made us agents free to good or ill,
there. And forc'd it not, though he foresaw the will. “ My lord, your sire familiarly I knew, Freedom was first bestow'd on human race,
A peer deserving such a son as you: And prescience only held the second place. He, with your lady-mother (whom Heaven rest) If he could make such agents wholly free,
Has often grac'd my house, and been my guest : I not dispute, the point's too high for me ; (sound, To view his living features, does me good; For Heaven's unfathom'd power what man can For I am your poor neighbour in the wood; Or put to his Omnipotence a bound?
And in my cottage should be proud to see He made us to his image, all agree ;
The worthy heir of my friend's family. That image is the soul, and that must be,
“ But since I speak of singing, let me say, Or not the Maker's image, or be free.
As with an upright heart I safely may, (Bround But whether it were better man had been
That, save yourself, there breathes not By nature bound to good, not free to sin,
One like your father for a silver sound, I wave, for fear of splitting on a rock.
So sweetly would he wake the winter-day,
That matrons to the church mistook their way,
And he, to raise his voice with artful care,
Who, true to love, was all for recreation, (What will not beaux attempt to please the fair?) And minded not the work of propagation. On tiptoe stood to sing with greater strength, Gaufride, who could’st so well in rhyme complain And stretch'd his comely neck at all the length : The death of Richard with an arrow slain, And while he strain'd his voice to pierce the skies, Why had not I thy Muse, or thou my heart, As saints in raptures use, would shut his eyes, To sing this heavy dirge with equal art! That the sound striving through the narrow throat, That I like thee on Friday might complain; His winking might avail to mend the note. For on that day was Cour de Lion slain. By this, in song, he never had his peer,
Not louder cries, when Ilium was in flames, From sweet Cecilia down to Chanticleer;
Were sent to Heaven by woeful Trojan dames, Not Maro's Muse, who sung the mighty man, When Pyrrhus toss'd on high his burnish'd blade, Nor Pindar's heavenly lyre, nor Horace when aswan. And offer'd Priam to his father's shade, Your ancestors proceed from race divine :
Than for the cock the widow'd poultry made. From Brennus and Belinus is your line ;
Fair Partlet first, when he was borne from sight, Who gave to sovereign Rome such loud alarms, With sovereign shrieks bewail'd her captive knight: That ev'n the priests were not excus'd from arms. Far louder than the Carthaginian wite,
" Besides, a famous monk of modern times When Asdrubal, her husband, lost his life, Has left of cocks recorded in his rhymes,
When she beheld the smouldering flames ascend, That of a parish-priest the son and heir,
And all the Punic glories at an end :
With greater ease than others seek their bed;
Shriek'd for the downfall in a doleful cry,
For which their guiltless lords were doom'd to die. Yet for the sake of sweet saint Charity ;
Now to my story I return again :
This woeful cackling cry with horrour heard,
And, starting up, beheld the heavy sight,
And cross his back, as in triumphant scorn, So much the more, as, from a little elf,
The hope and pillar of the house was borne. He had a high opinion of himself;
“ The fox, the wicked fox!” was all the cry; Though sickly, slender, and not large of limb, Out from his house ran every neighbour nigh: Concluding all the world was made for him. The vicar first, and after him the crew Ye princes, rais'd by poets to the gods,
With forks and staves, the felon to pursue. And Alexander'd up in lying odes,
Ran Coll our dog, and Talbot with the band; Believe not every flattering knave's report,
And Malkin, with her distaff in her hand;
In panic horrour of pursuing dogs ;
This Chanticleer, of whom the story sings, Poor swine, as if their pretty hearts would break.
The ducks, that heard the proclamation cry'd,
Struck not the city with so loud a shout; Alas, what stay is there in human state,
Not when with English hate they did pursue Or who can shun inevitable fate?
A Frenchman, or an unbelieving Jew; The doom was written, the decree was past, Not when the welkin rung with one and all ; Ere the foundations of the world were cast! And echoes bounded back from Fox's hall : (fall. In Aries though the Sun exalted stoor
Earth seem'd to sink beneath, and Heaven above to His patron-planet to procure his good;
With might and main they chac'd the murderous Yet Saturn was. his mortal foe, and he,
fox, In Libra rais'd, oppos’d the same degree :
With brazen trumpets, and inflated box, The rays both good and bad, of equal power,
To kindle Mars with military sounds,
On Friday morn he dreamt this direful dream, But see, how Fortune can confound the wise,
The captive cock, who scarce could draw his breath,
Yet in this agony his fancy wrought, The wight of all the world who serv'd thee best? And Fear supply'd him with this happy thought :
OR THE LADY IN THE ARBOUR.
