Page images

Now whilst he gazed, a gallant, drest
In flaunting robes above the rest,
With awful accent cried,

"What mortal of a wretched mind,
Whose sighs infect the balmy wind,
Has here presumed to hide ?”

At this the swain, whose venturous soul No fears of magic art control,

Advanced in open sight;

"Nor have I cause of dread," he said, "Who view, by no presumption led, Your revels of the night;

"'Twas grief for scorn of faithful love, Which made my steps unweeting rove Amid the nightly dew." ""Tis well," the gallant cries again, "We fairies never injure men

Who dare to tell us true.

"Exalt thy love-dejected heart; Be mine the task, or ere we part, To make thee grief resign;

Now take the pleasure of thy chaunce; Whilst I with Mab, my partner, daunce, Be little Mabel thine."

He spoke, and all a sudden there
Light music floats in wanton air;
The monarch leads the queen:
The rest their fairy partners found;
And Mabel trimly tript the ground
With Edwin of the Green.

The dauncing past, the board was laid,

And siker such a feast was made
As heart and lip desire;
Withouten hands the dishes fly,
The glasses with a wish come nigh,
And with a wish retire.

But now, to please the fairy king,
Full every deal they laugh and sing,
And antic feats devise;

Some wind and tumble like an ape,
And other some transmute their shape
In Edwin's wondering eyes.

Till one at last, that Robin hight,
Renown'd for pinching maids by night,

Has hent him up aloof;

And full against the beam he flung,
Where by the back the youth he hung

To sprawl aneath the roof.

From thence, "Reverse my charm," he cries, "And let it fairly now suffice,

The gambol has been shewn." But Oberon answers with a smile, "Content thee, Edwin, for a while, The vantage is thine own."

Here ended all the phantom-play;
They smelt the fresh approach of day,
And heard a cock to crow;

The whirling wind that bore the crowd.
Has clapp'd the door, and whistled loud,
To warn them all to go.

Then, screaming, all at once they fly,
And all at once the tapers die

Poor Edwin falls to floor;

Forlorn his state, and dark the place;

Was never wight in such a case
Through all the land before.

But soon as Dan Apollo rose,
Full jolly creature home he goes,
He feels his back the less;
His honest tongue and steady mind
Had rid him of the lump behind,
Which made him want success.

With lusty livelyhed he talks,
He seems a dancing as he walks;
His story soon took wind;
And beauteous Edith sees the youth
Endow'd with courage, sense, and truth,
Without a bunch behind.

The story told Sir Topaz moved,
The youth of Edith erst approved,
To see the revel scene:

At close of eve he leaves his home,
And wends to find the ruin'd dome
All on the gloomy plain.

As there he bides, it so befel,

The wind came rustling down a dell,`

A shaking seized the wall;

Up spring the tapers as before,
The fairies bragly foot the floor,

And music fills the hall.

But, certes, sorely sunk with woe,
Sir Topaz sees the Elfin show,
His spirits in him die:

When Oberon cries, "A man is near,
A mortal passion, cleped fear,
Hangs flagging in the sky."

With that Sir Topaz, hapless youth!
In accents faltering ay for ruth,
Intreats them pity grant;
For als he been a mister wight,
Betray'd, by wandering in the night,
To tread the circled haunt.

"Ah! losel vile," at once they roar; "And little skill'd of fairy lore,

Thy cause to come we know: Now has thy kestrel courage fell And fairies, since a lie you tell, Are free to work thee woe."


Then Will, who bears the wispy fire
To trail the swains among the mire,
The caitiff upward flung;
There, like a tortoise in a shop,
He dangled from the chamber top,
Where whilome Edwin hung.

The revel now proceeds apace,
Deftly they frisk it o'er the place,
They sit, they drink, and eat;
The time with frolic mirth beguile,
And poor Sir Topaz hangs the while
Till all the rout retreat.

By this the stars began to wink,

They shriek, they fly, the tapers silk,
And down y-drops the knight:
For never spell by fairy laid

With strong enchantment bound a glade
Beyond the length of night.


Chill, dark, alone, adreed, he lay,
the welkin rose the day,
Then deem'd the dole was o'er:
But wot ye well his harder lot?
His seely back the bunch had got
Which Edwin lost afore.

This tale a Sibyl-nurse ared; She softly stroked my youngling head, And when the tale was done, "Thus some are born, my son," she cries, "With base impediments to rise,

And some are born with none.

"But virtue can itself advance

To what the favourite fools of chance
By fortune seem'd design'd;
Virtue can gain the odds of fate,
And from itself shake off the weight
Upon th' unworthy mind."


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »