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There was an holy chappell edifyde,
Wherein the hermite dewly wont to say
His holy things each morne and eventyde:
Thereby a christall streame did gently play,
Which from a sacred fountaine welled forth alway.
Arrived there, the litle house they fill,
Ne looke for entertainement, where none was;
Rest is their feast, and all thinges at their will:
The noblest mind the best contentment has.
With faire discourse the evening so they pas;
For that olde man of pleasing wordes had store,
And well could file his tongue, as smooth as glas:
He told of saintes and popes, and evermore
He strowd an Ave-Mary after and before.
The drouping night thus creepeth on them fast;
And the sad humor loading their eye-liddes,
As messenger of Morpheus, on them cast
Sweet slombring deaw, the which to sleep them biddes.
Unto their lodgings then his guestes he riddes,
Where when all drownd in deadly sleepe he findes,
He to his studie goes; and there amiddes
His magick bookes, and artes of sundrie kindes,
He seeks out mighty charmes to trouble sleepy minds.
The House of Temperaunce, in which
Doth sober Alma dwell,
Besieged of many foes, whom straunge-
er knightes to flight compell.
Op all Gods workes, which doe this worlde adorne,
There is no one more faire and excellent
Then is mans body, both for powre and forme,
Whiles it is kept in sober government;
But none then it more fowle and indecent,
Distempred through misrule and passions bace;
It grows a monster, and incontinent
Doth lose his dignity and native grace.
Behold, who list, both one and other in this place.
After the Paynim brethren conquer'd were,
The Briton prince recov'ring his stolne sword,
And Guyon his lost shield, they both yfere
Forth passed on their way in fayre accord,
Till him the prince with gentle court did bord;
“Sir knight, mote I of you this court’sy read,
To weet why on your shield, so goodly scord,
Beare ye the picture of that ladies head!
Full lively is the semblaunt, though the substance dead."
“Fayre sir,” sayd he, “if in that picture dead
Such life ye read, and vertue in vaine shew;
What mote ye weene, if the trew lively-head
Of that most glorious visage he did vew!
But yf the beauty of her mind ye knew,
That is, her bounty, and imperiall powre,
Thousand times fairer then her mortall hew,
0! how great wonder would your thoughts devoure,
And infinite desire into your spirite poure!
“She is the mighty Queene of Faëry,
Whose faire retraitt I in my shield doe beare;
Shee is the flowre of grace and chastity,
Throughout the world renowmed far and neare,
My life, my liege, my soveraine, my deare,
Whose glory shineth as the morning starre,
And with her light the earth enlumines cleare;
Far reach her mercies, and her praises farre,
As well in state of peace, as puissaunce in warre.”
“Thrise happy man,” said then the Briton knight,
“Whom gracious lott and thy great valiaunce
Have made thee soldier of that princesse bright,
Which with her bounty and glad countenaunce
Doth blesse her servaunts, and them high advaunce!
How may straunge knight hope ever to aspire,
By faithfull service and meete amenaunce
Unto such blisse? sufficient were that hire
For losse of thousand lives, to die at her desire.”
Said Guyon: “Noble lord, what meed so great,
Or grace of earthly prince so soveraine,
But by your wondrous worth and warlike feat
Ye well may hope, and easely attaine?
But were your will her sold to entertaine,
And numbred be mongst Knights of Maydenhed,
Great guerdon, well I wote, should you remaine,
And in her favor high bee reckoned,
As Arthegall and Sophy now beene honored.”
“Certes," then said the prince, “I God avow,
That sith I armes and knighthood first did plight,
My whole desire bath beene, and yet is now,
To serve that queene with al my powre and might.
Now hath the sunne with his lamp-burning light
Walkt round about the world, and I no lesse,
Sith of that goddesse I have sought the sight,
Yet no where can her find: such happinesse
Heven doth to me envy and fortune favourlesse.”
“Fortune, the foe of famous chevisaunce,
Seldom,” said Guyon, “yields to vertue aide,
But in her way throwes mischiefe and mischaunce,
Whereby her course is stopt and passage staid.
But you, faire sir, be not herewith dismaid,
But constant keepe the way in which ye stand;
Which were it not that I am els delaid
With hard adventure, which I have in hand,
I labour would to guide you through al Faery-land.”
“Gramercy, sir,” said he; “but mote I weete
What straunge adventure doe ye now pursew ?
Perhaps my succour or advizement meete
Mote stead you much your purpose to subdew.”
Then gan Sir Guyon all the story shew
Of false Acrasia, and her wicked wiles;
Which to avenge, the palmer him forth drew
Froin Faery court. So talked they, the whiles
They wasted had much way, and measurd many miles.
And now faire Phoebus gan decline in haste
His weary wagon to the westerne vale,
Whenas they spide a goodly castle, plaste
Foreby a river in a pleasaunt dale;
Which choosing for that evenings hospitale,
They thether marcht: but when they came in sight,
And from their sweaty coursers did avale,
They found the gates fast barred long ere night,
And every loup fast lockt, as fearing foes despight.
Which when they saw, they weened fowle reproch
Was to them doen, their entraunce to forestall;
Till that the squire gan nigher to approch,
And wind his horne under the castle wall,
That with the noise it shooke as it would fall.
Eftsoones forth looked from the highest spire
The watch, and lowd unto the knights did call,
To weete what they so rudely did require?
Who gently answered, they entraunce did desire.
“Fly, fly, good knights,” said he, “fly fast away,
If that your lives ye love, as meete ye should !
Fly fast, and save yourselves from neare decay;
Here may ye not have entraunce, though we would.
We would and would againe, if that we could;
But thousand enemies about us rave,
And with long siege us in this castle hould;
Seven yeares this wize they us besieged have,
And many good knights slaine that have us sought to save.”
Thus as he spoke, loe! with outragious cry
A thousand villeins rownd about them swarmd
Out of the rockes and caves adioyning nye;
Vile caitive wretches, ragged, rude, deformd,
All threatning death, all in straunge manner armd;
Some with unweldy clubs, some with long speares,
Some rusty knives, some staves in fier warmd:
Sterne was their looke, like wild amazed steares,
Staring with hollow eies and stiff upstanding heares.
Fiersly at first those knights they did assayle,
And drove them to recoile: but, when againe
They gave fresh charge, their forces gan to fayle,
Unhable their encounter to sustaine;
For with much puissaunce and impetuous maine
Those champions broke on them, that forst them fly,
Like scattered sheepe, whenas the shepherds swaine
A lion and a tigre doth espye
With greedy pace forth rushing from the forest nye.
A while they fled, but soon retournd againe
With greater fury then before was found;
And evermore their cruell capitaine
Sought with his raskall routs t'enclose them rownd,