Sivut kuvina

It was of gold, and fhone so bright,

That nevir man fawe suche a fight," &c.

"The eagle defcends, feizes the poet in his talons, and, mounting again, conveys him to the houfe of Fame; which is fituated, like that of Ovid, between earth and fea. In their paffage thi ther, they fly above the ftars; which our author leaves, with clouds, tempeits, hail, and fnow, far beneath him. This aërial journey is partly copied from Ovid's Phaeton in the chariot of the fun. But the poet apologises for this extravagant fiction, and explains his meaning, by alleging the authority of Boethius; who fays, that contemplation may foar on the wings of philofophy above every element. He likewife recollects, in the midst of his course, the description of the heavens, given by Marcianus Capella, in his book De Nuptiis Philologiæ et Mercurii, and Alanus in his Anticlaudian. At his arrival in the confines of the houfe of Fame, he is alarmed with confused murmurs iffuing from thence, like diftant thunders or billows. This circumftance is also borrowed from Ovid's Temple. He is left by the eagle near the house, which is built of materials bright as polifhed glafs, and ftands on a rock of ice of exceffive height, and almoft inacceffible. All the Southern fide of this rock was covered with engravings of the names of famous men, which were perpetually melting away by the heat of the fun. The Northern fide of the rock was alike covered with names; but being here fhaded from the warmth of the fun, the characters remained unmelted and uneffaced. The ftructure of the house is thus imagined :

"Methoughtin by Sainct Gile,

That all was of ftone of berille,
Both of the caftle and the toure,'

And eke the hall and everie boure:
Without pecis ar joynynges,
And many fubtill compaffyngs,
As barbicans and pinnacles,
Imageries and tabernacles,
I fawe, and full eke of windowis

As flakis fallin in great fnowis."

"In these lines, and in fome others which occur hereafter, the poet perhaps alludes to the many new decorations in architecture, which began to prevail about his time, and gave rife to the florid Gothic ftyle. There are inftances of this in his other poems. In his Dreame, printed 1597:


And all who told it added fomething new,



And all who heard it, made enlargements too,
In ev'ry ear it spread, on ev'ry tongue it grew.
Thus flying east and weft, and north and south,
News travell❜d with increase from mouth to mouth.
So from a fpark, that kindled first by chance, 475
With gath'ring force the quick'ning flames advance;
Till to the clouds their curling heads afpire,
And tow'rs and temples fink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection fprung,
Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue,
Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow,
And rush in millions on the world below.


Fame fits aloft, and points them out their course,
Their date determines, and prescribes their force:
Some to remain, and fome to perish foon;
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


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




VER. 489. There, at one paffage, &c.]

"And fometime I faw there at once,

A lefing and a fad footh faw
"That gonnen at adventure draw
"Out of a window forth to pace·

"And no man, be he ever fo wrothe,

Shall have one of these two, but bothe," &c.


And long 'twas doubtful, both fo closely pent,
Which first should iffue through the narrow vent;
At laft agreed, together out they fly,

Infeparable now, the truth and lie;

The strict companions are for ever join'd,


And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall find,
While thus I ftood, intent to fee and hear,
One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear;
What could thus high thy rafh ambition raife?
Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise?

'Tis true, faid I, not void of hopes I came, For who fo fond as youthful bards of Fame? But few, alas! the cafual blefling boast,


So hard to gain, so easy to be lost.

How vain that fecond life in others breath,


Th' eftate which wits inherit after death!
Eafe, health, and life, for this they must refign,
(Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine!)


Be envy'd, wretched, and be flatter'd, poor;

man's curfe, without the gains, endure,




VER. 497. While thus I flood, &c.] The hint is taken from a paffage in another part of the third book, but here more naturally made the conclufion, with the addition of a moral to the whole. In Chaucer, he only anfwers," he came to fee the place;" and the book ends abruptly, with his being furprized at the fight of a Man of great Authority, and awaking in a fright. POPE.

Pope feems unwilling to confefs all he owes to Chaucer. What is molt poetical in the whole compofition belongs to Chaucer; but from the account here given of the mere "hint," and the tame ending in Chaucer, one might be led to conclude that the chief merit of the arrangement and imagination belonged to Pope.

