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Much broader than himselfen was;
And thus, from roundle to compass,
Each abouten other going
Y-causeth of others stirring,
And multiplying evermo,
Till that it be so far y-go
That it at bothe brinkes be;
Although thou mayest it not sec
Above, yet goeth it alway under,
Although thou think it a great wonder;
And whoso saith of truth I vary,
Bidde him preven a the contrary;
And right thus every word, I wis,
That loud or privy y-spoken is,
Y-moveth first an air about,
And of his moving, out of doubt,
Another air anon is moved,
As I have of the water proved
That every circle causeth other;
Right so of air, my leive brother,
Everich air another stirreth
More and more, and speech up beareth,
Or voice, or noise, or word, or soun,

Aye through multiplicatioun,
Till it be at the House of Fame, &c.

He then applies this fact of sound tending up into the air, till it find its stead or home, the House of Fame, to the confirmation of what he had before delivered on the general law of gravitation or attraction. In another place, we have an illustration drawn from a novelty which we might have thought had hardly yet become familiar enough for the purposes of poetry. The passage too is a sample of the wild, almost grotesque imagination, and force of expression, for which the poem is remarkable :


a Prove.

What did this Eolus? but he

Took out his blacke trompe of brass,
That fouler than the devil was,
And gan this trompe for to blow
As all the world should overthrow.
Throughout every region
Y-went this foule trompes soun,
As swift as pellet out of gun
When fire is in the powder run:
And such a smoke gan out wend
Out of the foule trompes end,
Black, blue, and greenish, swartish, red,
As doeth where that men melt lead,
Lo all on high from the tewel : b
And thereto one thing saw I well,
That aye the ferther that it ran
The greater wexen it began,
As doth the river from a well,
And it stank as the pit of hell.

The old mechanical artillery, however, is also alluded

to in another passage as if still in use:

And the noise which that I heard,
For all the world right so it fered c
As doth the routing of the stone
That fro the engine is letten gone.

b Funrel.

All through the poem runs the spirit of the strange barbarous classical scholarship of the middle ages. The Eneid is not altogether unknown to the author; but it may be questioned if his actual acquaintance with the work extended much beyond the two opening lines, which are pretty literally rendered in six octosyllabic verses near the beginning of the first book. An abridgment, indeed, of the entire story of Æneas, as told by Virgil, follows; but that might have been got at secondhand. The same mixture of the classic and the Gothic oc

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curs throughout that is found in all the poetry, French and Italian as well as English, of this era. For instance :

There heard I playing on an harp,
That y-sounded both well and sharp,
Him Orpheus full craftily;
And on this other side fast by
Y-sat the harper Orion,
And Gacides Chirion,
And other harpers many one,
And the Briton Glaskirion, &c.

Orion here is probably a mistake (not, we fear, a typographical one) for Arion. Why Chirion (by whom Chiron seems to be intended) is called Gacides we do not know-unless the epithet be a misprint for Eacides, or Æacides, applied to the Centaur (by a somewhat violent licence) as the instructor of Achilles. In a subsequent passage the confusion is more perplexing.

There saw. I then Dan Citherus,
And of Athens Dan Proserus,
And Mercia, that lost her skin,
Both in the face, body, and chin,
For that she would envyer, lo!
To pipen bette than Apollo.
There saw I famous old and young
Pipers of all the Dutche tongue,
To learnen love dances, springs,
Reyes, and the strange things.

Here, we much fear, Dan Citherus is none other than Mount Cithaeron. Dan Proserus is possibly the unfortunate Procris, who was daughter of the Athenian king Erectheus. Mercia, " that lost her skin," is undoubtedly the famous piper Marsyas, turned into a woman, by a metamorphosis, of which there is no record in Ovid.

e Better.

f A kind of Dutch dance.

As a specimen of the strong painting that characterizes this poem, its crowded and variegated canvass, and the dramatic life that moves and hurries on the action, we will give a portion of the poet's accourt of his last adventure, his visit to what we may call, with Warton, the House or Labyrinth of Rumour, which went round and round continually, as swift as thought, making such a noise as might have been heard from the north of France to Rome. It was made of twigs, and was all over holes and chinks-or, as the poem says,

And eke this house hath of entrees
As many as leaves been on trees
In summer when that they been green;
And on the roof yet may men seen
A thousand holes and well mo,
To letten the sound out y-go;
And by day in every tide
Been all the dores open wide,
And by night each one is unshet;
Ne porter is there none to let
No manner tidings in to pace;
Ne never rest is in that place,
That it is filled full of tidings
Either loud or of whisperings.
And ever all the House's angles
Is full of rownings h and of jangles,i
Of werres, of peace, of marriages,
Of rests, of labour, of viages, &c.

The House, which was shaped like a cage, and sixty miles long, stood in a valley; and, after he has gazed upon it with astonishment for a short time, the poet eagerly begs his guide, the Eagle, to convey him to it, and show him what it contains. The answer of the

g Hinder. h Whisperings.

k Wars.

i Babbles.

Eagle seems to refer to some actual circumstance or pas

sage of Chaucer's history:



But certain one thing I thee tell,
That, but I bringen thee therein,
Ne shall thou never con the gin
To come into it, out of doubt,
So fast it whirleth, lo, about.
But, sith that Jovis of his grace,
As I have said, will thee solace
Finally with these ilke things,
These uncouth° sightes and tidings,
To pass away thine heaviness,
Such routh hath he of thy distress
That thou suffredest debonairly
And woste P thy selven utterly,
Wholly desperate of all bliss,
Sith that fortune hath made amiss
The sote of all thine hearte's rest
Languish, and eke in point to brest ;"
But he, through his mighty melite,
Will do thee ease, all be it lite."

The imperial bird, accordingly, took up the poet again in its “tone,” or claws (toes), and, conveying him into the whirling house by a window, set him down on the floor. Then, he proceeds,

-Such great congregation
Of folk as I saw roam about,
Some it within and some without,
N'as never seen, ne shall be eft.....
And every wight that I saw there
Rowned everich in other's ear
A newe tiding privily,
Or else he told it openly,

m Know the contrivance (engine). • Strange (unknown). P Wastest. On the point of bursting. u Little.

r Sweet.

Not understood. ▾ Again.

Whispered every one.

1 Unless. n Same.

¶ Unluckily.


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