“ Your's is the prize, victorious prince," said he, “ The vicar my defeat, and all the village see.
THE FLOWER AND THE LEAF:
Now, turning from the wintery signs, the Sun
“ 'Tis well advis'd, in faith it shall be done;" And, whirling up the skies, his chariot drove This Reynard said : but, as the word he spoke, Through Taurus and the lightsome realms of Love; The prisoner with a spring from prison broke : Where Venus from her orb descends in showers, Then stretch'd his feather'd fans with all his might, To glad the ground, and paint the fields with And to the neighbouring maple wing'd his flight;
flowers : Whom when the traitor safe on tree beheld,
When first the tender blades of grass appear, He curs’d the gods, with shame and sorrow fillid; And buds, that yet the blast of Eurus fear, (year : Shame for his folly, sorrow out of time,
Stand at the door of life,, and doubt to clothe the For plotting an unprofitable crime;
Till gentle heat, and soft repeated rains, Yet, mastering both, th' artificer of lies
Make the green blood to dance within their veins : Renews th' assault, and his last battery tries. (fend, | Then, at their call embolden'd, out they come,
Though I," said he, “ did ne'er in thought of- And swell the germs, and burst the narrow room; How justly may my lord suspect his friend! Broader and broader yet, their blooms display, Th' appearance is against me, I confess,
Salute the welcome Sun, and entertain the day. Who seemingly have put you in distress :
Then from their breathing souls the sweets repair, You, if your goodness does not plead my cause, To scent the skies, and purge th’unwholesome air : May think I broke all hospitable laws,
Joy spreads the heart, and, with a general song, To bear you from your palace-yard by might, Spring issues out, and leads the jolly months along. And put your noble person in a fright :
In that sweet season, as in bed I lay, This, since you take it ill, I must repent,
And sought in sleep to pass the night away, Though, Heaven can witness, with no bad intent: I turn’d my weary'd side, but still in vain, I practis'd it, to make you taste your cheer Though full of youthful health, and void of pain : With double pleasure, first prepar’d by fear. Cares I had none, to keep me from my rest, So loyal subjects often seize their prince,
For Love had never enter'd in my breast; Forc'd (for his good) to seeming violence,
I wanted nothing Fortune could supply, Yet mean his sacred person not
the least offence. Nor did she slumber till that hour deny. Descend; so help me Jove as you shall find I wonder'd then, but after found it true, That Reynard comes of no dissembling kind.' Much joy had dry'd away the balmy dew :
“Nay,” quoth the cock; “but I beshrew us both, Seas would be pools, without the brushing air, If I believe a saint upon his oath :
To curl the waves : and sure some little care An honest man may take a knave's advice, Should weary Nature so, to make her want repair. But idiots only may be cozen'd twice :
When Chanticleer the second watch had sung, Once warn’d is well beward ; not flattering lies Scorning the scorner Sleep, from bed I sprung; Shall sooth me more to sing with winking eyes And, dressing by the Moon, in loose array, And open mouth, for fear of catching flies. Pass'd out in open air, preventing day, Who blindfold walks upon a river's brim,
And sought a goodly grove, as fancy led my way. When he should see, has he deserv'd to swim?" Straight as a line in beauteous order stood “ Better, sir cock, let all contention cease, (peace.” Of oaks unshorn a venerable wood; " Come down,” said Reynard, “let us treat of Fresh was the grass beneath, and every tree “ A peace with all my soul,” said Chanticleer; At distance planted in a due degree, “ But, with your favour, I will treat it here : Their branching arms in air with equal space And, lest the truce with treason should be mixt, Stretch'd to their neighbours with a long embrace, 'Tis my concern to have the tree betwixt.”
And the new leaves on every bough were seen,
Some ruddy colour'd, some of lighter green.
The painted birds, companions of the Spring,
Hopping from spray to spray, were heard to sing. In this plain fable you th’ effect may see Both eyes and ears receiv'd a like delight, Of negligence, and fond credulity :
Enchanting music, and a charming sight.
On Philomel I fix'd my whole desire ;
And wanted yet an omen to the spring.
Attending long in vain, I took the way, But sure he knew it was a pleasing way,
Which through a path but scarcely printed lay; Sound sense, by plain example, to convey; In narrow mazes oft it seem'd to meet, And in a heathen author we may find,
And look'd as lightly press'd by fairy feet.
At last it led me where an arbour stood,
(green, This place unmark'd, though oft I walk'd the In all my progress I had never seen :