1615 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Purple Island. Canto VII.

The Purple Island, or the Isle of Man: Together with Piscatorie Eclogs and other Poeticall Miscellanies. By P. F.

Rev. Phineas Fletcher


Canto VI describes the forces arrayed against the Isle of Man: the Flesh (Caro), Adultery (Moechus), Jealosie, Fornication, Sodomie, Lasciviousness, Idolatrie, Witchcraft, Heresie, Hypocrisie, Superstition, Hatred, Variance, Emulation, Wrath, Strife, Sedition, Murder, Drunkennesse, Gluttonie (bearing Spenser's Gryll on his shield), Theeverie and Detraction.

Robert Anderson: "But to come more immediately to the parallel passages, let the reader compare Fletcher's Gluttony, Canto VII. Stanza 80. with Spenser's Book I. Canto IV. Stanza 21. and 22, Faery Queen; compare Fletcher's Thumos, Canto VII. Stanza 55. with Spenser's Wrath, Book I. Canto IV. Stanza 33; compare Fletcher's Aselges, Canto VII. Stanza 23. with Spenser's Lechery, Book I. Canto IV. Stanza 24" British Poets (1795) 4:379.

Retrospective Review 2: "It is but fair, however, to select something, in which our author has improved Spenser — his description of Envy, for instance, which although it betrays the place from which it came, is superior to Spenser's — it is more dignified; Spenser's is more wild; — the latter has also given a description of the physical qualities; Fletcher has only delineated those of the mind" (1820) 346.

Edmund Gosse: "In cantos seven and eight, the vices are personified at great length and with remarkable vigour; in cantos nine and ten, the virtues are similarly introduced. Cantos eleven and twelve describe a sort of holy war in Man's members, and the battle between virtue and vice which revolutionizes the Purple Island" The Jacobean Poets (1894) 148.

W. J. Courthope: "there is an almost entire absence of warlike action in the poem; and the necessity of presenting Gluttony as warrior, while Spenser describes him as unable to wear clothes, indicates the comparatively mechanical character of Fletcher's invention. Though he has evidently studied Spenser's manner with great care, he is far from rivaling him in the richness and glow of his poetical colours. Moreover, his impersonations want the relief that is afforded by the discursive method of Spenser's romantic narrative: he goes on describing one allegorical figure after another, until all distinction of moral significance, as well as all picturesqueness of composition, is lost on his crowded canvas" History of English Poetry (1895-1910) 3:141.



The rising morn lifts up his orient head,
And spangled heav'ns in golden robes invests;
Thirsil up starting from his fearlesse bed,
Where uselesse nights he safe and quiet rests,
Unhous'd his bleating flock, and quickly thence
Hasting to his expecting audience,
Thus with sad verse began their grieved mindes incense:

Fond man, that looks on earth for happinesse,
And here long seeks what here is never found!
For all our good we hold from heav'n by lease,
With many forfeits and conditions bound;
Nor can we pay the fine and rentage due:
Though now but writ, and seal'd, and giv'n anew,
Yet daily we it break, then daily must renew.

Why should'st thou here look for perpetuall good,
At every losse against heav'ns face repining?
Do but behold where glorious Cities stood,
With gilded tops, and silver turrets shining;
There now the Hart fearlesse of greyhound feeds,
And loving Pelican in safety breeds;
There shrieching Satyres fill the peoples emptie steads.

Where is th' Assyrian Lions golden hide,
That all the East once graspt in lordly paw?
Where that great Persian Beare, whose swelling pride
The Lions self tore out with ravenous jaw?
Or he which 'twixt a Lion, and a Pard,
Through all the world with nimble pineons far'd,
And to his greedy whelps his conquer'd kingdomes shar'd?

Hardly the place of such antiquitie,
Or note of these great monarchies we finde:
Onely a fading verball memorie,
And empty name in writ is left behinde:
But when this second life, and glory fades,
And sinks at length in times obscurer shades,
A second fall succeeds, and double death invades.

That monstrous beast, which nurst in Tibers fenne,
Did all the world with hideous shape affray;
That fill'd with costly spoil his gaping denne,
And trode down all the rest to dust and clay:
His batt'ring horns pull'd out by civil hands,
And iron teeth lie scatter'd on the sands;
Backt, bridled by a Monk, with sev'n heads yoked stands.

