Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[ocr errors]

Soon as he Guyon saw, in great affright

But with glad thanks, and unreproved truth, And haste he rose, for to remove aside

The gifts of sovereign bounty did embrace : Those precious hills from stranger's envious sight, Like angels' life was then men's happy case ; And down them poured through an hole full wide, But later ages' pride (like corn-fed steed) Into the hollow earth, them there to hide.

Abus'd her plenty, and fat swoln increase But Guyon lightly to him leaping, staid

To all licentious lust, and gan exceed His hand, that trembled, as one terrified ;

The measure of her means, and natural first need. And, though himself were at the sight dismay'd, Yet him perforce restrain'd, and to him doubtful said. “ Then gan a cursed hand the quiet womb

Of his great grandmother with steel to wound, “ What art thou, man, (if man at all thou art) And the hid treasures in her sacred tomb, That here in desart hast thy habitance,

With sacrilege to dig. Therein he found And these rich heaps of wealth dost hide apart Fountains of gold and silver to abound, From the world's eye, and from her right usance ?" Of which the matter of his huge desire Thereat, with staring eyes fixed askance,

And pompous pride eftsoons he did compound; In great disdain, he answer'd; “Hardy elf, Then avarice gan through his veins inspire That darest view my direful countenance,

His greedy flames, and kindled life-devouring fire.” I read thee rash, and heedless of thyself, To trouble my still seat, and heaps of precious pelf. “ Son” (said he then) “ let be thy bitter scorn,

And leave the rudeness of that antique age “ God of the world and worldlings I me call, To them, that liv'd therein in state forlorn; Great Mammon, greatest God below the sky,

Thou that dost live in later times, must wage That of my plenty pour out unto all,

Thy works for wealth, and life for gold engage; And unto none my graces do envy:

If then thee list my offer'd grace to use, Riches, renown, and principality,

Take what thou please of all this surplusage;
Honour, estate, and all this worldes good,

If thee list not, leave have thou to refuse :
For which men swink and sweat incessantly, But thing refused, do not afterward accuse."
From me do flow into an ample flood,
And in the hollow earth have their eternal brood. “ Me list not” (said the elfin knight) “ receive

Thing offered, till I know it well be got:
" Wherefore if me thou deign to serve and sue, Nor wot I, but thou didst these goods bereave
At thy command lo all these mountains be;

From rightful owner by unrighteous lot, Or if to thy great mind, or greedy view,

Or that blood-guiltiness or guile them blot." All these may not suffice, there shall to thee

Perdy” (quoth he) " yet never eye did view Ten times so much be numbered frank and free.” Nor tongue did tell, nor hand these handled not, “ Mammon” (said he) “thy godhead's vaunt is vain, But safe I have them kept in secret mew, And idle offers of thy golden fee;

From heaven's sight, and power of all which them To them that covet such eye-glutting gain,

pursue.” Proffer thy gifts, and fitter servants entertain.

“ What secret place" (quoth he) “ can safely hold " Me ill befits, that in dear-doing arms,

So huge a mass, and hide from heaven's eye? And honour's suit my vowed days do spend, Or where hast thou thy wonne, that so much gold Unto thy bounteous baits, and pleasing charms, Thou canst preserve from wrong and robbery ?" With which weak men thou witchest, to attend : “Come thou,” (quoth he) " and see.” So, by and by Regard of worldly muck doth foully blend

Through that thick covert he him led, and found And low abase the high heroic spright,

A darksome way, which no man could descry, That joys for crowns and kingdoms to contend ; That deep descended through the hollow ground, Fair shields, gay steeds, bright arms, be my delight: And was with dread and horror compassed around. Those be the riches fit for an advent'rous knight.”

At length they came into a larger space, “Vain-glorious elf” (said he) “ dost not thou weet, That stretch'd itself into an ample plain, That money can thy wants at will supply?

Through which a beaten broad highway did trace, Shields, steeds, and arms, and all things for thee meet, That strait did lead to Pluto's grizly reign : It can purvey in twinkling of an eye;

By that wayside, there sate infernal Pain, And crowns and kingdoms to thee multiply.

And fast beside him sate tumultuous Strife: Do not I kings create, and throw the crown

The one, in hand an iron whip did strain ; Sometimes to him, that low in dust doth lie? The other brandished a bloody knife,

[life. And him that reign'd, into his room thrust down, And both did gnash their teeth, and both did threaten And whom I list, do heap with glory and renown."

On th’ other side, in one consort there sate “All otherwise" (said he) “ I riches read,

Cruel Revenge, and rancorous Despite,
And deem them root of all disquietness ;

Disloyal Treason, and heart-burning Hate;
But gnawing Jealousy, out of their sight

Sitting alone, his bitter lips did bite,
“ The antique world, in his first flow'ring youth, And trembling Fear still to and fro did fly,
Found no defect in his Creator's grace ;

And found no place, where safe he shroud him might,

Lamenting Sorrow did in darkness lie,

In all that room was nothing to be seen,
And Shame his ugly face did hide from living eye. But huge great iron chests and coffers strong,

All barr'd with double bands, that none could ween And over them sad Horror with grim hue,

Them to enforce by violence or wrong ; Did always soar, beating his iron wings;

On every side they placed were along: And after him, owls and night-ravens flew,

But all the ground with sculls was scattered, The hateful messengers of heavy things,

And dead men's bones, which round about were flung, Of death and dolour telling sad tidings;

Whose lives (it seemed) whilome there were shed, While sad Celeno, sitting on a clift,

And their vile carcases now left unburied.
A song of bale and bitter sorrow sings,
That heart of flint asunder could have rift:

They forward pass, nor Guyon yet spake word,
Which having ended, after him she flyeth swift. Till that they came unto an iron door,

Which to them opened of its own accord, All these before the gates of Pluto lay,

And shew'd of riches such exceeding store, By whom they passing, spake unto them nought, As eye of man did never see before; But th' elfin knight with wonder all the way Nor ever could within one place be found, Did feed his eyes, and fill’d his inner thought. Though all the wealth, which is, or was of yore, At last, he to a little door him brought,

Could gathered be through all the world around, That to the gate of hell, which gaped wide,

And that above were added to that under ground. Was next adjoining, nor them parted ought; Betwixt them both was but a little stride,

The charge thereof unto a covetous spright That did the house of riches from hell mouth divide. Commanded was, who thereby did attend,

And warily awaited day and night, Before the door sat self-consuming Care,

From other covetous fiends it to defend, Day and night keeping wary watch and ward, Who it to rob and ransack did intend. For fear least force or fraud should unaware

Then Mammon, turning to that warrior, said ; Break in; and spoil the treasure there in guard : “ Lo, here the worldes bliss ; lo, here the end, Nor would he suffer Sleep once thitherward To which all men do aim, rich to be made: Approach, albe his drowsy den were next; Such grace now to be happy, is before thee laid.” For, next to death is sleep to be compar'd; Therefore his house is unto his annex'd; [twixt. “ Certes" (said he) “ I n'ill thine offered grace, Here sleep, there riches, and hell gate them both be- Nor to be made so happy do intend;

Another bliss before mine eyes I place, So soon as Mammon there arriv'd, the door

Another happiness, another end. To him did open, and afforded way;

To them that list these base regards I lend : Him followed eke Sir Guyon evermore,

But I in arms, and in atchievements brave, Nor darkness him, nor danger might dismay. Do rather chuse my flitting hours to spend, Soon as he entered was, the door straightway And to be lord of those, that riches have, Did shut, and from behind it forth there leap'd Than them to have myself, and be their servile slave.” An ugly fiend, more foul than dismal day, The which with monstrous stalk behind him stepp'd, And ever as he went, due watch upon him kept.

