The Squire of Dames. A Poem. In Spenser's Stile.

A Collection of Poems in four Volumes. By Several Hands. [Robert Dodsley, ed.]

Moses Mendez

82 Spenserians, in two cantos with a glossary: Moses Mendez continues the story from the third and fourth books of the Faerie Queene. Mendez, a particularly adept imitator of Spenser, had Oxford connections that likely had something to do with bringing him to the attention of publisher Robert Dodsley.

Advertisement: "In the seventh Canto of the Legend of Chastity, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, the Squire of Dames tells Satyrane, that by order of his mistress Columbel, (after having served the Ladies for a year) he was sent out a second time, not to return till he could find three hundred Women incapable of yielding to any temptation. The bad success he met with in the course of three years, which is slightly touch'd upon by Spenser, is the foundation of the following poem."

Isaac Reed: "Of Mitcham in Surry, a gentleman of the Jewish religion, author of three dramatic pieces, a poem called Henry and Blanche, printed in 4to, 1746, and several other performances scattered in different miscellanies. On the 19th of June, 1750, he was created M.A. by the university of Oxford. He is supposed to have been the richest poet of his time, being possessed at the time of his death, 4th of February, 1758, of not less than one hundred thousand pounds" Dodsley, Collection of Poems (1782) 4:127n.

William Lyon Phelps: "It is in two cantos in the regular Spenserian stanza, and shows how the Squire found every girl unfaithful. At last he goes to the castle of Merlin, and gazes in a magic mirror which will reveal anything asked for. He calls for his own chaste Mistress, Columbel, and, to his horror, she and her paramour are represented in a situation which is anything but chaste. At this last straw he swoons and the poem closes. The Squire of Dames shows careful reading of Spenser, and is far above the ordinary imitations. It exhibits great metrical skill; and some passages are notably Romantic.... This is neither moralizing nor smutty; being very different from either Ridley's Psyche or Pitt's Jordan. It counts for something in the history of Romanticism" Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement (1893) 78-79.

Herbert E. Cory: "Since satire was the favorite Augustan poetical form, poets of the scourge and bludgeon found no difficulty in using Spenser for their purposes. The Squire of Dames (1748-58), by Moses Mendez, is an excellent specimen. It takes Spenser's cynical episode of the Squire of Dames, supplies details, and gives the story a new turn at the end well calculated to please the Eighteenth Century taste for satires on woman's inconstancy. The Squire tells Sir Satyrane of his quest for a chaste woman in obedience to the behest of his fair Columbel. Mendez relates his ill-success with great gusto. Finally the Squire arrives at the castle of Bon-Vivant.... Bon Vivant laughs at the Squire's quest and tells him of the ravenings of the Blatant Beast. In the second canto the Squire finally goes to Merlin's cave where, in the magic mirror, he sees his beloved Columbel abandoning herself to another paramour" "Spenser, Thomson, and Romanticism" PMLA 26 (1911) 67-68.

A. A. Jack: "There is neither the serious tone of Spenser nor the casually looser tone of his satirical humour. The liberties of Mendez, such as they are, are those of a polite age, and the verse he employs, sweet and smoothly flowing, is more akin to Spenser's serious verses than to those Spenser wrote when he spoke for the Squire of Dames. Yet the imitation of Spenser's gentler style is, at times, extremely happy" Chaucer and Spenser (1920) 284.

George Kitchin: "If anyone doubts the semi-burlesque character of eighteenth century imitations, let him read the Spenser imitations scattered throughout the six volumes of Dodsley's Miscellany. If he cannot read the archaising work, he may yet find amusing things like Ridley's Psyche, or the Great Metamorphosis, or, better, Mendez's Squire of Dames, where the author has ransacked a Spenser glossary for flavouring words, which he throws about in ludicrous fashion. Poor, half-witted stuff it is, and it is impossible to doubt the sub-humorous motive. As for the imitations of Chaucer, though these are not so numerous, they prove the facetious intention of the authors to the hilt. It was the diction of the old authors which chiefly provoked the humorous itch in eighteenth century imitators" Survey of Burlesque and Parody in English (1931) 112-13.

Francis Galloway: "One of the best of the imitations by the mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease" Reason, Rule, and Revolt in English Classicism (1940) 270.

Richard C. Frushell: "In two cantos, the second of which is much better, especially in its Castle of Bon-vivant and L'Allegro episodes" Spenser Encyclopedia (1990) 397.

Hard is the heart that never knew to love,
Ne felt the pleasing anguish of desire.
Ye British maids, more fair than Venus' dove,
For you alone I tune my humble lyre;
Adopt me, nymphs, receive me in your quire,
Make me your bard; for that is all my care:
Then shall I envy not that aged sire,
Who doth for court his annual song prepare:
I lever myrtle wreath than Kesar's laurel wear.

