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Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
 
The Faerie Queene
Book II. The Legend of Sir Guyon
Canto VII
 
        Guyon findes Mamon in a delve,
  Sunning his threasure hore:
Is by him tempted, and led downe,
  To see his secrete store.

I
AS pilot well expert in perilous wave,
That to a stedfast starre his course hath bent,
When foggy mistes or cloudy tempests have
The faith full light of that faire lampe yblent,
And cover’d heaven with hideous dreriment,        5
Upon his card and compas firmes his eye,
The maysters of his long experiment,
And to them does the steddy helme apply,
Bidding his winged vessell fairely forward fly:
 
II
So Guyon, having lost his trustie guyde,
        10
Late left beyond that Ydle Lake, proceedes
Yet on his way, of none accompanyde;
And evermore himselfe with comfort feedes
Of his owne vertues and praise-worthie deedes.
So long he yode, yet no adventure found,        15
Which Fame of her shrill trompet worthy reedes:
For still he traveild through wide wastfull ground,
That nought but desert wildernesse shewed all around.
 
III
At last he came unto a gloomy glade,
Cover’d with boughes and shrubs from heavens light,        20
Whereas he sitting found in secret shade
An uncouth, salvage, and uncivile wight,
Of griesly hew and fowle ill favour’d sight;
His face with smoke was tand, and eies were bleard,
His head and beard with sout were ill bedight,        25
His cole-blacke hands did seeme to have ben seard
In smythes fire-spitting forge, and nayles like clawes appeard.
 
IV
His yron cote, all overgrowne with rust,
Was underneath enveloped with gold,
Whose glistring glosse, darkned with filthy dust,        30
Well yet appeared to have beene of old
A worke of rich entayle and curious mould,
Woven with antickes and wyld ymagery:
And in his lap a masse of coyne he told,
And turned upside downe, to feede his eye        35
And covetous desire with his huge threasury.
 
V
And round about him lay on every side
Great heapes of gold, that never could be spent:
Of which some were rude owre, not purifide
Of Mulcibers devouring element;        40
Some others were new driven, and distent
Into great ingowes, and to wedges square;
Some in round plates withouten moniment:
But most were stampt, and in their metal bare
The antique shapes of kings and kesars straung and rare.        45
 
VI
Soone as he Guyon saw, in great affright
And haste he rose, for to remove aside
Those pretious hils from straungers envious sight,
And downe them poured through an hole full wide
Into the hollow earth, them there to hide.        50
But Guyon, lightly to him leaping, stayd
His hand, that trembled as one terrifyde;
And though him selfe were at the sight dismayd,
Yet him perforce restraynd, and to him doubtfull sayd:
 
VII
‘What art thou, man, (if man at all thou art)
        55
That here in desert hast thine habitaunce,
And these rich heapes of welth doest hide apart
From the worldes eye, and from her right usaunce?’
Thereat, with staring eyes fixed askaunce,
In great disdaine, he answerd: ‘Hardy Elfe,        60
That darest vew my direfull countenaunce,
I read thee rash and heedlesse of thy selfe,
To trouble my still seate, and heapes of pretious pelfe.
 
VIII
‘God of the world and worldlings I me call,
Great Mammon, greatest god below the skye,        65
That of my plenty poure out unto all,
And unto none my graces do envye:
Riches, renowme, and principality,
Honour, estate, and all this worldes good,
For which men swinck and sweat incessantly,        70
Fro me do flow into an ample flood,
And in the hollow earth have their eternall brood.
 
IX
‘Wherefore, if me thou deigne to serve and sew,
At thy commaund, lo! all these mountaines bee;
Or if to thy great mind, or greedy vew,        75
All these may not suffise, there shall to thee
Ten times so much be nombred francke and free.’
‘Mammon,’ said he, ‘thy godheads vaunt is vaine,
And idle offers of thy golden fee;
To them that covet such eye-glutting gaine        80
Proffer thy giftes, and fitter servaunts entertaine.
 
