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On barbed steeds they rode in proud array,
Thick as the college of the bees in May,
When fwarming o'er the dusky fields they fly,
New to the flow'rs, and intercept the sky.
So fierce they drove, their coursers were so fleet,
That the turf trembled underneath their feet.
To tell their costly furniture were long,
The summer's day wou'd end before the song:
To purchase but the tenth of all their store,
Would make the mighty Persian monarch poor.
Yet what I can, I will; before the rest.
The trumpets iffu'd in white mantles dress’d:
A numerous troop, and all their heads around
With chaplets green of cerrial-oak were crown'd,
And at each trumpet was a banner bound;
Which waving in the wind display'd at large
Their master's coat of arms, and knightly charge,
Broad were the banners, and of snowy hue,
A purer web the filk-worm never drew,
The chief about their necks the fcutcheons wore,
With orient pearls and jewels powder'd o'er :
Broad were their collars too, and every
Was set about with many a costly stone.
Next these of kings at arms a goodly train
In proud array came prancing o'er the plain :
Their cloaks were cloth of silver mix'd with gold,
And garlands green around theic temples roll’d:
Rich crowns were on their royal scutcheons plac'd,
With sapphires, diamonds, and with cubies grac'd:
And as the trumpets their appearance made,
So these in habits were alike array’d;
But with a pace more sober, and more flow;
And twenty, rank in rank, they rode a row.
The pursuivants came next, in number more;
And like the heralds each his fçutcheon bore :
Clad in white velvet all their troop they led,
With each an oaken chaplet on his head.
Nine royal knights in equal rank succeed,
Each warrior mounted on a fiery steed:
In golden armor glorious to behold;
The rivets of their arms were nail'd with gold.
Their surcoats of white ermin fur were made;
With cloth of gold between, that cast a glitt'ring
Thade, The trappings of their steeds were of the fame; The golden fringe ev’n set the ground on flame, And drew a precious trail : a crown divine Of laurel did about their temples twine.
Three henchmen were for ev'ry knight affign'd,' All in rich livery clad, and of a kind;
White velvet, but unfhorn, for cloaks they wore,
And each within his hand a truncheon bore :
The foremost held a helm of rare device ;
A prince's ransom would not pay the price.
The second bore the buckler of his knight,
The third of cornel-wood a spear upright,
Headed with piercing steel, and polish'd bright,
Like to their lords their equipage was seen,
Andalltheir foreheadscrown'd with garlandsgreen.
And after these came arm’d with spear and shield
An host so great, as cover'd all the field :
And all their foreheads, like the knights before,
Wi:h laurels ever-green were shaded o'er,
Or oak, or other leaves of lasting kind,
Tenacious of the stem, and firm against the wind.
Some in their hands, beside the lance and shield,
The boughs of woodbine or of hawthorn held,
Or branches for their mystic emblems took,
Of palm, of laurel, or of Cerrial oak.
Thus marching to the trumpet's lofty found,
Drawn in two lines adverse they wheeld around,
And in the middle meadow took their ground.
Among themselves the turney they divide,
In equal squadrons rang’d on either side.
Then turn'd their horses heads, and man to man,
And feed to steed oppos'd, the justs began.
They lightly set their lances in the rest,
And, at the sign, against each other prefs'd :
They met. I fitting at my ease beheld
The mix'd events, and fortunes of the field.
Some broke their spears, fome tumbled horse and
And round the field the lighten'd courfers ran.
An hour and more, like tides, in equal sway
They şush'd, and won by turns, and lost the day:
At length the nine (who fill together held)
Their fainting foes to shameful fight compellid,
And with refiftless force o'cr-ran the field.
Thus, to their fame, when finish'd was the fight,
The victors from their lofty steeds alight:
Like them dismounted all the warlike train,
And two by two proceeded o'er the plain :
Till to the fair assembly they advanc'd,
Who near the secret arbor sung and danc'd.
The ladies left their measures at the fight, To meet the chiefs returning from the fight, And each with open arms embrac'd her chosen
knight. Amid the plain a spreading laurel stood, The
grace and ornament of all the wood: That pleasing Thade they fought, a soft retreat From sudden April showers, a shelter from the heat:
Her leafy arms with such extent were spread,
So near the clouds was her aspiring head,
That hosts of birds, that wing the liquid air,
Perch'd in the boughs, had nightly lodging there:
And flocks of sheep beneath the shade from far
Might hear the rattling hail, and wintry war;
From Heav'n's inclemency here found retreat,
Enjoy'd the cool, and fhunn'd the scorching heat:
A hundred knights might there at eafe abide;
And ev'ry knight a lady by. bis fide:
The trunk itself such odors did bequeath,
Thať a Moluccan breeze to these was commca
The lords and ladies here, approaching, paid
Their homage, with a low obeifance made ;
And seem'd to venerate the sacred shade.
These rites perform’d, their pleasures they pursue,
With song of love, and mix with pleasures new;
Around the holy tree their dance they frame,
And ev'ry champion leads his chosen dame.
I cast my fight upon the farther field, And a fresh object of delight beheld :. For from the region of the West I heard New music found, and a new troop appear'd; Of knights, and ladies mix'd a jolly band, But all on foot they march'd, and hand in hand