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Though all the wealth, which is, or was of yore,
Could gathered be through all the world around,
And that above were added to that under ground.
The charge thereof unto a covetous spright
Commanded was, who thereby did attend,
And warily awaited day and night,
From other covetous fiends it to defend,
Who it to rob and ransack did intend.
Then Mammon, turning to that warrior, said;
"Lo, here the worldes bliss; lo, here the end,
To which all men do aim, rich to be made:
Such grace now to be happy, is before thee laid.”
"Certes" (said he) "I n'ill thine offered grace,
Nor to be made so happy do intend;
Another bliss before mine eyes I place,
Another happiness, another end.
To them that list these base regards I lend:
But I in arms, and in atchievements brave,
Do rather chuse my flitting hours to spend,
And to be lord of those, that riches have, [slave."
Than them to have myself, and be their servile
More sweet and wholesome than the pleasant hill
Of Rhodope, on which the nymph that bore
A giant babe, herself for grief did kill;
Or the Thessalian Tempe, where of yore
Fair Daphne Phoebus' heart with love did gore;
Or Ida, where the Gods lov'd to repair,
Whenever they their heavenly bowers forlore;
Or sweet Parnass, the haunt of Muses fair;
Or Eden, if that aught with Eden might compare.
Much wonder'd Guyon at the fair aspect
Of that sweet place, yet suffered no delight
To sink into his sense, nor mind affect,
But passed forth, and look'd still forward right,
Bridling his will, and mastering his might:
Till that he came unto another gat,
No gate, but like one, being goodly dight
With boughs and branches, which did broad dilaté
Their clasping arms, in wanton wreathings intricate.
So fashioned a porch with rare device,
Arch'd over head with an embracing vine,
Whose bunches hanging down seem'd to entice
All passers by, to taste their luscious wine,
And did themselves into their hands incline,
As freely offering to be gathered:
Some deep empurpled as the hyacint,
Some as the ruby, laughing sweetly red,
Some like fair emeralds, not yet well ripened.
And them amongst, some were of burnish'd gold,
So made by art, to beautify the rest,
Which did themselves amongst the leaves enfold,
As lurking from the view of covetous guest,
That the weak boughs, with so rich load opprest,
Did bow adown, as overburdened.
Under that porch a comely dame did rest,
Clad in fair weeds, but foul disordered, [head.
And garments loose, that seem'd unmeet for woman-
In her left hand a cup of gold she held,
And with her right the riper fruit did reach,
Whose sappy liquor that with fullness swell'd
Into her cup she squeez'd, with dainty breach
Of her fine fingers, without foul impeach,
That so fair wine-press made the wine more sweet;
Thereof she us'd to give to drink to each,
Whom passing by she happened to meet:
It was her guise all strangers goodly so to greet.
So she to Guyon offered it to taste;
Who taking it out of her tender hand,
The cup to ground did violently cast,
That all in pieces it was broken found;
And with the liquor stained all the land:
Whereat Excess exceedingly was wroth,
Yet no'te the same amend, nor yet withstand,
But suffered him to pass, all were she loth;
Who, not regarding her displeasure, forward go`th.
There the most dainty paradise on ground,
Itself doth offer to his sober eye,
In which all pleasures plenteously abound,
And none does others' happiness envy:
The painted flowers, the trees upshooting high,
The dales for shade, the hills for breathing space,
The trembling groves, the chrystal running by ;
And that, which all fair works doth most aggrace,
The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place.
One would have thought (so cunningly the rude
And scorned parts were mingled with the fine)
That nature had for wantonness ensued
Art, and that art at nature did repine;
So striving each th' other to undermine,
Each did the other's work more beautify;
So differing both in wills, agreed in fine:
So all agreed through sweet diversity,
This garden to adorn with all variety.
And in the midst of all, a fountain stood,
Of richest substance that on earth might be,
So pure and shiny, that the silver flood
Through every channel running one might see;
Most goodly it with pure imagery
Was overwrought, and shapes of naked boys,
Of which some seem'd with lively jollity
To fly about, playing their wanton toys,
While others did themselves embathe in liquid joys.
And over all, of purest gold, was spread
A trail of ivy in his native hue:
For, the rich metal was so coloured,
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,
That themselves dipping in the silver dew,
Their fleecy flowers they tenderly did steep, [weep.
Which drops of chrystal seem'd for wantonness to
Infinite streams continually did well
Out of this fountain, sweet and fair to see,
The which into an ample laver fell,
And shortly grew to so great quantity,
That like a little lake it seem'd to be;
Whose depth exceeded not three cubits height,
That through the waves one might the bottom see,
All pav'd beneath with jasper shining bright,
That seem'd the fountain in that sea did sail upright.
And all the margin round about was set,
With shady laurel trees, thence to defend
The sunny beams, which on the billows bet,
And those which therein bathed, might offend.
As Guyon happened by the same to wend,
Two naked damsels he therein espied,
Which therein bathing, seemed to contend,
And wrestle wantonly, nor cared to hide
Their dainty parts from view of any which them
Sometimes the one would lift the other quite
Above the waters, and then down again
Her plunge, as over mastered by might,
Where both awhile would covered remain,
And each the other from to rise restrain;
The while their snowy limbs, as through a veil,
So through the chrystal waves appeared plain;
Then suddenly both would themselves unhele,
And th' amorous sweet spoils to greedy eyes reveal.
As that fair star, the messenger of morn,
His dewy face out of the sea doth rear:
Or, as the Cyprian goddess, newly born
Of th' ocean's fruitful froth, did first appear:
Such seemed they, and so their yellow hair
Chrystalline humour dropped down apace.
Whom such when Guyon saw, he drew him near,
And somewhat gan relent his earnest pace;
His stubborn breast gan secret pleasance to embrace.
The wanton maidens him espying, stood
Gazing awhile at his unwonted guise;
Then th' one herself low ducked in the flood,
Abash'd, that her a stranger did avise:
But th' other rather higher did arise,
And her two lily paps aloft display'd,
And all that might his melting heart entice
To her delights, she unto him betray'd:
The rest hid underneath, him more desirous made.
With that, the other likewise up arose,
And her fair locks, which formerly were bound
Up in one knot, she low adown did loose:
Which, flowing long and thick, her cloth'd around
And th' ivory in golden mantle gown'd:
So that fair spectacle from him was reft,
Yet that which reft it, no less fair was found:
So hid in locks and waves from lookers' theft,
Nought but her lovely face she for his looking left.
Withal she laughed, and she blush'd withal,
That blushing to her laughter gave more grace,
And laughter to her blushing, as did fall:
Now when they spied the knight to slack his pace,
Them to behold, and in his sparkling face
The secret signs of kindled lust appear,
Their wanton merriments they did increase,
And to him beckoned, to approach more near, [rear.
And shew'd him many sights that courage cold could
On which when gazing him the Palmer saw,
He much rebuked those wandering eyes of his,
And, counsel'd well, him forward thence did draw.
Now are they come nigh to the Bower of Bliss,
Of her fond favourites so nam'd amiss:
When thus the Palmer; "Now, Sir, well avise;
For, here the end of all our travel is:
Here wonnes Acrasia, whom we must surprise,
Else she will slip away, and all our drift despise."
Eftsoons they heard a most melodious sound
Of all that might delight a dainty ear,
Such as at once might not on living ground,
Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere:
Right hard it was for wight which did it hear,
To read what manner music that might be:
For, all that pleasing is to living ear,
Was there consorted in one harmony,
Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree.
The joyous birds, shrouded in chearful shade,
Their notes unto the voice attempered sweet;
Th' angelical soft trembling voices made
To th' instruments divine respondence meet:
The silver sounding instruments did meet
With the base murmurs of the water's fall:
The water's fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call:
The gentle warbling wind low answered to all.
There, whence that music seemed heard to be,
Was the fair Witch, herself now solacing
With a new lover, whom through sorcery
And witchcraft, she from far did thither bring;
There she had him now laid aslumbering,
In secret shade, after long wanton joys:
Nor that sage Pylian sire, which did survive
Three ages, such as mortal men contrive,
By whose advice old Priam's city fell,
With these in praise of policies might strive.
These three in these three rooms did sundry dwell,
And counselled fair Alma, how to govern well.
The first of them could things to come foresee:
The next, could of things present best advise;
The third, things past could keep in memory:
So that no time, nor reason could arise,
But that the same could one of these comprise.
For thy, the first did in the fore part sit,
That nought might hinder his quick prejudice:
He had a sharp foresight, and working wit,
That never idle was, nor 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 never yet,
Nor can devised be of mortal wit;
Some daily seen, and knowen by their names,
Such as in idle fantasies do flit:
Infernal hags,centaurs, fiends, hippodames, [dames.
Apes, lions, eagles, owls, fools, lovers, children,
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,
After their hives with honey do abound:
All those were idle thoughts and phantasies,
Devices, dreams, opinions unsound,
Shows, visions, soothsays, and prophecies;
And all that feigned is, as leasings, tales, and lies.
Amongst them all sate he which wonned there,
That hight Phantastes by his nature true;
A man of years yet fresh, as might appear,
Of swarth complexion, and of crabbed hue,
That him full of melancholy did shew;
Bent hollow beetle brow, sharp staring eyes,
That mad or foolish seem'd: one by his view
Might deem him born with ill disposed skies,
When oblique Saturn sate in th' house of agonies.
Whom Alma having shewed to her guests, [walls
Thence brought them to the second room, whose
Were painted fair with memorable gestes
Of famous wisards, and with picturals
Of magistrates, of courts, of tribunals,
Of commonwealths, of states, of policy,
Of laws, of judgements, and of decretals;
All arts. all science, all philosophy,
And all that in the world was aye thought wittily.
Of those that room was full: and them among
There sate a man of ripe and perfect age,
Who did them meditate all his life long,
That through continual practise and usage,
He now was grown right wise, and wondrous sage.
Great pleasure had those stranger knights to see
That chamber seemed ruinous and old,
And therefore was removed far behind;
Yet were the walls, that did the same uphold,
Right firm and strong, though somewhat they
And therein sate an old old man, half blind,
And all decrepid in his feeble corse,
Yet lively vigor rested in his mind,
And recompenced him with a better scorce:
Weak body well is chang'd for mind's redoubled
This man of infinite remembrance was,
And things foregone through many ages held,
Which he recorded still as they did pass,
Nor suffered them to perish through long eld,
As all things else, the which this world doth weld,
But laid them up in his immortal scrine,
Where they for ever uncorrupted dwell'd;
The wars he well remembered of king Nine,
Of old Assaracus, and Inachus divine.