And that black Vulture, which with deathfull wing
O're-shadows half the earth, whose dismall sight
Frighted the Muses from their native spring,
Already stoops, and flagges with weary flight.
Who then shall look for happines beneath;
Where each new day proclaims chance, change, and death,
And life it self's as flit as is the aire we breathe?

Ne mought this Prince escape, though he as farre
All these excells in worth and heav'nly grace,
As brightest Phoebus does the dimmest starre:
The deepest falls are from the highest place.
There lies he now bruis'd with so sore a fall,
To his base bonds, and loathsome prison thrall,
Whom thousand foes besiege, fenc'd with frail yeelding wall.

Tell me, oh tell me then, thou holy Muse,
Sacred Thespio, what the cause may be
Of such despite, so many foemen use
To persecute unpiti'd miserie:
Or if these cankred foes (as most men say)
So mighty be, that gird this wall of clay;
What makes it hold so long, and threatned ruine stay?

When that great Lord his standing Court would build,
The outward walls with gemmes and glorious lights,
But inward rooms with nobler Courtiers fill'd;
Pure, living flames, swift, mighty, blessed sprites:
But some his royall service (fools!) disdain;
So down were flung: (oft blisse is double pain)
In heav'n they scorn'd to serve, so now in hell they reigne.

There turn'd to serpents, swoln with pride and hate,
Their Prince a Dragon fell, who burst with spight
To see this Kings and Queens yet happy state,
Tempts them to lust and pride, prevails by slight:
To make them wise, and gods he undertakes.
Thus while the snake they heare, they turn to snakes;
To make them gods he boasts, but beasts, and devils makes.

But that great Lion who in Fudahs plains
The awfull beasts holds down in due subjection,
The Dragons craft, and base-got spoil disdains,
And folds this captive Prince in his protection;
Breaks ope the jayl, and brings the prisoners thence,
Yet plac't them in this castles weak defence,
Where they might trust and seek an higher providence.

So now spread round about this little hold,
With armies infinite encamped lie
Th' enraged Dragon and his Serpents bold:
And knowing well his time grows short and nigh,
He swells with venom'd gore and poys'nous heat;
His tail unfolded heav'n it self doth beat,
And sweeps the mighty starres from their transcendent seat.

With him goes Caro, cursed damme of sinne,
Foul filthie damme of fouler progenie;
Yet seems (skin-deep) most fair by witching gin
To weaker sight; but to a purged eye
Looks like (nay worse then) hells infernall hagges:
Her empty breasts hang like lank hollow bagges,
And Iris ulcer'd skin is patcht with leprous ragges.

Therefore her loathsome shade in steel arayd,
All rust within, the outside polisht bright:
And on her shield a Mermaid sung and playd;
Whose humane beauties 'lure the wandring sight,
But slimy scales hid in their waters lie:
She chants, she smiles, so draws the eare, the eye,
And whom she winnes, she kills: the word, Heare, gaze, and die.

And after march her fruitfull serpent frie,
Whom she of divers lechers divers bore;
Marshall'd in severall ranks their colours flie:
Foure to Anagnus, foure this painted whore
To loathsome Asebie brought forth to light;
Twice foure got Adicus, a hatefull wight;
But swoln Acrates two, born in one bed, and night.

Moechus the first, of blushlesse bold aspect;
Yet with him Doubt and Fear still trembling go:
Oft lookt he back, as if he did suspect
Th' approach of some unwisht, unwelcome foe:
Behinde, fell Jealousie his steps observ'd,
And sure Revenge, with dart that never swerv'd:
Ten thousand griefs and plagues he felt, but more deserv'd.

His armour black as hell, or starlesse night;
And in his shield he lively pourtray'd bare
Mars fast impound in arms of Venus light,
And ti'd as fast in Vulcans subtil snare:
She feign'd to blush for shame now all too late;
But his red colour seem'd to sparkle hate:
Sweet are stoln waters, round about the marge he wrate.

Porneius next him pac't, a meager wight;
Whose leaden eyes sunk deep in swimming head,
And joylesse look, like some pale ashie spright,
Seem'd as he now were dying, or now dead:
And with him Wastefulnesse, that all expended,
And Want, that still in theft and prison ended:
A hundred foul diseases close at's back attended.

