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“Believe me, madam, morning dreams foreshow Th' event of things, and future weal or woe: Some truths are not by reason to be try'd, But we have sure experience for our guide. An ancient author, equal with the best, Relates this tale of dreams among the rest. “Two friends or brothers, with devout intent, On some far pilgrimage together went. It happen'd so, that, when the Sun was down, They just arriv'd by twilight at a town: That day had been the baiting of a bull, 'Twas at a feast, and every inn so full, That no void room in chamber, or on ground, And but one sorry bed was to be found: And that so little it would hold but one, Though till this hour they never lay alone. “So were they forc'd to part; one stay’d behind, His fellow sought what lodging he could find: At last he found a stall where oxen stood, And that he rather chose than lie abroad. 'Twas in a farther yard without a door; But, for his ease, well litter'd was the floor. “His fellow, who the narrow bed had kept, Was weary, and without a rocker slept: Supine he snor'd; but in the dead of night, He dreamt his friend appear'd before his sight, Who, with a ghastly look and doleful cry, Said, ‘Help me, brother, or this night I die: Arise, and help, before all heip be vain, Or in an ox's stall I shall be slain.” “Rous'd from his rest, he waken'd in a start, Shivering with horrour, and with aching heart, At length to cure himself by reason tries; 'Tis but a dream, and what are dreams but lies? So thinking, chang'd his side, and clos'd his eyes. His dream returns; his friend appears again: “The murderers come, now help, or I am slain:" 'Twas but a vision still, and visions are but vain. He dreamt the third: but now his friend appear'd Pale, naked, pierc'd with wounds, with blood besmear'd : Thrice warn'd, “Awake,” said he ; ‘relief is late, The deed is done; but thou revenge my fate: Tardy of aid, unsealthy heavy eyes, Awake, and with the dawning day arise: Take to the western gate thy ready way, For by that passage they my corpse convey: My corpse is in a tumbril laid, among The filth and ordure, and enclos'd with dung: That cart arrest, and raise a common cry; For sacred hunger of my gold, I die: Then show'd his grisly wound: and last he drew A piteous sigh, and took a long adieu.’ “The frighted friend arose by break of day, And found the stall where late his fellow lay. Then of his impious host inquiring more, Was answer'd that his guest was gone before: “Muttering, he went,” said he, ‘by morning light, And much complain'd of his ill rest by night.” This rais'd suspicion in the pilgrim's mind; Because all hosts are of an evil kind, And oft to share the spoils with robbers join'd. “His dream confirm'd his thought: with troubled look Straight to the western gate his way he took; There, as his dream: foretold, a cart he found, That carry'd compost forth to dung the ground. This when the pilgrim saw, he stretch'd his throat, And cry'd out murder with a yelling note. “My murder'd fellow in this cart lies dead, Vengeance and justice on the villain's head.
Ye magistrates, who sacred laws dispense, On you I call, to punish this offence.” “The word thus given, within a little space, The mob came roaring out, and throng'd the part. All in a trice they cast the cart to the ground, And in the dung the murder'd body found; Though breathless, warm, and reeking from the wound. Good Heaven, whose darling attribute we find Is boundless grace, and mercy to mankind, | Abhors the cruel; and the deeds of night By wondrous ways reveals in open light: Murder may pass unpunish'd for a time, But tardy Justice will o'ertake the crime. And oft a speedier pain the guilty feels: The hue and cry of Heaven pursues him at the heel., Fresh from the fact, as in the present case, The criminals are seiz'd upon the place: Carter and host confronted face to face. Stiff in denial, as the law appoints, On engines they distend their tortur'd joints: So was confession forc'd, th' offence was known, And public justice on th' offenders done. “Here may you see that visions are to dread; And in the page that follows this, I read Of two young merchants, whom the hope of gain Induc’d in partnership to cross the main. Waiting till willing winds their sails supply'd, Within a trading town they long abide, Full fairly situate on a haven's side; One evening it befell, that looking out, The wind they long had wish'd was come about: Well pleas'd they went to rest; and if the gale Till morn continued, both resolv'd to sail. But as together in a bed they lay, The younger had a dream at break of day. A man he thought stood frowning at his side: Who warn'd him for his safety to provide, Nor put to sea, but safe on shore abide. * I come, thy genius, to command thy stay; Trust not the winds, for fatal is the day, And Death unhop'd attends the watery way." “The vision said : and vanish'd from his sigot. The dreamer waken'd in a mortal fright : Then pull'd his drowsy neighbour, and declard What in his slumber he had seen and heard. His friend smil'd scornful, and with proud contempt Rejects as idle what his fellow dreamt. “Stey, who will stay: for me no fears restrain, Who follow Mercury the god of gain; Let each man do as to his fancy seems, I wait not, I, till you have better dreams. Dreams are but interludes which Fancy makes When monarch Reason sleeps this mimic wakes: Compounds a mediey of disjointed things, A nob of coblers, and a court of kings: Light fumes are merry, grosser fumes are sad: 130th are the reasonable soul run mad: And many monstrous forms in sleep we see, That neither were, nor are, more'er can be. Sometimes forgotten things long cast behind Rush forward in the brain, and come to mind. The nurse's legends are for truths receiv'd, And the man dreams but what the boy believ'd. Sometin:cs we but rehearse a former play, The night restores our actions done by day; As hounds in sleep will open for their prey. In short, the farce of dreams is of a piece, Chimeras all; and more absurd, or less: You, who believe in tules, abide alone; Whate'er I get this voyage is my own."
