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"Two friends or brothers, with devout intent, All in a trice they cast the cart to the ground, On some far pilgrimage together went.
And in the dung the murder'd body found; It happen'd so, that, when the Sun was down, Though breathless, warm, and reeking from the They just arriv'd by twilight at a town:
wound. That day had been the baiting of a bull,
Good Heaven, whose darling attribute we find 'Twas at a feast, and every inn so full,
Is boundless grace, and mercy to mankind, That no void room in chainber, or on ground, Abhors the cruel ; and the deeds of night And but one sorry bed was to be found :
By wondrous ways reveals in open light: And that so little it would hold but one,
Murder may pass unpunish'd for a time, Though till this hour they never lay alone, But tardy Justice will o'ertake the crime.
" So were they forc'd to part; one stay'd behind, And oft a speedier pain the guilty feels: (heels : His fellow sought what lodging he could find: The hue and cry of Heaven pursues him at the At last he found a stall where oxen stood,
Fresh from the fact, as in the present case, And that he rather chose than lie abroad. The criminals are seiz'd upon the place : 'Twas in a farther yard without a door;
Carter and host confronted face to face. But, for his ease, well litter'd was the fioor. Stiff in denial, as the law appoints,
“ His fellow, who the narrow bed had kept, On engines they distend their tortur'd joints : Was weary, and without a rocker slept:
So was confession forc'd, th'offence was known, Supine be snord; but in the dead of night, And public justice on th' offenders done. He dreamt his friend appear'id before his sight, “ Here may you see that visions are to dread; Who, with a ghastly look and doleful cry, And in the page that follows this, I read Said, “ Help me, brother, or this night I die: Of two young merchants, whom the hope of gain Arise, and help, before all help be vain,
Inducd in partnership to cross the main. Or in an ox's stall I shall be slain.'
Waiting till willing winds their sails supply'd, “ Rous'd from his rest, he waken'd in a start, Within a trading town they long abide, Shirering with horrour, and with aching heart, Full fairly situate on a haven's side; At length to cure himself by reason tries; One evening it befell, that looking out, 'Tis but a dream, and what are dreams but lies? The wind they long had wish'd was come about: So thinking, chang'd his side, and clos'd his eyes. Well pleas'd they went to rest; and if the gale His dream returns; his friend appears again : Till morn continued, both resolv'd to sail. "The murderers come, now help, or I am slain:' But as together in a bed they lay, 'Twas but a vision still, and visions are but vain, The younger had a dream at break of day. He dreamt the third : bat now his friend appeard A man he thought stood frowning at his side: Pale, naked, pierc'd with wounds, with blood be- Who warn'd him for his safety to provide, smeard :
Nor put to sea, but safe on shore abide. Thrice warn'd, · Awake, said he; relief is late, I come, thy genius, to command thy stay; The deed is done; but thou revenge my fate:
Trust not the winds, for fatal is the day, Tardy of aid, unseal thy heavy eyes,
And Death unhop'd attends the watery way.' Arake, and with the dawning day arise :
“ The vision said : and vanish'd from his sight: Take to the western gate thy ready way,
The dreamer waken'd in a mortal fright: For by that passage they my corpse convey : Then pulld his drowsy neighbour, and declar'a My corpse is in a tumbril laid, among
What in his slumber he had seen and heard. The filth and ordure, and enclos'd with dung: His friend smild scornful, and with proud conThat cart arrest, and raise a common cry; Rejects as idle what his fellow dreamt. [tempt For sacred hunger of my gold, I die:
'Stay, who will stay: for me no fears restrain, Then show'd his griesly wound: and last he drew Who follow Mercury the god of gain; A piteous sigh, and took a long adieu.'
Let each man do as to his fancy seems, " The frighted friend arose by break of day, I wait not, I, till you have better dreams. And found the stall where late his fellow lay. Dreams are but interludes which Fancy makes; Then of his impious host inquiring more, When monarch Reason sleeps, this mimic wakes: Was answer'd that his guest was gone before: Compounds a medley of disjointed things, • Muttering, he went, said he, by morning-light, A mob of coblers, and a court of kings : And much complain'd of his ill rest by night.' Light fumes are merry, grosser fumes are sad : This rais'd suspicion in the pilgrim's mind; Both are the reasonable soul run mad; Because all hosts are of an evil kind,
And many monstrous forms in sleep we see, And oft to share the spoils with robbers join'd. That neither were, nor are, nor e'er can be. “ His dream confirm'd his thought: with Sometimes forgotten things long cast behind troubled look
Rush forward in the brain, and come to mind. Straight to the western gate his way he took ; The nurse's legends are for truths receivd, There, as his dream foretold, a cart he found, And the man dreams but what the boy believ'd. That carry'd compost forth to dung the ground. Sometimes we but rehearse a former play, This when the pilgrim saw, he stretch'd bis throat, The night restores our actions done by day; And cry'd out murder with a yelling note.
