Imágenes de página
[blocks in formation]

Breeds dreadful doubts: oft fire is without

smoke, And peril without show; therefore your

stroke, Sir Knight, withhold, till further trial

made. Ah, Lady," said he, “shame were to

revoke The forward footing for an hidden shade: Virtue gives herself light through darkness

for to wade."

And forth they pass, with pleasure forward

led, Joying to hear the birds' sweet harmony, Which therein shrouded from the tempest dread,

(sky. Seemed in their song to scorn the cruel Much can they praise the trees so straight

and highThe sailing pine; the cedar proud and tall ; The vine-prop elm; the poplar never dry; The builder oak, sole king of forests all ; The aspen good for staves, the cypress

funeral ; The laurel, meed of mighty conquerors And poets sage; the fir that weepeth still; The willow, worn of förlorn paramours; The yew, obedient to the bender's will ; The birch for shafts; the sallow for the

[wound; The myrrh sweet-bleeding in the bitter The warlike beech; the ash for nothing ill; The fruitful olive; and the platane round; The carver holm; the maple, seldom in.

ward sound.


Led with delight, they thus beguile the way, Until the blustering storm is overblown ; When, weening to return whence they did stray,

[shown, They cannot find that path which first was But wander to and fro in ways unknown, Farthest from end then when they nearest ween,

[their own; That makes them doubt their wits be not So many paths, so many turnings seen, That which of them to take in diverse

doubt they been. At last resolving forward still to fare, Till that some end they find, or in or out, That path they take that beaten seemed

most bare, And like to lead the labyrinth about ; Which when by tract they hunted had

throughout, At length it brought them to a hollow cave Amid the thickest woods. The champion stout

[brave, Eftsoones dismounted from his courser And to the dwarf awhile his needless spe

THE HOUSE OF SLEEP. He making speedy way through 'spersed

air, And through the world of waters, wide

and deep, To Morpheus' house doth hastily repair. Amid the bowels of the earth full steep, And low, where dawning day doth never

peep, His dwelling is; there Thetis his wet bed Doth ever wash, and Cynthia still doth

steep In silver dew his ever-drooping head, Whiles sad Night over him her mantle

black doth spread. Whose double gates he findeth locked fast, The one, fair framed of burnished ivory, The other, all with silver overcast; And wakeful dogs before them far do lie, Watching to banish Care, their enemy, Who oft is wont to trouble gentle Sleep. By them the sprite doth pass in quietly, And unto Morpheus comes, whom drowned

deep In drowsy fits he finds; of nothing he takes


And more to lull him in his slumber soft, A trickling stream, from high rock tumbling

down, And ever drizzling rain upon the loft, Mixed with a murmuring wind, much like

the soune Of swarming bees, did cast him in a swoon. Noother noise, nor peoples' troublous cries, As still are wont t'annoy the wallèd town, Might there be heard ; but careless Quiet

lies Wrapped in eternal silence, far from


he gave.

"Be well aware," quoth then that lady mild,

Tvoke : "Lest sudden mischief ye too rash proThe danger hid, the place unknown and


[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]



His own two hands the holy knots did knit, That none but death for ever can divide; His own two hands, for such a turn most

fit, The housling fire did kindle and provide, And holy water thereon sprinkled wide ; At which the bushy teade agroom did light, And sacred lamp in secret chamber hide, Where it should not be quenchèd day nor night,

[bright. For fear of evil fates, but burnen ever

Then gan they sprinkle all the posts with wine,

[day: And made great feast to solemnize that They all perfumed with frankincense divine, And precious odours fetched from far away, That all the house did sweat with great

array. And all the while sweet music did apply Hercurious skill the warbling notes to play, To drive away the dull melancholy ; The whiles one sang a song of love and

jollity. During the which there was an heavenly noise

[santly, Heard sound through all the palace pleaLike as it had been many an angel's voice Singing before th' Eternal Majesty, In their trinal triplicities on high : Yet wist no creature whence that heavenly

sweet Proceeded, yet each one felt secretly Himself thereby reft of his senses meet, And ravished with rare impression in his


As those unruly beasts to hold without; Yet was the fence thereof but weak and

thin ; Nought feared their force, that fortilace to win,

[might, But Wisdom's power, and Temperance's By which the mightiest things efforced bin : And eke the gate was wrought of substance light,

[fight. Rather for pleasure than for battery or It framed was of precious ivory, That seemed a work of admirable wit ; And therein all the famous history Of Jason and Medæa was ywrit; Her mighty charms, her furious loving fit; His goodly conquest of the golden fleece, His falsèd faith, and love too lightly flit ; The wond'red Argo, which in venturous piece

(flow'r of Greece. First through the Euxine seas bore all the Ye might have seen the frothy billows fry Under the ship as thorough them she went, That seemed the waves were into ivory, Or ivory into the waves were sent ; Andotherwhere the snowy substance sprent With vermeil, like the boy's blood therein

shed, A piteous spectacle did represent; And otherwhiles with gold besprinkelėd Is seemed th' enchanted flame, which did

Crëusa wed.


