Last Updated on May 10, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 296
Context: The theme of temperance is paramount in the Book II of the epic. Guyon, the Knight of Moral Reason, assays to destroy the Bower of Bliss and to overthrow its mistress, Acrasie, who represents Intemperance and who prevents man from attaining his best self. Guyon is guided in his effort by the Palmer, who exemplifies the intellectual virtue of Prudence. Guyon attains the proper balance between his natural, rational soul and his physical actions through theoretical education and physical training at Alma's Castle, the House of Temperance. Having attained this balance, Guyon and the Palmer are able to fight their way through the Bower of Bliss where they find Acrasie with her new lover, Verdant. Casting unbreakable nets over the two, Guyon and the Palmer mercilessly destroy the palace and its garden. There they find men whom Acrasie has turned into wild beasts. The Palmer returns these to their former state. Some are shamed, others angry. Grill, who had been turned into a hog, even berates his saviors for rescuing him. Guyon remarks how quickly this man has forgotten the divine grace which ordains all men to a higher end. The Palmer's answer points out that the saving of all men is not within the power of one man; there are those who will resist all attempts to save them and are best left to their own desires.
Said Guyon, "See the mind of beastly man,
That hath so soone forgot the excellence
Of his creation, when he life began,
That now he chooseth, with vile difference,
To be a beast, and lacke intelligence."
To whom the Palmer thus, "The donghill kind
Delights in filth and foule incontinence:
Let Grill be Grill, and have his hoggish mind;
But let us hence depart, whilest wether serves and wind."
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