As hounds in sleep will open for their prey. ‘My murder'd fellow in this cart lies dead, In short, the farce of dreams is of a piece, Vengeance and justice on the villain's head. Chimeras all; and more absurd, or less : Ye magistrates, who sacred laws dispense,
You, who believe in tales, abide alone; On you I call, to punish this offence.
Whate'er I get this voyage is my own.' “ The word thus given, within a little space, “ Thus while he spoke, he heard the shouting The mob came roaring out, and throng'd the place,
That call'd aboard, and took his last adieu.
The vessel went before a merry gale,
While thou art constant to thy own true knight, And for quick passage put on every sail :
While thou art mine, and I am thy delight, But when least feard, and ev'n in open day, All sorrows at thy presence take their flight. The mischief overtook her in the way:
For true it is, as in principio, Whether she sprung a leak, I cannot find,
Mulier est hominis confusio. Or whether she was overset with wind,
Madain, the meaning of this Latin is, Or that some rock below her bottom rent;
That woman is to man his sovereign bliss.
By this example you are taught again, That all my boding cares are cast behind;
He said, and downward flew from off the beam. Another tale shall make the former out.
For day-light now began apace to spring, Kenelm the son of Kenulph, Mercia's king, The thrush to whistle, and the lark to sing, Whose holy life the legends loudly sing,
Then crowing clapp'd his wings, th’appointed call, Warn'd in a dream, his murder did foretel
To chuck his wives together in the hall. From point to point as after it befel;
By this the widow had unbarr'd the door, All circumstances to his nurse he told
And Chanticleer went strutting out before, (A wonder from a child of seven years old): With royal courage, and with heart so light, The dream with horrour heard, the good old wife As show'd he scorn'd the visions of the night. From treason counseld him to guard his life; Now roaming in the yard he spurn’d the ground, But close to keep the secret in his mind,
And gave to Partlet the first grain he found. For a boy's vision small belief would find.
Then often feather'd her with wanton play, The pious child, by promise bound, obey'd, And trod her twenty times ere prime of day : Nor was the fatal murder long delay'd :
And took by turns and gave so much delight, By Quenda slain, he fell before his time,
Her sisters pin’d with envy at the sight. Made a young martyr by his sister's crime. He chuck'd again, when other corns he found, The tale is told by venerable Bede,
And scarcely deign'd to set a foot to ground. Which at your better leisure you may read. But swagger'd like a lord about his hall, “ Macrobius too relates the vision sent
And his seven wives came running at his call. To the great Scipio, with the fam'd event:
'Twas now the month in which the world began Objections makes, but after makes replies, (If March beheld the first created man): And adds, that dreams are often prophesies. And since the vernal equinox, the Sun,
"Of Daniel you may read in holy writ, In Aries, twelve degrees, or more, Who, when the king his vision did forget,
When casting up his eyes against the light, Could word for word the wondrous dream re- Both month, and day, and hour, he measur'd right; peat.
And told more truly than th' Ephemeris: Not less of patriarch Joseph understand,
For Art may err, but Nature cannot miss. Who by a dream enslav'd th’Egyptian land, Thus numbering times and seasons in bis breast, The years of plenty and of dearth foretold, His second crowing the third hour confess'd. When, for their bread, their liberty they sold. Then turning, said to Partlet, “See, my dear, Nor must th’ exalted butler be forgot,
How lavish Nature has adorn'd the year; Nor he whose dream presag'd his hanging lot. How the pale primrose and blue violet spring,
“ And did not Cræsus the same death foresee, And birds essay their throats, disus'd to sing : Rais'd in his vision on a lofty tree?
All these are ours; and I with pleasure see
Man strutting on two legs, and aping me:
And ev'n this day in more delight abound, “Much more I know, which I forbear to speak, Than, since I was an egg, I ever found.” For see the ruddy day begins to break;
The time shall come when Chanticleer shall wish Let this suffice, that plainly I foresee
His words unsaid, and hate his boasted bliss: My dream was bad, and bodes adversity : The crested bird shall by experience know, But neither pills nor laxatives I like,
Jove made not him his master-piece below; They only serve to make the well-man sick: And learn the latter end of joy is woe. Of these his gain the sharp physician makes, The vessel of his bliss to dregs is run, And often gives a purge, but seldom takes: And Heaven will have him taste his other tun. They not correct, but poison all the blood, Ye wise, draw near, and hearken to my tale, And ne'er did any but the doctors good:
Which proves that oft the proud by flattery fall: Their tribe, trade, trinkets, I defy them all, The legend is as true, I undertake, With every work of 'pothecary's hall,
As Tristran is, and Launcelot of the lake:
Which all our ladies in such reverence hold,
A fox, full-fraught with seeming sanctity,
And durst not sin before he said his prayer;
This pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood, I wave, for fear of splitting on a rock.
Had he believ'd his dream, and not his wife:
Pervert, with bad advice, our better mind. And in his high imagination cast,
A woman's counsel brought us first to woe, By stratagem to gratify his taste.
And made her man his Paradise forego,
For what the devil had their sex to do,
But I myself presume, and let it pass.
Silence in times of suffering is the best,
But all they say of dames is idle stuff.
Legends of lying wits together bound, O vile subverter of the Gallic reign,
The Wife of Bath would throw them to the ground; More false than Gano was to Charlemaign! These are the words of Chanticleer, not mine, O Chanticleer, in an unhappy hour
I honour dames, and think their sex divine. Didst thou forsake the safety of thy bower:
Now to continue what my tale begun; Better for thee thou hadst believ'd thy dream, Lay madam Partlet basking in the Sun, And not that day descended from the beam! Breast high in sand: her sisters, in a row, But here the doctors eagerly dispute:
Enjoy'd the beams above, the warmth below. Some hold predestination absolute: (sees, The cock, that of his flesh was ever free, Some clerks maintain, that Heaven at first fore- Sung merrier than the mermaid in the sea : And in the virtue of foresight decrees.
And so befell, that as he cast his eye, If this be so, then prescience binds the will, Among the coleworts, on a butterfly, And mortals are not free to good or ill;
He saw false Reynard where he lay full low: For what he first foresaw, he must ordain,
I need not swear he had no list to crow: Or its eternal préscience may be vain :
But cry'd, “Cock, cock!” and gave a sudden start, As bad for us as prescience had not been,
As sore dismay'd and frighted at his heart; For first, or last, he's author of the sin.
For birds and beasts, inform'd by Nature, know And who says that, let the blaspheming man Kinds opposite to theirs, and fly their foe. Say worse ev'n of the Devil, if he can.
So Chanticleer, who never saw a fox, For how can that eternal Power be just
Yet shunn'd him as a sailor shuns the rocks. To punish man, who sins because he must?
But the false loon, who could not work his will Or, how can he reward a virtuous deed,
By open force, employ'd his flattering skill; Which is not done by us; but first decreed? “ I hope, my lord,” said he, “ I not offend; I cannot bolt this matter to the bran,
Are you afraid of me, that am your friend? As Bradwardin and holy Austin can;
I were a beast indeed to do you wrong,
1, who have lov'd and honour'd you so long :
I come no spy, nor as a traitor press,
To learn the secrets of your soft recess: Another sort there is conditional.
Far be from Reynard so profane a thought, The first so binds the will, that things foreknown But by the sweetness of your voice was brought: By spontaneity, not choice, are done.
For, as I bid my beads, by chance I heard Thus galley-slaves tug willing at their oar, The song as of an angel in the yard; Content to work, in prospect of the shore; A song that would have charm'd th' infernal gods, But would not work at all if not constrain'd before. And banish'd horrour from the dark abodes; That other does not liberty constrain,
Had Orpheus sung it in the nether sphere, But man may either act, or may refrain.
So much the hymn bad pleas'd the tyrant's car, Heaven made us agents free to good or ill,
The wife had been detain'd, to keep the husband And forc'd it not, though he foresaw the will.
there. Freedom was first bestow'd on human race,
“My lord, your sire familiarly I knew, And prescience only held the second place. A peer deserving such a son as you:
If he could make such agents wholly free, He, with your lady-mother, (whom Heaven rest) I not dispute, the point's too high for me;
Has often grac'd my house, and been my guest: For Heaven's unfathom'd power what man can To view his living features, does me good; sound,
For I am your poor neighbour in the wood; Or put to his Omnipotence a bound?
And in my cottage should be proud to see He made us to his image, all agree;
The worthy heir of my friend's family. That image is the soul, and that must be,
“ But since I speak of singing, let me say, Or not the Maker's image, or be free.
As with an upright heart I safely may, But whether it were better man had been
That, save yourself, there breathes not on the By nature bound to good, not free to sin,
One like your father for a silver sound. [ground
So sweetly would he wake the winter-day, Ah blissful Venus, goddess of delight,
The wight of all the world who serv'd thee best?
That I like thee on Friday might complain; By this, in song, he never had his peer,
For on that day was Caur de Lion slain. From sweet Cecilia down to Chanticleer;
Not louder cries, when Ilium was in flames, Not Maro's Muse, who sung the mighty man, Were sent to Heaven by woful Trojan dames, Nor Pindar's heavenly lyre, nor Horace when a When Pyrrhus toss'd on high his burnish'd blade,
And offer'd Priam to his father's shade,
Fair Partlet first, when he was borne from sight, Who gave to sovereign Rome such loud alarms, With sovereign shrieks bewail' her captive knight: That ev'n the priests were not excus'd from arms. Far louder than the Carthaginian wife,
“ Besides, a famous monk of modern times When Asdrubal, her husband, lost his life, Has left of cocks recorded in his rhy.nes,
When she beheld the smouldering Names ascend, That of a parish-priest the son and heir,
And all the Punic glories at an end : (When sons of priests were from the proverb clear) Willing into the fires she plung'd her head, Affronted once a cock of noble kind,
With greater ease than others seek their bed. And either lam'd his legs, or struck him blind; Not more aghast the matrons of renown, For which the clerk his father was disgrac'd, When tyrant Nero burn'd th' imperial town, And in bis benefice another plac'd.
Shriek'd for the downfal in a doleful cry, Now sing, my lord, if not for love of me,
For which their guiltless lords were doom'd to die. Yet for the sake of sweet saint Charity;
Now to my story I return again : Makehills and dales, and Earth and Heaven rejoice, The trembling widow, and her daughters twain, And emulate your father's angel voice.”
This woful cackling cry with horrour heard, The cock was pleas'd to hear him speak so fair, Of those distracted damsels in the yard; And proud beside, as solar people are;
And, starting up, beheld the heavy sight, Nor could the treason from the truth descry, How Reynard to the forest took his flight, So was he ravish'd with this flattery :
And cross his back, as in triumphant scorn, So much the more, as, from a little elf,
The hope and pillar of the house was borne. He had a high opinion of himself;
« The fox, the wicked fox!” was all the cry; Though sickly, slender, and not large of limb, Out from his house ran every neighbour nigh: Concluding all the world was made for him. The vicar first, and after him the crew Ye princes, rais'd by poets to the gods,
With forks and staves, the felon to pursue. And Alexander'd up in lying odes,
Ran Coll our dog, and Talbot with the baud, Believe not every flattering knave's report, And Malkin, with her distaff in her hand; There's many a Reynard lurking in the court; Ran cow and calf, and family of hogs, And he shall be receiv'd with more regard
In panic horrour of pursuing dogs; And listen'd to, than modest Truth is heard. With many a deadly grunt and doleful squeak
This Chanticleer, of whom the story sings, Poor swine, as if their pretty hearts would break. Stood high upon his toes, and clapp'd his wings; The shouts of men, the women in dismay, Then stretch'd his neck, and wink'd with both his With shrieks augment the terrour of the day, eyes,
The ducks, that heard the proclamation cry'd, Ambitious, as he sought thi Olympic prize. And fear'd a persecution might betide, But, while he pain'd himself to raise his note, Full twenty mile from town their voyage take, False Reynard rush'd, and caught him by the Obscure in rushes of the liquid lake. throat.
The geese fiy o'er the barn; the bees in arms Then on his back he laid the precious load, Drive headlong from their waxen cells in swarms. And sought his wonted shelter of the wood; Jack Straw at London-stone, with all his rout, Swiftly he made his way, the mischief done, Struck not the city with so loud a shout; Of all unheeded, and pursued by none.
Not when with English hate they did pursue Alas, what stay is there in human state,
A Frenchman, or an unbelieving Jew : Or who can shun inevitable fate?
Not when the welkin rung with one and all; The doom was written, the decree was past, And echoes bounded back from Fox's hall: Ere the foundations of the world were cast! Earth seem'd to sink beneath, and Heaven above In Aries though the Sun exalted stood,
to fall. His patron-planet to procure his good;
With might and main they chac'd the murderous Yet Saturn was his mortal foe, and he,
fox, In Libra rais'd, oppos'd the same degree:
With brazen trumpets, and inflated box, The rays both good and bad, of equal power, To kindle Mars with military sounds, Each thwarting other made a mingled hour. Nor wanted horns t'inspire sagacious hounds.
On Friday morn he dreamt this direful dream, But see how Fortune can confound the wise, Cross to the worthy native, in his scheme ! And, when they least expect it, turn the dice.
