2.28: from The Faerie Queene (Book II)
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Guyon findes Mamon in a delue,
Sunning his threasure hore:
Is by him tempted, and led downe,
To see his secret store.
AS Pilot well expert in perilous waue,
That to a stedfast starre his course hath bent,
When foggy mistes, or cloudy tempests haue
The faithfull light of that faire lampe yblent,
And couer’d heauen with hideous dreriment,
Vpon his card and compas firmes his eye,
The maisters of his long experiment,
And to them does the steddy helme apply,
Bidding his winged vessell fairely forward fly.
So Guyon hauing lost his trusty guide,
Late left beyond that Ydle lake, proceedes
Yet on his way, of none accompanide;
And euermore himselfe with comfort feedes,
Of his owne vertues, and prayse-worthy deedes.
So long he yode, yet no aduenture found,
Which fame of her shrill trompet worthy reedes:
For still he traueild through wide wastfull ground,
That nought but desert wildernesse shew’d all around.
At last he came vnto a gloomy glade,
Couer’d with boughes and shrubs from heauens light,
Whereas he sitting found in secret shade
An vncouth, saluage, and vnciuile wight,
Of griesly hew, and fowle ill fauour’d sight;
His face with smoke was tand, and eyes were bleard,
His head and beard with sout were ill bedight,
His cole-blacke hands did seeme to haue beene seard
In smithes fire-spitting forge, and nayles like clawes appeard.
His yron coate all ouergrowne with rust,
Was vnderneath enueloped with gold,
Whose glistring glosse darkned with filthy dust,
Well yet appeared, to haue beene of old
A worke of rich entayle, and curious mould,
Wouen with antickes and wild Imagery:
And in his lap a masse of coyne he told,
And turned vpsidowne, to feede his eye
And couetous desire with his huge threasury.
And round about him lay on euery side
Great heapes of gold, that neuer could be spent:
Of which some were rude owre, not purifide
Of Mulcibers deuouring element;
Some others were new driuen, and distent
Into great Ingoes, and to wedges square;
Some in round plates withouten moniment;
But most were stampt, and in their metall bare
The antique shapes of kings and kesars straunge and rare.
Soone as he Guyon saw, in great affright
And hast he rose, for to remoue aside
Those pretious hils from straungers enuious sight,
And downe them poured through an hole full wide,
Into the hollow earth, them there to hide.
But Guyon lightly to him leaping, stayd
His hand, that trembled, as one terrifyde;
And though him selfe were at the sight dismayd,
Yet him perforce restraynd, and to him doubtfull sayd.
What art thou man, (if man at all thou art)
That here in desert hast thine habitaunce,
And these rich heapes of wealth doest hide apart
From the worldes eye, and from her right vsaunce?
Thereat with staring eyes fixed askaunce,
In great disdaine, he answerd; Hardy Elfe,
That darest vew my direfull countenaunce,
I read thee rash, and heedlesse of thy selfe,
To trouble my still seate, and heapes of pretious pelfe.
God of the world and worldlings I me call,
Great Mammon, greatest god below the skye,
That of my plenty poure out vnto all,
And vnto none my graces do enuye:
Riches, renowme, and principality,
Honour, estate, and all this worldes good,
For which men swinck and sweat incessantly,
Fro me do flow into an ample flood,
And in the hollow earth haue their eternall brood.
Wherefore if me thou deigne to serue and sew,
At thy commaund lo all these mountaines bee;
Or if to thy great mind, or greedy vew
All these may not suffise, there shall to thee
Ten times so much be numbred francke and free.
Mammon (said he) thy godheades vaunt is vaine,
And idle offers of thy golden fee;
To them, that couet such eye-glutting gaine,
Proffer thy giftes, and fitter seruaunts entertaine.
Me ill besits, that in der-doing armes,
And honours suit my vowed dayes do spend,
Vnto thy bounteous baytes, and pleasing charmes,
With which weake men thou witchest, to attend:
Regard of worldly mucke doth fowly blend,
And low abase the high heroicke spright,
That ioyes for crownes and kingdomes to contend;
Faire shields, gay steedes, bright armes be my delight:
Those be the riches fit for an aduent’rous knight.
Vaine glorious Elfe (said he) doest not thou weet,
That money can thy wantes at will supply?
Sheilds, steeds, and armes, and all things for thee meet
It can puruay in twinckling of an eye;
And crownes and kingdomes to thee multiply.
Do not I kings create, and throw the crowne
Sometimes to him, that low in dust doth ly?
And him that raignd, into his rowme thrust downe,
And whom I lust, do heape with glory and renowne?
All otherwise (said he) I riches read,
And deeme them roote of all disquietnesse;
First got with guile, and then preseru’d with dread,
And after spent with pride and lauishnesse,
Leauing behind them griefe and heauinesse.
Infinite mischiefes of them do arize,
Strife, and debate, bloudshed, and bitternesse,
Outrageous wrong, and hellish couetize,
That noble heart as great dishonour doth despize.
XIII Ne thine be kingdomes, ne the scepters thine;
But realmes and rulers thou doest both confound,
And loyall truth to treason doest incline;
Witnesse the guiltlesse bloud pourd oft on ground,
The crowned often slaine, the slayer cround,
The sacred Diademe in peeces rent,
And purple robe gored with many a wound;
Castles surprizd, great cities sackt and brent:
So mak’st thou kings, and gaynest wrongfull gouernement.
Long were to tell the troublous stormes, that tosse
The priuate state, and make the life vnsweet:
Who swelling sayles in Caspian sea doth crosse,
And in frayle wood on Adrian gulfe doth fleet,
Doth not, I weene, so many euils meet.
Then Mammon wexing wroth, And why then, said,
Are mortall men so fond and vndiscreet,
So euill thing to seeke vnto their ayd,
And hauing not complaine, and hauing it vpbraid?
Indeede (quoth he) through fowle intemperaunce,
Frayle men are oft captiu’d to couetise:
But would they thinke, with how small allowaunce
Vntroubled Nature doth her selfe suffise,
Such superfluities they would despise,
Which with sad cares empeach our natiue ioyes:
At the well head the purest streames arise:
But mucky filth his braunching armes annoyes,
And with vncomely weedes the gentle waue accloyes.
The antique world, in his first flowring youth,
Found no defect in his Creatours grace,
But with glad thankes, and vnreproued truth,
The gifts of soueraigne bountie did embrace:
Like Angels life was then mens happy cace;
But later ages pride, like corn-fed steed,
Abusd her plenty, and fat swolne encreace
To all licentious lust, and gan exceed
The measure of her meane, and naturall first need.
Then gan a cursed hand the quiet wombe
Of his great Grandmother with steele to wound,
And the hid treasures in her sacred tombe,
With Sacriledge to dig. Therein he found
Fountaines of gold and siluer to abound,
Of which the matter of his huge desire
And pompous pride eftsoones he did compound;
Then auarice gan through his veines inspire
His greedy flames, and kindled life-deuouring fire.
Sonne (said he then) let be thy bitter scorne,
And leaue the rudenesse of that antique age
To them, that liu’d therein in state forlorne;
Thou that doest liue in later times, must wage
Thy workes for wealth, and life for gold engage.
If then thee list my offred grace to vse,
Take what thou please of all this surplusage;
If thee list not, leaue haue thou to refuse:
But thing refused, do not afterward accuse.
Me list not (said the Elfin knight) receaue
Thing offred, till I know it well be got,
Ne wote I, but thou didst these goods bereaue
From rightfull owner by vnrighteous lot,
Or that bloud guiltinesse or guile them blot.
Perdy (quoth he) yet neuer eye did vew,
Ne toung did tell, ne hand these handled not,
But safe I haue them kept in secret mew,
From heauens sight, and powre of all which them pursew.
What secret place (quoth he) can safely hold
So huge a masse, and hide from heauens eye?
Or where hast thou thy wonne, that so much gold
Thou canst preserue from wrong and robbery?
Come thou (quoth he) and see. So by and by
Through that thicke couert he him led, and found
A darkesome way, which no man could descry,
That deepe descended through the hollow ground,
And was with dread and horrour compassed around.
At length they came into a larger space,
That stretcht it selfe into an ample plaine,
Through which a beaten broad high way did trace,
That streight did lead to Plutoes griesly raine:
By that wayes side, there sate infernall Payne,
And fast beside him sat tumultuous Strife:
The one in hand an yron whip did straine,
The other brandished a bloudy knife,
And both did gnash their teeth, and both did threaten life.
On thother side in one consort there sate,
Cruell Reuenge, and rancorous Despight,
Disloyall Treason, and hart-burning Hate,
But gnawing Gealosie out of their sight
Sitting alone, his bitter lips did bight,
And trembling Feare still to and fro did fly,
And found no place, where safe he shroud him might,
Lamenting Sorrow did in darknesse lye,
And Shame his vgly face did hide from liuing eye.
And ouer them sad Horrour with grim hew,
Did alwayes sore, beating his yron wings;
And after him Owles and Night-rauens flew,
The hatefull messengers of heauy things,
Of death and dolour telling sad tidings;
Whiles sad Celeno, sitting on a clift,
A song of bale and bitter sorrow sings,
That hart of flint a sunder could haue rift:
Which hauing ended, after him she flyeth swift.
All these before the gates of Pluto lay,
By whom they passing, spake vnto them nought.
But th’Elfin knight with wonder all the way
Did feed his eyes, and fild his inner thought.
At last him to a litle dore he brought,
That to the gate of Hell, which gaped wide,
Was next adioyning, ne them parted ought:
Betwixt them both was but a litle stride,
That did the house of Richesse from hell-mouth diuide.
Before the dore sat selfe-consuming Care,
Day and night keeping wary watch and ward,
For feare least Force or Fraud should vnaware
Breake in, and spoile the treasure there in gard:
Ne would he suffer Sleepe once thither-ward
Approch, albe his drowsie den were next;
For next to death is Sleepe to be compard:
Therefore his house is vnto his annext;
Here Sleep, there Richesse, and Hel-gate them both betwext.
So soone as Mammon there arriu’d, the dore
To him did open, and affoorded way;
Him followed eke Sir Guyon euermore,
Ne darkenesse him, ne daunger might dismay.
Soone as he entred was, the dore streight way
Did shut, and from behind it forth there lept
An vgly feend, more fowle then dismall day,
The which with monstrous stalke behind him stept,
And euer as he went, dew watch vpon him kept.
Well hoped he, ere long that hardy guest,
If euer couetous hand, or lustfull eye,
Or lips he layd on thing, that likt him best,
Or euer sleepe his eye-strings did vntye,
Should be his pray. And therefore still on hye
He ouer him did hold his cruell clawes,
Threatning with greedy gripe to do him dye
And rend in peeces with his rauenous pawes,
If euer he transgrest the fatall Stygian lawes.
That houses forme within was rude and strong,
Like an huge caue, hewne out of rocky clift,
From whose rough vaut the ragged breaches hong,
Embost with massy gold of glorious gift,
And with rich metall loaded euery rift,
That heauy ruine they did seeme to threat;
And ouer them Arachne high did lift
Her cunning web, and spred her subtile net,
Enwrapped in fowle smoke and clouds more blacke then Iet.
Both roofe, and floore, and wals were all of gold,
But ouergrowne with dust and old decay,
And hid in darkenesse, that none could behold
The hew thereof: for vew of chearefull day
Did neuer in that house it selfe display,
But a faint shadow of vncertain light;
Such as a lamp, whose life does fade away:
Or as the Moone cloathed with clowdy night,
Does shew to him, that walkes in feare and sad affright.
In all that rowme was nothing to be seene,
But huge great yron chests and coffers strong,
All bard with double bends, that none could weene
Them to efforce by violence or wrong;
On euery side they placed were along.
But all the ground with sculs was scattered,
And dead mens bones, which round about were flong,
Whose liues, it seemed, whilome there were shed,
And their vile carcases now left vnburied.