Think not because I write of Columbel
I thence would blast the sex with impious tale;
Transactions vile of foreign stronds I tell,
Ne 'gainst a British female would I rail
For all the wealth that rolls on Indian grail.
Here, beauty, truth, and chastity are found:
Eleonora here, with visage pale,
Did suck the poison from her Edward's wound,
And Anna's nuptial faith shall stond for aye renown'd.

See the fair swans on Thamis' lovely tide,
The which do trim their pennons silver bright,
In shining ranks they down the waters ride;
Oft have mine eyes devour'd the gallant sight.
Then cast thy looks with wonder and delight,
Where yon sweet nymphs enjoy the ev'ning air,
Some daunce along the green, like fairies light,
Some flow'rets cull to deck their flowing hair;
Then tell me, soothly, swain, which sight thou deem'st most fair.

To you, bright stars, that sparkle on our isle,
I give my life, my fortune, and my fame;
For my whole guerdon grant me but a smile,
A smile from you is all I hope or claim;
Nor age's ice my ardent zeal shall tame,
To my life's end I shall your names adore,
Not hermit's bosoms feel so pure a flame,
Warm'd by approval I more high shall soar:
Receive my humble lays, my heart was yours before.

Should you consent, I'll quit my shepherd's grey,
And don more graceful and more costly gear,
My crook and scrip I'll throw with scorn away,
And in a samite garment streit appear.
Farewell, ye groves, which once I held so dear;
Farewell, ye glens, I other joys pursue;
Then shall the world your matchless pow'r revere,
And own what wonders your sweet smiles can do,
That could a simple clown into a bard transmew.


The Squire of Dames to Satyrane
His history doth tell,
With all the toils he underwent
To gain his Columbel.

The Squire of Dames his tale thus 'gan to tell;
Sith you command my tongue, sir Satyrane,
I now will all declare that me befell
The cause of muchel scath and dol'rous pain,
Ne shall thy gentle eye from tears refrain.
Me Columbel commanded far to go
'Till I should full three hundred nymphs attain,
Whose hearts should aye with Virtue's lessons glow,
And to all swains but one cry out for ever, No.

To find the fortilage that ne'er will yield
Is not an easy matter, good sir Knight;
Troy town, they say, is now a grass-grown field,
That long withstood the force of Grecian might;
And castles fall tho' deep in earth empight;
Ne ought so strong is found but what may fail,
The sun at last shall lose his glorious light,
And vows or bribes o'er women may prevail;
Their hearts are made of flesh, and mortal flesh is frail.

With heavy heart, and full of cark I go
And take my conge of my blooming maid,
I kiss'd her hond, and, louting very low,
To her behest at length myself array'd:
The fair we love expects to be obey'd,
Altho' she bid us with the kestrel fly;
So forth I prick, tho' much by doubt dismay'd,
The hard experiment resolv'd to try:
For she was wond'rous fair, and much in love was I.

A grove I reach'd, where tuneful throstles sung,
The linnet here did ope his little throat,
His twitting jests around the cuckoo flung,
And the proud goldfinch show'd his painted coat,
And hail'd us with no inharmonious note:
The robin eke here tun'd his sonnet shrill,
And told the soothing ditty all by rote,
How he with leaves his pious beak did fill,
To shroud those pretty babes, whom Sib unkind would kill.

And many a fair Narcissus deck'd the plain,
That seem'd anew their passions to admire;
Here Ajax told his dolors o'er again,
And am'rous Clytie sicken'd with desire;
Here the blown rose her odors sweet did spire;
Thro' the dun grove a murm'ring river led
His chrystal streams that wound in many a gyre;
The baleful willow all the banks bespread,
And ever to the breeze ycurl'd his hoary head.

Soon to the grove there came a lovely maid,
For maiden sure she did to me appear,
In plain check-laton was the nymph array'd,
Her sparkling eyes stood full of many a tear,
And she bewept the absence of her dear.
Alas! should beauty be to woe allay'd?
Beauty, methinks, should meet with better cheer,
Content should never wander from her side;
Good luck, I pray to heav'n, the face that's fair betide.

"Ah! woe is me, she cry'd, since Colin's fled,
Whose gentle presence did these plains adorn,
Soon was he ravish'd from the nuptial bed,
Torn from these arms, from his dear leman torn!
O grief! far sharper than the pointed thorn,
I saw him ill-bestad by martial band.
Alas the day that ever I was born!
Where roves my Colin, on what foreign strand,
Arraught from Laura's eyes, and his dear native land?