"And of a futé were al the touris,
Subtily carven aftir flouris,—

With many a smal turret hie."

"And in the description of the Palace of Pleafaunt Regarde, in the Affemblie of Ladies:

"Fairir is none, though it were for a king
Devifid wel, and that in every thing;
The towris hie, ful plefante fhal ye finde,
With fannis fresh, turning with everie winde.
The chambris, and the palirs of a forte,

With bay windows, goodlie as may be thought
As for daunfing or other wife difporte,

The galeries be al right wel ywrought."

"In Chaucer's life, by Anthony Hall, it is not mentioned that he was appointed clerk of the king's works in the palace of Westminster, in the royal manors of Shene, Kenington, Byfleet, and Clapton, and in the mews at Charing.

"Again, in 1380, of the works of St. George's chapel at Windfor, then ruinous. But to return:

"All manir of minftrelis,

And jeftours that tellyn tales

Both of weping and eke of game."

"That is, thofe who fung or recited adventures, either tragic or comic, which excited either compaffion or laughter. They were accompanied with the moft renowned harpers; among which were Orpheus, Arion, Chiron, and the Briton Glafkerion. Behind thefe were placed, "by many a thousand time twelve," players on various inftruments of mufic. Among the trumpeters are named Joab, Virgil's Mifenus, and Theodamus. About these pinnacles were also marshalled the most famous magicians, juglers, witches, propheteffes, forcereffes, and profeffors of natural magic, which ever existed in ancient or modern times; fuch as Medea, Circe, Calliope, Hermes, Limotheus, and Simon Magus. At entering the hall he fees an infinite multitude of heralds; on the furcoats of whom were richly embroidered the armorial enfigns of the moft redoubted champions that ever tourneyed in Africa, Europe, or Afia. The floor and roof of the hall were covered with thick plates of gold, ftudded with the coftlieft gems. At the upper end, on a lofty fhrine, made with carbuncle, fate Fame; her figure is like thofe in Virgil and Ovid. Above her, as if fuftained on her


fhoulders, fate Hercules and Alexander. From the throne to the gates of the hall ran a range of pillars, with refpective infcriptions. On the first pillar, made of lead and iron, stood Josephus, the Jewish hiftorian ("that of the Jewis gestis told"), with feven other writers on the same subject. On the fecond pillar, made of iron, and painted all over with the blood of tygers, flood Statius. On another, higher than the reft, flood Homer, Dares, Phrygius, Livy, Lollius, Guido of Columna, and Geoffry of Monmouth, writers of the Trojan ftory. On a pillar of "tinnid iron clere," food Virgil; and next to him, on a pillar of copper, appeared Ovid. The figure of Lucan was placed on a pillar of iron, wroght full fternly," accompanied with many Roman histo rians. On a pillar of fulphur flood Claudian, fo fymbolised, beeaufe he wrote of Pluto and Proferpine:

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"That bare up all the fame of hell;

Of Pluto and of Proferpine

That queen is of the darke pine."

"The hall was filled with the writers of ancient tales and ro. mances, whofe fubjects and names were too numerous to be recounted. In the mean time crouds from every nation, and of every condition, filled the hall, and each prefented his claim to the queen. A meffenger is difpatched to fummon Eolus from his cave in Thrace, who is ordered to bring his two clarions, called Slander and Praise, and his trumpeter Triton. The praises of each petitioner are then refounded, according to the partial or capricious appointment of Fame; and equal merits obtain very different fuccefs. There is much fatire and humour in thefe requests and rewards, and in the difgraces and honours which are indifcriminately distributed by the queen, without difcernment and by chance. The poet then enters the house or labyrinth of Rumour. It was built of fallow twigs, like a cage, and therefore admitted every found. Its doors were alfo more numerous than leaves on the trees, and always flood open. These are romantic exaggerations of Ovid's inventions on the fame fubject. It was, moreover, fixty miles in length, and perpetually turning round. From this houfe (fays the poet) iffued tidings of every kind, like fountains and rivers from the fea. Its inhabitants, who were eternally employed in hearing or telling news, together with the rise of reports, and the formation of lies, are then humourously described. The company is chiefly compofed of failors, pilgrims, and pardoners. At length


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