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At last she her advised, that he which made That mirror wherein the sick damosel

So strangely viewed her strange lover's shade, To weet the learned Merlin, well could tell Under what coast of heaven the man did dwell, And by what means his love might best be wrought; For though beyond the Afric Ismael,

Or th' Indian Peru he were, she thought Him forth through infinite endeavour to have sought. Forthwith themselves disguising both in strange And base attire, that none might them bewray, To Maridunum, that is now by change

Of name Cayr-Merdin call'd, they took their way; There the wise Merlin whylome wont (they say) To make his wonne, low underneath the ground, In a deep delve, far from the view of day; That of no living wight he mote be found, Whenso he counsell'd, with his sprites encompass'd round.

And if thou ever happen that same way To travel, go to see that dreadful place : It is an hideous hollow cave (they say) Under a rock that lies a little space From the swift Barry, tumbling down apace Amongst the woody hills of Dynevowre: But dare thou not, I charge, in any case, To enter into that same baleful bower, For fear the cruel fiends should thee unwares

devour.

But standing high aloft, low lay thine ear,
And there such ghastly noise of iron chains,
And brazen cauldrons thou shalt rumbling hear,
Which thousand sprites, with long-enduring

pains,

Do toss, that it will stun thy feeble brains; And oftentimes great groans and grievous stounds, When too huge toil and labour them constrains, And oftentimes loud strokes and ringing sounds, From under that deep rock most horribly rebounds.

The cause, some say, is this: a little while
Before that Merlin died, he did intend
A brazen wall in compass to compile
About Cairmardin, and did it commend
Unto these sprites to bring to perfect end;
During which work the Lady of the Lake,
Whom long he loved, for him in haste did send,
Who thereby forced his workmen to forsake,
Them bound till his return their labour not to
slake.

}

In the mean time, through that false lady's train,
He was surprised and buried under bier,
Ne ever to his work return'd again;
Nathless those fiends may not their work forbear,
So greatly his commandement they fear,
But there do toil and travail day and night,
Until that brazen wall they up do rear;

For Merlin had in magic more insight

Than ever him before or after living wight.

For he by words could call out of the sky
Both sun and moon, and make them him obey;
The land to sea, and sea to mainland dry,
And darksome night he eke could turn to day;
Huge hosts of men he could alone dismay,
And hosts of men of meanest things could frame,
Whenso him list his enemies to fray;

That to this day, for terror of his fame,

The fiends do quake when any hinto them does name.

And sooth men say, that he was not the son
Of mortal sire, or other living wight,
But wond'rously begotten and begone
By false illusion of a guileful sprite
On a fair lady nun, that whilom hight
Matilda, daughter to Pubidius,
Who was the lord of Mathtraval by right,
And cousin unto king Ambrosius,
Whence he endued was with skill so marvellous.

They here arriving, stay'd awhile without,
Ne durst adventure rashly in to wend,
But of their first intent 'gan make new doubt
For dread of danger, which it might portend,
Until the hardy maid (with love to friend)
First entering, the dreadful mage there found
Deep busied 'bout work of wond'rous end,
And writing strange characters in the ground,
With which the stubborn fiends he to his service
* [bound.

*

*

*

BELPHOEBE FINDS TIMIAS WOUNDED, AND CON-
VEYS HIM TO HER DWELLING.

BOOK III. CANTO V.
*
*

*

SHE on a day, as she pursued the chace

Of some wild beast, which, with her arrows keen, She wounded had, the same along did trace By tract of blood, which she had freshly seen To have besprinkled all the grassy green; By the great pursue which she there perceived, Well hoped she the beast engored had been, And made more haste the life to have bereaved; But ah! her expectation greatly was deceived.

Shortly she came whereas that woeful squire, With blood deformed, lay in deadly swound ; In whose fair eyes, like lamps of quenched fire, The crystal humour stood congealed round; His locks, like faded leaves, fallen to ground, Knotted with blood, in bunches rudely ran, And his sweet lips, on which, before that stound, The bud of youth to blossom fair began, Spoil'd of their rosy red, were waxen pale and wan.

Saw never living eye more heavy sight,
That could have made a rock of stone to rue
Or rive in twain ; which when that lady bright
Besides all hope, with melting eyes did view,
All suddenly abash'd, she changed hue,
And with stern horror backward 'gan to start;
But when she better him beheld, she grew
Full of soft passion and unwonted smart ;
The point of pity pierced through her tender heart.

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THIS bold and spirited poem has been ascribed to several authors, but to none on satisfactory authority. It can be traced to MS. of a date as early as 1593, when Francis Davison, who published it in his Poetical Rhapsody, was too young to be supposed, with much probability, to have written it; and as Davison's work was a compilation, his claims to it must be very doubtful. Sir Egerton Brydges has published it among Sir Walter Raleigh's poems, but without a tittle of evidence to show that it was the production of that great man. Mr. Ellis gives it to Joshua Sylvester, evidently by mistake. Whoever looks at the folio vol. of Sylvester's poems, will see

THE SOUL'S ERRAND.

FROM DAVISON'S "POETICAL RHAPSODY."

that Joshua uses the beautiful original merely as a text, and has the conscience to print his own stuff in a way that shows it to be interpolated. Among those additions there occur some such execrable stanzas as the following:

Say, soldiers are the sink
Of sin to all the realm,
Giv'n all to whore and drink,
To quarrel and blaspheme.

Tell townsmen, that because that They prank their brides so proud, Too many times it draws that Which makes them beetle-brow'd.

Ohe jam satis !

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