His shining helm might seem a sparkling flame,
Yet sooth nought was it but a foolish fire:
And all his arms were of that burning frame,
That flesh and bones were gnawn with hot desire:
About his wrist his blazing shield did frie
With sweltring hearts in flame of luxurie:
His word, In fire I live, in fire I burn and die.

With him Acatharus in Tuscan guise;
A thing, that neither man will owne, nor beast:
Upon a boy he lean'd in wanton wise,
On whose fair limbes his eyes still greedie feast;
He sports, he toyes, kisses his shining face:
Behinde, reproach and thousand devils pace;
Before, bold Impudence, that cannot change her grace.

His armour seem'd to laugh with idle boyes,
Which all about their wanton sportings playd;
Al's would himself help out their childish toyes,
And like a boy lend them unmanly aid:
In his broad targe the bird her wings dispread,
Which trussing wafts the Trojan Ganymed:
And round was writ, Like with his like is coupeled.

Aselges follow'd next, the boldest boy,
That ever play'd in Venus wanton court:
He little cares who notes his lavish joy;
Broad were his jests, wilde his uncivil sport;
His fashion too too fond, and loosly light:
A long love-lock on his left shoulder plight,
Like to a womans hair, well shew'd a womans sprite.

Lust in strange nests this Cuckoe egge conceiv'd;
Which nurst with surfets, drest with fond disguises,
In fancies school his breeding first receiv'd:
So this brave spark to wilder flame arises;
And now to court preferr'd, high blouds he fires,
There blows up pride, vain mirths and loose desires;
And heav'nly souls (oh grief!) with hellish flame inspires.

There oft to rivalls lends the gentle Dor,
Oft takes (his mistresse by) the bitter Bob:
There learns her each daies change of Gules, Verd, Or,
(His sampler) if she pouts, her slave must sob:
Her face his sphere, her hair his circling skie;
Her love his heav'n, her sight eternitie:
Of her he dreams, with her he lives, for her he'l die.

Upon his arm a tinsell scarf he wore,
Forsooth his Madams favour, spangled fair:
Light as himself, a fanne his helmet bore,
With ribbons drest, begg'd from his Mistresse hair:
On's shield a winged boy all naked shin'd;
His folded eyes willing and wilfull blinde:
The word was wrought with gold, Such is a lovers minde.

These foure, Anagnus and foul Caro's sonnes,
Who led a diff'rent, and disorder'd rout;
Fancie, a lad that all in feathers wons,
And loose desire, and danger linkt with doubt;
And thousand wanton thoughts still budding new:
But lazie ease usher'd the idle crue;
And lame disease shuts up their troops with torments due.

Next band by Asebie was boldly led,
And his foure sonnes, begot in Stygian night:
First Idololatros, whose monstrous head
Was like an ugly fiend, his flaming sight
Like blazing starres; the rest all different:
For to his shape some part each creature lent,
But to the great Creatour all adversly bent.

Upon his breast a bloudie Crosse he scor'd,
Which oft he worshipt; but the Christ that di'd
Thereon, he seldome but in paint ador'd;
Yet wood, stone, beasts, wealth, lusts, fiends deifi'd:
He makes meer pageants of the saving Rock,
Puppet-like trimming his Almightie stock:
Which then, his god or he, which is the verier block?

Of Giant shape, and strength thereto agreeing,
Wherewith he whilome all the world opprest;
And yet the greater part his vassals being,
Slumbring in ignorance, securely rest:
A golden calf (himself more beast) he bore;
Which brutes with dancings, gifts, and songs adore:
Idols are lay-mens books, he round had wrote in Ore.

Next Pharmacus, of gashly wilde aspect;
Whom hell with seeming fear, and fiends obey:
Full eas'ly would he know each past effect,
And things to come with double guesse foresay,
By slain beasts entrails, and fowls marked flight:
Thereto he tempests rais'd by many a spright,
And charm'd the Sunne and Moon, and chang'd the day and night.

So when the South (dipping his sablest wings
In humid Ocean) sweeps with 's dropping beard
Th' aire, earth, and seas; his lips loud thunderings
And flashing eyes make all the world afeard:
Light with dark clouds, waters with fires are met:
The Sunne but now is rising, now is set;
And findes west-shades in East, and seas in ayers wet.

By birth, and hand, he jugling fortunes tells;
Oft brings from shades his grandsires damned ghost;
Oft stoln goods forces out by wicked spells:
His frightfull shield with thousand fiends embost,
Which seem'd without a circles ring to play:
In midst himself dampens the smiling day,
And prints sad characters, which none may write, or say.

The third Haereticus, a wrangling carle,
Who in the way to heav'n would wilfull erre;
And oft convicted, still would snatch and snarle:
His Crambe oft repeats; all tongue, no eare.
Him Obstinacie, Pride, and Scorn attended:
On's shield with Truth Errour disguis'd contended:
His Motto this, Rather thus erre, then be amended.

Last marcht Hypocrisie, false form of grace,
That vaunts the show of all, ha's truth of none:
A rotten heart he masks with painted face;
Among the beasts a mule, 'mong bees a drone,
'Mong starres a meteor: all the world neglects him;
Nor good, nor bad, nor heav'n, nor earth affects him:
The earth for glaring forms, for bare forms heav'n rejects him.

His wanton heart he vails with dewy eyes,
So oft the world, and oft himself deceives:
His tongue his heart, his hands his tongue belies:
In's path (as snails) silver, but slime he leaves:
He Babels glory is, but Sions taint;
Religions blot, but Irreligions paint:
A Saint abroad, at home a Fiend; and worst a Saint.

So tallow lights live glitt'ring, stinking die;
Their gleams aggrate the sight, steams wound the smell:
So Sodom apples please the ravisht eye,
But sulphure taste proclaims their root's in hell:
So airy flames to heav'nly seem alli'd;
But when their oyl is spent, they swiftly glide,
And into jelly'd mire melt all their gilded pride.

So rushes green, smooth, full, are spungie light;
So their ragg'd stones in velvet peaches gown:
So rotten sticks seem starres in cheating night;
So quagmires false their mire with emeralds crown:
Such is Hypocrisies deceitfull frame;
A stinking light, a sulphure fruit, false flame,
Smooth rush, hard peach, sere wood, false mire, a voice, a name.

Such were his arms, false gold, true alchymie;
Glitt'ring with glassie stones, and fine deceit:
His sword a flatt'ring steel, which gull'd the eye,
And pierc't the heart with pride and self-conceit:
On's shield a tombe, where death had drest his bed
With curious art, and crown'd his loathsome head
With gold, and gems: his word, More gorgeous when dead.

Before them went their nurse, bold Ignorance;
A loathsome monster, light, sight, 'mendment scorning:
Born deaf and blinde, fitter to lead the dance
To such a rout; her silver heads adorning
(Her dotage index) much she bragg'd, yet feign'd:
For by false tallies many yeares she gain'd.
Wise youth is honour'd age; fond's age with dotage stain'd.

Her failing legges with erring footsteps reel'd;
(Lame guide to blisse!) her daughters on each side
Much pain'd themselves her stumbling feet to weeld;
Both like their mother, dull and beetle-ey'd:
The first was Errour false, who multiplies
Her num'rous race in endlesse progenies:
For but one truth there is, ten thousand thousand lies.

Her brood o're-spread her round with sinne and bloud,
With envie, malice, mischiefs infinite;
While she to see her self amazed stood,
So often got with childe and bigge with spite:
Her off-spring flie about and spread their seed;
Straight hate, pride, schisme, warres and seditions breed,
Get up, grow ripe. How soon prospers the vicious weed!

The other Owl-ey'd Superstition,
Deform'd, distorted, blinde in shining light;
Yet styles her self holy Devotion,
And so is call'd, and seems in shadie night:
Fearfull, as is the hare, or hunted hinde;
Her face and breast she oft with crosses sign'd:
No custome would she break, or change her setled minde.

If hare or snake her way, herself she crosses,
And stops her 'mazed steps; sad fears affright her,
When falling salt points out some fatall losses,
Till Bacchus grapes with holy sprinkle quite her:
Her onely bible is an Erra Pater;
Her antidote are hallow'd wax and water:
I' th' dark all lights are sprites, all noises chains that clatter.

With them marcht (sunk in deep securitie)
Profanenesse, to be fear'd for never fearing;
And by him, new-oaths-coyning Blasphemie,
Who names not God, but in a curse, or swearing:
And thousand other fiends in diverse fashion,
Dispos'd in severall ward, and certain station:
Under, Hell widely yawn'd; and over, flew Damnation.