"Alas! he only knew to prune the vine,
Or thro' the earth to urge the biting share,
To twist the bower with fragrant eglantine,
Where free from heat we shun'd the noon-tide air,
Or to the mart to lead his fleecy care.
And is it fit in hacqueton and mail
The youth for war's grim terrors should prepare!
His voice outsung the love-lorn nightingale,
And deftly could he daunce, or pipe along the dale.

"The gos-hawk fierce may pounce the trembling dove,
The savage wolf may tear the bounding fawn,
But sparrows mild are form'd for feats of love,
And kids dew not with blood the flow'ry lawn;
Then how shall he, in whom all graces dawn,
In the red field the cruel paynim kill?
For scenes like these find men of hellish spawn.
'Tis his with joy the virgin's heart to fill,
And not on foreign shore his foemen's blood to spill.

"No days of bliss my sorrows shall aslake,
For him I'll ever drop the dol'rous tear.
Adieu the circled green, the buxom wake,
Since Colin's gone I taste of nought but drear.
Stretch me, ye maidens, stretch me on the bier,
And let thy grave-stone these true words adorn:
A wretched maiden lies intombed here,
Who saw a shepherd brighter than the morn,
Then pin'd her heart away, and dy'd of love forlorn."

Much was I grieved at her piteous plaint,
And greeted to myself, O happy Squire!
At length, tho' late, thou hast found out a saint,
Who, but for Colin, feels no warm desire.
Perdie, quoth Satyrane, I her admire;
No lozel lose shall here discover'd be.
The other answer'd with his cheeks on fire,
Now by my hallidom you soon shall see
That words may with the heart full often ill agree.

I, nought accoy'd, came up unto the fair,
And swore to love her all my length of life;
Then offer'd her to gorgeous domes to bear,
Where haidegives are daunc'd to harp and fife.
She soon forgot she was another's wife,
And granted with me to desert the plain.
Are such ensamples emong women rife?
If so, my Columbel I ne'er shall gain,
But hunt around the world, and find my labours vain.

My lips I 'gan to royne in fell despite,
And forth I rushed from her false embrace,
Thro' the thick wood I wander'd day and night,
Ne met I living creature face to face:
At length a rising city far I trace;
Thither in hopes my hasty steps I bend.
Perchaunce, thought I, true Virtue may embrace
The courtly dome, and from the country wend.
Thus, where the least expect, we often find a friend.

At e'en the town I reach'd, and eke a hall,
Which waxen tapers made as light as day;
Fair jovisaunce sat on the face of all,
And to the daunce the sprightly minstrels play,
Each seem'd as sportive as the wanton jay.
The dame, who own'd the house, was passing old,
And had, it seems, that morning dealt away
To her kind grandson many bags of gold,
Who took a bonnibel to haven and to hold.

The bride was named Viola the fair,
The loaded rosiere is not half so sweet.
Aye, aye, quoth I, ensamples are but rare
To find so many charms in one discreet;
With you, fair lass, I mean not now to treat.
The springal was in wholesom lustihed,
And him by name of Pamphilus they greet;
He was to doughty chevisance ybred,
Yet oft in courtly halls the active measure led.

The auncient dame they do Avara call,
And much she hobbled as she trod the ground;
Yet many angels in her crumenal,
If fair report speaks true, were always found.
Where riches flow there virtues too abound.
Her pannikel was as a badger grey,
And, as she walk'd the company around,
It nodded with such force, that, by my fay,
I thought it meant to fly from her old crag away.

The lofty roof was fretted o'er with gold,
And all around, the walls depeinten were
With many histories of times of old,
Which brought not muchel credit to the fair.
There Leda held her swan, with shoulders bare,
And here the dame of Ephesus was found,
Lick other dames, whom my kind tongue shall spare,
And here stood Helen for her charms renown'd,
Who soon her lord forsook, when she a leman found.

And many a beauteous dame and courtly knight
Came there the nuptials to celebrate:
Some vers'd to wing from bow the nimble flight,
Some the near foe with brondir'n to amate;
Me too they welcome to the hall of state;
With bel acoil they wished me to take
A round or two, and chuse me out a mate:
But my fond love which nothing could aslake,
Caus'd me to slight them all, for Columbella's sake.

And now to artful steps the floor rebounds,
In graceful ease the shining beavys move,
The noice like thunder at a distance sounds,
Mean time I sat beneath a proud alcove,
And told Avara gentle tales of love.
Thought I, in eld the passions are more tame,
And here by craft I may successful prove;
For she perforce must now be void of blame
As wise Ulysses' wife, Penelope by name.

