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The tale is told by Venerable Bede,
Which, at your better leisure, you may read.

Macrobius too relates the vision sent
To the great Scipio, with the famed event;
Objections makes, but after makes replies,
And adds, that dreams are often prophecies.

Of Daniel you may read in holy writ,
Who, when the king his vision did forget,
Could word for word the wondrous dream repeat.
Nor less of patriarch Joseph understand,
Who by a dream enslaved the Egyptian land,
The years of plenty and of death foretold,
When, for their bread, their liberty they sold.
Nor must the exalted butler be forgot,
Nor he whose dream presaged his hanging lot.

And did not Croesus the same death foresee, Raised in his vision on a lofty tree? The wife of Hector, in his utmost pride, Dreamt of his death the night before he died :* Well was he warn’d from battle to refrain, But men to death decreed are warn’d in vain; He dared the dream, and by his fatal foe was slain.

Much more I know, which I forbear to speak, For see the ruddy day begins to break : Let this suffice, that plainly I foresee My dream was bad, and bodes adversity ; But neither pills nor laxatives I like, They only serve to make a well-man sick; Of these his gain the sharp physician makes, And often gives a purge, but seldom takes ;


* This vision Chaucer found, not in Homer, but in Dares Phrygius. Shakespeare alludes to it:

-Come, Hector, come, go back,
Thy wife hath dream'd.-


They not correct, but poison all the blood,
And ne'er did any but the doctors good.
Their tribe, trade, trinkets, I defy them all,
With every work of 'pothecary's hall.

These melancholy matters I forbear;
But let me tell thee, Partlet mine, and swear,
That when I view the beauties of thy face,
I fear not death, nor dangers, nor disgrace ;
So may my soul have bliss, as when I spy
The scarlet red about thy partridge eye,
While thou art constant to thy own true knight,
While thou art mine, and I am thy delight,
All sorrows at thy presence take their flight.
For true it is, as in principio,
Mulier est hominis confusio.
Madam, the meaning of this Latin is,
That woman is to man his sovereign bliss.
For when by night I feel your tender side,
Though, for the

narrow perch, I cannot ride, Yet I have such a solace in my mind, That all my boding cares are cast behind, And even already I forget my dream.He said, and downward flew from off the beam, For day-light now began apace to spring, The thrush to whistle, and the lark to sing. Then crowing, clapp'd his wings, the appointed call, To chuck his wives together in the hall.

By this the widow had unbarr'd the door, And Chanticleer went strutting out before,


* In principio refers to the beginning of Saint John's Gospel.

+ Taken from a fabulous conversation between the Emperor Adrian and the philosopher Secundus, reported by Vincent de Beauvais, Spec. Hist. Quid est Mulier ? Hominis confusio ; insaturabilis bestia, &c. The Cock's polite version is very ludicrous.

With royal courage, and with heart so light,
As shew'd he scorn'd the visions of the night.
Now roaming in the yard, he spurn'd the ground,
And gave to Partlet the first grain he found.
Then often feather'd her with wanton play,
And trod her twenty times ere prime of day;
And took by turns and gave so much delight,
Her sisters pined with envy at the sight.
He chuck'd again, when other corns he found,
And scarcely deign'd to set a foot to ground;
But swagger'd like a lord about his hall,
And his seven wives came running at his call

. 'Twas now the month in which the world began, (If March beheld the first created man ;) And since the vernal equinox, the sun In Aries twelve degrees, or more, had run; When casting up his eyes against the light, Both month, and day, and hour, he measured right, And told more truly than the Ephemeris; For art may err, but nature cannot miss.

Thus numbering times and seasons in his breast, His second crowing the third hour confess'd. Then turning, said to Partlet,—See, my dear, How lavish nature has adorn'd the year; How the pale primrose and blue violet spring, And birds essay their throats disused to sing : All these are ours; and I with pleasure see, Man strutting on two legs, and aping me; An unfledged creature, of a lumpish frame, Endued with fewer particles of flame: Our dame sits cowering o’er a kitchen fire, I draw fresh air, and nature's works admire ; And even this day in more delight abound, Than, since I was an egg, I ever found.

The time shall come, when Chanticleer shall wish His words unsaid, and hate his boasted bliss ;


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The crested bird shall by experience know,
Jove made not him his masterpiece below,
And learn the latter end of joy is woe.
The vessel of his bliss to dregs is run,
And Heaven will have him taste his other tun.

Ye wise! draw near and hearken to my tale,
Which proves that oft the proud by flattery fall ;
The legend is as true I undertake
As Tristram is, and Launcelot of the Lake;
Which all our ladies in such reverence hold,
As if in book of martyrs it were told.

A Fox, full-fraught with seeming sanctity, That fear'd an oath, but like the devil would lie;* Who look'd like Lent, and had the holy leer, And durst not sin before he said his prayer; This pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood, Nor chew'd the flesh of lambs, but when he could, Had pass’d three summers in the neighbouring


And musing long, whom next to circumvent,
On Chanticleer his wicked fancy bent;
And in his high imagination cast,
By stratagem to gratify his taste.

The plot contrived, before the break of day
Saint Reynard through the hedge had made his way;
The pale was next, but proudly, with a bound,
He leapt the fence of the forbidden ground;
Yet fearing to be seen, within a bed
Of coleworts he conceal'd his wily head;
There sculk'd till afternoon, and watch'd his time,
(As murderers use,) to perpetrate his crime.

O hypocrite, ingenious to destroy !
O traitor, worse than Sinon was to Troy!

* Indulging, as usual, his political antipathies, Dryden fails not to make the fox a Puritan

O vile subverter of the Gallic reign,
More false than Gano was to Charlemaign!
O Chanticleer, in an unhappy hour
Didst thou forsake the safety of thy bower;
Better for thee thou hadst believed thy dream,
And not that day descended from the beam !

But here the doctors eagerly dispute ;
Some hold predestination absolute;
Some clerks maintain, that Heaven at first foresees,
And in the virtue of foresight decrees.
If this be so, then prescience binds the will,
And mortals are not free to good or ill ;
For what he first foresaw, he must ordain,
Or its eternal prescience may be vain;
As bad for us as prescience had not been ;
For first, or last, he's author of the sin.
And who says that, let the blaspheming man
Say worse even of the devil, if he can.
For how can that Eternal Power be just
To punish man, who sins because he must ?
Or, how can he reward a virtuous deed,
Which is not done by us, but first decreed ?

I cannot bolt this matter to the bran,
As Bradwardint and holy Austin can :
If prescience can determine actions so,
That we must do, because he did foreknow,
Or that foreknowing, yet our choice is free,
Not forced to sin by strict necessity ;

According to the romantic history of Charlemaign, Gano, or Ganelon, betrayed the Christian army, at the battle of Roncesvalles, where Orlando and the Peers of France were slain. The pun upon Gallic, which is renewed in deriving the cock from Brennus and Belinus, a little farther down, is entirely Dryden's.

+ Thomas Bradwardin, Archbishop of Canterbury, a contemporary of Chaucer, composed a treatise on Predestination, and a work entitled, De Causu Dei, against Pelagius.

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