THE BOWER OF BLISS. Well hoped he, ere long that hardy guest,

Thus being enter'd, they behold around If ever covetous hand, or lustful eye,

A large and spacious plain, on every side Or lips he laid on thing, that liked him best, Strowed with pleasance, whose fair grassy ground Or ever sleep his eyestrings did untie,

Mantled with green, and goodly beautified Should be his prey. And therefore still on high With all the ornaments of Flora's pride, He over him did hold his cruel claws,

Wherewith her mother Art, as half in scorn Threatening with greedy gripe to do him die, Of niggard Nature, like a pompous bride And rend in pieces with his ravenous paws,

Did deck her, and too lavishly adorn, (morn.
If ever he transgress'd the fatal Stygian laws. When forth from virgin bower she comes in th' early
That house's forn within was rude and strong, Thereto the heavens always jovial
Like an huge cave hewn out of rocky clift

Look'd on them lovely still in stedfast state,
Nor suffered storm nor frost on them to fall,

Their tender buds or leaves to violate,
Both roof, and floor, and walls, were all of gold, Nor scorching heat, nor cold intemperate,
But overgrown with dust and old decay,

T'afflict the creatures, which therein did dwell, And hid in darkness, that none could behold

But the mild air with season moderate The hue thereof : for, view of chearful day

Gently attemper'd and dispos'd so well, Did never in that house itself display,

That still it breathed forth sweet spirit and wholeBut a faint shadow of uncertain light;

some smell. Such as a lamp, whose life does fade away: Or as the moon clothed with cloudy night,

More sweet and wholesome than the pleasant hill Does shew to him, that walks in fear and sad affright. Of Rhodope, on which the nymph that bore

A giant babe, herself for grief did kill;

And that, which all fair works doth most aggrace, Or the Thessalian Tempe, where of yore

The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place. Fair Daphne Phæbus' heart with love did gore; Or Ida, where the Gods lov'd to repair,

One would have thought (so cunningly the rude Whenever they their heavenly bowers forlore; And scorned parts were mingled with the fine) Or sweet Parnass, the haunt of Muses fair;

That nature had for wantonness ensued Or Eden, if that aught with Eden might compare. Art, and that art at nature did repine ;

So striving each th' other to undermine, Much wonder'd Guyon at the fair aspect

Each did the other's work more beautify; Of that sweet place, yet suffered no delight

So differing both in wills, agreed in fine:
To sink into his sense, nor mind affect,

So all agreed through sweet diversity,
But passed forth, and look'd still forward right, This garden to adorn with all variety.
Bridling his will, and mastering his might :
Till that he came unto another gate,

And in the midst of all, a fountain stood,
No gate, but like one, being goodly dight

Of richest substance that on earth might be,
With boughs and branches, which did broad dilate So pure and shiny, that the silver flood
Their clasping arms, in wanton wreathings intricate. Through every channel running one might see;

Most goodly it with pure imagery
So fashioned a porch with rare device,

Was overwrought, and shapes of naked boys,

Of which some seem'd with lively jollity
Arch'd over head with an embracing vine,
Whose bunches hanging down seem'd to entice

To fly about, playing their wanton toys,
All passers by, to taste their luscious wine,

While others did themselves embathe in liquid joys. And did themselves into their hands incline, As freely offering to be gathered :

And over all, of purest gold, was spread Some deep empurpled as the hyacint,

A trail of ivy in his native hue: Some as the ruby, laughing sweetly red,

For, the rich metal was so coloured,
Some like fair emeralds, not yet well ripened.

That wight, who did not well advis'd it view,
Would surely deem it to be ivy true :

Low his lascivious arms adown did creep,
And them amongst, some were of burnish'd gold,

That themselves dipping in the silver dew, So made by art, to beautify the rest,

Their fleecy flowers they tenderly did steep, (weep. Which did themselves amongst the leaves enfold,

Which drops of chrystal seem'd for wantonness to As lurking from the view of covetous guest, That the weak boughs, with so rich load opprest,

Infinite streams continually did well Did bow adown, as overburdened.

Out of this fountain, sweet and fair to see, Under that porch a comely dame did rest,

The which into an ample laver fell, Clad in fair weeds, but foul disordered, [head. And shortly grew to so great quantity, And garments loose, that seem'd unmeet for woman. That like a little lake it seem'd'to be;

Whose depth exceeded not three cubits height, In her left hand a cup of gold she held,

That through the waves one might the bottom see, And with her right the riper fruit did reach, All pav'd beneath with jasper shining bright, Whose sappy liquor that with fullness sweli'd

That seem'd the fountain in that sea did sail upright. Into her cup she squeez’d, with dainty breach Of her fine fingers, without foul impeach,

And all the margin round about was set, That so fair wine-press made the wine more sweet; With shady laurel trees, thence to defend Thereof she us'd to give to drink to each,

The sunny beams, which on the billows bet, Whom passing by she happened to meet :

And those which therein bathed, might offend. It was her guise all strangers goodly so to greet. As Guyon happened by the same to wend,

Two naked damsels he therein espied, So she to Guyon offered it to taste;

Which therein bathing, seemed to contend, Who taking it out of her tender hand,

And wrestle wantonly, nor cared to hide The cup to ground did violently cast,

Their dainty parts from view of any which them eyed. That all in pieces it was broken found; And with the liquor stained all the land :

Sometimes the one would lift the other quite Whereat Excess exceedingly was wroth,

Above the waters, and then down again Yet no'te the same amend, nor yet withstand, Her plunge, as over mastered by might, But suffered him to pass, all were she loth; Where both awhile would covered remain, Who, not regarding her displeasure, forward go'th. And each the other from to rise restrain;

The while their snowy limbs, as through a veil, There the most dainty paradise on ground,

So through the chrystal waves appeared plain; Itself doth offer to his sober eye,

Then suddenly both would themselves unhele, In which all pleasures plenteously abound, And th' amorous sweet spoils to greedy eyes reveal. And none does others' happiness envy: The painted flowers, the trees upshooting high, As that fair star, the messenger of morn, The dales for shade, the hills for breathing space, His dewy face out of the sea doth rear : The trembling groves, the chrystal running by; Or, as the Cyprian goddess, newly born

Of th' ocean's fruitful froth, did first appear : There, whence that music seemed heard to be,
Such seemed they, and so their yellow hair

Was the fair Witch, herself now solacing
Chrystalline humour dropped down apace.

With a new lover, whom through sorcery Whom such when Guyon saw, he drew him near, And witchcraft, she from far did thither bring; And somewhat gan relent his earnest pace;

There she had him now laid aslumbering, His stubborn breast gan secret pleasance to embrace. In secret shade, after long wanton joys:

While round about them pleasantly did sing The wanton maidens him espying, stood

Many fair ladies, and lascivious boys, Gazing awhile at his unwonted guise ;

That ever mix'd their song with light licentious toys. Then th' one herself low ducked in the flood, Abash'd, that her a stranger did avise:

And all the while, right over him she hung, But th' other rather higher did arise,

With her false eyes fast fixed in his sight, And her two lily paps aloft display'd,

As seeking medecine, whence she was stung, And all that might his melting heart entice

Or greedily depasturing delight: To her delights, she unto him betray'd:

And oft inclining down with kisses light, The rest hid underneath, him more desirous made. For fear of waking him, his lips bedew'd,

And through his humid eyes did suck his spright, With that, the other likewise up arose,

Quite molten into lust and pleasure lewd; And her fair locks, which formerly were bound Wherewith she sighed soft, as if his case she rued. l'p in one knot, she low adown did loose : Which, flowing long and thick, her cloth'd around, The while, some one did chaunt this lovely lay; And th' ivory in golden mantle gown’d:

