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which make together one-and-twentie years, I enterred into the age of a young man, which is the fourth week of my age, which is between two-and-twentie and four-and-twentie years ; at five-and-twentie, I was minded to take a voyage by my foolish industrie to seek where in this world I might find true felicitie and happiness, which seemed to my sottish sense an easy matter; being young, strong, wilde, hardy, and couragiously disposed, methought in my mind to live in the world without felicitie was a life worse than death ; but, alas! being plunged in the darkness of ignorance, I considered not that true felicitie was the gift of God from above, and cannot be attained without his help. Being robbed of reason, I thought it might come easilie of myself, without the help of others; so that then I sought true felicitie where she is not, was not, nor ever shall bee : as, in riches, worldly pleasure, strength, honour, and delights of the flesh. But I was, in so thinking, as very a fool as hee who hopeth with angling lines to catch fishes in the air, or with the hounds to hunt the hare in the ocean sea. Were it not, think you, great folly so to think? Even the like it is to thinke that true felicitie is to be found here in this wretched worlde. And for so much as in perfect felicitie is comprehended all goodness, and that the world (as saith St. John) is addicted and given to all evill, and subject to hunger, thirst, heat, cold, diseases, calamities, pride, ambition, covetousness, and voluptuousness, it is evident that those which here be living, supposing here to find true felicitie, are worse than fools and voide of right reason. True felicitie is not without goodness and vertue, which cometh from God above. If it be so, why then is it not most wicked and presumptuous of man to think that by a man's own industrie he is able to possess and enjoy the fair lot of true felicitie? therefore, every one that thinketh in this world hee may come to perfect felicitie and true blessedness, shall find in fine, as I found, for felicitie, vanitie--for good, evill.”
The next extract we shall make, is a description of the situation or standing of the Palace of Worldly Felicitie, (Chap. X.) as it gives a most curious picture of what at that period constituted a princely mansion, ornamented with every possible luxury and means of enjoyment that human ingenuity could devise.
“The pallace was situated or built in a pleasant valley upon the foote of high mountaine, environed with hills on every side, whereby it was not only defended from force of tempests which way soever the wind blew, but the very hills themselves were very sightly and serviceable ; for on the one side, was a goodly vine-yard, wherein grew grapes of sundry sorts; on the other side it yielded a great quantity of grain ; on another side were proper woods, which yielded a good store of timber and trees, wherein bred all manner of birds; on another side were warrens and conniborrowes full of hares and connies; in another place was a goodly parke, wherein was no want of deer, red or fallow. Beyond these hills were goodly forrests full of gentlemanly game for hunting. In the valley where the palace stood, was a marvellous faire
dest whereof Faes along, stereo, elm
greene meadow, through the middest whereof ran a river of fine fresh water, upon the brimmes whereof, on both sides along, grew apple trees, peare trees, plum trees, olive trees, elder trees, oke trees, elm trees, and such like; fast by the goodly bank, also, grew many young hasil trees full of nuts, at the time of the yeere; and by that againe such store of walnut trees, besides many ponds of fish, and excellent orchards of all kinds of fruit, and goodly gardens also of sweet flowers. The river was not without great store of water fouls; and as for the wood, there bred in it hawkes, hernes, pelicans, phesants, cranes, woodcocks, bitterns, kites, crows, cormorants, turtles, woodquists, eagles; to be short, all kind of birds possible, as might be perceived by the feathers, which fell from them to the ground pruning themselves : what should I speak of pigin houses and of such banketting places fine and delicate, why it were but folly. Besides all this, you must think what there were tennis courts and other places of pastimes, the walls thereof were very high, insomuch that it would have made one amazed, and desire to look down from the top. There was also a marvailouse moate, and, fearful to behold, the bridge whereof was not broad, and called Desperation, the passage over being a long narrow plank, so that if one went awrie, he fell in with hazard never to be recovered. The stables were full of goodly horses, as hobbies, jennets, barbed horses, geldings, hackneys, mules, camels, and colts; the kennels full of dogs, as grey hounds, otter hounds, hare hounds, spaniels for land or water, mastives for bull, beare, and boare. We supt in a banketting house, and our supper excell'd all the fare that ever I saw; Lady Venus kept me company, and I was dulled with the sumptuous service that I had : all my delight was to behold Lady Venus who sat over against me, insomuch, that