|1 person marked this as a favorite.|
Here other river, lake, and rich champaign
Are seen, than those which are below descried;
Here other valley, other hill and plain,
With towns and cities of their own supplied;
Which mansions of such mighty size contain,
Such never he before of after spied.
Here spacious hold and lonely forest lay,
Where nymphs for ever chased the panting prey.
LXXIII. He, that with other scope had thither soared,
Pauses not all these wonder to peruse:
But led by the disciple of our Lord,
His way towards a spacious vale pursues;
A place wherein is wonderfully stored
Whatever on our earth below we lose.
Collected there are all things whatsoe’er,
Lost through time, chance, or our own folly, here.
LXXIV. Nor here alone of realm and wealthy dower,
O’er which aye turns the restless wheel, I say:
I speak of what it is not in the power
Of Fortune to bestow, or take away.
Much fame is here, whereon Time and the Hour,
Like wasting moth, in this our planet prey.
Here countless vows, here prayers unnumbered lie,
Made by us sinful men to God on high:
LXXV. The lover’s tears and sighs; what time in pleasure
And play we here unprofitably spend;
To this, of ignorant men the eternal leisure,
And vain designs, aye frustrate of their end.
Empty desires so far exceed all measure,
They o’er that valley’s better part extend.
There wilt thou find, if thou wilt thither post,
Whatever thou on earth beneath hast lost.
LXXVI. He, passing by those heaps, on either hand,
Of this and now of that the meaning sought;
Formed of swollen bladders here a hill did stand,
Whence he heard cries and tumults, as he thought.
These were old crowns of the Assyrian land
And Lydian—as that paladin was taught—
Grecian and Persian, all of ancient fame;
And now, alas! well-nigh without a name.
LXXVII. Golden and silver hooks to sight succeed,
Heaped in a mass, the gifts which courtiers bear,
—Hoping thereby to purchase future meed—
To greedy prince and patron; many a snare,
Concealed in garlands, did the warrior heed,
Who heard, these signs of adulation were;
And in cicalas, which their lungs had burst,
Saw fulsome lays by venal poets versed.
LXXVIII. Loves of unhappy end in imagery
Of gold or jewelled bands he saw exprest;
Then eagles’ talons, the authority
With which great lords their delegates invest:
Bellows filled every nook, the fume and fee
Wherein the favourites of kings are blest:
Given to those Ganymedes that have their hour,
And reft, when faded is their vernal flower.
LXXIX. O’erturned, here ruined town and castle lies,
With all their wealth: “The symbols” (said his guide)
“Of treaties and of those conspiracies,
Which their conductors seemed so ill to hide.”
Serpents with female faces, felonies
Of coiners and of robbers, he descried;
Next broken bottles saw of many sorts,
The types of servitude in sorry courts.
LXXX. He marks mighty pool of porridge spilled,
And asks what in that symbol should be read,
And hears ’twas charity, by sick men willed
For distribution, after they were dead.
He passed a heap of flowers, that erst distilled
Sweet savours, and now noisome odours shed;
The gift (if it may lawfully be said)
Which Constantine to good Sylvester made.
LXXXI. A large provision, next, of twigs and lime
—Your witcheries, O women!—he explored.
The things he witnessed, to recount in rhyme
Too tedious were; were myriads on record,
To sum the remnant ill should I have time.
’Tis here that all infirmities are stored,
Save only Madness, seen not here at all,
Which dwells below, nor leaves this earthly ball.
LXXXII. He turns him back, upon some days and deeds
To look again, which he had lost of yore;
But, save the interpreter the lesson reads,
Would know them not, such different form they wore.
He next saw that which man so little needs,
—As it appears—none pray to Heaven for more;
I speak of sense, whereof a lofty mount
Alone surpast all else which I recount.
LXXXIII. It was as ’twere a liquor soft and thin,
Which, save well corked, would from the vase have drained;
Laid up, and treasured various flasks within,
Larger or lesser, to that use ordained.
That largest was which of the paladin,
Anglantes’ lord, the mighty sense contained;
And from those others was discerned, since writ
Upon the vessel was ORLANDO’S WIT.
LXXXIV. The names of those whose wits therein were pent
He thus on all those other flasks espied.
Much of his own, but with more wonderment,
The sense of many others he descried,
Who, he believed, no dram of theirs had spent;
But here, by tokens clear was satisfied,
That scantily therewith were they purveyed;
So large the quantity he here surveyed.
LXXXV. Some waste on love, some seeking honour, lose
Their wits, some, scowering seas, for merchandise,
Some, that on wealthy lords their hope repose,
And some, befooled by silly sorceries;
These upon pictures, upon jewels those;
These on whatever else they highest prize.
Astrologers’ and sophists’ wits mid these,
And many a poet’s too, Astolpho sees.
Orlando Furioso, Canto XXXIV