They forward passe, ne Guyon yet spoke word,
Till that they came vnto an yron dore,
Which to them opened of his owne accord,
And shewd of richesse such exceeding store,
As eye of man did neuer see before;
Ne euer could within one place be found,
Though all the wealth, which is, or was of yore,
Could gathered be through all the world around,
And that aboue were added to that vnder ground.
The charge thereof vnto a couetous Spright
Commaunded was, who thereby did attend,
And warily awaited day and night,
From other couetous feends it to defend,
Who it to rob and ransacke did intend.
Then Mammon turning to that warriour, said;
Loe here the worldes blis, loe here the end,
To which all men do ayme, rich to be made:
Such grace now to be happy, is before thee laid.
Certes (said he) I n’ill thine offred grace,
Ne to be made so happy do intend:
Another blis before mine eyes I place,
Another happinesse, another end.
To them, that list, these base regardes I lend:
But I in armes, and in atchieuements braue,
Do rather choose my flitting houres to spend,
And to be Lord of those, that riches haue,
Then them to haue my selfe, and be their seruile sclaue.
Thereat the feend his gnashing teeth did grate,
And grieu’d, so long to lacke his greedy pray;
For well he weened, that so glorious bayte
Would tempt his guest, to take thereof assay:
Had he so doen, he had him snatcht away,
More light then Culuer in the Faulcons fist.
Eternall God thee saue from such decay.
But whenas Mammon saw his purpose mist,
Him to entrap vnwares another way he wist.
Thence forward he him led, and shortly brought
Vnto another rowme, whose dore forthright,
To him did open, as it had beene taught:
Therein an hundred raunges weren pight,
And hundred fornaces all burning bright;
By euery fornace many feends did bide,
Deformed creatures, horrible in sight,
And euery feend his busie paines applide,
To melt the golden metall, ready to be tride.
One with great bellowes gathered filling aire,
And with forst wind the fewell did inflame;
Another did the dying bronds repaire
With yron toungs, and sprinckled oft the same
With liquid waues, fiers Vulcans rage to tame,
Who maistring them, renewd his former heat;
Some scumd the drosse, that from the metall came;
Some stird the molten owre with ladles great;
And euery one did swincke, and euery one did sweat.
But when as earthly wight they present saw,
Glistring in armes and battailous aray,
From their whot worke they did themselues withdraw
To wonder at the sight: for till that day,
They neuer creature saw, that came that way.
Their staring eyes sparckling with feruent fire,
And vgly shapes did nigh the man dismay,
That were it not for shame, he would retire,
Till that him thus bespake their soueraigne Lord and sire.
Behold, thou Faeries sonne, with mortall eye,
That liuing eye before did neuer see:
The thing, that thou didst craue so earnestly,
To weet, whence all the wealth late shewd by mee,
Proceeded, lo now is reueald to thee.
Here is the fountaine of the worldes good:
Now therefore, if thou wilt enriched bee,
Auise thee well, and chaunge thy wilfull mood,
Least thou perhaps hereafter wish, and be withstood.
Suffise it then, thou Money God (quoth hee)
That all thine idle offers I refuse.
All that I need I haue; what needeth mee
To couet more, then I haue cause to vse?
With such vaine shewes thy worldlings vile abuse:
But giue me leaue to follow mine emprise.
Mammon was much displeasd, yet no’te he chuse,
But beare the rigour of his bold mesprise,
And thence him forward led, him further to entise.
He brought him through a darksome narrow strait,
To a broad gate, all built of beaten gold:
The gate was open, but therein did wait
A sturdy villein, striding stiffe and bold,
As if that highest God defie he would;
In his right hand an yron club he held,
But he himselfe was all of golden mould,
Yet had both life and sence, and well could weld
That cursed weapon, when his cruell foes he queld.
Disdayne he called was, and did disdaine
To be so cald, and who so did him call:
Sterne was his looke, and full of stomacke vaine,
His portaunce terrible, and stature tall,
Far passing th’hight of men terrestriall;
Like an huge Gyant of the Titans race,
That made him scorne all creatures great and small,
And with his pride all others powre deface:
More fit amongst blacke fiendes, then men to haue his place.
Soone as those glitterand armes he did espye,
That with their brightnesse made that darknesse light,
His harmefull club he gan to hurtle hye,
And threaten batteill to the Faery knight;
Who likewise gan himselfe to batteill dight,
Till Mammon did his hasty hand withhold,
And counseld him abstaine from perilous fight:
For nothing might abash the villein bold,
Ne mortall steele emperce his miscreated mould.
So hauing him with reason pacifide,
And the fiers Carle commaunding to forbeare,
He brought him in. The rowme was large and wide,
As it some Gyeld or solemne Temple weare:
Many great golden pillours did vpbeare
The massy roofe, and riches huge sustayne,
And euery pillour decked was full deare
With crownes and Diademes, and titles vaine,
Which mortall Princes wore, whiles they on earth did rayne.
A route of people there assembled were,
Of euery sort and nation vnder skye,
Which with great vprore preaced to draw nere
To th’vpper part, where was aduaunced hye
A stately siege of soueraigne maiestye;
And thereon sat a woman gorgeous gay,
And richly clad in robes of royaltye,
That neuer earthly Prince in such aray
His glory did enhaunce, and pompous pride display.
Her face right wondrous faire did seeme to bee,
That her broad beauties beam great brightnes threw
Through the dim shade, that all men might it see:
Yet was not that same her owne natiue hew,
But wrought by art and counterfetted shew,
Thereby more louers vnto her to call;
Nath’lesse most heauenly faire in deed and vew
She by creation was, till she did fall;
Thenceforth she sought for helps, to cloke her crime withall.
There, as in glistring glory she did sit,
She held a great gold chaine ylincked well,
Whose vpper end to highest heauen was knit,
And lower part did reach to lowest Hell;
And all that preace did round about her swell,
To catchen hold of that long chaine, thereby
To clime aloft, and others to excell:
That was Ambition, rash desire to sty,
And euery lincke thereof a step of dignity.
Some thought to raise themselues to high degree,
By riches and vnrighteous reward,
Some by close shouldring, some by flatteree;
Others through friends, others for base regard;
And all by wrong wayes for themselues prepard.
