THE FAERIE QVEENE. …

THE FAERIE QVEENE.

Disposed into twelue bookes, Fashioning XII. Morall vertues.

ANCHORA SPEI

LONDON Printed for VVilliam Ponsonbie. 1596.

TO THE MOST HIGH, MIGHTIE And MAGNIFICENT EMPRESSE RENOVV­MED FOR PIETIE, VER­TVE, AND ALL GRATIOVS GOVERNMENT ELIZABETH BY THE GRACE OF GOD QVEENE OF ENGLAND FRAVNCE AND IRELAND AND OF VIRGI­NIA, DEFENDOVR OF THE FAITH, &c. HER MOST HVMBLE SERVAVNT EDMVND SPENSER DOTH IN ALL HV­MILITIE DEDI­CATE, PRE­SENT AND CONSECRATE THESE HIS LABOVRS TO LIVE VVITH THE ETERNI­TIE OF HER FAME.

THE FIRST BOOKE OF THE FAERIE QVEENE. Contayning THE LEGENDE OF THE KNIGHT OF THE RED CROSSE, OR OF HOLINESSE.

LOI the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,
As time her taught in lowly Shepheards weeds,
Am now enforst a far vnfitter taske,
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds;
Whose prayses hauing slept in silence long,
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
To blazon broad emongst her learned throng:
Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song.
Helpe then, ô holy Virgin chiefe of nine,
Thy weaker Nouice to performe thy will,
Lay forth out of thine euerlasting scryne
The antique rolles, which there lye hidden still,
[Page 2]Of Faerie knights and fairest Tanaquill,
Whom that most noble Briton Prince so long
Sought through the world, and suffered so much ill,
That I must rue his vndeserued wrong:
O helpe thou my weake wit, and sharpen my dull tong.
And thou most dreaded impe of highest Ioue,
Faire Venus sonne, that with thy cruell dart
At that good knight so cunningly didst roue,
That glorious fire it kindled in his hart,
Lay now thy deadly Heben bow apart,
And with thy mother milde come to mine ayde:
Come both, and with you bring triumphant Mart,
In loues and gentle iollities arrayd,
After his murdrous spoiles and bloudy rage allayd.
And with them eke, ô Goddesse heauenly bright,
Mirrour of grace and Maiestie diuine,
Great Lady of the greatest Isle, whose light
Like Phoebus lampe throughout the world doth shine,
Shed thy faire beames into my feeble eyne,
And raise my thoughts too humble and too vile,
To thinke of that true glorious type of thine,
The argument of mine afflicted stile:
The which to heare, vouchsafe, ô dearest dred a-while.

Canto I.

The Patron of true Holinesse,
Foule Errour doth defeate:
Hypocrisie him to entrape,
Doth to his home entreate.
A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
Y cladd in mightie armes and siluer shielde,
Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
The cruell markes of many' a bloudy fielde;
Yet armes till that time did he neuer wield:
His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
As much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
Full iolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.
But on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore,
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore,
And dead as liuing euer him ador'd:
Vpon his shield the like was also scor'd,
For soueraine hope, which in his helpe he had:
Right faithfull true he was in deede and word,
But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad,
Yet nothing did he dread, but euer was ydrad.
Vpon a great aduenture he was bond,
That greatest Gloriana to him gaue,
That greatest Glorious Queene of Faerie lond,
To winne him worship, and her grace to haue,
[Page 4]Which of all earthly things he most did craue;
And euer as he rode, his hart did earne
To proue his puissance in battell braue
Vpon his foe, and his new force to learne;
Vpon his foe, a Dragon horrible and stearne.
A louely Ladie rode him faire beside,
Vpon a lowly Asse more white then snow,
Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide
Vnder a vele, that wimpled was full low,
And ouer all a blacke stole she did throw,
As one that inly mournd: so was she sad,
And heauie fat vpon her palfrey slow;
Seemed in heart some hidden care she had,
And by her in a line a milke white lambe she lad.
So pure an innocent, as that same lambe,
She was in life and euery vertuous lore,
And by descent from Royall lynage came
Of ancient Kings and Queenes, that had of yore
Their scepters stretcht from East to Westerne shore,
And all the world in their subiection held;
Till that infernall feend with foule vprore
Forwasted all their land, and them expeld:
Whom to auenge, she had this Knight from far cōpeld.
Behind her farre away a Dwarfe did lag,
That lasie seemd in being euer last,
Or wearied with bearing of her bag
Of needments at his backe. Thus as they past,
The day with cloudes was suddeine ouercast,
And angry Ioue an hideous storme of raine
Did poure into his Lemans lap so fast,
That euery wight to shrowd it did constrain,
And this faire couple eke to shroud thēselues were fain.
Enforst to seeke some couert nigh at hand,
A shadie groue not far away they spide,
That promist ayde the tempest to withstand:
Whose loftie trees yclad with sommers pride,
Did spred so broad, that heauens light did hide,
Not perceable with power of any starre:
And all within were pathes and alleies wide,
With footing worne, and leading inward farre:
Faire harbour that them seemes; so in they entred arre.
And foorth they passe, with pleasure forward led,
Ioying to heare the birdes sweete harmony,
Which therein shrouded from the tempest dred,
Seemd in their song to scorne the cruell sky.
Much can they prayse the trees so straight and hy,
The sayling Pine, the Cedar proud and tall,
The vine-prop Elme, the Poplar neuer dry,
The builder Oake, sole king of forrests all,
The Aspine good for staues, the Cypresse funerall.
The Laurell, meed of mightie Conquerours
And Poets sage, the Firre that weepeth still,
The Willow worne of forlorne Paramours,
The Eugh obedient to the benders will,
The Birch for shaftes, the Sallow for the mill,
The Mirrhe sweete bleeding in the bitter wound,
The warlike Beech, the Ash for nothing ill,
The fruitfull Oliue, and the Platane round,
The caruer Holme, the Maple seeldom inward sound.
Led with delight, they thus beguile the way,
Vntill the blustring storme is ouerblowne;
When weening to returne, whence they did stray,
The cannot finde that path, which first was showne,
[Page 6]But wander too and fro in wayes vnknowne,
Furthest from end then, when they neerest weene,
That makes them doubt, their wits be not their owne:
So many pathes, so many turnings seene,
That which of them to take, in diuerse doubt they been.
At last resoluing forward still to fare,
Till that some end they finde or in or out,
That path they take, that beaten seemd most bare,
And like to lead the labyrinth about;
Which when by tract they hunted had throughout,
At length it brought them to a hollow caue,
Amid the thickest woods. The Champion stout
Eftsoones dismounted from his courser braue,
And to the Dwarfe a while his needlesse spere he gaue.
Be well aware, quoth then that Ladie milde,
Least suddaine mischiefe ye too rash prouoke:
The danger hid, the place vnknowne and wilde,
Breedes dreadfull doubts: Oft fire is without smoke,
And perill without show: therefore your hardy stroke
Sir knight with-hold, till further triall made.
Ah Ladie (said he) shame were to reuoke
The forward footing for an hidden shade:
Vertue giues her selfe light, through darkenesse for to wade.
Yea but (quoth she) the perill of this place
I better wot then you, though now too late,
To wish you backe returne with foule disgrace,
Yet wisedome warnes, whilest foot is in the gate,
To stay the steppe, ere forced to retrate.
This is the wandring wood, this Errours den,
A monster vile, whom God and man does hate:
Therefore I read beware. Fly fly (quoth then
The fearefull Dwarfe:) this is no place for liuing men.
But full of fire and greedy hardiment,
The youthfull knight could not for ought be staide,
But forth vnto the darksome hole he went,
And looked in: his glistring armor made
A litle glooming light, much like a shade,
By which he saw the vgly monster plaine,
Halfe like a serpent horribly displaide,
But th'other halfe did womans shape retaine,
Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile disdaine.
And as she lay vpon the durtie ground,
Her huge long taile her den all ouerspred,
Yet was in knots and many boughtes vpwound,
Pointed with mortall sting. Of her there bred
A thousand yong ones, which she dayly fed,
Sucking vpon her poisonous dugs, eachone
Of sundry shapes, yet all ill fauored:
Soone as that vncouth light vpon them shone,
Into her mouth they crept, and suddain all were gone.
Their dam vpstart, out of her den effraide,
And rushed forth, hurling her hideous taile
About her cursed head, whose folds displaid
Were stretcht now forth at length without entraile.
She lookt about, and seeing one in mayle
Armed to point, sought backe to turne againe;
For light she hated as the deadly bale,
Ay wont in desert darknesse to remaine,
Where plaine none might her see, nor she see any plaine.
Which when the valiant Elfe perceiu'ed, he lept
As Lyon fierce vpon the flying pray,
And with his trenchand blade her boldly kept
From turning backe, and forced her to stay:
[Page 8]Therewith enrag'd she loudly gan to bray,
And turning fierce, her speckled taile aduaunst,
Threatning her angry sting, him to dismay:
Who nought aghast, his mightie hand enhaunst:
The stroke down frō her head vnto her shoulder glaunst.
Much daunted with that dint, her sence was dazd,
Yet kindling rage, her selfe she gathered round,
And all attonce her beastly body raizd
With doubled forces high aboue the ground:
Tho wrapping vp her wrethed sterne arownd,
Lept fierce vpon his shield, and her huge traine
All suddenly about his body wound,
That hand or foot to stirre he stroue in vaine:
God helpe the man so wrapt in Errours endlesse traine.
His Lady sad to see his sore constraint,
Cride out, Now now Sir knight, shew what ye bee,
Add faith vnto your force, and be not faint:
Strangle her, else she sure will strangle thee.
That when he heard, in great perplexitie,
His gall did grate for griefe and high disdaine,
And knitting all his force got one hand free,
Wherewith he grypt her gorge with so great paine,
That soone to loose her wicked bands did her constraine.
Therewith she spewd out of her filthy maw
A floud of poyson horrible and blacke,
Full of great lumpes of flesh and gobbets raw,
Which stunck so vildly, that it forst him slacke
His grasping hold, and from her turne him backe:
Her vomit full of bookes and papers was,
With loathly frogs and toades, which eyes did lacke,
And creeping sought way in the weedy gras:
Her filthy parbreake all the place defiled has.
As when old father Nilus gins to swell
With timely pride aboue the Aegyptian vale,
His fattie waues do fertile slime outwell,
And ouerflow each plaine and lowly dale:
But when his later ebbe gins to auale,
Huge heapes of mudd he leaues, wherein there breed
Ten thousand kindes of creatures, partly male
And partly female of his fruitfull feed;
Such vgly monstrous shapes elswhere may no man reed.
The same so sore annoyed has the knight,
That welnigh choked with the deadly stinke,
His forces faile, ne can no longer fight.
Whose corage when the feend perceiu'd to shrinke,
She poured forth out of her hellish sinke
Her fruitfull cursed spawne of serpents small,
Deformed monsters, fowle, and blacke as inke,
Which swarming all about his legs did crall,
And him encombred sore, but could not hurt at all.
As gentle Shepheard in sweete euen-tide,
When ruddy Phoebus gins to welke in west,
High on an hill, his flocke to vewen wide,
Markes which do byte their hasty supper best;
A cloud of combrous gnattes do him molest,
All striuing to infixe their feeble stings,
That from their noyance he no where can rest,
But with his clownish hands their tender wings
He brusheth oft, and oft doth mar their murmurings.
Thus ill bestedd, and fearefull more of shame,
Then of the certaine perill he stood in,
Halfe furious vnto his foe he came,
Resolv'd in minde all suddenly to win,
[Page 18]Or soone to lose, before he once would lin;
And strooke at her with more then manly force,
That from her body full of filthie sin
He rafther hatefull head without remorse;
A streame of cole black bloud forth gushed frō her corse.
Her scattred brood, soone as their Parent deare
They saw so rudely falling to the ground,
Groning full deadly, all with troublous feare,
Gathred themselues about her body round,
Weening their wonted entrance to haue found
At her wide mouth: but being there withstood
They flocked all about her bleeding wound.
And sucked vp their dying mothers blood,
Making her death their life, and eke her hurt their good.
That detestable sight him much amazde,
To see th'vnkindly Impes of heauen accurst,
Deuoure their dam; on whom while so he gazd,
Hauing all satisfide their bloudy thurst,
Their bellies swolne he saw with fulnesse burst,
And bowels gushing forth: well worthy end
Of such as drunke her life, the which them nurst;
Now needeth him no lenger labour spend,
His foes haue slaine themselues, with whom he should contend.
His Ladie seeing all, that chaunst, from farre
Approcht in hast to greet his victorie,
And said, Faire knight, borne vnder happy starre,
Who see your vanquisht foes before you lye:
Well worthy be you of that Armorie,
Wherein ye haue great glory wonne this day,
And proou'd your strength on a strong enimie,
Your first aduenture: many such I pray,
And henceforth euer wish, that like succeed it may.
Then mounted he vpon his Steede againe,
And with the Lady backward sought to wend;
That path he kept, which beaten was most plaine,
Ne euer would to any by-way bend,
But still did follow one vnto the end,
The which at last out of the wood them brought.
So forward on his way (with God to frend)
He passeth forth, and new aduenture sought;
Long way he trauelled, before he heard of ought.
At length they chaunst to meet vpon the way
An aged Sire, in long blacke weedes yclad,
His feete all bare, his beard all hoarie gray,
And by his belt his booke he hanging had;
Sober he seemde, and very sagely sad,
And to the ground his eyes were lowly bent,
Simple in shew, and voyde of malice bad,
And all the way he prayed, as he went,
And often knock his brest, as one that did repent.
He faire the knight saluted, louting low,
Who faire him quited, as that courteous was:
And after asked him, if he did know
Of straunge aduentures, which abroad did pas.
Ah my deare Sonne (quoth he) how should, alas,
Silly old man, that liues in hidden cell,
Bidding his beades all day for his trespas,
Tydings of warre and worldly trouble tell?
With holy father sits not with such things to mell.
But if of daunger which hereby doth dwell,
And homebred euill euill ye desire to heare,
Of a straunge man I can you tidings tell,
That wasteth all this countrey farre and neare,
[Page 12]Of such (said he) I chiefly do inquere,
And shall you well reward to shew the place,
In which that wicked wight his dayes doth weare:
For to all knighthood it is foule disgrace,
That such a cursed creature liues so long a space.
Far hence (quoth he) in wastfull wildernesse
His dwelling is, by which no lining wight
May euer passe, but thorough great distresse.
Now (sayd the Lady) draweth toward night,
And well I wote, that of your later fight
Ye all for wearied be: for what so strong,
But wanting rest will also want of might?
The Sunne that measures heauen all day long,
At night doth baite his steedes the Ocean waues emong.
Then with the Sunne take Sir, your timely rest,
And with new day new worke at once begin:
Vntroubled night they say giues counsell best.
Right well Sir knight ye haue aduised bin,
(Quoth then that aged man;) the way to win
Is wisely to aduise: now day is spent;
Therefore with me ye may take vp your In
For this same night. The knight was well content:
So with that godly father to his home they went.
A little lowly Hermitage it was,
Downe in a dale, hard by a forests side,
Far from resort of people, that did pas
In trauell to and froe: a little wyde
There was an holy Chappell edifyde,
Wherein the Hermite dewly wont to say
His holy things each morne and euentyde:
Thereby a Christall streame did genlty play,
Which from a sacred fountaine welled forth alway.
Arriued there, the little house they fill,
Ne looke for entertainement, where none was:
Rest is their feast, and all things at their will;
The noblest mind the best contentment has.
With faire discourse the euening so they pas:
For that old man of pleasing wordes had store,
And well could file his tongue as smooth as glas;
He told of Saintes and Popes, and euemore
He strowd an Aue-Mary after and before.
The drouping Night thus creepeth on them fast,
And the sad humour loading their eye liddes,
As messenger of Morpheus on them cast
Sweet slōbring deaw, the which to sleepe them biddes.
Vnto their lodgings then his guestes he riddes:
Where when all drownd in deadly sleepe he findes,
He to his study goes, and there amiddes
His Magick bookes and artes of sundry kindes,
He seekes out mighty charmes, to trouble sleepy mindes.
Then choosing out few wordes most horrible,
(Let none them read) thereof did verses frame,
With which and other spelles like terrible,
He bad awake blacke Plutoes griesly Dame,
And cursed heauen, and spake reprochfull shame
Of highest God, the Lord of life and light;
A bold bad man, that dar'd to call by name
Great Gorgon, Prince of darknesse and dead night,
At which Cocytus quakes, and Styx is put to flight.
And forth he cald out of deepe darknesse dred
Legions of Sprights, the which like little flyes
Fluttring about his euer damned hed,
A-waite whereto their seruice he applyes,
[Page 14]To aide his friends, or fray his enimies:
Of those he chose out two, the falsest twoo,
And fittest for to forge true-seeming lyes;
The one of them he gaue a message too,
The other by him selfe staide other worke to doo.
He making speedy way through spersed ayre,
And through the world of waters wide and deepe,
To Morpheus house doth hastily repaire.
Amid the bowels of the earth full steepe,
And low, where dawning day doth neuer peepe,
His dwelling is; there Tethys his wet bed
Doth euer wash, and Cynthia still doth steepe
In siluer deaw his euer-drouping hed,
Whiles sad Night ouer him her mātle black doth spred.
Whose double gates he findeth locked fast,
The one faire fram'd of burnisht Yuory,
The other all with siluer ouercast;
And wakefull dogges before them farre do lye,
Watching to banish Care their enimy,
Who oft is wont to trouble gentle sleepe.
By them the Sprite doth passe in quietly,
And vnto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deepe
In drowsie fit he findes: of nothing he takes keepe.
And more, to lulle him in his slumber soft,
A trickling streame from high rocke tumbling downe
And euer-drizling raine vpon the loft,
Mixt with a murmuring winde, much like the sowne
Of swarming Bees, did cast him in a swowne:
No other noyse, nor peoples troublous cryes,
As still are wont t'annoy the walled towne,
Might there be heard: but carelesse Quiet lyes,
Wrapt in eternall silence farre from enemyes.
The messenger approching to him spake,
But his wast wordes returnd to him in vaine:
So sound he slept, that nought mought him awake.
Then rudely he him trust, and pusht with paine,
Whereat he gan to stretch: but he againe
Shooke him so hard, that forced him to speake.
As one then in a dreame, whose dryer braine
Is tost with troubled sights and fancies weake,
He mumbled soft, but would not all his silence breake.
The Sprite then gan more boldly him to wake,
And threatned vnto him the dreaded name
Of Hecate: whereat he gan to quake,
And lifting vp his lumpish head, with blame
Halfe angry asked him, for what he came.
Hither (quoth he) me Archimago sent,
He that the stubborne Sprites can wisely tame,
He bids thee to him send for his intent
A fit false dreame, that can delude the sleepers sent.
The God obayde, and calling forth straight way
A diuerse dreame out of his prison darke,
Deliuered it to him, and downe did lay
His heauie head, deuoide of carefull carke,
Whose sences all were straight benumbd and starke.
He backe returning by the Yuorie dore,
Remounted vp as light as chearefull Larke,
And on his litle winges the dreame he bore
In hast vnto his Lord, where he him left afore.
Who all this while with charmes and hidden artes,
Had made a Lady of that other Spright,
And fram'd of liquid ayre her tender partes
So liuely, and so like in all mens sight,
[Page 16]That weaker sence it could haue rauisht quight:
The maker selfe for all his wondrous witt,
Was nigh beguiled with so goodly sight:
Her all in white he clad, and ouer it
Cast a blacke stole, most like to seeme for Vna fit.
Now when that ydle dreame was to him brought,
Vnto that Elfin knight he bad him fly,
Where he slept soundly void of euill thought,
And with false shewes abuse his fantasy,
In sort as he him schooled priuily:
And that new creature borne without her dew,
Full of the makers guile, with vsage fly
He taught to imitate that Lady trew,
Whose semblance she did carrie vnder feigned hew.
Thus well instructed, to their worke they hast,
And comming where the knight in slomber lay,
The one vpon his hardy head him plast,
And made him dreame of loues and lustfull play,
That nigh his manly hart did melt away,
Bathed in wanton blis and wicked ioy:
Then seemed him his Lady by him lay,
And to him playnd, how that false winged boy,
Her chast hart had subdewd, to learne Dame pleasures toy.
And she her selfe of beautie soueraigne Queene,
Faire Venus seemde vnto his bed to bring
Her, whom he waking euermore did weene,
To be the chastest flowre, that ay did spring
On earthly braunch, the daughter of a king,
Now a loose Leman to vile seruice bound:
And eke the Graces seemed all to sing,
Hymen ιο̃ Hymen, dauncing all around,
Whilst freshest Flora her Yuie girlond crownd.
In this great passion of vnwonted lust,
Or wonted feare of doing ought amis,
He started vp, as seeming to mistrust,
Some secret ill, or hidden foe of his:
Lo there before his face his Lady is,
Vnder blake stole hyding her bayted hooke,
And as halfe blushing offred him to kis,
With gentle blandishment and louely looke,
Most like that virgin true, which for her knight him took.
All cleane dismayd to see so vncouth sight,
And halfe enraged at her shamelesse guise,
He thought haue slaine her in his fierce despight:
But hasty heat tempring with sufferance wise,
He stayde his hand, and gan himselfe aduise
To proue his sense, and tempt her faigned truth.
Wringing her hands in wemens pitteous wise,
Tho can she weepe, to stirre vp gentle ruth,
Both for her noble bloud, and for her tender youth.
And said, Ah Sir, my liege Lord and my loue,
Shall I accuse the hidden cruell fate,
And mightie causes wrought in heauen aboue,
Or the blind God, that doth me thus amate,
For hoped loue to winne me certaine hate?
Yet thus perforce he bids me do, or die.
Die is my dew: yet rew my wretched state
You, whom my hard auenging destinie
Hath made iudge of my life or death indifferently.
Your owne deare sake forst me at first to leaue
My Fathers kingdome, There she stopt with teares;
Her swollen hart her speach seemd to bereaue,
And then againe begun, My weaker yeares
[Page 18]Captiu'd to fortune and frayle worldly feares,
Fly to your faith for succour and sure ayde:
Let me not dye in languor and long teares.
Why Dame (quoth he) what hath ye thus dismayd?
What frayes ye, that were wont to comfort me affrayd?
Loue of your selfe, she said, and deare constraint
Lets me not sleepe, but wast the wearie night
In secret anguish and vnpittied plaint,
Whiles you in carelesse sleepe are drowned quight.
Her doubtfull words made that redoubted knight
Suspect her truth: yet since no' vntruth he knew,
Her fawning loue with foule disdainefull spight
He would not shend, but said, Deare dame I rew,
That for my sake vnknowne such griefe vnto you grew.
Assure your selfe, it fell not all to ground;
For all so deare as life is to my hart,
I deeme your loue, and hold me to you bound;
Ne let vaine feares procure your needlesse smart,
Where cause is none, but to your rest depart.
Not all content, yet seemd she to appease
Her mournefull plaintes, beguiled of her art,
And fed with words, that could not chuse but please,
So slyding softly forth, she turnd as to her ease.
Long after lay he musing at her mood,
Much grieu'd to thinke that gentle Dame so light,
For whose defence he was to shed his blood.
At last dull wearinesse of former fight
Hauing yrockt a sleepe his irkesome spright,
That troublous dreame gan freshly tosse his braine,
With bowres, and beds, and Ladies deare delight:
But when he saw his labour all was vaine,
With that misformed spright he backe returnd againe.

Cant. II.

The guilefull great Enchaunter parts
The Redcrosse Knight from Truth:
Into whose stead faire falshood steps,
And workes him wofull ruth.
BY this the Northerne wagoner had set
His seuenfold teme behind the stedfast starre,
That was in Ocean waues yet neuer wet,
But firme is fixt, and sendeth light from farre
To all, that in the wide deepe wandring arre:
And chearefull Chaunticlere with his note shrill
Had warned once, that Phoebus fiery carre
In hast was climbing vp the Easterne hill,
Full enuious that night so long his roome did fill.
When those accursed messengers of hell,
That feigning dreame, and that faire-forged Spright
Came to their wicked maister, and gan tell
Their bootelesse paines, and ill succeeding night:
Who all in rage to see his skilfull might
Deluded so, gan threaten hellish paine
And sad Proserpines wrath, them to affright.
But when he saw his threatning was but vaine,
He cast about, and searcht his balefull bookes againe.
Eftsoones he tooke that miscreated faire,
And that false other Spright, on whom he spred
A seeming body of the subtile aire,
Like a young Squire, in loues and lusty-hed
[Page 20]His wanton dayes that euer loosely led,
Without regard of armes and dreaded fight:
Those two he tooke, and in a secret bed,
Couered with darknesse and misdeeming night,
Them both together laid, to ioy in vaine delight.
Forthwith he runnes with feigned faithfull hast
Vnto his guest, who after troublous sights
And dreames, gan now to take more sound repast,
Whom suddenly he wakes with fearefull frights,
As one aghast with feends or damned sprights,
And to him cals, Rise rise vnhappy Swaine,
That here wex old in sleepe, whiles wicked wights
Haue knit themselues in Venus shamefull chaine;
Come see, where your false Lady doth her honour staine.
All in amaze he suddenly vp start
With sword in hand, and with the old man went;
Who soone him brought into a secret part,
Where that false couple were full closely ment
In wanton lust and lewd embracement:
Which when he saw, he burnt with gealous fire,
The eye of reason was with rage yblent,
And would haue slaine them in his furious ire,
But hardly was restreined of that aged sire.
Returning to his bed in torment great,
And bitter anguish of his guiltie sight,
He could not rest, but did his stout heart eat,
And wast his inward gall with deepe despight,
Yrkesome of life, and too long lingring night.
At last faire Hesperus in highest skie
Had spent his lampe, & brought forth dawning light,
Then vp he rose, and clad him hastily;
The Dwarfe him brought his steed so both away do fly.
Now when the rosy-fingred Morning faire,
Weary of aged Tithones saffron bed,
Had spred her purple robe through deawy aire,
And the high hils Titan discouered,
The royall virgin shooke off drowsy-hed,
And rising forth out of her baser bowre,
Lookt for her knight, who far away was fled,
And for her Dwarfe, that wont to wait each houre;
Then gan she waile & weepe, to see that woefull stowre.
And after him she rode with so much speede
As her slow beast could make; but all in vaine:
For him so far had borne his light-foot steede,
Pricked with wrath and fiery fierce disdaine,
That him to follow was but fruitlesse paine;
Yet she her weary limbes would neuer rest
But euery hill and dale, each wood and plaine
Did search, sore grieued in her gentle brest,
He so vngently left her, whom she louest best.
But subtill Archimago, when his guests
He saw diuided into double parts,
And Vna wandring in woods and forrests,
Th'end of his drift, he praisd his diuelish arts,
That had such might ouer true meaning harts;
Yet rests not so, but other meanes doth make,
How he may worke vnto her further smarts:
For her he hated as the hissing snake,
And in her many troubles did most pleasure take.
He then deuisde himselfe how to disguise;
For by his mightie science he could take
As many formes and shapes in seeming wise,
As euer Proteus to himselfe could make:
[Page 22]Sometime a fowle, sometime a fish in lake,
Now like a foxe, now like a dragon fell,
That of himselfe he oft for feare would quake,
And oft would flie away. O who can tell
The hidden power of herbes, and might of Magicke spell?
But now seemde best, the person to put on
Of that good knight, his late beguiled guest:
In mighty armes he was yclad anon:
And siluer shield, vpon his coward brest
A bloudy crosse, and on his crauen crest
A bounch of haires discolourd diuersly:
Full iolly knight he seemde, and well addrest,
And when he sate vpon his courser free,
Saint George himself ye would haue deemed him to be.
But he the knight, whose semblaunt he did beare,
The true Saint George was wandred far away,
Still flying from his thoughts and gealous feare;
Will was his guide, and griefe led him astray.
At last him chaunst to meete vpon the way
A faithlesse Sarazin all arm'd to point,
In whose great shield was writ with letters gay
Sans foy: full large of limbe and euery ioint
He was, and cared not for God or man a point.
He had a faire companion of his way,
A goodly Lady clad in scarlot red,
Purfled with gold and pearle of rich assay,
And like a Persian mitre on her hed
She wore, with crownes and owches garnished,
The which her lauish louers to her gaue;
Her wanton palfrey all was ouerspred
With tinsell trappings, wouen like a waue,
Whose bridle rung with golden bels and bosses braue.
With faire disport and courting dalliaunce
She intertainde her louer all the way:
But when she saw the knight his speare aduaunce,
She soone left off her mirth and wanton play,
And bad her knight addresse him to the fray:
His foe was nigh at hand. He prickt with pride
And hope to winne his Ladies heart that day,
Forth spurred fast: adowne his coursers side
The red bloud trickling staind the way, as he did ride.
The knight of the Redcrosse when him he spide,
Spurring so hote with rage dispiteous,
Gan fairely couch his speare, and towards ride:
Soone meete they both, both fell and furious,
That daunted with their forces hideous,
Their steeds do stagger, and amazed stand,
And eke themselues too rudely rigorous,
Astonied with the stroke of their owne hand,
Do backe rebut, and each to other yeeldeth land.
As when two rams stird with ambitious pride,
Fight for the rule of the rich fleeced flocke,
Their horned fronts so fierce on either side
Do meete, that with the terrour of the shocke
Astonied both, stand sencelesse as ablocke,
Forgetfull of the hanging victory:
So stood these twaine, vnmoued as a rocke,
Both staring fierce, and holding idely,
The broken reliques of their former cruelty.
The Sarazin sore daunted with the buffe
Snatcheth his sword, and fiercely to him flies;
Who well it wards, and quyteth cuff with cuff:
Each others equall puissaunce enuies,
[Page 24]And through their iron sides with cruelties
Does seeke to perce: repining courage yields
No foote to foe. The flashing fier flies
As from a forge out of their burning shields,
And streames of purple bloud new dies the verdāt fields.
Curse on that Crosse (quoth then the Sarazin)
That keepes thy body from the bitter fit;
Dead long ygoe I wote thou haddest bin,
Had not that charme from thee forwarned it:
But yet I warne thee now assured sitt,
And hide thy head. Therewith vpon his crest
With rigour so outrageous he smitt,
That a large share it hewd out of the rest,
And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely blest.
Who thereat wondrous wroth, the sleeping spark
Of natiue vertue gan eftsoones reuiue,
And at his haughtie helmet making mark,
So hugely stroke, that it the steele did riue,
And cleft his head. He tumbling downe aliue.
With bloudy mouth his mother earth did kis,
Greeting his graue: his grudging ghost did striue
With the fraile flesh; at last it flitted is,
Whither the soules do fly of men, that liue amis.
The Lady when she saw her champion fall,
Like the old ruines of a broken towre,
Staid not to waile his woefull funerall,
But from him fled away with all her powre;
Who after her as hastily gan scowre,
Bidding the Dwarfe with him to bring away
The Sarazins shield, signe of the conqueroure.
Her soone he ouertooke, and bad to stay,
For present cause was none of dread her to dismay.
She turning backe with ruefull countenaunce,
Cride, Mercy mercy Sir vouchsafe to show
On silly Dame, subiect to hard mischaunce,
And to your mighty will. Her humblesse low
In so ritch weedes and seeming glorious show,
Did much emmoue his stout heroïcke heart,
And said, Deare dame, your suddein ouerthrow
Much rueth me; but now put feare apart,
And tell, both who ye be, and who that tooke your part.
Melting in teares, then gan she thus lament;
The wretched woman, whom vnhappy howre
Hath now made thrall to your commandement,
Before that angry heauens lift to lowre,
And fortune false betraide me to your powre,
Was, (O what now auaileth that I was!)
Borne the sole daughter of an Emperour,
He that the wide West vnder his rule has,
And high hath set his throne, where Tiberis doth pas.
He in the first flowre of my freshest age,
Betrothed me vnto the onely haire
Of a most mighty king, most rich and sage;
Was neuer Prince so faithfull and so faire,
Was neuer Prince so meeke and debonaire;
But ere my hoped day of spousall shone,
My dearest Lord fell from high honours staire,
Into the hands of his accursed fone,
And cruelly was slaine, that shall I euer mone.
His blessed body spoild of liuely breath,
Was afterward, I know not how, conuaid
And fro me hid: of whose most innocent death
When tidings came to me vnhappy maid,
[Page 26]O how great sorrow my sad soule assaid.
Then forth I went his woefull corse to find,
And many yeares throughout the world I straid,
A virgin widow, whose deepe wounded mind
With loue, long time did languish as the striken hind.
At last it chaunced this proud Sarazin,
To meete me wandring, who perforce me led
With him away, but yet could neuer win
The Fort, that Ladies hold in soueraigne dread.
There lies he now with foule dishonour dead,
Who whiles he liu'de, was called proud Sans foy,
The eldest of three brethren, all three bred
Of one bad sire, whose youngest is Sans ioy,
And twixt them both was borne the bloudy bold Sans loy.
In this sad plight, friendlesse, vnfortunate,
Now miserable I Fidessa dwell,
Crauing of you in pitty of my state,
To do none ill, if please ye not do well.
He in great passion all this while did dwell,
More busying his quicke eyes, her face to view,
Then his dull eares, to heare what she did tell;
And said, faire Lady hart of flint would rew
The vndeserued woes and sorrowes, which ye shew.
Henceforth in safe assuraunce may ye rest,
Hauing both found a new friend you to aid,
And lost an old foe, that did you molest:
Better new friend then an old foe is said.
With chaunge of cheare the seeming simple maid
Let fall her eyen, as shamefast to the earth,
And yeelding soft, in that she nought gain-said,
So forth they rode, he feining seemely merth,
And she coy lookes: so dainty they say maketh derth.
Longtime they thus together traueiled,
Till weary of their way, they came at last,
Where grew two goodly trees, that faire did spred
Their armes abroad, with gray mosse ouercast,
And their greene leaues trembling with euery blast,
Made a calme shadow far in compasse round:
The fearefull Shepheard often there aghast
Vnder them neuer sat, ne wont there sound
His mery oaten pipe, but shund th'vnlucky ground.
But this good knight soone as he them can spie,
For the coole shade thither hastly got:
For golden Phoebus now that mounted hie,
From fiery wheeles of his faire chariot
Hurled his beame so scorching cruell hot,
That liuing creature mote it not abide;
And his new Lady it endured not.
There they alight, in hope themselues to hide
From the fierce heat, and rest their weary limbs a tide.
Faire seemely pleasaunce each to other makes,
With goodly purposes there as they sit:
And in his falsed fancy he her takes
To be the fairest wight, that liued yit;
Which to expresse, he bends his gentle wit,
And thinking of those braunches greene to frame
A girlond for her dainty forehead fit,
He pluckt a bough; out of whose rift there came
Small drops of gory bloud, that trickled downe the same.
Therewith a piteous yelling voyce was heard,
Crying, O spare with guilty hands to teare
My tender sides in this rough rynd embard,
But fly, ah fly far hence away, for feare
[Page 28]Least to you hap, that happened to me heare,
And to this wretched Lady, my deare loue,
O too deare loue, loue bought with death too deare.
Astond he stood, and vp his haire did houe,
And with that suddein horror could no member moue.
At last whenas the dreadfull passion
Was ouerpast, and manhood well awake,
Yet musing at the straunge occasion,
And doubting much his sence, he thus bespake;
What voyce of damned Ghost from Limbo lake,
Or guilefull spright wandring in empty aire,
Both which fraile men do oftentimes mistake,
Sends to my doubtfull eares these speaches rare,
And ruefull plaints, me bidding guitlesse bloud to spare?
Then groning deepe, Nor damned Ghost, (quoth he,)
Nor guilefull sprite to thee these wordes doth speake,
But once a man Fradubio, now a tree,
Wretched man, wretched tree; whose nature weake,
A cruell witch her cursed will to wreake,
Hath thus transformd, and plast in open plaines,
Where Bore as doth blow full bitter bleake,
And scorching Sunne does dry my secret vaines:
For though a tree I seeme, yet cold and heat me paines.
Say on Fradubio then, or man, or tree,
Quoth then the knight, by whose mischieuous arts
Art thou misshaped thus, as now I see?
He oft finds med'cine, who his griefe imparts;
But double griefs afflict concealing harts,
As raging flames who striueth to suppresse.
The author then (said he) of all my smarts,
Is one Duessa a false sorceresse,
That many errāt knights hath brought to wretchednesse.
In prime of youthly yeares, when corage hot
The fire of loue and ioy of cheualree
First kindled in my brest, it was my lot
To loue this gentle Lady, whom ye see,
Now not a Lady, but a seeming tree;
With whom as once I rode accompanyde,
Me chaunced of a knight encountred bee,
That had a like faire Lady by his syde,
Like a faire Lady, but did fowle Duessa hyde.
Whose forged beauty he did take in hand,
All other Dames to haue exceeded farre;
I in defence of mine did likewise stand,
Mine, that did then shine as the Morning starre:
So both to battell fierce arraunged arre,
In which his harder fortune was to fall
Vnder my speare: such is the dye of warre:
His Lady left as a prise martiall,
Did yield her comely person, to be at my call.
So doubly lou'd of Ladies vnlike faire,
Th'one seeming such, the other such indeede,
One day in doubt I cast for to compare,
Whether in beauties glorie did exceede;
A Rosy girlond was the victors meede:
Both seemde to win, and both seemde won to bee,
So hard the discord was to be agreede.
Fraelissa was as faire, as faire mote bee,
And euer false Duessa seemde as faire as shee.
The wicked witch now seeing all this while
The doubtfull ballaunce equally to sway,
What not by right, she cast to win by guile,
And by her hellish science raisd streight way
[Page 30]A foggy mist, that ouercast the day,
And a dull blast, that breathing on her face,
Dimmed her former beauties shining ray,
And with foule vgly forme did her disgrace:
Then was she faire alone, when none was faire in place.
Then cride she out, fye, fye, deformed wight,
Whose borrowed beautie now appeareth plaine
To haue before bewitched all mens sight;
O leaue her soone, or let her soone be slaine.
Her loathly visage viewing with disdaine,
Eftsoones I thought her such, as she me told,
And would haue kild her; but with faigned paine,
The false witch did my wrathfull hand with-hold;
So left her, where she now is turnd to treen mould.
Then forth I tooke Duessa for my Dame,
And in the witch vnweening ioyd long time,
Ne euer wist, but that she was the same,
Till on a day (that day is euery Prime,
When Witches wont do penance for their crime)
I chaunst to see her in her proper hew,
Bathing her selfe in origane and thyme:
A filthy foule old woman I did vew,
That euer to haue toucht her, I did deadly rew.
Her neather partes misshapen, monstruous,
Were hidd in water, that I could not see,
But they did seeme more foule and hideous,
Then womans shape man would beleeue to bee.
Then forth from her most beastly companie
I gan refraine, in minde to slip away,
Soone as appeard safe oportunitie:
For danger great, if not assur'd decay
I saw before mine eyes, if I were knowne to stray.
The diuelish hag by chaunges of my cheare
Perceiu'd my thought, and drownd in sleepie night,
With wicked herbes and ointments did besmeare
My bodie all, through charmes and magicke might,
That all my senses were bereaued quight:
Then brought she me into this desert waste,
And by my wretched louers side me pight,
Where now enclosd in wooden wals full faste,
Banisht from liuing wights, our wearie dayes we waste.
But how long time, said then the Elfin knight,
Are you in this misformed house to dwell?
We may not chaunge (quoth he) this euil plight,
Till we be bathed in a lining well;
That is the terme prescribed by the spell.
O how, said he, mote I that well out find,
That may restore you to your wonted well?
Time and suffised fates to former kynd
Shall vs restore, none else from hence may vs vnbynd.
The false Duessa, now Fidessa hight,
Heard how in vaine Fradubio did lament,
And knew well all was true. But the good knight
Full of sad feare and ghastly dreriment,
When all this speech the liuing tree had spent,
The bleeding bough did thrust into the ground,
That from the bloud he might be innocent,
And with fresh clay did close the wooden wound:
Then turning to his Lady, dead with feare her found.
Her seeming dead he found with feigned feare,
As all vnweeting of that well she knew,
And paynd himselfe with busie care to reare
Her out of carelesse swowne. Her eylids blew
[Page 32]And dimmed sight with pale and deadly hew
At last she vp gan lift: with trembling cheare
Her vp he tooke, too simple and too trew,
And oft her kist. At length all passed feare,
He set her on her steede, and forward forth did beare.

