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And next hym on a piler was. Of coper,1 Venus clerke, Ovide, That hath ysowen wonder wide The grete god of loves name. And ther he bare up wel hys fame, 400 Upon this piler also hye, As I hyt myght see with myn ye: For-why this halle of whiche I rede Was woxen on high, the length and brede, Wel more, be a thousande dele, Than hyt was erst, that saugh I wel.
Thoo saugh I on a piler by, Of yren wroght ful sturnily, The grete poete, daun Lucan, And on hys shuldres bare up than, 410 As high as that I myghte see, The fame of Julius, and Pompe. And by him stoden alle these clerkes, That writen of Romes myghty werkes, That gif I wolde her names telle, Alle to longe most I dvelle.
And next him on a piler stoode, Of soulfre, lyke as he were woode, Daun Claudian,2 the sothe to telle, That bare up the fame of helle, 420 Of Pluto, and of Proserpyne, That quene ys of the derke pyne.
What shulde I more telle of this?
4 Copper was the metal of Venus. * Claudianus wrote D* Jbtfm Prostrfina. Cf. CaHttrtury Talis, 1. 14,56*.
The halle was al ful, ywis,
Of hem that writen al of the olde gestes,
As ben on trees rokes nestes;
But hit a ful confuse matere
Were al the gestes for to here,
That they of write, and how they hight.
But while that I beheld thys syght, 430
I herd a noyse aprochen blyve,
That ferd as been 1 doon in an hive,
Agen her tyme of oute fleyinge;
Ryght suche a maner murmurynge,
For al the world hyt semede me.
Tho gan I loke aboute and see, That ther come entryng into the halle, A ryght grete companye withalle, And that of sondry regiouns, Of alles-kynnes condiciouns, 440 That duelle in erthe under the mone, Pore and ryche. And also sone As they were come into the halle, They gonne doun on knees falle, Before this ilke noble quene, And seyde, "Graunte us, lady shene, Eche of us of thy grace a bone!" And somme of hem she grauntede sone, And somme she wernede2 wel and faire; And somme she grauntede the contraire 45c Of her axyng outterly. But this I sey yow trewely,
1 Bees. 1 Refused.
What her cause was, I nyste.
Now herke how she gan to paye
"Madame," quod they, "we be
"I werne yow hit," quod she, anoon, "Ye gete of me good fame noon, 470 Be God! and therfore goo your wey."
"Alias," quod they, "and welaway! Telle us what may your cause be."
"For me lyst hyt noght," quod she, "No wyght shal speke of yow, ywis, '.rood ne harme, ne that ne this." And with that worde she gan to calle Her messangere that was in halle, And bad that he shulde faste goon, Upon peyne to be blynde anoon, 480 For Eolus, the god of wynde, * In Trace there ye shul him finde,
And bid him bring his clarioun,
That is ful dyvers of his soun,
And hyt is cleped Clere Laude,
With which he wonte is to hiraude
Hem that me list ypreised be:
And also bid him how that he
Brynge his other clarioun,
That highte Sclaundre in every toun, 49a
With which he wonte is to diffame
Hem that me liste, and do hem shame."
This messenger gan faste goon, And founde where in a cave of stoon,1 In a con tree that highte Trace, This Eolus, with harde grace, Helde the wyndes in distresse, And gan hem under him to presse, That they gonne as beres rore, He bonde and pressed hem so sore.' 500
This messanger gan faste crie, "Ryse up," quod he, "and faste hye, Til that thou at my lady be; And take thy clarioun eke with the, And spede the forth." And he anoon Toke to a man that highte Tritoun, Hys clarions to bere thoo, And lete a certeyn wynde to goo, And blewe so hydously and hye, That hyt ne lefte not a skye 510 [n alle the welkene longe and brode.
• Cf. Dethe of Blaunche, 1. 163. * This is an Imitation of a am lags in the ^Sruid, i. 52.
This Eolus no wbere abode, Til he was come to Fames fete, And eke the man that Triton hete ;1 And ther he stode as stille as stoon. And herwithal ther come anoon Another huge companye Of goode folke and gunne crie, "Lady, graunte us good fame And lat oure werkes han that name, $ao Now in honour of gentilesse, And, also God your soule blesse! For we han wel deserved hyt, Therfore is ryght that we ben wel quyt."
"As thryve I," quod she, "ye shal faylle, Good werkes shal yow noght availle To have of me good fame as now. But wete ye what? I graunte yow, ^hat ye shal have a shrewde 2 fame, \nd wikkyd loos1 and worse name, 530 TTiough ye good loos have wel deserved.
row goo your wey, for ye be served;
lave doon! Eolus, let see!
ake forth thy trumpe anon," quod she;
That is ycleped Sklaunder lyght,
nd blow her loos, that every wight
peke of hem harme and shrewedenesse,
n stede of good and worthynesse.
"or thou shalt trumpe alle the contraire t)f that they han don wel or fayre." 540
* Wat named. 1 Cursed. * Celebrity (Lat. lata).