Those that were vp themselues, kept others low,
Those that were low themselues, held others hard,
Ne suffred them to rise or greater grow,
But euery one did striue his fellow downe to throw.
Which whenas Guyon saw, he gan inquire,
What meant that preace about that Ladies throne,
And what she was that did so high aspire.
Him Mammon answered; That goodly one,
Whom all that folke with such contention,
Do flocke about, my deare, my daughter is;
Honour and dignitie from her alone
Deriued are, and all this worldes blis
For which ye men do striue: few get, but many mis.
And faire Philotime she rightly hight,
The fairest wight that wonneth vnder skye,
But that this darksome neather world her light
Doth dim with horrour and deformitie,
Worthy of heauen and hye felicitie,
From whence the gods haue her for enuy thrust:
But sith thou hast found fauour in mine eye,
Thy spouse I will her make, if that thou lust,
That she may thee aduance for workes and merites iust.
Gramercy Mammon (said the gentle knight)
For so great grace and offred high estate;
But I, that am fraile flesh and earthly wight,
Vnworthy match for such immortall mate
My selfe well wote, and mine vnequall fate;
And were I not, yet is my trouth yplight,
And loue auowd to other Lady late,
That to remoue the same I haue no might:
To chaunge loue causelesse is reproch to warlike knight.
Mammon emmoued was with inward wrath;
Yet forcing it to faine, him forth thence led
Through griesly shadowes by a beaten path,
Into a gardin goodly garnished
With hearbs and fruits, whose kinds mote not be red:
Not such, as earth out of her fruitfull woomb
Throwes forth to men, sweet and well sauoured,
But direfull deadly blacke both leafe and bloom,
Fit to adorne the dead, and decke the drery toombe.
There mournfull Cypresse grew in greatest store,
And trees of bitter Gall, and Heben sad,
Dead sleeping Poppy, and blacke Hellebore,
Cold Coloquintida, and Tetra mad,
Mortall Samnitis, and Cicuta bad,
Which with th’vniust Atheniens made to dy
Wise Socrates, who thereof quaffing glad
Pourd out his life, and last Philosophy
To the faire Critias his dearest Belamy.
The Gardin of Proserpina this hight;
And in the midst thereof a siluer seat,
With a thicke Arber goodly ouer dight,
In which she often vsd from open heat
Her selfe to shroud, and pleasures to entreat.
Next thereunto did grow a goodly tree,
With braunches broad dispred and body great,
Clothed with leaues, that none the wood mote see
And loaden all with fruit as thicke as it might bee.
Their fruit were golden apples glistring bright,
That goodly was their glory to behold,
On earth like neuer grew, ne liuing wight
Like euer saw, but they from hence were sold;
For those, which Hercules with conquest bold
Got from great Atlas daughters, hence began,
And planted there, did bring forth fruit of gold:
And those with which th’Eubaean young man wan
Swift Atalanta, when through craft he her out ran.
Here also sprong that goodly golden fruit,
With which Acontius got his louer trew,
Whom he had long time sought with fruitlesse suit:
Here eke that famous golden Apple grew,
The which emongst the gods false Ate threw;
For which th’Idaean Ladies disagreed,
Till partiall Paris dempt it Venus dew,
And had of her, faire Helen for his meed,
That many noble Greekes and Troians made to bleed.
The warlike Elfe much wondred at this tree,
So faire and great, that shadowed all the ground,
And his broad braunches, laden with rich fee,
Did stretch themselues without the vtmost bound
Of this great gardin, compast with a mound,
Which ouer-hanging, they themselues did steepe,
In a blacke flood which flow’d about it round;
That is the riuer of Cocytus deepe,
In which full many soules do endlesse waile and weepe.
Which to behold, he clomb vp to the banke,
And looking downe, saw many damned wights,
In those sad waues, which direfull deadly stanke,
Plonged continually of cruell Sprights,
That with their pitteous cryes, and yelling shrights,
They made the further shore resounden wide:
Emongst the rest of those same ruefull sights,
One cursed creature he by chaunce espide,
That drenched lay full deepe, vnder the Garden side.
Deepe was he drenched to the vpmost chin,
Yet gaped still, as coueting to drinke
Of the cold liquor, which he waded in,
And stretching forth his hand, did often thinke
To reach the fruit, which grew vpon the brincke:
But both the fruit from hand, and floud from mouth
Did flie abacke, and made him vainely swinke:
The whiles he steru’d with hunger and with drouth
He daily dyde, yet neuer throughly dyen couth.
The knight him seeing labour so in vaine,
Askt who he was, and what he ment thereby:
Who groning deepe, thus answerd him againe;
Most cursed of all creatures vnder skye,
Lo Tantalus, I here tormented lye:
Of whom high Ioue wont whylome feasted bee,
Lo here I now for want of food doe dye:
But if that thou be such, as I thee see,
Of grace I pray thee, giue to eat and drinke to mee.
Nay, nay, thou greedie Tantalus (quoth he)
Abide the fortune of thy present fate,
And vnto all that liue in high degree,
Ensample be of mind intemperate,
To teach them how to vse their present state.
Then gan the cursed wretch aloud to cry,
Accusing highest Ioue and gods ingrate,
And eke blaspheming heauen bitterly,
As authour of vniustice, there to let him dye.
He lookt a little further, and espyde
Another wretch, whose carkasse deepe was drent
Within the riuer, which the same did hyde:
But both his hands most filthy feculent,
Aboue the water were on high extent,
And faynd to wash themselues incessantly;
Yet nothing cleaner were for such intent,
But rather fowler seemed to the eye;
So lost his labour vaine and idle industry.
The knight him calling, asked who he was,
Who lifting vp his head, him answerd thus:
I Pilate am the falsest Iudge, alas,
And most vniust, that by vnrighteous
And wicked doome, to Iewes despiteous
Deliuered vp the Lord of life to die,
And did acquite a murdrer felonous;
The whiles my hands I washt in puritie,
The whiles my soule was soyld with foule iniquitie.
