« AnteriorContinuar »
Do thon, just goddess, call our nierits forth,
Not with bare justice shall your act be crown'd, (Said Fame) bat high above desert renown'd: Let fuller notes the applauding world amaze, And the loud clarion labour in your praise.'
This band dismiss'd, behold another crowd Prefer'd the same request, and lowly bow'd; The constant tenor of whose well-spent days No less deserv'd a just return of praise. But straight the direful trump of Slander sounds ; Turough the big dome the doubling thunder bounds; Loud as the burst of cannon rends the skies, The dire report through every region flies, In every ear incessant rumours rang, And gathering scandals grew on every tongue. From the black trumpet's rusty concave broke Sulphureous flames, and clouds of rolling smoke : The poisonous vapour blots the purple skies, And withers all before it as it flies.
A troop came next, who crowns and armour wore, And proud defiance in their looks they bore: • For thee (they cried) amidst alarms and strife, We sail'd in tempests down the stream of life; For thee whole nations till'd with fames and blood, And swam to empire through the purple flood : Those ills we dar'd, thy inspiration own; What virtue seem'd, was done for thee alone.' * Ambitious fools! (the queen replied, and frown'd) Be all your acts in dark oblivion drown'd; There sleep forgot, with mighty tyrants gone, Your statues moulder'd, and your names unknown! A sudden clond straight snatch'd them from my And each majestic phantom sunk in night. [sight, Then came the smallest tribe I yet had seen ; Plain was their dress, and modest was their mien : • Great idol of mankind! we neither claim The praise of merit, nor aspire to fanie! But safe in deserts from the applause of men, Would die unheard of, as we liv'd unseen; 'Tis all we beg thee, to conceal from sight Those acts of goodness which themselves requite. O let us still the secret joy partake, To follow virtue ev’n for virtue's sake.'
* And live there men who slight immortal fame? Who then with incense shall adore our name? But, mortals ! know, 'uis still our greatest pride To blaze those virtues which the good would hide. Rise! Muses, rise! add all your tuneful breath, These must not sleep in darkness and in death.' She said: in air the trembling music floats, And on the winds triumphant swell the notes ; So soft, though high, so loud, and yet so clear, Ev'n listening angels lean'd from Heaven to hear: To furthest shores the' ambrosial spirit flies, Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies.
Next these a youthful train their vows express'd, With feathers crown'd, with gay embroidery dress’d: • Hither (they cried) direct your eyes, and see The men of pleasure, dress, and gallantry; Ours is the place at banquets, balls, and plays, Sprightly our nights, polite are all our days; Courts we frequent, where 'tis our pleasing care To pay due visits and address the fair ; In fact, 'tis true, no nymph we could persuade, But still in fancy vanquish'd every maid ; Of unknown duchesses lewd tales we tell, Yet, would the world believe us, all were well;
The joy Ict others have, and we the name,
The queen assents: the trumpet rends the skies, And at each blast a lady's honour dies. · [press'd
Pleas'd with the strange success, vast numbers Around the shrine, and made the same request :
What, you, (she cried) unlearn'd in arts to please, Slaves to yourselves, and ev'n fatigued with ease, Who lose a length of undeserving days, Wonld you usurp the lover's dear-bought praise ? To jast contempt, ye vain pretenders ! fall, The people's fable, and the scorn of all.' Straight the black clarion sends a horrid sound, Loud laughs burst out, and bitter scoffs fly round, Whispers are heard, with taunts reviling loud, And scornful hisses run through all the crowd.
Last, those who boast of mighty mischiefs done, Enslave their country, or usurp a throne; Or who their glory's dire foundation laid On sovereigns ruin'd, or on friends betray'd; Calm, thinking villains, whom no faith could fix, Of crooked counsels and dark politics; Of these a gloomy tribe surround the throne, And beg to make the immortal treasons known. The trumpet roars, long flaky flames expire, With sparks that seem'd to set the world on fire. At the dread sound pale mortals stood aghast, And startled nature trembled with the blast.
This having heard and seen, some power unknown Straight cliangʻd the scene, and snatch'd me from the Before my view appear'd a structure fair, [throne. Its site uncertain, if in earth or air; With rapid motion toru'd the mansion round; With ceaseless noise the ringing walls resound:
Not less in number were the spacious doors.
There various news I heard of love and strife,
Above, below, without, within, around, Confus'd, innumber'd multitudes are found, Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away, Hosts rais'd by fear, and phantoms of a day : Astrologers, that future fates foreshew, Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few; And priests, and party zealots, numerous bands, With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands; Each talk'd aloud, or in some secret place, And wild impatience star'd in every face. The flying rumours gather'd as they rollid, Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told; And all who told it added something new, And all who heard it made enlargements too; ! In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew.) Thus flying east and west, and north and south, News travell’d with increase from mouth to mouth. So from a spark, that kindled first by chance, With gathering force the quickening flames advance; Till to the clouds their corling heads aspire, And towers and temples sink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprang, Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue, Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow, and rush io millions on the world below : Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course, Their date determines, and prescribes their force; Some to remain, and some to perish soon, Or wane and wax alternate like the moon. Around a thousand winged wonders fly, Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd through
the sky. There, at one passage, oft you might survey A lie and truth contending for the way;