Page images
PDF

Of many a lady, 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 loving thou mayot loved be with equall crime.

He ceast; and then gan all the quire of birdes
Their divers notes to attune unto his lay,
As in approvaunce of his pleasing wordes.
The constant payre heard all that he did say,
Yet swarved not, but kept their forward way
Through many covert groves and thickets close,
In which they creeping did at last display
That wanton lady with her lover lose,
Whose sleepie head she in her lap did soft dispose.

Upon 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 silver thin,
That hid no whit her alablaster skin,
But rather shewd more white, if more might bee:
More subtile web Arachne cannot spin;
Nor the fine nets, which oft we woven see [flee.
Of scorched deaw, do not in th’ ayre more lightly

Her snowy brest was bare to ready 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 beamcs, with which she
thrild -

Fraile harts, yet quenched not; like starry light, Which, sparckling on the silent waves, does seeme more bright.

The young man, sleeping by her, seemd to be
So..ie goodly swayne of honorable place;
That certes it great pitty was to see
Him his nobility so fowle deface:
A sweet regard and amiable grace,
Mixed with manly sternesse, did appeare,
Yet sleeping, in his well-proportiond face;
And on his tender lips the downy heare [beare.
Did now but freshly spring, and silken blossoms

His warlike armes, the ydle instruments
Of sleeping praise, were hong upon a tree;
And his brave shield, full of old moniments,
Was fowly ras’t that none the signes might see;
Ne for them ne for honour cared hee,
Ne ought that did to his advauncement tend;
But in lewd loves, and wastefull luxuree,
His dayes, his goods, his bodie he did spend:
0 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 only for that same
The skilfull palmer formally did frame :
So held them under fast; the whiles the rest
Fled all away for feare of fowler shame.
The faire enchauntresse, so unwares opprest,
Tryde all her arts and all her sleights thence out
to Wrest.

And eke her lover strove ; but all in vaine :
For that same net so cunningly was wound,
That neither guile nor force might it distraine.
They tooke them both, and both them strongly
bound
In captive 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 untyde,
And counsell sage in steed thereof to him applyde,

But all those pkeasaunt bowres, and pallace brave,
Guyon broke downe with rigour pittilesse ;
Ne ought their goodly workmanship might save
Them from the tempest of his wrathfulnesse,
But that their blisse he turn’d to balefulnesse ;
Their groves he feld ; their gardins did deface;
Their arbers spoyle; their cabinets suppresse;
Their banket-houses burne; their buildings race;
And, of the fayrest late, now made their 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 arrived 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.

Say’d he: “These seeming beastes are men in deed,
Whom this enchauntresse hath transformed thus;
Whylome her lovers, which her lustes did feed,
Now turned into figures hideous,
According to their mindes like monstruous.”
“Sad end,” quoth he, “of life intemperate,
And mourneful meed of ioyes delicious !
But, palmer, if it mote thee so aggrate,
Let them returned be unto their former state.”

Streightway he with his vertuous staffe then strooke,
And streight of beastes they comely men became ;
Yet being men they did unmanly looke,
And stared ghastly; some for inward shame,
And some for wrath to see their captive dame :
But one above the rest in speciall
That had an hog beene late, hight Grylle by name,
Repyned greatly, and did him miscall [turall.
That had from hoggish forme him brought to na-

Saide 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 l’”
To whom the palmer thus; “The donghill kinde
Delightes in filth and fowle incontinence:
Let Gryll be Gryll, and have his hoggish minde ;
But let us hence depart whilest wether serves and
winde.”

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Most sacred fyre, that burnest mightily
In living brests, ykindled first above
Emongst th' eternall spheres and lamping sky,
And thence pourd into men, which men call Love;
Not that same, which doth base affections move
In brutish mindes, and filthy lust inflame ;
But that sweete fit that doth true beautie love,
And choseth Vertue for his dearest dame,
Whence spring all noble deeds and never-dying
fame:

Well did Antiquity a god thee deeme,
That over mortall mindes hast so great might,
To order them as best to thee doth seeme,
And all their actions to direct aright:

« PreviousContinue »