Cant. III.

Forsaken Truth long seekes her loue,
And makes the Lyon mylde,
Marres blind Deuotions mart, and fals
In hand of leachour vylde.
NOught is there vnder heau'ns wide hollownesse,
That moues more deare compassion of mind,
Then beautie brought t'vnworthy wretchednesse
Through enuies snares or fortunes freakes vnkind:
I, whether lately through her brightnesse blind,
Or through alleageance and fast fealtie,
Which I do owe vnto all woman kind,
Feele my heart perst with so great agonie,
When such I see, that all for pittie I could die.
And now it is empassioned so deepe,
For fairest: Vnaes sake, of whom I sing,
That my fraile eyes these lines with teares do steepe,
To thinke how she through guilefull handeling,
Though true as touch, though daughter of a king,
Though faire as euer liuing wight was faire,
Though nor in word nor deede ill meriting,
Is from her knight diuorced in despaire
And her due loues deriu'd to that vile witches share.
Yet she most faithfull Ladie all this while
Forsaken, wofull, solitarie mayd
Farre from all peoples prease, as in exile,
In wildernesse and wastfull deserts strayd,
To seeke her knight; who subtilly betrayd
Through that late vision, which th'Enchaunter wrought,
Had her abandond. She of nought affrayd,
Through woods and wastnesse wide him daily sought;
Yet wished tydings none of him vnto her brought.
One day nigh wearie of the yrkesome way,
From her vnhastie beast she did alight,
And on the grasse her daintie limbes did lay
In secret shadow, farre from all mens sight:
From her faire head her fillet she vndight,
And laid her stole aside. Her angels face
As the great eye of heauen shyned bright,
And made a sunshine in the shadie place;
Did neuer mortall eye behold such heauenly grace.
It fortuned out of the thickest wood
A ramping Lyon rushed suddainly,
Hunting full greedie after saluage blood;
Soone as the royall virgin he did spy,
With gaping mouth at her ran greedily,
To haue attonce deuour'd her tender corse:
But to the pray when as he drew more ny,
His bloudie rage asswaged with remorse,
And with the sight amazd, forgat his furious forse.
In stead thereof he kist her wearie feet,
And lickt her lilly hands with fawning tong,
As he her wronged innocence did weet.
O how can beautie maister the most strong,
[Page 34]And simple truth subdue auenging wrong?
Whose yeelded pride and proud submission,
Still dreading death, when she had marked long,
Her hart gan melt in great compassion,
And drizling teares did shed for pure affection.
The Lyon Lord of euery beast in field
Quoth she, his princely puissance doth abate,
And mightie proud to humble weake does yield,
Forgetfull of the hungry rage, which late
Him prickt, in pittie of my sad estate:
But he my Lyon, and my noble Lord
How does he find in cruell hart to hate
Her that him lou'd, and euer most adord,
As the God of my life? why hath he me abhord?
Redounding teares did choke th'end of her plaint,
Which softly ecchoed from the neighbour wood;
And sad to see her sorrowfull constraint
The kingly beast vpon her gazing stood;
With pittie calmd, downe fell his angry mood.
At last in close hart shutting vp her paine,
Arose the virgin borne of heauenly brood,
And to her snowy Palfrey got againe,
To seeke her strayed Champion, if she might attaine.
The Lyon would not leaue her desolate,
But with her went along, as a strong gard
Of her chast person, and a faithfull mate
Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard:
Still when she slept, he kept both watch and ward,
And when she wakt, he waited diligent,
With humble seruice to her will prepard:
From her faire eyes he tooke commaundement,
And euer by her lookes conceiued her intent.
Long she thus traueiled through deserts wyde,
By which she thought her wandring knight shold pas,
Yet neuer shew of liuing wight espyde;
Till that at length she found the troden gras,
In which the tract of peoples footing was,
Vnder the steepe foot of a mountaine hore;
The same she followes, till at last she has
A damzell spyde slow footing her before,
That on her shoulders sad a pot of water bore.
To Whom approching she to her gan call,
To weet, if dwelling place were nigh at hand;
But the rude wench her answer'd nought at all,
She could not heare, nor speake, nor vnderstand;
Till seeing by her side the Lyon stand,
With suddaine feare her pitcher downe she threw,
And fled away: for neuer in that land
Face of faire Ladie she before did vew,
And that dread Lyons looke her cast in deadly hew.
Full fast she fled, ne euer lookt behynd,
As if her life vpon the wager lay,
And home she came, whereas her mother blynd
Sate in eternall night: nought could she say,
But suddaine catching hold, did her dismay
With quaking hands, and other signes of feare:
Who full of ghastly fright and cold affray,
Gan shut the dore. By this arriued there
Dame Vna, wearie Dame, and entrance did requere.
Which when none yeelded, her vnruly Page
With his rude clawes the wicket open rent,
And let her in; where of his cruell rage
Nigh dead with feare, and faint astonishment,
[Page 36]She found them both in darkesome corner pent;
Where that old woman day and night did pray
Vpon her beades deuoutly penitent;
Nine hundred Pater nosters euery day,
And thrise nine hundred Aues she was wont to say.
And to augment her painefull pennance more,
Thrise euery weeke in ashes she did sit,
And next her wrinkled skin rough sackcloth wore,
And thrise three times did fast from any bit:
But now for feare her beads she did forget.
Whose needlesse dread for to remoue away,
Faire Vna framed words and count'nance fit:
Which hardly doen, at length she gan them pray,
That in their cotage small, that night she rest her may.
The day is spent, and commeth drowsie night,
When euery creature shrowded is in sleepe;
Sad Vna downe her laies in wearie plight,
And at her feet the Lyon watch doth keepe:
In stead of rest, she does lament, and weepe
For the late losse of her deare loued knight,
And sighes, and grones, and euermore does steepe
Her tender brest in bitter teares all night,
All night she thinks too long, and often lookes for light.
Now when Aldeboran was mounted hie
Aboue the shynie Cassiopeias chaire,
And all in deadly sleepe did drowned lie,
One knocked at the dore, and in would fare;
He knocked fast, and often curst, and sware,
That readie entrance was not at his call:
For on his backe a heauy load he bare
Of nightly stelths and pillage seuerall,
Which he had got abroad by purchase criminall.
He was to weete a stout and sturdie thiefe,
Wont to robbe Churches of their ornaments,
And poore mens boxes of their due reliefe,
Which giuen was to them for good intents;
The holy Saints of their rich vestiments
He did disrobe, when all men carelesse slept,
And spoild the Priests of their habiliments,
Whiles none the holy things in safety kept;
Then he by cunning sleights in at the window crept.
And all that he by right or wrong could find,
Vnto this house he brought, and did bestow
Vpon the daughter of this woman blind,
Abessa daughter of Corceca slow,
With whom he whoredome vsd, that few did know,
And fed her fat with feast of offerings,
And plentie, which in all the land did grow;
Ne spared he to giue her gold and rings:
And now he to her brought part of his stolen things.
Thus long the dore with rage and threats he bet,
Yet of those fearefull women none durst rize,
The Lyon frayed them, him in to let:
He would no longer stay him to aduize,
But open breakes the dore in furious wize,
And entring is; when that disdainfull beast
Encountring fierce, him suddaine doth surprize,
And seizing cruell clawes on trembling brest,
Vnder his Lordly foot him proudly hath supprest.
Him booteth not resist, nor succour call,
His bleeding hart is in the vengers hand,
Who streight him rent in thousand peeces small,
And quite dismembred hath: the thirstie land
[Page 38]Drunke vp his life; his corse left on the strand.
His fearefull friends weare out the wofull night,
Ne dare to weepe, nor seeme to vnderstand
The heauie hap, which on them is alight,
Affraid, least to themselues the like mishappen might.
Now when broad day the world discouered has,
Vp Vna rose, vp rose the Lyon eke,
And on their former iourney forward pas,
In wayes vnknowne, her wandring knight to seeke,
With paines farre passing that long wandring Greeke,
That for his loue refused deitie;
Such were the labours of this Lady meeke,
Still seeking him, that from her still did flie,
Then furthest from her hope, when most she weenednie.
Soone as she parted thence, the fearefull twaine,
That blind old woman and her daughter deare
Came forth, and finding Kirkrapine there slaine,
For anguish great they gan to rend their heare,
And beat their brests, and naked flesh to teare.
And when they both had wept and wayld their fill,
Then forth they ranne like two amazed deare,
Halfe mad through malice, and reuenging will,
To follow her, that was the causer of their ill.
Whom ouertaking, they gan loudly bray,
With hollow howling, and lamenting cry,
Shamefully at her rayling all the way,
And her accusing of dishonesty,
That was the flowre of faith and chastity;
And still amidst her rayling, she did pray,
That plagues, and mischiefs, and long misery
Might fall on her, and follow all the way,
And that in endlesse error she might euer stray.
But when she saw her prayers nought preuaile,
She backe returned with some labour lost;
And in the way as she did weepe and waile,
A knight her met in mighty armes embost,
Yet knight was not for all his bragging bost,
But subtill Archimag, that Vna, sought
By traynes into new troubles to haue tost:
Of that old woman tydings he besought,
If that of such a Ladie she could tellen ought.
Therewith she gan her passion to renew,
And cry, and curse, and raile, and rend her heare,
Saying, that harlot she too lately knew,
That causd her shed so many a bitter teare,
And so forth told the story of her feare:
Much seemed he to mone her haplesse chaunce,
And after for that Ladie did inquire;
Which being taught, he forward gan aduaunce▪
His faire enchaunted steed, and eke his charmed launce.
Ere long he came, where Vna traueild slow,
And that wilde Champion wayting her besyde:
Whom seeing such, for dread he durst not show
Himselfe too nigh at hand, but turned wyde
Vnto an hill; from whence when she him spyde,
By his like seeming shield, her knight by name
She weend it was, and towards him gan ryde:
Approching nigh, she wist it was the same,
And with faire fearefull humblesse towards him shee came.
And weeping said, Ah my long lacked Lord,
Where haue ye bene thus long out of my sight?
Much feared I to haue bene quite abhord,
Or ought haue done, that ye displeasen might,
[Page 40]That should as death vnto my deare hart light:
For since mine eye your ioyous sight did mis,
My chearefull day is turnd to chearelesse night,
And eke my night of death the shadow is;
But welcome now my light, and shining lampe of blis.
He thereto meeting said, My dearest Dame,
Farre be it from your thought, and fro my will,
To thinke that knighthood I so much should shame,
As you to leaue, that haue me loued still,
And chose in Faery court of meere goodwill,
Where noblest knights were to be found on earth:
The earth shall sooner leaue her kindly skill
To bring forth fruit, and make eternall derth,
Then I leaue you, my liefe, yborne of heauenly berth.
And sooth to say, why I left you so long,
Was for to seeke aduenture in strange place,
Where Archimago said a felon strong
To many knights did daily worke disgrace;
But knight he now shall neuer more deface:
Good cause of mine excuse; that mote ye please
Well to accept, and euermore embrace
My faithfull seruice, that by land and seas
Haue vowd you to defend, now then your plaint ap­pease.
His louely words her seemd due recompence
Of all her passed paines: one louing howre
For many yeares of sorrow can dispence:
A dram of sweet is worth a pound of sowre:
She has forgot, how many a wofull stowre
For him she late endur'd; she speakes no more
Of past: true is, that true loue hath no powre
To looken backe; his eyes be fixt before.
Before her stands her knight, for whom she toyld so sore.
Much like, as when the beaten marinere,
That long hath wandred in the Ocean wide,
Oft soust in swelling Tethys saltish teare,
And long time hauing tand his tawney hide
With blustring breath of heauen, that none can bide,
And scorching flames of fierce Orions hound,
Soone as the port from farre he has espide,
His chearefull whistle merrily doth sound,
And Nereus crownes with cups; his mates him pledg a­round.
Such ioy made Vna, when her knight she found;
And eke th'enchaunter ioyous seemd no lesse,
Then the glad marchant, that does vew from ground
His ship farre come from watrie wildernesse,
He hurles out vowes, and Neptune oft doth blesse:
So forth they past, and all the way they spent
Discoursing of her dreadfull late distresse,
In which he askt her, what the Lyon ment:
Who told her all that fell in iourney as she went.
They had not ridden farre, when they might see
One pricking towards them with hastie heat,
Full strongly armd, and on a courser free,
That through his fiercenesse fomed all with swear,
And the sharpe yron did for anger eat,
When his hot ryder spurd his chauffed side;
His looke was sterne, and seemed still to threat
Cruell reuenge, which he in hart did hyde,
And on his shield Sans loy in bloudie lines was dyde.
When nigh he drew vnto this gentle payre
And saw the Red-crosse, which the knight did beare,
He burnt in fire, and gan eftsoones prepare
Himselfe to battell with his couched speare.
[Page 42]Lo thwas that other, and did faint through fea,
To taste th'vntryed dint of deadly steele;
But yet his Lady did so well him cheare,
That hope of new goodhap he gan to feele;
So bent his speare, and spurnd his horse with yron heele.
But that proud Paynim forward came so fierce,
And full of wrath, that with his sharp-head speare
Through vainely crossed shield he quite did pierce,
And had his staggering steede not shrunke for feare,
Through shield and bodie eke he should him beare:
Yet so great was the puissance of his push,
That from his saddle quite he did him beare:
He tombling rudely downe to ground did rush,
And from his gored wound a well of bloud did gush.
Dismounting lightly from his loftie steed,
He to him lept, in mind to reaue his life,
And proudly said, Lo there the worthie meed
Of him, that slew Sansfoy with bloudie knife;
Henceforth his ghost freed from repining strife,
In peace may passen ouer Lethe lake,
When morning altars purgd with enemies life,
The blacke infernall Furies doen aslake:
Life from Sansfoy thou tookst, Sansloy shall frō thee take.
Therewith in haste his helmet gan vnlace,
Till Vna cride, O hold that heauie hand,
Deare Sir, what euer that thou be in place:
Enough is, that thy foe doth vanquisht stand
Now at thy mercy: Mercie not withstand:
For he is one the truest knight aliue,
Though conquered now he lie on lowly land,
And whilest him fortune fauourd, faire did thriue
In bloudie field: therefore of life him not depriue.
Her piteous words might not abate his rage,
But rudely rending vp his helmet, would
Haue slaine him straight: but when he sees his age,
And hoarie head of Archimago old,
His hastie hand he doth amazed hold,
And halfe ashamed, wondred at the sight:
For the old man well knew he, though vntold,
In charmes and magicke to haue wondrous might,
Ne euer wont in field, ne in round lists to fight.
And said, Why Archimago, lucklesse syre,
What doe I see? what hard mishap is this,
That hath thee hither brought to taste mineyre?
Or thine the fault, or mine the error is,
In stead of foe to wound my friend amis?
He answered nought, but in a traunce still lay,
And on those guilefull dazed eyes of his
The cloud of death did sit. Which doen away,
He left him lying so, ne would no lenger stay.
But to the virgin comes, who all this while
Amased stands, her selfe so mockt to see
By him, who has the guerdon of his guile,
For so misfeigning her true knight to bee:
Yet is she now in more perplexitie,
Left in the hand of that same Paynim bold,
From whom her booteth not at all to flie,
Who by her cleanly garment catching hold,
Her from her Palfrey pluckt, her visage to behold.
But her fierce seruant full of kingly awe
And high disdaine, whenas his soueraine Dame
So rudely handled by her foe he sawe,
With gaping iawes full greedy at him came,
[Page 44]And ramping on his shield, did weene the same
Haue reft away with his sharpe rending clawes:
But he was stout, and lust did now inflame
His corage more, that frō his griping pawes
He hath his shield redeem'd, and foorth his swerd he drawes.
O then too weake and feeble was the forse
Of saluage beast, his puissance to withstand:
For he was strong, and of so mightie corse,
As euer wielded speare in warlike hand,
And feates of armes did wisely vnderstand.
Eftsoones he perced through his chaufed chest
With thrilling point of deadly yron brand,
And launcht his Lordly hart: with death opprest
He roar'd aloud, whiles life forsooke his stubborne brest.
Who now is left to keepe the forlorne maid
From raging spoile of lawlesse victors will?
Her faithfull gard remou'd, her hope dismaid,
Her selfe a yeelded pray to saue or spill.
He now Lord of the fied, his pride to fill,
With foule reproches, and disdainfull spight
Her vildly entertaines, and will or nill,
Beares her away vpon his courser light:
Her prayers nought preuaile, his rage is more of might.
And all the way, with great lamenting paine,
And piteous plaints she filleth his dull eares,
That stony hart could riuen haue in twaine,
And all the way she wets with flowing teares:
But he enrag'd with rancor, nothing heares.
Her seruile beast yet would not leaue her so,
But followes her farre off, ne ought he feares,
To be partaker of her wandring woe,
More mild in beastly kind, then that her beastly foe.

