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Tir'd with deformities of death, I haste
There breathes not scarce a man on British ground To the third temple of Diana chaste.
(An isle for love and arms of old renown'd) A sylvan scene with various greens was drawn, But would have sold his life to purchase fame, Shades on the sides, and on the midst a lawn : To Palamon or Arcite sent his name : The silver Cynthia, with her nymphs around, And had the land selected of the best, [rest. Pursued the flying deer, the woods with horns re Half had come hence, and let the world provide the sound:
A hundred knights with Palamon there came, Calisto there stood manifest of shame,
Approv'd in fight, and men of mighty name; And, turn'd a bear, the northern star became : Their arms were several, as their nations were, Her son was next, and, by peculiar grace,
But furnish'd all alike with sword and spear. In the cold circle held the second place:
Some wore coat armour, imitating scale; The stag Acteon in the stream had spy'd
And next their skins were stubborn shirts of mail. The naked huntress, and, for secing, dy'd:
Some wore a breast-plate and a light juppon, His hounds, unknowing of his change, pursue
Their horses cloth'd with rich caparison: The chase, and their mistaken master slew.
Some for defence would leathern bucklers use, Peneian Daphne too was there to see,
Of folded hides; and others shields of pruce. Apollo's love before, and now his tree :
One hung a pole-axe at his saddle-bow, Th’ adjoining fane th' assembled Greeks express'd, And one a heavy mace to shun the foe. And hunting of the Caledonian beast.
One for his legs and knees provided well, Oenides' valour, and his envy'd prize;
With jambeaux arm’d, and double plates of steel. The fatal power of Atalanta's eyes;
This on his helmet wore a lady's glove, Diana's vengeance on the victor shown,
And that a sleeve embroider'd by his love. The murdress mother, and consuming son; With Palamon, above the rest in place, The Volscian queen extended on the plain : Lycurgus came, the surly king of Thrace ; The treason punish'd, and the traitor slain.
Black was his beard, and manly was his face; The rest were various huntings, well design'd, The balls of his broad eyes roll'd in his head, And savage beasts destroy'd, of every kind. And glar'd betwixt a yellow and a red: The graceful goddess was array'd in green; He look'd a lion with a gloomy stare, About her feet were little beagles seen, [queen. And o'er his eyebrows hung his matted hair : That watch'd with upward eyes the motions of their Big-bon'd, and large of limbs, with sinews strong, Her legs were buskin'd, and the left before ; Broad-shoulder'd, and his arms were round and In act to shoot, a silver bow she bore,
long. And at her back a painted quiver wore.
Four milkwhite bulls (the Thracian use of old) She trod a wexing moon, that soon would wane, Were yok'd to draw his car of burnish'd gold. And drinking borrow'd light, be fill'd again; Upright he stood, and bore aloft his shield, With downcast eyes, as seeming to survey
Conspicuous from afar, and overlook'd the field. The dark dominions, her alternate sway.
His surcoat was a bear-skin on his back ; Before her stood a woman in her throes,
His hair hung long behind, and glossy raven black. And call'd Lucina's aid, her burden to disclose. His ample forehead bore a coronet, All these the painter drew with such command, With sparkling diamonds and with rubies set : That Nature snatch'd the pencil from his hand, Ten brace, and more, of greyhounds, snowy fair, Asham’d and angry that his art could feign And tall as stags, ran loose, and cours’d around his And mend the tortures of a mother's pain.
chair, Theseus beheld the fanes of every god,
A match for pards in flight, in grapling for the bear: And thought his mighty cost was well bestow'd. With golden muzzles all their mouths were bound, So princes now their poets should regard;
And collars of the same their necks surround. But few can write, and fewer can reward.
Thus through the fields Lycurgus took his way: The theatre thus rais'd, the lists enclos'd, His hundred knights attend in pomp and proud And all with vast magnificence dispos’d,
array. We leave the monarch pleas'd, and haste to bring To match this monarch, with strong Arcite came The knights to combat; and their arms to sing. Emetrius, king of Inde, a mighty name,
On a bay courser, goodly to behold, [gold.
