The House of Fame

by John Dryden

John Dryden

Full in the midst of this created Space,
Betwixt Heav'n, Earth, and Skies, there stands a Place,
Confining on all three, with triple Bound;
Whence all Things, though remote, are view'd around;
And thither bring their undulating Sound.
The Palace of loud Fame , her Seat of Pow'r,
Plac'd on the Summet of a lofty Tow'r;
A thousand winding Entries long and wide,
Receive of fresh Reports a flowing Tide.
A thousand Crannies in the Walls are made;
Nor Gate nor Bars exclude the busie Trade.
'Tis built of Brass, the better to diffuse
The spreading Sounds, and multiply the News:
Where Eccho's in repeated Eccho's play:
A Mart for ever full; and open Night and Day.
Nor Silence is within, nor Voice express,
But a deaf Noise of Sounds that never cease.
Confus'd, and chiding, like the hollow Roar
Of Tides, receding from th'insulted Shore
Or like the broken Thunder, heard from far,
When Jove to distance drives the rowling War.
The Courts are fill'd with a tumultuous Din
Of Crowds, or issuing forth, or entring in:
A thorough-fare of News: Where some devise
Things never heard, some mingle Truth with Lies;
The troubled Air with empty Sounds they beat,
Intent to hear, and eager to repeat.
Error sits brooding there, with added Train
Of vain Credulity, and Joys as vain:
Suspicion, with Sedition join'd, are near;
And Rumors rais'd, and Murmurs mix'd, and Panique Fear.
Fame sits aloft, and sees the subject Ground;
And Seas about, and Skies above; enquiring all around.
The Goddess gives th' Alarm; and soon is known
The Grecian Fleet, descending on the Town.
Fix'd on Defence the Trojans are not slow
To guard their Shore, from an expected Foe.
They meet in Fight: By Hector 's fatal Hand
Protesilaus falls, and bites the Strand:
Which with Expence of Blood the Grecians won;
And prov'd the Strength unknown of Priam 's Son.
And to their Cost the Trojan Leaders felt
The Grecian Heroes; and what Deaths they dealt.

Last updated September 17, 2022