Page images

A thousand wild chimeras would him cast,

As when a fearful dream, in midst of night,

Skips to the brain, and fancies to the sight
Some winged fury, straight the hasty foot,
Eager to fly, cannot pluck up his root,
The voice dies in the tongue, and mouth gapes without boot.

Now he would dream that he from heaven fell,

And then would snatch the air, afraid to fall;
And now he thought he sinking was to hell,

And then would grasp the earth; and now his stall
Him seemed hell, and then he out would crawl;
And ever as he crept would squint aside,
Lest him perhaps some fury had espied,
And then, alas! he should in chains for ever bide.

Therefore he softly shrunk and stole away,

Nor ever durst to draw his breath for fear, Till to the door he came, and there he lay

Panting for breath, as though he dying were;

And still he thought he felt his grapples tear
Him by the heels back to his ugly den ;
Out fain he would have leaped abroad, but then
The heaven, as hell, he feared, that punish guilty men.

Within the gloomy hole of this pale wight,

The serpent wooed Him with his charms to win: There he might bait the day, and rest the night;

But under that same bait a fearful grin

Was ready to entangle Him in sin;
But He upon ambrosia daily fed,
That grew in Eden-thus He answered:
So both away were caught, and to the temple fled.

Well knew our Saviour this the serpent was,

And the old serpent knew our Saviour well;
Never did any this in falsehood pass,

Never did any Him in truth excel;
With Him we fly to heaven, from heaven we fell

[ocr errors]

With him; but now they both together met
Upon the sacred pinnacles that threat
With their aspiring tops Astræa's starry seat.

Here did Presumption her pavilion spread

Over the temple, the bright stars among; (Ah! that her foot should trample on the head

Of that most reverend place!) and a lewd throng

Of wanton boys sung her a pleasant song,
Of love, long life, of mercy, and of grace;
And every one her dearly did embrace,
And she herself enamoured were of her own face.

Poor fool! she thought herself in wondrous price

With God, as if in Paradise she were; But were she not in a fool's Paradise,

She might have seen more reason to despair :

But him she like some ghastly fiend did fear;
And therefore as that wretch hewed out his cell
Under the bowels in the heart of hell,
So she above the moon amid the stars would dwell.

Her tent with sunny clouds was ceiled aloft,

And so exceeding shone with a false light, That heaven itself to her it seemed oft,

Heaven without clouds to her deluded sight :

But clouds withouten heaven it was aright;
And as her house was built, so did her brain
Build castles in the air, with idle pain,
But heart she never had in all her body vain.

Like as a ship in which no balance lies,

Without a pilot on the sleeping waves, Fairly along with wind and water flies,

And painted masts with silken sails embraves,

That Neptune's self the bragging vessel saves,
To laugh awhile at her so proud array;
Her waving streamers loosely she lets play,
And flagging colours shine as bright as smiling day.

But all so soon as heaven his brows doth bend,

She veils her banners, and pulls in her beams; The empty bark the raging billows send

Up to the Olympic waves, and Argus seems

Again to ride upon our lower streams : Right so Presumption did herself behave, Tossed about with every stormy wave, And in white lawn she went most like an angel brave.

Gently our Saviour she began to shrive

Whether He were the Son of God, or no; For any other she disdained to wive:

And if He were, she bid Him fearless throw

Himself to ground; and therewithal did show A Aight of little angels, that did wait, Upon their glittering wings to launch Him straight, And longed on their backs to feel his glorious weight.

But when she saw her speech prevailed nought,

Herself she humbled headlong to the floor;
But Him the angels on their feathers caught,

And to an airy mountain nimbly bore,

Whose snowy shoulders, like some chalky shore, Restless Olympus seemed to rest upon, With all his swimming globes; so both are gone, The dragon with the lamb—Ah! unmeet paragon '7.

All suddenly the hill his snow devours,

In lieu whereof a goodly garden grew; As if the snow had melted into flowers,

Which their sweet breath in subtle vapours threw,

That all about perfumed spirits flew : For whatsoe'er might aggravate 18 the sense, In all the world, or please the appetence, Here it was poured out in lavish affluence.

17 Paragon, companion.
18 Used in the sense of “heighten," or "give pleasure to."

Not lovely Ida might with this compare,

Though many streams his banks besilvered, Though Xanthus with his golden sands he bore;

Nor Hybla, though his thyme depastured; Nor Rhodope, nor Tempe's flowery plain; Adonis' garden was to this but vain, Though Plato on his beds a flood of praise doth rain.

For in all these some one thing most did grow;

But in this one grew all things else beside, Por sweet variety herself did throw

To every bank; here all the ground she dyed,

In lily white there pinks yblazed wide,
And damasked all the earth; and here she shed
Blue violets, and there came roses red;
And every sight the yielding sense as captive led.

The garden like a lady fair was cut,

That lay as if she slumbered in delight, And to the open skies her eyes did shut;

The azure fields of heaven were sembled right

In a large round, set with the flowers of light; The flowers-de-luce, and the round sparks of dew That hung upon their azure leaves, did shew Like twinkling stars that sparkle in the evening blue.


Upon a hilly bank her head she cast,

On which the bower of vain delight was built White and red roses for her face was placed,

And for her sses marigolds were spilt;

Them broadly she displayed, like flaming gilt, Till in the ocean the glad day were drowned ; Then up again her yellow locks she wound, And with green fillets in their pretty cauls them bound.

What should I here depaint her lily hand,

Her veins of violets, her ermine breast,

Which there in orient colours living stand;

Or how her gown with silken leaves is dressed;

Or how her watchmen, armed with boughy crest, A wall of price hid in his bushes bears, Shaking at every wind their leafy spears, While she supinely sleeps, nor to be waked fears.

[ocr errors]

Over the hedge depends the graping elm,

Whose greener head, empurpured in wine,
Seemed to wonder at his bloody helm,

And half suspect the bunches of the vine,

Lest they perhaps his wit should undermine,
For well he knew such fruit he never bore;
But her weak arms embraced him the more,
And with her ruby grapes laughed at her paramour.

Under the shadow of these drunken elms

A fountain rose

The font of silver was, and so his showers

In silver fell, only the gilded bowls
(Like to a furnace that the mineral pours,)

Seemed to have molten in their shining holes,

And on the water, like to burning coals,
On liquid silver leaves of roses lay:
But when Vain Glory here did list to play,
Rose water then it rained, and milk it ran, they say.

The roof thick clouds did paint, from which three boys

Three gaping mermaids with their ewers did feed, Whose breasts let fall the stream, with sleepy noise,

To lions' mouths, from whence it leaped with speed,

And in the rosy laver seemed to bleed;
The naked boys unto the water's fall
Their stony nightingales had taught to call,
When Zephyr breathed into their watery enterall.

And all about, embayed in soft sleer,

A herd of charmed beasts aground were spread,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »