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Sullen of aspect, by the vulgar call'd

A Catchpole, whose polluted hands the gods

With force incredible, and magic charms,

First have endued: if he his ample palm

Should haply on ill-fated shoulder lay

Of debtor, strait his body, to the touch

Obsequious, (as whilom knights were wont)

To some enchanted castle is convey'd,

Where gates impregnable, and coercive chains",

In durance strict detain him, till, in form

Of money, Pallas sets the captive free.

Beware, ye debtors! when ye walk, beware, Be circumspect; oft with insidious ken The caitiff eyes your steps aloof, and oft Lies perdue in a nook or gloomy cave, Prompt to enchant some inadvertent wretch With his unhallow'd touch. So (poets sing) Grimalkin, to domestic vermin sworn An everlasting foe, with watchful eye Lies nightly brooding o'er a chinky gap, Protending her fell claws, to thoughtless mic*

Sure ruin. So her disembowel'd web
Arachne, in a hall or kitchen, spreads
Obvious to vagrant flies: she secret stands
Within her woven cell; the humming prey,
Regardless of their fate, rush on the toils
Inextricable, nor will aught avail
Their arts, or arms, or shapes of lovely hue;
The wasp insidious, and the buzzing drone,
And butterfly proud of expanded wings
Distinct with gold, entangled in her snares,
Useless resistance make: with eager strides,
She towering flies to her expected spoils;
Then, with envenom'd jaws, the vital blood
Drinks of reluctant foes, and to her cave
Their bulky carcases triumphant drags.

So pass my days. But, when nocturnal shades
This world envelop, and th' inclement air
Persuades men to repel benumbing frosts
With pleasant wines, and crackling blaze of wood;
Me, lonely sitting, nor the glimmering light
Of make-weight candle, nor the joyous talk

Of loving friend, delights; distress'd, forlorn,

Amidst the horrors of the tedious night,

Darkling I sigh, and feed with dismal thoughts

My anxious mind ; or sometimes mournful verse

Indite, and sing of groves and myrtle shades,

Or desperate lady near a purling stream,

Or lover pendent on a willow-tree.

Meanwhile I labour with eternal drought,

And restless wish, and rave; my parched throat

Finds no relief, nor heavy eyes repose:

But if a slumber haply does invade

My weary limbs, my fancy's still awake,

Thoughtful of drink, and eager, in a dream,

Tipples imaginary pots of ale,

In vain 5 awake I find the settled thirst

Still gnawing, and the pleasant phantom curse.

Thus do I live, from pleasure quite debarr'd, Nor taste the fruits that the sun's genial rays Mature, john-apple, nor the downy peach, Nor walnut in rough-furrow'd coat secure,

VOL. II. v

Nor medlar fruit, delicious in decay:

Afflictions great! yet greater still remain:

My galligaskins, that have long withstood

The winter's fury, and encroaching frosts,

By time subdued, (what will not time subdue!)

A horrid chasm disclos'd with orifice

Wide, discontinuous; at which the wind*

Eurus and Auster, and the dreadful force

Of Boreas, that congeals the Cronian waves,

Tumultuous enter with dire chilling blasts,

Portending agues. Thus a well-fraught ship

Long sail'd secure, or through th' /Egean deep,

Or the Ionian, till cruising near

The Lilybean shore, with hideous crush

On Scylla or Charybdis (dangerous rocks !)

She strikes rebounding; whence the shatter'd oak,

So fierce a shock unable to withstand,

Admits the sea; in at the gaping side

The crowding waves gush with impetuous rage,

Resistless, overwhelming; horrors seize

The mariners; death in their eyes appears,

They stare, they lave, they pump, they swear, they

pray: (Vain efforts !) still the battering waves rush in, Implacable, till, delug'd by the foam, The ship sinks foundering in the vast abyss.

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