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A hanDER lesson to learn continence
In ioyous pleasure then in grievous paine :
For sweetnesse doth allure the weaker sence
So strongly, that uneathes it can refraine
From that which feeble nature covets faine :
But griefe and wrath, that be her enemies
And foes of life, she better can restraine :
Yet Vertue vauntes in both her victories;
And Guyon in them all shewes godly maysteries.

Whom bold Cymochles traveiling to finde,
With cruell purpose bent to wreake on him
The wrath which Atin kindled in his mind,
Came to a river, by whose utmost brim
Wayting to passe he saw whereas did swim
Along the shore, as swift as glaunce of eye,
A litle gondelay, bedecked trim
With boughes and arbours woven cunningly,
That like a litle forrest seemed outwardly.

And therein sate a lady fresh and fayre,
Making sweete solace to herselfe alone :
Sometimes she song as lowd as larke in ayre,
Sometimes she laught, that nigh her breath was
gone ;
Yet was there not with her else any one,
That to her might move cause of meriment:
Matter of merth enough, though there was none,
She could devise; and thousand waies invent
To feede her foolish humour and vaine iolliment.

Which when far off Cymochles heard and saw,
He lowdly cald to such as were abord
The little barke unto the shore to draw,
And him to ferry over that deepe ford.
The merry mariner unto his word
Soon hearkned, and her painted bote streightway
Turnd to the shore, where that same warlike lord
She in receiv'd ; but Atin by no way
She would admit, albe the knight her much did

pray.

Eftsoones her shallow ship away did slide,
More swift then swallow sheres the liquid skye,
Withouten oare or pilot it to guide,
Or winged canvas with the wind to fly:
Onely she turnd a pin, and by and by
It cut away upon the yielding wave,
(Ne cared she her course for to apply)
For it was taught the way which she would have,
And both from rocks and flats itself could wisely
SaWe.

And all the way the wanton damsell found
New merth her passenger to entertaine;
For she in pleasant purpose did abound,
And greatly ioyed merry tales to fayne,
Of which a store-house did with her remaine;
Yet seemed, nothing well they her became,
For all herwordes she drownd with laughter vaine,
And wanted grace in utt’ring of the same,
That turned all her pleasaunce to a scoffing game

And other whiles vain toyes she would devize,
As her fantasticke wit did most delight:
Sometimes her head she fondly would aguize
With gaudy girlonds, or fresh flowrets dight
About her necke, or rings of rushes plight:
Sometimes, to do him laugh, she would assay
To laugh at shaking of the leavés light,
Or to behold the water worke and play
About her little frigot, therein making way.

Her light behaviour and loose dalliaunce
Gave wondrous great contentment to the knight,
That of his way he had no sovenaunce,
Nor care of vow’d revenge and cruell fight;
But to weake wench did yield his martiall might.
So easie was to quench his flamed minde
With one sweete drop of sensuall delight ! .
So easie is tappease the stormy winde
Of malice in the calme of pleasaunt womankind

Diverse discourses in their way they spent;
Mongst which Cymochles of her questioned
Both what she was, and what that usage ment,
Which in her cott she daily practized:

“Waine man,” said she, “that wouldest be reckoned
A straunger in thy home, and ignorant
Of Phaedria, (for so my name is red)
Of Phaedria, thine own fellow servaunt;
For thou to serve Acrasia thy selfe doest vaunt.

“In this wide inland sea, that hight by name
The Idle Lake, my wandring ship 1 row,
That knowes her port, and thether sayles by ayme,
Ne care ne feare I how the wind to blow,
Or whether swift I wend or whether slow :
Both slow and swift alike do serve my tourne;
Ne swelling Neptune ne lowd-thundring love
Can chaunge my cheare, or make me ever mourne:
My litle boat can safely passe this perilous bourne.”

Whiles thus she talked, and whiles thus she toyd,
They were far past the passage which he spake,
And come unto an island waste and voyd,
That floated in the midst of that great lake :
There her small gondelay her port did make,
And that gay payre issewing on the shore
Disburdned her: their way they forward take
Into the land that lay them faire before,
Whose pleasaunce she him shewd, and plentifull
great store.

It was a chosen plott of fertile land,
Emongst wide waves sett, like a litle nest,
As if it had by Natures cunning hand
Bene choycely picked out from all the rest,
And laid forth for ensample of the best :
No daintie flowre or herbe that growes on ground,
No arborett with painted blossomes drest

And smelling sweete, but there it might be fownd To bud out faire, and her sweete smels throwe all arownd.

No tree, whose braunches did not bravely spring;
No braunch, whereon a fine bird did not sitt;
No bird, but did her shrill notes sweetly sing ;
No song, but did containe a lovely ditt.
Trees, braunches, birds, and songs, were framed fitt
For to allure fraile mind to carelesse ease.
Carelesse the man soone woxe, and his weake witt
Was overcome of thing that did him please:
So pleased did his wrathfull purpose faire appease.

Thus when shee had his eyes and sences fed
With false delights, and fild with pleasures vayn,
Into a shady dale she soft him led,
And layd him downe upon a grassy playn ;
And her sweete selfe without dread or disdayn
She sett beside, laying his head disarmd
In her loose lap, it softly to sustayn,
Where soone he slumbered fearing not be harmd:
The whiles with a love lay she thus him sweetly
charind: -

“Behold, O man, that toilesome paines doest take, The flow.rs, the fields, and all that pleasaunt growes, How they themselves doe thine ensample make, Whiles nothing envious Nature them forth throwes Out of her fruitfull lap ; how, no man knowes, They spring, they hud, they blossome fresh and faire,

And decke the world with their rich pompous show es;

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