at last Voluptuousness overcame; supper being ended, in came stage players, dancers, maskers, mummers, and many sports which we use daily in feasting. Now when I was weary, I took my leave of the company with good night, and then was I brought to the bravest chamber in all the pallace, Lady Venus and her waiting maids tending upon me, but every one departed when I was in bed, saving only Venus, the goddess of love, with whom I lay all night.” .. Chap. XI. “So long as the Knight continued in this pestilent pallace of Worldly Desire, following his own fantasie by vaine Voluptuousness enticed; he did no other thing but play the foole, daunce, leape, sing, eate, drinke, hawke, hunte, fish, hunt whores, and such like, (as did the Prodigal Son) and lead a dissolute life for the space of eleven days, which signifies a marvelouse mystery and unfortunate; for the number eleven, by the opinion of Christian doctors and philosophers, is a wicked and unlucky number, for that the number of ten signifies the Ten Commandmentes of God, the number chosen, which is one more, prophesieth and fore-telleth the transgression of them. Wherefore the Knight having remained eleven days in the palace, grievously transgressing the will of God, letting loose the bridle of his owne affections, without refraining any of them; if thou note well the premises, and see into the sequel, you shall find that such as live after the order of the palace of Worldly Felicitie, being given to follow the pompe and pride of the world, with the pleasures and voluptuousness of the same, and seeme willing to leade that life without purpose of changing, nay rather triumphing and rejoicing therein; I say truly, that such are transgressors of God's laws; contrarwise, such as account themselves heere to be but pilgrims, and fixe their affection on the other world, where Jesus Christ reigneth in glory, reputing this life an exile, and desiring to be delivered out of it to the end, they may enter at the palace of the heavenly King, and shall enjoy the fulnesse and happinesse thereof."
Chap. XII. “ After I had sojourned eleven daies in the palace, transgressing God's Commandments and leading a beastly life; I desired to ride into the forrests thereabouts, not intending to give over voluptuous life, but for my pleasure, because I was weary of making good cheere; for although worldlings delight to eate, drink, daunce, leape, sing, ride, run, and such like, yet notwithstanding, they cannot continue in this trade of life, without entermingling it with some recreation, wherefore they often leave by that constraint their pastimes, though they intend to returne thereto again, they do not utterly abandon them, but break off a season to procure better appetite; I then being weary, was willing to see the warrens and other pleasure, which, when my governess Folly understood, she told the tale to lady Voluptousnesse, and she consented to hunt or hawke with me, whereof I was right glad: then I apparelled myself in hunter's guise; instead of my helmet, a hat full of feathers, for mine armor an horne, and I leapt upon Temeritie my horse, Voluptuousness had a hobby, Folly a jennet, and the other ladies every one of them a palfrey. There came the huntsmen with greyhounds and mastives, hooping, hallowing, and galloping together, some one way, some another. The dogs were at a buke, up starts the hare, the cry was pleasant to heare; but in the midst of all our pastimes, I chanced to breathe my horse, and turning towards the pallace of Worldly Felicitie, sodainly I saw it sinke into the earth and every body therein. But what lamentable outcryes they made, you that have reason are to judge; then did there arise amongst us a whirlwinde with an earthquake, which set us all asunder, insomuch, that I and my horse sunke in mire up to the saddle, and all the while my mistress Folly only remained with me, this earthquake yielded such an air of brimstone, that the like hath not beene felt : then I perceived that I was far from the palace, gardens, orchards, and vineyards of Voluptuousness, and rather in a beastly bog sticking fast, and nothing neere mee but serpents, snakes, adders, toads, and venomous wormes. Such was my perplexity in this case that I fell into despaire, being not able to speak one word, I was so sore annoyed.”* * * * * *
Second Part, Chap. I. “ It was a weary matter for a man of himself to fall into hell, but it is impossible for him to get out againe, unless by the help of God'sGrace; I terme him into hell, who lives in continual wickednesse committing sin with delight, for if he die in that state, hell is his reward; but in this life, if he repent there is hope and salvation, for by God's-Grace he may be comforted and delivered. Therefore, man of himselfe falleth into perdition, but without God's-Grace he cannot rise. God, therefore, seeing his creature given to all vanitie, led with ambition of worldly honor, and not ceasing his sinful life, oftentimes sends adversity, diseases, dishonors, and confusion in the world, to make him humble, and to open the eyes of reason, which Voluptuousness had shut, whereby he may come to the knowledge of his sins, and confess the same to God.”