“ Ah see, whose fair thing dost fain to see, So that fair spectacle from him was reft,

In springing flower the image of thy day;
Yet that which reft it, no less fair was found : Ah see the virgin rose, how sweetly she
So hid in locks and waves from lookers' theft, Doth first peep forth with bashful modesty,
Nought but her lovely face she for his looking left. That fairer seems, the less ye see her may;

Lo, see soon after, how more bold and free
Withal she laughed, and she blush'd withal, Her bared bosom she doth broad display;
That blushing to her laughter gave more grace, Lo, see soon after, how she fades and falls away.
And laughter to her blushing, as did fall :
Now when they spied the knight to slack his pace, “ So passeth, in the passing of a day,
Them to behold, and in his sparkling face

Of mortal life the leaf, the bud, the flower, The secret signs of kindled lust appear,

Nor more doth flourish after first decay, Their wanton merriments they did increase,

That erst was sought to deck both bed and bower And to him beckoned, to approach more near, (rear. Of many a lady, and many a paramour : And shew'd him many sights that courage cold could Gather therefore the rose, while yet is prime,

For soon comes age, that will her pride deflower : On which when gazing him the Palmer saw, Gather the rose of love, while yet is time, He much rebuked those wandering eyes of his, While loving thou mayst loved be with equal crime." And, counsel'd well, him forward thence did draw. Now are they come nigh to the Bower of Bliss, He ceas'd, and then gan all the quire of birds Of her fond favourites so nam'd amiss :

Their divers notes t'attune unto his lay, When thus the Palmer; “ Now, Sir, well avise; As in approvance of his pleasing words. For, here the end of all our travel is :

The constant pair heard all that he did say, Here wonnes Acrasia, whom we must surprise, Yet swerved not, but kept their forward way, Else she will slip away, and all our drift despise.” Through many covert groves, and thickets close,

In which they creeping did at last display Eftsoons they heard a most melodious sound That wanton lady, with her lover loose, Of all that might delight a dainty ear,

Whose sleepy head she in her lap did soft dispose. Such as at once might not on living ground, Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere :

Upon a bed of roses she was laid, Right hard it was for wight which did it hear, As faint through heat, or dight to pleasant sin, To read what manner music that might be:

And was array'd, or rather disarray'd, For, all that pleasing is to living ear,

All in a veil of silk and silver thin, Was there consorted in one harmony,

That hid no whit her alabaster skin, Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree. But rather shew'd more white, if more might be:

More subtle web Arachne cannot spin, The joyous birds, shrouded in chearful shade, Nor the fine nets, which oft we woven sce Their notes unto the voice attempered sweet; Of scorched dew do not in th' air more lightly flee. Th' angelical soft trembling voices made To th' instruments divine respondence meet;

Her snowy breast was bare to ready spoil The silver sounding instruments did meet

Of hungry eyes which n'ote therewith be fillid; With the base murmurs of the water's fall:

And yet through languor of her late sweet toil, The water's fall with difference discreet,

Few drops, more clear than nectar, forth distilld, Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call : That like pure orient pearls adown it trillid: The gentle warbling wind low answered to all. And her fair eyes sweet smiling in delight

а

:

Moisten'd their fiery beams, with which she thrillid Not he whom Greece (the nurse of all good arts) Frail hearts, yet quenched not; like starry light, By Phæbus' doom, the wisest thought alive, Which sparkling on the silent waves, does seem more Might be compard to these by many parts : bright

Nor that sage Pylian sire, which did survive

Three ages, such as mortal men contrive, The young man sleeping by her, seem'd to be By whose advice old Priam's city fell, Some goodly swain of honourable place,

With these in praise of policies might strive. That certes it great pity was to see

These three in these three rooms did sundry dwell, Him his nobility foul deface;

And counselled fair Alma, how to govern well.
A sweet regard, and amiable grace,
Mixed with manly sternness, did appear

The first of them could things to come foresee :
Yet sleeping in his well proportiond face,