Ne wants she gelt, which oft the mind misleads
To actions which it otherwise would shun.
The courtier lythe, if right report areeds,
Will unawhap'd to seize his vantage run;
And so will most men underneath the sun,
Or be they patriot call'd, or bard, or knight;
But when they once the gilded prize have won,
They seek to clear their name, with shame bedight:
Befits to scour the steel, when rust offends the sight.

At ev'ry word I said she look'd askaunce,
Then said, in unsoot whispers, Fye! Sir, fye!
And turn'd as tho' she seem'd to mind the daunce,
Nathless on me she cast a languid eye:
Blist by thy form, my liefest life, quoth I,
Cast your belgards upon an humble slave;
From love, alass! in vain my heart would fly;
Then with a word thy quailing leman save,
For if you frown, perdie, you doom me to the grave.

It hap'd by chaunce she saw a golden heart
With flaming diamonds around beset;
This, the whole guerdon of my tedious smart,
I, on a time, from Columbel did get.
As simple birds are caught in fowler's net,
And 'cause they see no danger none they fear,
Ev'n so Avara her eyen here did set,
And turned round and whisper'd in mine ear,
Give me that di'mond heart, and be mine leman dear.

I started from the couch where I was pight,
And thus I her bespake with muchel rage,
Avaunt, thou faytor false, thou imp of night!
I hate myself, that I should thus engage,
On any terms, to treat with wrizled age.
So, forth I flung, and left the frowy witch
To share her bed with coachman, groom or page;
The castle too I quit, mine ire was sich,
And out I set again, tho' night was dark as pitch.

But did I here relate, Sir Satyrane,
The many weary miles I've travelled,
What dangers I've assoil'd, yet all in vain,
(For, by my truth, but ill my days I've sped)
Your hair would stand upright upon your head.
Three hundred virtuous females side by side,
By me to Columbella must be led:
Can you direct me where for such to ride?
I cannot, in good sooth, the courteous knight reply'd.

The Squire pursu'd his tale; 'Tis now three years
Since curst Avara's visage first I saw;
Convents I've try'd, but there the luscious freers
The fair-fac'd nuns to fornication draw;
Nor palaces are free from Cupid's law;
His darts are fiercer than the levin-brond;
Few, very few, there 'scape his mighty paw,
And those in golden palls, who proudly stond,
Had lever kiss their love's, than Keysar's royal hond.

Fair Jenny of the mill I strove to win,
And her benempt Pastora of the dale;
But they bilive agreed with me to sin;
One ask'd an owch, and one a watchet veil.
Some wish o'er ev'ry female to prevail;
My hope, my conquest is to be deny'd.
The stage I've try'd, but there my projects fail;
For there is scarce a single wedded bride
But doth her husband's noul with horns of ront provide.

As couthful fishers at the benty brook,
By various arts assot the seely fry,
Now wriggling worms, now paste conceals the hook,
And now they hide it with a colour'd fly;
This takes the perch, and that the tench's eye;
So diff'rent nymphs a diff'rent charm invites,
Some yield for vantage, some for vanity,
A song this one, a daunce that maid delights:
Man throws the wimble bait, and greedy woman bites.

With sorrow overhent, the other day
I laid my weary limbs adown to rest,
Where a tall beech o'erspread the dusky way;
My noyous thoughts a dream awhile suppress'd,
Oft weighty truths are in this garb ydress'd.
Grant that it so may happy unto me;
Then joyous once again shall sooth this breast,
My pining soul shall be from anguish free,
And I shall taste true bliss, dear Columbel, with thee.

Methought I saw a figure fair and tall,
And gentle smiles sat dimpling on her face,
Yet seemed of a beauty nought at all,
'Till much beholding did improve each grace;
At length she seem'd too fair for human race.
Her kirtle white might vie with winter snows,
Ne could you ought of her fair bosom trace,
Nought but her face would she to sight expose,
No modest maiden wends, the frannion muchel shows.

With visage bland, methought she hail'd me oft;
"Ne fear, quoth she, a female's mild request.
The bark by tempests that is whirl'd aloft,
At length, the tempest o'er, enjoyeth rest.
My name is Chastity, tho' out of quest
With modern dames, yet thou shalt still survey
A clime where beauty is with virtue blest.
Good fortune speed you on your happy way;
Go, gentle Squire of Dames, and here no longer stay.

"To Fairy lond your instant journey bend,
There Columbel may find her will obey'd;
There Chastity may boast of many a friend,
She visits there each rosy-featur'd maid.
Go on, nor be by former toils affray'd:
Go where yon oaks display their verdant pride,
'Till, from the mountains torn and stripp'd of shade,
On Neptune's billows they triumphant ride,
Protect their happy lond, and conquer all beside.