Infinite moe, tormented in like paine
He there beheld, too long here to be told:
Ne Mammon would there let him long remaine,
For terrour of the tortures manifold,
In which the damned soules he did behold,
But roughly him bespake. Thou fearefull foole,
Why takest not of that same fruit of gold,
Ne sittest downe on that same siluer stoole,
To rest thy wearie person, in the shadow coole.
All which he did, to doe him deadly fall
In frayle intemperance through sinfull bayt;
To which if he inclined had at all,
That dreadfull feend, which did behind him wayt,
Would him haue rent in thousand peeces strayt:
But he was warie wise in all his way,
And well perceiued his deceiptfull sleight,
Ne suffred lust his safetie to betray;
So goodly did beguile the Guyler of the pray.
And now he has so long remained there,
That vitall powres gan wexe both weake and wan,
For want of food, and sleepe, which two vpbeare,
Like mightie pillours, this fraile life of man,
That none without the same enduren can.
For now three dayes of men were full outwrought,
Since he this hardie enterprize began:
For thy great Mammon fairely he besought,
Into the world to guide him backe, as he him brought.
The God, though loth, yet was constraind t’obay,
For lenger time, then that, no liuing wight
Below the earth, might suffred be to stay:
So backe againe, him brought to liuing light.
But all so soone as his enfeebled spright
Gan sucke this vitall aire into his brest,
As ouercome with too exceeding might,
The life did flit away out of her nest,
And all his senses were with deadly fit opprest.
The house of Temperance, in which
doth sober Alma dwell,
Besiegd of many foes, whom straunger
knightes to flight compell.
OF all Gods workes, which do this world adorne,
There is no one more faire and excellent,
Then is mans body both for powre and forme,
Whiles it is kept in sober gouernment;
But none then it, more fowle and indecent,
Distempred through misrule and passions bace:
It growes a Monster, and incontinent
Doth loose his dignitie and natiue grace.
Behold, who list, both one and other in this place.
After the Paynim brethren conquer’d were,
The Briton Prince recou’ring his stolne sword,
And Guyon his lost shield, they both yfere
Forth passed on their way in faire accord,
Till him the Prince with gentle court did bord;
Sir knight, mote I of you this curt’sie read,
To weet why on your shield so goodly scord
Beare ye the picture of that Ladies head?
Full liuely is the semblaunt, though the substance dead.
Faire Sir (said he) if in that picture dead
Such life ye read, and vertue in vaine shew,
What mote ye weene, if the trew liuely-head
Of that most glorious visage ye did vew?
But if the beautie of her mind ye knew,
That is her bountie, and imperiall powre,
Thousand times fairer then her mortall hew,
O how great wonder would your thoughts deuoure,
And infinite desire into your spirite poure!
She is the mighty Queene of Faerie,
Whose faire retrait I in my shield do beare;
She is the flowre of grace and chastitie,
Throughout the world renowmed far and neare,
My liefe, my liege, my Soueraigne, my deare,
Whose glory shineth as the morning starre,
And with her light the earth enlumines cleare;
Far reach her mercies, and her prayses farre,
As well in state of peace, as puissaunce in warre.
Thrise happy man, (said then the Briton knight)
Whom gracious lot, and thy great valiaunce
Haue made thee souldier of that Princesse bright,
Which with her bounty and glad countenance
Doth blesse her seruaunts, and them high aduaunce.
How may straunge knight hope euer to aspire,
By faithfull seruice, and meet amenance,
Vnto such blisse? sufficient were that hire
For losse of thousand liues, to dye at her desire.
Said Guyon, Noble Lord, what meed so great,
Or grace of earthly Prince so soueraine,
But by your wondrous worth and warlike feat
Ye well may hope, and easely attaine?
But were your will, her sold to entertaine,
And numbred be mongst knights of Maydenhed,
Great guerdon, well I wote, should you remaine,
And in her fauour high be reckoned,
As Arthegall, and Sophy now beene honored.
Certes (then said the Prince) I God auow,
That sith I armes and knighthood first did plight,
My whole desire has beene, and yet is now,
To serue that Queene with all my powre and might.
Now hath the Sunne with his lamp-burning light,
Walkt round about the world, and I no lesse,
Sith of that Goddesse I haue sought the sight,
Yet no where can her find: such happinesse
Heauen doth to me enuy, and fortune fauourlesse.
Fortune, the foe of famous cheuisaunce
Seldome (said Guyon) yields to vertue aide,
But in her way throwes mischiefe and mischaunce,
Whereby her course is stopt, and passage staid.
But you, faire Sir, be not herewith dismaid,
But constant keepe the way, in which ye stand;
Which were it not, that I am else delaid
With hard aduenture, which I haue in hand,
I labour would to guide you through all Faery land.
Gramercy Sir (said he) but mote I weete,
What straunge aduenture do ye now pursew?
Perhaps my succour, or aduizement meete
Mote stead you much your purpose to subdew.
Then gan Sir Guyon all the story shew
Of false Acrasia, and her wicked wiles,
Which to auenge, the Palmer him forth drew
From Faery court. So talked they, the whiles
They wasted had much way, and measurd many miles.
And now faire Phœbus gan decline in hast
His weary wagon to the Westerne vale,
Whenas they spide a goodly castle, plast
Foreby a riuer in a pleasaunt dale,
Which choosing for that euenings hospitale,
They thither marcht: but when they came in sight,
And from their sweaty Coursers did auale,
They found the gates fast barred long ere night,
And euery loup fast lockt, as fearing foes despight.
Which when they saw, they weened fowle reproch
Was to them doen, their entrance to forstall,
Till that the Squire gan nigher to approch;
And wind his horne vnder the castle wall,
That with the noise it shooke, as it would fall:
Eftsoones forth looked from the highest spire
The watch, and lowd vnto the knights did call,
To weete, what they so rudely did require.
Who gently answered, They entrance did desire.
Fly, fly, good knights, (said he) fly fast away
If that your liues ye loue, as meete ye should;
Fly fast, and saue your selues from neare decay,
Here may ye not haue entraunce, though we would:
We would and would againe, if that we could;
But thousand enemies about vs raue,
And with long siege vs in this castle hould:
Seuen yeares this wize they vs besieged haue,
And many good knights slaine, that haue vs sought to saue.