Cant. IIII

To sinfull house of Pride, Duessa
guides the faithfull knight,
Where brothers death to wreak Sansioy
doth chalenge him to fight.
YOung knight, what euer that dost armes professe,
And through long labours huntest after fame,
Beware of fraud, beware of ficklenesse,
In choice, and change of thy deare loued Dame,
Least thou of her beleeue too lightly blame,
And rash misweening doe thy hart remoue:
For vnto knight there is no greater shame,
Then lightnesse and inconstancie in loue;
That doth this Redcrosse knights ensample plainly proue.
Who after that he had faire Vna lorne,
Through light misdeeming of her loialtie,
And false Duessa in her sted had borne,
Called Fidess', and so supposd to bee;
Long with her traueild, till at last they see
A goodly building, brauely garnished,
The house of mightie Prince it seemd to bee:
And towards it a broad high way that led,
All bare through peoples feet, which thither traueiled.
Great troupes of people traueild thitherward
Both day and night, of each degree and place,
But few returned, hauing scaped hard,
With balefull beggerie, or foule disgrace,
[Page 46]Which euer after in most wretched case,
Like loathsome lazars, by the hedges lay.
Thither Duessa bad him bend his pace:
For she is wearie of the toilesome way,
And also nigh consumed is the lingring day.
A stately Pallace built of squared bricke,
Which cunningly was without morter laid,
Whose wals were high, but nothing strong, nor thick,
And golden foile all ouer them displaid,
That purest skye with brightnesse they dismaid:
High lifted vp were many loftie towres,
And goodly galleries farre ouer laid,
Full of faire windowes, and delightfull bowres;
And on the top a Diall told the timely howres.
It was a goodly heape for to behould,
And spake the praises of the workmans wit;
But full great pittie, that so faire a mould
Did on so weake foundation euer sit:
For on a sandie hill, that still did flit,
And fall away, it mounted was full hie,
That euery breath of heauen shaked it:
And all the hinder parts, that few could spie,
Were ruinous and old, but painted cunningly.
Arriued there they passed in forth right;
For still to all the gates stood open wide,
Yet charge of them was to a Porter hight
Cald Maluenù, who entrance none denide:
Thence to the hall, which was on euery side
With rich array and costly arras dight:
Infinite sorts of people did abide
There waiting long, to win the wished sight
Of her, that was the Lady of that Pallace bright.
By them they passe, all gazing on them round,
And to the Presence mount; whose glorious vew
Their frayle amazed senses did confound:
In liuing Princes court none euer knew
Such endlesse richesse, and so sumptuous shew;
Ne Persia selfe, the nourse of pompous pride
Like euer saw. And there a noble crew
Of Lordes and Ladies stood on euery side,
Which with their presence faire, the place much beau­tifide.
High aboue all a cloth of State was spred,
And a rich throne, as bright as sunny day,
On which there sate most braue embellished
With royall robes and gorgeous array,
A mayden Queene, that shone as Titans ray,
In glistring gold, and peerelesse pretious stone:
Yet her bright blazing beautie did assay
To dim the brightnesse of her glorious throne,
As enuying her selfe, that too exceeding shone.
Exceeding shone, like Phoebus fairest childe,
That did presume his fathers firie wayne,
And flaming mouthes of steedes vnwonted wilde
Through highest heauen with weaker hand to rayne;
Proud of such glory and aduancement vaine,
While flashing beames do daze his feeble eyen,
He leaues the welkin way most beaten plaine,
And rapt with whirling wheeles, inflames the skyen,
With fire not made to burne, but fairely for to shyne.
So proud she shyned in her Princely state,
Looking to heauen; for earth she did disdayne,
And sitting high; for lowly she did hate:
Lo vnderneath her scornefull feete, was layne
[Page 48]A dreadfull Dragon with an hideous trayne,
And in her hand she held a mirrhour bright,
Wherein her face she often vewed fayne,
And in her selfe-lou'd semblance tooke delight;
For she was wondrous faire, as any liuing wight.
Of griesly Pluto she the daughter was,
And sad Proserpina the Queene of hell;
Yet did she thinke her pearelesse wroth to pas
That parentage, with pride so did she swell,
And thundring Ioue, that high in heauen doth dwell,
And wield the world, she claymed for her syre,
Or if that any else did Ioue excell:
For to the highest she did still aspyre,
Or if ought higher were then that, did it desyre.
And proud Lucifera men did her call,
That made her selfe Queene, and crownd to be,
Yet rightfull kingdome she had none at all,
Ne heritage of natiue soueraintie,
But did vsurpe with wrong and tyrannie
Vpon the scepter, which she now did hold:
Ne ruld her Realmes with lawes, but pollicie,
And strong aduizement of six wisards old,
That with their counsels bad her kingdome did vphold.
Soone as the Elfing knight in presence came,
And false Duessa seeming Lady faire,
A gentle Husher, Vanitie by name
Made rowme, and passage for them did prepaire:
So goodly brought them to the lowest staire
Of her high throne, where they on humble knee
Making obeyssance, did the cause declare,
Why they were come, her royall state to see,
To proue the wide report of her great Maiestee.
With loftie eyes, halfe loth to looke so low,
She thanked them in her disdainefull wise,
Ne other grace vouchsafed them to show
Of Princesse worthy, scarse them bad arise.
Her Lordes and Ladies all this while deuise
Themselues to setten forth to straungers sight:
Some frounce their curled haire in courtly guise,
Some prancke their ruffes, and others trimly dight
Their gay attire: each others greater pride does spight.
Goodly they all that knight do entertaine,
Right glad with him to haue increast their crew:
But to Duess' each one himselfe did paine
All kindnesse and faire courtesie to shew;
For in that court whylome her well they knew:
Yet the stout Faerie mongst the middest crowd
Thought all their glorie vaine in knightly vew,
And that great Princesse too exceeding prowd,
That to strange knight no better countenance allowd.
Suddein vpriseth from her stately place
The royall Dame, and for her coche doth call:
All hurtlen forth, and she with Princely pace,
As faire Aurora in her purple pall,
Out of the East the dawning day doth call:
So forth she comes: her brightnesse brode doth blaze;
The heapes of people thronging in the hall,
Do ride each other, vpon her to gaze:
Her glorious glitter and light doth all mens eyes amaze.
So forth she comes, and to her coche does clyme,
Adorned all with gold, and girlonds gay,
That seemd as fresh as Flora in her prime,
And stroue to match, in royall rich array,
[Page 50]Great Iunoes golden chaire, the which they say
The Gods stand gazing on, when she does ride
To Ioues high house through heauens bras-paued way
Drawne of faire Pecocks, that excell in pride,
And full of Argus eyes their tailes dispredden wide.
But this was drawne of six vnequall beasts,
On which her six sage Counsellours did ryde,
Taught to obay their bestiall beheasts,
With like conditions to their kinds applyde:
Of which the first, that all the rest did guyde,
Was sluggish Idlenesse the nourse of sin;
Vpon a slouthfull Asse he chose to ryde,
Arayd in habit blacke, and amis thin,
Like to an holy Monck, the seruice to begin.
And in his hand his Portesse still he bare,
That much was worne, but therein little red,
For of deuotion he had little care,
Still drownd in sleepe, and most of his dayes ded;
Scarse could he once vphold his heauie hed,
To looken, whether it were night or day:
May seeme the wayne was very euill led,
When such an one had guiding of the way,
That knew not, whether right he went, or else astray.
From worldly cares himselfe he did esloyne,
And greatly shunned manly exercise,
For euery worke he chalenged essoyne,
For contemplation sake: yet otherwise,
His life he led in lawlesse riotise;
By which he grew to grieuous malady;
For in his lustlesse limbs through euill guise
A shaking feuer raignd continually:
Such one was Idlenesse, first of this company.
And by his side rode loathsome Gluttony,
Deformed creature, on a filthie swyne,
His belly was vp-blowne with luxury,
And eke with fatnesse swollen were his eyne,
And like a Crane his necke was long and fyne,
With which he swallowd vp excessiue feast,
For want whereof poore people oft did pyne;
And all the way, most like a brutish beast,
He spued vp his gorge, that all did him deteast.
In greene vine leaues he was right fitly clad;
For other clothes he could not weare for heat,
And on his head an yuie girland had,
From vnder which fast trickled downe the sweat:
Still as he rode, he somewhat still did eat,
And in his hand did beare a bouzing can,
Of which he supt so oft, that on his seat
His dronken corse he scarse vpholden can,
In shape and life more like a monster, then a man.
Vnfit he was for any worldly thing,
And eke vnhable once to stirre or go,
Not meet to be of counsell to a king,
Whose mind in meat and drinke was drowned so,
That from his friend he seldome knew his so:
Full of diseases was his carcas blew,
And a dry dropsie through his flesh did flow:
Which by misdiet daily greater grew:
Such one was Gluttony, the second of that crew.
And next to him rode lustfull Lechery,
Vpon a bearded Goat, whose rugged haire,
And whally eyes (the signe of gelosy,)
Was like the person selfe, whom he did beare:
[Page 52]Who rough, and blacke, and filthy did appeare,
Vnseemely man to please faire Ladies eye;
Yet he of Ladies oft was loued deare,
When fairer faces were bid standen by:
O who does know the bent of womens fantasy?
In a greene gowne he clothed was full faire,
Which vnderneath did hide his filthinesse,
And in his hand a burning hart he bare,
Full of vaine follies, and new fanglenesse:
For he was false, and fraught with sicklenesse,
And learned had to loue with secret lookes,
And well could daunce, and sing with ruefulnesse,
And fortunes tell, and read in louing bookes,
And thousand other wayes, to bait his fleshly hookes.
Inconstant man, that loued all he saw,
And lusted after all, that he did loue,
Ne would his looser life be tide to law,
But ioyd weake wemens hearts to tempt and proue
If from their loyall loues he might them moue;
Which lewdnesse fild him with reprochfull paine
Of that fowle euill, which all men reproue,
That rots the marrow, and consumes the braine:
Such one was Lecherie, the third of all this traine.
And greedy Auarice by him did ride,
Vpon a Camell loaden all with gold;
Two iron coffers hong on either side,
With precious mettall full, as they might hold,
And in his lap an heape of coine he told;
For of his wicked pelfe his God he made,
And vnto hell him selfe for money sold;
Accursed vsurie was all his trade,
And right and wrong ylike in equall ballaunce waide.
His life was nigh vnto deaths doore yplast,
And thred-bare cote, and cobled shoes he ware,
Ne scarse good morsell all his life did tast,
But both from backe and belly still did spare,
To fill his bags, and richesse to compare;
Yet chylde ne kinsman liuing had he none
To leaue them to; but thorough daily care
To get, and nightly feare to lose his owne,
He led a wretched life vnto him selfe vnknowne.
Most wretched wight, whom nothing might suffise,
Whose greedy lust did lacke in greatest store,
Whose need had end, but no end couetise,
Whose wealth was want, whose plēty made him pore,
Who had enough, yet wished euer more;
A vile disease, and eke in foote and hand
A grieuous gout tormented him full sore,
That well he could not touch, nor go, nor stand:
Such one was Auarice, the fourth of this faire band.
And next to him malicious Enuie rode,
Vpon a rauenous wolfe, and still did chaw
Betweene his cankred teeth a venemous tode,
That all the poison ran about his chaw;
But inwardly he chawed his owne maw
At neighbours wealth, that made him euer sad;
For death it was, when any good he saw,
And wept, that cause of weeping none he had,
But when he heard of harme, he wexed wondrous glad.
All in a kirtle of discolourd say
He clothed was, ypainted full of eyes;
And in his bosome secretly there lay
An hatefull Snake, the which his taile vptyes
[Page 54]In many folds, and mortall sting implyes.
Still as he rode, he gnasht his teeth, to see
Those heapes of gold with griple Couetyse,
And grudged at the great felicitie
Of proud Lucifera, and his owne companie.
He hated all good workes and vertuous deeds,
And him no lesse, that any like did vse,
And who with gracious bread the hungry feeds,
His almes for want of faith he doth accuse;
So euery good to bad he doth abuse:
And eke the verse of famous Poets witt
He does backebite, and spightfull poison spues
From leprous mouth on all, that euer writt:
Such one vile Enuie was, that first in row did sitt.
And him beside rides fierce reuenging VVrath,
Vpon a Lion, loth for to be led;
And in his hand a burning brond he hath,
The which he brandisheth about his hed;
His eyes did hurle forth sparkles fiery red,
And stared sterne on all, that him beheld,
As ashes pale of hew and seeming ded;
And on his dagger still his hand he held,
Trembling through hasty rage, whē choler in him sweld.
His ruffin raiment all was staind with blood,
Which he had spilt, and all to rags yrent,
Through vnaduized rashnesse woxen wood;
For of his hands he had no gouernement,
Ne car'd for bloud in his auengement:
But when the furious fit was ouerpast,
His cruell facts he often would repent;
Yet wilfull man he neuer would forecast,
How many mischieues should ensue his heedlesse hast.
Full many mischiefes follow cruell VVrath;
Abhorred bloudshed, and tumultuous strife,
Vnmanly murder, and vnthrifty scath,
Bitter despight, with rancours rusty knife,
And fretting griefe the enemy of life;
All these, and many euils moe haunt ire,
The swelling Splene, and Frenzy raging rife,
The shaking Palsey, and Saint Fraunces fire:
Such one was VVrath, the last of this vngodly tire.
And after all, vpon the wagon beame
Rode Sathan, with a smarting whip in hand,
With which he forward lasht the laesie teme,
So oft as Slowth still in the mire did stand.
Huge routs of people did about them band,
Showting for ioy, and still before their way
A foggy mist had couered all the land;
And vnderneath their feet, all scattered lay
Dead sculs & bones of men, whose life had gone astray.
So forth they marchen in this goodly sort,
To take the solace of the open aire,
And in fresh flowring fields themselues to sport;
Emongst the rest rode that false Lady faire,
The fowle Duessa, next vnto the chaire
Of proud Lucifera, as one of the traine:
But that good knight would not so nigh repaire,
Him selfe estraunging from their ioyaunce vaine,
Whose fellowship seemd far vnfit for warlike swaine.
So hauing solaced themselues a space
With pleasaunce of the breathing fields yfed,
They backe returned to the Princely Place;
Whereas an errant knight in armes ycled,
[Page 56]And heathnish shield, wherein with letters red
Was writ Sans ioy, they new arriued find:
Enflam'd with fury and fiers hardy-hed,
He seemd in hart to harbour thoughts vnkind,
And nourish bloudy vengeaunce in his bitter mind.
Who when the shamed shield of slaine Sans foy
He spide with that same Faery champions page,
Bewraying him, that did of late destroy
His eldest brother, burning all with rage
He to him leapt, and that same enuious gage
Of victors glory from him snatcht away:
But th' Elfin knight, which ought that warlike wage,
Disdaind to loose the meed he wonne in fray,
And him rencountring fierce, reskewd the noble pray.
Therewith they gan to hurtlen greedily,
Redoubted battaile ready to darrayne,
And clash their shields, and shake their swords on hy,
That with their sturre they troubled all the traine;
Till that great Queene vpon eternall paine
Of high displeasure, that ensewen might,
Commaunded them their fury to refraine,
And if that either to that shield had right,
In equall lists they should the morrow next it fight.
Ah dearest Dame, (quoth then the Paynim bold,)
Pardon the errour of enraged wight,
Whom great griefe made forget the raines to hold
Of reasons rule, to see this recreant knight,
No knight, but treachour full of false despight
And shamefull treason, who through guile hath slayn
The prowest knight, that euer field did fight,
Euen stout Sans foy (O who can then refrayn?)
Whose shield he beares renuerst, the more to heape dis­dayn.
And to augment the glorie of his guile,
His dearest loue the faire Fidessa loe
Is there possessed of the traytour vile,
Who reapes the haruest sowen by his foe,
Sowen in bloudy field, and bought with woe:
That brothers hand shall dearely well requight
So be, ô Queene, you equall fauour showe.
Him litle answerd th'angry Elfin knight;
He neuer meant with words, but swords to plead his right.
But threw his gauntlet as a sacred pledge,
His cause in combat the next day to try:
So been they parted both, with harts on edge,
To be aueng'd each on his enimy.
That night they pas in ioy and iollity,
Feasting and courting both in bowre and hall;
For Steward was excessiue Gluttonie,
That of his plenty poured forth to all;
Which doen, the Chamberlain Slowth did to rest them call.
Now whenas darkesome night had all displayd
Her coleblacke curtein ouer brightest skye,
The warlike youthes on dayntie couches layd,
Did chace away sweet sleepe from sluggish eye,
To muse on meanes of hoped victory.
But whenas Morpheus had with leaden mace
Arrested all that courtly company,
Vp-rose Duessa from her resting place,
And to the Paynims lodging comes with silent pace.
Whom broad awake she finds, in troublous fit,
Forecasting, how his foe he might annoy,
And him amoues with speaches seeming fit:
Ah deare Sans ioy, next dearest to Sans foy,
[Page 58]Cause of my new griefe, cause of new ioy,
Ioyous, to see his ymage in mine eye,
And greeu'd, to thinke how foe did him destroy,
That was the flowre of grace and cheualrye;
Lo his Fidessa to thy secret faith I flye.
With gentle wordes he can her fairely greet,
And bad say on the secret of her hart.
Then sighing soft, I learne that litle sweet
Oft tempred is (quoth she) with muchell smart:
For since my brest was launcht with louely dart
Of deare Sansfoy, I neuer ioyed howre,
But in eternall woes my weaker hart
Haue wasted, louing him with all my powre,
And for his sake haue felt full many an heauie stowre.
At last when perils all I weened past,
And hop'd to reape the crop of all my care,
Into new woes vnweeting I was cast,
By this false faytor, who vnworthy ware
His worthy shield, whom he with guilefull snare
Entrapped slew, and brought to shamefull graue.
Me silly maid away with him he bare,
And euer since hath kept in darksome caue,
For that I would not yeeld, that to Sans-foy I gaue.
But since faire Sunne hath sperst that lowring clowd,
And to my loathed life now shewes some light,
Vnder your beames I will me safely shrowd,
From dreaded storme of his disdainfull spight:
To you th'inheritance belongs by right
Of brothers prayse, to you eke longs his loue.
Let not his loue, let not his restlesse spright
Be vnreueng'd, that calles to you aboue
From wandring Stygian shores, where it doth endlesse moue.
Thereto said he, faire Dame be nought dismaid
For sorrowes past; their griefe is with them gone:
Ne yet of present perill be affraid,
For needlesse feare did neuer vantage none,
And helplesse hap it booteth not to mone.
Dead is Sans foy, his vitall paines are past,
Though greeued ghost for vengeance deepe do grone:
He liues, that shall him pay his dewties last,
And guiltie Elsin bloud shall sacrifice in hast.
O but I feare the fickle freakes (quoth shee)
Of fortune false, and oddes of armes in field.
Why dame (quoth he) what oddes can euer bee,
Where both do fight alike, to win or yield?
Yea but (quoth she) he beares a charmed shield,
And eke enchaunted armes, that none can perce,
Ne none can wound the man, that does them wield.
Charmd or enchaunted (answerd he then ferce)
I no whit reck, ne you the like need to reherce.
But faire Fidessa, sithens fortunes guile,
Or enimies powre hath now captiued you,
Returne from whence ye came, and rest a while
Till morrow next, that I the Elfe subdew,
And with Sans-foyes dead dowry you endew.
Ay me, that is a double death (she said)
With proud foes sight my sorrow to renew:
Where euer yet I be, my secret aid
Shall follow you. So passing forth she him obaid.