"Hail happy lond! for arms and arts renown'd,
For blooming virgins free from loose desire;
A Drake, a Bacon, there a birth-place found,
And chaste Eliza time shall e'er admire:
The hero wields the sword and poet's lyre:
This Sidney knew, who still with lustre shines,
For whom Dan Spenser wak'd the warbling quire,
And many more whose names might grace his lines;
There round the warriour's palm the lover's myrtle twines."

At this I woke, and now resolve to brave
The utmost perils for my Columbel;
For, know, I mean to cross the briny wave,
Where Albion's chalky cliffs the sea repel:
And, if no mage have laid a magick spell,
Perchaunce my lot may be at length to find
Three hundred nymphs, who wicked love can quell;
If not, I must desert all womankind,
And, what me most amates, leave Columbel behind.

The Squire of Dames surceased here his say,
And forth he yode to seek the British isle,
Sir Satyrane prick'd on his dapple-grey,
Ne ought foreswonk he travell'd many a mile
To spend his days in hardiment and toil:
But first in courteous guise they bid farewell,
As well befits men bred in courtly soil.
Now how the Squire has sped, or ill, or well,
A future canto may, perhaps, at leisure tell.

For see, how Phoebus welketh in the west,
My oxen from their yoke I must untye,
The collar much has chauf'd their tender chest,
Who labours much the sweets of rest should try.
To their warm nests the daws and ravens fly
Deep in the ruin'd dome or dusky wood;
And beasts and birds fast lock'd in slumber lye,
Save the fell bat, that flutters out for food,
And the soothsaying owl, with her unlovely brood.

The Squire he lights on Bon-vivant,
Who wons in Fairy soil,
Then views in Merlin's magick glass
A sight that ends his toil.

To gain the point to which our soul aspires
We nourish toil, and reek hard labour sweet;
For this, thro' Greenland's frosts, or India's fires,
The hardy sailors death and dangers meet;
And the prow chieftain, bolder than discreet,
In blood imbru'd pursues the martial fray,
And lovers eke thro' life's loud tempests beat,
Led on by hope, that never-dying ray;
Hope wantons in their breast, and strews with flow'rs the way.

And sure of all mankind the Squire of Dames
Shall stand the first ensample of true love,
Who aye, untouch'd by any foreign flames,
Preserv'd his passion for his gentle dove;
Blush, modern youths, whose pulses quickly move,
Fondly you glote upon the witching fair;
Yet, when a sweet enjoyment once you prove,
You leave the nymph intangled in the snare,
Her tears flow trickling down, her singults pierce the air.

Oh think of transports which ye whilom tasted,
And let the glad remembrance charm your mind,
Be not the fruits of joyment quickly wasted,
And to your heart her happy image bind:
Think what she merits who whilear was kind,
Nor by inconstancy her peace destroy;
Inconstancy, that monster fell and blind:
That vainly fond of ev'ry passing toy,
Treads down its late delight, and poisons rapt'rous joy.

Return we now unto our gentle youth,
Whose little bark daunc'd lightly on the main,
His breast divided atween joy and ruth;
Now gay ideas wanton in his brain,
Now woe-begon his heart is rent in twain,
On his success depends his Columbel;
And now he hopes, and now desponds again;
The various turns of mind, when thoughts rebel,
Sure pen mote ne'er describe, and none but lovers tell.

Methinks I see him on the beachy strond,
Where Neptune's waves affrap the sturdy pier;
His hardy steed neighs at the sight of lond,
In all adventures a most faithful seer;
And thro' that city he doth quickly steer,
Which Ethelbert to holy Austin gave:
The kings of Kent did erst inhabit here,
Here haughty Becket sunk into the grave,
Here thro' the smiling meads, Stoure rolls his dimpling wave.

Long travell'd he, ne ventur'd to assay
The nymphs he met, for much he was affraid
To bribes or pray'rs few women would cry nay;
At flatt'ry's tongue full oft will virtue fade;
What shall he do? to win his lovely maid
He must three hundred virtuous females find,
Perdie, quoth he, my fortune be essay'd,
I'll boldly try the strength of womankind:
For craven heart, they say, ne'er won fair lady's mind.

So on he prick'd, and from a rising ground
Discern'd before him, in a distant vale,
A castle fair: and auncient oaks around
Did to the breeze their lofty heads avail;
A silver stream refresh'd the fragrant dale;
Their ledden loud fat oxen did repeat,
And nibbling sheep display'd their fleeces pale,
The woodbine shed an odor matchless sweet,
And to their patient dams the frisking lambkins bleat.