X
‘Me ill besits, that in derdoing armes
And honours suit my vowed daies do spend,
Unto thy bounteous baytes and pleasing charmes,
With which weake men thou witchest, to attend:        85
Regard of worldly mucke doth fowly blend
And low abase the high heroicke spright,
That joyes for crownes and kingdomes to contend;
Faire shields, gay steedes, bright armes be my delight:
Those be the riches fit for an advent’rous knight.’        90
 
XI
‘Vaine glorious Elfe,’ saide he, ‘doest not thou weet,
That money can thy wantes at will supply?
Sheilds, steeds, and armes, and all things for thee meet
It can purvay in twinckling of an eye;
And crownes and kingdomes to thee multiply.        95
Doe not I kings create, and throw the crowne
Sometimes to him that low in dust doth ly?
And him that raignd into his rowme thrust downe,
And whom I lust do heape with glory and renowne?’
 
XII
‘All otherwise, saide he, ‘I riches read,
        100
And deeme them roote of all disquietnesse;
First got with guile, and then preserv’d with dread,
And after spent with pride and lavishnesse,
Leaving behind them griefe and heavinesse.
Infinite mischiefes of them doe arize,        105
Strife and debate, bloodshed and bitternesse,
Outrageous wrong and hellish covetize,
That noble heart, as great dishonour, doth despize.
 
XIII
‘Ne thine be kingdomes, ne the scepters thine;
But realmes and rulers thou doest both confound,        110
And loyall truth to treason doest incline:
Witnesse the guiltlesse blood pourd oft on ground,
The crowned often slaine, the slayer cround,
The sacred diademe in peeces rent,
And purple robe gored with many a wound;        115
Castles surprizd, great citties sackt and brent:
So mak’st thou kings, and gaynest wrongfull government.
 
XIV
‘Long were to tell the troublous stormes, that thosse
The private state, and make the life unsweet:
Who swelling sayles in Caspian sea doth crosse,        120
And in frayle wood on Adrian gulf doth fleet,
Doth not, I weene, so many evils meet.’
Then Mammon, wexing wroth, ‘And why then,’ sayd,
‘Are mortall men so fond and undiscreet,
So evill thing to seeke unto their ayd,        125
And having not, complaine, and having it, upbrayd?’
 
XV
‘Indeede,’ quoth he, ‘through fowle intemperaunce,
Frayle men are oft captiv’d to covetise:
But would they thinke, with how small allowaunce
Untroubled nature doth her selfe suffise,        130
Such superfluities they would despise,
Which with sad cares empeach our native joyes:
At the well head the purest streames arise:
But mucky filth his braunching armes annoyes,
And with uncomely weedes the gentle wave accloyes.        135
 
XVI
‘The antique world, in his first flowring youth,
Fownd no defect in his Creators grace,
But with glad thankes, and unreproved truth,
The guifts of soveraine bounty did embrace:
Like angels life was then mens happy cace:        140
But later ages pride, like corn-fed steed,
Abusd her plenty and fat swolne encreace
To all licentious lust, and gan exceed
The measure of her meane, and naturall first need.
 
XVII
‘Then gan a cursed hand the quiet wombe
        145
Of his great grandmother with steele to wound,
And the hid treasures in her sacred tombe
With sacriledge to dig. Therein he fownd
Fountaines of gold and silver to abownd,
Of which the matter of his huge desire        150
And pompous pride eftsoones he did compownd;
Then avarice gan through his veines inspire
His greedy flames, and kindled life-devouring fire.’
 
XVIII
‘Sonne,’ said he then, ‘lett be thy bitter scorne,
And leave the rudenesse of that antique age        155
To them that liv’d therin in state forlorne.
Thou, that doest live in later times, must wage
Thy workes for wealth, and life for gold engage.
If then thee list my offred grace to use,
Take what thou please of all this surplusage;        160
If thee list not, leave have thou to refuse:
But thing refused doe not afterward accuse.’
 
