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What secret place, quoth he, can safely hold
So huge a mass, and hide from heavens eye?
Or where haft thou thy wonne, that so much gold
Thou canst preserve from wrong and robbery?
Come thou, quoth he, and see. So by and by
Through that thick covert he him led, and found
A darksome way, which no man could descry,
That deep descended through the hollow ground,
And was with dread and horrour compassed around.
At length they came into a larger space,
That stretcht itself into an ample plain,
Through which a beaten broad highway did trace,
That itrait did lead to Plutos griesly reign:
By that ways side, there face infernal Pain,
And fàft beside him fate tumultuous Strife :
The one in hand an iron whip did strain;
The other brandished a bloody knife,
And both did gnash their teeth, and both did threaten life,
On th' other side, in one consort there fate
Cruel Revenge, and rancorous Despight,
Disloyal Treason, and heart-burning Hate:
But gnawing Jealousy, out of their sight
Sitting alone, his bitter lips did bite,
And trembling Fear still to and fro did fly,
And found no place, where safe he shroud him might;
Lamenting Sorrow did in darkness lye,
And shame his ugly face did hide from living eye.
And over them fad Horrour, with grim hew,
Did always foar, beating his iron wings ;
And after him, owls and Night-ravens flew,
The hateful messengers of heavy things,
Of death and dolour telling sad tydings;
Whiles fad Celeno, fitting on a clift,
A song of bale and bitter forrow sings,
That heart of Aint asunder could have rift:
Which having ended, after him the flyech swift.
All these before the gates of Pluto lay,
By whom the; palling, spake unto them nought.
But th' Elfin Knight with wonder all the way
Did feed his eyes, and fill’d his inner thought.
At last him to a little door he brought,
That to the gate of hell which gaped wide,
Was next adjoyning, ne them parted ought:
Betwixt them both was but a little stride,
That did the house of riches from hell-mouth divide.
Before the door fate self-consuming Care,
Day and night keeping wary watch and ward,
For fear leait Force or Fraud should unaware
Break in, and spoil the treasure there in guard :
Ne would he suffer Sleep once thitherward
Approach, albe his drowsie den were next;
For next to death is sleep to be compar'd:
Therefore his house is unto his annext;
Here Sleep, thereRiches, and Hell-gate them both betwixt.
So soon as Mammon there arriv'd, the door
To him did open and afforded way;
Him follow'd eke Sir Guyon evermore,
Ne darkness him, ne danger might dismay.
Soon as he entred was, the door straightway
Did shut, and from behind it forth there lepo
An ugly fiend, more foul than dismal day,
The which with monstrous stalk behind him stept, And ever as he went, due watch upon him kept.
Well hoped he, ere long that hardy guest,
If ever covetous hand, or luftful
Or lips he laid on thing, that like him best,
Or ever neep his eye-strings did untye,
Should be his prey. And therefore still on high
He over him did hold his cruel claws,
Threatning with greedy gripe to do him die,
And rend in pieces with his ravenous paws,
If ever he transgreft the fatal Stygian laws.
That houses-form within was rude and strong,
Like an huge cave, hewo out of rocky clift,
From whose rough vault the ragged breaches hong,
Emboft with mally gold of glorious gift,
And with rich metal loaded every rift,
That heavy ruin they did seem to threat;
And over them Arachne high did lift
Her cunning web, and spred her subtle net, Enwrapped in foulsmoak and clouds more black than Jeta
Both roof, and floor, and walls were all of gold,
But overgrown with dust and old decay,
And hid in darkness, that none could behold
The hue thereof: for view of chearful day
Did never in that house it self display,
But a faint shadow of uncertain light;
Such as a lamp, whose life does fade away :
Or as the Moon clothed with cloudy night,
Does New to him, that walks in fear and fad affright,
In all that room was nothing to be seen,
But huge great Iron chests and coffers strong,
All barr'd with double bends, that none could ween
Them to efforce by violence or wrong;
On every side they placed were along.
But all the ground with sculls was scattered,
And dead men's bones, which round about were flong,
Whose lives (it seemed) whilome there were shed,
And their vile carcases now left unburied.
They forward pass, ne Guyon yet spoke word,
Till that they came unto an iron dore,
Which to them open’d of its own accord,
And shew'd of riches 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 gather'd be through all the world around,
And that above were added to that under ground.
The charge thereof unto a covetous fpright
Commanded was, - who thereby did attend.
And warily awaited day and night,
From other covetous fiends it to defend,
Who it to rob and ranfack did intend.
Then Mammon, turning to that warriour, faid;
Lo, here the worldës bliss: 1o, here ihe end,
To which all men do aim, rich to be made :
Such grace now to be happy, is before thee laid.
Certes, said he, I n'ill thine offred grace,
Ne to be made so happy do intend :
Another bliss before mine eyes I place,
Another happiness, another end.
To them that list, these base regards I lend:
But I in arms, and in atchievements brave,
Do rather choose my fitting hours to spend,
And to be Lord of those that riches have,
Than them to have myself, and be their servile llave.
Thereat the fiend his gnathing teeth did grate,
And griev'd so long to lack his greedy prey :
For well he weened, that so glorious bait
Would tempt his guest, to take thereof assay:
Had he so doen, he had him snaccht away,
More light than Culver in the Faulcons fift.
(Eternal God thee fave from such decay.)
But whenas Mammon saw his purpose mist,
Him to entrap unwares anothers way he wist.
Thence forward he him led, and shortly brought
Unto another room, whose door forthright
To him did open, as it had been taught:
Therein an hundred ranges weren pight,
And hundred furnaces all burning bright;
By every furnace many fiends did bide,
Deforined creatures, horrible in fight,
And every fiend his bufie pains apply'd,
To melt the golden metal, ready to be try'd..
One with great beliows gather'd filling air,
And with forct wind the fuel did inflame;
Another did the dying bronds repair
With iron tongs, and sprinkled oft the same
With liquid waves, fierce Vulcan's rage to tame,
Who maistring them renew'd his former heat;
Some scum'd the dross that from the metal came;
Some stir'd the molten owre with ladles great;
And every one did swink, and every one did sweat.
But whenas earthly wight they present faw,
Glistring in arms and battailous array,
From their hot work they did themselves withdraw.
To wonder at the light : for till that day,
They never creature saw that came that way.
Their staring eyes sparkling with fervent fire,
And ugly shapes did nigh the man dismay,
That were it not for shame he would retire,
Till that him thus bespake their Soveraine Lord and Sire.
Behold, thou Fairies Son with mortal eye,
That living eye before did never see:
The thing which thou didst crave so earnestly
(To weet, whence all the wealth late shew'd by me
Proceeded) lo, now is reveal'd to thee.
Here is the fountain of the worldës good :
Now therefore, if thou wilt enriched be,
Avise thee well and change thy wilful mood,
Left thou perhaps hereafter wish, and be withstood,
Suffice it then, thou Money-god, quoth he,
That all thine idle offers I refuse.
All that I need I have; what needeth me
To covet more than I have cause to use?
With such vain shews thy worldlings vile abuse:
But give me leave to follow mine emprise.
Mammon was much displeas'd, yet no’te he chuse
But bear the rigour of his bold mesprise,
And thence him forward led, him further to entice.