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. 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 forewaste :
Forth from her eyes the crystal tears out-brast ; And sighing sore, her hands she wrung and fold, Tare all her hair, that ruth was to behold.
. Her body small forewither'd and forespent,
As is the stalk that summer's drought opprest: Her welked (wither'd) face with woeful tears besprent,
Her colour pale, and as it seem'd 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,
Wherewith her looks thrown up full piteously; Her forceless hands together oft she smote
With doleful shrieks, that echo'd in the sky:
Whose plaint such sighs did strait accompany, That in
doom never man did see A wight but half so woe-begone as she.
• I stood aghast, beholding all her plight;
"Tween dread and dolour so distrain’d in heart, That while my hairs upstarted with the sight,
The tears outstream'd for sorrow of her smart:
But when I saw no end, that could apart The deadly dole, which she so sore did make, With doleful voice then thus to her I spake :
• “ Unwrap thy woes, whatever wight thou be,
And stint (cease) betime to spill thyself with plaint: Tell what thou art, and whence ; for well I see,
Thou can’st not 'dure, with sorrow thus attaint."
And with that word of sorrow'all forefaint
• « Alas! I wretch, whom thus thou see'st-distrain'd
With wasting woes that never shall aslake (abate), Sorrow I am, in endless torments pain'd
Among the Furies in th' infernal lake ;
Where Pluto, god of hell, so grisly black, Doth hold his throne, and Lethe's deadly taste Doth reve (take away) remembrance of each thing fore-past." *
Under her guidance the poet goes first to the grisly lake,' intending subsequently to attend her ' unto the blissful place of rest;' and sees within the porch and jaws of Hell’ Remorse of Conscience, Dread, Revenge, Misery, Care, Sleep,
(-Small keep took he whom Fortune frowned on,
• And next in order sad Old Age we found,
His beard all hoar, his eyes hollow and blind; With drooping chere (countenance) still poring on the ground,
As on the place where Nature him assign'd
To rest, when that the Sisters had entwined His vital thread, and ended with their knife The fleeting course of fast declining life.
• There heard we him, with brok'n and hollow plaint,
Rue with himself his end approaching fast, And all for nought his wretched mind torment
With sweet remembrance of his pleasures past,
And fresh delights of lusty youth fore-waste: Recounting which, how would he sob and shriek, And to be young again of Jove beseek !
• But an the cruel Fates so fixed be,
That time forepast cannot return again, This one request of Jove yet prayed he : • That in such wither'd plight and wretched pain, • As Eld (accompanied with his loathsome train) VOL. II.
Had brought on him, all were it woe and grief, • He might awhile yet linger forth his life ;
* And not so soon descend into the pit
"Where Death, when he the mortal corpse hath slain, « With retchless hand in grave doth cover it;
• Thereafter never to enjoy again
• The gladsome light, but in the ground ylain • In depth of darkness waste and wear to nought, • As he had ne'er into the world been brought.'
• But who had seen him sobbing, how he stood
Unto himself, and how he would bemoan
To talk of youth, all were his youth foregone)
He would have mused, and marvelled much whereon
• Crook-back'd he was, tooth-shaken, and blear-eyed ;
Went on three feet, and sometime crept on four, With old lame bones that rattled by his side,
His scalp all piled (bald) and he with eld forbore;
His wither'd fist still knocking at Death's door, Trembling and drivelling as he draws his breath For brief, the shape and messenger of Death.
Next follow Malady, Famine (struck by Death) and War, with a copious and classical description of the subjects depainted on his targe.' By the help of Charon, they cross Acheron:
Here puled the babes, and here the maids unwed,
With folded hands their sorry chance bewail'd; Here wept the guiltless slain, and lovers dead
That slew themselves when nothing else avail'd:
A thousand sorts of sorrows here, that wail'd With sighs and tears, sobs, shrieks, and all ysere, That (oh, alas !) it was a hell to hear.
We stay'd us strait, and with a rueful fear
Beheld this heavy sight, while from mine eyes The vapour'd tears down stilled here and there;
And Sorrow eke in far more woeful wise
Look'd on with plaint, upheaving to the skies Her wretched hands, that with her cry
the rout 'Gan all in heaps to swarm us round about.
< «Lo! here (said Sorrow) princes of renown,
That whilom sat on top of Fortune's wheel; Now laid full low, like wretches hurled down
Even with one frown, that stay'd but with a smile !
And now behold the thing, that thou erewhile
Then first came Henry, Duke of Buckingham who in his Complaint, speaking of the
Turmoil'd, which never feeleth ease or stay,
proceeds: 6 Well
gave that judge his doom upon the death « Of Titus Clelius, that in bed was slain : “ When every wight the cruel murther lay'th
“ To his two sons, that in his chamber layen,
“ The judge that by the proof perceiveth plain “ That they were found past sleeping in their bed, “ Hath deem'd them guiltless of this blood yshed.
" He thought it could not be, that they which brake
66 The laws of God and man in such outrage, “ Could so forthwith themselves to sleep betake:
“ He rather thought, the horror and the rage
“ Of such an heinous guilt could never 'suage, “ Nor ever suffer them to sleep or rest, " Or dreadless breathe one breath out of their breast,
“ So gnaws the grief of conscience evermore,
'" And in the heart it is so deep ygrave, 66 That they may neither sleep nor rest therefor,
“ Nor think one thought but on the dread they have;
“ Still to the death foretossed with the wave 66 Of restless woe, in terror and despair, “ They lead a life continually in fear.
• Like to the deer that stricken with the dart,
“ Withdraws himself into some secret place: " And feeling green the wound about his heart
6 Startles with pangs, till he fall on the grass,
“ And in great fear lies gasping there a space; « Forth braying sighs, as though each pang had brought • The present death, which he doth dread so oft.” &c. ,