Next Adicus his sonnes; first Ecthros slie,
Whose prickt-up eares kept open house for lies;
And [f]leering eyes still watch and wait to spie
When to return still-living injuries:
Fair weather smil'd upon his painted face,
And eyes spoke peace, till he had time and place;
Then poures down showers of rage, and streams of rancour base.

So when a sable cloud with swelling sail
Comes swimming through calm skies, the silent aire
(While fierce windes sleep in Aeols rockie jayl)
With spangled beams embroid'red, glitters fair;
But soon 'gins lowr: straight clatt'ring hail is bred,
Scatt'ring cold shot; light hides his golden head,
And with untimely winter earth's o're-silvered.

His arms well suit his minde, where smiling skies
Breed thund'ring tempests: on his loftie crest
Asleep the spotted Panther couching lies,
And by sweet sents and skinne so quaintly drest,
Draws on her prey: upon his shield he bears
The dreadfull monster which great Nilus fears;
(The weeping Crocadile) his word, I kill with tears.

With him Dissemblance went, his Paramour,
Whose painted face might hardly be detected:
Arms of offence he seld' or never wore,
Lest thence his close designes might be suspected;
But clasping close his foe, as loth to part,
He steals his dagger with false smiling art,
And sheaths the trait'rous steel in his own masters heart.

Two Fewish Captains, close themselves enlacing
In loves sweet twines, his target broad display'd;
One th' others beard with his left hand embracing,
But in his right a shining sword he sway'd,
Which unawares through th' others ribs he smites;
There lay the wretch without all buriall rites:
His word, He deepest wounds, that in his fawning bites.

Eris the next, of sex unfit for warre:
Her arms were bitter words from flaming tongue,
Which never quiet, wrangle, fight, and jarre;
Ne would she weigh report with right, or wrong:
What once she held, that would she ever hold,
And Non-obstantes force with courage bold:
The last word must she have, or never leave to scold.

She is the trumpet to this angrie train,
And whets their furie with loud-railing spite:
But when no open foes did more remain,
Against themselves themselves she would incite.
Her clacking mill, driv'n by her flowing gall,
Could never stand, but chide, rail, bark, and bawl:
Her shield no word could finde; her tongue engrost them all.

Zelos the third, whose spitefull emulation
Could not endure a fellow in excelling;
Yet slow in any vertues imitation,
At easie rate that fair possession selling:
Still as he went, he hidden sparkles blew,
Till to a mighty flame they sudden grew,
And like fierce lightning all in quick destruction drew.

Upon his shield lay that Tirinthian Swain,
Sweltring in fierie gore and pois'nous flame;
His wives sad gift venom'd with bloudie stain:
Well could he bulls, snake[s,] hell, all monsters tame;
Well could he heav'n support and prop alone;
But by fell Jealousie soon overthrown,
Without a foe, or sword: his motto, First, or none.

Thumos the fourth, a dire, revengefull swain;
Whose soul was made of flames, whose flesh of fire:
Wrath in his heart, hate, rage and furie reigne;
Fierce was his look, when clad in sparkling tire;
But when dead palenesse in his cheek took seisure,
And all the bloud in's boyling heart did treasure,
Then in his wilde revenge kept he nor mean, nor measure.

Look as when waters wall'd with brazen wreath
Are sieg'd with crackling flames, their common foe;
The angrie seas 'gin foam and hotly breathe,
Then swell, rise, rave, and still more furious grow;
Nor can be held, but forc't with fires below,
Tossing their waves, break out and all o'reflow:
So boyl'd his rising bloud, and dasht his angry brow.

For in his face red heat, and ashie cold
Strove which should paint revenge in proper colours:
That, like consuming fire, most dreadfull roll'd;
This, liker death, threatens all deadly dolours:
His trembling hand a dagger still embrac't,
Which in his friend he rashly oft encas't:
His shields devise fresh bloud with foulest stain defac't.

Next him Erithius, most unquiet swain,
That all in law and fond contention spent;
Not one was found in all this numerous train,
With whom in any thing he would consent:
His Will his Law, he weigh'd not wrong or right;
Much scorn'd to bear, much more forgive a spight:
Patience he th' asses load, and cowards Vertue hight.

His weapons all were fram'd of shining gold,
Wherewith he subt'ly fought close under hand:
Thus would he right from right by force withhold,
Nor suits, nor friends, nor laws his slights withstand:
Ah powerfull weapon! how dost thou bewitch
Great, but base mindes, and spott'st with leprous itch,
That never are in thought, nor ever can be rich!

