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His mountain back mote well be said
To measure height against his head,
And lift itself above;
Yet spite of all that nature did
To make his uncouth form forbid,
This creature dar'd to love,
He felt the charm of Edith's eyes,
Nor wanted hope to gain the prize,
Could ladies look within;
But one Sir Topaz dress'd with art,
And, if a shape could win a heart,
He had a shape to win.
Edwin, if right I read my song,
With slighted passion pac'd along
All in the moony light;
'Twas near an old enchanted court,
Where sportive fairies made resort
To revel out the night.
His heart was drear, his hope was cross'd, 'Twas late, 'twas far, the path was lost That reach'd the neighbour-town; With weary steps he quits the shades, Resolv’d, the darkling dome he treads, And drops his limbs adown.
But scant he lays him on the floor,
When hollow winds remove the door,
A trembling rocks the ground:
And, well I ween to count aright,
At once a hundred tapers light
On all the walls around.
Now sounding tongues assail his ear,
Now sounding feet approachen near,
And now the sounds increase:
And from the corner where he lay
He sees a train profusely gay
Come prankling o'er the place.
But (trust me gentles!) never yet
Was dight a masquing half so meat,
Or half so rich before:
The country lent the sweet persumes,
The sea the pearl, the sky the plumes,
The town its silken store,
Now while he gaz'd, a gallant drest In flaunting robes above the rest With awful accent cry'd: “What mortal of a wretched mind, Whose sighs infect the balmy wind, Has here presum'd to hide?”
At this the swain, whose vent'rous soul
No fears of magic art control,
Advanc'd in open sight;
“Nor have I cause of dreed,” he said,
“Who view, by no presumption led,
Your revels of the night.
“'Twas grief, for scorn of faithful love,
Which made my steps unweeting rove
Amid the nightly dew.”
“'Tis well—” the gallant cries again,
We fairies never injure men
Who dare to tell us true.
“Exalt thy love-dejected heart,
Be mine the task, or ere we part
To make thee grief resign;
Now take the pleasure of thy chaunce;
Whilst I with Mab, my partner, daunce,
Be little Mable thine.”
He spoke, and all a sudden there
Light music floats in wanton air;
The monarch leads the queen:
The rest their fairie partners found:
And Mable trimly tript the ground
With Edwin of the Green.
The dauncing past, the board was laid,
And siker such a feast was made
As heart and lip desire.
Withouten hands the dishes fly,
The glasses with a wish come nigh,
And with a wish retire.
But now to please the fairie king,
Full ev'ry deal they laugh and sing,
And antic feats devise;
Some wind and tumble like an ape,
And other some transmute their shape
In Edwin's wond'ring eyes:
Till one at last, that Robin hight,
Renown'd for pinching maids by night,
Has hent him up aloof;
And full against the beam he flung,
Where by the back the youth he hung
To spraul unneath the roof.
From thence, “Reverse my charm!” he cries,
“And let it fairly now suffice
The gambol has been shown.”
But Oberon answers with a smile,
“Content thee, Edwin, for a while,
The vantage is thine own.”
Here ended all the phantom play;
They smelt the fresh approach of day,
And heard a cock to crow;
The whirling wind that bore the crowd
Has clapp'd the door, and whistled loud,
To warn them all to go.
Then screaming all at once they fly,
And all at once the tapers die;
Poor Edwin falls to floor;
Forlorn his state, and dark the place.
Was never wight in such a case
Through all the land before.
But soon as Dan Apollo rose,
Full jolly creature home he goes,
He feels his back the less;
His honest tongue and steady mind
Hadrid him of the lump behind,
Which made him want success.
With lusty livelyhed he talks,
He seems a dauncing as he walks,
His story soon took wind;
And beauteous Edith sees the youth
Endow’d with courage, sense, and truth,
Without a bunch behind.