The trappings of his horse adorn'd with barbarous Book III.
Not Mars bestrode a steed with greater grace;
His surcoat o'er his arms was cloth of Thrace,
Ruddy his lips, and fresh and fair his hue :
So fierce, they flash'd intolerable day.
His age in Nature's youthful prime appear'd, Light sufferings give us leisure to complain;
We groan, but cannot speak, in greater pain.
Thou know'st it, and I feel too much to pray.
A servant to thy sex, a slave to thee,
A foe profest to barren chastity.
Nor ask I fame or honour of the field,
Let Fate, or partial Chance, dispose the rest :
Find thou the manner, and the means prepare;
In your fifth orb, and rule the realm of love.
Spare me but one small portion of the twine,
But, if you this ambitious prayer deny,
(A wish, I grant, beyond mortality) So Theseus will'd, in honour of his guests;
Then let me sink beneath proud Arcite's arms, Himself with open arins the king embrac'd, And, I once dead, let him possess her charms." Then all the rest in their degrees were grac'd. Thus ended he; then, with observance due, No harbinger was needful for a night,
The sacred incense on her altar threw : For every house was proud to loilge a knight. The curling smoke mounts heavy from the fires; I pass the royal treat, nor must relate
At length it catches flame, and in a blaze expires; The gifts bestow'd, nor how the champions sate : At once the gracious goddess gave the sign, Who first, or last, or how the knights address'd Her statue shook, and trembled all the slırine: Their vows, or who was fairest at the feast; (prise ; Pleas'd Palamon the tardy omen took : Whose voice, wliose graceful dance, did most sur- For, since the flames pursu'd the trailing smoke, Soft amorous sighs, and silent love of eyes. He knew his boon was granted; but the day Llav. The rivals call my Muse another way,
To distance driven, and joy adjourn'd with long deTo sing their vigils for thi' ensuing day.
Now Morn with rosy light had streak'd the sky, 'Twas ebbing darkness, past the noon of night, Up rose the Sun, and up rose Emily ; And Phospher, on the confines of the light, Address'd her early steps to Cynthia's fane, Promis'd the Sun, ere day began to spring; In state attended by her maiden train, The tuneful lark already stretch'd her wing, (sing: Whio bore the vests that holy rites require, And, flickering on her nest, made short essays to Incense, and odorous gums, and cover'd fire. When wakeful Palamon, preventing day,
The plenteous horns with pleasant mead they crown, Took, to the royal lists, his early way,
Nor wanted aught besides in honour of the Moon. To Venus at her fane, in her own house, to pray. Now while the temple smok'd with hallow'd steam, There, falling on his knees before her shrine, They wash the virgin in a living stream: He thus implor'd with prayers her power divine. The secret ceremonies I conceal, “ Creator Venus, genial power of love,
Uncouth, perhaps unlawful, to reveal : The bliss of men below, and gods above !
But such they were as pagan use requir’d, Beneath the sliding Sun thou runn'st thy race, Performn'd by women when the men retir'd, Dost fairest shine, and best become thy place. Whose eyes prophane their chaste mysterious rites For thee the winds their eastern blasts forbear, Might turn to scandal, or obscene delights. Thy month reveals the spring, and opens all the year. Well-meaners think no harm ; but for the rest, Thee, Goddess, thee the storms of winter fly, Things sacred they pervert, and silence is the best. Earth smiles with flowers renewing, laughs the sky, Her shining hair, uncomb'd, was loosely spread, And birds to lays of love their tuneful notes apply. A crown of mastless oak adorn'd her head : For thee the lion loaths the taste of blood,
When to the shrine approach'd, the spotless maid And roaring hunts his female through the wood : Had kindling fires on either altar laid, For thee the bulls rebellow through the groves, (The rites were such as were observ'd of old, And tempt the stream, and snuff their absent loves. By Statius in his Theban story told,) 'Tis thine, whate'er is pleasant, good, or fair : Then kneeling with her hands across her breast, All nature is thy province, life thy care :
Thus lowly she preferr'd her chaste request. Thou mad'st the world, and dost the world repair. “ O goddess, haunter of the woodland green, Thou gladder of the mount of Cytheron,
To whom both Heaven and Earth and seas are seen; Increase of Jove, companion of the Sun;
Queen of the nether skies, where half the year If e'er Adonis touch'd thy tender heart,
Thy silver beams descend, and light the gloomy Have pity, goddess, for thou know'st the smart.