Upon his belt (fastned with leather laces)
Black boxes hung, sheaths of his paper-swords;
Fill'd up with Writs, Sub-poena's, Triall-cases;
This trespast him in cattel, that in words:
Fit his device, and well his shield became,
A Salamander drawn in lively frame:
His word was this, I live, I breathe, I feed in flame.

Next after him marcht proud Dichostasis,
That wont but in the factious court to dwell;
But now to shepherd-swains close linked is;
And taught them (fools!) to change their humble cell,
And lowly weed for courts, and purple gay,
To sit aloft, and States and Princes sway:
A hook, no scepter needs our erring sheep to stay.

A Miter trebly crown'd th' Impostour wore;
For heav'n, earth, hell he claims with loftie pride.
Not in his lips, but hands, two keyes he bore,
Heav'ns doores and hells to shut, and open wide:
But late his keyes are marr'd, or broken quite:
For hell he cannot shut, but opens light;
Nor heav'n can ope, but shut; nor buyes, but sells by slight.

Two heads, oft three, he in one body had,
Nor with the body, nor themselves agreeing:
What this commanded, th' other soon forbad;
As different in rule, as nature being:
The body to them both, and neither prone,
Was like a double-hearted dealer grown;
Endeavouring to please both parties, pleasing none.

As when the powerfull winde and adverse tide
Strive which should most command the subject main;
The scornfull waves, swelling with angrie pride,
Yeelding to neither, all their force disdain:
Mean time the shaken vessel doubtfull playes,
And on the stagg'ring billow trembling stayes,
And would obey them both, and none of both obeyes.

A subtil craftsman fram'd him seemly arms,
Forg'd in the shop of wrangling sophistrie;
And wrought with curious arts, and mightie charms,
Temper'd with lies, and false philosophie:
Millions of heedlesse souls thus had he slain.
His sev'n-fold targe a field of Gules did stain;
In which two swords he bore: his word, Divide, and reigne.

Envie the next, Envie with squinted eyes;
Sick of a strange disease, his neighbours health:
Best lives he then, when any better dies;
Is never poore, but in anothers wealth:
On best mens harms and griefs he feeds his fill;
Else his own maw doth eat with spitefull will.
Ill must the temper be, where diet is so ill.

Each eye through divers opticks slily leers,
Which both his sight, and object self belie;
So greatest vertue as a mote appeares,
And molehill faults to mountains multiplie.
When needs he must, yet faintly, then he praises;
Somewhat the deed, much more the means he raises:
So marreth what he makes, and praising most dispraises.

Upon his shield that cruell Herd-groom play'd,
Fit instrument of Funo's jealous spight;
His hundred eyes stood fixed on the maid;
He pip't, she sigh'd: his word, Her day my night.
His missile weapon was a lying tongue,
Which he farre off like swiftest lightning flung,
That all the world with noise and foul blaspheming rung.

Last of this rout the savage Phonos went,
Whom his dire mother nurst with humane bloud;
And when more age and strength more fiercenesse lent,
She taught him in a dark and desert wood
With force and guile poore passengers to slay,
And on their flesh his barking stomack stay,
And with their wretched bloud his firy thirst allay.

So when the never-setled Scythian
Removes his dwelling in an empty wain;
When now the Sunne hath half his journey ranne,
His horse he blouds, and pricks a trembling vein,
So from the wound quenches his thirstie heat:
Yet worse, this fiend makes his own flesh his meat.
Monster! the ravenous beare his kinde will never eat.

Ten thousand Furies on his steps awaited;
Some sear'd his hardned soul with Stygian brand:
Some with black terrours his faint conscience baited,
That wide he star'd, and starched hair did stand:
The first-born man still in his minde he bore,
Foully aray'd in guiltlesse brothers gore,
Which for revenge to heav'n from earth did loudly roar.

His arms offensive all, to spill, not spare;
Swords, pistols, poisons, instruments of hell:
A shield he wore (not that the wretch did care
To save his flesh, oft he himself would quell)
For shew, not use: on it a viper swilling
The dammes spilt gore, his emptie bowels filling
With flesh that gave him life: his word, I live by killing.

And last his brutish sonnes Acrates sent,
Whom Caro bore both in one birth and bed;
Methos the first, whose panch his feet out-went,
As if it usher'd his unsetled head:
His soul quite sowced lay in grapie bloud;
In all his parts the idle dropsie stood;
Which, though alreadie drown'd, still thirsted for the floud.