To that same castle our advent'rer yode,
The merry birds him welcom'd on the way,
An hundred flow'rs aumail'd the winding road,
And all was bright, and all was passing gay,
You would have sworn it was the month of May.
Withouten drad he thunders at the gate,
Who wons within, or giant, knight or fay,
Shall ne'er, in sooth, our imp of fame amate:
Unto the summons loud the portal opens streit.

And forth there issued the seneschal,
Of middle age he was, if right I ween,
He was in personage both plump and tall,
Ne seemed he to taste of dol'rous teen,
Ne wrinkle deep was on his forehead seen,
But jovisaunce sat basking on his brow,
At every word he spoke, he smil'd at-ween,
His temples were ycrown'd with myrtle bough,
And virelays he song with matchless grace, I vow.

"Whoe'er thou art, thrice welcome to these plains,
Where bitter dole ne'er shows her hateful head,
Good-fellowship wons here, and free from pains
Both youth and eld the paths of pleasure tread;
Catch flying bliss, ne be by ought foresaid;
Think that this life is but a little span;
Then laugh, and sport, and shun all dreryhed,
Thy rolling days in present pleasures plan,
Come, spend thy hours in joy, thou son of mortal man.

"Know'st thou my name! I am l'Allegro hight,
Let me conduct thee to our jovial hall,
Where Bon-vivant in revels spends the night,
Who bids a hearty welcome unto all,
Or wear he red cross-stoles, or paynim pall."
With that he lad him with a courtly air
Into a chamber deck'd for feast and ball;
And tho' no tedes or tapers glimmer'd there,
Yet all within was bright, as all without was fair.

As at the close of an hot summer's day,
When Phoebus in the west deserts the sky,
Bright streams of light along the aether play,
And tho' his fi'ry orb forsake our eye,
The beamy gushes gild each object nigh;
The painted meads are ting'd with golden light,
And rivers roll their glitt'ring waters by;
So in this house of joy with ease you might
Perceive celestial rays, that cherish'd human fight.

The Squire of Dames his jolly host salew'd,
And Bon-vivant his hond in friendship press'd;
"Come, sit thee down, and taste our choicest food;
We entertake, quoth he, no vulgar guest.
Enur'd to toil, come taste the sweets of rest,
Doff thy hard arms, this samite garment wear,
This better far than mail shall bind thy breast,
This coronal shall deck thy auburn hair;
Push the brisk goblet round, and drown intruding care.

"For us the lark attunes his morning song,
For us the spring depeints her ev'ry flow'r,
To sooth our sleep yon fountain purls along,
And oaks to shade us, twine into a bow'r,
The pensive bard sits many a watchful hour,
In ditty sweet, to carol forth our praise:
While valour spends his days in dole and stour,
We, wiser we, undying trophies raise
To ever-blooming bliss, ne reek what wisdom says.

"With sprightly notes we make the welkin ring,
In mazy daunce we tread the chequer'd ground,
To yielding nymphs transported shepherds sing,
Ne hard misfare emongst our train is found.
The simple swain, who looks with cark astoun'd
Because his leman ill rewards his care,
Oh, let him stond to all a lout renown'd,
Ne gibing scorn her twitting bords forbear;
Are there not other nymphs less coy, and full as fair?"

At this the Squire wex'd pale, "Ne eath it is,
Most courteous knight, he cry'd, far to remove
The thoughts of her in whom we place all bliss."
Quoth Bon-vivant, "What, then thou art in love?"
"That I am so these many singults prove,"
Return'd the Squire. L'Allegro then reply'd,
"Thou'dst better wend to yonder willow grove,
Where shoals of lovers hanging side by side,
Feed the vile carrion crows, and highten female pride."

With that he brast into a scornful laugh,
And much abash'd appear'd our constant Squire;
The others sportful the brisk vintage quaff.
While thus the springal. "Yes, I do aspire
To love the fairest of the female quire.
Three hundred virtuous damsels in this isle
I came to find." "Perdie, your odd desire,
Quoth Bon-vivant, will ask thee muchel toil;
And thou shalt travel too full many a weary mile.

"'Tis not enough the conduct of the fair
Is form'd by frowning virtue's strictest leer:
The blatant-beast does here in pieces tear
The fame of those ybred in school severe;
His rankling tongue throughout the rolling year
With baleful venom ev'ry thing consumes;
Where beauty's splendor gilds our northern sphere
He slyly creeps, and to destruction dooms
The honour of the spring, and wisdom's early blooms.

"The brindled lyon in the lonely wood
Hides his grim aspect from the sight of men;
The pardelis and libbard's spotted brood
Reside contented in sequester'd den;
Not so the blatant-beast, he lives in ken
Of the proud city or well-peopled town;
Thence with detested fury he will ren,
Ne spare the prelate's lawn, or monarch's crown:
All fares alike with him, for all he tumbleth down.