“Thus while he spoke, he heard the shouting crew That call'd aboard, and took his last adieu. The vessel went before a merry gale, And for quick passage put on every sail: But when least fear'd, and ev'n in open day, The mischief overtook her in the way: Whether she sprung a leak, I cannot find, Or whether she was overset with wind, Or that some rock below her bottom rent; But down at once with all her crew she went : Her fellow ships from far her loss descry’d: But only she was sunk, and all were safe beside. “By this example you are taught again, That dreams and visions are not always vain: But if, dear Partlet, you are still in doubt, Another tale shall make the former out. "Kenelm the son of Kenulph, Mercia's king, Whose holy life the legends loudly sing, Warn'd in a dream, his murder did foretell From point to point as after it befell; All circumstances to his nurse he told (A wonder from a child of seven years old): The dream with horrour heard, the good old wife From treason counsel’d him to guard his life; But close to keep the secret in his mind, For a boy's vision small belief would find. The pious child, by promise bound, obey'd, Nor was the fatal murder long delay'd : by Quenda slain, he fell before his time, Made a young martyr by his sister's crime. The tale is told by venerable Bede, Which at your better leisure you may read. “Macrobius too relates the vision sent To the great Scipio, with the fam'd event: Objections makes, but after makes replies, And adds, that dreams are often prophesies. “Of Daniel you may read in holy writ, Who, when the king his vision did forget, Could word for word the wondrous dream repeat. Not less of patriarch Joseph understand, Who by a dream enslav'd th' Egyptian land, The years of plenty and of dearth foretold, When, for their bread, their liberty they sold. Nor must th' exalted butler be forgot, Nor he whose dream presag'd his hanging lot. “And did not Croesus the same death foresee, Rais'd in his vision on a lofty tree? The wife of Hector, in his utmost pride, Dreamt of his death the night before he dy'd; Well was he warn'd from battle to refrain, But men to death decreed are warn'd in vain: He dar'd the dream, and by his fatal foe was slain. “Much more I know, which I forbear to speak, For see the ruddy day begins to break; Let this suffice, that plainly I foresee My dream was bad, and bodes adversity: But neither pills nor laxatives I like, y only serve to make the well-man sick : 9 these his gain the sharp physician makes, And often gives a purge, but seldom takes: They not correct, but poison all the blood, And ne'er did any but the doctors good: Their tribe, trade, trinkets, I defy them all, With every work of 'pothecary's hall. melancholy matters I forbear: but let me tell thee, Partlet mine, and swear, That when I view the beauties of thy face, !sar not death, nor dangers, nor disgrace: * may my soul have bliss, as, when Í spy The scarlet red about thy partridge eye,
While thou art constant to thy own true knight,
This pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood,
Who had not run the hazard of his life,
And he, to raise his voice with artful care,
Who, true to love, was all for recreation,
“Your's is the prize, victorious prince,” said he, “The vicar my defeat, and all the village see. Enjoy your friendly fortune while you may, And bid the churls that envy you the prey Call back their mungril curs, and cease their cry, See, fools, the shelter of the wood is nigh, And Chanticleer in your despite shall die, He shall be pluck'd and eaten to the bone.” “'Tis well advis'd, in faith it shall be done;” This Reynard said: but, as the word he spoke, The prisoner with a spring from prison broke: Then stretch'd his feather'd fans with all his might, And to the neighbouring maple wing'd his flight; Whom when the traitor safe on tree beheld, He curs'd the gods, with shame and sorrow fill'd; Shame for his folly, sorrow out of time, For plotting an unprofitable crime; Yet, mastering both, th’ artificer of lies Renews th'assault, and his last battery tries. [fend, “Though I,” said he, “ did neer in thought of. How justly may my lord suspect his friend! Th' appearance is against me, I confess, Who seemingly have put you in distress: You, if your goodness does not plead my cause, May think I broke all hospitable laws, To bear you from your palace-yard by might, And put your noble person in a fright: This, since