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And syghing fore her haunds The wronge and folde, ,
Tare al her haire that ruth was to beholde.
Her body small, forwithered and forespent,
As is the stalke that sommers drought opprest;
Her wealked face with wofull teares besprent,
Her colour pale, and, as it seemed her best,
In woe and playnt reposed was her rest :
And as the stone that droppeś of water weares,
So dented were her cheekes with fall of teares.--
I stoode agast, beholding all her plight,
Tween dread and dolour so distreynd in hart,
That while my heares upstarted with the fight,
The teares outstreamde for forowe of her smart.
But when I sawe no ende, that could aparte
The deadly dole which she so fore dyd make,
With dolefull voyce then thus to her I spake.
Unwrap thy woes, whatever wight thou be!
And stint betime to spill thyselfe with playnt.
Tell what thou art, and whenco, for well I see
Thou canst not dure with forowe thus attaynt.
And with that worde, of sorrowe all forfaynt,
up, and prostrate as the laye,
With piteous founde, lo! thus she gan to saye.
Alas, I wretche, whom thus thou seest distrayned,
With wasting woes, that never shall allake,
Sorrowe I am, in endeles tormentes payned,
Among the Furies in the infernall lake;
Where Pluto god of hell fo grieslie blake
Doth holde his throne, and Lethes deadly taste
Doth reive remembrance of eche thyng forepast.
Whence come I am, the drery destinie,
And luckles lot, for to bemone of those,
Whom Fortune in this maze of miserie,
Of wretched chaunce, most wofull mýrrours chose :
That when thou feest how lightly they did lose
Theyr pompe, theyr power, and that they thought most sure,
Thou mayest foon deeme no earthlye joye may dure.
SORROW then conducts the poet to the classical hell, to the
place of torments and the place of happiness.
I shall thee guyde first to the griefly lake,
And thence unto the blissfull place of rest :
Where thou shalt see and heare the playnt they make,
That whilom here bare swinge among the best.
This shalt thou see. But great is the unrest
That thou must byde, before thou canst attayne
Unto the dreadfull place where those remayne.
And with these wordes as I upraysed stood
to folowe her that straight forth paste,
Ere I was ware, into a desert wood
We nowe were come : where hand in hand embraced,
She led the way, and through the thicke so traced
As, but I had beene guyded by her might,
It was no waye for any mortal wight.
But loe! while thus amid the desert darke
We passed on, with steppes and pace unmeete,
A rumbling roar confulde, with howle and barke
Of dogs, thooke all the grounde under our feete,
And strooke the din within our eares so deepe,
As half distraught unto the ground I fell,
Befought returne, and not to visit hell.
An hydeous hole al vast, withouten shape,
Of endles depth, orewhelmde with ragged stone,
With oughly mouth and griesly jawes doth gape,
And to our sight confounds itself in one.
Here entred we, and yeding forth, anone
An horrible lothly lake we might discerne,
As black as pitche, that cleped • is Averne.
A deadly gulfe where nought but rubbish growes,
With fowle blake swelth in thickened lumpes that lyes;
Which upp in th' ayre
such stinking vapour throwes,
That over there may flye no fowle, but dyes
Choakt with the noy som vapours that aryse.
Hither we come, whence forth we still did pace,
In dreadfull feare amid the dreadfull place.
Our author appears to have felt and to have conceived with true taste, that very romantic part of Virgil's Eneid which he has here happily copied and heightened. The imaginary beings which fate within the porch of hell, are all his own. I must not omit a single figure of this dreadful groupe, nor one compartment of the portraitures which are feigned to be sculptured or painted on the SHIELD of War, indented with gashes deepe- and wide.
And, first, within the porch and jaws of hell
Sat deep REMORSE OF CONSCIENCE, all besprent
With tears; and to herself oft would she tell
Her wretchedness, and, curfing, never stent
To sob and figh, but ever thus lament
With thoughtful care ; as she that, all in vain,
Would wear and waste continually in pain :
Her eyes unstedfast, rolling here and there,
Whirld on, each place, as place that vengeance brought,
So was her mind continually in fear,
Tost and tormented with the tedious thought'?) !,!
Of those detested crimes which she had wrought';
With dreadful cheer, and looks thrown to the sky,
Wishing for death, and yet she could not die.
Next, faw we DREAD, all trembling how he shook,
With foot uncertain, profer'd here and there, ;
Benumb’d with speech ; and, with a gastly look,
Search'd every place, all pale and dead for fear,
up with with staring of his hair ;
'Stoin'd and amazed at his own shade for dread,
And fearing greater dangers than was need.
And, next, within the entry of this lake;
Sat fell REVENGE, gnashing her teeth for ire;
Devising means how the may vengeance take ;
Never in rest, 'till she have her defire ;
But frets within so far forth with the fire
Of wreaking flames, that now determines the
To die by death, or 'veng'd by death to be.
When fell Revenge, with bloody foul pretencer.
Had show'd herself, as next in order set,
With trembling limbs we softly parted thence;
'Till in our eyes another sight we met ;
my heart a figh forthwith I fet,
Ruing, alas, upon the woeful plight
Of Misery, that next appear'd in fight :
His face was lean, and some-deal pin'd away,
And eke his hands consumed to the bone ;
But, what his body was, I cannot say,
For on his carkass rayment had he none,
Save clouts and patches pieced one by one ;
With staff in hand, and scrip on shoulders-cast,
His chief defence against the winter's blast:
His food, for most, was wild fruits of the tree;
Unless sometime some crums fell to his share,
Which in his wallet long, God wot, kept he,
As on the which full daint’ly would he fare ;
His drink, the running stream, his cup, the bare
Of his palm closed ; his bed, the hard cold ground :
To this poor life was MISERY ybound.
Whose wretched state when we had well beheld,
With tender ruth on him, and on his feers,
In thoughtful cares forth then our pace we held ;
And, by and by, another shape appears
Of greedy CARE, still brushing up the breers ;
His knuckles knob'd, his flesh deep dinted in,
With tawed hands, and hard ytanned skin :
The morrow grey no sooner hath begun
To spread his light, c'en peeping in our eyes,
But he is up, and to his work yrun;
But let the night's black misty mantles rise,
And with foul dark never so much disguise
The fair bright day, yet ceaseth he no while,
But hath his candles to prolong his toil.
By him lay heavy SLEEP, the cousin of Death,
Flat on the ground, and still as any stone,
А very corpse, save yielding forth a breath;
Small keep took he, whom fortune frowned on,
Or whom the lifted up into the throne
Of high renown, but, as a living death,
So, dead alive, of life he drew the breath :-