The Bower of Bliss

From The Faerie Queene

by Edmund Spenser


Eftsoones they heard a most melodious sound,
   Of all that mote delight a daintie eare,
Such as attonce might not on living ground,
   Save in this Paradise, be heard elswhere :
   Right hard it was, for wight which did it heare,
To read what manner musicke that mote bee :
   For all that pleasing is to living eare,
Was there consorted in one harmonee,
Birdes, voyces, instruments, windes, waters, all agree.
The joyous birdes shrouded in chearefull shade,
   Their notes unto the voyce attempred sweet ;
Th’Angelicall soft trembling voyces made
   To th’instruments divine respondence meet :
   The silver sounding instruments did meet
With the base murmure of the waters fall :
   The waters fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call :
The gentle warbling wind low answered to all.
There, whence that Musick seemed heard to bee,
   Was the faire Witch her selfe now solacing,
With a new Lover, whom through sorceree
   And witchcraft she from farre did thither bring :
   There she had him now layd a slombering,
In secret shade, after long wanton joyes :
   Whilst round about them pleasauntly did sing
Many faire Ladies, and lascivious boyes,
That ever mixt their song with light licentious toyes.
And all that while, right over him she hong,
   With her false eyes fast fixed in his sight,
As seeking medicine, whence she was stong,
   Or greedily depasturing delight :
   And oft inclining downe with kisses light,
For feare of waking him, his lips bedewd,
   And through his humid eyes did sucke his spright,
Quite molten into lust and pleasure lewd ;
Wherewith she sighed soft, as if his case she rewd.
The whiles some one did chaunt this lovely lay ;
   ‘Ah see, who so faire thing doest faine to see,
In springing flowre the image of thy day ;
   Ah see the Virgin Rose, how sweetly shee
   Doth first peepe forth with bashfull modestee,
That fairer seemes, the lesse ye see her may ;
   Lo, see soone after, how more bold and free
Her bared bosome she doth broad display ;
Loe, see soone after, how she fades, and falles away.
"So passeth, in the passing of a day,
   Of mortall life the leafe, the bud, the flowre,
Ne more doth flourish after first decay,
   That earst was sought to decke both bed and bowre,
   Of many a Ladie, and many a Paramowre ;
Gather therefore the Rose, whilest yet is prime,
   For soone comes age, that will her pride deflowre :
Gather the Rose of love, whilest yet is time,
Whilest loving thou mayest loved be with equall crime.’
Edmund Spenser | Classic Poems                         

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