Thus as he spoke, loe with outragious cry
A thousand villeins round about them swarmd
Out of the rockes and caues adioyning nye,
Vile caytiue wretches, ragged, rude, deformd,
All threatning death, all in straunge manner armd,
Some with vnweldy clubs, some with long speares,
Some rusty kniues, some staues in fire warmd.
Sterne was their looke, like wild amazed steares,
Staring with hollow eyes, and stiffe vpstanding heares.
Fiersly at first those knights they did assaile,
And droue them to recoile: but when againe
They gaue fresh charge, their forces gan to faile,
Vnhable their encounter to sustaine;
For with such puissaunce and impetuous maine
Those Champions broke on them, that forst them fly,
Like scattered Sheepe, whenas the Shepheards swaine
A Lyon and a Tigre doth espye,
With greedy pace forth rushing from the forest nye.
A while they fled, but soone returnd againe
With greater fury, then before was found;
And euermore their cruell Captaine
Sought with his raskall routs t’enclose them round,
And ouerrun to tread them to the ground.
But soone the knights with their bright-burning blades
Broke their rude troupes, and orders did confound,
Hewing and slashing at their idle shades;
For though they bodies seeme, yet substance from them fades.
As when a swarme of Gnats at euentide
Out of the fennes of Allan do arise,
Their murmuring small trompets sounden wide,
Whiles in the aire their clustring army flies,
That as a cloud doth seeme to dim the skies;
Ne man nor beast may rest, or take repast,
For their sharpe wounds, and noyous iniuries,
Till the fierce Northerne wind with blustring blast
Doth blow them quite away, and in the Ocean cast.
Thus when they had that troublous rout disperst,
Vnto the castle gate they come againe,
And entraunce crau’d, which was denied erst.
Now when report of that their perilous paine,
And combrous conflict, which they did sustaine,
Came to the Ladies eare, which there did dwell,
She forth issewed with a goodly traine
Of Squires and Ladies equipaged well,
And entertained them right fairely, as befell.
Alma she called was, a virgin bright;
That had not yet felt Cupides wanton rage,
Yet was she woo’d of many a gentle knight,
And many a Lord of noble parentage,
That sought with her to lincke in marriage:
For she was faire, as faire mote euer bee,
And in the flowre now of her freshest age;
Yet full of grace and goodly modestee,
That euen heauen reioyced her sweete face to see.
In robe of lilly white she was arayd,
That from her shoulder to her heele downe raught,
The traine whereof loose far behind her strayd,
Braunched with gold and pearle, most richly wrought,
And borne of two faire Damsels, which were taught
That seruice well. Her yellow golden heare
Was trimly wouen, and in tresses wrought,
Ne other tyre she on her head did weare,
But crowned with a garland of sweete Rosiere.
Goodly she entertaind those noble knights,
And brought them vp into her castle hall;
Where gentle court and gracious delight
She to them made, with mildnesse virginall,
Shewing her selfe both wise and liberall:
There when they rested had a season dew,
They her besought of fauour speciall,
Of that faire Castle to affoord them vew;
She graunted, and them leading forth, the same did shew.
First she them led vp to the Castle wall,
That was so high, as foe might not it clime,
And all so faire, and fensible withall,
Not built of bricke, ne yet of stone and lime,
But of thing like to that Ægyptian slime,
Whereof king Nine whilome built Babell towre;
But O great pitty, that no lenger time
So goodly workemanship should not endure:
Soone it must turne to earth; no earthly thing is sure.
The frame thereof seemd partly circulare,
And part triangulare, O worke diuine;
Those two the first and last proportions are,
The one imperfect, mortall, fœminine;
Th’other immortall, perfect, masculine,
And twixt them both a quadrate was the base,
Proportioned equally by seuen and nine;
Nine was the circle set in heauens place,
All which compacted made a goodly diapase.
Therein two gates were placed seemly well:
The one before, by which all in did pas,
Did th’other far in workmanship excell;
For not of wood, nor of enduring bras,
But of more worthy substance fram’d it was;
Doubly disparted, it did locke and close,
That when it locked, none might thorough pas,
And when it opened, no man might it close,
Still open to their friends, and closed to their foes.
Of hewen stone the porch was fairely wrought,
Stone more of valew, and more smooth and fine,
Then Iet or Marble far from Ireland brought;
Ouer the which was cast a wandring vine,
Enchaced with a wanton yuie twine.
And ouer it a faire Portcullis hong,
Which to the gate directly did incline,
With comely compasse, and compacture strong,
Neither vnseemely short, nor yet exceeding long.
Within the Barbican a Porter sate,
Day and night duely keeping watch and ward,
Nor wight, nor word mote passe out of the gate,
But in good order, and with dew regard;
Vtterers of secrets he from thence debard,
Bablers of folly, and blazers of crime.
His larumbell might lowd and wide be hard,
When cause requird, but neuer out of time;
Early and late it rong, at euening and at prime.
And round about the porch on euery side
Twise sixteen warders sat, all armed bright
In glistring steele, and strongly fortifide:
Tall yeomen seemed they, and of great might,
And were enraunged ready, still for fight.
By them as Alma passed with her guestes,
They did obeysaunce, as beseemed right,
And then againe returned to their restes:
The Porter eke to her did lout with humble gestes.
Thence she them brought into a stately Hall,
Wherein were many tables faire dispred,
And ready dight with drapets festiuall,
Against the viaundes should be ministred.
At th’upper end there sate, yclad in red
Downe to the ground, a comely personage,
That in his hand a white rod menaged,
He Steward was hight Diet; rype of age,
And in demeanure sober, and in counsell sage.
And through the Hall there walked to and fro
A iolly yeoman, Marshall of the same,
Whose name was Appetite; he did bestow
Both guestes and meate, when euer in they came,
And knew them how to order without blame,
As him the Steward bad. They both attone
Did dewty to their Lady, as became;
Who passing by, forth led her guestes anone
Into the kitchin rowme, ne spard for nicenesse none.
