Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

And Phaeton now near reaching to his race,
With glistering beams gold-streaming where they

bent,
Was prest to enter in his resting place.

Erithius, that in the car first went,

Had even now attained his journey's stent,
And fast declining hid away his head,
While Titan couched him in his purple bed.
And pale Cinthèa, with her borrowed light,

Beginning to supply her brother's place,
Was past the noon-stead six degrees in sight;

When sparkling stars amid the heaven's face,

With twink’ling light shone on the earth apace:
That while they brought about the nightis chair,*
The dark had dimmed the day, ere I was 'ware.
And sorrowing I, to see the summer flowers,

The lively green, the lusty leas forlorn,
The sturdy trees so shattered with the showers,

The fields so fade, that flourished so beforne;

It taught me well, all earthly things be born To die the death, for nought long time may last; The summer's beauty yields to winter's blast.

Then looking upwards to the heaven's leames, t

With night-stars thick y-powdered every where, Which erst so glistened with the golden streams,

That cheerful Phæbus spread down from his sphere;

Beholding dark oppressing day so near : The sudden sight reduced to my mind, The sundry changes that on earth we find. * “ The nightis chair the stars about do bring."-SURRKY. + Lights.

That, musing on this worldly wealth in thought,

Which comes and goes, more faster than we see The flickering flame that with the fire is wrought,

My busy mind presented unto me,

Such fall of Peers as in this realm had be: That oft I wished some would their woes descrive, * To warn the rest, whom fortune left alive.

And strait,-forth-stalking with redoubled pace,

For that I saw the night drew on so fast, In black all clad,there fell before my face,

A piteous wight, whom woe had all forwaste:t Forth from her eyes the crystal tears out brast, I And sighing sore, her hands she wrung and fold, Tearing her hair, that ruth was to behold. Her body small forwithered and forspent,

As is the stalk that summer's drought oppressed; Her wealked & face with woeful tears besprent,

Her colour pale, as seemed it her best;

In woe and plaint reposed was her rest: And, as the stone that drops of water wears, So dented were her cheeks with fall of tears.

Her eyes swollen with flowing streams afloat,

Were, with her looks, thrown up full pitiously ; Her forceless hands together oft she smote,

With doleful shrieks that echoed to the sky;

Whose plaint such sighs did strait accompany,
That, in my doom, was never man did see
A wight but half so woe-begone as she.

* Describe. + The prefix “ for," in the older writers, was used emphatically to render the signification more intense. # Participle of Brest, to burst. Withored, wrinkled.

This wretched personage is Sorrow,

Sorrow I am, in endless torments pained,

Among the furies in the infernal lake;

That Sackville was not completely original in bis conception of this character, will appear by the following quotation from Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose.

Sorrow was painted next envy,
Upon that wall of masonry;
But well was seen in her colour,
That she had lived in langour;
Her seemed to have the jaundice,
Not half so pale was avarice ;
Full sad, pale, and meagre also,
Was never wight yet half so woe,
As tbat her seemed for to be,
Nor so fulfilled with ire as she :-
I trow that no wight might her please,
Nor do that thing that might her ease ;
So deep y-was her woe begon,
And eke her heart in anger ron,
A sorrowful thing well seemed she;
Nor had she nothing slow y-be
For to be scratchen all her face,
And for to rent in many place
Her clothes, and for to tear her swire,*
As she that was fulfilled with ire.
And all to torn lay eke her hair
About her shoulders here and there.
And eke I tell yon certainly,
How that she wept full tenderly;
And allto dashed herself for woe,
And smote together her hands two,
Her rought + little of playing,
Or of clipping, or of kissing.

* The neck or bosom. + The passive participle of reck,

to care.

The shadowy residents of Hellgate," from the same. 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 cursing never stent

To sob and sigh; but ever thus lament, With thoughtful care, as she that all in vain Would wear and waste continually in pain,

Her eyes unsteadfast rolling here and there,
Whirled on each place as place that vengeance

brought
So was her mind continually in fear,

Tossed and tormented with the hideous 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 saw we Dread all trembling how he shook,

With foot uncertain proffered here and there : Benumbed of speech, and with a ghastly look,

Searched every place, all pale and dead for fear;

His cap borne up with starting of his hair; Stoyned * and amazed at his own shade for dread, And fearing greater danger than was need.

And next, within the entry of this lake,

Sat fell Revenge gnashing her teeth for ire; Devising means how she may vengeance take ;

Never to rest 'till she have her desire;

But frets within so far forth with the fire
Of wreaking flames, that now determines she
To die by death, or venged by death to be.

* Astounded,

When fell Revenge, with bloody foul pretence,

Had shewn herself as next in order set, With trembling limbs we softly parted thence,

"Till in our eyes another sight we met ;

When from my heart a sigh forthwith I fet,
Rueing * alas ! upon the woeful plight,
Of Misery that next appeared in sight.

His face was lean and some deal pined away

And eke his hands consumed to the bone; But what his body was I cannot say,

For on his carcase raiment had he none

Save clouts and patches pieced one by one. With staff in band, and scrip on shoulder cast, His chief defence against the winter's blast.

His food for most was wild fruits of the tree,

Unless sometimes some crumbs fell to his share ; Which in his wallet long, God wot, kept he,

And on the same full daintly 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 y-bound.

Whose wretched state when we had well beheld,

With tender ruth on him and on his feres,
With thoughtful cares forth then our pace we held,

And by and by, another shape appears

Of greedy Care,* still brushing up the breres. I His knuckles knobbed, his flesh deep dented in, With tawed hands, and hard y-tanned skin.

• Regretting, rominating with pity. + Companions. Briars.

« PreviousContinue »