42 + 46 Spenserians, posthumously published in 1792. In this satire Moses Mendez takes Sir Pelleas (FQ 6.12.39) on a tour of the social institutions of contemporary England. Like James Thomson's Castle of Indolence, the poem reflects on Opposition politics; the false patriot in the second canto might be David Mallet. In 1:2, Mendez praises Gilbert West, another Opposition Spenserian. The conclusion, in which Sir Pelleas falls for the blandishments of Florella, should perhaps be taken as a comment on the failure of the political reformers.
The pointed reflections on Oxford University at the end of the first canto do not appear to refer to William Mason, a Cambridge graduate, though they may well refer to events surrounding Thomas Warton's defense of the University in the Triumph of Isis (1749). Thomas Warton later tutored Mendez's son.
Moses Mendez refers to the poem in a MS. preface to "To the well conceited Maister John Ellis" dated "about 1749": "As I have already addressed to you two cantos of our well-beloved friend Master Edmund Spenser, I do likewise offer to your perusal and patronage the inclosed Epistle" European Magazine 21 (1792) 4, 128.
Chivalry was at something of a low ebb in the 1740s, though about to make a comeback. In an undated letter Elizabeth Montagu wrote of Sidney's Arcadia, "I am as fatigued with his hero's adventures as if I had rode with him. He out-Quixote's Quixote; knights, brave or miscreant, are unhorsed; ladies, fair or foul, chaste or wicked, fall in love with him: between the lance of Mars, and the arrow of Cupid, no age or sex escape him unhurt. Then the fair Princess bathing for the good of the public! I took great care no such accident should happen at Mary-le-bone. Lord Dupplin wrote a copy of verses on my going to the bath, which we impute to Sandys, to his his great amazement. He says he does not know who wrote them, but thinks he is very sure he did not" Letters (1809) 2:54-55.
Samuel Austin Allibone: "Moses Mendez, a native of London, left some poetical reputation, and £100,000" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 2:1265.
Befits that he who would reform mankind
Should have his breast as pure as angel's wing,
He should fair Virtue treasure in his mind,
Ne ever bare his heart to Error's sting,
Ne lend the ear when those soft syrens sing,
Which oft the mind from her firm base remove;
These when she upwards doth attempt to spring,
With earthly weights do drag her from above,
And banish from her thoughts the joys of heav'nly love.
But youth, alas! believes the tempter's call,
Who variously doth various breasts excite;
The weak who struggle may be sure to fall
When Vice her chequer'd flag displays to sight:
This boundless wealth, this glory may delight,
The pomp of title this may chance envy,
Cameleon-like she changes colours bright,
And to succeed assumes that fav'rite dye
Which most she deems may please th' unweening gazer's eye.
Virtuous he is not who doth pay a debt,
Him Heav'n amates not, but the fear of shame;
Or grant a friendly act you ne'er forget,
A naven heart hath often done the same:
True virtue soars above reproach or blame,
Ne wants the world to sanctify her deeds,
That emanation of celestial flame
On true unerring principles proceeds;
An heav'nly flow'r she is, all else are gaudy weeds.
Then shall Sir PELLEAS stand not in this class,
If that his story be remember'd well.
Ye British nymphs, who ev'ry nymph surpass,
Are not ye well reveng'd for COLUMBEL?
There fell a Maid, but here a Palmer fell;
Fell from a great and glorious emprize;
'Tis vain against your beauties to rebel,
The keenest lightning: flashes from your eyes;
And 'gainst their matchless pow'r what mortal man is wise!
Sir PELLEAS with the BLATANT BEAST
Determineth is to fight;
But is from his intention mov'd
By PETER EREMITE.
Lo I the man who sung the squire of dames,
Again adventure other tales to sing.
On me, ye fair, light not your noyous blames,
If that the mirrour such a sight did bring,
As to the heart did our sweet springal sting,
And left him in full bitter bale astound.
Would I good news of COLUMBEL could bring,
But I am call'd to plough another ground,
Sir PELLEAS claims my pen thro' paynim lond renown'd.
Albe I wish some other abler hand
Would from the combrous load my shoulders free,
Alas! I dread beneath the weight to stand,
The toil, O WEST, may with thy strength agree;
Thou many coronals from laurel tree
Hast well deserv'd, and un-impeach'd shalt wear;
Me better suit's upon the humble lea,
A simple shepherd, with my sheep to fare;
Yet I obey perforce, and to my task repair.
Right courteous was our unbelieving knight
(For unbelievers sometimes courteous are),
Bold was the foe that durst him meet in fight,
He fear'd no living creature save the fair;
The prowest youths may boast their chains to wear:
Behold him prauncing on his milk-white need,
In quest of fame he dreaded no misfare;
But now to make the BLATANT BANDOG bleed,
Had caus'd him arm'd to point, advent'rous to proceed.
He was in person tall and full of grace,
On his fair checks a kind of down was seen;
The bloom of spring depeinted all his face,
And fire did flash from forth his breast-plate sheen.
