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Bot he ane port had enterit with ane gyn,
he in haist to the grit toure ; And said he suld it perall all with syn, And fresche delyt with money florist floure.
So strang this king him thocht his castel stude,
With mony toure and turrat crounit hie :
Blak, stinkand, sour, and salt as is the sey;
Bot thai within maid sa grit melodie,
At a small distance from the castle of King Hart stands the delightful palace of Plesance, “ the quhilk wes parald all about with pryd.” This fair queen is constantly attended by a troop of lovely nymphs, among whom are Beauty, Freedom, Gentleness, Kindness, and Mirth. Haying one day ridden into the fields with all her train, she happens to approach the habitation of the king. Alarmed at the unusual appearance, the day-watches hasten to inform their master. Youth, mounted on innocence, and Delight on benevolence, sally forth in order to reconnoitre; but are dazzled and confounded by Beauty, the leader of Pleasure's vanguard. Fair-Calling seizes their steeds by the bridle, and, having conducted the two knights to her castle, binds them with the bands of Venus. King Hart, impatient for
their return, next dispatches Love, Wantonness, and others, on the same enterprize : but they being also seized and detained, he rises in his wrath, and with all his comely host rushes to the war. Pleasure marshals her troops and stands prepared for the encounter. The forces of King Hart are defeated ; and he himself, being taken captive, is delivered to Beauty, in order to have the wound drest which he has received in battle from the hand of Queen Pleasure. But the more she applies herself to its cure, the more his malady increases. The prisoners are now conducted to the palace of the victorious queen.
King Hart his castell levit hes full waist,
And Hevenes maid capitane it to keip.
Him for to hyde crap in the dungeoun deip.
Langour he lay upon the walls but sleip,
Ire was the portour, that full sayr can weip; .
Having, under pretext of bringing tidings, followed his master to the castle of Pleasure, Jealousy there perceives Lust in fetters, and Love lying bound with a block suspended from his neck. Youth walks at large, and is always roaming to and fro. Desire lies in stocks at the door of a dungeon : Honesty possesses the power of preserving him from harm ; but Prodigality constantly attends him.
Discretioun wes as then bot
The court of Pleasure is crowded with many other allegorical personages whom it would be tedious to enumerate.
Pity having at length released King Hart and his chivalry, they assault the queen and make themselves masters of her fortress. This enchanting nymph having cast herself on his courtesy, he is deeply smitten with her charms.
Freschlie to feist thir amouris folk ar went :
Dame Chastetie, that selie innocent,
After they have rolled in ease and delight for upwards of twenty years, an event takes place which serves to estrange the affections of Queen Pleasure.
A morrowing tyde, quhen at the sone so schene
Out raschit had his bemis frome the sky,
Apone ane steid that raid full easalie.
He rappit at the yet, but curtaslie;
In at the last he schowted fellonlie,
Wantonness having hailed him from the battlements, this stranger replies that his 'name is Age; and that at all events he must enter the castle. Shocked at the intelligence, Wantonness hastens to inform the king; who begins 'to murmur at the early arrival of so unwelcome a guest. Youth falls on his knees before him, and craves to be dismissed with his merited reward. King Hart is marvelously grieved at the prospect of being finally separated from his beloved companion :
Sen thow man pas, fair Youtheid, wa is me!
Thow wes my freynd, and maid me gude service.
I mak ane vow, [al] thoch that it be nyce.
Of all blythnes thy bodie beirs the pryce.
This fresche visar, was payntit at devyce :
Youth now warns his brethren Disport and Wantonness to prepare for their departure. Delyverance, or Promptitude, starts up and offers his services as a guide. Without taking a formal adieu of their former master, they rush out at a postern. Age, attended by“ fyve hunder scor” of unlovely companions, enters the castle and shocks the delicate feelings of Dame Pleasure. Scarcely has he arrived, when Conscience appears before the walls, and demands how long he is to be kept in a state of exile. : Age hearing of his
approach, hastens to admit him. Conscience meets Sin in the court or inclosure, and lays a “ felloun rout on his rig-bone;" but the violence of the blow hurts his own breast. Sadness, one of the train of Age, interposes between these antagonists. Folly and Vice, terrified at the bold. ness of Conscience in thus proceeding to acts of violence in the presence of more than five hundred of the king's retainers, skulk away, and conceal themselves in a corner ; and their example is speedily followed by several other wicked counsellors. While Conscience is engaged in chiding King Hart, Wisdom and Reason begin to rap very loudly at the gate, and, exclaiming that they had long been suffered to stand unregarded, demand immediate admittance. “ In good faith!” exclaims Conscience, “ this conduct is wrong: give me the keys, and I shall now act in the capacity of porter.” Having at length gained admission, Reason instantly runs to Discretion and removes the thick films which have obscured his sight. A conversation, in which Wisdom and Reason occasionally interfere, now ensues between Conscience and King Hart. After various incidents, Pleasure begins to manifest the native inconstancy of her disposition. Wisdom and Reason persuade the unfortunate king to return to his own castle. After his arrival, Decrepitude, accompanied by a powerful host, lays siege to the fortress, and after a fierce contest gains complete