Page images

And all her bones might through her chcekes be

red; Her lips were like raw lether, pale and blew:

And as she spake, therewith she slavered ; Yet spake she seldom ; but thought more, the Jesse

she sed.



•o Her hands were foule and durtie, never washt

In all her life, with long nayles over-raught,
Like puttocks 8 clawes : with th' one of which she

Her cursed head, although it itched naught;
The other held a snake with venime fraught,
On which she fed and gnawed hungrily,
As if that long she had not eaten ought;

That round about her iawes one might descry The bloudie gore and poyson dropping lothsomely.

31 Her name was Envie, knowen well thereby;

Whose nature is to grieve and grudge at all
That ever she sees doen' prays-worthily ;
Whose sight to her is greatest crosse may fall,
And vexeth so, that makes her eat her gall:
For when she wanteth other thing to eat,
She feedes on her owne maw unnaturall,

And of her owne foule entrayles makes her meat ; Meat fit for such a monsters monsterous dyeat:

32 And if she hapt of any good to heare,

That had to any happily betid,

1 Red, perceived.

8 Putlocks, kites. ? I. e. reaching beyond the ends of the fingers.

Then would she inly fret, and grieve, and teare
Her flesh for felnesse, which she inward hid :
But if she heard of ill that any did,
Or harme that any had, then would she make
Great cheare, like one unto a banquet bid;

And in anothers losse great pleasure take,
As she had got thereby and gayned a great stake.

83 The other nothing better was then shee;

Agreeing in bad will and cancred kynd,
But in bad maner they did disagree :
For whatso Envie good or bad did fynd
She did conceale, and murder her owne mynd;
But this whatever evill she conceived
Did spred abroad, and throw in th’ open wynd:

Yet this in all her words might be perceived,
That all she sought was mens good name to have


[ocr errors]

34 For, whatsoever good by any sayd

Or doen she heard, she would streightwayes invent
How to deprave or slaunderously upbrayd,
Or to misconstrue of a mans intent,
And turne to ill the thing that well was ment:
Therefore she used often to resort
To common haunts, and companies frequent,

To hearke what any one did good report, 'To blot the same with blame, or wrest in wicked sort:

35 And if that any ill she heard of any,

She would it eeke, and make much worse by telling,

i Got, profited.

2 Kynd, nature.

And take great ioy to publish it to many ;
That every matter worse was for her melling?:
Her name was hight Detraction, and her dwelling
Was neare to Envie, even her neighbour next;
A wicked hag, and Envy selfe excelling

In mischiefe ; for herselfe she onely vext;
But this same both herselfe and others eke perplext.

[ocr errors]

36 Her face was ugly, and her mouth distort,

Foming with poyson round about her gils,
In which her cursed tongue full sharpe and short
Appear’d, like aspis sting, that closely 2 kils,
Or cruelly does wound whomso she wils :
A distaffe in her other hand : she had,
Upon the which she litle spinnes, but spils 4 ;

And faynes 5 to weave false tales and leasings bad, To throw amongst the good, which others had dis



37 These two now had themselves combynd in one,

And linckt together gainst Sir Artegall;
For whom they wayted as his mortall fone,
How they might make him into mischiefe fall,
For freeing from their snares Irena thrall :
Besides, unto themselves they gotten had
A monster, which the Blatant Beast men call,


1 Melling, meddling.

4 Spils, spoils. 2 Closely, secretly.

5 Faynes, delights. 8 1. e. in one of her hands. 6 Disprad, spread abroad.

7 Fone, foes.


A dreadfull feend, of gods and men ydrad, Whom they by slights allur'd and to their purpose lad.

38 Such were these hags, and so unhandsome drest :

Who when they nigh approching had espyde
Sir Artegall return'd from his late quest,
They both arose, and at him loudly cryde,
As it had bene two shepheards curres had scryde
A ravenous wolfe amongst the scattered flocks :
And Envie first, as she that first him eyde,

Towardes him runs, and with rude flaring lockes About her eares does beat her brest and forhead


39 Then from her mouth the gobbet she does take,

The which whyleare she was so greedily
Devouring, even that halfe-gnawen snake,
And at him throwes it most despightfully :
The cursed serpent, though she hungrily
Earst chawd thereon, yet was not all so dead,
But that some life remayned secretly;

And, as he past afore withouten dread
Bit him behind, that long the marke was to be read.

40 Then th' other, comming neare, gan him revile And fouly rayle, with all she could invent: Saying that he had, with unmanly guile

1 Ydrad, dreaded.

2 Read, perceived.

And foule abusion, both his honour blent,
And that bright sword, the sword of Iustice lent,
Had stayned with reprochfull crueltie
In guiltlesse blood of many an innocent:

As for Grandtorto, him with treacherie
And traynes having surpriz’d, he fouly did to die.

41 Thereto the Blatant Beast, by them set on,

At him began aloud to barke and bay
With bitter rage and fell contention ;
That all the woods and rockes nigh to that way
Began to quake and tremble with dismay;
And all the aire rebellowed againe ;
So dreadfully his hundred tongues did bray:

And evermore those hags themselves did paine
To sharpen him, and their owne cursed tongs did


42 And, still among, most bitter wordes they spake,

Most shamefull, most unrighteous, most untrew,
That they the mildest man alive would make
Forget his patience, and yeeld vengeaunce dew
To her, that so false sclaunders at him threw :
And more, to make them pierce and wound more


1 Blent, stained.

XL. 8. — As for Grandtorto, &c.] “But in that sharpe execu tion of the Spaniards, at the Fort of Smerwicke I heard [his cruelty] specially noted, and if it were true as some reported, surely it was a great touch to him in honour, for some say that he promised them life; others, at least hee did put them in hope thereof." See View of the State of Ireland, pp. 434 – 436. C.

« PreviousContinue »