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But, soone as they approcht with deadly threat,
The Palmer over them his staffe upheld,

His mighty staffe, that could all charmes defeat:
Eftesoones their stubborne corages were queld,
And high advaunced crests downe meekely feld;
Instead of fraying they themselves did feare,
And trembled, as them passing they beheld :
Such wondrous powre did in that staffe appeare,
All monsters to subdew to him that did it beare.

Of that same wood it fram'd was cunningly,
Of which Caduceus whilome was made,
Caduceus, the rod of Mercury,

With which he wonts the Stygian realmes invade
Through ghastly horror and eternall shade;
Th' infernall feends with it he can asswage,
And Orcus tame, whome nothing can persuade,
And rule the Furyes when they most doe rage:
Such vertue in his staffe had eke this Palmer sage.

Thence passing forth, they shortly doe arryve
Whereas the Bowre of Blisse was situate;
A place pickt out by choyce of best alyve,
That Natures worke by art can imitate :
In which whatever in this worldly state
Is sweete and pleasing unto living sense,
Or that may dayntest fantasy aggrate,
Was poured forth with plentifull dispence,
And made there to abound with lavish affluence.

Goodly it was enclosed rownd about,

Aswell their entred guestes to keep within,
As those unruly beasts to hold without;
Yet was the fence thereof but weake and thin;
Nought feard their force that fortilage to win,
But Wisedomes powre, and Temperaunces might,
By which the mightiest things efforced bin :

And eke the gate was wrought of substaunce light,
Rather for pleasure then for battery or fight.





Yt framed was of precious yvory,

That seemd a worke of admirable witt; And therein all the famous history Of Jason and Medea was ywritt; Her mighty charmes, her furious loving fitt; His goodly conquest of the golden fleece, His falsed fayth, and love too lightly flitt: The wondred Argo, which in venturous peece First through the Euxine seas bore all the flowr of Greece.

Ye might have seene the frothy billowes fry
Under the ship as thorough them she went,
That seemd the waves were into yvory,
Or yvory into the waves were sent;
And otherwhere the snowy substaunce sprent
With vermell, like the boyes blood therein shed,

All this and more might in that goodly gate

Be red, that ever open stood to all

A piteous spectacle did represent;

And otherwhiles with gold besprinkeled

Yt seemd th' enchaunted flame, which did Creusa wed.

Which thether came: but in the porch there sate
A comely personage of stature tall,

And semblaunce pleasing, more then naturall,
That Traveilers to him seemd to entize;
His looser garment to the ground did fall,
And flew about his heeles in wanton wize,
Not fitt for speeedy pace or manly exercize.

They in that place him Genius did call :

Not that celestiall Powre, to whom the care
Of life, and generation of all

That lives, perteines in charge particulare,
Who wondrous things concerning our welfare,
And straunge phantomes, doth lett us ofte foresee,
And ofte of secret ills bids us beware:


That is our Selfe, whom though we do not see, Yet each doth in himselfe it well perceive to bee:




Therefore a God him sage Antiquity
Did wisely make, and good Agdistes call:
But this same was to that quite contrary,
The foe of life, that good envyes to all,
That secretly doth us procure to fall
Through guilefull semblants, which he makes us see:
He of this Gardin had the governall,

And Pleasures Porter was devizd to bee, Holding a staffe in hand for more formalitee.

With diverse flowres he daintily was deckt,
And strowed rownd about; and by his side
A mighty Mazer bowle of wine was sett,
As if it had to him bene sacrifide;
Wherewith all new-come guests he gratyfide:

So did he eke Sir Guyon passing by;



But he his ydle curtesie defide,

And overthrew his bowle disdainfully,

And broke his staffe, with which he charmed semblants sly.

Thus being entred, they behold arownd

A large and spacious plaine, on every side Strowed with pleasauns; whose fayre grassy grownd Mantled with greene, and goodly beautifide With all the ornaments of Floraes pride, Wherewith her mother Art, as halfe in scorne Of niggard Nature, like a pompous Bride Did decke her, and too lavishly adorne, When forth from virgin bowre she comes in th' early morne.


Thereto the Heavens alwayes joviall

Lookte on them lovely, still in stedfast state,
Ne suffred storme 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 middle ayre with season moderate
Gently attempred, and disposd so well,

That still it breathed forth sweet spirit and holesom smell:


More sweet and holesome then the pleasaunt hill
Of Rhodope, on which the Nimphe, that bore
A gyaunt babe, herselfe for griefe did kill;
Or the Thessalian Tempe, where of yore
Fayre Daphne Phœbus hart with love did gore;
Or Ida, where the Gods lov'd to repayre,
Whenever they their heavenly bowres forlore;
Or sweet Parnasse, the haunt of Muses fayre;
Or Eden selfe, if ought with Eden mote compayre.

Much wondred Guyon at the fayre aspéct

Of that sweet place, yet suffred no delight
To sincke into his sence, nor mind affect;
But passed forth, and lookt still forward right,
Brydling his will and maystering his might:
Till that he came unto another gate;
No gate, but like one, being goodly dight

With bowes and braunches, which did broad dilate
Their clasping armes in wanton wreathings intricate:

So fashioned a Porch with rare device,

Archt over head with an embracing Vine,
Whose bounches hanging downe seemd to entice
All passers-by to taste their lushious wine,
And did themselves into their hands incline,
As freely offering to be gathered;
Some deepe empurpled as the Hyacine,
Some as the Rubine laughing sweetely red,
Some like faire Emeraudes, not yet well ripened:

And them amongst some were of burnisht gold,
So made by art to beautify the rest,

Which did themselves emongst the leaves enfold,
As lurking from the vew of covetous guest,

That the weake boughes with so rich load opprest
Did bow adowne as overburdened.





Under that porch a comely Dame did rest
Clad in fayre weedes but fowle disordered,

And garments loose that seemd unmeet for womanhed:

In her left hand a Cup of gold she held,
And with her right the riper fruit did reach,
Whose sappy liquor, that with fulnesse sweld,
Into her cup she scruzd with daintie breach
Of her fine fingers, without fowle empeach,
That so faire winepresse made the wine more sweet:
Thereof she usd to give to drinke to each,
Whom passing by she happened to meet :
It was her guise all Straungers goodly so to greet.

So she to Guyon offred it to tast;

Who, taking it out of her tender hond,
The cup to ground did violently cast,
That all in peeces it was broken fond,
And with the liquor stained all the lond:
Whereat Excesse exceedinly was wroth,
Yet no'te the same amend, ne yet withstond,
But suffered him to passe, all were she loth;
Who, nought regarding her displeasure, forward goth.

One would have thought, (so cunningly the rude
And scorned partes were mingled with the fine,)
That Nature had for wantonesse ensude
Art, and that Art at Nature did repine;
So striving each th' other to undermine,
Each did the others worke more beautify;
So diff'ring both in willes agreed in fine:
So all agreed, through sweete diversity,
This Gardin to adorne with all variety.



There the most daintie Paradise on ground
Itselfe doth offer to his sober eye,

In which all pleasures plenteously abownd,
And none does others happinesse envye;
The painted flowres; the trees upshooting hye;
The dales for shade; the hilles for breathing space;
The trembling groves; the Christall running by ;
And, that which all faire workes doth most aggrace,
The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place.



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