Cant. V.

The faithfull knight in equall field
subdewes his faithlesse foe.
Whom false Duessa saues, and for
his cure to hell does goe.
THe noble hart, that harbours vertuous thought,
And is with child of glorious great intent,
Can neuer rest, vntill it forth haue brought
Th'eternall brood of glorie excellent:
Such restlesse passion did all night torment
The flaming corage of that Faery knight,
Deuizing, how that doughtie turnament
With greatest honour he atchieuen might;
Still did wake, and still did watch for dawning light.
At last the golden Orientall gate,
Of greatest heauen gan to open faire,
And Phoebus fresh, as bridegrome to his mate,
Came dauncing forth, shaking his deawie haire:
And hurls his glistring beames through gloomy aire
Which when the wakeful Elfe perceiu'd, streight way[?]
He started vp, and did him selfe prepaire,
In sun-bright armes, and battailous array:
For with that Pagan proud he combat will that day.
And forth he comes into the commune hall,
Where earely waite him many a gazing eye,
To weet what end to straunger knights may fall.
There many Minstrales maken melody,
[Page 61]To driue away the dull melancholy,
And many Bardes, that to the trembling chord
Can tune their timely voyces cunningly,
And many Chroniclers, that can record
Old loues, and warres for Ladies doen by many a Lord.
Soone after comes the cruell Sarazin,
In wouen maile all armed warily,
And sternly lookes at him, who not a pin
Does care for looke of liuing creatures eye.
They bring them wines of Greece and Araby,
And daintie spices fetcht from furthest Ynd,
To kindle heat of corage priuily:
And in the wine a solemne oth they bynd
T'obserue the sacred lawes of armes, that are assynd.
At last forth comes that far renowmed Queene,
With royall pomp and Princely maiestie;
She is ybrought vnto a paled greene,
And placed vnder stately canapee,
The warlike feates of both those knights to see.
On th'other side in all mens open vew
Duessa placed is, and on a tree
Sans-foy his shield is hangd with bloudy hew:
Both those the lawrell girlonds to the victor dew.
A shrilling trompet sownded from on hye,
And vnto battaill bad them selues addresse:
Their shining shieldes about their wrestes they tye,
And burning blades about their heads do blesse,
The instruments of wrath and heauinesse:
With greedy force each other doth assayle,
And strike so fiercely, that they do impresse
Deepe dinted furrowes in the battred mayle;
The yron walles to ward their blowes are weake & fraile.
The Sarazin was stout, and wondrous strong,
And heaped blowes like yron hammers great:
For after bloud and vengeance he did long.
The knight was fiers, and full of youthly heat:
And doubled strokes, like dreaded thunders threat:
For all for prayse and honour he did fight.
Both stricken strike, and beaten both do beat,
That from their shields forth flyeth firie light,
And helmets hewen deepe, shew marks of eithers might▪
So th'one for wrong, the other striues for right:
As when a Gryfon seized of his pray,
A Dragon fiers encountreth in his flight,
Through widest ayre making his ydle way,
That would his rightfull rauine rend away:
With hideous horrour both together smight,
And souce so sore, that they the heauens affray:
The wise Southsayer seeing so sad sight,
Th'amazed vulgar tels of warres and mortall fight.
So th'one for wrong, the other striues for right,
And each to deadly shame would driue his foe:
The cruell steele so greedily doth bight
In tender flesh, that streames of bloud down flow,
With which the armes, that earst so bright did show
Into a pure vermillion now are dyde:
Great ruth in all the gazers harts did grow,
Seeing the gored woundes to gape so wyde,
That victory they dare not wish to either side.
At last the Paynim chaunst to cast his eye,
His suddein eye, flaming with wrathfull fyre,
Vpon his brothers shield, which hong thereby:
Therewith redoubled was his raging yre,
[Page 63]And said, Ah wretched sonne of wofull syre,
Doest thou sit wayling by black Stygian lake,
Whilest here thy shield is hangd for victors hyre,
And sluggish german doest thy forces slake,
To after-send his foe, that him may ouertake?
Goe caytiue Elfe, him quickly ouertake,
And soone redeeme from his long wandring woe;
Goe guiltie ghost, to him my message make,
That I his shield haue quit from dying foe.
Therewith vpon his crest he stroke him so,
That twise he reeled, readie twise to fall;
End of the doubtfull battell deemed tho
The lookers on, and lowd to him gan call
The false Duessa, Thine the shield, and I, and all.
Soone as the Faerie heard his Ladie speake,
Out of his swowning dreame he gan awake,
And quickning faith, that earst was woxen weake,
The creeping deadly cold away did shake:
Tho mou'd with wrath, and shame, and Ladies sake,
Of all attonce he cast auengd to bee,
And with so'exceeding furie at him strake,
That forced him to stoupe vpon his knee;
Had he not stouped so, he should haue clouen bee.
And to him said, Goe now proud Miscreant,
Thy selfe thy message doe to german deare,
Alone he wandring thee too long doth want:
Goe say, his foe thy shield with his doth beare.
Therewith his heauie hand he high gan reare,
Him to haue slaine; when loe a darkesome clowd
Vpon him fell: he no where doth appeare,
But vanisht is. The Elfe him cals alowd,
But answer none receiues: the darknes him does shrowd.
In haste Duessa from her place arose,
And to him running said, O prowest knight,
That euer Ladie to her loue did chose,
Let now abate the terror of your might,
And quench the flame of furious despight,
And bloudie vengeance; lo th'infernall powres
Couering your foe with cloud of deadly night,
Haue borne him hence to Plutoes balefull bowres.
The conquest yours, I yours, the shield, and glory yours.
Not all so satisfide, with greedie eye
He sought all round about, his thirstie blade
To bath in bloud of faithlesse enemy;
Who all that while lay hid in secret shade:
He standes amazed, how he thence should fade.
At last the trumpets, Triumph sound on hie,
And running Heralds humble homage made,
Greeting him goodly with new victorie,
And to him brought the shield, the cause of enmitie.
Wherewith he goeth to that soueraine Queene,
And falling her before on lowly knee,
To her makes present of his seruice seene:
Which she accepts, with thankes, and goodly gree,
Greatly aduauncing his gay cheualree.
So marcheth home, and by her takes the knight,
Whom all the people follow with great glee,
Shouting, and clapping all their hands on hight,
That all the aire it fils, and flyes to heauen bright.
Home is he brought, and laid in sumptuous bed:
Where many skilfull leaches him abide,
To salue his hurts, that yet still freshly bled.
In wine and oyle they wash his woundes wide,
[Page 65]And softly can embalme on euery side.
And all the while, most heauenly melody
About the bed sweet musicke did diuide,
Him to beguile of griefe and agony:
And all the while Duessa wept full bitterly.
As when a wearie traueller that strayes
By muddy shore of broad seuen-mouthed Nile,
Vnweeting of the perillous wandring wayes,
Doth meet a cruell craftie Crocodile,
Which in false griefe hyding his harmefull guile,
Doth weepe full sore, and sheddeth tender teares:
The foolish man, that pitties all this while
His mournefull plight, is swallowd vp vnwares,
Forgetfull of his owne, that mindes anothers cares.
So wept Duessa vntill euentide,
That shyning lampes in Ioues high house were light:
Then forth she rose, ne lenger would abide,
But comes vnto the place, where th'Hethen knight
In slombring swownd nigh voyd of vitall spright,
Lay couer'd with inchaunted cloud all day:
Whom when she found, as she him left in plight,
To wayle his woefull case she would not stay,
But to the easterne coast of heauen makes speedy way.
Where griesly Night, with visage deadly sad,
That Phoebus chearefull face durst neuer vew,
And in a foule blacke pitchie mantle clad,
She findes forth comming from her darkesome mew,
Where she all day did hide her hated hew.
Before the dore her yron charet stood,
Alreadie harnessed for iourney new;
And coleblacke steedes yborne of hellish brood,
That on their rustie bits did champ, as they were wood.
Who when she saw Duessa sunny bright,
Adornd with gold and iewels shining cleare,
She greatly grew amazed at the sight,
And th'vnacquainted light began to feare:
For neuer did such brightnesse there appeare,
And would haue backe retyred to her caue,
Vntill the witches speech she gan to heare,
Saying, yet ô thou dreaded Dame, I craue
Abide, till I haue told the message, which I haue.
She stayd, and foorth Duessa gan proceede,
O thou most auncient Grandmother of all,
More old then Ioue, whom thou at first didst breede,
Or that great house of Gods caelestiall,
Which wast begot in Daemogorgons hall,
And sawst the secrets of the world vnmade,
Why suffredst thou thy Nephewes deare to fall
With Elfin sword, most shamefully betrade?
Lo where the stout Sansioy doth sleepe in deadly shade.
And him before, I saw with bitter eyes
The bold Sansfoy shrinke vnderneath his speare;
And now the pray of fowles in field he lyes,
Nor wayld of friends, nor laid on groning beare,
That whylome was to me too dearely deare.
O what of Gods then boots it to be borne,
If old Aveugles sonnes so euill heare?
Or who shall not great Nightes children scorne,
When two of three her Nephews are so fowle forlorne?
Vp then, vp dreary Dame, of darknesse Queene,
Go gather vp the reliques of thy race,
Or else goe them auenge, and let be seene,
That dreaded Night in brightest day hath place,
[Page 67]And can the children of faire light deface.
Her feeling speeches some compassion moued
In hart, and chaunge in that great mothers face:
Yet pittie in her hart was neuer proued
Till then: and euermore she hated, neuer loued.
And said, Deare daughter rightly may I rew
The fall of famous children borne of mee,
And good successes, which their foes ensew:
But who can turne the streame of destinee,
Or breake the chayne of strong necessitee,
Which fast is tyde to Ioues eternall seat?
The sonnes of Day he fauoureth, I see,
And by my ruines thinkes to make them great:
To make one great by others losse, is bad excheat.
Yet shall they not escape so freely all;
For some shall pay the price of others guilt:
And he the man that made Sansfoy to fall,
Shall with his owne bloud price that he hath spilt.
But what art thou, that telst of Nephews kilt?
I that do seeme not I, Duessa am,
(Quoth she) how euer now in garments gilt,
And gorgeous gold arayd I to thee came;
Duessa I, the daughter of Deceipt and Shame.
Then bowing downe her aged backe, she kist
The wicked witch, saying; In that faire face
The false resemblance of Deceipt, I wist
Did closely lurke; yet so true-seeming grace
It carried, that I scarse in darkesome place
Could it discerne, though I the mother bee
Of falshood, and root of Duessaes race.
O welcome child, whom I haue longd to see,
And now haue seene vnwares. Lo now I go with thee.
Then to her yron wagon she betakes,
And with her beares the fowle welfauourd witch:
Through mirkesome aire her readie way she makes.
Her twyfold Teme, of which two blacke as pitch,
And two were browne, yet each to each vnlich,
Did softly swim away, ne euer stampe,
Vnlesse she chaūst their stubborne mouths to twitch;
Then foming tarre, their bridles they would champe,
And trampling the fine element, would fiercely rampe.
So well they sped, that they become at length
Vnto the place, whereas the Paynim lay,
Deuoid of outward sense, and natiue strength,
Couerd with charmed cloud from vew of day,
And sight of men, since his late luckelesse fray.
His cruell wounds with cruddy bloud congealed,
They binden vp so wisely, as they may,
And handle softly, till they can be healed:
So lay him in her charet, close in night concealed.
And all the while she stood vpon the ground,
The wakefull dogs did neuer cease to bay,
As giuing warning of th'vnwonted sound,
With which her yron wheeles did them affray,
And her darke griesly looke them much dismay;
The messenger of death, the ghastly Owle
With drearie shriekes did also her bewray;
And hungry Wolues continually did howle,
At her abhorred face, so filtey and so fowle.
Thence turning backe in silence soft they stole,
And brought the heauie corse with easie pace
To yawning gulfe of deepe Auernus hole.
By that same hole an entrance darke and bace
[Page 69]With smoake and sulphure hiding all the place,
Descends to hell: there creature neuer past,
That backe returned without heauenly grace;
But dreadfull Furies, which their chaines haue brast,
And damned sprights sent forth to make ill men aghast.
By that same way the direfull dames doe driue
Their mournefull charet, fild with rusty blood,
And downe to Plutoes house are come biliue:
Which passing through, on euery side them stood
The trembling ghosts with sad amazed mood,
Chattring their yron teeth, and staring wide
With stonie eyes; and all the hellish brood
Of feends infernall flockt on euery side,
To gaze on earthly wight, that with the Night durst ride.
They pas the bitter waues of Acheron,
Where many soules sit wailing woefully,
And come to fiery flood of Phlegeton,
Whereas the damned ghosts in torments fry,
And with sharpe shrilling shriekes doe bootlesse cry,
Cursing high Ioue, the which them thither sent.
The house of endlesse paine is built thereby,
In which ten thousand sorts of punishment
The cursed creatures doe eternally torment.
Before the threshold dreadfull Cerberus
His three deformed heads did lay along,
Curled with thousand adders venemous,
And lilled forth his bloudie flaming tong:
At them he gan to reare his bristles strong,
And felly gnarre, vntill dayes enemy
Did him appease; then downe his taile he hong
And suffered them to passen quietly:
For she in hell and heauen had power equally.
There was Ixion turned on a wheele,
For daring tempt the Queene of heauen to sin;
And Sisyphus an huge round stone did reele
Against an hill, ne might from labour lin;
There thirstie Tantalus hong by the chin;
And Tityus fed a vulture on his maw;
Typhoeus ioynts were stretched on a gin,
Theseus condemned to endlesse slouth by law,
And fifty sisters water in leake vessels draw.
They all beholding worldly wights in place,
Leaue off their worke, vnmindfull of their smart,
To gaze on them; who forth by them doe pace,
Till they be come vnto the furthest part:
Where was a Caue ywrought by wondrous art,
Deepe, darke, vneasie, dolefull, comfortlesse,
In which sad Aesculapius farre a part
Emprisond was in chaines remedilesse,
For that Hippolytus rent corse he did redresse.
Hippolytus a iolly huntsman was,
That wont in charet chace the foming Bore;
He all his Peeres in beautie did surpas,
But Ladies loue as losse of time forbore:
His wanton stepdame loued him the more,
But when she saw her offred sweets refused
Her loue she turnd to hate, and him before
His father fierce of treason false accused,
And with her gealous termes his open eares abused.
Who all in rage his Sea-god fyre besought,
Some cursed vengeance on his sonne to cast:
Frō surging gulf two monsters straight were brought,
With dread whereof his chasing steedes aghast,
[Page 71]Both charet swift and huntsman ouercast.
His goodly corps on ragged clifts yrent,
Was quite dismembred, and his members chast
Scattered on euery mountaine, as he went,
That of Hippolytus was left no moniment.
His cruell stepdame seeing what was donne,
Her wicked dayes with wretched knife did end,
In death auowing th'innocence of her sonne.
Which hearing his rash Syre, began to rend
His haire, and hastie tongue, that did offend:
Tho gathering vp the relicks of his smart
By Dianes meanes, who was Hippolyts frend,
Them brought to Aesculape, that by his art
Did heale them all againe, and ioyned euery part.
Such wondrous science in mans wit to raine
When Ioue auizd, that could the dead reuiue,
And fates expired could renew againe,
Of endlesse life he might him not depriue,
But vnto hell did thrust him downe aliue,
With flashing thunderbolt ywounded sore:
Where long remaining, he did alwaies striue
Himselfe with salues to health for to restore,
And slake the heauenly fire, that raged euermore.
There auncient Night arriuing, did alight
From her high wearie waine, and in her armes
To Aesculapius brought the wounded knight:
Whom hauing softly disarayd of armes,
Tho gan to him discouer all his harmes,
Beseeching him with prayer, and with praise,
If either salues, or oyles, or herbes, or charmes
A fordonne wight from dore of death mote raise,
He would at her request prolong her nephews daies.
Ah Dame (quoth he) thou temptest me in vaine,
To dare the thing, which daily yet I rew,
And the old cause of my continued paine
With like attempt to like end to renew.
Is not enough, that thrust from heauen dew
Here endlesse penance for one fault I pay,
But that redoubled crime with vengeance new
Thou biddest me to eeke? Can Night defray
The wrath of thundring Ioue, that rules both night and day?
Not so (quoth she) but sith that heauens king
From hope of heauen hath thee excluded quight,
Why fearest thou, that canst not hope for thing,
And fearest not, that more thee hurten might,
Now in the powre of euerlasting Night?
Goe to then, ô thou farre renowmed sonne
Of great Apollo, shew thy famous might
In medicine, that else hath to thee wonne
Great paines, & greater praise, both neuer to be donne.
Her words preuaild: And then the learned leach
His cunning hand gan to his wounds to lay,
And all things else, the which his art did teach:
Which hauing seene, from thence arose away
The mother of dread darknesse, and let stay
Aueugles sonne there in the leaches cure,
And backe returning tooke her wonted way,
To runne her timely race, whilst Phoebus pure
In westerne waues his wearie wagon did recure.
The false Duessa leauing noyous Night,
Returnd to stately pallace of dame Pride;
Where when she came, she found the Faery knight
Departed thence, albe his woundes wide
[Page 73]Not throughly heald, vnreadie were to ride.
Good cause he had to hasten thence away;
For on a day his wary Dwarfe had spide,
Where in a dongeon deepe huge numbers lay
Of caytiue wretched thrals, that wayled night and day.
A ruefull sight, as could be seene with eie;
Of whom he learned had in secret wise
The hidden cause of their captiuitie,
How mortgaging their liues to Couetise,
Through wastfull Pride, and wanton Riotise,
They were by law of that proud Tyrannesse
Prouokt with VVrath, and Enuies false surmise,
Condemned to that Dongeon mercilesse,
Where they should liue in woe, & die in wretchednesse.
There was that great proud king of Babylon,
That would compell all nations to adore,
And him as onely God to call vpon,
Till through celestiall doome throwne out of dore,
Into an Oxe he was transform'd of yore:
There also was king Craesus, that enhaunst
His heart too high through his great riches store;
And proud Antiochus, the which aduaunst
His cursed hand gainst God, and on his altars daunst.
And them long time before, great Nimrod was,
That first the world with sword and fire warrayd;
And after him old Ninus farre did pas
In princely pompe, of all the world obayd;
There also was that mightie Monarch layd
Low vnder all, yet aboue all in pride,
That name of natiue syre did fowle vpbrayd,
And would as Ammons sonne be magnifide,
Till scornd of God and man a shamefull death he dide.
All these together in one heape were throwne,
Like carkases of beasts in butchers stall.
And in another corner wide were strowne
The antique ruines of the Romaines fall:
Great Romulus the Grandsyre of them all,
Proud Tarquin, and too lordly Lentulus,
Stout Scipio, and stubborne Hanniball,
Ambitious Sylla, and sterne Marius,
High Caesar, great Pompey, and fierce Antonius.
Amongst these mighty men were wemen mixt,
Proud wemen, vaine, forgetfull of their yoke:
The bold Semiramis, whose sides transfixt
With sonnes owne blade, her fowle reproches spoke;
Faire Sthenoboea, that her selfe did choke
With wilfull cord, for wanting of her will;
High minded Cleopatra, that with stroke
Of Aspes sting her selfe did stoutly kill:
And thousands moe the like, that did that dongeon fill.
Besides the endlesse routs of wretched thralles,
Which thither were assembled day by day,
From all the world after their wofull falles,
Through wicked pride, and wasted wealthes decay.
But most of all, which in the Dongeon lay
Fell from high Princes courts, or Ladies bowres,
Where they in idle pompe, or wanton play,
Consumed had their goods, and thriftlesse howres,
And lastly throwne themselues into these heauy stowres.
Whose case when as the carefull Dwarfe had tould,
And made ensample of their mournefull sight
Vnto his maister, he no lenger would
There dwell in perill of like painefull plight,
[Page 75]But early rose, and ere that dawning light
Discouered had the world to heauen wyde,
He by a priuie Posterne tooke his flight,
That of no enuious eyes he mote be spyde:
For doubtlesse death ensewd, if any him descryde.
Scarse could he footing find in that fowle way,
For many corses, like a great Lay-stall
Of murdred men which therein strowed lay,
Without remorse, or decent funerall:
Which all through that great Princesse pride did fall
And came to shamefull end. And them beside
Forth ryding vnderneath the castell wall,
A donghill of dead carkases he spide,
The dreadfull spectacle of that sad house of Pride.

