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Dreams are but interludes which Fancy makes;
When monarch Reason sleeps, this mimic wakes:
Compounds a medley of disjointed things,
A mob of coblers, and a court of kings:
Light fumes are merry, grosser fumes are sad:
Both are the reasonable soul run mad:
And many monstrous forms in sleep we see,
That neither were, nor are, nor e'er can be.
Sometimes forgotten things long cast behind
Rush forward in the brain, and come to mind.
The nurse's legends are for truths receiv'd,
And the man dreams but what the boy believ'd.
Sometimes we but rehearse a former play,
The night restores our actions done by day;
As hounds in sleep will open for their prey.
In short, the farce of dreams is of a piece,
Chimeras all; and more absurd, or less:
You, who believe in tales, abide alone;
Whate'er I get this voyage is my own.
"Thus while he spoke, he heard the shouting crew
That call'd aboard, and took his last adieu.
The vessel went before a merry gale,
And for quick passage put on every sail :
But when least fear'd, and ev'n in open day,
The mischief overtook her in the way:
Whether she sprung a leak, I cannot find,
Or whether she was overset with wind,
Or that some rock below her bottom rent;
But down at once with all her crew she went:
Her fellow ships from far her loss descry'd:
But only she was sunk, and all were safe beside.
"By this example you are taught again,
That dreams and visions are not always vain :
But if, dear Partlet, you are still in doubt,
Another tale shall make the former out.
"Kenelm the son of Kenulph, Mercia's king,
Whose holy life the legends loudly sing,
Warn'd in a dream, his murder did foretell
From point to point as after it befell;
All circumstances to his nurse he told
(A wonder from a child of seven years old):
The dream with horrour heard, the good old wife
From treason counsel'd him to guard his life;
But close to keep the secret in his mind,
For a boy's vision small belief would find.
The pious child, by promise bound, obey'd,
Nor was the fatal murder long delay'd:
By Quenda slain, he fell before his time,
Made a young martyr by his sister's crime.
The tale is told by venerable Bede,
Which at your better leisure you may read.
"Macrobius too relates the vision sent
To the great Scipio, with the fam'd event:
Objections makes, but after makes replies,
And adds, that dreams are often prophesies.
"Of Daniel you may read in holy writ, Who, when the king his vision did forget, Could word for word the wondrous dream repeat. Not less of patriarch Joseph understand, Who by a dream enslav'd th' Egyptian land, The years of plenty and of dearth foretold, When, for their bread, their liberty they sold Nor must th' exalted butler be forgot, Nor he whose dream presag'd his hanging lot.
"And did not Croesus the same death foresee, Rais'd in his vision on a lofty tree?
The wife of Hector, in his utmost pride,
Dreamt of his death the night before he dy'd;
Well was he warn'd from battle to refrain,
But men to death decreed are warn'd in vain :
He dar'd the dream, and by his fatal foe was slain.
"Much more I know, which I forbear to speak,
For see the ruddy day begins to break;
Let this suffice, that plainly I foresee
My dream was bad, and bodes adversity:
But neither pills nor laxatives I like,
They only serve to make the well-man sick :
Of these his gain the sharp physician makes,
And often gives a purge, but seldom takes:
They not correct, but poison all the blood,
And ne'er did any but the doctors good:
Their tribe, trade, trinkets, I defy them all,
With every work of 'pothecary's hall.
These melancholy matters I forbear :
But let me tell thee, Partlet mine, and swear,
That when I view the beauties of thy face,
I fear not death, nor dangers, nor disgrace:
So may my soul have bliss, as, when I spy
The scarlet red about thy partridge eye,
While thou art constant to thy own true knight,
While thou art mine, and I am thy delight,
All sorrows at thy presence take their flight.
For true it is, as in principio,
Mulier est hominis confusio.
Madam, the meaning of this Latin is,
That woman is to man his sovereign bliss.
For when by night I feel your tender side,
Though for the narrow perch I cannot ride,
Yet I have such a solace in my mind,
That all my boding cares are cast behind;
And ev❜n already I forget my dream :"
He said, and downward flew from off the beam.
For day-light now began apace to spring,
The thrush to whistle, and the lark to sing.
Then crowing clapp'd his wings, th' appointed call,
To chuck his wives together in the hall.
By this the widow had unbarr'd the door,
And Chanticleer went strutting out before,
With royal courage, and with heart so light,
As show'd he scorn'd the visions of the night.
Now roaming in the yard he spurn'd the ground,
And gave to Partlet the first grain he found.
Then often feather'd her with wanton play,
And trod her twenty times ere prime of day:
And took by turns and gave so much delight,
Her sisters pin'd with envy at the sight.
He chuck'd again, when other corns he found,
And scarcely deign'd to set a foot to ground;
But swagger'd like a lord about his hall,
And his seven wives came running at his call.
'Twas now the month in which the world began (If March beheld the first created man): And since the vernal equinox, the Sun, In Aries, twelve degrees, or more, had run; When casting up his eyes against the light, Both month, and day, and hour, he measur'd right; And told more truly than th' Ephemeris:
For Art may err, but Nature cannot miss.
Thus numbering times and seasons in his breast, His second crowing the third hour confess'd.
Then turning, said to Partlet, "See, my dear,
How lavish Nature has adorn'd the year;
How the pale primrose and blue violet spring,
And birds essay their throats, disus'd to sing :
All these are ours; and I with pleasure see
Man strutting on two legs, and aping me :
An unfledg'd creature, of a lumpish frame,
Endow'd with fewer particles of flame :
Our dames sit scouring o'er a kitchen fire,
I draw fresh air, and Nature's works admire :
And ev❜n this day in more delight abound,
Than, since I was an egg, I ever found."
The time shall come when Chanticleer shall wish
His words unsaid, and hate his boasted bliss:
The crested bird shall by experience know,
Jove made not him his master-piece below;
And learn the latter end of joy is woe.
The vessel of his bliss to dregs is run,
And Heaven will have him taste his other tun.
Ye wise, draw near, and hearken to my tale,
Which proves that oft the proud by flattery fall:
The legend is as true, I undertake,
As Tristran is, and Launcelot of the lake:
Which all our ladies in such reverence hold,
As if in book of martyrs it were told.
A fox, full-fraught with seeming sanctity,
That fear'd an oath, but, like the Devil, would lie ;
Who look'd like Lent, and had the holy leer,
And durst not sin before he said his prayer;
This pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood,
Nor chew'd the flesh of lambs, but when he cou'd ;
Had pass'd three summers in the neighbouring