Page images

Inconstant man, that loved all he saw,

And lusted after all that he did love;
Ne would his looser life be tide to law,
But joyd weak wemens hearts to tempt, and prove,
If from their loyall loves he might them move;
Which lewdnesse fild him with reprochfull paine
Of that foule evill, which all men reprove,

That rotts the marrow and consumes the braine:
Such one was Lechery, the third of all this traine.

And greedy Avarice by him did ride,

Uppon a camell loaden all with gold;
Two iron coffers hong on either side,
With precious metall full as they might hold;
And in his lap an heape of coine he told;
For of his wicked pelfe his God he made,
And unto hell him selfe for money sold;

Accursèd usurie was all his trade,
And right and wrong ylike in equall ballaunce waide.

Ne scarse good cote, and cobladore yplast

His life was nigh unto deaths doore yplaste,

And thred-bare cote, and cobled shoes, he ware,
Ne scarse good morsell all his life did taste,
But both from backe and belly still did spare,
To fill his bags, and richesse to compare;
Yet chylde ne kinsman living had he none
To leave them to; but thorough daily care

To get, and nightly feare to lose his owne,
He led a wretched life, unto him selfe unknowne.

Most wretched wight, whom nothing might suffise,

Whose greedy lust did lacke in greatest store,
Whose need had end, but no end covetise,
Whose wealth was want, whose plenty made him pore,
Who had enough, yett wished ever more;
A vile disease, and eke in foote and hand
A grievous gout tormented him full sore,

That well he could not touch, nor go, nor stand:
Such one was Avarice, the fourth of this faire band.

And next to him malicious Envie rode,

Upon a ravenous wolfe, and still did chaw
Betweene his cankred teeth a venemous tode,
That all the poison ran about his chaw;
But inwardly he chawed his owne maw
At neighbours wealth, that made him ever sad;
(For death it was when any good he saw,

And wept, that cause of weeping none he had);
But when he heard of harme, he wexèd wondrous glad.

All in a kirtle of discolourd sayo

He clothèd was, ypainted full of eyes;
And in his bosome secretly there lay
An hatefull snake, the which he taile uptyes
In many folds, and mortall sting implyes.
Still as he rode, he gnasht his teeth, to see
Those heapes of gold with griple Covetyse;
And grudged at the great felicitie
Of proud Lucifera, and his owne companie.

He hated all good workes and vertuous deeds,

And him no lesse that any like did use,
And who with gracious bread the hungry feeds
His almes for want of faith he doth accuse;
So every good to bad he doth abuse:
And eke the verse of famous poets witt.
He does backebite, and spightfull poison spues

From leprous mouth on all that ever writt:
Such one vile Envie was, that fifte in row did sitt.

And him beside rides fierce revenging Wrath,

Upon a lion, loth for to be led;
And in his hand a burning brond he hath,
The which he brandisheth about his hed;
His eyes did hurle forth sparkles fiery red,
And stared sterne on all that him beheld;
As ashes, pale of hew and seeming ded; .
5 quality.


And on his dagger still his hand he held, Trembling through hasty rage, when choler in him sweld.

His ruffin raiment all was staind with blood,
Which he had spilt, and all to rags yrent,
Through unadvizèd rashnesse woxen wood;
For of his hands he had no governement,
Ne cared for bloud in his avengement:
But when the furious fitt was overpast,
His cruell facts he often would repent;

Yet, wilfull man, he never would forecast
How many mischieves should ensue his heedlesse hast.

Full many mischiefes follow cruell Wrath;

Abhorrèd bloodshed and tumultuous strife,
Unmanly murder, and unthrifty scath,
Bitter despight, with rancours rusty knife,
And fretting griefe the enemy of life;
All these, and many evils moe haunt ire,
The swelling splene, and frenzy raging rife,

The shaking palsey, and Saint Fraunces fire:
Such one was Wrath, the last of this ungodly tire.

And, after all, upon the wagon beame

Rode Sathan, with a smarting whip in hand,
With which he forward lasht the laesie teme,
So oft as Slowth still in the mire did stand.
Huge routs of people did about them band,
Showting for joy; and still before their way
A foggy mist had covered all the land;

And underneath their feet, all scattered lay
Dead sculs and bones of men, whose life had gone astray.

(From Book I, Canto IV; THE FAERIE QUEENE.)





So forth issew'd the seasons of the yeare:

First, lusty Spring, all dight in leaves of flowres
That freshly budded and new bloomes did beare
(In which a thousand birds had built their bowres,
That sweetly sung, to call forth paramours):
And in his hand a javelin he did beare,
And on his head (as fit for warlike stoures)

A gilt engraven morion he did weare;
That, as some did him love, so others did him feare.

Then came the jolly Sommer, being dight

In a thin silken cassock coloured greene,
That was unlynèd all, to be more light:
And on his head a girlond well beseene
He wore, from which, as he had chauffed been,
The sweat did drop; and in his hand he bore
A bowe and shaftes, as he in forrest greene

Had hunted late the libbard or the bore,
And now would bathe his limbes, with labor heated sore.

Then came Autumne, all in yellow clad,
As though he joyed in his plentious store,
Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad
That he had banisht hunger, which to-fore
Had by the belly oft him pinchèd sore.
Upon his head a wreath, that was enrold
With eares of corne of every sort, he bore:

And in his hand a sickle he did holde,
To reape the ripened fruits the which the earth had yold.

Lastly came Winter, clothèd all in frize,

Chattering his teeth for cold that did him chill,
Whil'st on his hoary beard his breath did freese,
And the dull drops, that from his purpled bill,
As from a limbeck, did adown distill.

In his right hand a tippèd staffe he held,
With which his feeble steps he stayed still:

For he was faint with cold, and weak with eld;
That scarse his loosed limbes he hable was to weld.

These, marching softly, thus in order went,

And after them the monthes all riding came:
First, sturdy March, with brows full sternly bent,
And armed strongly, rode upon a ram,
The same which over Hellespontus swam:
Yet in his hand a spade he also hent,
And in a bag all sorts of seeds ysame,

Which on the earth he strowed as he went,
And fild her womb with fruitfull hope of nourishment.

Next came fresh Aprill, full of lustyhed,

And wanton as a kid whose horne new buds:
Upon a bull he rode, the same which led
Europa floting through th' Argolick fluds:
His hornes were gilden all with golden studs,
And garnished with garlonds goodly dight
Of all the fairest flowres and freshest buds

Which th' earth brings forth, and wet he seem'd in sight With waves, through which he waded for his loves delight.

Then came faire May, the fayrest mayd on ground,

Deckt all with dainties of her seasons pryde,
And throwing flowres out of her lap around:
Upon two brethrens shoulders she did ride,
The twinnes of Leda; which on eyther side
Supported her like to their soveraine queene.
Lord! how all creatures laught, when her they spide,

And leapt and daunc't as they had ravisht beene!
And Cupid selfe about her fluttred all in greene.

And after her came jolly June, arrayd

All in greene leaves, as he a player were;
Yet in his time he wrought as well as playd,
That by his plough-yrons mote right well appeare:

« PreviousContinue »