Spencer's The Faerie Queene
Book II Canto XII
Guyon, by Palmers gouernance,
passing through perils great,
Doth ouerthrow the Bowre of blisse,
and Acrasie defeat.
Now gins this goodly frame of Temperance
Fairely to rise, and her adorned hed
To pricke of highest praise forth to aduance,
Formerly grounded, and fast setteled
On firme foundation of true bountihed;
And this braue knight, that for that vertue fights,
Now comes to point of that same perilous sted,
Where Pleasure dwelles in sensuall delights,
Mõgst thousand dangers, & ten thousand magick mights.
Two dayes now in that sea he sayled has,
Ne euer land beheld, ne liuing wight,
Ne ought saue perill, still as he did pas:
Tho when appeared the third Morrow bright,
Vpon the waues to spred her trembling light,
An hideous roaring farre away they heard,
That all their senses filled with affright,
And streight they saw the raging surges reard
Vp to the skyes, that them of drowning made affeard.
Said then the Boteman, Palmer stere aright,
And keepe an euen course; for yonder way
We needes must passe (God do vs well acquight,)
That is the Gulfe of Greedinesse, they say,
That deepe engorgeth all this worldes pray:
Which hauing swallowd vp excessiuely,
He soone in vomit vp againe doth lay,
And belcheth forth his superfluity,
That all the seas for feare do seeme away to fly.
On th'other side an hideous Rocke is pight,
Of mightie Magnes stone, whose craggie clift
Depending from on high, dreadfull to sight,
Ouer the waues his rugged armes doth lift,
And threatneth downe to throw his ragged rift
On who so commeth nigh; yet nigh it drawes
All passengers, that none from it can shift:
For whiles they fly that Gulfes deuouring iawes,
They on this rock are rent, and sunck in helplesse wawes.
Forward they passe, and strongly he them rowes,
Vntill they nigh vnto that Gulfe arriue,
Where streame more violent and greedy growes:
Then he with all his puissance doth striue
To strike his oares, and mightily doth driue
The hollow vessell through the threatfull waue,
Which gaping wide, to swallow them aliue,
In th'huge abysse of his engulfing graue,
Doth rore at them in vaine, and with great terror raue.
They passing by, that griesly mouth did see,
Sucking the seas into his entralles deepe,
That seem'd more horrible then hell to bee,
Or that darke dreadfull hole of Tartare steepe,
Through which the damned ghosts doen often creepe
Backe to the world, bad liuers to torment:
But nought that falles into this direfull deepe,
Ne that approcheth nigh the wide descent,
May backe returne, but is condemned to be drent.
On th'other side, they saw that perilous Rocke,
Threatning it selfe on them to ruinate,
On whose sharpe clifts the ribs of vessels broke,
And shiuered ships, which had bene wrecked late,
Yet stuck, with carkasses exanimate
Of such, as hauing all their substance spent
In wanton ioyes, and lustes intemperate,
Did afterwards make shipwracke violent,
Both of their life, and fame for euer fowly blent.
For thy, this hight The Rocke of vile Reproch,
A daungerous and detestable place,
To which nor fish nor fowle did once approch,
But yelling Meawes, with Seagulles hoarse and bace,
And Cormoyrants, with birds of rauenous race,
Which still sate waiting on that wastfull clift,
For spoyle of wretches, whose vnhappie cace,
After lost credite and consumed thrift,
At last them driuen hath to this despairefull drift.
The Palmer seeing them in safetie past,
Thus said; Behold th'ensamples in our sights,
Of lustfull luxurie and thriftlesse wast:
What now is left of miserable wights,
Which spent their looser daies in lewd delights,
But shame and sad reproch, here to be red,
By these rent reliques, speaking their ill plights?
Let all that liue, hereby be counselled,
To shunne Rocke of Reproch, and it as death to dred.
So forth they rowed, and that Ferryman
With his stiffe oares did brush the sea so strong,
That the hoare waters from his frigot ran,
And the light bubbles daunced all along,
Whiles the salt brine out of the billowes sprong.
At last farre off they many Islands spy,
On euery side floting the floods emong:
Then said the knight, Loe I the land descry,
Therefore old Syre thy course do thereunto apply.
That may not be, said then the Ferryman
Least we vnweeting hap to be fordonne:
For those same Islands, seeming now and than,
Are not firme land, nor any certein wonne,
But straggling plots, which to and fro do ronne
In the wide waters: therefore are they hight
The wandring Islands. Therefore doe them shonne;
For they haue oft drawne many a wandring wight
Into most deadly daunger and distressed plight.
Yet well they seeme to him, that farre doth vew,
Both faire and fruitfull, and the ground dispred
With grassie greene of delectable hew,
And the tall trees with leaues apparelled,
Are deckt with blossomes dyde in white and red,
That mote the passengers thereto allure;
But whosoeuer once hath fastened
His foot thereon, may neuer it recure,
But wandreth euer more vncertein and vnsure.
As th'Isle of Delos whylome men report
Amid th'Aegæan sea long time did stray,
Ne made for shipping any certaine port,
Till that Latona traueiling that way,
Flying from Iunoes wrath and hard assay,
Of her faire twins was there deliuered,
Which afterwards did rule the night and day;
Thenceforth it firmely was established,
And for Apolloes honor highly herried.
They to him hearken, as beseemeth meete,
And passe on forward: so their way does ly,
That one of those same Islands, which doe fleet
In the wide sea, they needes must passen by,
Which seemd so sweet and pleasant to the eye,
That it would tempt a man to touchen there:
Vpon the banck they sitting did espy
A daintie damzell, dressing of her heare,
By whom a litle skippet floting did appeare.
She them espying, loud to them can call,
Bidding them nigher draw vnto the shore;
For she had cause to busie them withall;
And therewith loudly laught: But nathemore
Would they once turne, but kept on as afore:
Which when she saw, she left her lockes vndight,
And running to her boat withouten ore,
From the departing land it launched light,
And after them did driue with all her power and might.
Whom ouertaking, she in merry sort
Them gan to bord, and purpose diuersly,
Now faining dalliance and wanton sport,
Now throwing forth lewd words immodestly;
Till that the Palmer gan full bitterly
Her to rebuke, for being loose and light:
Which not abiding, but more scornefully
Scoffing at him, that did her iustly wite,
She turnd her bote about, and from them rowed quite.
That was the wanton Phoedria, which late
Did ferry him ouer the Idle lake:
Whom nought regarding, they kept on their gate,
And all her vaine allurements did forsake,
When them the wary Boateman thus bespake;
Here now behoueth vs well to auyse,
And of our safetie good heede to take;
For here before a perlous passage lyes,
Where many Mermayds haunt, making false melodies.
But by the way, there is a great Quicksand,
And a whirlepoole of hidden ieopardy,
Therefore, Sir Palmer, keepe an euen hand;
For twixt them both the narrow way doth ly.
Scarse had he said, when hard at hand they spy
That quicksand nigh with water couered;
But by the checked waue they did descry
It plaine, and by the sea discoloured:
It called was the quicksand of Vnthriftyhed.
They passing by, a goodly Ship did see,
Laden from far with precious merchandize,
And brauely furnished, as ship might bee,
Which through great disauenture, or mesprize,
Her selfe had runne into that hazardize;
Whose mariners and merchants with much toyle,
Labour'd in vaine, to haue recur'd their prize,
And the rich wares to saue from pitteous spoyle,
But neither toyle nor trauell might her backe recoyle.
On th'other side they see that perilous Poole,
That called was the VVhirlepoole of decay,
In which full many had with haplesse doole
Beene suncke, of whom no memorie did stay:
Whose circled waters rapt with whirling sway,
Like to a restlesse wheele, still running round,
Did couet, as they passed by that way,
To draw their boate within the vtmost bound
Of his wide Labyrinth, and then to haue them dround.
But th'heedfull Boateman strongly forth did stretch
His brawnie armes, and all his body straine,
That th'vtmost sandy breach they shortly fetch,
Whiles the dred daunger does behind remaine.
Suddeine they see from midst of all the Maine,
The surging waters like a mountaine rise,
And the great sea puft vp with proud disdaine,
To swell aboue the measure of his guise,
As threatning to deuoure all, that his powre despise.
The waues come rolling, and the billowes rore
Outragiously, as they enraged were,
Or wrathfull Neptune did them driue before
His whirling charet, for exceeding feare:
For not one puffe of wind there did appeare,
That all the three thereat woxe much afrayd,
Vnweeting, what such horrour straunge did reare.
Eftsoones they saw an hideous hoast arrayd,
Of huge Sea monsters, such as liuing sence dismayd.
Most vgly shapes, and horrible aspects,
Such as Dame Nature selfe mote feare to see,
Or shame, that euer should so fowle defects
From her most cunning hand escaped bee;
All dreadfull pourtraicts of deformitee:
Spring-headed Hydraes, and sea-shouldring Whales,
Great whirlpooles, which all fishes make to flee,
Bright Scolopendraes, arm'd with siluer scales,
Mighty Monoceroses, with immeasured tayles.
The dreadfull Fish, that hath deseru'd the name
Of Death, and like him lookes in dreadfull hew,
The griesly Wasserman, that makes his game
The flying ships with swiftnesse to pursew,
The horrible Sea-satyre, that doth shew
His fearefull face in time of greatest storme,
Huge Ziffius, whom Mariners eschew
No lesse, then rockes, (as trauellers informe,)
And greedy Rosmarines with visages deforme.
All these, and thousand thousands many more,
And more deformed Monsters thousand fold,
With dreadfull noise, and hollow rombling rore,
Came rushing in the fomy waues enrold,
Which seem'd to fly for feare, them to behold:
Ne wonder, if these did the knight appall;
For all that here on earth we dreadfull hold,
Be but as bugs to fearen babes withall,
Compared to the creatures in the seas entrall.
Feare nought, (then said the Palmer well auiz'd;)
For these same Monsters are not these in deed,
But are into these fearefull shapes disguiz'd
By that same wicked witch, to worke vs dreed,
And draw from on this iourney to proceede.
Tho lifting vp his vertuous staffe on hye,
He smote the sea, which calmed was with speed,
And all that dreadfull Armie fast gan flye
Into great Tethys bosome, where they hidden lye.
Quit from that daunger, forth their course they kept,
And as they went, they heard a ruefull cry
Of one, that wayld and pittifull[y] wept,
That through the sea the resounding plaints did fly:
At last they in an Island did espy
A seemely Maiden, sitting by the shore,
That with great sorrow and sad agony,
Seemed some great misfortune to deplore,
And lowd to them for succour called euermore.
Which Guyon hearing, streight his Palmer bad,
To stere the boate towards that dolefull Mayd,
That he might know, and ease her sorrow sad:
Who him auizing better, to him sayd;
Faire Sir, be not displeasd, if disobayd:
For ill it were to hearken to her cry;
For she is inly nothing ill apayd,
But onely womanish fine forgery,
Your stubborne hart t'affect with fraile infirmity.
To which when she your courage hath inclind
Through foolish pitty, then her guilefull bayt
She will embosome deeper in your mind,
And for your ruine at the last awayt.
The knight was ruled, and the Boateman strayt
Held on his course with stayed stedfastnesse,
Ne euer shruncke, ne euer sought to bayt
His tyred armes for toylesome wearinesse,
But with his oares did sweepe the watry wildernesse.
And now they nigh approched to the sted,
Where as those Mermayds dwelt: it was a still
And calmy bay, on th'one side sheltered
With the brode shadow of an hoarie hill,
On th'other side an high rocke toured still,
That twixt them both a pleasaunt port they made,
And did like an halfe Theatre fulfill:
There those fiue sisters had continuall trade,
And vsd to bath themselues in that deceiptfull shade.
They were faire Ladies, till they fondly striu'd
With th'Heliconian maides for maistery;
Of whom they ouer-comen, were depriu'd
Of their proud beautie, and th'one moyity
Transform'd to fish, for their bold surquedry,
But th'vpper halfe their hew retained still,
And their sweet skill in wonted melody;
Which euer after they abusd to ill,
T'allure weake trauellers, whom gotten they did kill.
So now to Guyon, as he passed by,
Their pleasaunt tunes they sweetly thus applide;
O thou faire sonne of gentle Faery,
That art in mighty armes most magnifide
Aboue all knights, that euer battell tride,
O turne thy rudder hither-ward a while:
Here may thy storme-bet vessell safely ride;
This is the Port of rest from troublous toyle,
The worlds sweet In, from paine & wearisome turmoyle.
With that the rolling sea resounding soft,
In his big base them fitly answered,
And on the rocke the waues breaking aloft,
A solemne Meane vnto them measured,
The whiles sweet Zephirus lowd whisteled
His treble, a straunge kinde of harmony;
Which Guyons senses softly tickeled,
That he the boateman bad row easily,
And let him heare some part of their rare melody.
But him the Palmer from that vanity,
With temperate aduice discounselled,
That they it past, and shortly gan descry
The land, to which their course they leueled;
When suddeinly a grosse fog ouer spred
With his dull vapour all that desert has,
And heauens chearefull face enueloped,
That all things one, and one as nothing was,
And this great Vniuerse seemd one confused mas.
Thereat they greatly were dismayd, ne wist
How to direct their way in darkenesse wide,
But feard to wander in that wastfull mist,
For tombling into mischiefe vnespide.
Worse is the daunger hidden, then descride.
Suddeinly an innumerable flight
Of harmefull fowles about them fluttering, cride,
And with their wicked wings them oft did smight,
And sore annoyed, groping in that griesly night.
Euen all the nation of vnfortunate
And fatall birds about them flocked were,
Such as by nature men abhorre and hate,
The ill-faste Owle, deaths dreadfull messengere,
The hoars Night-rauen, trump of dolefull drere,
The lether-winged Bat, dayes enimy,
The ruefull Strich, still waiting on the bere,
The Whistler shrill, that who so heares, doth dy,
The hellish Harpies, prophets of sad destiny.
All those, and all that else does horrour breed,
About them flew, and fild their sayles with feare:
Yet stayd they not, but forward did proceed,
Whiles th'one did row, and th'other stifly steare;
Till that at last the weather gan to cleare,
And the faire land it selfe did plainly show.
Said then the Palmer, Lo where does appeare
The sacred soile, where all our perils grow;
Therefore, Sir knight, your ready armes about you throw.
He hearkned, and his armes about him tooke,
The whiles the nimble boate so well her sped,
That with her crooked keele the land she strooke,
Then forth the noble Guyon sallied,
And his sage Palmer, that him gouerned;
But th'other by his boate behind did stay.
They marched fairly forth, of nought ydred,
Both firmely armd for euery hard assay,
With constancy and care, gainst daunger and dismay.
Ere long they heard an hideous bellowing
Of many beasts, that roard outrageously,
As if that hungers point, or Venus sting
Had them enraged with fell surquedry;
Yet nought they feard, but past on hardily,
Vntill they came in vew of those wild beasts:
Who all attonce, gaping full greedily,
And rearing fiercely their vpstarting crests,
Ran towards, to deuoure those vnexpected guests.
But soone as they approcht with deadly threat,
The Palmer ouer them his staffe vpheld,
His mighty staffe, that could all charmes defeat:
Eftsoones their stubborne courages were queld,
And high aduaunced crests downe meekely feld,
In stead of fraying, they them selues did feare,
And trembled, as them passing they beheld:
Such wondrous powre did in that staffe appeare,
All monsters to subdew to him, that did it beare.
Of that same wood it fram'd was cunningly,
Of which Caduceus whilome was made,
Caduceus the rod of Mercury,
With which he wonts the Stygian realmes inuade,
Through ghastly horrour, and eternall shade;
Th'infernall feends with it he can asswage,
And Orcus tame, whom nothing can perswade,
And rule the Furyes, when they most do rage:
Such vertue in his staffe had eke this Palmer sage.
Thence passing forth, they shortly do arriue,
Whereas the Bowre of Blisse was situate;
A place pickt out by choice of best aliue,
That natures worke by art can imitate:
In which what euer in this worldly state
Is sweet, and pleasing vnto liuing sense,
Or that may dayntiest fantasie aggrate,
Was poured forth with plentifull dispence,
And made there to abound with lauish affluence.
Goodly it was enclosed round about,
Aswell their entred guestes to keepe within,
As those vnruly beasts to hold without;
Yet was the fence thereof but weake and thin;
Nought feard their force, that fortilage to win,
But wisedomes powre, and temperaunces might,
By which the mightiest things efforced bin:
And eke the gate was wrought of substaunce light,
Rather for pleasure, then for battery or fight.
Yt framed was of precious yuory,
That seemd a worke of admirable wit;
And therein all the famous history
Of Iason and Medæa was ywrit;
Her mighty charmes, her furious louing fit,
His goodly conquest of the golden fleece,
His falsed faith, and loue too lightly flit,
The wondred Argo, which in venturous peece
First through the Euxine seas bore all the flowr of Greece.
Ye might haue seene the frothy billowes fry
Vnder the ship, as thorough them she went,
That seemd the waues were into yuory,
Or yuory into the waues were sent;
And other where the snowy substaunce sprent
With vermell, like the boyes bloud therein shed,
A piteous spectacle did represent,
And otherwhiles with gold besprinkeled;
Yt seemd th'enchaunted flame, which did Creüsa wed.
All this, and more might in that goodly gate
Be red; that euer open stood to all,
Which thither came: but in the Porch there sate
A comely personage of stature tall,
And semblaunce pleasing, more then naturall,
That trauellers to him seemd to entize;
His looser garment to the ground did fall,
And flew about his heeles in wanton wize,
Not fit for speedy pace, or manly exercize.
They in that place him Genius did call:
Not that celestiall powre, to whom the care
Of life, and generation of all
That liues, pertaines in charge particulare,
Who wondrous things concerning our welfare,
And straunge phantomes doth let vs oft forsee,
And oft of secret ill bids vs beware:
That is our Selfe, whom though we do not see,
Yet each doth in him selfe it well perceiue to bee.
Therefore a God him sage Antiquity
Did wisely make, and good Agdistes call:
But this same was to that quite contrary,
The foe of life, that good enuyes to all,
That secretly doth vs procure to fall,
Through guilefull semblaunts, which he makes vs see.
He of this Gardin had the gouernall,
And Pleasures porter was deuizd to bee,
Holding a staffe in hand for more formalitee.
With diuerse flowres he daintily was deckt,
And strowed round about, and by his side
A mighty Mazer bowle of wine was set,
As if it had to him bene sacrifide;
Wherewith all new-come guests he gratifide:
So did he eke Sir Guyon passing by:
But he his idle curtesie defide,
And ouerthrew his bowle disdainfully;
And broke his staffe, with which he charmed semblants sly.
Thus being entred, they behold around
A large and spacious plaine, on euery side
Strowed with pleasauns, whose faire grassy ground
Mantled with greene, and goodly beautifide
With all the ornaments of Floraes pride,
Wherewith her mother Art, as halfe in scorne
Of niggard Nature, like a pompous bride
Did decke her, and too lauishly adorne,
When forth from virgin bowre she comes in th'early morne.
Thereto the Heauens alwayes Iouiall,
Lookt on them louely, still in stedfast state,
Ne suffred storme nor frost on them to fall,
Their tender buds or leaues to violate,
Nor scorching heat, nor cold intemperate
T'afflict the creatures, which therein did dwell,
But the milde air with season moderate
Gently attempred, and disposd so well,
That still it breathed forth sweet spirit & holesome smell.
More sweet and holesome, then the pleasaunt hill
Of Rhodope, on which the Nimphe, that bore
A gyaunt babe, her selfe for griefe did kill;
Or the Thessalian Tempe, where of yore
Faire Daphne Phoebus hart with loue did gore;
Or Ida, where the Gods lou'd to repaire,
When euer they their heauenly bowres forlore;
Or sweet Parnasse, the haunt of Muses faire;
Or Eden selfe, if ought with Eden mote compaire.
Much wondred Guyon at the faire aspect
Of that sweet place, yet suffred no delight
To sincke into his sence, nor mind affect,
But passed forth, and lookt still forward right,
Bridling his will, and maistering his might:
Till that he came vnto another gate,
No gate, but like one, being goodly dight
With boughes and braunches, which did broad dilate
Their clasping armes, in wanton wreathings intricate.
So fashioned a Porch with rare deuice,
Archt ouer head with an embracing vine,
Whose bounches hanging downe, seemed to entice
All passers by, to tast their lushious wine,
And did themselues into their hands incline,
As freely offering to be gathered:
Some deepe empurpled as the Hyacint,
Some as the Rubine, laughing sweetly red,
Some like faire Emeraudes, not yet well ripened.
And them amongst, some were of burnisht gold,
So made by art, to beautifie the rest,
Which did themselues emongst the leaues enfold,
As lurking from the vew of couetous guest,
That the weake bowes, with so rich load opprest,
Did bow adowne, as ouer-burdened.
Vnder that Porch a comely dame did rest,
Clad in faire weedes, but fowle disordered,
And garments loose, that seemd vnmeet for womanhed.
In her left hand a Cup of gold she held,
And with her right the riper fruit did reach,
Whose sappy liquor, that with fulnesse sweld,
Into her cup she scruzd, with daintie breach
Of her fine fingers, without fowle empeach,
That so faire wine-presse made the wine more sweet:
Thereof she vsd to giue to drinke to each,
Whom passing by she happened to meet:
It was her guise, all Straungers goodly so to greet.
So she to Guyon offred it to tast;
Who taking it out of her tender hond,
The cup to ground did violently cast,
That all in peeces it was broken fond,
And with the liquor stained all the lond:
Whereat Excesse exceedingly was wroth,
Yet no'te the same amend, ne yet withstond,
But suffered him to passe, all were she loth;
Who nought regarding her displeasure forward goth.
There the most daintie Paradise on ground,
It selfe doth offer to his sober eye,
In which all pleasures plenteously abound,
And none does others happinesse enuye:
The painted flowres, the trees vpshooting hye,
The dales for shade, the hilles for breathing space,
The trembling groues, the Christall running by;
And that, which all faire workes doth most aggrace,
The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place.
One would haue thought, (so cunningly, the rude,
And scorned parts were mingled with the fine,)
That nature had for wantonesse ensude
Art, and that Art at nature did repine;
So striuing each th'other to vndermine,
Each did the others worke more beautifie;
So diff'ring both in willes, agreed in fine:
So all agreed through sweete diuersitie,
This Gardin to adorne with all varietie.
And in the midst of all, a fountaine stood,
Of richest substaunce, that on earth might bee,
So pure and shiny, that the siluer flood
Through euery channell running one might see;
Most goodly it with curious imageree
Was ouer-wrought, and shapes of naked boyes,
Of which some seemd with liuely iollitee,
To fly about, playing their wanton toyes,
Whilest others did them selues embay in liquid ioyes.
And ouer all, of purest gold was spred,
A trayle of yuie in his natiue hew:
For the rich mettall was so coloured,
That wight, who did not well auis'd it vew,
Would surely deeme it to be yuie trew:
Low his lasciuious armes adown did creepe,
That themselues dipping in the siluer dew,
Their fleecy flowres they tenderly did steepe,
Which drops of Christall seemd for wantones to weepe.
Infinit streames continually did well
Out of this fountaine, sweet and faire to see,
The which into an ample lauer fell,
And shortly grew to so great quantitie,
That like a little lake it seemd to bee;
Whose depth exceeded not three cubits hight,
That through the waues one might the bottom see,
All pau'd beneath with Iaspar shining bright,
That seemd the fountaine in that sea did sayle vpright.
And all the margent round about was set,
With shady Laurell trees, thence to defend
The sunny beames, which on the billowes bet,
And those which therein bathed, mote offend.
As Guyon hapned by the same to wend,
Two naked Damzelles he therein espyde,
Which therein bathing, seemed to contend,
And wrestle wantonly, ne car'd to hyde,
Their dainty parts from vew of any, which them eyde.
Sometimes the one would lift the other quight
Aboue the waters, and then downe againe
Her plong, as ouer maistered by might,
Where both awhile would couered remaine,
And each the other from to rise restraine;
The whiles their snowy limbes, as through a vele,
So through the Christall waues appeared plaine:
Then suddeinly both would themselues vnhele,
And th'amarous sweet spoiles to greedy eyes reuele.
As that faire Starre, the messenger of morne,
His deawy face out of the sea doth reare:
Or as the Cyprian goddesse, newly borne
Of th'Oceans fruitfull froth, did first appeare:
Such seemed they, and so their yellow heare
Christalline humour dropped downe apace.
Whom such when Guyon saw, he drew him neare,
And somewhat gan relent his earnest pace,
His stubborne brest gan secret pleasaunce to embrace.
The wanton Maidens him espying, stood
Gazing a while at his vnwonted guise;
Then th'one her selfe low ducked in the flood,
Abasht, that her a straunger did avise:
But th'other rather higher did arise,
And her two lilly paps aloft displayd,
And all, that might his melting hart entise
To her delights, she vnto him bewrayd:
The rest hid vnderneath, him more desirous made.
With that, the other likewise vp arose,
And her faire lockes, which formerly were bownd
Vp in one knot, he low adowne did lose:
Which flowing long and thick, her cloth'd arownd,
And th'yuorie in golden mantle gownd:
So that faire spectacle from him was reft,
Yet that, which reft it, no lesse faire was fownd:
So hid in lockes and waues from lookers theft,
Nought but her louely face she for his looking left.
Withall she laughed, and she blusht withall,
That blushing to her laughter gaue more grace,
And laughter to her blushing, as did fall:
Now when they spide the knight to slacke his pace,
Them to behold, and in his sparkling face
The secret signes of kindled lust appeare,
Their wanton meriments they did encreace,
And to him beckned, to approch more neare,
And shewd him many sights, that courage cold could reare.
On which when gazing him the Palmer saw,
He much rebukt those wandring eyes of his,
And counseld well, him forward thence did draw.
Now are they come nigh to the Bowre of blis
Of her fond fauorites so nam'd amis:
When thus the Palmer; Now Sir, well auise;
For here the end of all our trauell is:
Here wonnes Acrasia, whom we must surprise,
Else she will slip away, and all our drift despise.
Etfsoones they heard a most melodious sound,
Of all that mote delight a daintie eare,
Such as attonce might not on liuing ground,
Saue in this Paradise, be heard elswhere:
Right hard it was, for wight, which did it heare,
To read, what manner musicke that mote bee:
For all that pleasing is to liuing eare,
Was there consorted in one harmonee,
Birdes, voyces, instruments, windes, waters, all agree.
The ioyous birdes shrouded in chearefull shade,
Their notes vnto the voyce attempred sweet;
Th'Angelicall soft trembling voyces made
To th'instruments diuine respondence meet:
The siluer sounding instruments did meet
With the base murmure of the waters fall:
The waters fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, now loud, vnto the wind did call:
The gentle warbling wind low answered to all.
There, whence that Musick seemed heard to bee,
Was the faire Witch her selfe now solacing,
With a new Louer, whom through sorceree
And witchcraft, she from farre did thither bring:
There she had him now layd a slombering,
In secret shade, after long wanton ioyes:
Whilst round about them pleasauntly did sing
Many faire Ladies, and lasciuious boyes,
That euer mixt their song with light licentious toyes.
And all that while, right ouer him she hong,
With her false eyes fast fixed in his sight,
As seeking medicine, whence she was stong,
Or greedily depasturing delight:
And oft inclining downe with kisses light,
For feare of waking him, his lips bedewd,
And through his humid eyes did sucke his spright,
Quite molten into lust and pleasure lewd;
Wherewith she sighed soft, as if his case she rewd.
The whiles some one did chaunt this louely lay;
Ah see, who so faire thing doest faine to see,
In springing flowre the image of thy day;
Ah see the Virgin Rose, how sweetly shee
Doth first peepe forth with bashfull modestee,
That fairer seemes, the lesse ye see her may;
Lo see soone after, how more bold and free
Her bared bosome she doth broad display;
Loe see soone after, how she fades, and falles away.
So passeth, in the passing of a day,
Of mortall life the leafe, the bud, the flowre,
Ne more doth flourish after first decay,
That earst was sought to decke both bed and bowre,
Of many a Ladie, and many a Paramowre:
Gather therefore the Rose, whilest yet is prime,
For soone comes age, that will her pride deflowre:
Gather the Rose of love, whilest yet is time,
Whilest louing thou mayst loued be with equall crime.
He ceast, and then gan all the quire of birdes
Their diuerse notes t'attune vnto his lay,
As in approuance of his pleasing words.
The constant paire heard all, that he did say,
Yet swarued not, but kept their forward way,
Through many couert groues, and thickets close,
In which they creeping did at last display
That wanton Ladie, with her louer lose,
Whose sleepie head she in her lap did soft dispose.