sphere; Alas! I have not words to tell my grief ;
Goddess of maids, and conscious of our hicarts,
Which Niobe's devoted issue felt, (were clealt, The next returning planetary hour
His steps bold Arcite to the temple bent,
T'adore with pagan rites the power omnipotent: Thy votress from my tender years I am,
Then prostrate, low before his altar lay, And love, like thee, the woods and sylvan game. And rais'd his manly voice, and thus began to pray: Like death, thou know'st, I loath the nuptial state, “ Strong god of arms, whose iron sceptre sways And man, the tyrant of our sex, I hate,
The freezing north, and Hyperborean seas, A lowly servant, but a lofty mate:
And Scythian colds, and Thracia's winter coast, Where love is duty on the female side, (pride. Where stand thy steeds, and thou art honour'd most: On theirs mere sensual gust, and sought with surly There most, but every where thy power is known, Now by thy triple shape, as thou art seen
The fortune of the fight is all thy own : In Heaven, Earth, Hell, and every where a queen, Terrour is thine, and wild amazement, flung Grant this my first desire : let discord cease, From out thy chariot, withers ev’n the strong : And make betwixt the rivals lasting peace : And disarray and shameful rout ensue, Quench their hot fire, or far from me remove And force is added to the fainting crew. The flame, and turn it on some other love : Acknowledg'd as thou art, accept my prayer, Or, if my frowning stars have so decreed,
If aught I have achiev'd deserve thy care :
If to my utmost power with sword and shield
And, falling in my rank, still kept the field :
Then let my arms prevail, by thee sustain'd, But take it as the least unhappy lot.
That Emily by conquest may be gain'd. A maid I am, and of thy virgin train;
Have pity on my pains; nor those unknown Oh, let me still that spotless name retain !
To Mars, which, when a lover, were his own.
Venus, the public care of all above,
Now by her blandishments and powerful charms,
O envy'd ignominy, sweet disgrace, Which turn'd self-kindled, and renew'd the blaze ; When every God that saw thee wish'd thy place! The other victor-fame a moment stood,
By those dear pleasures, aid my arms in fight, Then fell, and lifeless left th' extinguish'd wood; And make me conquer in my patron's right : For ever lost, th' irrevocable light
For I am young, a novice in the trade, Forsook the blackening coals, and sunk to night: The fool of love, unpractis’d to persuade : At either end it whistled as it flew,
And want the soothing arts that catch the fair, And as the brands were green, so dropp'd the dew, But, caught myself, lie struggling in the snare : Infected as it fell with sweat of sanguine hue. And she I love, or laughs at all my pain, (dain.
The maid from that ill omen turn'd her eyes, Or knows her worth too well ; and pays me with disAnd with loud shrieks and clamours rent the skies, For sure I am, unless I win in arms, Nor knew what signified the boding sign, [divine. To stand excluded froin Emilia's charms : But found the powers displeas’d, and fear'd the wrath Nor can my strength avail, unless by thec
Then shook the sacred shrine, and sudden light Endued by force I gain the victory; Sprung through the vaulted roof, and made the Then for the fire which warm’d thy gen'rous heart, temple bright.
Pity thy subject's pains, and equal smart. The power, behold! the power in glory shone, So be the morrow's sweat and labour mine, By her bent bow and her keen arrows known; The palm and honour of the conquest thine : The rest, a huntress issuing from the wood,
Then shall the war, and stern debate, and strife Reclining on her cornel spear she stood.