His mantle white was purfled o'er with green,
And on his morion was the plumage rear'd;
In iv'ry sheath was cas'd his brondiron keen,
And in its rest the warlike launce appear'd:
By maidens much belov'd, by men he much was fear'd.
So on he yode to seek the BLATANT BEAST,
Whom once the zone of FLORIMEL could bind;
Till, from the gentle chain too soon releast,
The monster sprong, that bane of human kind,
As you at ease may in Dan SPENSER find:
He prick'd along and reach'd a hamlet, where
The poplars trembled to the curling wind
And many a youth and many a damsel fair
Around a maypole daunc'd, and seem'd to tread in air.
They tripp'd it deffly to the bag-pipe's sound,
And various gyres descrive upon the grass;
And now they rise a-loft with nimble bound;
And now the lad he leadeth up his lass;
Then quick from sight the nimble couple pass:
So by pale moon-light on the shaven green,
The fairy band a circle wide compass;
But if by chaunce they are by mortal seen,
The little folk yfade in sullen rage and spleen.
Thus at our knight's approach they ceas'd their daunce,
And look'd as who should say, We wish you gone;
And some him ey'd with looks malign askaunce,
And some him had revil'd in loudest tone,
But that they fear'd to risk their skin and bone;
The piper carle he would no longer play,
And as the musick ceas'd they stopp'd attone.
Ah, borrel slaves! is this your clownish, way,
When Valour's dearlings chaunce along your fields to stray?
The knight much marvell'd what the villains meant,
Till one more gentle press'd his ir'n hond
Ne he awhap'd, young sir, for their intent
Is to discure that they are nothing fond
To see a stranger on their limits stond.
Behold yon dame in Lincoln green bedight,
Scarce have four moons beheld this fruitful lond,
Since made a wife, a babe she brought to light.
Four months are certez few, return'd the Paynim knight.
But who is she that by the maypole's side
In virgin modesty reclines the head?
Her cheeks appear like whited iv'ry dy'd
By cunning craftsman with vermillion red.
At this the lout look'd arch, and thus he said:
The nymph, O courteous youth, that
Sleeps not each ev'ning in a single bed;
Now This young swain, now That she takes, perdie,
And oft has pluck'd the fruit from Love's forbidden tree.
Observe that toothless dame, as badger gray,
A lusty lover crowns her widow'd night;
Her mate went poison'd to the grave (they say),
Ne is the luscious crone cloy'd with delight.
Yon shepherd with his crook, most wicked wight!
To seize his bags, his aged father slew!
Yet 'tis not fit to give a loose to spite,
And charity we should to neighbours shew;
But all I here declare is to a tittle true.
Ne may such vices chivalry aby;
'Tis hence they fly accoil'd and hide their face;
For me, the pow'r of malice I defy,
To say I ever sinn'd 'gainst heav'nly grace:
But once, when sitting in a shady place
Where yon tall elms repell the heat of day,
I drew my pipe from out its beechen case,
Determin'd for a while thereon to play;
Then to mine leman dear to sing a roundelay.
When lo! from yonder brake a monster fell
(Reckless of my sweet love or of my tale)
Came darting out; the very fires of hell
Flew from his eyne; his breath impests the gale;
His hundred heads were garnish'd o'er with mail,
And iron teeth beset his frothy jaws.
At the drad sight I wex'd like spectre pale,
And he did swing me in his deadly claws:
The bare remembrance yet my very soul adaws.
As when a libbard, couching for her prey,
Sees on the grass a little playful faun,
She lopes from when she close in ambush lay,
And bears her victim proudly o'er the lawn.
Ev'n so this monster of infernal spawn
Bore me all night along the verdant lea;
At length he drops me at the morning dawn,
But in the side he gor'd me heartily.
At this he show'd the wound, full piteous 'twas to see.
To whom the Knight reply'd, I see too plain
The monstrous BLATANT BEAST has wander'd here;
Canst thou direct me, say, O seely swain,
Where I may meet him in his wild career?
Alas! thy steps, Sir Knight, I cannot steer,
Return'd the swain. To whom the youth replies
Could I the hell-hound meet, this well-ground spear
Should in the sleep of death infold his eyes,
Then Scandal's mouth should cease to bark forth venom'd lyes.
With that he spurr'd his milk-white steed along;
The ribbauld lilled out his tongue in scorn,
And but he fear'd the youth to underfong,
He him would have abus'd from night to morn
With bitter gibes that are as sharp as thorn;
For the base hern was full of tort and pride;
Why should such gear that miscreant vile adorn?
Ah, curs'd fortune! loud the caitiff cry'd
Why must I walk on foot, he on his horseback ride?
Our imp of fame went journeying on his way,
And now he enters in a grove of pines,
Scarce pierceable by any lightsome ray,
Ev'n when at noon the sun in summer shines;
Her drowsy hed the owlet here inshrines,
And flutt'ring bats approve the mirksome shade;
No woodbine sweet around the trees intwines,
But hemlock dire doth the hore soil invade,
And flags o'erlook the pool that slumbers in the glade.
