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So well they sped, that they be come at length
Unto the place, whereas the Paynim lay
Devoid of outward sence and native strength,
Coverd with charmed clould from vew of day
And sight of men, since his late luckelesse fray.
His cruell wounds with cruddy 1 bloud congeald
They binden up so wisely as they may,
And handle softly, till they can be heald:


So lay him in her charett, close in night conceald.


And, all the while she stood upon the ground,
The wakefull dogs did never cease to bay ;
As giving warning of th' unwonted sound,
With which her yron wheeles did them affray,
And her darke griesly looke them much dismay
The messenger of death, the ghastly owle,
With drery shriekes did also her bewray;
And hungry wolves continually did howle
At her abhorred face, so filthy and so fowle.

Thence turning backe in silence softe they stole, And brought the heavy corse with easy pace To yawning gulfe of deep Avernus hole: By that same hole an entraunce, darke and bace,2 With smoake and sulphur hiding all the place, Descends to hell: there creature never past, That backe retourned without heavenly grace; But dreadfull Furies, which their chaines have brast,3 And damned Sprights sent forth to make ill men aghast.

1 Cruddy, clotted.

2 Bace, low.

3 Brast, broken.


By that same way the direfull Dames doe drive
Their mournefull charett, fild with rusty blood,
And downe to Plutoes house are come bilive1:
Which passing through, on every side them stood
The trembling ghosts with sad amazed mood,
Chattring their iron teeth, and staring wide.
With stonie eies; and all the hellish brood
Of feends infernall flockt on every side,

To gaze on erthly wight, that with the Night durst ride.


They pas the bitter waves of Acheron,

Where many soules sit wailing woefully ;
And come to fiery flood of Phlegeton,
Whereas the damned ghosts in torments fry,
And with sharp shrilling shriekes doe bootlesse cry,
Cursing high love, the which them thither sent.
The House of endlesse Paine is built thereby,
In which ten thousand sorts of punishment
The cursed creatures doe eternally torment.

Before the threshold dreadfull Cerberus
His three deformed heads did lay along,
Curled with thousand adders venemous;
And lilled forth his bloody flaming tong:
At them he gan to reare his bristles strong,
And felly gnarre,3 untill Dayes enemy

Did him appease; then downe his taile he hong,
And suffered them to passen quietly:

For she in hell and heaven had power equally.

1 Bilive, forthwith.

2 Lilled, lolled.

9 Gnarre, snarl.


There was Ixion turned on a wheele,

For daring tempt the queene of heaven to sin;
And Sisyphus an huge round stone did reele
Against an hill, ne might from labour lin1;
There thristy Tantalus hong by the chin;
And Tityus fed a vultur on his maw;
Typhoeus ioynts were stretched on a gin 2;
Theseus condemnd to endlesse slouth by law;
And fifty sisters water in leke vessels draw.


They, all beholding worldly wights in place,
Leave off their worke, unmindfull of their smart,
To gaze on them; who forth by them doe pace,
Till they be come unto the furthest part;
Where was a cave ywrought by wondrous art,
Deepe, darke, uneasy, dolefull, comfortlesse,
In which sad Aesculapius far apart
Emprisond was in chaines remédilesse;
For that Hippolytus rent corse he did redresse3.

1 Lin, rest.

2 Gin, engine of punishment.

3 Redresse, reunite.

XXXV. 1. There was Ixion, &c.] The names of Ixion, Sisyphus, and Tantalus have become so commonplace in literature that they need no explanation. Tityus and Typhous were giants, and punished, the former for his rudeness to Latona, and the latter for making war on Jupiter. Theseus was doomed to sit constantly in one place, on account of his abetting his friend Pirithous in his plot to carry away Proserpine. The fifty sisters were the daughters of Danaus, punished for murdering their husbands.

XXXVI. 7.- Sad Aesculapius.] Spenser departs from the received mythology in this account of Æsculapius. He was killed by Jupiter, on account of the complaints of Pluto, for raising so many dead persons to life, and afterwards was admitted among the gods.


Hippolytus a iolly huntsman was,

That wont in charett chace the foming bore:
He all his peeres in beauty did surpas;
But ladies love, as losse of time, forbore:
His wanton stepdame loved him the more ;
But, when she saw her offred sweets refusd,
Her love she turnd to hate, and him before
His father fierce of treason false accusd,
And with her gealous termes his open eares abusd:


Who, all in rage, his sea-god syre besought Some cursed vengeaunce on his sonne to cast: From surging gulf two monsters streight were brought; With dread whereof his chacing steedes aghast Both charett swifte and huntsman overcast. His goodly corps on ragged cliffs yrent1, Was quite dismembred, and his members chast Scattered on every mountaine as he went, That of Hippolytus was lefte no moniment.


His cruell stepdame, seeing what was donne,
Her wicked daies with wretched knife did end,
In death avowing th' innocence of her sonne.
Which hearing, his rash syre began to rend
His heare, and hasty tong that did offend:
Tho, gathering up the reliques of his smart,
By Dianes meanes who was Hippolyts frend,

1 Yrent, dismembered,

2 Tho, then.

XXVII. 5.— His wanton stepdame.] Her name was Phœdra, se unhappy passion has afforded a subject to the tragic genius of hocles, Euripides, and Racine.

Them brought to Aesculape, that by his art Did heal them all againe, and ioyned every part.


Such wondrous science in mans witt to rain
When love avizd,1 that could the dead revive,
And fates expired could renew again,
Of endlesse life he might him not deprive;
But unto hell did thrust him downe alive,
With flashing thunderbolt ywounded sore:
Where, long remaining, he did alwaies strive
Himselfe with salves to health for to restore,
And slake the heavenly fire that raged evermore.


There auncient Night arriving, did alight
From her nigh-weary wayne, and in her armes
To Aesculapius brought the wounded Knight:
Whom having softly disaraid of armes,
Tho2 gan to him discover all his harmes,
Beseeching him with prayer, and with praise,
If either salves, or oyles, or herbes, or charmes,

A fordonne 3 wight from dore of death mote raise, He would at her request prolong her Nephews daies.



"Ah Dame," quoth he, "thou temptest me in vaine
To dare the thing, which daily yet I rew5;
And the old cause of my continued paine
With like attempt to like end to renew.

Is not enough, that, thrust from heaven dew,
Here endlesse penaunce for one fault I pay;
But that redoubled crime with vengeaunce new

1 Avizd, perceived.

2 Tho, then.

3 Fordonne, undone.

4 Nephews, descendant's

5 Rew, repent.

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