Immortal, be the business of my life; Then gracious thus began : “ Dismiss thy fear, And in thy fanc, the dusty spoils among, (lung, And Heaven's unchang'd decrees attentive hear : High on the burnish'd roof, my banner shall be More powerful gods have torn thee from my side, Rank'd with my champion's bucklers, and below, Unwilling to resign, and doom'd a bride :
With arms revers'd, th' achievements of my foe : The two contending knights are weigh'd above; And while these limbs the vital spirit feeds, One Mars protects, and one the queen of love : While day to night, and night to day succeeds, But which the man, is in the Thunderer's breast; Thy smoking altar shall be fat with food This he pronounc'd, 'tis he who loves thee best. Of incense, and the grateful steam of blood; The fire, that once extinct reviv'd again,
Burnt-offerings morn and evening shall be thine ; Foreshows the love allotted to remain :
And fires eternal in thy temple shine.
Guiltless of steel, and from the razor free,
I ask no more ; let Fate dispose the rest."
The bolted gates flew open at the blast,
Heaven smil'd, and gladded was the heart of man; The storm rushed in, and Arcite stood aghast : And Venus had the world as when it first began. The flames were blown aside, yet shone they bright, At length in sleep their bodies they compose, Fann'd by the wind, and gave a ruffled light. And dreamt the future fight, and early rose. Then from the ground a scent began to rise,
Now scarce the dawning day began to spring, Sweet-smelling as accepted sacrifice :
As at a signal given, the streets with clamours ring: This omen pleas'd, and as the flames aspire
At once the crowd arose; confus'd and high With odorous íncense Areite heaps the fire : Ev'n from the Heaven was heard a shouting cry; Nor wanted hymnis to Mars, or heathen charms: For Mars was early up, and rous'd the sky At length the nodding statue clash'd his arms, The gods came downward to behold the wars, And with a sullen sound and feeble ery,
Sharpening their sights, and leaning from their stars Half sunk, and halfpronounc'd, the word of victory. The neighing of the generous horse was heard, For this, with soul devout, he thank'd the god, For battle by the busy groom prepar'd, And, of success secure, return'd to his abode. Rustling of harness, rattling of the shield,
These vows thus granted, raised a strife above, Clattering of armour, furbish'd for the field. Betwixt the god of war, and queen of love. Crowds to the castle mounted up the street, She granting first, had right of time to plead : Battering the pavement with their coursers' feet: But he had granted too, nor would recede.
The greedy sight might there devour the gold Jove was for Venus; but he fear'd his wife, Of glittering arms, too dazzling to behold: And seem'd unwilling to decide the strife :
And polish'd steel that cast the view aside, Til Saturn from his leaden throne arose,
And crested morions, with their plumy pride. And found a way the difference to compose : Knights, with a long retinue of their squires, Though sparing of his grace, to mischief bent, In gaudy liveries march, and quaint attires, He seldom does a good with good intent.
One lac'd the helm, another held the lance, Wayward, but wise; by long experience taught A third the shining buckler did advance. To please both parties, for ill ends, he sought : The courser paw'd the ground with restless feet, For this advantage age from youth has won, And snorting foam'd, and champ'd the golden bit. As not to be outridden, though outrun.
The smiths and armourers on palfreys ride, By Fortune he was now to Venus trin'd,
Files in their hands, and hammers at their side, And with stern Mars in Capricorn was join'd: And nails for loosen'd spears, and thongs for shields Of him disposing in his own abode,
provide. He sooth'd the goddess while he gull'd the god : The yeomen guard the streets, in seemly bands, “ Cease, daughter, to complain, and stint the strife ; And clowns come crowding on, with cudgels in Thy Palamon shall have his promis'd wife:
their hands. And Mars, the lord of conquest, in the fight
The trumpets, next the gate, in order plac'd, With palm and laurel shall adorn his knight. Attend the sign to sound the martial blast; Wide is iny course, nor turn I to my place The palace-yard is fill'd with floating tides, Till length of time, and move with tardy pace. And the last comers bear the former to the sides. Man feels me, when I press th’ etherial plains, The throng is in the midst; the common crew My hand is heavy, and the wound remains.
