Imatges de pàgina

To tellen yow that every walle

Of hit, and flore, and roof, and alle,

Was plated half a foote thikke

Of gold, that nas no thynge wikke,1

But, for to prove in alle wyse,

As fyne as ducat in Venyse,

Of whiche to litel al in my pouche is?

And they wer set as thik of nouchis *

Fyne, of the fynest stones faire,

That men reden in the Lapidaire,

As greses* growen in a mede.

But hit were alle to longe to rede

The names; and therfore I pace.

But in this lusty and ryche place,
That Fames halle called was,
Ful moche prees of folke ther nas,
Ne crowdyng, for to mochil prees.
But al on hye, above a dees,
Sit in a see 4 imperialle,
That made was of a rubee alle,
Which that a carbuncle ys ycalled,
I saugh perpetually ystalled,
A. femynyne creature;
That never formed by Nature
Nas suche another thing yseye.
For altherfirst, soth for to seye,
Me thoughte that she was so lyte,6
That the lengthe of a cubite
Was lengere than she semede be;

'Debased. * Ouches. 'Grasses. 4 Seat. • Link. "A FEMYNYNE CREATURE." 51

This was gret marvaylle to me,

Hir tho so wonderly streighte,

That with hir fete the erthe she reighte,1

And with her hed she touched hevene,

Ther as shynen sterres sevene.2

\nd therto eke, as to my witte,

f saugh a gretter wonder yitte,

Upon her eyen to beholde,

Hut certeyn I hem never tolde.* 190

For as feele 4 yen had she,

As fetheres upon foules be,

Or weren on the bestes foure,6

That Goddes trone gunne honoure,

As Johan writ in thapocalips.

Hir heere that oundye was and crips,'

As burned7 gold hyt shoon to see.

And sothe to tellen also shee

Had also fele up stondyng eres

And tonges, as on bestes heres; 300

And on hir fete wexen saugh I

Partriches winges redely.

But, Lorde I the perry* and the richesse
I saugh sittyng on this godesse!
vnd, Lord! the hevenysshe melodye,
Jf songes ful of armonye,
I herd aboute her trone ysonge,
That al the paleys walles ronge!
So songe the myghty Muse, she

1 Reached. * Cf. ii. 499. s Counted. * Many. *Cf.ii.4j4; «nd Rev. iv. 6. 9 Wavy and crisp. 'Burnished. 'Preaooa stones.

That cleped ys Caliope, 310

And hir eighte sustren eke

That in her face semen meke;

And evermo eternally

They synge of Fame as thoo herd I:

"Heryed be thou and thy name,

Goddesse of renoun or Fame."

Tho was I war, loo, atte laste, As I myn eyen gan up caste, That thys ilke noble quene On her shuldres gan sustene 32o Bothe armes, and the name Of thoo that hadde large fame; Alexander, and Hercules That with a shert hys lyfe les! And thus fonde I syttynge this goddesse. In noble honour and rychesse; Of which I stynte a while nowe, Other thinge to tellen yowe.

Tho saugh I stonde on eyther syde, Streighte doun to the dores wide, 330 Fro the dees1 many a pelere Of metal, that shoon not ful clere, But though they ner of no rychesse, Yet they were made for gret noblesse, And in hem gret sentence.* And folkes of digne reverence, Of whiche I wil yow telle fonde,* Upon the piler saugh I stonde.

1 Dais. • Meaning. • Try.

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Alderfirste,1 loo, ther I sighe, Upon a piler stonde on highe, 340 That was of Iede and yren fyne, Hym of secte Saturnyne,* The Ebrayke Josephus the olde, That of Jewes gestes tolde; And he bare on hys shuldres hye, The fame up of the Jurye. And by hym stonden other sevene, Wise and worthy for to nevene, To helpen him bere up the charge, Hyt was so hevy and so large. 350 And for they writen of batayles, As wel as other olde mervayles, Therfor was, loo, thys pilere, Of whiche that I yow telle here, Of lede and yren bothe ywys. For yren Martes metal ys, Which that God is of batayle. And the lede, withouten faille, Ys, loo, the metal of Saturne, That hath a ful large whele * to turne. 360 Thoo stoden forthe on every rowe Of hem which that I koude knowe, Though I hem noght be ordre telle, To make yow to longe to duelle.

These, of whiche I gynne rede, There saugh I stonde, out of drede, Upon an yren piler stronge,

1 First oi all. 1 The gloomy class of authors. • Orbit

That peynted was, al endelonge,

With tigres blode in every place,

The Tholauson1 that highte Stace, 370

That bare of Thebes up the fame

Upon his shuldres, and the name

Also of cruelle Achilles.

And by him stood, withouten lees,

Ful wonder hye on a pilere2

Of yren, he, the gret Omere;

And with him Dares and Tytus *

Before, and eke he Lollius,4

And Guydo eke de Columpnis,*

And Englyssh Gaunfride 6 eke, ywis. 380

And eche of these, as have I joye,

Was besye for to bere up Troye.

So hevy therof was the fame,

That for to bere hyt was no game.

But yet I gan ful wel espie,

Betwex hem was a litil envye.

Oon seyde that Omere made lyes,

Feynynge in hys poetries,

And was to Grekes favorable;

Therfor held he hyt but fable. 390

Tho saugh I stonde on a pilere,
That was of tynned yren clere,
That Latyn poete Virgile,
That bore hath up longe while
The fame of pius Eneas.

1 Statius had been erroneously called a native of Toulouse by

Dante, Purgatorio, xxi. 88. * Cf. inferno, iv. 88-00. • Darei Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis. * Cf. Troylus and Cryuyde, i. 304. Guidu de Colonna. 6 Geoffrey of Monmouth.

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