XIX
‘Me list not,’ said the Elfin knight, ‘receave
Thing offred, till I know it well be gott;
Ne wote I, but thou didst these goods bereave        165
From rightfull owner by unrighteous lott,
Or that blood guiltinesse or guile them blott.’
‘Perdy,’ quoth he, ‘yet never eie did vew,
Ne tong did tell, ne hand these handled not;
But safe I have them kept in secret mew        170
From hevens sight, and powre of al which them poursew.’
 
XX
‘What secret place,’ quoth he, ‘can safely hold
So huge a masse, and hide from heavens eie?
Or where hast thou thy wonne, that so much gold
Thou canst preserve from wrong and robbery?’        175
‘Come thou,’ quoth he, ‘and see.’ So by and by,
Through that thick covert he him led, and fownd
A darkesome way, which no man could descry,
That deep descended through the hollow grownd,
And was with dread and horror compassed arownd.        180
 
XXI
At length they came into a larger space,
That stretcht it selfe into an ample playne,
Through which a beaten broad high way did trace,
That streight did lead to Plutoes griesly rayne:
By that wayes side there sate infernall Payne,        185
And fast beside him sat tumultuous Strife:
The one in hand an yron whip did strayne,
The other brandished a bloody knife,
And both did gnash their teeth, and both did threten life.
 
XXII
On thother side, in one consort, there sate
        190
Cruell Revenge, and rancorous Despight,
Disloyall Treason, and hart-burning Hate;
But gnawing Gealosy, out of their sight
Sitting alone, his bitter lips did bight;
And trembling Feare still to and fro did fly,        195
And found no place, wher safe he shroud him might;
Lamenting Sorrow did in darknes lye;
And Shame his ugly face did hide from living eye.
 
XXIII
And over them sad Horror with grim hew
Did alwaies sore, beating his yron wings;        200
And after him owles and night-ravens flew,
The hatefull messengers of heavy things,
Of death and dolor telling sad tidings;
Whiles sad Celeno, sitting on a clifte,
A song of bale and bitter sorrow sings,        205
That hart of flint a sonder could have rifte:
Which having ended, after him she flyeth swifte.
 
XXIV
All these before the gates of Pluto lay;
By whom they passing, spake unto them nought.
But th’ Elfin knight with wonder all the way        210
Did feed his eyes, and fild his inner thought,
At last him to a litle dore he brought,
That to the gate of hell, which gaped wide,
Was next adjoyning, ne them parted ought:
Betwixt them both was but a litle stride,        215
That did the house of Richesse from hell-mouth divide.
 
XXV
Before the dore sat selfe-consuming Care,
Day and night keeping wary watch and ward,
For feare least Force or Fraud should unaware
Breake in, and spoile the treasure there in gard:        220
Ne would he suffer Sleepe once thetherward
Approch, albe his drowsy den were next;
For next to Death is Sleepe to be compard:
Therefore his house is unto his annext;
Here Sleep, ther Richesse, and helgate them both betwext.        225
 
XXVI
So soone as Mammon there arrivd, the dore
To him did open and affoorded way;
Him followed eke Sir Guyon evermore,
Ne darkenesse him, ne daunger might dismay.
Soone as he entred was, the dore streight way        230
Did shutt, and from behind it forth there lept
An ugly feend, more fowle then dismall day,
The which with monstrous stalke behind him stept,
And ever as he went, dew watch upon him kept.
 
XXVII
Well hoped hee, ere long that hardy guest,
        235
If ever covetous hand, or lustfull eye,
Or lips he layd on thing that likte him best,
Or ever sleepe his eiestrings did untye,
Should be his pray. And therefore still on hye
He over him did hold his cruell clawes,        240
Threatning with greedy gripe to doe him dye,
And rend in peeces with his ravenous pawes,
If ever he transgrest the fatall Stygian lawes.
 
XXVIII
That houses forme within was rude and strong,
Lyke an huge cave, hewne out of rocky clifte,        245
From whose rough vaut the ragged breaches hong,
Embost with massy gold of glorious guifte,
And with rich metall loaded every rifte,
That heavy ruine they did seeme to threatt;
And over them Arachne high did lifte        250
Her cunning web, and spred her subtile nett,
Enwrapped in fowle smoke and clouds more black then jett.
 
XXIX
Both roofe, and floore, and walls were all of gold,
But overgrowne with dust and old decay,
And hid in darkenes, that none could behold        255
The hew thereof: for vew of cherefull day
Did never in that house it selfe display,
But a faint shadow of uncertein light;
Such as a lamp, whose life does fade away;
Or as the moone, cloathed with clowdy night,        260
Does shew to him that walkes in feare and sad affright.
 
XXX
In all that rowme was nothing to be seene,
But huge great yron chests and coffers strong,
All bard with double bends, that none could weene
Them to efforce by violence or wrong:        265
On every side they placed were along.
But all the grownd with sculs was scattered,
And dead mens bones, which round about were flong;
Whose lives, it seemed, whilome there were shed,
And their vile carcases now left unburied.        270
 
XXXI
They forward passe, ne Guyon yet spoke word,
Till that they came unto an yron dore,
Which to them opened of his owne accord,
And shewd of richesse such exceeding store,
As eie of man did never see before,        275
Ne ever could within one place be fownd,
Though all the wealth, which is, or was of yore,
Could gathered be through all the world arownd,
And that above were added to that under grownd.
 
XXXII
The charge thereof unto a covetous spright
        280
Commaunded was, who thereby did attend,
And warily awaited day and night,
From other covetous feends it to defend,
Who it to rob and ransacke did intend.
Then Mammon, turning to that warriour, said:        285
‘Loe here the worldes blis! loe here the end,
To which al men doe ayme, rich to be made!
Such grace now to be happy is before thee laid.’
 
XXXIII
‘Certes,’ sayd he, ‘I n’ill thine offred grace,
Ne to be made so happy doe intend:        290
Another blis before mine eyes I place,
Another happines, another end.
To them that list, these base regardes I lend:
But I in armes, and in atchievements brave,
Do rather choose my flitting houres to spend,        295
And to be lord of those that riches have,
Then them to have my selfe, and be their servile sclave.’
 
XXXIV
Thereat the feend his gnashing teeth did grate,
And griev’d, so long to lacke his greedie pray;
For well he weened that so glorious bayte        300
Would tempt his guest to take thereof assay:
Had he so doen, he had him snatcht away,
More light then culver in the faulcons fist.
Eternall God thee save from such decay!
But whenas Mammon saw his purpose mist,        305
Him to entrap unwares another way he wist.
 
XXXV
Thence forward he him ledd, and shortly brought
Unto another rowme, whose dore forthright
To him did open, as it had beene taught:
Therein an hundred raunges weren pight,        310
And hundred fournaces all burning bright:
By every fournace many feendes did byde,
Deformed creatures, horrible in sight;
And every feend his busie paines applyde,
To melt the golden metall, ready to be tryde.        315
 
XXXVI
One with great bellowes gathered filling ayre,
And with forst wind the fewell did inflame;
Another did the dying bronds repayre
With yron tongs, and sprinckled ofte the same
With liquid waves, fiers Vulcans rage to tame,        320
Who, maystring them, renewd his former heat;
Some scumd the drosse, that from the metall came,
Some stird the molten owre with ladles great;
And every one did swincke, and every one did sweat.
 
