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But he, their king, was lab'ring in his mind,
A fitting place for fun’ral 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 defires
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 resolv'd, 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 prepar’d,
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-edg'd within his right he held,
The warlike emblem of the conquer'd field:
Bare was his manly visage on the bier :
Menac'd his count'nance; ev'n in death severe.
Then to the palace-hall they bore the knight,
To lie in folemn state, a public fight.
Groans, cries, and howlings fill the crowded place,
And unaffected forrow sat on ev'ry face.
Sad Palamon above the rest appears,
In fable garments, dew'd with gushing tears :
His auburn locks on either shoulder flow'd,
Which to the fun'ral of his friend he vow'd :
But Emily, as chief, was next his fide,
A virgin-widow, and a mourning bride.
And that the princely obsequies might be
Perform'd according to his high degree,
The steed, that bore him living to the fight,
Was trapp'd with polish'd steel, all shining bright,
And cover'd with th' atchievements of the knight.
The rịders rode abreast, and one his shield,
His lance of cornel-wood another held;
The third his bow, and, glorious to behold,
The coftly quiver, all of burnish'd gold.
The noblest of the Grecians next appear,
And, weeping, on their shoulders bore the bier;
With saber pace they march’d, and often staid,
And thro’ the master-street the corpse convey'd.
The houses to their tops with black were spread,
And ev’n the pavements were with mourning hid.
The right side of the pall old Egeus kept,
And on the left the royal Theseus wept;
Each bore a golden bowl of work divine,
With honey fill'd, and milk, and mix'd with ruddy wine.
Then Palamon, the kinsman of the slain,
And after him appear'd th’illustrious train.
pomp, came Emily the bright,
With cover'd fire, the fun'ral pile to light,
With high devotion was the service made,
And all the rites of pagan-honour paid:
So lofty was the pile, a Parthian bow,
With vigour drawn, must send the shaft below,
The bottom was full twenty fathom broad,
With crackling straw beneath in due proportion strow'd,
The fabric seem'd a wood of rising green,
With sulphur and bitumen caft between,
To feed the flames: the trees were unctuous fir,
And mountain-ash, the mother of the spear;
The mourner-yew, and builder oak were there:
The beech, the swimming alder, and the plane,
Hard box, and linden of a softer grain,
And laurels,whichthe Gods for conqu’ring chiefsordain,
How they were rank'd, shall rest untold by me,
With nameless nymphs that liv’d in ev'ry tree;
Nor how the dryads, or the woodland train,
Difherited, ran howling o'er the plain:
Nor how the birds to foreign seats repair'd,
Or beasts, that bolted out, and saw the forest bar'd:
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 fellid;
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 fir'd; the fmouldring Aames arise :
This office done, she funk 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 fame the wealthy cast;
And some their shields, and some their lances threw,
And gave their warrior's ghost a warrior's due.
Full bowls of wine, of honey, milk, and blood
Were pour'd upon the pile of burning wood,
And hisling flames receive, and hungry lick the food.
Then thrice the mounted squadrons ride around
The fire, and Arcite's name they thrice resound:
Hail, and farewel, they shouted thrice amain,
Thrice facing to the left, and thrice they turn'd again:
Still as they turn’d, they beat their clate’ring fields;
The women mix their cries; and clamour fills the fields.
The warlike wakes continu'd all the night,
And fun’ral games were play'd at new returning light;
Who naked wrestled best, besmear'd with oil,
Or who with gauntlets gave or took the foil,
I will not tell you, nor wou'd you attend;
But briefly hafte to my long story's end.
I pass the reft; 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,
That conquer'd Thebes from bondage should be freed;
Reserving homage to th' Athenian throne,
To which the sov'reign summon’d Palamon.
Unknowing of the cause, he took his way,
Mournful in mind, and still in black
array. The mɔnarch mounts the throne, and, plac'd on high, Commands into the court the beauteous Emily: So callid, she came; the senate rose, and paid Becoming rev'rence to the royal maid. And first soft whispers thro' th' assembly went: With silent wonder then they watch'd th' event: All hush'd, the king arose with awful grace, Deep thought was in his breast, and counsel in his face, At length he figh’d; and having first prepar'd Th' attentive audience, thus his will declar'd.
The Cause and spring of motion, from above, Hung down on earth the golden chain of love: Great was th' effect, and high was his intent, When peace among the jarring seeds he sent. Fire, flood, and earth, and air by this were bound, And Love, the common link, the new creation crown'd. The chain ftill holds; for tho' the forms decay, Eternal matter never wears away: The same first mover certain bounds has plac'd, How long those perishable forms shall laft: Nor can they last beyond the time aflign'd By that all-feeing, and all-making mind: Shorten their hours they may; for will is free; But never pass th' appointed destiny.
So men oppress'd, when weary of their breath,
Throw off the burden, and suborn their death.
Then fince those forms begin, and have their end,
On some unalter'd cause they sure depend :
Parts of the whole are we; but God the whole ;
Who gives us life, and animating soul.
For nature cannot from a part derive
That being, which the whole can only give:
He perfect, ftable; but imperfect we,
Subject to change, and diff'rent in degree;
Plants, beasts, and man; and as our organs are
We more or less of his perfection share.
But by a long descent, thetherial fire
Corrupts; and forms, the mortal part, expire:
As he withdraws his virtue, so they pass,
And the fame matter makes another mass:
This law th’Omniscient pow'r was pleas’d to givey,
That ev'ry kind should by succession live:
That individuals die, his will ordains;
The propagated species still remains.
The monarch oak, the patriarch of the trees,
Shoots rising up, and spreads by flow degrees;
Three centuries he grows, and three he stays,
Supreme in state, and in three more decays;
So wears the paving pebble in the street,
And towns and tow'rs their fatal periods meet:
So rivers, rapid once, now naked lie,
Forsaken of their springs; and leave their channels dry,
So man, at first a drop, dilates with heat,
Then, form'd the little heart begins to beat;
Secret he feeds, unknowing in the cell;
At length, for hatching ripe, he breaks the shell,
And struggles into breath, and cries for aid ;
Then, helpless, in his mother's lap is laid.
He creeps, he walks, and issuing into man,
Grudges their life, from whence his own began: