« PreviousContinue »
Untroubled Nature doth her selfe suffise,
joyes. At the well-head the purest streames arise; But mucky filth his braunching armes an
noyes, And with uncomely weedes the gentle wave accloyes.
16 "The antique world, in his first flowring
youth, Fownd no defect in his Creators grace; But with glad thankes, and unreproved
truth, The gifts of soveraine bounty did em
brace: Like Angels life was then mens happy cace; But later ages pride, like corn-fed steed, Abusd her plenty and fat swolne encrease To all licentious lust, and gan exceed The measure of her meane and naturall first need.
17 “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 silver to abound, Of which the matter of his huge desire And pompous pride eftsoones he did com
pound; Then avarice gan through his veines inspire His greedy flames and kindled life-devouring fire.”
18 “Sonne,” (said he then) “lett be thy bitter
scorne, And leave the rudenesse of that antique age To them that liv'd therin in state forlorne: Thou, that doest live in later times, must
wage Thy workes for wealth, and life for gold
engage. If then thee list my offred grace to use, Take what thou please of all this surplus
age; If thee list not, leave have thou to refuse: But thing refused doe not afterward accuse.
19 “Me list not” (said the Elfin knight) “re
ceave Thing offred, till I know it well be got;
"What secret place” (quoth he) "can safely
hold So huge a masse, and hide from heavens eie? Or where hast thou thy wonne, that so much
gold Thou canst preserve from wrong and rob
bery ?” “Come thou,” (quoth he) "and see.” So by
and by Through that thick covert he him led, and
fownd A darkesome way, which no man could des
cry, That deep descended through the hollow
ground, And was with dread and horror compassed arownd.
21 At length they came into a larger space, That stretcht itselfe into an ample playne; Through which a beaten broad high way did
trace, That streight did lead to Plutoes griesly
rayne. By that wayes side there sate internall
Payne, And fast beside him sat tumultuous Strife: The one in hand an yron whip did strayne, The other brandished a bloody knife; And both did gnash their teeth, and both
did threten life.
On thother side in one consort there sate Cruell Revenge, and rancorous Despight, Disloyall Treason, and hart-burning Hate; But gnawing Gealosy, out of their sight Sitting alone, his bitter lips did bight; And trembling Feare still to and fro did
fly, And found no place wher safe he shroud him
might: Lamenting Sorrow did in darknes lye, And shame his ugly face did hide from
And over them sad horror with grim hew
All these before the gates of Pluto lay,
27 Well hoped hee, ere long that hardy guest, If ever covetous hand, or lustfull eye, Or lips he layd on thing that likte him best, Or ever sleepe his eie-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 doe him
dye, And rend in peeces with his ravenous pawes, If ever he transgrest the fatall Stygian lawes.
28 That houses forme within was rude and
strong, Lyke an huge cave hewne out of rocky clifte, From whose rough vaut the ragged breaches
hong Embost with massy gold of glorious gifte, And with rich metall loaded every rifte, That heavy ruine they did seeme to threatt; And over them Arachne high did lifte Her cunning web, and spred her subtile
nett, Enwrapped in fowle smoke and clouds more
black then Jett.
Before the dore sat selfe-consuming Care, Day and night keeping wary watch and
ward, For feare least Force or Fraud should un
Breake in, and spoile the treasure there in
gard: Ne would he suffer Sleepe once thither-ward Approch albe his drowsy den were next; For next to death is Sleepe to be compard; Therefore his house is unto his annext: Here Sleep, ther Richesse, and Hel-gate
them both betwext.
29 Both roofe, and floore, and walls, were all
of gold, But overgrowne with dust and old decay, And hid in darkenes, that none could behold The hew thereof; for vew of cherefull day Did never in that house it selfe display, But a faint shadow of uncertein light: Such as a lamp, whose life does fade away, Or as the Moone, cloathed with clowdy
night, Does show to him that walkes in feare and sad affright.
30 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
So soon as Mammon there arrivd, the dore
may. Soone as he entred was, the dore streight
way Did shutt, 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
Them to efforce by violence or wrong:
were flong; Whose lives, it seemed, whilome there were
shed, And their vile carcases now left unburied.
35 Thence forward he him ledd, and shortly
brought Unto another rowme, whose dore forthright To him did open, as it had beene taught. Therein an hundred raunges weren pight, And hundred fournaces all burning bright: By every fournace many feendes did byde, Deformed creatures, horrible in sight; And every feend his busie paines applyde To melt the golden metall, ready to be tryde.
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 eie of man did never see before, Ne ever could within one place be fownd, Though all the wealth which is, or was of
yore, Could gathered be through all the world
arownd, And that above were added to that under grownd.
32 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 al men doe ayme, rich to be made: Such grace now to be happy is before
One with great bellowes gathered filling
ayre, And with forst wind the fewell did inflame; Another did the dying bronds repayre With yron tongs, and sprinckled ofte the
With liquid waves, fiers Vulcans rage to
tame, Who, maystring them, renewd his former
heat: Some scumd the drosse that from the metall
came; Some stird the molten owre with ladles
great ; And every one did swincke, and every one did sweat.
37 But, when an earthly wight they present
"Certes," (sayd he) "I n'ill thine offred
grace, Ne to be made so happy doe intend: Another blis before mine eyes I place, Another happines, 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
Glistring in armes and battailous aray, From their whot work they did themselves
withdraw To wonder at the sight; for till that day They never creature saw that cam that way: Their staring eyes sparckling with fervent
fyre And ugly shapes did nigh the man dismay, That, were it not for shame, he would re
tyre; Till that him thus bespake their soveraine
Lord and syre:
Thereat the feend his gnashing teeth did
grate, And griev'd so long to lacke his greedie
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 Culver in the Faulcons fist. Eternall God thee save from such decay! But, whenas Mammon saw his purpose mist, Him to entrap unwares another way he
38 “Behold, thou Faeries sonne, with mortall
eye, That living eye before did never see. The thing, that thou didst crave so earnestly, To weet whence all the wealth late shewd
by mee Proceeded, lo! now is reveald to thee. Here is the fountaine of the worldes good: Now, therefore, if thou wilt enriched bee,
Avise thee well, and chaunge thy wilfull For nothing might abash the villein bold, mood,
Ne mortall steele emperce his miscreated Least thou perhaps hereafter wish, and be mould. withstood.”
So having him with reason pacifyde, “Suffise it then, thou Money God,” (quoth And that fiers Carle commaunding to forhee)
beare, "That all thine ydle offers I refuse.
He brought him in. The rowme was large All that I need I have: what needth mee
and wyde, To cover more then I have cause to use? As it some Gyeld or solemne Temple weare. With such vaine shewes thy worldings vyle Many great golden pillours did upbeare abuse;
The massy roofe, and riches huge sustayne; But give me leave to follow mine emprise." And every pillour decked with full deare Mammon was much displeased, yet note he With crownes, and Diademes, and titles chuse
vaine, But beare the rigour of his bold mesprise; Which mortall Princes wore whiles they cn And thence him forward ledd him further
earth did rayne. to entise. 40
44 He brought him, through a darksom nar
A route of people there assembled were, row strayt,
Of every sort and nation under skye, To a broad gate all built of beaten gold: Which with great uprore preaced to draw The gate was open; but therein did wayt A sturdie villein, stryding stiffe and bold, To th’ upper part, where was advaunced hye As if the highest God defy he would : A stately siege of soveraine majestye; In his right hand an yron club he held,
And thereon satt a woman, gorgeous gay But he himselfe was al of golden mould,
And richly cladd in robes of royaltye, Yet had both life and sence, and well could
That never earthly Prince in such aray weld
His glory did enhaunce, and pompous pryde That cursed weapon, when his cruell foes display. he queld.