Shut out, the hall admits the better few; Mine is the shipwreck, in a watery sign;
In knots they stand, or in a rank they walk, And in an earthy, the dark dungeon mine.
Serious in aspect, earnest in their talk : Cold shivering agues, melancholy care,
Factious, and favouring this or t' other side, And bitter blasting winds, and poison'd air, As their strong fancy or weak reason guide : Are mine, and wilful death, resulting from despair. Their wagers back their wishes ; numbers hold The throtling quinsey 'tis my star appoints, With the fair freckled king, and beard of gold: And rheumatisms ascend to rack the joints : So vigorous are his eyes, such rays they cast, When churls rebel against their native prince, So prominent his eagle's beak is plac'd. I arm their hands, and furnish the pretence;
But most their looks on the black monarch bend, And, housing in the lion's hateful sign,
His rising muscles and his brawn commend; Bought senates and deserting troops are mine. His double-biting axe and beaming spear, Mine is the privy poisoning ; I command
Each asking a gigantic force to rear. Unkindly seasons, and ungrateful land.
All spoke as partial favour mov'd the mind : By me kings' palaces are push'd to ground, And, safe themselves, at others' cost divin'd. And miners crush'd beneath their mines are found. Wak'd by the cries, th' Athenian chief arose, 'Twas I slew Samson, when the pillar'd hall The knightly forms of combat to dispose ; Fell down, and crush'd the many with the fall. And passing through th' obsequious guards, he sate My looking is the fire of pestilence,
Conspicuous on a throne, sublime in state ; That sweeps at once the people and the prince. There, for the two contending knights he sent: Now weep no more, but trust thy grandsire's art. Arm'd cap-a-pee, with reverence low they bent ; Mars shall be pleas’d, and thou perform thy part. He smild on both, and with superior look 'Tis ill, though different your complexions are, Alike their offer'd adoration took. The family of Heaven for men should war." The people press on every side, to see Th' expedient pleas'd, where neither lost his right; Their awful prince, and hear his high decree. Mars had the day, and Venus had the night. Then signing to their heralds with lis hand, The management they left to Chronos' care; They gave his orders from their lofty stand. Now turn we to th' effect, and sing the war. Silence is thrice enjoin’d; then thus aloud
In Athens all was pleasure, mirth, and play, The king at arms bespeaks the knights and listenAll proper to the spring, and sprightly May,
ing crowd. Which every soul inspir'd with such delight, “ Our sovereign lord has ponder'd in his mind 'Twas iestins all the day and
ad of his grace, and inborn clemency,
The nicest eye could no distinction make, e modifies his first severe decree,
Where lay th' advantage, or what side to take. ne keener edge of battle to rebate,
Thus rang'd, the herald for the last proclaims ne troops for honour fighting, not for hate. A silence, while they answer'd to their names : e wills, not death should terminate their strife; For so the king decreed, to shun the care, nd wounds, if wounds ensue, be short of life : The fraud of musters false, the common bane of war. ut issues, ere the fight, his dread command, The tale was just, and then the gates were clos'd; wat slings afar, and poinards hand to hand, And chief to chief, and troop to troop oppos’d. 2 banish'd from the field; that none shall dare
The heralds last retir’d, and loudly cry'a, 'ith shortened sword to stab in closer war;
The fortune of the field be fairly try'd. ut in fair combat fight with manly strength, At this, the challenger with fierce defy or push with biting point, but strike at length. His trumpet sounds; the challeng'd makes reply: ne tourney is allow'd but one career,
With clangor rings the field, resounds the vaulted f the tough ash, with the sharp-grinded spear,
sky. ut knights unhors'd may rise from off the plain, Their vizors closed, their lances in the rest, nd fight on foot their honour to regain ;
Or at the helmet pointed, or the crest; or, if at mischief taken, on the ground
They vanish from the barrier, speed the race, e slain, but prisoners to the pillar bound,
And spurring see decrease the middle space. t either barrier plac'd; nor (captives ,made) A cloud of smoke envelops either host, e freed, or arm'd anew the fight invade.