you take it ill, I must repent, Though, Heaven can witness, with no bad intent: I practis'd it, to make you taste your cheer With double pleasure, first prepar’d by fear. So loyal subjects often seize their prince, Forc'd (for his good) to seeming violence, Yet mean his sacred person not the least offence. Descend; so help me Jove as you shall find That Reynard comes of no dissembling kind.” “Nay,” quoth the cock; “but Ibeshrew us both, If I believe a saint upon his oath: An honest man may take a knave's advice, But idiots only may be cozen'd twice: Once warn'd is well beward; not flattering lies Shall sooth me more to sing with winking eyes And open mouth, for fear of catching flies. Who blindfold walks upon a river's brim, When he should see, has he deserv'd to swim?” “Better, sir cock, let all contention cease, [peace.” “Come down,” said Reynard, “let us treat of “A peace with all my soul,” said Chanticleer; “But, with your favour, I will treat it here: And, lest the truce with treason should be mixt, 'Tis my concern to have the tree betwixt.”
In this plain fable you th’ effect may see Of negligence, and fond credulity : And learn beside of flatterers to beware, Then most pernicious when they speak too fair. The cock and fox, the fool and knave imply; The truth is moral, though the tale a lie. Who spoke in parables, I dare not say; But sure he knew it was a pleasing way, Sound sense, by plain example, to convey; And in a heathen author we may find, That pleasure with instruction should be join'd; So take the corn, and leave the chaff behind.
THE FLOWER AND THE LEAF :
OR THE LADY in THE ARRove.
Now, turning from the wintery signs, the Sun His course exalted through the Ram had run, And, whirling up the skies, his chariot drove Through Taurus and the lightsome realms of Lore; Where Venus from her orb descends in showers. To glad the ground, and paint the fields with flowers: When first the tender blades of grass appear, And buds, that yet the blast of Eurus fear, year Stand at the door of life, and doubt to clote to Till gentle heat, and soft repeated rains, Make the green blood to dance within their veins Then, at their call embolden'd, out they come, And swell the germs, and burst the narrow room; Broader and broader yet, their blooms display, Salute the welcome Sun, and entertain the day. Then from their breathing souls the sweets repair, To scent the skies, and purge th' unwholesome air: Joy spreads the heart, and, with a general song, Spring issues out, and leads the jolly months along. In that sweet season, as in bed I lay, And sought in sleep to pass the night away, I turn'd my weary'd side, but still in vain, Though full of youthful health, and void of pain. Cares I had none, to keep me from my rest, For Love had never enter'd in my breast; I wanted nothing Fortune could supply, Nor did she slumber till that hour deny. I wonder'd then, but after found it true, Much joy had dry'd away the balmy dew : Seas would be pools, without the brushing air, To curl the waves: and sure some little care Should weary Nature so, to make her want repair. When Chanticleer the second watch had sung. Scorning the scorner Sleep, from bed I sprung, And, dressing by the Moon, in loose array, Pass'd out in open air, preventing day, And sought a goodly grove, as fancy led my wayStraight as a line in beauteous order stood Of oaks unshorn a venerable wood; Fresh was the grass beneath, and every tree At distance planted in a due degree, Their branching arms in air with equal space Stretch'd to their neighbours with a long embrace. And the new leaves on every bough were seen, Some ruddy colour'd, some of lighter green. The painted birds, companions of the Spring, Hopping from spray to spray, were heard to sing. Both eyes and ears receiv'd a like delight, Enchanting music, and a charming sight. On Philomel I fix'd my whole desire; And listen’d for the queen of all the quire; Fain would I hear her heavenly voice to sing; And wanted yet an omen to the spring. Attending long in vain, I took the way, Which through a path but scarcely printed lay; In narrow mazes oft it seem'd to meet, And look'd as lightly press'd by fairy feet. Wandering I walk'd alone, for still methought To some strange end so strange a path was wrougAt last it led me where an arbour stood, The sacred receptacle of the wood: [gn. This place unmark'd, though oft I walk'd In all my progress I had never seen :