XXXVII
But when an earthly wight they present saw,
        325
Glistring in armes and battailous aray,
From their whot work they did themselves withdraw
To wonder at the sight: for, till that day,
They never creature saw, that cam that way.
Their staring eyes, sparckling with fervent fyre,        330
And ugly shapes did nigh the man dismay,
That, were it not for shame, he would retyre;
Till that him thus bespake their soveraine lord and syre:
 
XXXVIII
‘Behold, thou Faeries sonne, with mortall eye,
That living eye before did never see:        335
The thing that thou didst crave so earnestly
To weet, whence all the wealth late shewd by mee
Proceeded, lo! now is reveald to thee.
Here is the fountaine of the worldes good:
Now therefore, if thou wilt enriched bee,        340
Avise thee well, and chaunge thy wilfull mood;
Least thou perhaps hereafter wish, and be withstood.’
 
XXXIX
‘Suffise it then, thou Money God,’ quoth hee,
‘That all thine ydle offers I refuse.
All that I need I have; what needeth mee        345
To covet more then I have cause to use?
With such vaine shewes thy worldlinges vyle abuse:
But give me leave to follow mine emprise.’
Mammon was much displeasd, yet no’te he chuse
But beare the rigour of his bold mesprise,        350
And thence him forward ledd, him further to entise.
 
XL
He brought him through a darksom narrow strayt,
To a broad gate, all built of beaten gold:
The gate was open, but therein did wayt
A sturdie villein, stryding stiffe and bold,        355
As if that Highest God defy he would:
In his right hand an yron club he held,
But he himselfe was all of golden mould,
Yet had both life and sence, and well could weld
That cursed weapon, when his cruell foes he queld.        360
 
XLI
Disdayne he called was, and did disdayne
To be so cald, and who so did him call:
Sterne was his looke, and full of stomacke vayne,
His portaunce terrible, and stature tall,
Far passing th’ hight of men terrestriall,        365
Like an huge gyant of the Titans race;
That made him scorne all creatures great and small,
And with his pride all others powre deface:
More fitt emongst black fiendes then men to have his place.
 
XLII
Soone as those glitterand armes he did espye,
        370
That with their brightnesse made that darknes light,
His harmefull club he gan to hurtle hye,
And threaten batteill to the Faery knight;
Who likewise gan himselfe to batteill dight,
Till Mammon did his hasty hand withhold,        375
And counseld him abstaine from perilous fight:
For nothing might abash the villein bold,
Ne mortall steele emperce his miscreated mould.
 
XLIII
So having him with reason pacifyde,
And the fiers carle commaunding to forbeare,        380
He brought him in. The rowme was large and wyde,
As it some gyeld or solemne temple weare:
Many great golden pillours did upbeare
The massy roofe, and riches huge sustayne,
And every pillour decked was full deare        385
With crownes, and diademes, and titles vaine,
Which mortall princes wore, whiles they on earth did rayne.
 
XLIV
A route of people there assembled were,
Of every sort and nation under skye,
Which with great uprore preaced to draw nere        390
To th’ upper part, where was advaunced hye
A stately siege of soveraine majestye;
And thereon satt a woman gorgeous gay,
And richly cladd in robes of royaltye,
That never earthly prince in such aray        395
His glory did enhaunce and pompous pryde display.
 
XLV
Her face right wondrous faire did seeme to bee,
That her broad beauties beam great brightnes threw
Through the dim shade, that all men might it see:
Yet was not that same her owne native hew,        400
But wrought by art and counterfetted shew,
Thereby more lovers unto her to call;
Nath’lesse most hevenly faire in deed and vew
She by creation was, till she did fall;
Thenceforth she sought for helps to cloke her crime withall.        405
 
XLVI
There as in glistring glory she did sitt,
She held a great gold chaine ylincked well,
Whose upper end to highest heven was knitt,
And lower part did reach to lowest hell;
And all that preace did rownd about her swell,        410
To catchen hold of that long chaine, thereby
To climbe aloft, and others to excell:
That was Ambition, rash desire to sty,
And every linck thereof a step of dignity.
 
XLVII
Some thought to raise themselves to high degree
        415
By riches and unrighteous reward;
Some by close shouldring, some by flatteree;
Others through friendes, others for base regard;
And all by wrong waies for themselves prepard.
Those that were up themselves, kept others low,        420
Those that were low themselves, held others hard,
Ne suffred them to ryse or greater grow,
But every one did strive his fellow downe to throw.
 