Vpon a bed of Roses she was layd,
As faint through heat, or dight to pleasant sin,
And was arayd, or rather disarayd,
All in a vele of silke and siluer thin,
That hid no whit her alablaster skin,
But rather shewd more white, if more might bee:
More subtile web Arachne can not spin,
Nor the fine nets, which oft we wouen see
Of scorched deaw, do not in th'aire more lightly flee.
Her snowy brest was bare to readie spoyle
Of hungry eies, which n'ote therewith be fild,
And yet through languour of her late sweet toyle,
Few drops, more cleare then Nectar, forth distild,
That like pure Orient perles adowne it trild,
And her faire eyes sweet smyling in delight,
Moystened their fierie beames, with which she thrild
Fraile harts, yet quenched not; like starry light
Which sparckling on the silent waues, does seeme more bright.
The young man sleeping by her, seemd to bee
Some goodly swayne of honorable place,
That certes it great pittie was to see
Him his nobilitie so foule deface;
A sweet regard, and amiable grace,
Mixed with manly sternnesse did appeare
Yet sleeping, in his well proportiond face,
And on his tender lips the downy heare
Did now but freshly spring, and silken blossomes beare.
His warlike armes, the idle instruments
Of sleeping praise, were hong vpon a tree,
And his braue shield, full of old moniments,
Was fowly ra'st, that none the signes might see;
Ne for them, ne for honour cared hee,
Ne ought, that did to his aduauncement tend,
But in lewd loues, and wastfull luxuree,
His dayes, his goods, his bodie he did spend:
O horrible enchantment, that him so did blend.
The noble Elfe, and carefull Palmer drew
So nigh them, minding nought, but lustfull game,
That suddein forth they on them rusht, and threw
A subtile net, which onely for the same
The skilfull Palmer formally did frame.
So held them vnder fast, the whiles the rest
Fled all away for feare of fowler shame.
The faire Enchauntresse, so vnwares opprest,
Tryde all her arts, & all her sleights, thence out to wrest.
And eke her louer stroue: but all in vaine;
For that same net so cunningly was wound,
That neither guile, nor force might it distraine.
They tooke them both, & both them strongly bound
In captiue bandes, which there they readie found:
But her in chaines of adamant he tyde;
For nothing else might keepe her safe and sound;
But Verdant (so he hight) he soone vntyde,
And counsell sage in steed thereof to him applyde.
But all those pleasant bowres and Pallace braue,
Guyon broke downe, with rigour pittilesse;
Ne ought their goodly workmanship might saue
Them from the tempest of his wrathfulnesse,
But that their blisse he turn'd to balefulnesse:
Their groues he feld, their gardins did deface,
Their arbers spoyle, their Cabinets suppresse,
Their banket houses burne, their buildings race,
And of the fairest late, now made the fowlest place.
Then led they her away, and eke that knight
They with them led, both sorrowfull and sad:
The way they came, the same retourn'd they right,
Till they arriued, where they lately had
Charm'd those wild-beasts, that rag'd with furie mad.
Which now awaking, fierce at them gan fly,
As in their mistresse reskew, whom they lad;
But them the Palmer soone did pacify.
Then Guyon askt, what meant those beastes, which there did ly.
Said he, These seeming beasts are men indeed,
Whom this Enchauntresse hath transformed thus,
Whylome her louers, which her lusts did feed,
Now turned into figures hideous,
According to their mindes like monstruous.
Sad end (quoth he) of life intemperate,
And mournefull meed of ioyes delicious:
But Palmer, if it mote thee so aggrate,
Let them returned be vnto their former state.
Streight way he with his vertuous staffe them strooke,
And streight of beasts they comely men became;
Yet being men they did vnmanly looke,
And stared ghastly, some for inward shame,
And some for wrath, to see their captiue Dame:
But one aboue the rest in speciall,
That had an hog beene late, hight Grille by name,
Repined greatly, and did him miscall,
That had from hoggish forme him brought to naturall.
Said Guyon, See the mind of beastly man,
That hath so soone forgot the excellence
Of his creation, when he life began,
That now he chooseth, with vile difference,
To be a beast, and lacke intelligence.
To whom the Palmer thus, The donghill kind
Delights in filth and foule incontinence:
Let Grill be Grill, and haue his hoggish mind,
But let vs hence depart, whilest wether serues and wind.
On to Book III
Back to Canto XI
Back to Book II Index