« 上一頁繼續 »
perscription of the towers thereof, and by the author is declared the evill fruit of certaine notorious sinnes.
Chap. X. The situation or standing of the palace of Worldly Felicitie.
Chap. XI. The author declareth how the Wandering Knight and such like voluptuous livers in the world transgresse the commandment of Almighty God.
Chap. XII. The Knight going for to recreate himself, and to view the warrens and forrests which were about the palace of Worldly Felicitie, anone he sawe it sink sodainly into the earth, and perceived himself in the myre up to the saddle skirts.
Chap. XIII. The author crieth out bitterly against worldlings and their felicities.
The Second Part of the Voyage of the Wandering Knight.
Chap. I. God's-Grace draweth the Knight out of the filth of sinne where he had stuck fast.
Chap. II. God's-Grace sheweth hell unto the Knight, with all the voluptuous company he saw in the palace of Worldly Felicitie.
Chap. III. The Knight declareth how he entered the school of repentance, and of his entertainment there.
Chap. IV. How true repentance begins in us, and how the Knight's conscience accused him with the paines he had deserved.
Chap. V. By commandment of God's-Grace, Remembrance read to me the goodness of God, with the promises made to repentant sinners.
Chap. VI. A sermon which Understanding, the good hermit, made unto the Knight upon the history of Mary Magdalene.
Chap. VII. The Knight having received the holy communion, heard the sermon, and dinner ended, mounted into a chariot of triumph, and was by God's-Grace carried to the palace of Vertue.
The Third Part of the Voyage of the Wandering Knight.
Chap. I. The Knight declareth the great good, solace, and pleasure, which he found in the palace of Ladie Vertue.
Chap. II. Description of Vertue.
Chap. III. Description of Faith, and how we ought to believe in God for our salvation.
Chap. IV. The description of Hope, and how we ought to hope in Almighty God.
Chap. V. The description of Love and Charitie, and how we ought to love God and our neighbour.
Chap. VI. The effects and prayers of Love and Charity.
Chap. VII. The description of the foure morall vertues, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance.
Chap. VIII. How Faith, from the top of the tower, sheweth unto the Knight the citie of Heaven.
Chap. IX. The desire the Knight had to come to Heaven, and how God's-grace brought Perseverance.
Chap. X. Good-Understanding sheweth the Knight how to keepe Perseverance always with him.
Chap. XI. The protestation that Good-Understanding taught the Knight to make every day to avoid temptation, that he ought to humble himselfe before God, and what he should aske in his prayer.
Chap. XII. The author's prerogation or conclusion, to the devout readers or hearers.
He thus commences:
"Many historiographers, both poets and orators, as well profane as divine, have, by writing, notified divers persons with their voyages and adventures. First, Justin and Diodore of Sicilie have made mention of the Argonautes' voyage by sea; that is to say, of Jason and his allies, Castor, Pollex, Hercules, and other peeres, to the isle of Choicos, to winne the golden fleece, which a great dragon kept; also Homer, a Greek poet, writ in verse, the wandering and sea voyage of Ulysses and his companions at their return from the Trojan warres; after him, Virgil, a most elegant Latine poet, set down in verse the voyage of ./Eneas into Italy, with his fortune after the subversion of Troy. Now, if we come to sacred histories, wee shall finde, first how Moses wrote of the children of Israel, their going out of Egypt into the land of promise, and of the two and forty mansions that they made in the desarts, for the space of forty years. And how the foure Evangelists likewise most faithfully have written of the holy peregrination of the blessed son of God, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who took upon him our fraile and humane nature. The self-same Saviour hath set downe the parable of the voluptuous voyage of the prodigal childe and his return. St. Luke very notably and sincerely hath delivered in writing the painful and holy peregrination of that great vessel of election, St. Paul, together with the great travel he tooke to preach the gospell and the faith of Jesus Christ to all the Gentiles.
"And now, by God's-grace, I mean to declare mine own voyage and adventures, much like that of the prodigal child, who left his father's house, and ranged into strange countries, wasting all his goods, living licentiously: but after he knew his lewdness, he returned to his father, of whome he was very lovingly received: so I, by great Folly counsailed in absenting myself far away (not only in body but in mind) from God, my Father and Creator, have wasted and consumed all my goods, which the same my God and Father had bountifully bestowed upon me, in following vain pleasures of this life; but in the end, I being inspired with divine grace, acknowledged mine offences, and leaving the dark region of sinne and vanity, through the ayde and conduction of the divine grace, am returned to mine eternall Father, humbly requiring pardon and mercy, who, of his unspeakable mercy, hath lovingly received me; but how all this has been done I will declare unto you, praying you patiently to give me the hearing, and attentively consider my talke, and well to note the whole from the beginning to the end.
"When I had passed in all folly and lasciviousness three weeks of the years of my age, that is to say, my infancie, child-age, and youth, 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 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, hemes, 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, otterhounds, 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. XL "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; T 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 home, 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 Duke, 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