« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
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 fame! But safe in deserts from the' applause of men, Would die unheard of, as we lived 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 e'en for virtue's sake.'
And live there men who slight immortal Fame? Who then with incense shall adore our name? But, mortals! know, 'tis 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, E'en 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 let 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
Pleased with the strange success, vast numbers
Straight the black clarion sends a horrid sound,
This having heard and seen,some power unknown Straight changed the scene, and snatch'd me fromthe Before my view appear'd a structure fair, [throne. Its site uncertain, if in earth or air;
With rapid motion turn'd the mansion round; With ceaseless noise the ringing walls resound:
Not less in number were the spacious doors
And the touch'd needle trembles to the pole ;
All various sounds from earth, and seas, and skies,
Nor ever silence, rest, or peace is here.
As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes
The sinking stone at first a circle makes,
The trembling surface, by the motion stirr'd,
Wide and more wide, the floating rings advance,
There various news I heard of love and strife,
Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair,
Above, below, without, within, around, Confused, unnumber'd multitudes are found, Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away, Hosts raised by fear, and phantoms of a day: Astrologers, that future fates foreshow, 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 stared in every face. The flying rumours gather'd as they roll'd, 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 ad
Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung, Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue, Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow, And rush in millions on the world below:
Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course,
Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.
And long 'twas doubtful, both so closely pent,
The strict companions are for ever join'd,
'Tis true, (said I) not void of hopes I came,
How vain that second life in others' breath,
But the fallen ruins of another's fame;
Then teach me, Heaven! to scorn the guilty bays,