XLVIII
Which whenas Guyon saw, he gan inquire,
What meant that preace about that ladies throne,        425
And what she was that did so high aspyre.
Him Mammon answered: ‘That goodly one,
Whom all that folke with such contention
Doe flock about, my deare, my daughter is:
Honour and dignitie from her alone        430
Derived are, and all this worldes blis,
For which ye men doe strive: few gett, but many mis.
 
XLIX
‘And fayre Philotime she rightly hight,
The fairest wight that wonneth under skye,
But that this darksom neather world her light        435
Doth dim with horror and deformity,
Worthie of heven and hye felicitie,
From whence the gods have her for envy thrust:
But sith thou hast found favour in mine eye,
Thy spouse I will her make, if that thou lust,        440
That she may thee advance for works and merits just.’
 
L
‘Gramercy, Mammon,’ said the gentle knight,
‘For so great grace and offred high estate,
But I, that am fraile flesh and earthly wight,
Unworthy match for such immortall mate        445
My selfe well wote, and mine unequall fate:
And were I not, yet is my trouth yplight,
And love avowd to other lady late,
That to remove the same I have no might:
To chaunge love causelesse is reproch to warlike knight.’        450
 
LI
Mammon emmoved was with inward wrath;
Yet, forcing it to fayne, him forth thence ledd,
Through griesly shadowes by a beaten path,
Into a gardin goodly garnished
With hearbs and fruits, whose kinds mote not be redd:        455
Not such as earth out of her fruitfull woomb
Throwes forth to men, sweet and well savored,
But direfull deadly black, both leafe and bloom,
Fitt to adorne the dead and deck the drery toombe.
 
LII
There mournfull cypresse grew in greatest store,
        460
And trees of bitter gall, and heben sad,
Dead sleeping poppy, and black hellebore,
Cold coloquintida, and tetra mad,
Mortall samnitis, and cicuta bad,
With which th’ unjust Atheniens made to dy        465
Wise Socrates, who thereof quaffing glad,
Pourd out his life and last philosophy
To the fayre Critias, his dearest belamy.
 
LIII
The Gardin of Proserpina this hight;
And in the midst thereof a silver seat,        470
With a thick arber goodly overdight,
In which she often usd from open heat
Her selfe to shroud, and pleasures to entreat.
Next thereunto did grow a goodly tree,
With braunches broad dispredd and body great,        475
Clothed with leaves, that none the wood mote see,
And loaden all with fruit as thick as it might bee.
 
LIV
Their fruit were golden apples glistring bright,
That goodly was their glory to behold;
On earth like never grew, ne living wight        480
Like ever saw, but they from hence were sold;
For those, which Hercules with conquest bold
Got from great Atlas daughters, hence began,
And, planted there, did bring forth fruit of gold;
And those with which th’ Eubœan young man wan        485
Swift Atalanta, when through craft he her out ran.
 
LV
Here also sprong that goodly golden fruit,
With which Acontius got his lover trew,
Whom he had long time sought with fruitlesse suit:
Here eke that famous golden apple grew,        490
The which emongst the gods false Ate threw;
For which th’ Idæan ladies disagreed,
Till partiall Paris dempt it Venus dew,
And had of her fayre Helen for his meed,
That many noble Greekes and Trojans made to bleed.        495
 
LVI
The warlike Elfe much wondred at this tree,
So fayre and great, that shadowed all the ground,
And his broad braunches, laden with rich fee,
Did stretch themselves without the utmost bound
Of this great gardin, compast with a mound:        500
Which over-hanging, they themselves did steepe
In a blacke flood, which flow’d about it round;
That is the river of Cocytus deepe,
In which full many soules do endlesse wayle and weepe.
 