Here the night raven builds her hateful nest,
Whom fate intrusts to toll the sick man's knell;
The daw loud chatt'ring is a constant guest,
Who 'erst of fair AGLAURO'S tales did tell,
And still doth pierce the ear with shrilling yell:
Here drowsy beetles hover'd thro' the air
And gnats did deep infix their javlins fell,
Who from their native lake in troops repair,
And seem to sound a charge, and battle fierce to dare.
Yet through the bow'r there shot a sullen gleam,
Which show'd a kind of hermitage hard by
(The house of Morpheus was such one I deem),
And heaps of ruins all around did lie;
Here spreading ivy clustring meets the eye,
And gaping chinks were seen along the wall,
A seat like this sure pride would ne'er envy,
Where the loose stones were just about to fall,
Here bloated toads ybred, and little ewftes did crawl.
Sir Pelleas nought affray'd, the portal spies,
Thro' which he enters in a lofty hall;
There burning tapers he doth well avise,
And many a man yclad in sable pall,
Who from his portess loud on Heaven did call,
As he were deep in sweet Religion's rite;
Nathless their bosoms were brimful of gall,
And they'd surcease their pray'rs to vent their spite,
Like curs they sometimes gnarr'd, like cats would scratch and bite.
Albe they preach'd that man should patient bear
The load which venom'd tongue may on him lay;
Yet unattack'd they would to pieces tear
The fame of those who travelled that way:
And all did wish to change their bonnets gray
For other gear of surquedry and state;
And some by threats would their compeers affray;
And while of meekness to the mob they prate,
Ambition rules their mind, they languish to be great.
The little bird within the dusky grove
Contented sings his heart-becalming strain,
Ne wishes thraldom in the cage to prove,
Altho' a Queen would feed him for his pain;
But man is ever rushing on his bane,
And, quitting peace beneath the quiet bow'r,
Now seek the fight, now rushes on the main,
And changing balmy bliss for deadly stour,
Believes the witching strains, and stretches after pow'r.
Say, what is Pow'r that tempts the mad and vain?
A height immense that shows our own defects;
He much misweens who up that hill doth strain;
Lever would I, unknown to Man's respects,
Dwell with the cottage swain, whom none suspects;
He lives in joy, and in unfading ease
The friends he likes he at his will selects,
He wooes the Nymph who most his mind doth please,
And without vagrant heart all other Virgins sees.
Me life's low vale, unknown to baleful cark,
My Reason bids me choose, and I comply.
Ne Statesman's wrinkle shall my forehead mark,
Ne Warrior's faulchion doen me to dye,
But I will pipe and daunce right jollily;
Nay, sometimes I will tune the Muses string,
And if the learned Maidens will comply,
The village shall with my quaint sonnets ring,
Blithsome as when their notes the merry Throstles sing.
Around our Knight the bead-men grave resort,
And mickle news they do of him enquire,
As, How long since he left the Soldan's Court?
And if the Mufti vital life did spire?
When one, the gravest of the hoary quire,
Aloud did cry, I am the first in place,
Befits me then, as the most auncient Sire,
To tell my plaints 'fore each false faytor's face,
For guilt that meets rebuke perchaunce may turn to grace.
Alas! our Dortours all defiled are,
Devotion's gentle fires no longer burn,
No more our Priests frequent the House of Pray'r,
No more the Koran's sacred leaves they turn.
'Tis Int'rest fires their soul, aught else they spurn,
Ne will they wait the Houri to enfold,
'Till Death has clos'd them in the silent urn.
But hark, a word; the Mufti's passing old,
Make the Vizier my friend, and take the bag of gold.
At this the Youth in wrath drew forth his glaive,
And all the crew did flee away amain,
But on the sconce he smote the wily knave,
Who durst such vile discourse with him maintain;
The losel tumbled, but soon rose again,
And reel'd, and bounded too with many a spring;
Like as a ront when feeding on the plain,
In whose tough hide a gad-fly sends his sting,
Then doth he kick full high, and round the field doth fling.
Sir PELLEAS, banning, left the wicked place
Where ev'ry act the BLATANT BEAST discur'd,
Resolv'd at court the hellish imp to trace,
For there he dwells, and not in cloisters mur'd;
Ne in hard gyves or manacles secur'd,
But at his will he walketh from his den;
While by false joys the passenger is lur'd,
He pours infection in the breasts of men,
Which, like the poison'd shirt, doth always sting and bren.
Now ev'ning 'gan to spread her amis brown,
To shade the trees and darken ev'ry bow'r,
Now to his home foreswonk returns the clown,
And pearly dew-drops hand on ev'ry flow'r;
Our youth rode on, brimful of bale and stour,
Ne thought at any place to stop, or stay,
Till a fair lawn, which daisies did ycour,
Retards his speed, thro' which a rill did bay
The shining grail beneath, and plained all the way.
