Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
The Procession of Time
By George Chapman (1559?–1634)
BEFORE her flew Affliction, girt in storms,
Gash’d all with gushing wounds, and all the forms
Of bane and misery frowning in her face;
Whom Tyranny and Injustice had in chase;
Grim Persecution, Poverty, and Shame;        5
Detraction, Envy, foul Mishap and lame;
Scruple of Conscience; Fear, Deceit, Despair;
Slander and Clamour, that rent all the air;
Hate, War, and Massacre; uncrowned Toil;
And Sickness, t’ all the rest the base and foil,        10
Crept after; and his deadly weight, trod down
Wealth, Beauty, and the glory of a Crown.
These usher’d her far off; as figures given
To show these Crosses borne, make peace with heaven.
But now, made free from them, next her before;        15
Peaceful and young, Herculean Silence bore
His craggy club; which up aloft, he hild;
With which, and his fore-finger’s charm he still’d
All sounds in air; and left so free mine ears,
That I might hear the music of the spheres,        20
And all the angels singing out of heaven;
Whose tunes were solemn, as to passion given;
For now, that Justice was the happiness there
For all the wrongs to Right inflicted here,
Such was the passion that Peace now put on;        25
And on all went; when suddenly was gone
All light of heaven before us; from a wood,
Whose light foreseen, now lost, amazed we stood,
The sun still gracing us; when now, the air
Inflamed with meteors, we discover’d fair,        30
The skipping goat; the horse’s flaming mane;
Bearded and trained comets; stars in wane;
The burning sword, the firebrand-flying snake;
The lance; the torch; the licking fire; the drake;
And all else meteors that did ill abode;        35
The thunder chid; the lightning leap’d abroad;
And yet when Peace came in all heaven was clear,
And then did all the horrid wood appear,
Where mortal dangers more than leaves did grow;
In which we could not one free step bestow,        40
For treading on some murther’d passenger
Who thither was, by witchcraft, forced to err:
Whose face the bird hid that loves humans best;
That hath the bugle eyes and rosy breast,
And is the yellow Autumn’s nightingale.        45

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