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Till that infernal Fiend with soul uproar

Far wasted all their land, and them expell’d,
Whom to avenge, she had this knight from far compell’d.

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One day nigh weary of the irksome way,
From her unhasty beast she did alight,
And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay,
In secret shadow far from all men's sight:
From her fair head her fillet she undight,
And laid her stole aside : her angel's face,

As the great eye of heaven shined bright,

And made a sunshine in the shady place ;
Did ever mortal eye behold such heavenly grace?


The bower of bliss is situated upon a floating island, which is embellished with every thing that is calculated to charm the senses, and enchant the soul. It is painted with an oriental aflluence of fancy, and is radiant with the gorgeous hues of sunset. The poet has transplanted hither some of the freshest flowers from the sunny gardens of Italy, and they become more fresh and fragrant by the change of climate.

Whence passing forth, they shortly do arrvive
Where at the Bower of Bliss was situate;
A place picked out by choice of best alive,
That nature's work by art can imitate:
In which whatever in this wordly state
Is sweet and pleasing unto living sense,
Or that may the daintiest taste delight

Was poured forth with plentiful expense,
And made there to abound with lavish affluence,

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Thus being entered, they behold around
A large and spacious plain, on every side
Strewed with beauties : whose fair grassy ground
Mantled with green and goodly beautifide
Will all the ornaments of Flora's pride,
Wherwith her mother Art, as half in scorn
Of niggard Nature, like a pompous bride,

Did deck her and too lavishly adorn
When forth from virgin bower she comes in th' early morn.

Thereto the heavens, always jovial,
Looked on them lovely, still in steadfast state,
Nor suffered storm nor frost on them to fall,
Their tender buds or leaves to violate;
Nor scorching heat, nor cold intemperate
T'afflict the creature which therein did dwell;
But the mild air with season moderate

Gently tempered and disposed so well
That still it breathed forth sweet spirit and wholesome 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 Thasalian Tempe, where of yore
Fair Daphne Phæbus' heart with love did gore;
Or Ida, where the gods lov'd to repair,
Whenever their heavenly bowers forbore ;

Or sweet Parnass, the haunt of Muses fair;
Or Eden, if that ought with Eden can compare.

Much wondered Guyon at the fair aspect
Of that sweet place, yet suffered no delight
To sink into his sense, nor mind affect,
But passed forth, and looked 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
Arched over head with an embracing vine,
Whose branches hanging down seemed to entice
All passers by to touch their luscious wine,
And did themselves into their hands incline,
As freely offering to be gathered ;
Some deep empurpled as the hyacint,

Some as the ruby laughing sweetly red,
So like fair emeralds, not yet well ripened.

And them amongst, some were of burnished gold,
So made by art to beautify the rest,
Which did themselves amongst the leaves unfold,
As lurking from the view of covetous guest,
That the weak boughs with so rich load oppressed
Did bow adown, as over-burdened.
Under that porch a lovely dame did rest,

Clad in fair weeds, but foul disordered,
And garments loose that seemed unmeet for womanhood.

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 swelled
Into her cup she squeezed with dainty breach,
Of her fine fingers without foul impeach,
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.

She to Guyon offered 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 found;

And with the liquor stained all the ground;
Whereat Excess exceedingly was wroth,
Yet no’te the same amend, nor yet withstand,

But suffered him to pass, all where she loth;
Who not regarding her displeasure, forward go'th.

There the most dainty Paradise on ground
Itself doth offer to his sober eye,
In which all pleasures plenteously abound,
And none does others happiness annoy ;
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 mingled with the fine,)
That nature had for wantonness ensured,
Art, and that art and nature did repine ;
So striving each the other to undermine,
Each did the other's works 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 earth might be,

pure and shiny that the silver flood,
Through every channel running one might see;
Most goodly it with pure imagery,
Was over-wrought and shapes of naked boys,
Of which some seemed with lively jollity,

To fly about, playing their wanton toys,
While others did embathe themselves in liquid joys,

And over all of purest gold was spread,
A trail of ivy in its native hue;
For the rich metal was so colored,
That wight who did not well advis'd 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 tenderly did steep,
Which drops of crystal seemed for wantonness to weep.

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 a 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 a fountain in that sea did sail upright.

And all the margin round about was set,
With shady laurel trees, thence to defend
The funny beams which on the billows bet,
And those who therein bathed, might offend,


The scene of the nymph bathing here is inimitable for grace and sensibility. She is painted in an “extacy of conscious and luxuriant beauty.”

-Her fair locks which formerly was bound
Up in one knot, she low adown did loose,
Which flowing long and thick, her cloth'd around,
And the ivory in golden mantel gown'd,
So that fair spectacle was from him reft,

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