The captire cock, who scarce could draw his | And in a heathen author we may find, breath,
That pleasure with instruction should be join'd; And lay within the very jaws of Death;
So take the corn, and leave the chaff behind. Yet in this agony his fancy wrought,' And Fear supply'd him with this happy thought : “Your's is the prize, victorious prince,” said he, " The vicar my defeat, and all the village see, Enjoy your friendly fortune while you may,
THE FLOWER AND THE LEAF:
OR THE LADY IN THE ARBOUR.
Now, turning from the wintery signs, the Sun This Reynard said: but, as the word he spoke, His course exalted through the Ram had run, The prisoner with a spring from prison broke; And, whirling up the skies, his chariot drove Then stretch'd his feather'd fans with all his might, Through Taurus and the lightsome realms of Love; And to the neighbouring maple wing'd his flight; Where Venus from her orb descends in showers, Whom when the traitor safe on tree beheld, To glad the ground, and paint the fields with He curs'd the gods, with shame and sorrow fillid;
flowers : Shame for his folly, sorrow out of time,
When first the tender blades of grass appear, For plotting an unprofitable crime;
And buds, that yet the blast of Eurus fear, Yet, mastering both, th' artificer of lies
Stand at the door of life, and doubt to clothe the Renews th' assault, and his last battery tries.
year: “ Though 1,” said he,“ did ne'er in thought Till gentle heat, and soft repeated rains, offend,
Make the green blood to dance within their veins: How justly may my lord suspect his friend! Then, at their call embolden'd, out they come, Th’appearance is against me, I confess
And swell the germs, and burst the narrow room; Who seemingly have put you in distress:
Broader and broader yet, their blooms display, You, if your goodness does not plead my cause,
Salute the welcome Sun, and entertain the day. May think I broke all hospitable laws,
Then from their breathing souls the sweets repair, To bear you from your palace-yard by might, To scent the skies, and purge th' unwholesome And put your noble person in a fright: This, since you take it ill, I must repent,
Joy spreads the heart, and, with a general song, Though, Heaven can witness, with no bad intent: Spring issues out, and leads the jolly Months I practis'd it, to make you taste your cheer
along. With double pleasure, first prepar'd by fear.
In that sweet season, as in bed I lay, So loyal subjects often seize their prince,
And sought in sleep to pass the night away, Fere'd (for his good) to seeming violence,
I turn'd my weary'd side, but still in vain, Yet mean his sacred person not the least offence. Though full of youthful health, and void of pain : Descend; so help ine Jove as you shall find Cares I had none, to keep me from my rest, That Reynard comes of no dissembling kind.” For Love had never enter'd in my breast;
“Nay," quoth the cock; “but I beshrewus both, I wanted nothing Fortune could supply, If I believe a saint upon his oath:
Nor did she slumber till that hour deny. An honest man may take a knave's advice,
I wonder'd then, but after found it true, Bat idiots only may be cozen'd twice:
Much joy had dry'd away the balmy dew: Once war'd is well beward; not flattering lies Seas would be pools, without the brushing air, Shall sooth me more to sing with winking eyes, To curl the waves : and sure some little care And open mouth, for fear of catching flies. Should weary Nature so, to make her want repair, Who blindfold walks upon a river's brim,
When Chanticleer the second watch had sung, When he should see, has he deserv'd to swim ?” Scorning the scorner Sleep, from bed I sprung; “ Better, sir cock, let all contention cease, And, dressing, by the Moon, in loose array, " Come down," said Reynard, “ let us treat of Pass'd out in open air, preventing day, peace.”
And sought a goodly grove, as fancy led my way. * A peace with all my soul,” said Chanticleer; Straight as a line iu beauteous order stood * But, with your favour, I will treat it here: Of oaks unshorn a venerable wood; And, lest the truce with treason should be mixt, Fresh was the grass beneath, and every tree Tis my concern to have the tree betwixt.” At distance planted in a due degree,
Their branching arms in air with equal space THE MORAL.
Stretch'd to their neighbours with a long embrace,
And the new leaves on every bough were seen, In this plain fable you th' effect may see Some ruddy colour'd, some of lighter green. Of negligence and fond credulity:
The painted birds, companions of the Spring, And learn beside of flatterers to beware,
Hopping from spray to spray, were heard to sing. Then most pernicious when they speak too fair. Both eyes and ears receiv'd a like delight, The cock and fox, the fool and knave imply; Enchanting music, and a charming sight. The truth is moral, though the tale a lie.
On Philomel I fix'd my whole desire; Woo spoke in parables, I dare not say;
And listen’d for the queen of all the quire; Pat sure he knew it was a pleasing way,
Pain would I hear her heavenly voice to sing; Sound sense, by plain example, to convey. And wanted yet an omen to the spring.