And all at once the combatants are lost : he chief of either side, bereft of life,
Darkling they join adverse, and shock unseen, r yielded to his foe, concludes the strife. (young | Coursers with coursers justling, men with men : hus dooms the lord: now valiant knights and As labouring in eclipse, awhile they stay, ight each his fill with swords and maces long." Till the next blast of wind restores the day.
The herald ends : the vaulted firmament They look anew : the beauteous form of fight Vith loud acclaims and vast applause is rent: Is chang'd, and war appears a grizly sight.
Heaven guard a prince so gracious and so good, Two troops in fair array one moment show'd, o just, and yet so provident of blood !"
The next, a field with fallen bodies strow'd : This was the general cry. The trumpets sound,
Not half the number in their seats are found; and warlike symphony is heard around.
But men and steeds lie groveling on the ground. "he marching troops through Athens take their way, The points of spears are stuck within the shield, The great earl-marshal orders their array.
The steeds without their riders scour the field. 'he fair from high the passing pomp behold; The knights unhors'd, on foot renew the fight;
rain of flowers is from the windows roll’d. The glittering faulchions cast a gleaming light : The casements are with golden tissue spread,
Hauberks and helms are hew'd with many a wound. Ind horses' hoofs, for earth, on silken tapestry tread; Out spins the streaming blood, and dyes the ground. Che king goes midmost, and the rivals ride The mighty maces with such haste descend, (bend. n equal rank, and close his either side.
They break the bones, and make the solid armour Next after these, there rode the royal wife,
This thrusts amid the throng with furious force ; With Emily, the cause and the reward of strife. Down goes, at once, the horseman and the horse : The following cavalcade, by three and three, That courser stumbles on the fallen steed, Proceed by titles marshall’à in degree.
And, floundering, throws the rider o'er his head. Thus through the southern gate they take their way, One rolls along, a foot-ball to his foes; And at the list arriv'd ere prime of day.
One with a broken truncheon deals his blows. There, parting from the king, the chiefs divide, This halting, this disabled with his wound, And, wheeling east and west, before their many ride. In triumph led, is to the pillar bound, Ih' Athenian monarch mounts his throne on high, Where by the king's award he must abide : And after him the queen and Emily:
There goes a captive led on t' other side. Next these the kindred of the crown are grac'd By fits they cease; and, leaning on the lance, With nearer seats, and lords by ladies plac'd : Take breath awhile, and to new fight advance. Scarce were they seated, when, with clamours loud, Full oft the rivals met, and neither spar'd In rushed at once a rude promiscuous crowd; His utmost force, and each forgot to ward. The guards and then each other overbear,
The head of this was to the saddle bent, And in a moment throng the spacious theatre.
The other backward to the crupper sent: Now chang'd the jarring noise to whispers low, Both were by turns unhors'd; the jealous blows As winds forsaking seas more softly blow;
Fall thick and heavy, when on foot they close. When at the western gate, on which the car
So deep their faulchions bite, that every stroke Is plac'd aloft, that bears the god of war,
Pierc'd to the quick; and equal wounds they gave Proud Arcite entering arm'd before his train,
and took. Stops at the barrier, and divides the plain.
Borne far asunder by the tides of men, Red was his banner, and display'd abroad,
Like adamant and steel they meet again. The bloody colours of his patron god.
So when a tiger sucks the bullock's blood, At that self moment enters Palamon
A famish'd lion, issuing from the wood, The gate of Venus, and the rising-sun;
Roars lordly fierce, and challenges the food. Wav'd by the wanton winds, his banner flies, Each claims possession, neither will obey, All maiden white, and shares the people's eyes.
But both their paws are fasten'd on the prey; From east to west, look all the world around, They bite, they tear ; and while in vain they strive,
so match'd were never to be found; The swains come arm'd between, and both to disSuch bodies built for strength, of equal age,
tance drive. In stature siz'd; so proud an equipage :
At length, as Fate foredoom'd, and all things tend