Beneath a snubby oak's extended boughs
A little cot uprear'd her homely head,
Ne by the lawless sale of orphan's bread;
No work was here by artist martelled,
A beechen bowl, and books of Holy Writ
(Where with the soul with heav'nly cates is fed),
Was all the gear that you mote find in it,
For true Religion's sons a place, I ween, right fit.
And here did dwell good PETER EREMITE,
Of whose great deeds in TASSO you may read;
He 'gainst the Infidels, in per'lous fight
By counsel wise did Christian GODFREY lead:
He was, to weeten, Saint in word and deed,
And could with ease through future ages look.
Sir PELLEAS he observ'd upon his steed,
As he was louting o'er the silver brook,
And by the hand the Seer the graceful Paynim took.
Good Knight (said he) ah! would the Son of Truth
Had shed its lustre o'er thy infant eyes;
Yet our Religion teaches, gentle youth,
To serve all men, for all, I hope, shall rise
On the last day, and dwell in yonder skies.
Blush, madding Zeal, that with an iron hand
Would hold the free-born mind in slavish tyes,
Unsheaths the glaive, and tosses round the brand,
Sounds Error's Trumpet shrill, and thins the frighted land.
Devotion, bright as her eternal Sire,
Sits high inthron'd in yonder starry pole,
That emanation of th' eternal fire,
Pervades, inflames, and animates the soul;
And when the eye-balls dim in death yroll,
Th' immortal part from its incumbrance springs;
The wicked then are doom'd to endlesse dole,
The virtuous man exalts on Seraph's wings,
And to the God of Truth in endless rapture sings.
The Knight, astound at converse so divine,
Leap'd from his horse, and bending on his knee,
He greeted loud, MAHOUNE I now resign,
Proud to be tutor'd by a sage like thee.
True sanctity, unmix'd with dross, I see;
Not such I met in yonder Dortour vild,
There sacred stoles veil'd curs'd hypocrisy:
Receive me, father, own me for thy child,
On whom with bel-regard the Hermit, speaking, smil'd.
'Ere yet, my son, the sacred wave you feel,
Which with the Holy Cross your forehead signs,
It much befits that I to you reveal
Some doctrines pure, that lie in yonder scrines;
When next the rising sun upon us shines,
We will the great, the glorious work achieve,
That round thy brows unfading laurels twines;
Frail are the bloody girlonds heroes weave;
Say, can the murd'rer smile when captiv'd nations grieve?
But leave thy purpose to pursue the BEAST,
That doth the world with his infection stain;
From hell's grim jaws at earliest time releast,
No human force his raging can restrain;
Cease then thy toil, for all thy toil is vain,
Nor mitred Seer shall 'scape his venom'd tongue,
Nor even those who hold proud empire's rein;
In vain the bard his golden lyre has strung,
The BEAST reviles his lays, ne spare he old or young.
Thro' the black curtain of deep night I see
The BLATANT MONSTER on a distant strond,
The flow'rs all fade, and withers ev'ry tree,
While he in fury ramps thro Fairy Lond,
Swift as the progress of a Levin-brond.
Where Isis views her turrets with delight
The monster rens, and there some sons are fond
Who 'gainst their awful mother vent their spite;
Degenerate sons indeed, who their dear mother smite.
And now in shoals scud out the busy fry
To fill with false reports the ear of pow'r;
The vile Informer, sun-ingender'd fly,
Hangs on the wing, denouncing deadly stour;
Now parasites to share the booty scour.
Yet mark what men their noursling still revere:
The Noble hails her in her pensive bow'r,
The hoary Prelate bids her cease to fear,
And from her downcast eyes he wipes the scalding tear.
May Time's sharp scythe ne'er overwend the name
That durst with filial piety defend
The much-wrong'd Matron; ever bloom the fame
Of those in whom the injur'd found a friend:
Your thanks to these, ye grateful virgins, send,
Whose future sons may drink of Charwell's tide;
But those who Nero-like her heart would rend,
Night, in thy bosom the base hildings hide,
Lest vengeance should o'ertake each impious paracide.
Hail, RHEDECYNA! by oppression great,
Arise, and still assert the glorious cause;
Teach all thy sons the greatest boon of fate
Is LIBERTY, that guardian of the laws;
Nor suffer Thraldom, with her harpy claws,
To spoil the harvest of the gen'rous field;
When you resolve what base, what craven daws
To smite thy breast the poison'd poniard steel'd,
Then think, with rapture think, whose hands upheld the shield.
With that he turn'd him to the guileless youth,
Who wareless stood and gazed all around,
My soul prophetic bleeds with inward ruth
To think what States the BLATANT BEAST plays round.
Would'st, thou, my son, his ev'ry guile confound,
Thy morion doff, unarm thine iron heel,
For temper'd mail cannot repel the wound,
Thro' all thy arms thou shalt the poison feel,
For venom'd tooth of spite will pierce the hardest steel.