"What then avails it to be fair or wise?
Or what avails it to be warlike knight?
Where-e'er the monster casts his fi'ry eyes,
Each grace, each virtue sickens at the sight.
Then goodly Squire, until the morning's light
Quaff the thick darkness of the night away;
And, when the morn shall rise, in arms bedight
Proceed, and luck attend you on your way;
Algates we wish in truth with us you'd ever stay."

The Squire agrees, but vows, when rising morn
Shall gild the glitt'rand portals of the east,
Himself he will in habergeon adorn,
And seek around the isle the blatant-beast:
Mean while in buxom mirth they spend the feast.
Ill fares the mortal man too much who knows;
Oft shall he wish himself from thought releast;
The fatal knowledge in his bosom glows,
And mars his golden rest, and murders soft repose.

Sir Chaunticleer now ey'd the rising day,
And call'd dame Partlet from her vetchy bed;
Now wakeful Phospher spreads his gleamy ray,
And the pale moon conceal'd her silver head;
The cattle brouze the lawn with dew bespread,
While ev'ry bird from out the buskets flies.
Then to the field our lover issued;
But sleep had seal'd l'Allegro's drousy eyes,
And Bon-vivant also in downy slumber lies.

Our Squire, withouten drad, pursu'd his way,
And look'd around to spy this monster fell,
And many a well conceited roundelay
He sung in honour of his Columbel:
Mote he, perchaunce, destroy this spawn of hell,
How easy were the task to him assign'd?
The lond of Fairy doth each lond excel;
View there the paragons of womankind;
View the bright virgins there, and leave thy heart behind.

Ah! lever should'st thou try the females there
Than thus unwise another course pursue;
There ev'ry nymph is innocent as fair:
Try what I here advance, you'll find it true.
Hard is our fate while bliss in hopes we sew,
Some deadly fiend to blast our joy appears;
Contentment sweet, alas, is known to few.
Thus for awhile the sun the welkin chears,
But soon he hides his head, and melts in dropping tears.

Life is a scene of conteck and distress,
Ne is it longer than a winter's day;
And shall we make our few enjoyments less?
Far from my cot, thou blatant-beast away.
No husband's noul will I with horns array,
Ne shall my tongue its venom'd malice wreak
On tuneful bards, whom laurel crowns apay;
Ne will I 'gainst the comely matron speak,
Or draw one pearly drop down beauty's rosy cheek.

The Squire of Dames rode on with muchel tine,
And, as he cast askaunce his greedy look,
He saw empight beneath an auncient pine
A hoary shepherd leaning on his crook;
His falling tears increas'd the swelling brook:
And he did sigh as he would break his heart.
"O thou deep-read in sorrow's baleful book,
The Squire exclaim'd, areed thy burning smart;
Our dolors grow more light when we the tale impart."

To whom the swain reply'd, "O gentle youth,
Yon fruitful meads my num'rous herds possess'd,
My days roll'd on unknown to pain or ruth,
And one fair daughter my old age ybless'd.
Oh, had you seen her for the wake ydress'd
With kirtle ty'd with many a colour'd string,
Thy tongue to all the world had then confess'd
That she was sheener than the pheasant's wing,
And, when she rais'd her voice, ne lark so soot could sing.

"In virtue's thews I bred the lovely maid,
And she right well the lessons did pursue;
Too wise she was to be by man betray'd;
But the curst blatant-beast her form did view,
And round our plains did spread a tale untrue,
That Rosabella, spurning marriage band,
Had felt those pangs which virgin never knew,
And that Sir Topas my poor girl trepann'd;
He, who in sable stole doth in our pulpit stand.

"Nay, more, the hellish monster has invented,
How a young swain on Shannon's banks yborn
(Had not my care the deep-laid plot prevented)
Would from my arms my Rosabel have born.
Have I not cause to weep from rising morn
'Till Phoebus welketh in the western main,
To see my dearling's fame thus vildly torn?
Have I not cause to nourish endless pain?"
At this he deeply sigh'd, and wept full sore again.

"Curst be this blatant-beast, reply'd the Squire,
That thus infects your sea-begirted isle;
Shew me his face, that I may wreak mine ire
Upon this imp of hell, this monster vile."
"Away from hence not passing sure a mile,
Might I advise you, you had better wend,"
Return'd the swain, "Deep-read in magick-style
There Merlin wons, sue him to be your friend;
And lest you miss your way, myself will you attend."

