Their Lore and Meaning
Richard Hinckley Allen
in the Dover edition, 1963
Ariones harpe fyn.
Chaucer's Hous of Fame.
Lyra, the Lyre or Harp,
Gain'd it Heaven, and still its force appears,
As then the Rocks it now draws on the Stars.
with its celestial keys,
Its chords of air, its frets of fire,
The Samian's great Aeolian Lyre,
Rising through all its sevenfold bars,
From earth unto the fixéd stars.
So there it lay through wet and dry,
As empty as the last new sonnet.
Till by and by came Mercury,
And, having mused upon it,
"Why, here," cried he, "the thing of things
In shape, material and dimension!
Give it but strings and, lo! it sings —
A wonderful invention."
Decus Phoebi, et dapibus supremi
Grata testudo Jovis; O laborum
. . . azure Lyra, like a woman's eye,
Burning with soft blue lustre.
Willis' The Scholar of Thebet ben Khorat.