Then learn, mild youth, thy rising rage to tame,
Draw worth reflected from her cold retreat,
By tortious tales ne'er wound a stranger's name,
For spot with vile report the virgin sweet;
Be shended those who others faults repeat;
On thy own life the strictest comment make,
Then shalt thou find the man who is discreet,
Will not in others' actions rashly rake;
Who wounds his neighbour's fame doth set his own at stake.
With that he lad the boy into his cell,
To entertake him there with holy leer:
Th' ensuing morn he at a neighb'ring well
From ev'ry sin the happy youth did clear,
His future acts hereafter may appear;
Not those of chevisaunce and martial rage,
For he no more will brandish sword or spear,
But ev'ry day he turns the sacred page,
And from a Paynim Knight becomes a Palmer sage.
Sir PELLEAS seeks to mend mankind,
Yfere with TALUS bold,
Where how he with FLORELLA met,
This Canto shall unfold.
Wise is the Man who, quitting war-like broils,
To sweet Religion's hests his mind doth turn,
For what are Reaumes destroy'd, and Nation's spoils?
Contentment doth these bloody Trophies spurn:
Greatness ne'er rests till mured in the urn.
Nay, 'gainst her ashes we fell war darraign.
Hence the Fifth CHARLES, to woo fair Peace' return,
Gave up of Empire the too troublous rein,
And found in Bead-man's Cell a full release from pain.
There dwells true Quiet, there dwells wisdom sweet,
And Peace, the rosy daughter of Delight;
Vain fears, false hopes ne'er vex sith calm retreat,
And rest unbroken crowns the sober Night;
There Freedom wons, as summer sun-shine bright,
With health more ruddy than the op'ning morn;
Calm Reason, that doth winnow wrong from right,
With Temperance, of heav'nly fire yborn,
And Contemplation sage, that earthly joys doth scorn.
Sir PELLEAS hath his trenchant glaive forsook
And now appears array'd in Palmer's gray;
Deep is he read in ev'ry godly book,
And from his portess doth devoutly pray:
Before the Sun in golden garments gay
Thro' the bright portal of the East doth spring,
He from his couch hath banish'd sleep away,
And doth with persant voice his mattins sing;
So shrill Sir Chaunticleer doth make the welkin ring.
Yet oft he wander'd from his lonely cave
To preach to all the neighb'ring carles around,
By wholsome doctrine he their souls would save,
And pour both oil and balsam on the wound
Which Sin had tainted with her tooth unsound;
Yet nought avail'd the pious Hermit's care,
They wexed wood as he did truths expound;
For when rank vice our footsteps doth insnare,
Like unto salvage beasts, we would our feeders tear.
This much abash'd and hurt our youthful Saint.
"Their follies on their heads," the Palmer cry'd,
"All gentle methods are, I find, too faint,
To bring the caitiff churls on Virtue's side,
Then Rigor's iron rod shall be apply'd;
For when such wickedness 'mongst men is rife
Severity must heal the breaches wide,
And punishment should follow sinful strife.
Lop off the gangren'd limb, you save the patient's life."
So on he hied, yet often wish'd to find
A valiant seer in Virtue's thews complete,
One who was able to chastize mankind,
Ne would, tho' crouds oppos'd, one step retreat,
And who, with courage, had a mind discreet.
Such he descry'd upon the verdant mead,
The Yron Squire sent by ASTREA sweet,
And TALUS hight, whose ev'ry daring deed
You in the FAERY QUEEN with muchel joy may read.
There, as the deathless Bard in numbers sings
(In numbers sweeter than the crystal rill,
The which o'er breaking pebbles plaining rings),
An yron flail his brawny hond doth fill,
With which I wis he threshes good from ill,
And truth from falsehood rightly can discure:
Ne doth he often with his blows ykill,
But back and bones he makes full sore, before.
And thus the Yron Man bespeaks the Palmer pure.
"O best beloved next to ARTHEGAL,
Whose life, like thine, from deadly sin is free,
Companions are we wond'rous peregal,
And rightly shall we in our lives agree;
For thy great worth hath reach'd my Knight and me.
At thy command the wicked I'll assail,
Thy cause I entertake withouten fee,
And wear he samite robe or coat of mail,
I'll make him to thy hests his lofty crest avale."
The sinless pair for many a weary mile
In gentle talk deceiv'd the tedious way,
While Light's fair lamp in Western seas the while
Dipping his fiery forehead, closes day;
Descending dews the silv'ry meads embay,
And bats on leathern pinions thread the grove,
The owl and raven chaunt their dreadful lay;
All else a tranquil sleep and quiet prove,
All but unslak'd revenge, and unrewarded love.
Beneath a vetchy roof that night they sped,
And when the morn her saffron robe display'd,
They both together started from their bed,
And for the arduous task themselves array'd.
