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Allegorical Personages described in Hell.
And first within the porch and jaws of Hell
Sat deep Remorse of Conscience, all besprent.
With tears; and to herself oft would she tell
Her wretchedness, and cursing never stent'
To sob and sigh; but ever thus lament
With thoughtful care, as she that all in vain
Would wear and waste continually in pain.
Her eyes unstedfast, rolling here and there, Whirld on each place, as place that vengeance
brought, So was her mind continually in fear, Toss'd and tormented by the tedious thought Of those detested crimes which she had wrought: With dreadful cheer and looks thrown to the sky, Wishing for death, and yet she could not die.
Next saw we Dread, all trembling how he shook,
With foot uncertain proffer'd here and there;
Benumm'd of speech, and with a ghastly look,
Search'd every place, all pale and dead for fear;
His cap upborn with staring of his hair,
Stoyn'de and amazed at his shade for dread,
And fearing greater dangers than was need.
And next within the entry of this lake
Sat fell Revenge, gnashing her teeth for ire,
Devising means how she may vengeance take,
Never in rest till she have her desire ;
But frets within so far forth with the fire
Of wreaking flames, that now determines she
To die by death, or veng'd by death to be.
When fell Revenge, with bloody foul pretence,
Had shewed herself, as next in order set,
With trembling limbs we softly parted thence,
Till in our eyes another sight we met,
When from my heart a sigh forthwith I fet',
Rewing, alas ! upon the woeful plight
Of Misery, that next appear'd in sight.
His face was lean and some-deal pin'd away,
And eke his handes consumed to the bone,
But what his body was I cannot say;
For on his carcass raiment had he none,
Save clouts and patches, pieced one by one;
With staff in hand, and scrip on shoulders cast,
His chief defence against the winters blast.
His food, for most, was wild fruits of the tree;
Unless sometime some crumbs fell to his share,
Which in his wallet long, God wot, kept he,
As on the which full daintily would he fare.
His drink the running stream, his cup the bare
Of his palm closed, his bed the hard cold ground; To this poor life was Misery ybound.
Whose wretched state, when we had well beheld,
With tender ruth on him and on his feres",
In thoughtful cares forth then our pace we held,
And, by and by, another shape appears,
Of greedy Care, still brushing up the breres,
His knuckles knob'd, his flesh deep dented in,
With tawed hands and hard ytanned skin.
The morrow gray no sooner had begun
To spread his light, even peeping in our eyes,
When he is up and to his work yrun;
And let the night's black misty mantles rise,
And with foul dark never so much disguise
The fair bright day, yet ceaseth he no while,
But hath his candles to prolong his toil.
By him lay heavy Sleep, the cousin of Death,
Flat on the ground, and still as any stone,
A very corps, save yielding forth a breath;
Small keep took he whom Fortune frowned on,
Or whom she lifted up into the throne
Of high renown: but as a living death,
So dead, alive, of life he drew the breath.
The body's rest, the quiet of the heart,
The travail's ease, the still night's fere was he;
And of our life in earth the better part,
Reever of sight, and yet in whom we see
Things oft that tide', and oft that never be ;
Without respect esteeming equally
King Crcesus' pomp, and Iras' poverty.
And next in order sad Old Age we found,
His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind ;
With drooping cheer still poring on the ground,
As on the place where Nature him assign'd
To rest, when that the sisters had entwin'd
His vital thread, and ended with their knife,
The fleeting course of fast declining life.
Crook'd-back'd he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-ey'd,
Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four;
With old lame bones that rattled by his side,
His scalp all pill'd”, and he with eld forlore,
His wither'd fist still knocking at Death's door;
Trembling and driv'ling as he draws his breath,
For brief, the shape and messenger of Death.
Was born in 1540', of an ancient family in Essex, was bred at Cambridge, and entered at Gray's Inn; but being disinherited by his father for extravagance, he repaired to Holland, and obtained a commission under the Prince of Orange. A quarrel with his Colonel retarded his promotion in that service; and a circumstance occurred which had nearly cost him his life. A lady at the Hague (the town being then in the enemy's possession) sent him a letter, which was intercepted in the camp, and a report against his loyalty was made by those who had seized it. Gascoigne immediately laid the affair before the Prince, who saw through the design of his accusers, and gave him a passport for visiting his female friend. At the siege of Middleburgh he displayed so much bravery, that the Prince rewarded him with 300 gilders above his pay; but he was soon after made prisoner by the Spaniards, and having spent four months in captivity, returned to England, and resided generally at Walthamstow. In 1575 he accompanied Queen Elizabeth in one of her stately progresses, and wrote for her amusement a mask, entitled the Princely Pleasures of Kenil
1 Mr. Ellis conjectures that he was born much earlier. VOL. J.