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Guyon, by Palmers governaunce,
Passing through perilles great,
Doth overthrow the Bowre of Blis,
And Acrasy defeat.
NOW ginnes that goodly frame of Temperaunce
Fayrely to rise, and her adorned hed
To pricke of highest prayse forth to advaunce,
Formerly grounded and fast setteled
On firme foundation of true bountyhed:
And this brave Knight, that for this vertue fightes,
'Now comes to point of that same perilous sted,
Where Pleasure dwelles in sensuall delights,
Mongst thousand dangers and ten thousand magick mights.
Two dayes now in that sea he sayled has,
Ne ever land beheld, ne living wight, Ne ought save perill, still as he did pas : Tho, when appeared the third Morrow bright Upon the waves to spred her trembling light, An hideous roring far away they heard, That all their sences filled with affright; And streight they saw the raging surges reard Up to the skyes, that them of drowning made affeard.
Said then the Boteman, " Palmer, stere aright,
And keepe an even course; for yonder way
We needes must pas (God doe us well acquight!)
That is the Gulfe of Greedinesse, they say,
That deepe engorgeth all this worldës pray;
Which having swallowd up excessively,
He soone in vomit up againe doth lay,
And belcheth forth his superfluity,
That all the seas for feare doe seeme away to fly.
"On th' other syde an hideous Rock is pight
Of mightie Magnes stone, whose craggie clift
Depending from on high, dreadfull to sight,
Over the waves his rugged armes doth lift,
And threatneth downe to throw his ragged rift
On whoso cometh nigh; yet nigh it drawes
All passengers, that none from it can shift:
For, whiles they fly that Gulfe's devouring jawes,
They on the rock are rent, and sunck in helples wawes.'
They, passing by, that grisely mouth did see
Sucking the Seas into his entralles deepe,
That seemd more horrible than hell to bee,
Or that darke dreadfull hole of Tartare steepe
Through which the damned ghosts doen often creep
Backe to the world, bad livers to torment:
But nought that falles into this direfull deepe,
Ne that approcheth nigh the wyde descent,
May backe retourne, but is condemned to be drent.
Forward they passe, and strongly he them rowes,
Untill they nigh unto that Gulfe arryve,
Where streame more violent and greedy growes:
Then he with all his puisaunce doth stryve
To strike his oares, and mightily doth dryve
The hollow vessell through the threatfull wave;
Which, gaping wide to swallow them alyve
In th' huge abysse of his engulfing Grave,
Doth rore at them in vaine, and with great terrour rave.
On th' other side they saw that perilous Rocke,
Threatning itselfe on them to ruinate,
On whose sharp cliftes the ribs of vessels broke ;
And shivered ships, which had beene wrecked late,
Yet stuck with carcases exanimate
Of such, as having all their substance spent
In wanton joyes and lustes intemperate,
Did afterwardes make shipwrack violent
Both of their life and fame for ever fowly blent.
Forthy this hight the Rock of vile Reproch,
A daungerous and détestable place,
To which nor fish nor fowle did once approch,
But yelling Meawes, with Seagulles hoars and bace,
And Cormoyraunts, with birds of ravenous race,
Which still sat wayting on that wastfull clift
For spoile of wretches, whose unhappy cace,
After lost credit and consumed thrift,
At last them driven hath to this despairefull drift.
The Palmer, seeing them in safetie past,
Thus saide; "Behold th' ensamples in our sightes
Of lustfull luxurie and thriftlesse wast!
What now is left of miserable wightes,
Which spent their looser daies in leud delightes,
But shame and sad reproch, here to be red
By these rent reliques speaking their ill plightes!
Let all that live hereby be counselled
To shunne Rock of Reproch, and it as death to dread !”
So forth they rowed; and that Ferryman
With his stiffe oares did brush the sea so strong,
That the hoare waters from his frigot ran,
And the light bubles daunced all along,
Whiles the salt brine out of the billowes sprong.
At last far off they many Islandes spy
On every side floting the floodes emong:
Then said the Knight; "Lo! I the land descry; Therefore, old Syre, thy course doe thereunto apply."
"That may not bee," said then the Ferryman,
"Least wee unweeting hap to be fordonne :
For those same Islands, seeming now and than,
Are not firme land, nor any certein wonne,
But stragling plots, which to and fro doe ronne,
In the wide waters; therefore are they hight
The Wandring Islands; Therefore doe them shonne :
For they have oft drawne many a wandring wight
Into most deadly daunger and distressed plight.
"Yet well they seeme to him, that farre doth vew,
Both faire and fruitfull, and the grownd dispred
With grassy greene of délectable hew;
And the tall trees with leaves appareled
Are deckt with blossoms dyde in white and red,
That mote the passengers thereto allure;
But whosoever once hath fastened
His foot thereon, may never it recure,
But wandreth evermore uncertein and unsure.
"As th' isle of Delos whylome, men report,
Amid th' Aegean sea long time did stray,
Ne made for shipping any certeine port,
Till that Latona traveiling that way,
Flying from Junoes wrath and hard assay,
Of her fayre twins was there delivered,
Which afterwards did rule the night and day;
Thenceforth it firmely was established,
And for Apolloes temple highly herried.”
They to him hearken, as beseemeth meete;
And passe on forward: so their way does ly,
That one of those same Islands, which doe fleet
In the wide sea, they needes must passen by,
Which seemd so sweet and pleasaunt to the eye,
That it would tempt a man to touchen there:
Upon the banck they sitting did espy
A daintie Damsell dressing of her heare,
By whom a little skippet floting did appeare.
She, them espying, loud to them gan call,
Bidding them nigher draw unto the shore,
For she had cause to busie them withall;
And therewith lowdly laught: But nathëmore
Would they once turne, but kept on as afore:
Which when she saw, she left her lockes undight,
And running to her boat withouten ore,
From the departing land it launched light,
And after them did drive with all her power and might.
Whom overtaking, she in merry sort
Them gan to bord, and purpose diversly; Now faining dalliaunce and wanton sport, Now throwing forth lewd wordes immodestly; Till that the Palmer gan full bitterly Her to rebuke for being loose and light: Which not abiding, but more scornfully Scoffing at him that did her justly wite, She turnd her bote about, and from them rowed quite.
That was the wanton Phædria, which late
Did ferry him over the Idle Lake:
Whom nought regarding they kept on their gate,
And all her vaine allurements did forsake;
When them the wary Boteman thus bespake;
"Here now behoveth us well to avyse,
And of our safety good heede to take;
For here before a perlous passage lyes,
Where many Mermayds haunt making false melodies:
"But by the way there is a great Quicksand,
And a Whirlepoole of hidden jeopardy;
Therefore, Sir Palmer, keepe an even hand;
For twixt them both the narrow way doth ly."
Scarse had he saide, when hard at hand they spy
That Quicksand nigh with water covered;
But by the checked wave they did descry
It plaine, and by the sea discoloured,
It called was the Quickesand of Unthriftyhed.
They, passing by, a goodly Ship did see
Laden from far with precious merchandize,
And bravely furnished as ship might bee,
Which through great disaventure, or mesprize,
Herselfe had ronne into that hazardize ;
Whose Mariners and Merchants with much toyle
Labour'd in vaine to have recur'd their prize,
And the rich wares to save from pitteous spoyle;
But neither toyle nor traveill might her backe recoyle.