But first the Eremite devoutly pray'd
To every Saint that makes mankind his care.
Now to an hamlet they are both convey'd
It happ'd by chaunce to be a day of fair,
And many country-folk did come to sell their ware.
The seller set his muniments to view,
And told the prease, that they were passing fine.
In all he said he spoke the thing untrue,
Albe he swore by holy BECKET'S Shrine,
"And can ye hope to meet with aid divine,
If that for gelt you barter your good name?"
Sir PELLEAS cry'd, "No, deep in endless tine
Your souls shall ever bren in hellish flame,
For gems are not so bright as is a spotless name."
The losels laugh'd in scorn, as who should say,
Your idle preachments stand in little stead
Bat TALUS soon his weapon did display,
And smote their back, their shoulders, and their head.
The rabble-rout by different paths yfled,
Like to a flock of sheep whom cur-dog bays;
Their hearts are seized with a sudden dread,
The woolly nations then forgot to graze,
But all do scour along an hundred diff'rent ways.
The Knight and 'Squire forsake each surly clown,
For goodly reed ne'er enter'd borrel-breast;
And now they reach'd the island's chiefest town,
The which a goodly river doth invest,
That often is with lordly freight imprest.
Here vessels anchor from each foreign shore,
Rich with the tributes of the East and West;
Where earth's dark entrails gleam with precious oar,
And great COLUMBUS first did worlds unknown explore.
And here to sale the di'mond they expose,
More fiercely dazzling than CLARINDA'S eyne,
Here view the gem that doth outblush the rose,
And make CLEORA'S checks to pale incline;
The topaz too like burnish'd gold doth shine;
The purple amethyst, in mild array,
Defends its wearer from the fumes of wine;
In azure streams the beauteous sapphyres play,
And emrauds charm the sight in verdant amis gay.
The Knight and TALUS get them to a square,
With many pillars that was well bedight,
And while a croud of men was gath'ring there,
They cast their eyes about from left to right,
Where many a KESAR stood in niche impight,
Whose name a short inscription did unfold.
Our couple gaz'd upon this pleasing sight,
For 'twas in sooth right gallant to behold
So many royal folk array'd in Precious gold.
Shelter'd below, an awful figure stands
Of that great man who rais'd the pile alone;
He by fair traffic with far distant lands,
At once inrich'd those nations and his own;
Such wights should ever live in verse and stone.
On t' other side another form was seen,
Whose motto's truth is yet to me unknown.
The polish'd marble cast a glitt'ring sheen,
And well the craftsman work'd, who hew'd the stone, I ween.
Our two Companions melled in the throng,
Yet what they said I know not, in good sooth,
Save that I saw the croud did run along,
And at their heels pursu'd the Yron Youth;
Near him the Palmer ran; in terms uncouth
He did them twite, and call'd them Faytors vile,
And vow'd to work them muchel bale and ruth.
And as he did upbray them with their guile,
TALUS did with his flail give them hard blows the while.
And if he ever did surcease to strike,
The holy Man did urge his sinking hand;
His anger was against this folk belike,
'Cause they did not to Honour's dictates stand,
But sometimes practis'd science contraband.
Your traders oft will warp from truth aside;
Yet not for that we all the tribe must brand,
For in the garden at May's flow'ry tide,
The noyous weed will spring by the sweet lily's side.
Suppose the couple passing on, when lo
A structure proud doth greet their curious eyes;
What it may be the strangers little know;
"Some Paladine or King," Sir PELLEAS cries,
Herein doth lodge, if I do right avise,
Fit is this palace for such folk as they."
He op'd the door, and kenn'd with vast surprize,
Ybound to mangers, standing in array,
Black, roan, and dapple steeds, the which did loudly neigh.
Thence to a place which few did e'er surpass,
The Yron 'Squire and godly Palmer sped.
On this side mote you see a field of grass,
And there a goodly city rear'd her head.
Here cows they saw, and horned Stags were fed,
While Barons, Earls, and Dukes of high degree,
Along a walk full broad did blythsome tread.
And Chieftains prow of land and eke of sea
Did walk with Ladies gent, and walk'd with muchel glee.
The lofty trees the walk did overcour,
And a clear river roll'd her silver tide,
Full near the which, ungrac'd with herb or flow'r,
A stagnant pool was easily descry'd,
To which each morn the pensive lover hied,
And kneeling at the margin of the lake,
To ev'ry pow'r by Poets deify'd
Did am'rous vows and fond petitions make,
And pray'd he mote succeed for ROSAMUNDA'S sake.
Our good Reformers turned to the right,
And saw a troop of soldiers armed stand;
A blooming youth, like a may morning bright,
With face of roses and a lilly hand,
Had o'er these sons of war the chief command.
Me seemed he was a boy in girl's attire.
Right worthy sure to be of DIAN'S band;
Nathless they told me he had felt Love's fire,
And was of children twain, at least reputed, sire.