LVII
Which to behold, he clomb up to the bancke,
        505
And, looking downe, saw many damned wightes,
In those sad waves, which direfull deadly stancke,
Plonged continually of cruell sprightes,
That with their piteous cryes, and yelling shrightes,
They made the further shore resounden wide.        510
Emongst the rest of those same ruefull sightes,
One cursed creature he by chaunce espide,
That drenched lay full deepe, under the garden side.
 
LVIII
Deepe was he drenched to the upmost chin,
Yet gaped still, as coveting to drinke        515
Of the cold liquour which he waded in,
And stretching forth his hand, did often thinke
To reach the fruit which grew upon the brincke:
But both the fruit from hand, and flood from mouth,
Did fly abacke, and made him vainely swincke:        520
The whiles he sterv’d with hunger and with drouth,
He daily dyde, yet never throughly dyen couth.
 
LIX
The knight, him seeing labour so in vaine,
Askt who he was, and what he ment thereby:
Who, groning deepe, thus answerd him againe:        525
‘Most cursed of all creatures under skye,
Lo! Tantalus, I here tormented lye:
Of whom high Jove wont whylome feasted bee,
Lo! here I now for want of food doe dye:
But if that thou be such as I thee see,        530
Of grace I pray thee, give to eat and drinke to mee.’
 
LX
‘Nay, nay, thou greedy Tantalus,’ quoth he,
‘Abide the fortune of thy present fate,
And unto all that live in high degree
Ensample be of mind intemperate,        535
To teach them how to use their present state.’
Then gan the cursed wretch alowd to cry,
Accusing highest Jove and gods ingrate,
And eke blaspheming heaven bitterly,
As authour of unjustice, there to let him dye.        540
 
LXI
He lookt a litle further, and espyde
Another wretch, whose carcas deepe was drent
Within the river, which the same did hyde:
But both his handes, most filthy feculent,
Above the water were on high extent,        545
And faynd to wash themselves incessantly;
Yet nothing cleaner were for such intent,
But rather fowler seemed to the eye;
So lost his labour vaine and ydle industry.
 
LXII
The knight, him calling, asked who he was;
        550
Who, lifting up his head, him answerd thus:
‘I Pilate am, the falsest judge, alas!
And most unjust; that, by unrighteous
And wicked doome, to Jewes despiteous
Delivered up the Lord of Life to dye,        555
And did acquite a murdrer felonous:
The whiles my handes I washt in purity,
The whiles my soule was soyld with fowle iniquity.’
 
LXIII
Infinite moe, tormented in like paine,
He there beheld, too long here to be told:        560
Ne Mammon would there let him long remayne,
For terrour of the tortures manifold,
In which the damned soules he did behold,
But roughly him bespake: ‘Thou fearefull foole,
Why takest not of that same fruite of gold,        565
Ne sittest downe on that same silver stoole,
To rest thy weary person in the shadow coole?’
 
LXIV
All which he did, to do him deadly fall
In frayle intemperaunce through sinfull bayt;
To which if he inclyned had at all,        570
That dreadfull feend, which did behinde him wayt,
Would him have rent in thousand peeces strayt:
But he was wary wise in all his way,
And well perceived his deceiptfull sleight,
Ne suffred lust his safety to betray;        575
So goodly did beguile the guyler of his pray.
 
LXV
And now he has so long remained theare,
That vitall powres gan wexe both weake and wan,
For want of food and sleepe, which two upbeare,
Like mightie pillours, this frayle life of man,        580
That none without the same enduren can.
For now three dayes of men were full outwrought,
Since he this hardy enterprize began:
Forthy great Mammon fayrely he besought,
Into the world to guyde him backe, as he him brought.        585
 
LXVI
The god, though loth, yet was constraynd t’ obay,
For, lenger time then that, no living wight
Below the earth might suffred be to stay:
So backe againe him brought to living light.
But all so soone as his enfeebled spright        590
Gan sucke this vitall ayre into his brest,
As overcome with too exceeding might,
The life did flit away out of her nest,
And all his sences were with deadly fit opprest.
 
 
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