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PAGE 3

The Visions Of Bellay
by [?]

XI.

Upon an hill a bright flame I did see,
Waving aloft with triple point to skie,
Which, like incense of precious cedar tree,
With balmie odours fil’d th’ayre farre and nie.
A bird all white, well feathered on each wing,
Hereout up to the throne of gods did flie,
And all the way most pleasant notes did sing,
Whilst in the smoake she unto heaven did stie*.
Of this faire fire the scattered rayes forth threw
On everie side a thousand shining beames:
When sudden dropping of a silver dew
(O grievous chance!) gan quench those precious flames;
That it, which earst** so pleasant sent did yeld,
Of nothing now but noyous sulphure smeld.
[* Stie, mount.]
[** Earst, at first.]

XII.

I saw a spring out of a rocke forth rayle*,
As cleare as christall gainst the sunnie beames;
The bottome yeallow, like the golden grayle*
That bright Pactolus washeth with his streames.
It seem’d that Art and Nature had assembled
All pleasure there for which mans hart could long;
And there a noyse alluring sleepe soft trembled,
Of manie accords, more sweete than mermaids song,
The seates and benches shone as yvorie,
And hundred nymphes sate side by side about;
When from nigh hills, with hideous outcrie,
A troupe of satyres in the place did rout,@
Which with their villeine feete the streame did ray,$
Threw down the seats, and drove the nymphs away.
[* Rayle, flow.]
[** Grayle, gravel.]
[@ Rout, burst.]
[$ Ray, defile.]

XIII.

Much richer then that vessell seem’d to bee
Which did to that sad Florentine appeare,
Casting mine eyes farre off, I chaunst to see
Upon the Latine coast herselfe to reare.
But suddenly arose a tempest great,
Bearing close envie to these riches rare,
Which gan assaile this ship with dreadfull threat,
This ship, to which none other might compare:
And finally the storme impetuous
Sunke up these riches, second unto none,
Within the gulfe of greedie Nereus.
I saw both ship and mariners each one,
And all that treasure, drowned in the maine:
But I the ship saw after raisd’ againe.
[XIII. 1.–That vessell. See the second canto of the Purgatorio. C.]

XIV.

Long having deeply gron’d these visions sad,
I saw a citie like unto that same
Which saw the messenger of tidings glad,
But that on sand was built the goodly frame:
It seem’d her top the firmament did rayse,
And, no lesse rich than faire, right worthie sure
(If ought here worthie) of immortall dayes,
Or if ought under heaven might firme endure.
Much wondred I to see so faire a wall:
When from the Northerns coast a storme arose,
Which, breathing furie from his inward gall
On all which did against his course oppose,
Into a clowde of dust sperst in the aire
The weake foundations of this citie faire.

XV.

At length, even at the time when Morpheus
Most trulie doth unto our eyes appeare,
Wearie to see the heavens still wavering thus,
I saw Typhaeus sister* comming neare;
Whose head, full bravely with a morion** hidd,
Did seeme to match the gods in maiestie.
She, by a rivers bancke that swift downe slidd,
Over all the world did raise a trophee hie;
An hundred vanquisht kings under her lay,
With armes bound at their backs in shamefull wize.
Whilst I thus mazed was with great affray,
I saw the heavens in warre against her rize:
Then downe she stricken fell with clap of thonder,
That with great noyse I wakte in sudden wonder.
[* I.e. (apparently) Change or Mutability. See the two cantos of the
Seventh Book of the Faerie Queene.]
[** Morion, steel cap.]