It was a vaut ybuilt for great dispence,
With many raunges reard along the wall;
And one great chimney, whose long tonnell thence,
The smoke forth threw. And in the midst of all
There placed was a caudron wide and tall,
Vpon a mighty furnace, burning whot,
More whot, then Aetn’, or flaming Mongiball:
For day and night it brent, ne ceased not,
So long as any thing it in the caudron got.
But to delay the heat, least by mischaunce
It might breake out, and set the whole on fire,
There added was by goodly ordinaunce,
n huge great paire of bellowes, which did styre
Continually, and cooling breath inspyre.
About the Caudron many Cookes accoyld,
With hookes and ladles, as need did require;
The whiles the viandes in the vessell boyld
They did about their businesse sweat, and sorely toyld.
The maister Cooke was cald Concoction,
A carefull man, and full of comely guise:
The kitchin Clerke, that hight Digestion,
Did order all th’Achates in seemely wise,
And set them forth, as well he could deuise.
The rest had seuerall offices assind,
Some to remoue the scum, as it did rise;
Others to beare the same away did mind;
And others it to vse according to his kind.
But all the liquour, which was fowle and wast,
Not good nor seruiceable else for ought,
They in another great round vessell plast,
Till by a conduit pipe it thence were brought:
And all the rest, that noyous was, and nought,
By secret wayes, that none might it espy,
Was close conuaid, and to the back-gate brought,
That cleped was Port Esquiline, whereby
It was auoided quite, and throwne out priuily.
Which goodly order, and great workmans skill
Whenas those knights beheld, with rare delight,
And gazing wonder they their minds did fill;
For neuer had they seene so straunge a sight.
Thence backe againe faire Alma led them right,
And soone into a goodly Parlour brought,
That was with royall arras richly dight,
In which was nothing pourtrahed, nor wrought,
Not wrought, nor pourtrahed, but easie to be thought.
And in the midst thereof vpon the floure,
A louely beuy of faire Ladies sate,
Courted of many a iolly Paramoure,
The which them did in modest wise amate,
And eachone sought his Lady to aggrate:
And eke emongst them litle Cupid playd
His wanton sports, being returned late
From his fierce warres, and hauing from him layd
His cruell bow, wherewith he thousands hath dismayd.
Diuerse delights they found them selues to please;
Some song in sweet consort, some laught for ioy,
Some plaid with strawes, some idly sat at ease;
But other some could not abide to toy,
All pleasaunce was to them griefe and annoy:
This fround, that faund, the third for shame did blush,
Another seemed enuious, or coy,
Another in her teeth did gnaw a rush:
But at these straungers presence euery one did hush.
Soone as the gracious Alma came in place,
They all attonce out of their seates arose,
And to her homage made, with humble grace:
Whom when the knights beheld, they gan dispose
Themselues to court, and each a Damsell chose:
The Prince by chaunce did on a Lady light,
That was right faire and fresh as morning rose,
But somwhat sad, and solemne eke in sight,
As if some pensiue thought constraind her gentle spright.
In a long purple pall, whose skirt with gold,
Was fretted all about, she was arayd;
And in her hand a Poplar braunch did hold:
To whom the Prince in curteous manner said;
Gentle Madame, why beene ye thus dismaid,
And your faire beautie do with sadnesse spill?
Liues any, that you hath thus ill apaid?
Or doen you loue, or doen you lacke your will?
What euer be the cause, it sure beseemes you ill.
Faire Sir, (said she halfe in disdainefull wise,)
How is it, that this word in me ye blame,
And in your selfe do not the same aduise?
Him ill beseemes, anothers fault to name,
That may vnwares be blotted with the same:
Pensiue I yeeld I am, and sad in mind,
Through great desire of glory and of fame;
Ne ought I weene are ye therein behind,
That haue twelue moneths sought one, yet no where can her find.
The Prince was inly moued at her speach,
Well weeting trew, what she had rashly told;
Yet with faire semblaunt sought to hide the breach,
Which chaunge of colour did perforce vnfold,
Now seeming flaming whot, now stony cold.
Tho turning soft aside, he did inquire,
What wight she was, that Poplar braunch did hold:
It answered was, her name was Prays-desire,
That by well doing sought to honour to aspire.
The whiles, the Faerie knight did entertaine
Another Damsell of that gentle crew,
That was right faire, and modest of demaine,
But that too oft she chaung’d her natiue hew:
Straunge was her tyre, and all her garment blew,
Close round about her tuckt with many a plight:
Vpon her fist the bird, which shonneth vew,
And keepes in couerts close from liuing wight,
Did sit, as yet ashamd, how rude Pan did her dight.
So long as Guyon with her commoned,
Vnto the ground she cast her modest eye,
And euer and anone with rosie red
The bashfull bloud her snowy cheekes did dye,
That her became, as polisht yuory,
Which cunning Craftesman hand hath ouerlayd
With faire vermilion or pure Castory.
Great wonder had the knight, to see the mayd
So straungely passioned, and to her gently sayd,
Faire Damzell, seemeth, by your troubled cheare,
That either me too bold ye weene, this wise
You to molest, or other ill to feare
That in the secret of your hart close lyes,
From whence it doth, as cloud from sea arise.
If it be I, of pardon I you pray;
But if ought else that I mote not deuise,
I will, if please you it discure, assay,
To ease you of that ill, so wisely as I may.
She answerd nought, but more abasht for shame,
Held downe her head, the whiles her louely face
The flashing bloud with blushing did inflame,
And the strong passion mard her modest grace,
That Guyon meruayld at her vncouth cace:
Till Alma him bespake, why wonder yee
Faire Sir at that, which ye so much embrace?
She is the fountaine of your modestee;
You shamefast are, but Shamefastnesse it selfe is shee.
Thereat the Elfe did blush in priuitee,
And turnd his face away; but she the same
Dissembled faire, and faynd to ouersee.
Thus they awhile with court and goodly game,
Themselues did solace each one with his Dame,
Till that great Ladie thence away them sought,
To vew her castles other wondrous frame.
Vp to a stately Turret she them brought,
Ascending by ten steps of Alablaster wrought.