This thing, nor man, nor beast, tunnes all his wealth
In drink; his dayes, his yeares in liquour drenching:
So quaffes he sicknesse down by quaffing health,
Firing his cheeks with quenching, strangely quenching
His eyes with firing; dull and faint they roll'd:
But nimble lips known things, and hid unfold;
Belchings, oft-sips, large spits point the long tale he told.

His armour green might seem a fruitfull vine;
The clusters prison'd in the close-set leaves,
Yet oft between the bloudie grape did shine;
And peeping forth, his jaylers spite deceives:
Among the boughs did swilling Bacchus ride,
Whom wilde-grown M[ae]nads bore, and every stride
Bacche, Io Bacche, loud with madding voice they cri'd.

On's shield the goatish Satyres dance around,
(Their heads much lighter then their nimble heels)
Silenus old, in wine (as ever) drown'd,
Clos'd with the ring, in midst (though sitting) reels:
Under his arm a bag-pipe swoln he held,
(Yet wine-swoln cheeks the windie bag out-swell'd)
So loudly pipes: his word, But full, no mirth I yeeld.

Insatiate sink, how with so generall stain
Thy spu'd-out puddles court, town, fields entice!
Ay me! the shepherds selves thee entertain,
And to thy Curtian gulph do sacrifice:
All drink to spue, and spue again to drink.
Sowre swil-tub sinne, of all the rest the sink,
How canst thou thus bewitch with thy abhorred stink?

The eye thou wrong'st with vomits reeking streams,
The eare with belching; touch thou drown'st in wine;
The taste thou surfet'st; smell with spuing steams
Thou woundest: foh! thou loathsome putrid swine,
Still thou increasest thirst, when thirst thou slakest;
The minde and will thou (wits bane) captive takest:
Senseles thy hoggish filth, and sense thou senseles makest.

Thy fellow sinnes, and all the rest of vices
With seeming good are fairly cloath'd to sight;
Their feigned sweet the bleare-ey'd will entices,
Coz'ning the daz'led sense with borrow'd light:
Thee neither true, nor yet false good commends;
Profit nor pleasure on thy steps attends:
Folly begins thy sinne, which still with madnesse ends.

With Methos, Gluttonie, his gutling brother,
Twinne parallels, drawn from the self-same line;
So foully like was either to the other,
And both most like a monstrous-panched swine:
His life was either a continu'd feast,
Whose surfets upon surfets him opprest;
Or heavie sleep, that helps so great a load digest.

Mean time his soul, weigh'd down with muddie chains,
Can neither work, nor move in captive bands;
But dull'd in vaprous fogges, all carelesse reignes,
Or rather serves strong appetites commands:
That when he now was gorg'd with cramm'd-down store,
And porter wanting room had shut the doore,
The glutton sigh'd that he could gurmandize no more.

His crane-like neck was long unlac'd; his breast,
His gowtie limbes, like to a circle round,
As broad as long; and for his spear in rest
Oft with his staffe he beats the yeelding ground;
Wherewith his hands did help his feet to bear,
Els would they ill so huge a burthen stear:
His clothes were all of leaves, no armour could he wear.

Onely a target light upon his arm
He carelesse bore, on which old Gryll was drawn,
Transform'd into a hog with cunning charm;
In head, and paunch, and soul it self a brawn:
Half drown'd within, without, yet still did hunt
In his deep trough for swill, as he was wont;
Cas'd all in loathsome mire: no word; Gryll could but grunt.

Him serv'd sweet-seeming lusts, self-pleasing lies;
But bitter death flow'd from those sweets of sinne:
And at the Rear of these in secret guise
Crept Theeverie, and Detraction, neare akinne;
No twinnes more like: they seem'd almost the same;
One stole the goods, the other the good name:
The latter lives in scorn, the former dies in shame.

Their boon companions in their joviall feasting
Were new-shapt oaths, and damning perjuries:
Their cates, fit for their taste, profanest jesting,
Sauc'd with the salt of hell, dire blasphemies.
But till th' ambitious Sunne, yet still aspiring,
Allayes his flaming gold with gentler firing,
We'l rest our wearie song in that thick groves retiring.

[Boas (1909) 2:86-105]

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