Cant. VI.

From lawlesse lust by wondrous grace
fayre Ʋna is releast:
Whom saluage nation does adore,
and learnes her wise beheast.
AS when a ship, that flyes faire vnder saile,
An hidden rocke escaped hath vnwares,
That lay in waite her wrack for to bewaile,
The Marriner yet halfe amazed stares
At perill past, and yet it doubt ne dares
To ioy at his foole-happie ouersight:
So doubly is distrest twixt ioy and cares
The dreadlesse courage of this Elfin knight,
Hauing escapt so sad ensamples in his sight.
Yet sad he was that his too hastie speed
The faire Duess' had forst him leaue behind;
And yet more sad, that Vna his deare dreed
Her truth had staind with treason so vnkind;
Yet crime in her could neuer creature find,
But for his loue, and for her owne selfe sake,
She wandred had from one to other Ynd,
Him for to seeke, ne euer would forsake,
Till her vnwares the fierce Sansloy did ouertake.
Who after Archimagoes fowle defeat,
Led her away into a forrest wilde,
And turning wrathfull fire to lustfull heat,
With beastly sin thought her to haue defilde,
And made the vassall of his pleasures vilde.
Yet first he cast by treatie, and by traynes,
Her to perswade, that stubborne fort to yilde:
For greater conquest of hard loue he gaynes,
That workes it to his will, then he that it constraines.
With fawning wordes he courted her a while,
And looking louely, and oft sighing sore,
Her constant hart did tempt with diuerse guile:
But wordes and lookes, and sighes she did abhore,
As rocke of Diamond stedfast euermore.
Yet for to feed his fyrie lustfull eye,
He snatcht the vele, that hong her face before;
Then gan her beautie shine, as brightest skye,
And burnt his beastly hart t'efforce her chastitye.
So when he saw his flatt'ring arts to fayle,
And subtile engines bet from batteree,
With greedy force he gan the fort assayle,
Whereof he weend possessed soone to bee,
[Page 77]And with rich spoile of ransackt chastetee.
Ah heauens, that do this hideous act behold,
And heauenly virgin thus outraged see,
How can ye vengeance iust so long withhold,
And hurle not flashing flames vpon that Paynim bold?
The pitteous maiden carefull comfortlesse,
Does throw out thrilling shriekes, & shrieking cryes,
The last vaine helpe of womens great distresse,
And with loud plaints importuneth the skyes,
That molten starres do drop like weeping eyes;
And Phoebus flying so most shamefull sight,
His blushing face in foggy cloud implyes,
And hides for shame. What wit of mortall wight
Can now deuise to quit a thrall from such a plight?
Eternall prouidence exceeding thought,
Where none appeares can make her selfe a way:
A wondrous way it for this Lady wrought,
From Lyons clawes to pluck the griped pray.
Her shrill outcryes and shriekes so loud did bray,
That all the woodes and forestes did resownd;
A troupe of Faunes and Satyres far away
Within the wood were dauncing in a rownd,
Whiles old Syluanus slept in shady arber sownd.
Who when they heard that pitteous strained voice,
In hast forsooke their rurall meriment,
And ran towards the far rebownded noyce,
To weet, what wight so loudly did lament.
Vnto the place they come incontinent:
Whom when the raging Sarazin espide,
A rude, mishapen, monstrous rablement,
Whose like he neuer saw, he durst not bide,
But got his ready steed, and fast away gan ride.
The wyld woodgods arriued in the place,
There find the virgin dolefull desolate,
With ruffled rayments, and faire blubbred face,
As her outrageous foe had left her late,
And trembling yet through feare of former hate;
All stand amazed at so vncouth sight,
And gin to pittie her vnhappie state,
All stand astonied at her beautie bright,
In their rude eyes vnworthie of so wofull plight.
She more amaz'd, in double dread doth dwell;
And euery tender part for feare does shake:
As when a greedie Wolfe through hunger fell
A seely Lambe farre from the flocke does take,
Of whom he meanes his bloudie feast to make,
A Lyon spyes fast running towards him,
The innocent pray in hast he does forsake,
Which quit from death yet quakes in euery lim
With chaunge of feare, to see the Lyon looke so grim.
Such fearefull fit assaid her trembling hart,
Ne word to speake, ne ioynt to moue she had:
The saluage nation feele her secret smart,
And read her sorrow in her count'nance sad;
Their frowning forheads with rough hornes yclad,
And rusticke horror all a side doe lay,
And gently grenning, shew a semblance glad
To comfort her, and feare to put away,
Their backward bent knees teach her humbly to obay.
The doubtfull Damzell dare not yet commit
Her single person to their barbarous truth,
But still twixt feare and hope amazd does sit,
Late learnd what harme to hastie trust ensu'th,
[Page 81]They in compassion of her tender youth,
And wonder of her beautie soueraine,
Are wonne with pitty and vnwonted ruth,
And all prostrate vpon the lowly plaine,
Do kisse her feete, and fawne on her with count'nance faine.
Their harts she ghesseth by their humble guise,
And yieldes her to extremitie of time;
So from the ground she fearelesse doth arise,
And walketh forth without suspect of crime:
They all as glad, as birdes of ioyous Prime,
Thence lead her forth, about her dauncing round,
Shouting, and singing all a shepheards ryme,
And with greene braunches strowing all the ground,
Do worship her, as Queene, with oliue girlond cround.
And all the way their merry pipes they sound,
That all the woods with doubled Eccho ring,
And with their horned feet do weare the ground,
Leaping like wanton kids in pleasant Spring.
So towards old Syluanus they her bring;
Who with the noyse awaked, commeth out,
To weet the cause, his weake steps gouerning,
And aged limbs on Cypresse stadle stout,
And with an yuie twyne his wast is girt about.
Far off he wonders, what them makes so glad,
Of Bacchus merry fruit they did inuent,
Or Cybeles franticke rites haue made them mad;
They drawing nigh, vnto their God present
That flowre of faith and beautie excellent.
The God himselfe vewing that mirrhour rare,
Stood long amazd, and burnt in his intent;
His owne faire Dryope now he thinkes not faire,
And Pholoe fowle, when her to this he doth compaire.
The woodborne people fall before her flat,
And worship her as Goddesse of the wood;
And old Syluanus selfe bethinkes not, what
To thinke of wight so faire, but gazing stood,
In doubt to deeme her borne of earthly brood;
Sometimes Dame Venus selfe he seemes to see,
But Venus neuer had so sober mood;
Sometimes Diana he her takes to bee,
But misseth bow, and shaftes, and buskins to her knee.
By vew of her he ginneth to reuiue
His ancient loue, and dearest Cyparisse,
And calles to mind his pourtraiture aliue,
How faire he was, and yet not faire to this,
And how he slew with glauncing dart amisse
A gentle Hynd, the which the louely boy
Did loue as life, aboue all worldly blisse;
For griefe whereof the lad n'ould after joy,
But pynd away in anguish and selfe-wild annoy.
The wooddy Nymphes, faire Hamadryades
Her to behold do thither runne apace,
And all the troupe of light-foot Naiades,
Flocke all about to see her louely face:
But when they vewed haue her heauenly grace,
They enuie her in their malitious mind,
And fly away for feare of fowle disgrace:
But all the Satyres scorne their woody kind,
And henceforth nothing faire, but her on earth they find.
Glad of such lucke, the luckelesse lucky maid,
Did her content to please their feeble eyes,
And long time with that saluage people staid,
To gather breath in many miseries.
[Page 83]During which time her gentle wit she plyes,
To teach them truth, which worshipt her in vaine,
And made her th'Image of Idoiatryes;
But when their bootlesse zeale she did restraine
Frō her own worship, they her Asse would worship fayn.
It fortuned a noble warlike knight
By iust occasion to that forrest came,
To seeke his kindred, and the lignage right,
From whence he tooke his well deserued name:
He had in armes abroad wonne muchell same,
And fild far landes with glorie of his might,
Plaine, faithfull, true, and enimy of shame,
And euer lou'd to fight for Ladies right,
But in vaine glorious frayes he litle did delight.
A Satyres sonne yborne in forrest wyld,
By straunge aduenture as it did betyde,
And there begotten of a Lady myld,
Faire Thyamis the daughter of Labryde,
That was in sacred bands of wedlocke tyde
To Therion, a loose vnruly swayne;
Who had more ioy to raunge the forrest wyde,
And chase the saluage beast with busie payne,
Then serue his Ladies loue, and wast in pleasures vayne.
The forlorne mayd did with loues longing burne,
And could not lacke her louers company,
But to the wood she goes, to serue her turne,
And seeke her spouse, that from her still does fly,
And followes other game and venery:
A Satyre chaunst her wandring for to find,
And kindling coles of lustin brutish eye,
The loyall links of wedlocke did vnbind,
And made her person thrall vnto his beastly kind.
So long in secret cabin there he held
Her captiue to his sensuall desire,
Till that with timely fruit her belly sweld,
And bore a boy vnto that saluage fire:
Then home he suffred her for to retire,
For ransome leauing him the late borne childe;
Whom till to ryper yeares he gan aspire,
He noursled vp in life and manners wilde,
Emongst wild beasts and woods, from lawes of men exilde.
For all he taught the tender ymp, was but
To banish cowardize and bastard feare;
His trembling hand he would him force to put
Vpon the Lyon and the rugged Beare,
And from the she Beares teats her whelps to teare;
And eke wyld roring Buls he would him make
To tame, and ryde their backes not made to beare;
And the Robuckes in flight to ouertake,
That euery beast for feare of him did fly and quake.
Thereby so fearelesse, and so fell he grew,
That his owne sire and maister of his guise
Did often tremble at his horrid vew,
And oft for dread of hurt would him aduise,
The angry beasts not rashly to despise,
Nor too much to prouoke; for he would learne
The Lyon stoup to him in lowly wise,
(A lesson hard) and make the Libbard sterne
Leaue roaring, when in rage he for reuenge did earne.
And for to make his powre approued more,
Wyld beasts in yron yokes he would compell;
The spotted Panther, and the tusked Bore,
The Pardale swift, and the Tigre cruell;
[Page 85]The Antelope, and Wolfe both fierce and fell;
And them constraine in equall teme to draw.
Such ioy he had, their stubborne harts to quell,
And sturdie courage tame with dreadfull aw,
That his beheast they feared, as tyrans law.
His louing mother came vpon a day
Vnto the woods, to see her little sonne;
And chaunst vnwares to meet him in the way,
After his sportes, and cruell pastime donne,
When after him a Lyonesse did runne,
That roaring all with rage, did lowd requere
Her children deare, whom he away had wonne:
The Lyon whelpes she saw how he did beare,
And lull in rugged armes, withouten childish feare.
The fearefull Dame all quaked at the sight,
And turning backe, gan fast to fly away,
Vntill with loue reuokt from vaine affright,
She hardly yet perswaded was to stay,
And then to him these womanish words gan say;
Ah Satyrane, my dearling, and my ioy,
For loue of me leaue off this dreadfull play;
To dally thus with death, is no fit toy,
Go find some other play-fellowes, mine own sweet boy.
In these and like delights of bloudy game
He trayned was, till ryper yeares he raught,
And there abode, whilst any beast of name
Walkt in that forest, whom he had not taught
To feare his force: and then his courage haught
Desird of forreine foemen to be knowne,
And far abroad for straunge aduentures sought:
In which his might was neuer ouerthrowne,
But through all Faery lond his famous worth was blown.
Yet euermore it was his manner faire,
After long labours and aduentures spent,
Vnto those natiue woods for to repaire,
To see his fire and ofspring auncient.
And now he thither came for like intent;
Where he vnwares the fairest Vna found,
Straunge Lady, in so straunge habiliment,
Teaching the Satyres, which her sat around,
Trew sacred lore, which from her sweet lips did redound
He wondred at her wisedome heauenly rare,
Whose like in womens wit he neuer knew;
And when her curteous deeds he did compare,
Gan her admire, and her sad sorrowes rew,
Blaming of Fortune, which such troubles threw,
And ioyd to make proofe of her crueltie
On gentle Dame, so hurtlesse, and so trew:
Thenceforth he kept her goodly company,
And learnd her discipline of faith and veritie.
But she all vowd vnto the Redcrosse knight,
His wandring perill closely did lament,
Ne in this new acquaintaunce could delight,
But her deare heart with anguish did torment,
And all her wit in secret counsels spent,
How to escape. At last in priuie wise
To Satyrane she shewed her intent;
Who glad to gain such fauour, gan deuise,
How with that pensiue Maid he best might thence arise.
So on a day when Satyres all were gone,
To do their seruice to Syluanus old,
The gentle virgin left behind alone
He led away with courage stout and bold.
[Page 87]Too late it was, to Satyres to be told,
Or euer hope recouer her againe:
In vaine he seekes that hauing cannot hold.
So fast he carried her with carefull paine,
That they the woods are past, & come now to the plaine.
The better part now of the lingring day,
They traueild had, when as they farre espide
A wearie wight forwandring by the way,
And towards him they gan in hast to ride,
To weet of newes, that did abroad betide,
Or tydings of her knight of the Redcrosse.
But he them spying, gan to turne aside,
For feare as seemd, or for some feigned losse;
More greedy they of newes, fast towards him do crosse.
A silly man, in simple weedes forworne,
And soild with dust of the long dried way;
His sandales were with toilesome trauell torne,
And face all tand with scorching sunny ray,
As he had traueild many a sommers day,
Through boyling sands of Arabie and Ynde;
And in his hand a Iacobs staffe, to stay
His wearie limbes vpon: and eke behind,
His scrip did hang, in which his needments he did bind.
The knight approching nigh, of him inquerd
Tydings of warre, and of aduentures new;
But warres, nor new aduentures none he herd.
Then Vna gan to aske, if ought he knew,
Or heard abroad of that her champion trew,
That in his armour bare a croslet red.
Aye me, Deare dame (quoth he) well may I rew
To tell the sad sight, which mine eies haue red:
These eyes did see that knight both liuing and eke ded.
That cruell word her tender hart so thrild,
That suddein cold did runne through euery vaine,
And stony horrour all her sences fild
With dying fit, that downe she fell for paine.
The knight her lightly reared vp againe,
And comforted with curteous kind reliefe:
Then wonne from death, she bad him tellen plaine
The further processe of her hidden griefe;
The lesser pangs can beare, who hath endur'd the chiefe.
Then gan the Pilgrim thus, I chaunst this day,
This fatall day, that shall I euer rew,
To see two knights in trauell on my way
(A sory fight) arraung'd in battell new,
Both breathing vengeaunce, both of wrathfull hew:
My fearefull flesh did tremble at their strife,
To see their blades so greedily imbrew,
That drunke with bloud, yet thristed after life:
What more? the Redcrosse knight was slaine with Paynim knife.
Ah dearest Lord (quoth she) how might that bee,
And he the stoutest knight, that euer wonne?
Ah dearest dame (quoth he) how might I see
The thing, that might not be, and yet was donne?
Where is (said Satyrane) that Paynims sonne,
That him of life, and vs of ioy hath rest?
Not far away (quoth he) he hence doth wonne
Foreby a fountaine, where I late him left
Washing his bloudy wounds, that through the steele were cleft.
Therewith the knight thence marched forth in hast,
Whiles Vna with huge heauinesse opprest,
Could not for sorrow follow him so fast;
And soone he came, as he the place had ghest,
[Page 89]Whereas that Pagan proud him selfe did rest,
In secret shadow by a fountaine side:
Euen he it was, that earst would haue supprest
Faire Vna: whom when Satyrane espide,
With fowle reprochfull words he boldly him defide.
And said, Arise thou cursed Miscreaunt,
That hast with knightlesse guile and trecherous train
Faire knighthood fowly shamed, and doest vaunt
That good knight of the Redcrosse to haue slain:
Arise, and with like treason now maintain
Thy guilty wrong, or else thee guilty yield.
The Sarazin this hearing, rose amain,
And catching vp in hast his three square shield,
And shining helmet, soone him buckled to the field.
And drawing nigh him said, Ah misborne Elfe,
In euill houre thy foes thee hither sent,
Anothers wrongs to wreake vpon thy selfe:
Yet ill thou blamest me, for hauing blent
My name with guile and traiterous intent;
That Redcrosse knight, perdie, I neuer slew,
But had he beene, where earst his armes were lent,
Th'enchaunter vaine his errour should not rew:
But thou his errour shalt, I hope now prouen trew.
Therewith they gan, both furious and fell,
To thunder blowes, and fiersly to assaile
Each other bent his enimy to quell,
That with their force they perst both plate and maile,
And made wide furrowes in their fleshes fraile,
That it would pitty any liuing eie.
Large floods of bloud adowne their sides did raile;
But floods of bloud could not them satisfie:
Both hungred after death: both chose to win, or die.
So long they fight, and fell reuenge pursue,
That fainting each, themselues to breathen let,
And oft refreshed, battell oft renue:
As when two Bores with rancling malice met,
Their gory sides fresh bleeding fiercely fret,
Till breathlesse both them selues aside retire,
Where foming wrath, their cruell tuskes they whet,
And trample th'earth, the whiles they may respire;
Then backe to fight againe, new breathed and entire.
So fiersly, when these knights had breathed once,
They gan to fight returne, increasing more
Their puissant force, and cruell rage attonce,
With heaped strokes more hugely, then before,
That with their drerie wounds and bloudy gore
They both deformed, scarsely could be known.
By this sad Vna fraught with anguish sore,
Led with their noise, which through the aire was thrown:
Arriu'd, where they in erth their fruitles bloud had sown.
Whom all so soone as that proud Sarazin
Espide, he gan reuiue the memory
Of his lewd lusts, and late attempted sin,
And left the doubtfull battell hastily,
To catch her, newly offred to his eie:
But Satyrane with strokes him turning, staid,
And sternely bad him other businesse plie,
Then hunt the steps of pure vnspotted Maid:
Wherewith he all enrag'd, these bitter speaches said.
O foolish faeries sonne, what furie mad
Hath thee incenst, to hast thy dolefull fete?
Were it not better, I that Lady had,
Then that thou hadst repented it too late?
[Page 91]Most sencelesse man he, that himselfe doth hate,
To loue another. Lo then for thine ayd
Here take thy louers token on thy pate.
So they two fight; the whiles the royall Mayd
Fled farre away, of that proud Paynim sore afrayd.
But that false Pilgrim, which that leasing told,
Being in deed old Archimage, did stay
In secret shadow, all this to behold,
And much reioyced in their bloudy fray:
But when he saw the Damsell passe away
He left his stond, and her pursewd apace,
In hope to bring her to her last decay.
But for to tell her lamentable cace,
And eke this battels end, will need another place.

Cant. VII.

The Redcrosse knight is capture made
By Gyaunt proud opprest,
Prince Arthur meets with Vna great­ly with those newes distrest.
WHat man so wise, what earthly wit so ware,
As to descry the crafty cunning traine,
By which deceipt doth maske in visour faire,
And cast her colours dyed deepe in graine,
To seeme like Truth, whose shape she well can faine,
And fitting gestures to her purpose frame;
The guiltlesse man with guile to entertaine?
Great maistresse of her art was that false Dame,
The false Duessa, cloked with Fidessaes name.
Who when returning from the drery Night,
She fownd not in that perilous house of Pryde,
Where she had left, the noble Redcrosse knight,
Her hoped pray; she would no lenger bide,
But forth she went, to seeke him far and wide.
Ere long she fownd, whereas he wearie sate,
To rest him selfe, foreby a fountaine side,
Disarmed all of yron-coted Plate,
And by his side his steed the grassy forage ate.
He seedes vpon the cooling shade, and bayes
His sweatie forehead in the breathing wind,
Which through the trēbling leaues full gently playe
Wherein the cherefull birds of sundry kind
Do chaunt sweet musick, to delight his mind:
The Witch approching gan him fairely greet,
And with reproch of carelesnesse vnkind
Vpbrayd, for leauing her in place vnmeet,
With fowle words tempring faire, soure gall with hony sweet.
Vnkindnesse past, they gan of solace treat,
And bathe in pleasaunce of the ioyous shade,
Which shielded them against the boyling heat,
And with greene boughes decking a gloomy glade,
About the fountaine like a girlond made;
Whose bubbling waue did euer freshly well,
Ne euer would through feruent sommer fade:
The sacred Nymph, which therein wont to dwell,
Was out of Dianes fauour, as it then befell.
The cause was this: one day when Phoebe fayre
With all her band was following the chace,
This Nymph, quite tyr'd with heat of scorching ayre
Sat downe to rest in middest of the race:
[Page 93]The goddesse wroth gan fowly he disgrace,
And bad the waters, which from her did flow,
Be such as she her selfe was then in place.
Thenceforth her waters waxed dull and slow,
And all that drunke thereof, did faint and feeble grow.
Hereof this gentle knight vnweeting was,
And lying downe vpon the sandie graile,
Drunke of the streame, as cleare as cristall glas,
Eftsoones his manly forces gan to faile,
And mightie strong was turnd to feeble fraile.
His chaunged powres at first them selues not felt,
Till crudled cold his corage gan assaile,
And chearefull bloud in faintnesse chill did melt,
Which like a feuer fit through all his body swelt.
Yet goodly court he made still to his Dame,
Pourd out in loosnesse on the grassy grownd,
Both carelesse of his health, and of his fame:
Till at the last he heard a dreadfull sownd,
Which through the wood loud bellowing, did re­bownd,
That all the earth for terrour seemd to shake,
And trees did tremble. Th'Elfe therewith astownd,
Vpstarted lightly from his looser make,
And his vnready weapons gan in hand to take.
But ere he could his armour on him dight,
Or get his shield, his monstrous enimy
With sturdie steps came stalking in his sight,
An hideous Geant horrible and hye,
That with his talnesse seemd to threat the skye,
The ground eke groned vnder him for dreed;
His liuing like saw neuer liuing eye,
Ne durst behold: his stature did exceed
The hight of three the tallest sonnes of mortall seed.
The greatest Earth his vncouth mother was,
And blustring AEolus his boasted sire,
Who with his breath, which through the world dot [...] pas[?]
Her hollow womb did secretly inspire,
And fild her hidden caues with stormie yre,
That she conceiu'd; and trebling the dew time,
In which the wombes of women do expire,
Brought forth this monstrous masse of earthly slime
Puft vp with emptie wind, and fild with sinfull crime.
So growen great through arrogant delight
Of th'high descent, whereof he was yborne,
And through presumption of his matchlesse might,
All other powres and knighthood he did scorne.
Such now he marcheth to this man forlorne,
And left to losse: his stalking steps are stayde
Vpon a snaggy Oke, which he had torne
Out of his mothers bowelles, and it made
His mortall mace, wherewith his foemen he dismayde.
That when the knight he spide, he gan aduance
With huge force and insupportable mayne,
And towardes him with dreadfull fury praunce;
Who haplesse, and eke hopelesse, all in vaine
Did to him pace, sad battaile to darrayne,
Disarmd, disgrast, and inwardly dismayde,
And eke so faint in euery ioynt and vaine,
Through that fraile foūtaine, which him feeble made
That scarsely could he weeld his bootlesse single blade.
The Geaunt strooke so maynly mercilesse,
That could haue ouerthrowne a stony towre,
And were not heauenly grace, that him did blesse,
He had beene pouldred all, as thin as flowre:
[Page 95]But he was wary of that deadly stowre,
And lightly lept from vnderneath the blow:
Yet so exceeding was the villeins powre,
That with the wind it did him ouerthrow,
And all his sences stound, that still he lay full low.
As when that diuelish yron Engin wrought
In deepest Hell, and framd by Furies skill,
With windy Nitre and quick Sulphur fraught,
And ramd with bullet round, ordaind to kill,
Conceiueth fire, the heauens it doth fill
With thundring noyse, and all the ayre doth choke,
That none can breath, nor see, nor heare at will,
Through smouldry cloud of duskish stincking smoke,
That th'onely breath him daunts, who hath escapt the stroke.
So daunted when the Geaunt saw the knight
His heauie hand he heaued vp on hye,
And him to dust thought to haue battred quight,
Vntill Duessa loud to him gan crye;
O great Orgoglio, greatest vnder skye,
O hold thy mortall hand for Ladies sake,
Hold for my sake, and do him not to dye,
But vanquisht thine eternall bondslaue make,
And me thy worthy meed vnto thy Leman take.
He hearkned, and did stay from further harmes,
To gayne so goodly guerdon, as she spake:
So willingly she came into his armes,
Who her as willingly to grace did take,
And was possessed of his new found make.
Then vp he tooke the slombred sencelesse corse,
And ere he could out of his swowne awake,
Him to his castle brought with hastie forse,
And in a Dongeon deepe him threw without remorse.
From that day forth Duessa was his deare,
And highly honourd in his haughtie eye,
He gaue her gold and purple pall to weare,
And triple crowne set on her head full hye,
And her endowd with royall maiestye:
Then for to make her dreaded more of men,
And peoples harts with awfull terrour tye,
A monstrous beast ybred in filthy fen
He chose, which he had kept long time in darksome den[?]
Such one it was, as that renowmed Snake
Which great Alcides in Stremona slew,
Long fostred in the filth of Lerna lake,
Whose many heads out budding euer new,
Did breed him endlesse labour to subdew:
But this same Monster much more vgly was;
For seuen great heads out of his body grew,
An yron brest, and backe of scaly bras,
And all embrewd in bloud, his eyes did shine as glas.
His tayle was stretched out in wondrous length,
That to the house of heauenly gods it raught,
And with extorted powre, and borrow'd strength,
The euer-burning lamps from thence it brought,
And prowdly threw to ground, as things of nought
And vnderneath his filthy feet did tread
The sacred things, and holy heasts foretaught.
Vpon this dreadfull Beast with seuenfoldhead
He set the false Duessa, for more aw and dread.
The wofull Dwarfe, which saw his maisters fall,
Whiles he had keeping of his grasing steed,
And valiant knight become a caytiue thrall,
When all was past, tooke vp his forlorne weed,
[Page 95]His mightie armour, missing most at need;
His siluer shield, now idle maisterlesse;
His poynant speare, that many made to bleed,
The ruefull moniments of heauinesse,
And with them all departes, to tell his great distresse.
He had not trauaild long, when on the way
He wofull Ladie, wofull Vna met,
Fast flying from the Paynims greedy pray,
Whilest Satyrane him from pursuit did let:
Who when her eyes she on the Dwarfe had set,
And saw the signes, that deadly tydings spake,
She fell to ground for sorrowfull regret,
And liuely breath her sad brest did forsake,
Yet might her pitteous hart be seene to pant and quake.
The messenger of so vnhappie newes,
Would faine haue dyde: dead was his hart within,
Yet outwardly some little comfort shewes:
At last recouering hart, he does begin
To rub her temples, and to chause her chin,
And euery tender part does tosse and turne:
So hardly he the flitted life does win,
Vnto her natiue prison to retourne:
Then gins her grieued ghost thus to lament and mourne.
Ye dreary instruments of dolefull sight,
That doe this deadly spectacle behold,
Why do ye lenger feed on loathed light,
Or liking find to gaze on earthly mould,
Sith cruell fates the carefull threeds vnfould,
The which my life and loue together tyde?
Now let the stony dart of senselesse cold
Perce to my hart, and pas through euery side,
And let eternall night so sad sight fro me hide.
O lightsome day, the lampe of highest Ioue,
First made by him, mens wandring wayes to guyde,
When darkenesse he in deepest dongeon droue,
Henceforth thy hated face for euer hyde,
And shut vp heauens windowes shyning wyde:
For earthly sight can nought but sorrow breed,
And late repentance, which shall long abyde.
Mine eyes no more on vanitie shall feed,
But seeled vp with death, shall haue their deadly meed.
Then downe againe she fell vnto the ground;
But he her quickly reared vp againe:
Thrise did she sinke adowne in deadly swownd,
And thrise he her reviu'd with busie paine:
At last when life recouer'd had the raine,
And ouer-wrestled his strong enemie,
With foltring tong, and trembling euery vaine,
Tell on (quoth she) the wofull Tragedie,
The which these reliques sad present vnto mine eie.
Tempestuous fortune hath spent all her spight,
And thrilling sorrow throwne his vtmost dart;
Thy sad tongue cannot tell more heauy plight,
Then that I feele, and harbour in mine hart:
Who hath endur'd the whole, can beare each part.
If death it be, it is not the first wound,
That launched hath my brest with bleeding smart.
Begin, and end the bitter balefull stound;
If lesse, then that I feare more fauour I haue found.
Then gan the Dwarfe the whole discourse declare,
The subtill traines of Archimago old;
The wanton loues of false Fidessa faire,
Bought with the bloud of vanquisht Paynim bold:
[Page 97]The wretched payre transform'd to treen mould;
The house of Pride, and perils round about;
The combat, which he with Sansioy did hould;
The lucklesse conflict with the Gyant stout,
Wherein captiu'd, of life or death he stood in doubt.
She heard with patience all vnto the end,
And stroue to maister sorrowfull assay,
Which greater grew, the more she did contend,
And almost rent her tender hart in tway;
And loue fresh coles vnto her fire did lay:
For greater loue, the greater is the losse.
Was neuer Ladie loued dearer day,
Then she did loue the knight of the Redcrosse;
For whose deare sake so many troubles her did tosse.
At last when feruent sorrow slaked was,
She vp arose, resoluing him to find
A liue or dead: and forward forth doth pas,
All as the Dwarfe the way to her assynd:
And euermore in constant care full mind
She fed her wound with fresh renewed bale;
Long tost with stormes, and bet with bitter wind,
High ouer hils, and low adowne the dale,
She wandred many a wood, and measurd many a vale.
At last she chaunced by good hap to meet
A goodly knight, faire marching by the way
Together with his Squire, arayed meet:
His glitterand armour shined farre away,
Like glauncing light of Phoebus brightest ray;
From top to toe no place appeared bare,
That deadly dint of steele endanger may:
Athwart his brest a bauldrick braue he ware,
That shynd, like twinkling stars, with stons most pretious rare.
And in the midst thereof one pretious stone
Of wondrous worth, and eke of wondrous mights,
Shapt like a Ladies head, exceeding shone,
Like Hesperus emongst the lesser lights,
And stroue for to amaze the weaker sights;
Thereby his mortall blade full comely hong
In yuory sheath, ycaru'd with curious slights;
Whose hilts were burnisht gold, and handle strong
Of mother pearle, and buckled with a golden tong.
His haughtie helmet, horrid all with gold,
Both glorious brightnesse, and great terrour bred;
For all the crest a Dragon did enfold
With greedie pawes, and ouer all did spred
His golden wings: his dreadfull hideous hed
Close couched on the beuer, seem'd to throw
From flaming mouth bright sparkles fierie red,
That suddeine horror to faint harts did show;
And scaly tayle was stretcht adowne his backe full low.
Vpon the top of all his loftie crest,
A bunch of haires discolourd diuersly,
With sprincled pearle, and gold full richly drest,
Did shake, and seem'd to daunce for iollity,
Like to an Almond tree ymounted hye
On top of greene Selinis all alone,
With blossomes braue bedecked daintily;
Whose tender locks do tremble euery one
At euery little breath, that vnder heauen is blowne.
His warlike shield all closely couer'd was,
Ne might of mortall eye be euer seene;
Not made of steele, nor of enduring bras,
Such earthlymettals soone consumed bene:
[Page 99]But all of Diamond perfect pure and cleene
It framed was, one massie entire mould,
Hewen out of Adamant rocke with engines keene,
That point of speare it neuer percen could,
Ne dint of direfull sword diuide the substance would.
The same to wight he neuer wont disclose,
But when as monsters huge he would dismay,
Or daunt vnequall armies of his foes,
Or when the flying heauens he would affray;
For so exceeding shone his glistring ray,
That Phoebus golden face it did attaint,
As when a cloud his beames doth ouer-lay;
And siluer Cynthia wexed pale and faint,
As when her face is staynd with magicke arts constraint.
No magicke arts hereof had any might,
Nor bloudie wordes of bold Enchaunters call,
But all that was not such, as seemd in sight,
Before that shield did fade, and suddeine fall:
And when him list the raskall routes appall,
Men into stones therewith he could transmew,
And stones to dust, and dust to nought at all;
And when him list the prouder lookes subdew,
He would them gazing blind, or turne to other hew.
Ne let it seeme, that credence this exceedes,
For he that made the same, was knowne right well
To haue done much more admirable deedes.
It Merlin was, which whylome did excell
All liuing wightes in might of magicke spell:
Both shield, and sword, and armour all he wrought
For this young Prince, when first to armes he fell;
But when he dyde, the Faerie Queene it brought
To Faerie lond, where yet it may be seene, if sought.
A gentle youth, his dearely loued Squire
His speare of heben wood behind him bare,
Whose harmefull head, thrice heated in the fire,
Had riuen many a brest with pikehead square;
A goodly person, and could menage faire,
His stubborne steed with curbed canon bit,
Who vnder him did trample as the aire,
And chauft, that any on his backe should sit;
The yron rowels into frothy some he bit.
When as this knight nigh to the Ladie drew,
With louely court he gan her entertaine;
But when he heard her answeres loth, he knew
Some secret sorrow did her heart distraine:
Which to allay, and calme her storming paine,
Faire feeling words he wisely gan display,
And for her humour fitting purpose faine,
To tempt the cause it selfe for to bewray;
Wherewith emmou'd, these bleeding words she gan to say.
What worlds delight, or ioy of lining speach
Can heart, so plung'd in sea of sorrowes deepe,
And heaped with so huge misfortunes, reach?
The carefull cold beginneth for to creepe,
And in my heart his yron arrow steepe,
Soone as I thinke vpon my bitter bale:
Such helplesse harmes yts better hidden keepe,
Then rip vp griefe, where it may not auaile,
My last left comfort is, my woes to weepe and waile.
Ah Ladie deare, quoth then the gentle knight,
Well may I weene, your griefe is wondrous great;
For wondrous great griefe groneth in my spright,
Whiles thus I heare you of your sorrowes treat.
[Page 101]But wofull Ladie let me you intrete,
For to vnfold the anguish of your hart:
Mishaps are maistred by aduice discrete,
And counsell mittigates the greatest smart;
Found neuer helpe, who neuer would his hurts impart.
O but (quoth she) great griefe will not be tould,
And can more easily be thought, then said.
Right so; (quoth he) but he, that neuer would,
Could neuer: will to might giues greatest aid.
But griefe (quoth she) does greater grow displaid,
If then it find not helpe, and breedes despaire.
Despaire breedes not (quoth he) where faith is staid.
No faith so fast (quoth she) but flesh does paire.
Flesh may empaire (quoth he) but reason can repaire.
His goodly reason, and well guided speach
So deepe did settle in her gratious thought,
That her perswaded to disclose the breach,
Which loue and fortune in her heart had wrought,
And said; faire Sir, I hope good hap hath brought
You to inquire the secrets of my griefe,
Or that your wisedome will direct my thought,
Or that your prowesse can me yield reliefe:
Then heare the storie sad, which I shall tell you briefe.
The forlorne Maiden, whom your eyes haue seene
The laughing stocke of fortunes mockeries,
Am th'only daughter of a King and Queene,
Whose parents deare, whilest equall destinies
Did runne about, and their felicities
The fauourable heauens did not enuy,
Did spread their rule through all the territories,
Which Phison and Euphrates floweth by,
And Gebons golden waues doe wash continually.
At last by subtill sleights she him betraid
Vnto his foe, a Gyant huge and tall,
Who him disarmed, dissolute, dismaid,
Vnwares surprised, and with mightie mall
The monster mercilesse him made to fall,
Whose fall did neuer foe before behold;
And now in darkesome dungeon, wretched thrall,
Remedilesse, for aie he doth him hold;
This is my cause of griefe, more great, then may be told.
Ere she had ended all, she gan to faint:
But he her comforted and faire bespake,
Certes, Madame, ye haue great cause of plaint,
That stoutest heart, I weene, could cause to quake.
But be of cheare, and comfort to you take:
For till I haue acquit your captiue knight,
Assure your selfe, I will you not forsake.
His chearefull words reuiu'd her chearelesse spright
So forth they went, the Dwarfe them guiding euer right

