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Ye pallid spirits, and ye ashie ghoasts, Which ioying in the brightnes of your day, Brought foorth those signes of your presumptuous boasts 199
Which now their dusty reliques do bewray;
Tell me ye spirits (sith the darksome riuer Of Styx, not passable to soules returning, Enclosing you in thrice three wards for euer, Doo not restraine your images still mourning) Tell me then (for perhaps some one of you Yet here aboue him secretly doth hide) Doo ye not feele your torments to accrewe, When ye sometimes behold the ruin'd pride Of these old Romane works built with your hands, Now to become nought els, but heaped sands?
Like as ye see the wrathfull Sea from farre, In a great mountaine heap't with hideous noyse, Eftsoones of thousand billowes shouldred narre, Against a Rocke to breake with dreadfull poyse: Like as ye see fell Boreas with sharpe blast, Tossing huge tempests through the troubled skie,
Eftsoones hauing his wide wings spent in wast, To stop his wearie cariere suddenly:
And as ye see huge flames spred diuerslie, Gathered in one vp to the heauens to spyre, Eftsoones consum'd to fall downe feebily: So whilom did this Monarchie aspyre As waues, as winde, as fire spred ouer all, Till it by fatall doome adowne did fall.
These heapes of stones, these old wals which ye see, Were first enclosures but of saluage soyle; And these braue Pallaces which maystred bee Of time, were shepheards cottages somewhile.
Then tooke the shepheards Kingly ornaments And the stout hynde arm'd his right hand with steele:
Eftsoones their rule of yearely Presidents Grew great, and sixe months greater a great deele;
Which made perpetuall, rose to so great might, That thence th' Imperiall Eagle rooting tooke, Tillth'heauenit selfe opposing gainst her might, Her power to Peters successor betooke;
Who shepheardlike, (as fates the same foreseeing) Doth shew, that all things turne to their first being.
The same which Pyrrhus, and the puissaunce Of Afrike could not tame, that same braue Citie, Which with stout courage arm'd against mischaunce,
Sustein'd the shocke of common enmitie;
Long as her ship tost with so manie freakes, Had all the world in armes against her bent, Was neuer seene, that anie fortunes wreakes Could breake her course begun with braue intent. 288
But when the obiect of her vertue failed, Her power it selfe against it selfe did arme; As he that hauing long in tempest sailed, Faine would ariue, but cannot for the storme, If too great winde against the port him driue, Doth in the port it selfe his vessell riue.
When that braue honour of the Latine name,
Which mear'd her rule with Africa, and Byze,
Her nourslings did with mutinous vprore Harten against her selfe, her conquer'd spoile, Which she had wonne from all the world afore, Of all the world was spoyl'd within a while.
So when the compast course of the vniuerse In sixe and thirtie thousand yeares is ronne, The bands of th'elements shall backe reuerse To their first discord, and be quite vndonne: The seedes, of which all things at first were bred,
Shall in great Chaos wombe againe be hid.
O warie wisedome of the man, that would That Carthage towres from spoile should be forborne,
310 With cancring laisure not be ouerworne; To th'end that his victorious people should
He well foresaw, how that the Romane
Through idlenes would turne to ciuill rage,
And be her selfe the matter of her fires.
As in a vicious bodie, grose disease
Nor prince, nor peere, nor kin they would abide.
O that I had the Thracian Poets harpe, For to awake out of th'infernall shade Those antique Caesars, sleeping long in darke, The which this auncient Citie whilome made: Or that I had Amphions instrument, To quicken with his vitall notes accord, The stonie ioynts of these old walls now rent, By which th' Ausonian light might be restor❜d: Or that at least I could with pencill fine, Fashion the pourtraicts of these Palacis, By paterne of great Virgils spirit diuine; I would assay with that which in me is,
To builde with leuell of my loftie style, 349 That which no hands can euermore compyle. 26
Who list the Romane greatnes forth to figure,
Him needeth not to seeke for vsage right
But him behooues to vew in compasse round All that the Ocean graspes in his long armes ; Be it where the yerely starre doth scortch the ground,
Or where colde Boreas blowes his bitter stormes. Rome was th'whole world, and al the world was Rome,
And if things nam'd their names doo equalize, When land and sea ye name, then name ye Rome;
And naming Rome ye land and sea comprize: For th'auncient Plot of Rome displayed
He that hath seene a great Oke drie and dead, Yet clad with reliques of some Trophees olde, Lifting to heauen her aged hoarie head, 381 Whose foote in ground hath left but feeble holde;
But halfe disbowel'd lies aboue the ground, Shewing her wreathed rootes, and naked armes, And on her trunke all rotten and vnsound Onely supports herselfe for meate of wormes;
And though she owe her fall to the first winde, Yet of the deuout people is ador'd, And manie yong plants spring out of her rinde; Who such an Oke hath seene let him record 390 That such this Cities honour was of yore, And mongst all Cities florished much more.
Like as the seeded field greene grasse first showes,
Then from greene grasse into a stalke doth spring,
And from a stalke into an eare forth-growes, Which eare the frutefull graine doth shortly bring;
And as in season due the husband mowes The wauing lockes of those faire yeallow heares, Which bound in sheaues, and layd in comely
Vpon the naked fields in stackes he reares:
So grew the Romane Empire by degree, Till that Barbarian hands it quite did spill, And left of it but these olde markes to see, Of which all passers by doo somewhat pill: As they which gleane, the reliques vse to gather,
Which th'husbandman behind him chanst to scater. 420
Nath'les my Lute, whom Phœbus deignd to giue,
Cease not to sound these olde antiquities:
That thou art first, which of thy Nation song
Th'olde honour of the people gowned long.
Bellay, first garland of free Poësie That France brought forth, though fruitfull of braue wits, 450
Well worthie thou of immortalitie,
Excelling all, that euer went before;