That Turrets frame most admirable was,
Like highest heauen compassed around,
And lifted high aboue this earthly masse,
Which it suruew’d, as hils doen lower ground;
But not on ground mote like to this be found,
Not that, which antique Cadmus whylome built
In Thebes, which Alexander did confound;
Nor that proud towre of Troy, though richly guilt,
From which young Hectors bloud by cruell Greekes was spilt.
The roofe hereof was arched ouer head,
And deckt with flowers and herbars daintily;
Two goodly Beacons, set in watches stead,
Therein gaue light, and flam’d continually:
For they of liuing fire most subtilly
Were made, and set in siluer sockets bright,
Couer’d with lids deuiz’d of substance sly,
That readily they shut and open might.
O who can tell the prayses of that makers might!
Ne can I tell, ne can I stay to tell
This parts great workmanship, and wondrous powre,
That all this other worlds worke doth excell,
And likest is vnto that heauenly towre,
That God hath built for his owne blessed bowre.
Therein were diuerse roomes, and diuerse stages,
But three the chiefest, and of greatest powre,
In which there dwelt three honorable sages,
The wisest men, I weene, that liued in their ages.
Not he, whom Greece, the Nourse of all good arts,
By Phœbus doome, the wisest thought aliue,
Might be compar’d to these by many parts:
Nor that sage Pylian syre, which did suruiue
Three ages, such as mortall men contriue,
By whose aduise old Priams cittie fell,
With these in praise of pollicies mote striue.
These three in these three roomes did sundry dwell,
And counselled faire Alma, how to gouerne well.
The first of them could things to come foresee:
The next could of things present best aduize;
The third things past could keepe in memoree,
So that no time, nor reason could arize,
But that the same could one of these comprize.
For thy the first did in the forepart sit,
That nought mote hinder his quicke preiudize:
He had a sharpe foresight, and working wit,
That neuer idle was, ne once could rest a whit.
His chamber was dispainted all within,
With sundry colours, in the which were writ
Infinite shapes of things dispersed thin;
Some such as in the world were neuer yit,
Ne can deuized be of mortall wit;
Some daily seene, and knowen by their names,
Such as in idle fantasies doe flit:
Infernall Hags, Centaurs, feendes, Hippodames,
Apes, Lions, AEgles, Owles, fooles, louers, children, Dames.
And all the chamber filled was with flyes,
Which buzzed all about, and made such sound,
That they encombred all mens eares and eyes,
Like many swarmes of Bees assembled round,
After their hiues with honny do abound:
All those were idle thoughts and fantasies,
Deuices, dreames, opinions vnsound,
Shewes, visions, sooth-sayes, and prophesies;
And all that fained is, as leasings, tales, and lies.
And all the chamber filled was with flies,
Which buzzed all about, and made such sound,
That they encumbered all men’s ears and eyes,
Like many swarms of bees assembled round,
Emongst them all sate he, which wonned there,
That hight Phantastes by his nature trew;
A man of yeares yet fresh, as mote appere,
Of swarth complexion, and of crabbed hew,
That him full of melancholy did shew;
Bent hollow beetle browes, sharpe staring eyes,
That mad or foolish seemd: one by his vew
Mote deeme him borne with ill disposed skyes,
When oblique Saturne sate in the house of agonyes.
Whom Alma hauing shewed to her guestes,
Thence brought them to the second roome, whose wals
Were painted faire with memorable gestes,
Of famous Wisards, and with picturals
Of Magistrates, of courts, of tribunals,
Of commen wealthes, of states, of pollicy,
Of lawes, of iudgements, and of decretals;
All artes, all science, all Philosophy,
And all that in the world was aye thought wittily.
Of those that roome was full, and them among
There sate a man of ripe and perfect age,
Who did them meditate all his life long,
That through continuall practise and vsage,
He now was growne right wise, and wondrous sage.
Great pleasure had those stranger knights, to see
His goodly reason, and graue personage,
That his disciples both desir’d to bee;
But Alma thence them led to th’hindmost roome of three.
That chamber seemed ruinous and old,
And therefore was remoued farre behind,
Yet were the wals, that did the same vphold,
Right firme and strong, though somewhat they declind,
And therein sate an old oldman, halfe blind,
And all decrepit in his feeble corse,
Yet liuely vigour rested in his mind,
And recompenst him with a better scorse:
Weake body well is chang’d for minds redoubled forse.
This man of infinite remembrance was,
And things foregone through many ages held,
Which he recorded still, as they did pas,
Ne suffred them to perish through long eld,
As all things else, the which this world doth weld,
But laid them vp in his immortall scrine,
Where they for euer incorrupted dweld:
The warres he well remembred of king Nine,
Of old Assaracus, and Inachus diuine.
The yeares of Nestor nothing were to his,
Ne yet Mathusalem, though longest liu’d;
For he remembred both their infancies:
Ne wonder then, if that he were depriu’d
Of natiue strength now, that he them suruiu’d.
His chamber all was hangd about with rolles,
And old records from auncient times deriu’d,
Some made in books, some in long parchment scrolles,
That were all worme-eaten, and full of canker holes.
Amidst them all he in a chaire was set,
Tossing and turning them withouten end;
But for he was vnhable them to fet,
A litle boy did on him still attend,
To reach, when euer he for ought did send;
And oft when things were lost, or laid amis,
That boy them sought, and vnto him did lend.
Therefore he Anamnestes cleped is,
And that old man Eumnestes, by their propertis.
The knights there entring, did him reuerence dew
And wondred at his endlesse exercise,
Then as they gan his Librarie to vew,
And antique Registers for to auise,
There chaunced to the Princes hand to rize,
An auncient booke, hight Briton moniments,
That of this lands first conquest did deuize,
And old diuision into Regiments,
Till it reduced was to one mans gouernments.
Sir Guyon chaunst eke on another booke
That hight Antiquitie of Faerie lond,
In which when as he greedily did looke,
Th’off-spring of Elues and Faries there he fond,
As it deliuered was from hond to hond:
Whereat they burning both with feruent fire,
Their countries auncestry to vnderstond,
Crau’d leaue of Alma, and that aged sire,
To read those bookes; who gladly graunted their desire.