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“The lily, lady of the flow'ring field,
The flower-de-luce, her lovely paramour,
Bid thee to them thy fruitless labours yield,
And soon leave off this toilsome, weary stour;
Lo, lo! how brave she decks her bounteous bower,
With silken curtains and gold coverlets,
Therein to shroud her sumptuous belamoure;
Yet neither spins nor cards, ne cares nor frets,
But to her mother Nature all her care she lets.
“Why then dost thou, oh Man, that of them all
Art lord, and eke of Nature sovereign,
Wilfully make thyself a wretched thrall,
And waste thy joyous hours in needless pain,
Seeking for danger and adventure vain ?
What boots it all to have and nothing use?
Who shall him rue that, swimming in the main,
Will die for thirst, and water doth refuse ?
Resuse such fruitless toil, and present pleasures


Thence passing forth, they shortly do arrive
Whereat the Bower of Bliss was situate ;
A place pick'd out by choice of best alive,
That Nature's work by art can imitate :
In which whatever in this worldly state
Is sweet and pleasing unto living sense,
Or that may daintiest fantasy aggrate,
Was poured forth with plentiful dispense,
And made there to abound with lavish affluence.
Goodly it was, enclosed round about,
As well their enter'd guests to keep within,
As those unruly beasts to hold without;
Yet was the fence thereof but weak and thin;
Nought feard they force that fortilage to win,
But Wisdom's power, and Temperance's might,
By which the mightiest things efforced been :
And eke the gate was wrought of substance light,
Rather for pleasure than for battery or fight.

It framed was of precious ivory,
That seem'd a work of admirable wit,
And therein all the famous history
Of Jason and Medæa was ywrit;
Her mighty charms, her furious loving fit,
His goodly conquest of the Golden Fleece,
His falsed faith, and love too lightly flit,
The wondered Argo, which, in venturous peace,
First through the Euxine seas bore all the flower of

Ye might have seen the frothy billows fry
Under the ship, as thorough them she went,
That seem'd the waves were into ivory,
Or ivory into the waves, were sent ;
And otherwhere the snowy substance sprent
With vermell, like the boy's blood therein shed,
A piteous spectacle did represent;
And otherwhiles, with gold besprinkled,
It seem'd th' enchanted flame which did Creusa wed.



Thus being enter'd, they behold around
A large and spacious plain, on every side
Strewed with pleasances; whose fair grassy ground,
Mantled with green, and goodly beautified
With all the ornaments of Flora's pride,
Wherewith her mother Art, as half in scorn
Of niggard Nature, like a pompous bride,
Did deck her, and too lavishly adorn, (morn.
When forth from virgin bow'r she comes in th' early
There with the heavens, always jovial,
Look'd on them lovely, still in stedfast state.
Ne suffer'd storm nor frost on them to fall,
Their tender buds or leaves to violate;
Nor scorching heat, nor cold intemperate,
T afflict the creatures which therein did dwell;
But the mild air, with season moderate,
Gently attemper’d, and disposed so well,
That still it breathed forth sweet spirit and whole-

some smell.

More sweet and wholesome than the pleasant hill
Of Rhodope, on which the nymph, that bore
A giant babe, herself for grief did kill ;
Or the Thessalian Tempe, where of yore
Fair Daphne Phoebus' heart with love did gore;
Or Ida, where the gods loved to repair
Whenever they their heavenly bowers forlore;
Or sweet Parnasse, the haunt of muses fair;
Or Eden self, if aught with Eden mote compare.
Much wonder'd Guyon at the fair aspect
Of that sweet place, yet suffer'd no delight
To sink into his sense, nor mind affect;
But passed forth, and look'd still forward right,
Bridling his will, and mastering his might,
Till that he came unto another gate;
No gate, but like one, being goodly dight
With boughs and branches, which did broad dilate
Their clasping arms, in wanton wreathings intricate.
So fashioned a porch with rare device,
Arch'd over head with an embracing vine,
Whose bunches hanging down seem'd to entice
All passers by to taste their luscious wine,
And did themselves into their hands incline,
As freely offering to be gathered;
Some deep empurpled as the hyacine,
Some as the rubine, laughing sweetly red,
Some like fair emeraudes not yet well ripen'd:

And them amongst some were of burnish'd gold,
So made by art to beautify the rest,
Which did themselves amongst the leaves enfold,
As lurking from the view of covetous guest,
That the weak boughs, with so rich load oppress'd,
Did bow adown as overburthened.
Under that porch a comely dame did rest,
Clad in fair weeds, but foul disordered, [head:
And garments loose, that seem'd unmeet for woman-
In her left hand a cup of gold she held,
And with her right the riper fruit did reach,
Whose sappy liquor, that with fullness swellid,
Into her cup she scruzed with dainty breach
Of her fine fingers, without foul empeach,
That so fair wine-press made the wine more sweet:
Thereof she used to give to drink to each,
Whom passing by she happened to meet :
It was her guise all strangers goodly so to greet.
So she to Guyon offer'd it to taste :
Who, taking it out of her tender hand,
The cup to ground did violently cast,
That all in pieces it was broken fond,
And with the liqour stained all the land :
Whereat Excess exceedingly was wroth,
Yet no’te the same amend, ne yet withstand,
But suffered him to pass, all were she lothe, [eth.
Who, nought regarding her displeasure, forward go-
There the most dainty paradise on ground
Itself doth offer to his sober eye,
In which all pleasures plenteously abound,
And none does other's happiness envy;
The painted flowers, the trees upshooting high ;
The dales for shade, the hills for breathing space;
The trembling groves, the crystal running by;
And that which all fair works doth most aggrace,
The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place.
One would have thought (so cunningly the rude
And scorned parts were mingled with the fine),
That Nature had for wantonness ensude
Art, and that Art at Nature did repine ;
So striving each th' other to undermine,
Each did the other's work more beautify,
So differing both in wills agreed in fine :
So all agreed, through sweet diversity,
This garden to adorn with all variety.

And in the midst of all a fountain stood,
Of richest substance that on the earth might be,
So pure and shiny, that the silver flood
Through every channel running one might see :
Most goodly it with curious imagery
Was over-wrought, and shapes of naked boys,
Of which some seem'd, with lively jollity,
To fly about, playing their wanton toys,
While others did themselves embay in liquid joys.
And over all of purest gold was spread
A trayle of ivy in his native hue ;
For the rich metal was so coloured,
That wight, who did not well-advised it view,
Would surely deem it to be ivy true :
Low his lascivious arms adown did creep,
That themselves, dipping in the silver dew
Their fleecy flowers, they fearfully did steep,
Which drops of crystal seem'd for wantonness to

Infinite streams continually did well
Out of this fountain, sweet and fair to see,
The which into an ample laver fell,
And shortly grew to so great quantity,
That like a little lake it seemed to be,
Whose depth exceeded not three cubits height,
That through the waves one might the bottom see,
All paved beneath with jasper, shining bright,
That seem'd the fountain in that sea did sail upright.


Eftsoons they heard a most melodious sound,
Of all that mote delight a dainty ear,
Such as at once might not on living ground,
Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere :
Right hard it was for wight which did it hear,
To rede what manner music that mote be;
For all that pleasing is to living ear,
Was there consorted in one harmony;
Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree.


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