Up-stairs Sir PELLEAS and the Yron Man,
Quite unimpeach'd by all, did safely wend,
To tell the sights they saw I scarcely can,
And what strange groups did patiently attend,
And hand in hand they link'd, beseeming friend.
Some bore a star upon their robe pourtrayed,
The which its glitt'rand beams around did send;
And on his horse-back was a Knight survey'd,
Who a fierce Dragon kilt, and sav'd a lovely maid.
And some they saw with breasts as deeply red
As that same bird which fed the babies spread.
Others with green themselves did overspread,
Who of these colours seem'd not little vain.
This did a milk-white wand with grace sustain,
That bore a golden key with haughty air;
Perhaps these badges did their place explain;
And many a beauteous damosel was there
That mote with Cyprian Nymphs, nay with their Queen compare.
Like as the hues upon the Culver's neck,
The which do vary with the rays of light,
Now gold, now blue, the changeful feathers fleck,
And with a secret pleasure strike the light,
These bevies so did ev'ry eye requite
Not half so gay is IRIS' Painted bow,
Or meadows with an hundred flow'rs bedight;
Yet if you seek the honest truth to know,
'Twas all but empty pomp, and unavailing show.
This his high birth had soil'd by meanest art,
And That his conscience had for int'rest sold;
T' other whyleare was taen from plough and cart,
And 'cause he had amass'd great sums of gold,
Amongst the high born Barons was inroll'd;
And ribbands now his shoulders may embrace;
Yet greatness ne'er is form'd of vulgar mould,
An ass is still an ass, whate'er his case;
None can be noble call'd, who bear a heart that's base.
And 'mongst the females some they Maidens call,
For that their place doth so require the name;
But yet they maidens sure are not at all,
And oft they do commit the act of shame,
Ne aught they count on the sweet voice of Fame.
The wedded wife her spouse but seldom greets,
While he full reckless of all thoughts of blame,
Caresses ev'ry fraunion that he meets,
The while his bosom friend creeps slyly in his sheets.
'Twas conteck all, and lust and luxury,
Which TALUS and Sir PELLEAS did behold,
Or idleness, or filthy gluttony:
How couldst thou, Yron Man, thy flail withhold?
What, is thy former prowess now grown cold?
The Palmer royn'd his lips, and skulk'd away,
And with him stole his feer, who, nothing bold,
Durst not, with taunting speech, their faults upbray.
So look two tim'rous deer whom felon wolf doth fray.
Yet on the loving couple went yfere,
Resenting much what they had lately seen;
And they perceiv'd a person pretty near,
Who seem'd to be far gone in dol'rous teen.
Full tall he was, I weet, and wond'rous lean.
"Break, break my heart," in bitter bale he cry'd,
"No more my soul shall taste of joy serene;
Fair Freedom's lond in servile chains is ty'd;
When my dear country bleeds, can I my singults hide?"
"Ye Bards sublime, strip ev'ry flow'ry grove,
And with the girlond his just temples bind,
Whose bosom kindles with his country's love!"
Exclaim'd the young Reformer of Mankind.
Yet the fair speech the Palmer good did blind;
For he who late appear'd in patriot guise,
And for a while in borrow'd colours shin'd,
Was now just quitting the godlike emprize,
To join the losels vild whom erst he did despise.
This when Sir PELLEAS knew, he wexed pale,
And would have given him an hearty knock,
But the fierce Youth who wields the yron flail
Gave the pretended Patriot such a shock,
That he lay lifeless as a marble block.
Such be the fare of every one, I pray,
Who 'gainst the laws of Truth and Honour mock,
And while against corruption snares they bay,
Take the vile dress themselves, their country to betray.
"Make haste," quoth TALUS, "into yonder hall,
Which they to heav'nly THEMIS consecrate;"
Hark, how the roof resounds with noisy brawl,
And how for pay the long-rob'd faytors prate;
Ne mere they justice out by equal weight,
But as they're brib'd, for right or wrong will plead;
Thro' tortious paths they wind the long debate,
And if you would adjudge by their areed
The kite would stand absolv'd the harmless dove would bleed.
Thus TALUS took a Lawyer from the rest,
And by main force he cast him on the ground;
Now on the back, and now upon the breast,
He made full well his yron staff resound,
The which from his old bones did nimbly bound;
But still he banged on withouten ruth,
You might have heard the blows a mile around;
And though he cudgell'd him an hour, in sooth,
He could not from him thresh one single grain of truth.
This when the others saw they fled away,
For much they dradded next might be their case;
So, when a sight of ravens on Forray
Would from its mansion green the pouse uncase,
Discharge a gun, they quit with fear the place,
Neglect the banquet, and for safety fly,
Nor much they heed that fast in Death's embrace
They leave a sable brother there to lie,
But beat their clanking wings, and darken all the sky.
Sir PELLEAS, seeing all the rabble fled,
Thus greeted to the 'Squire of ARTHEGAL:
"The task is vain; you see how ill I've sped:
Who'd save the Son of Man from sinful fall
Must by long process purge away the gall
That taints the heart, for none at once can mend."
