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Emilia shriek'd but once; and then, oppress'd
Theseus himself, who should have cheer'd the grief
* Folio Edit. Not.
+ This sort of expostulation is common to many barbarous nations, and is said to be retained by the native Irish.
Like pilgrims, to the appointed place we tend; The world's an inn, and death the journey's end. Even kings but play; and, when their part is done, Some other, worse or better, mount the throne. With words like these the crowd was satisfied, And so they would have been had Theseus died.
But he, their king, was labouring in his mind, A fitting place for funeral pomps to find, Which were in honour of the dead design’d. And, after long debate, at last he found (As love itself had mark'd the spot of ground) That grove, for ever green, that conscious lawnd,* Where he with Palamon fought hand to hand ; That, where he fed his amorous desires With soft complaints, and felt his hottest fires, There other flames might waste his earthly part, And burn his limbs, where love had burn'd his heart.
This once resolved, the peasants were enjoin'd, Sere-wood, and firs, and dodder'd oaks to find. With sounding axes to the grove they go, Fell, split, and lay the fuel on a row; Vulcanian food : 'a bier is next prepared, On which the lifeless body should be rear'd, Cover'd with cloth of gold ; on which was laid The corpse of Arcite, in like robes array'd. White gloves were on his hands, and on his head A wreath of laurel, mix'd with myrtle, spread. A sword, keen-edged, within his right he held, The warlike emblem of the conquer'd field. Bare was his manly visage on the bier ; Menaced his countenance, even in death severe.
* The French launde, means a wild, uncultivated meadow, or glade. The word lawn, which we have formed from it, has a more limited signification.
Then to the palace-hall they bore the knight,
The bottom was full twenty fathom broad,
ordain. How they were rank'd shall rest untold by me, With nameless nymphs that lived in every tree; Nor how the dryads, and the woodland train, Disherited, ran howling o'er the plain ; Nor how the birds to foreign seats repair’d, Or beasts that bolted out, and saw the forest bared; Nor how the ground, now clear’d, with ghastly fright, Beheld the sudden sun, a stranger to the light.
The straw, as first I said, was laid below; Of chips, and sere-wood, was the second row; The third of greens, and timber newly felld; The fourth high stage the fragrant odours held, And pearls, and precious stones, and rich array; In midst of which, embalm’d, the body lay. The service sung, the maid, with mourning eyes, The stubble fired; the smouldering flames arise : This office done, she sunk upon the ground; But what she spoke, recover'd from her swoon, I want the wit in moving words to dress; But, by themselves, the tender sex may guess. While the devouring fire was burning fast, Rich jewels in the flame the wealthy cast ; And some their shields, and some their lances threw, And
gave the* warrior's ghost a warrior's due.
Full bowls of wine, of honey,'milk and blood,
light: Who, naked, wrestled best, besmear'd with oil, Or who, with gauntlets, gave or took the foil, I will not tell you, nor would you attend; But briefly haste to my long story's end. I pass the rest. The year was fully mourn’d, And Palamon long since to Thebes return'd. When, by the Grecians' general consent, At Athens Theseus held his parliament; Among the laws that pass’d, it was decreed, Thatconquer'd Thebes from bondageshould befreed; Reserving homage to the Athenian throne, To which the sovereign summond Palamon. Unknowing of the cause, he took his way, Mournful in mind, and still in black array: The monarch mounts the throne, and, placed on
high, Commands into the court the beauteous Emily, So call’d, she came; the senate rose, and paid Becoming reverence to the royal maid: And first soft whispers through the assembly went; With silent wonder then they watch'd the event : All hush'd, the king arose with awful grace, Deep thought was in his breast, and counsel in his