Together now they seek the hermitage
Deep in the covert of a dusky glade,
Where in his dortour wons the hoary sage.
The moss-grown trees did form a gloomy shade,
Their rustling leaves a solemn musick made,
And fairies nightly tripp'd the aweful green,
And if the tongue of fame have truth display'd,
Full many a spectre was at midnight seen,
Torn from his earthly grave, a horrid sight! I ween.

Ne rose, ne vi'let glads the chearless bow'r,
Ne fringed pink from earth's green bosom grew:
But hemlock dire, and ev'ry baleful flow'r
Might here be found, and knots of mystick rue.
Close to the cell sprong up an auncient yew,
And store of imps were on its boughs ypight,
At his behests they from its branches flew,
And, in a thousand various forms bedight,
Frisk'd to the moon's pale wain, and revell'd all the night.

Around the cave a clustring ivy spread
In wide embrace his over-twining arms,
Within, the walls with characters bespread
Declar'd the pow'rful force of magick charms.
Here drugs were plac'd destructive of all harms,
And books that deep futurity could scan:
Here stood a spell that of his rage disarms
The mountain lyon 'till he yields to man;
With many secrets more, which scarce repeat I can.

The Squire of Dames deep enters in the cell:
What will not valiant heart for beauty dare?
His borrel fere here bids his friend farewell,
And home he wends renewing cark and care.
When, louting low with a becoming air,
The youth cry'd out, "O thrice renowned mage,
Vouchsafe to cure me of my black dispair;
For thou not only art grown wise thro' age,
But art of mortal man by far the wisest sage."

Then Merlin with a look benign reply'd,
(For he was bred with ev'ry courteous thew)
"I know to make fair Columbel your bride
The blatant-beast you thro' the lond pursue;
The fate of empires now demands my view,
And for awhile denys my presence here;
Soon in this cell I'll thee again salew,
What most thou lik'st partake withouten fear,
Share all my cave affords, nor think I grudge my chear.

"Yet mark my counsel, open not that door,
Lest thou repent thy follies when too late,
Ten thousand pangs shall make thy heart full sore,
For horror scouls behind that heben gate,
And future ills shall thy dear peace amate;
There stands a mirror, wrought by magick leer,
In which are read the dark decrees of fate,
And whom you wish to see will streit appear,
Devoid of art's false mask, to human eye-sight clear.

"Ah how unlike the godlike man he seem'd
In this my glass the patriot I've descry'd,
By the vile rabblement a saint esteem'd?
He's oft a wretch compos'd of sloth and pride:
And Kesars too, not seldom deify'd,
With other men their vice and follies share;
And by my mirror if the nymph be try'd,
It will without reserve the truth declare,
Ne flatter head that's crown'd, ne flatter face that's fair.

"Once more let me advise thee, gentle Squire,
Forbear to look at this same magick glass;
Do not too rashly into fate enquire—
But I to foreign stronds awhile must pass."
Th' unweeting youth cry'd to himself, "Alas!
Would I could know the lot to me assign'd."
"Patience, quoth Merlin, doth all things surpass."
Then to his car were winged dragons join'd,
With which he sails thro' air, and far outstrips the wind.

And now the Squire surveys the lonesome cave,
His wav'ring mind is in a whirlwind tost,
And now the mirror he resolves to brave,
And now he finds his boasted courage lost.
At length determin'd whatsoe'er it cost,
To see the glass, he darts into the cell;
And, lest his eyes by vild retrait be crost,
Thrice he invokes his lovely Columbel.
As Adam fell of yore, the Squire of Dames yfell.

The heben doors full widely he display'd,
And saw the lovely queen of all his heart,
Fair as the lilly in the watry glade,
Bright as the morn, and bright withouten art,
Thro' ev'ry vein he feels a thrillant smart:
For the dear maid lay on her bed undress'd,
And, may I unreprov'd the truth impart,
She hugg'd a lusty stripling to her breast,
Whom she full closely clipp'd, and wantonly caress'd.

"O faytor false, O wicked imp of night!"
Exclaim'd the Squire astound, "ah! wellaway!
Let Erebus in pitchy stole bedight
With foulest sprites the sons of men affray,
And blot for ever the fair face of day.
Ye haggard sisters, sound my passing-bell;
Oh! ne'er believe, ye youths, what women say.
O losel loose, O impious Columbel!"
Then like a stean to earth full heavily he fell.

There shall we leave him, for my leaky boat
Lets in the water, and I must recure
Her much-worn hulk, that scarcely now can float,
And moor'd in harbour she shall ride secure;
Then if I can a pilot wise procure,
Mayhap I may again hoist forth my sail,
And other hardy voyages endure
Thro' shelves and shallows: now the adverse gale
Gives me some time to rest, and lond with joy I hail.