The next, could of things present best advise ; And on his tender lips the downy hair

The third, things past could keep in memory: Did now but freshly spring, and silken blossoms bear. So that no time, nor reason could arise,

But that the same could one of these comprise. His warlike arms (the idle instruments

For thy, the first did in the fore part sit, Of sleeping praise) were hung upon a tree,

That nought might hinder his quick prejudice :
And his brave shield (full of old moniments) He had a sharp foresight, and working wit,
Was foully ras'd, that none the signs might see ; That never idle was, nor once could rest a whit.
Nor for them, nor for honour cared he,
Nor aught that did to his advancement tend; His chamber was dispainted all within,
But in lewd loves, and wasteful luxury,

With sundry colours, in the which were writ
His days, his goods, his body he did spend : Infinite shapes of things dispersed thin;
O horrible enchantment, that him so did blend ! Some such as in the world were never yet,

Nor can devised be of mortal wit;
The noble elf and careful palmer drew

Some daily seen, and knowen by their names,
So nigh them (minding nought but lustful game) Such as in idle fantasies do flit:

That sudden forth they on them rush'd, and threw Infernal hags, centaurs, fiends, hippodames,
A subtle net, which only for the same

A pes, lions, eagles, owls, fools, lovers, children, dames.
The skilful palmer formally did frame.
So held them under fast, the while the rest

And all the chamber filled was with flies, Fled all away for fear of fouler shame.

Which buzzed all about, and made such sound, The fair Enchantress, so unwares opprest, (wrest. That they encumbered all men's ears and eyes, Tried all her arts, and all her sleights, thence out to Like many swarms of bees assembled round,

After their hives with honey do abound : And eke her lover strove: but all in vain;

All those were idle thoughts and phantasies,
For, that same net so cunningly was wound, Devices, dreams, opinions unsound,
That neither guile nor force might it distrain. Shows, visions, soothsays, and prophecies ;
They took them both, and both them strongly bound And all that feigned is, as leasings, tales, and lies.
In captive bands, which there they ready found :
But her in chains of adamant he tied ;

Amongst them all sate he which wonned there,
For nothing else might keep her safe and sound; That hight Phantastes by his nature true;
But Verdant (so he hight) he soon untied,

A man of years yet fresh, as might appear,
And counsel sage instead thereof to him applied. Of swarth complexion, and of crabbed hue,

That him full of melancholy did shew;
But all those pleasant bowers, and palace brave, Bent hollow beetle brow, sharp staring eyes,
Guyon broke down, with rigor pitiless ;

That mad or foolish seem'd: one by his view
Nor aught their goodly workmanship might save Might deem him born with ill disposed skies,
Them from the tempest of his wrathfulness, When oblique Saturn sate in th’ house of agonies.
But that their bliss he turn'd to balefulness :
Their groves he fell’d, their gardens did deface, Whom Alma having shewed to her guests,
Their arbors spoil'd, their cabinets suppress, Thence brought them to the second room, whose walls
Their banquet-houses burn, their buildings rase, Were painted fair with memorable gestes
And of the fairest late, now made the foulest place. Of famous wisards, and with picturals

Of magistrates, of courts, of tribunals,

Of commonwealths, of states, of policy, THE FACULTIES OF THE MIND.

Of laws, of judgements, and of decretals;

All arts, all science, all philosophy, Nor can I tell, nor can I stay to tell

And all that in the world was aye thought wittily. This part's great workmanship, and wondrous power, That all this other world's work doth excel,

Of those that room was full: and them among

There sate a man of ripe and perfect age, Therein were divers rooms and divers stages,

Who did them meditate all his life long, But three the chiefest, and of greatest power,

That through continual practice and usage, In which there dwelt three honourable sages, He now was grown right wise, and wondrous sage. The wisest men (I ween) that lived in their ages. Great pleasure had those stranger knights to see

« ПредишнаНапред »