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He brought him through a darksome narrow strait,
To a broad gate, all built of beaten gold :
The gate was open, but therein did wait
A sturdy villain, ftriding stiff and bold,
As if the highest God defie he would;
In his right hand an iron club he held,
But he himself was all of golden mold,
Yet had both life and sense, and well could weld
That cursed weapon, when his cruel foes he quell'd.
Disdain he called was, and did disdain
To be so call'd, and whoso did him call :
Stern was his look, and full of stomach vain,
His portance terrible, and stature tall,
Far passing th' height of men terrestrial.
Like an huge Gyant of the Titans race ;
That made him scorn all creatures great and small,
And with his pride all others powre deface :
More fit amongst black fiends, than men to have his place.
Soon as those glitterand arms he did espy,
That with their brightness made that darkness light,
His harmful club he 'gan to hurtle high
And threaten battle to the Fairy Knight:
Who likewise 'gan himself to battle dight,
Till Mammon did his hasty hand with-hold,
And counsellid him abstain from per'lous fight :
For nothing might abash the villain bold,
Ne mortal steel empierce his miscrcated mold.
So having him with reason pacify'd,
And the fierce Carle commanding to forbear,
He brought him in. The room was large and wide,
As it some guild or solemn temple were:
Many great golden pillars did upbear
The maffy roof, and riches huge fuftain;
And every pillar decked was full dear
With crowns and diadems, and titles vain, Whichmortal Princes wore, whiles they on earth did reign.
A rout of people there assembled were,
Of every sort and nation under sky,
Which with great uproar preaced to draw near
To th’ upper part, where was advanced high
A stately siege of soveraine majesty ;
And thereon sate a woman gorgeous gay,
And richly clad in robes of royalty,
That never earthly Prince in such array
His glory did enhaunce, and pompous pride display.
Her face right wondrous fair did seem to be,
broad beauties beam great brightness threw
Through the dim shade, that all men might it see:
Yet was not that same her own native hew,
But wrought by art and counterfeited Thew,
Thereby more lovers unto her to call;
Nath'less, most heavenly fair in deed and view
She by creation was, till the did fall;
Thenceforth lhe sought for helpstocloak her crime withal.
There as in glistring glory she did sit,
She held a great gold chain ylinked well,
Whose upper end to highest heaven was knit,
And lower part did reach to lowest hell ;
And all that preace did round about her swell,
To catchen hold of that long chain, thereby
To climb aloft, and others to excel :
That was Ambition, rash desire to sty,
And every link thereof a step of dignity.
Some thought to raise themselves to high degree,
By riches and unrighteous reward,
Some by close shouldring, some by flattery ;
Others through friends, others for base regard ;
And all by wrong ways, for themsetves prepar'd.
Those that were up themselves, kept others low,
Those that were low themselves, held others hard,
Ne suffred them to rise or greater grow,
But every one did strive his fellow down to throw.
Which whenas Guyon saw, he 'gan inquire,
What meant that preace about that Ladies throne,
And what she was that did so high aspire.
Him Mammon answered; that goodly one,
Whom all that folk with such contention
Do flock about, my dear, my daughter is ;
Honour and dignity from her alone
Derived are, and all this worldës bliss
For which ye men do strive, few get, but many miss.
And fair Philotimè fhe rightly hight,
The faireft wight that wonneth under sky,
But that this darksome neather world her light
Doth dim with horrour and deformity,
Worthy of heaven and high felicity,
From whence the Gods have her for envy thrust :
But fith thou hast found favour in mine
Thy Spouse I will her make, if that thou lust,
That she may thee advance for works and merits just.
Gramercy Mammon, said the gentle Knight,
For so great grace and offred high estate ;
But I, that am frail flesh and earthly wight,
Unworthy match for such immortal mate
My self well wote, and mine unequal fate;
And were I not, yet is my troth yplight
And love avow'd to other Lady late,
That to remove the same I have no might:
To change love causess, is reproach to warlike Knight.
Mammon emmoved was with inward wrath ;
Yet forcing it to feign, him forth thence led
Through griesly shadows by a beaten path,
Into a garden goodly garnished
With herbs and fruits, whose kinds mote not be read:
Not such as earth out of her fruitful womb
Throws forth to men, sweet and well savoured,
But direful deadly black both leaf and bloom,
Fit to adorn the dead, and deck the dreary tomb.
There mournful Cypress grew in greatest store,
And trees of bitter Gall, and Heben fad,
Dead Neeping Poppy, and black Hellebore,
Cold Coloquintida, and Tetra mad,
Mortal Samnitis, and Cicuta bad,
Which-with th’unjust Athenians made to dye
Wise Socrates, who thereof quaffing glad
Pour'd out his life, and last philosophy
To the fair Critias his dearest Belamy.
The garden of Proserpina this hight;
And in the midit thereof a silver seat,
With a thick arbour goodly overdight,
In which she often us'd from open heat
Herself to shroud, and pleasures to entreat.
Next thereunto did grow a goodly tree,
With branches broad disfpred, and body great,
Clothed with leaves that none the wood mote see, And loaden all with fruit as thick as i: might be.
Their fruit were golden apples gliftring 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 bold
Got from great Atlas daughters, hence began,
And planted there, did bring forth fruit of gold;
And those with which th’Eubæan young man wan Swift Atalanta, when through craft he her out-ran.
Here also sprong that goodly golden fruit,
With which Acontius got his lover true,
Whom he had long time sought with fruitless fuit:
Here eke that famous golden apple grew,
The which amongit the gods falle Atè threw;
For which th’Idean Ladies disagreed,
Tili partial Paris dempt it Venus due,
And had of her fair Helen for his meed,
That many noble Greeks and Trojans made to bleed,
The warlike Elf much wondred at this tree,
So fair and great, that shadow'd all the ground;
And his broad branches laden with rich fee,
Did stretch themselves without the utmoft bound
Of this great garden, compast with a mound,
Which over-hanging, they themselves did steep,
In a black flood which flow'd about it round;
That is the river of Cocytus deep,
In which fuļl many souls do endless wail and weep.
Which to behold, he clomb up to the bank,
And looking down, saw many damned wights,
In those fad waves; which direful deadly itank,
Plonged continually of cruel sprights,
That with their picious cryes, and yelling Ihrights,
They made the further Thore resounden wide :
Emongst the rest of those same rueful sights,
One cursed creature he by chance espide,
That drenched lay full deep, under the garden fide.
Deep was he drenched to the upmost chin,
Yet gaped still, as covering to drink
Of the cold liquor, which he waded in ;
And stretching forth his hand, did often think
To reach the fruit which grew upon the brink :
But both the fruit from hand, and food from mouth
Did fly aback, and made him vainly [wink:
The whiles he starv'd with hunger and with drouth :
He daily dy'd, yet never throughly dyen couch.
The Knight, him seeing labour so in vain,
Askt who he was, and what he meant thereby :
Who groaning deep, thus answer'd him again;
Most cursed of all creatures under sky,
Lo Tantalus, I here tormented lye:
Of whom high Jove wont whylome feasted be,
Lo here I now for want of food do dye.
But if that thou be such, as I thee fee,
Cf grace I pray thee, give to eat and drink to me,