Page images
PDF
EPUB

xxvi

So soone as Mammon there arriv’d, the dore .

To him did open, and affoorded way ;
Him followed eke Sir Guyon evermore,
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 ugly feend, more fowle then dismall day,

The which with monstrous stalke behind him stept, And ever as he went, dew watch upon him kept.

xxvii

Well hoped he, ere long that hardy guest,

If ever covetous hand, or lustfull eye,
Or lips he layd on thing, that likt him best,
Or ever sleepe his eye-strings did untye,
Should be his pray. And therefore still on hye
He over him did hold his cruell clawes,
Threatning with greedy gripe to do him dye
And rend in peeces with his ravenous pawes,
If ever he transgrest the fatall Stygian lawes.

That houses forme within was rude and strong, xxviii

Like an huge cave, 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 every rift,
That heavy ruine they did seeme to threat ;
And over them Arachne high did lift

Her cunning web, and spred her subtile net, Enwrapped in fowle smoke and clouds more blacke then Jet.

Both roofe, and floore, and wals were all of gold, xxix

But overgrowne with dust and old decay,
And hid in darkenesse, that none could behold
The hew thereof: for vew of chearefull day
Did never in that house it selfe display,

But a faint shadow of uncertain 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.

XXX

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 every side they placed were along.
But all the ground with sculs was scattered,
And dead mens bones, which round about were flong,

Whose lives, it seemed, whilome there were shed,
And their vile carcases now left unburied.

xxxi

They forward passe, ne Guyon yet spoke word,

Till that they came unto an yron dore,
Which to them opened of his owne accord,
And shewd of richesse such exceeding store,
As eye of man did never see before ;
Ne ever 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 above were added to that under ground.

xxxis

The charge thereof unto a covetous Spright

Commaunded was, who thereby did attend,
And warily awaited day and night,
From other covetous 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.

Xxxiii

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 atchievements brave, Do rather choose my flitting houres to spend, And to be Lord of those, that riches have, Then them to have my selfe, and be their servile sclave.

The Powers of the Mind

Book II, Canto IX, xlvii–lvii NE can I tell, ne can I stay to tell

xlvii
This parts great workmanship, and wondrous powre,
That all this other worlds worke doth excell,
And likest is unto that heavenly towre,
That God hath built for his owne blessed bowre.
Therein were diverse roomes, and diverse stages,
But three the chiefest, and of greatest powre,

In which there dwelt three honorable sages,
The wisest men, I weene, that lived in their ages.

Not he, whom Greece, the Nourse of all good arts, xlviii.

By Phoebus doome, the wisest thought alive,
Might be compar'd to these by many parts :
Nor that sage Pylian syre, which did survive
Three ages, such as mortall men contrive,
By whose advise old Priams cittie fell,
With these in praise of pollicies mote strive.

These three in these three roomes did sundry dwell,
And counselled faire Alma, how to governe well.

xlix

The first of them could things to come foresee :

The next could of things present best advize ;
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 prejudize :
He had a sharpe foresight, and working wit,
That never 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 never yit,
Ne can devized be of mortall wit;
Some daily seene, and knowen by their names,
Such as in idle fantasies doe flit :

Infernall Hags, Centaurs, feendes, Hippodanes,
Apes, Lions, Ægles, Owles, fooles, lovers, children, Dames.

And all the chamber filled was with flyeß,

Which buzzed all about, and made such sound,
That they encombred all mens eares and eyes,
Like many $warmes of Bees assembled round,
After their hives with honny do abound :
All those were idle thoughts and fantasies,
- Devices, dreames, opinions unsound,

Shewes, visions, sooth-sayes, and prophesies: What to a los And all that fained is, as leașings, tales, and lies 3

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 •
2179°12

liii

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 having 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 judgements, 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 liv

There sate a man of ripe and perfect age,
Who did them meditate all his life long,
That through continuall practise and usage,
He now was growne right wise, and wondrous sage.
Great pleasure had those stranger knights, to see
His goodly reason, and grave 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,

lv And therefore was removed farre behind, Yet were the wals, that did the same uphold, Right firme and strong, though somewhat they declind ; And therein sate an old oldman, halfe blind, And all decrepit in his feeble corse, Yet lively 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,

Ivi And things foregone through many ages held, Which he recorded still, as they did pas,

« PreviousContinue »