Her face right wondrous faire did seeme to Disdayne he called was, and did disdayne bee, To be so cald, and who so did him call: That her broad beauties beam great brightSterne was his looke, and full of stomacke nes threw vayne;
Through the dim shade, that all men might His portaunce terrible, and stature tall, Far passing th' hight of men terrestriall, Yet was not that same her owne native hew, Like an huge Gyant of the Titans race; But wrought by art and counterfetted shew, That made him scorne all creatures great Thereby more lovers unto her to call: and small,
Nath'lesse most hevenly faire in deed and And with his pride all others powre deface: More fitt emongst black fiendes then men to She by creation was, till she did fall; have his place.
Thenceforth she sought for helps to cloke 42
her crime withall. Soone as those glitterand armes he did
46 espye, That with their brightnesse made that dark- There, as in glistring glory she did sitt, nes light,
She held a great gold chaine ylincked well, His harmefull club he gan to hurtle hye, Whose upper end to highest heven was knitt, And threaten batteill to the Faery knight; And lower part did reach to lowest Hell; Who likewise gan himselfe to batteill dight, And all that preace did rownd about her Till Mammon did his hasty hand withhold, swell And counseld him abstaine from perilous To catchen hold of that long chaine, thereby fight;
To climbe aloft, and others to excell;
That was Ambition, rash desire to sty, And every linck thereof a step of dignity.
Some thought to raise themselves to high
degree By riches and unrighteous reward; Some by close shouldring; some by flat
teree; Others through friendes; others for base
regard, And all by wrong waies for themselves pre
pard: Those that were up themselves kept others
low; Those that were low themselves held others
hard, Ne suffred them to ryse or greater grow; But every one did strive his fellow downe to throw.
48 Which whenas Guyon saw, he gan inquire, What meant that preace about that Ladies
throne, And what she was that did so high aspyre? Him Mammon answered; "That goodly one, Whom all that folke with such contention Doe flock about, my deare, my daughter is: Honour and dignitie from her alone Derived are, and all this worldes blis, For which we men doe strive; few gett, but
And love avowd to other Lady late,
51 Mammon emmoved was with inward wrath; Yet, forcing it to fayne, him forth thence
ledd, Through griesly shadowes by a beaten path, Into a gardin goodly garnished. With hearbs and fruits, whose kinds mote
not be redd: Not such as earth out of her fruitful woomb Throwes forth to men, sweet and well
savored, But direfull deadly black, both leafe and
bloom, Fitt to adorne the dead, and deck the drery toombe.
52 There mournfull Cypress grew in greatest
store, And trees of bitter Gall, and Heben sad; Dead sleeping Poppy, and black Hellebore; Cold Coloquintida and Tetra mad; Mortall Samnitis, and Cicuta bad, With which th' unjust Atheniens made to
dy Wise Socrates; who, thereof quaffing glad, Pourd out his life and last Philosophy To the fayre Critias, his dearest Belamy.
53 The Gardin of Proserpina this hight; And in the midst thereof a silver seat, With a thick Arber goodly over-dight, In which she often usd from open heat Her selfe to shroud, and pleasures to en
treat: Next thereunto did grow a goodly tree, With braunches broad dispredd and body
great, Clothed with leaves, that none the wood
"And fayre Philotime she rightly hight, The fairest wight that wonneth under skie, But that this darksom neather world her
light Doth dim with horror and deformity; Worthie of heven and hye felicitie, From whence the gods have her for envy
thrust: But, sith thou hast found favour in mine
eye, Thy spouse, I will her make, if that thou
lust, That she may thee advance for works and merits just.”
50 “Gramercy, Mammon," (said the gentle
knight) "For so great grace and offred high estate; But I, that am fraile flesh and earthly wight, Cnworthy match for such immortall mate My selfe well wote, and mine unequall fate: And were I not, yet is my trouth yplight,
And loaden all with fruit as thick as it might bee.
54 Their fruit were golden apples glistring
bright, That goodly was their glory to behold; On earth like never grew, ne living wight Like ever saw, but they from hence were
sold; For those which Hercules, with conquest