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That of my sicht the verteu hale I blent,
Where it come in by, the rycht way ageyne,
I went my way, was nething me ageyne,
And hastily, by bothe the armes tweyne, I was araisit up into the aire,
Clipt in a cloud of crystal cleare and faire. In this resplendent chariot the royal lover is conveyed from sphere to sphere, till he reaches
the glad empire Of blissful Venus, which he finds crowded, as was to be expected, with all descriptions of lovers
Of every age and nation, class and tonguethe successful, the unfortunate, the faithful, the selfish, the hypocritical, accompanied by those allegorical personages-Prudence, Courage, Benevolence, Fair Calling—which abound in the poetry of this period, and whose introduction is rather the fault of the age than of the author. Through the various chambers peopled by his amorous devotees we cannot follow him ; and we fear the reader, should he make the attempt for himself, would find it rather a tedious pilgrimage, although the way would be lightened by many touches of genuine poetry. Cupid, in his chair of state, his yellow locks bound with a verdant chaplet, his fatal quiver glittering at his side, and his body
With wingis bright all plumed, but his face, is a fine personification; and the discourse of
Venus, somewhat platonic and metaphysical for the queen of becks and wreathed smiles,' contains some beautiful poetry. Nor is it unworthy of notice, that although a pagan divinity is introduced, her coursels do not breathe the licentious spirit of the Cyprian queen of classical antiquity, but are founded on better and holier principles : the Venus of the royal bard is the goddess of lawful disport and pure and virtuous love. She first ascertains that her votary is none of those
That feynis truth in love but for a while,
The silly innocent woman to beguile : comparing them to the fowler, imitating the various notes of the birds that he may decoy them into his net; and after having satisfied herself that he is consumed by the flame of a virtuous attachment, he is addressed in the language of encouragement, assured of her benign assistance, and despatched, under proper guidance, to seek counsel of Minerva. The precepts of this sage goddess present rather a monotonous parallel to the advice of Venus; after which, the votary of love is dismissed from her court, and, like Milton's Uriel, descends upon a sunbeam to the earth:
And thus to earth my sprite again descended. We cannot follow the poet in his quest of Fortune, which occupies the fifth canto, but its opening verses are singularly beautiful :Quhare in a lusty' plane I took my way Endlango a ryver, plesand to behold, delightful.
along the brink of a river.
Embrondin all with fresche flouris gay,
Quhare thro' the gravel, bright as ony gold,
The cristal water ran so clere and cold,
Now here now there with bakkis blewe as lede,
So prettily, and dressit thame to sprede Their crural fynnis, as the ruby red, That in the sonne upon their scalis brycht, As gesserant? ay glitterit in my sight.
Beside this pleasant river he finds an avenue of trees covered with delicious fruits, and in the branches and under their umbrageous covert are seen the beasts of the forest:The lyon king and his fere lyonesse ;
The pantere like unto the smaragdyne ; The lytill squerell full of besynesse;
The slawe asse, the druggare beste of pyne;
The nyce ape, and the werely“ porpapyne;
The fere tigere, full of felony ;
The wyly fox, the wedowis enemy;
ivory. 6 the strings of the arblast or cross-bow, were probably formed out of the tough sinews of the elk.
7 herknere boar-probably hearkening boar. It is the habit of the buffalo to listen for the breath of any person extended on the ground before attacking him, so as to ascertain whether he be a living being. The same propensity, in all
Thus slightly modernised :
The panther spotted like the smaragdine ;
The patient ass that drudgeth still in pine ;
The brindled tiger, full of felony;
The wily fox, the widow's enemy;
The elk, with sinews fit for arblastrye; The climbing goat, and eke the tusked boar, And timid hare that flies the hounds before.
These stanzas are, as it will be seen, scarcely altered from the original; and it would be difficult, in any part of Chaucer or Spenser, to discover comprised in so small a compass so picturesque and characteristic a description of the tenants of the forest.
Being guided by Good Hope to the goddess Fortune, he finds her sitting beside her wheel, clothed in a parti-coloured petticoat and ermine tippet, and alternately smiling and frowning, as it became so capricious a lady. The meeting and the parting with her are described in such a manner as rather to excite ludicrous ideas than any feelings befitting the solemnity of the vision. She inquires into his story, rallies him on his pale and probability, belongs to the wild boar. I remember hearing that the late Dr. R. saved himself from the attack of a wild boar, when botanising in a German forest, by resolutely keeping himself quite motionless till the creature, tired of snuffing and walking round him, went off. I have extracted the above ingenious conjecture from the letter of a literary friend.
wretched looks; and when he pleads his love and
That never art in quiet nor in rest
Which is thy first and very proper nest;
From day to day so sore here art thou drest,
perplexity and discomfort, he finds himself unable to ascertain to what strange and dreamy region his spirit had wandered, and anxiously wishes he might have some token whether the vision was of that heavenly kind to whose anticipations he might give credit
Is it some dream, by wandering fancy given,
Or may I deem it, sooth, a vision sent from heaven. At this moment he hears the fluttering of wings, and a milk-white dove flies into his window. She alights upon his hand, bearing in her bill a stalk of gilliflowers, on the leaves of which, in golden letters, is written the glad news, that it is decreed he is to be happy and successful in his love :This fair bird rycht into her bill gan hold,
Of red jerroferis, with stalkis grene,
On every lefe with letters brycht and shene,