THENCE passing forth, they shortly do

arrive Whereas the Bower of Bliss was situate ; A place picked out by choice of best alive That nature's work by art can imitate : In which whatever in this worldly state Is sweet and pleasing unto living sense, Or that may daintiest fantasy aggrate, Was poured forth with plentiful dispense, And made there to abound with lavish

affluence. Goodly it was enclosed round about, As well their entered guests to keep within,

All this and more might in that goodly gate Be read, that ever open stood to all Which thither came; but in the porch there

sate A comely personage of stature tall, And semblance pleasing, more than na

tural, That travell’rs to him seemed to entice : His looser garment to the ground did fall, And flew about his heels in wanton wise, Nor fit for speedy pace or manly exercise. They in that place him Genius did call : Not that celestial Pow'r, to whom the care Of life, and generation of all That lives, pertains in charge particular, Who wondrous things concerning our

welfare And strange phantoms, doth let us oft

foresee, And oft of secret ills bids us beware : That is our Self, whom though we do

not see,

[be : Yet each doth in himself it well perceive to

[blocks in formation]

Thus being entered, they behold around A large and spacious plain on every side Strowed with pleasaunce ; whose fair

grassy ground Mantled with green, and goodly beautified With all the ornaments of Flora's pride, Wherewith her mother Art, as half in


Of niggard Nature, like a pompous bride Did deck her, and too lavishly adorn, When forth from virgin bow'r she comes in

th' early morn. Thereto the heavens always jovial Looked on them lovely, still in steadfast

state, Ne suffered storm nor frost on them to

fall, Their tender buds or leaves to violate: Nor scorching heat, nor cold intemperate, T'afflict the creatures which therein did

dwell ; But the mild air with season moderate Gently attempered and disposed so well, That still it breathèd forth sweet spirit and

wholesome smell.

So fashioned a porch with rare device, Arched overhead with an embracing vine, Whose bunches hanging down seemed to

entice All passers-by to taste their luscious wine, And did themselves into their hands in.

cline, As freely offering to be gathered ; Some deep empurpled as the hyacine, Some as the ruby laughing sweetly red, Some like fair emeralds, not yet well

ripened: And them amongst some were of burnished

gold, So made by art to beautify the rest, Which did themselves amongst the leaves

enfold, As lurking from the view of covetous guest, That the weak boughs with so rich load

opprest Did bow adown as overburdened. Under that porch a comely dame did rest Clad in fair weeds but foul disordered, And garments loose that seemed unmeet

for womanhead:

More sweet and wholesome than the pleasant hill

(bore Of Rhodope, on which the nymph, that A giant babe, herself for grief did kill ;

In her left hand a cup of gold she held, And with her right the riper fruit did reach, Whose sappy liquor, that with fulness

swelled, Into her cup she scruzed with dainty breach Of her fine fingers, without foul empeach,

* A carved bowl of maple wood.

[blocks in formation]

That so fair winepress made the wine more

sweet. Thereof she used to give to drink to each Whom passing by she happened to meet: It was her guise all strangers goodly so to


And over all of purest gold was spread
A trail of ivy in his native hue ;
For the rich metal was so coloured,
That wight, who did not well avised it view,
Would surely deem it to be ivy true.
Low his lascivious arms adown did creep,
That themselves dipping in the silver dew
Their fleecy flowers they fearfully did steep,
Which drops of crystal seemed for wan-

tonness to weep.
Infinite streams continually did well
Out of this fountain, sweet and fair to see,
The which into an ample laver fell,
And shortly grew to so great quantity,
That like a little lake it seemed to be ;
Whose depth exceeded not three cubits

height, That through the waves one might the

bottom see, All paved beneath with jaspar shining bright,

(sail upright. That seemed the fountain in that sea did

[blocks in formation]

So she to Guyon offered it to taste,
Who, taking it out of her tender hond,
The cup to ground did violently cast,
That all in pieces it was broken fond,
And with the liquor stained all the lond:
Whereat Excess exceedingly was wroth,
Yet no'te the same amend, ne yet with-

stond, But suffered him to pass, all were she loth: Who, nought regarding her displeasure,

forward goth. There the most dainty paradise on ground Itself doth offer to his sober eye, In which all pleasures plenteously abound, And none does other's happiness envy ; The painted flowers; the trees upshooting

high; The dales for shade; the hills for breath

ing space ; The trembling groves; the crystal running

by; And, that which all fair works doth most

aggrace, The art, which all that wrought, appeared

in no place. One would have thought (so cunningly

the rude And scorned parts were mingled with the

fine), That Nature had for wantoness ensued Art, and that Art of Nature did repine ; So striving each th' other to undermine, Each did the other's work more beautify; So differing both in wills agreed in fine : So all agreed, through sweet diversity, This garden to adorn with all variety. And in the midst of all a fountain stood, Ofrichest substance that on earth might be, So pure and shiny that the silver flood Through every channel running one might

see ; Most goodly it with curious imagery Was overwrought, and shapes of naked

boys, Of which some seemed of lively jollity To fly about, playing their wanton toys, Whilst others did themselves embay in

liquid joys.

Eftsoones they heard a most melodious

sound Of all that mote delight a dainty ear, Such as at once might not on living ground, Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere: Right hard it was for wight which did it

hear To read what manner music that mote be; For all that pleasing is to living ear Was there consorted in one harmony; Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters,

all agree : The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade,

[sweet ; Their notes unto the voice attempered The angelical soft trembling voices made To th' instruments divine respondence

meet; The silver-sounding instruments did meet With the base murmur of the waters' fall ; The waters fall with difference discreet, Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did

[all. The gentle warbling wind low answered to The whiles some one did chant this lovely

lay: Ah! soe, whoso fair thing dost fain to see, In springing flower the image of thy day! Ah! see the virgin rose, how sweetly she Doth first peep forth with bashful modesty; That fairer seems the less ye see her may! Lo! see soon after how more bold and free

call ;

« AnteriorContinuar »