Chap. II. “ When I was out of the bog, humbly on my knees I gave thanks to God's-Grace for his goodness, being assured that he to whom God does good is not worthy thereof, if he is not thankful. Then God's-Grace marched his way before me, saying that I should follow her, the which I did, for doubtlesse our free-will guideth not God's-Grace, but God's-Grace guideth our free-will. Then I followed her all to be-dagled, untill wee came where I had seene the pallace of Worldly Felicitie in greatest glory, turned into a deep dungeon of darkness, boyling with consuming fire, whence came a wilde vapour and stinking smoake of burning brimstone, over the which we must
heade stood an ende; then with sorrowful sighs I beseached God'sGrace to tell me the sight which I saw : (quoth she) this is the place of thy voluptuous pallace with all thy allies, amongst whom thou was entertained. Mark well if I had not beene thy helpe and shewed thee mercie, thou hadst been plagued with them. Thinke with thyself, if the place be pleasent or no. Thou seest how the divell handleth those that be here with torments. This is the Grey King Lucifer, whom thou supposedst to have seene accompanied with so many nobles in the pallace of Counterfait Felicitie—these be they that frie in the furnace. Here is the reward of such as serve him. Then we saw a great bed grow red hot, wherein lay a naked woman whom a great dragon imbraced, playing with his tayle between her legs, with two ugly serpents winding about her thighs, and eating her privy members. This miserable woman, lamenting, cryed aloud with terrible noise. This (quoth God's-Grace) is the brave bed wherein thou layest, and this woman the Goddess of Love, which kept thee company; wouldst thou be glad now to serve her? To which I answered, no. Thou seest (quoth she) this is the end of voluptuous livers and wicked worldlings. Ask her, then, now where are her Pleasure and Voluptuousnesse. Alas, lady, (quoth I) for feare I dare not; then with a loud voyce she began particularly asking the question, saying, O cursed outcasts of God and wretched worldlings, where are now your fair chambers hanged with silke tapestrie, goodly gardens, game dogs of all sorts, your birdes, your horses, your brave apparel, your delicate wines, your change of meales, your sweet waters and servantes, cookes and butlers, your ladies of love, and such like: O unhappy people, your change is great, &c. &c. Then over the high mountaines and ragged rocks away we walked till we came to a crosse way, where Vertue wished me to follow her, whose sayings when I called to minde, it made me weep bitterly for my sinnes and follies past. But when God's-Grace perceived me to be weary and 'noyed with the smells that I found in that loathsome lake, for pity she pentance, whither I must goe before I could enter into true felicitie."
Chap. III. When we approached to the school of repentance, which was built upon a high hill, environed with a' moate named Humility, God's-Grace called, and outcame Lady Repentance in plaine apparel, having next her naked skin a smock of haire-cloath, and upon the same a gowne of sack-cloth, girded together with a great leather girdle, a kercher of coarse canvise upon her head. With her also came two waiting maids, named Sorrow-for-sinne and Confession-ofsinnes, both apparelled like their lady. The first seemed very sorrowfulle and sadde, and the second was bashfulle and shamefas't, and hung downe her head. Then God's-Grace spake to Repentance, and presenting me unto her, said, here is a knight which I have brought to thy schoole, that he might forget the evill that he hath learned abroad, and to be instructed in the good which he never yet knew.* * * * * *
Chap. VII. “ Then, as we were talking, God's-Grace said unto me, Sir Knight, I give thee for thy governour, this good hermit Understanding ; believe his counsel and do what he commands you; then I remembered my old governess Folly, whom I left in the bogge amongst serpents and toads. So I was very glad of my governour and gave thanks to God's-Grace, who from the table gave me drugs to eate, and repeated unto me a place written in the eighty-eight Psalm of David, open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.'”
ART. VI. Love's Victory: a Tragi-Comedy, by William
Of the author of this play we have already given some account, in our analysis of his Heroick Poem of Pharonnida. The play bears a very strong resemblance, both in the tone of feeling and in the sentiments, to his more matured production—there is the same dignity of action and of thought in the higher scenes, mixed, however, with much more that is mean, and some that is utterly contemptible. There is frequently an admirable propriety in his thoughts, but he wanted judgment in the selection and taste in the disposition of them. He is fond of illustrating the grand and the beautiful in nature and in feeling, by allusions to objects of art and of science, more especially in his own profession, which sometimes lead him into conceit and sometimes into meanness.-It was, indeed, the fault of his age.