They both embrace, then part for good and all:
The Yron Man doth towards his master wend,
The Palmer cross a plain doth homewards cheerless bend.
And oft he turn'd his pious eyne to Heav'n,
And marvell'd much that he could not succeed:
What, is the boon of Reason only giv'n
To make men shut their ears to goodly reed?
Ah, wealaway! it makes my heart to bleed,
To find my pious Hermit's cares are vain.
Behold him yonder pacing o'er the mead
With solemn step, and conscience free from stain,
Murm'ring 'gainst wicked Man, and life's allurements vain.
'Twas now high-noon, and PHOEBUS' scorching beams
Turn'd the gay verdure to a russet hue;
The duck and widgeon seek the fresh'ning streams,
And grass-hoppers their shrillant songs renew;
The patient steer his labours doth pursue;
Meanwhile the cow, to cool her scorched breast,
Deep in the pool her body doth embrue,
And while the fly her hide doth sore infest,
She whirls her tail to chase the little troub'lous guest.
The playful birds forget to skim the sky,
Ne breeze avails the aspin's trembling heads,
The languid flow'rets seem to fade and die.
Ne gentle virgin o'er the green sward treads,
Ne buxom swain the jocund measure leads;
Beneath the oak whose boughs dispredden wide,
The jolly shepherds tune their oaten reeds,
Meanwhile his flocks but ill at ease do hide,
Lill out their parched tongues, and hate th' burning tide.
The Palmer hied him to a neighb'ring grove,
Tir'd, and forswat with the excessive heat,
And saw a grotto all with moss inwove,
Round which the vine and clust'ring ivy meet,
Melling in friendly sort embraces sweet.
Within the woodbine curl'd the wall around,
And over-arch'd an hoary kind of seat,
A gushing stream refresh'd the flow'ry ground
And turtle-doves did cooe, a pleasant plaintive sound.
The Palmer ent'ring saw, in Camus white,
A Nymph divinely fair, as April young,
Unzon'd she was, and such a tempting sight,
Ne love-sick Bard, I weet, yet ever sung:
Her silver lyre was by the Muses strung;
Her veins were sapphyres sheen inlaid in snow,
Her golden tresses negligently hung,
Her teeth did seem of pearls an even row,
Here eyen appear'd like stars that in the welkin glow.
Not such was HELEN, paragon of GREECE,
Not such the love-sick ROMAN'S beauteous Queen,
Not GUIDO'S pencil e'er form'd a piece
So wond'rous fair, so worthy to be seen;
Nor he who from an hundred maids did glean
Their several charms to show one fair complete,
Could paint a nymph of such celestial mien:
She rais'd her voice, her voice as music sweet,
And to th' astonished Sage this sonnet did repeat:
"While yet the rose imbalms the passing air,
And deeply blushing smiles upon the day,
The youths and maidens sing her praises rare,
And crop her honours ere they die away,
But none will praise her when her charms decay.
Thus 'tis with Beauty! Who her wreath would gain,
Should rush to taste her, nor admit Delay
With icy arm his progress to restrain;
For woman, born to yield, detests the tim'rous swain.
"Then clasp consenting Beauty in your arms,
Give and receive unspeakable delight,
While yet you're able to enjoy her charms,
Indulge at will your boundless appetite.
See how the feather'd people in your sight
Their fond indearments try in ev'ry grove;
Nature, who all her sons would well requite,
Bids beast, fish, fowl, the nameless raptures prove;
Ev'n libbards feel the joy, and mountain lions love.
"My name's FLORELLA, ZEPHYRUS my sire
By beauteous FLORA, whom he erst comprest;
She of each flow'ret that on hill doth spire,
Or spring in dale, is patroness confest.
With pinks and lillies I have deck'd my breast,
Be Pleasure's voice obey'd as soon as heard,
Come, on my bosom lull your doubts to rest;
Taste killing transports, youth, be not afraid."
Then with her iv'ry hand she strok'd the Palmer's beard.
A thrillant poison ran thro' all his frame,
And now he would, and now he nould consent;
Now all his bosom brast into a flame,
The wretch who brens with love is sorely brent.
"Should I comply," quoth he, "I shall be shent.
I, who 'gainst vice have rang such loud alarms,
If I do fall, I fall from high ascent."
He turn'd him quick, once more to view her charms,
Then lost his speech, and sank in false FLORELLA'S arms.
Methinks I hear the girding rabble hiss,
And banning cry, "Is this, Sir Knight, your way?
When PETER EREMITE shall hear of this,
What to excuse his Pupil will he say?"
But soft — my sheep do from their pastures stray,
And dewy HESPER shows his visage cold;
Haste, and my woolly wand'rers reconvey;
My trusty Lightfoot, haste along the would,
For careful shepherd should his flock ere night enfold.
[pp. 331-36; 417-22]