Cant. VIII.

Faire virgin to redeeme her deare
brings Arthur to the fight:
Who slayes that Gyant, wounds the beast,
and strips Duessa quight.
AY me, how many perils doe enfold
The righteous man, to make him daily fall?
Were not, that heauenly grace doth him vphold,
And stedfast truth acquite him out of all.
[Page 105]Her loue is firme, her care continuall,
So oft as he through his owne foolish pride,
Or weaknesse is to sinfull bands made thrall:
Else should this Redcrosse knight in bands haue dyde,
For whose deliuerāce she this Prince doth thither guide.
They sadly traueild thus, vntill they came
Nigh to a castle builded strong and hie:
Then cryde the Dwarfe, lo yonder is the same,
In which my Lord my liege doth lucklesse lie,
Thrall to that Gyants hatefull tyrannie:
Therefore, deare Sir, your mightie powres assay.
The noble knight alighted by and by
From loftie steede, and bad the Ladie stay,
To see what end of fight should him befall that day.
So with the Squire, th'admirer of his might,
He marched forth towards that castle wall;
Whose gates he found fast shut, ne lining wight
To ward the same, nor answere commers call.
Then tooke that Squire an home of bugle small,
Which hong adowne his side in twisted gold,
And tassels gay. Wyde wonders ouer all
Of that same hornes great vertues weren told,
Which had approued bene in vses manifold.
Was neuer wight, that heard that shrilling sound,
But trembling feare did feele in euery vaine;
Three miles it might be easie heard around,
And Ecchoes three answerd it selfe againe:
No false enchauntment, nor deceiptfull traine
Might once abide the terror of that blast,
But presently was voide and wholly vaine:
No gate so strong, no locke so firme and fast,
But with that percing noise flew open quite, or brast.
The same before the Geants gate he blew,
That all the castle quaked from the ground,
And euery dore of freewill open flew.
The Gyant selfe dismaied with that sownd,
Where he with his Duessa dalliance fownd,
In hast came rushing forth from inner bowre,
With staring countenance sterne, as one astownd,
And staggering steps, to weet, what suddein stowre,
Had wrought that horror strange, and dar'd his dreaded powre
And after him the proud Duessa came,
High mounted on her many headed beast,
And euery head with fyrie tongue did flame,
And euery head was crowned on his creast,
And bloudie mouthed with late cruell feast.
That when the knight beheld, his mightie shild
Vpon his manly arme he soone addrest,
And at him fiercely flew, with courage fild,
And eger greedinesse through euery member thrild.
Therewith the Gyant buckled him to fight,
Inflam'd with scornefull wrath and high disdaine,
And lifting vp his dreadfull club on hight,
All arm'd with ragged snubbes and knottie graine,
Him thought at first encounter to haue slaine.
But wise and warie was that noble Pere,
And lightly leaping from so monstrous maine,
Did faire auoide the violence him nere;
It booted nought, to thinke, such thunderbolts to beare
Ne shame he thought to shunne so hideous might:
The idle stroke, enforcing furious way,
Missing the marke of his misaymed sight
Did fall to ground, and with his heauie sway
[Page 107]So deepely dinted in the driuen clay,
That three yardes deepe a furrow vp did throw:
The sad earth wounded with so sore assay,
Did grone full grieuous vnderneath the blow,
And trembling with strange feare, did like an earthquake show.
As when almightie loue in wrathfull mood,
To wreake the guilt of mortall sins is bent,
Hurles forth his thundring dart with deadly food,
Enrold in flames, and smouldring dreriment,
Through riuen cloudes and molten firmament;
The fierce threeforked engin making way,
Both loftie towres and highest trees hath rent,
And all that might his angrie passage stay,
And shooting in the earth, casts vp a mount of clay.
His boystrous club, so buried in the ground,
He could not rearen vp againe so light,
But that the knight him at auantage found,
And whiles he stroue his combred clubbe to quight
Out of the earth, with blade all burning bright
He smote off his left arme, which like a blocke
Did fall to ground, depriu'd of natiue might;
Large streames of bloud out of the truncked stocke
Forth gushed, like fresh water streame from riuen rocke.
Dismaied with so desperate deadly wound,
And eke impatient of vnwonted paine,
He loudly brayd with beastly yelling sound,
That all the fields rebellowed againe;
As great a noyse, as when in Cymbrian plaine
An heard of Bulles, whom kindly rage doth sting,
Do for the milkie mothers want complaine,
And fill the fields with troublous bellowing,
The neighbour woods around with hollow murmuring.
That when his deare Duessa heard, and saw
The euill stownd, that daungerd her estate,
Vnto his aide she hastily did draw
Her dreadfull beast, who swolne with bloud of late
Came ramping forth with proud presumpteous gate
And threatned all his heads like flaming brands.
But him the Squire made quickly to retrate,
Encountring fierce with single sword in hand,
And twixt him and his Lord did like a bulwarke stand.
The proud Duessa full of wrathfull spight,
And fierce disdaine, to be affronted so,
Enforst her purple beast with all her might
That stop out of the way to ouerthroe,
Scorning the let of so vnequall foe:
But nathemore would that courageous swayne
To her yeeld passage, gainst his Lord to goe,
But with outrageous strokes did him restraine,
And with his bodie bard the way atwixt them twaine.
Then tooke the angrie witch her golden cup,
Which still she bore, replete with magick artes;
Death and despeyre did many thereof sup,
And secret poyson through their inner parts,
Th'eternall bale of heauie wounded harts;
Which after charmes and some enchauntments said
She lightly sprinkled on his weaker parts;
Therewith his sturdie courage soone was quayd,
And all his senses were with suddeine dread dismayd.
So downe he fell before the cruell beast,
Who on his necke his bloudie clawes did seize,
That life night crusht out of his panting brest:
No powre he had to stirre, nor will to rize.
[Page 109]That when the carefull knight gan well auise,
He lightly left the foe, with whom he fought,
And to the beast gan turne his enterprise;
For wondrous anguish in his hart it wrought,
To see his loued Squire into such thraldome brought.
And high aduauncing his bloud-thirstie blade,
Stroke one of those deformed heads so sore,
That of his puissance proud ensample made;
His monstrous scalpe downe to his teeth it tore,
And that misformed shape mis-shaped more:
A sea of bloud gusht from the gaping wound,
That her gay garments staynd with filthy gore,
And ouerflowed all the field around;
That ouer shoes in bloud he waded on the ground.
Thereat he roared for exceeding paine,
That to haue heard, great horror would haue bred,
And scourging th'emptie ayre with his long traine,
Through great impatience of his grieued hed
His gorgeous ryder from her loftie sted
Would haue cast downe, and trod in durtie myre,
Had not the Gyant soone her succoured;
Who all enrag'd with smart and franticke yre,
Came hurtling in full fierce, and forst the knight retyre.
The force, which wont in two to be disperst,
In one alone left hand he now vnites,
Which is through rage more strong then both were erst;
With which his hideous club aloft he dites,
And at his foe with furious rigour smites,
That strongest Oake might seeme to ouerthrow:
The stroke vpon his shield so heauie lites,
That to the ground it doubleth him full low
What mortall wight could euer beare so monstrous blow?
And in his fall his shield, that couered was,
Did loose his vele by chaunce, and open flew:
The light whereof, that heauens light did pas,
Such blazing brightnesse through the aier threw,
That eye mote not the same endure to vew.
Which when the Gyaunt spyde with staring eye,
He downe let fall his arme, and soft withdrew
His weapon huge, that heaued was on hye
For to haue slaine the man, that on the ground did lye.
And eke the fruitfull-headed beast, amaz'd
At flashing beames of that sunshiny shield,
Became starke blind, and all his senses daz'd,
That downe he tumbled on the durtie field,
And seem'd himselfe as conquered to yield.
Whom when his maistresse proud perceiu'd to fall,
Whiles yet his feeble feet for faintnesse reeld,
Vnto the Gyant loudly she gan call,
O helpe Orgoglio, helpe, or else we perish all.
At her so pitteous cry was much amoou'd,
Her champion stout, and for to ayde his frend,
Againe his wonted angry weapon proou'd:
But all in vaine: for he has read his end
In that bright shield, and all their forces spend
Themselues in vaine: for since that glauncing sight,
He hath no powre to hurt, nor to defend;
As where th'Almighties lightning brond does light[?]
It dimmes the dazed eyen, and daunts the senses quight[?].
Whom when the Prince, to battell new addrest,
And threatning high his dreadfull stroke did see,
His sparkling blade about his head he blest,
And smote off quite his right leg by the knee,
[Page 111]That downe he tombled; as an aged tree,
High growing on the top of rocky clift,
Whose hartstrings with keene steele nigh hewen be,
The mightie trunck halfe rent, with ragged rift
Doth roll adowne the rocks, and fall with fearefull drift.
Or as a Castle reared high and round,
By subtile engins and malitious slight
Is vndermined from the lowest ground,
And her foundation forst, and feebled quight,
At last downe falles, and with her heaped hight
Her hastie ruine does more heauie make,
And yields it selfe vnto the victours might;
Such was this Gyaunts fall, that seemd to shake
The stedfast globe of earth, as it for feare did quake.
The knight then lightly leaping to the pray,
With mortall steele him smot againe so sore,
That headlesse his vnweldy bodie lay,
All wallowd in his owne fowle bloudy gore,
Which flowed from his wounds in wondrous store,
But soone as breath out of his breast did pas,
That huge great body, which the Gyaunt bore,
Was vanisht quite, and of that monstrous mas
Was nothing left, but like an emptie bladder was.
Whose grieuous fall, when false Duessa spide,
Her golden cup she cast vnto the ground,
And crowned mitre rudely threw aside;
Such percing griefe her stubborne hart did wound,
That she could not endure that dolefull stound,
But leauing all behind her, fled away:
The light-foot Squire her quickly turnd around,
And by hard meanes enforcing her to stay,
[...]o brought vnto his Lord, as his deserued pray.
The royall Virgin, which beheld from farre,
In pensiue plight, and sad perplexitie,
The whole atchieuement of this doubtfull warre,
Came running fast to greet his victorie,
With sober gladnesse, and myld modestie,
And with sweet ioyous cheare him thus bespake;
Faire braunch of noblesse, flowre of cheualrie,
That with your worth the world amazed make,
How shall I quite the paines, ye suffer for my sake?
And you fresh bud of vertue springing fast,
Whom these sad eyes saw nigh vnto deaths dore,
What hath poore Virgin for such perill past,
Wherewith you to reward? Accept therefore
My simple selfe, and seruice euermore;
And he that high does sit, and all things see
With equall eyes, their merites to restore,
Behold what ye this day haue done for mee,
And what I cannot quite, requite with vsuree.
But sith the heauens, and your faire handeling
Haue made you maister of the field this day,
Your fortune maister eke with gouerning,
And well begun end all so well, I pray,
Ne let that wicked woman scape away;
For she it is, that did my Lord bethrall,
My dearest Lord, and deepe in dongeon lay,
Where he his better dayes hath wasted all.
O heare, how piteous he to you for ayd does call.
Forthwith he gaue in charge vnto his Squire,
That scarlot whore to keepen carefully;
Whiles he himselfe with greedie great desire
Into the Castle entred forcibly.
[Page 113]Where liuing creature none he did espye;
Then gan he lowdly through the house to call:
But no man car'd to answere to his crye.
There raignd a solemne silence ouer all,
Nor voice was heard, nor wight was seene in bowre or hall.
At last with creeping crooked pace forth came
And old old man, with beard as white as snow,
That on a staffe his feeble steps did frame,
And guide his wearie gate both too and fro:
For his eye sight him failed long ygo,
And on his arme a bounch of keyes he bore,
The which vnused rust did ouergrow:
Those were the keyes of euery inner dore,
But he could not them vse, but kept them still in store.
But very vncouth sight was to behold,
How he did fashion his vntoward pace,
For as he forward moou'd his footing old,
So backward still was turnd his wrincled face,
Vnlike to men, who euer as they trace,
Both feet and face one way are wont to lead.
This was the auncient keeper of that place,
And foster father of the Gyant dead;
His name Ignaro did his nature right aread.
His reuerend haires and holy grauitie
The knight much honord, as beseemed well,
And gently askt, where all the people bee,
Which in that stately building wont to dwell.
Who answerd him full soft, he could not tell.
Againe he askt, where that same knight was layd,
Whom great Orgoglio with his puissaunce fell
Had made his caytiue thrall, againe he sayde,
[...]e could not tell: ne euer other answere made.
Then asked he, which way he in might pas:
He could not tell, againe he answered.
Thereat the curteous knight displeased was,
And said, Old sire, it seemes thou hast not red
How ill it fits with that same siluer hed
In vaine to mocke, or mockt in vaine to bee:
But if thou be, as thou art pourtrahed
With natures pen, in ages graue degree,
Aread in grauer wise, what I demaund of thee.
His answere likewise was, he could not tell.
Whose sencelesse speach, and doted ignorance
When as the noble Prince had marked well,
He ghest his nature by his countenance,
And calmd his wrath with goodly temperance.
Then to him stepping, from his arme did reach
Those keyes, and made himselfe free enterance.
Each dore he opened without any breach;
There was no barre to stop, nor foe him to empeach.
There all within full rich arayd he found,
With royall arras and resplendent gold.
And did with store of euery thing abound,
That greatest Princes presence might behold.
But all the floore (too filthy to be told)
With bloud of guiltlesse babes, and innocents trew,
Which there were slaine, as sheepe out of the fold,
Defiled was, that dreadfull was to vew,
And sacred ashes ouer it was strowed new.
And there beside of marble stone was built
An Altare, caru'd with cunning imagery,
On which true Christians bloud was often spilt,
And holy Martyrs often doen to dye,
[Page 115]With cruell malice and strong tyranny:
Whose blessed sprites from vnderneath the stone
To God for vengeance cryde continually,
And with great griefe were often heard to grone,
That hardest heart would bleede, to heare their piteous mone.
Through euery rowme he sought, and euery bowr,
But no where could he find that wofull thrall:
At last he came vnto an yron doore,
That fast was lockt, but key found not at all
Emongst that bounch, to open it withall;
But in the same a little grate was pight,
Through which he sent his voyce, and lowd did call
With all his powre, to weet, if liuing wight
Were housed there within, whom he enlargen might.
[...]herewith an hollow, dreary, murmuring voyce
These piteous plaints and dolours did resound;
O who is that, which brings me happy choyce
Of death, that here lye dying euery stound,
Yet liue perforce in balefull darkenesse bound?
For now three Moones haue chāged thrice their hew,
And haue beene thrice hid vnderneath the ground,
Since I the heauens chearefull face did vew,
O[?] welcome thou, that doest of death bring tydings trew.
Which when that Champion heard, with percing point
Of pitty deare his hart was thrilled sore,
And trembling horrour ran through euery ioynt,
For ruth of gentle knight so fowle forlore:
Which shaking off, he rent that yron dore,
With furious force, and indignation fell;
Where entred in, his foot could find no flore,
But all a deepe descent, as darke as hell,
[...]at breathed euer forth a filthie banefull smell.
But neither darkenesse fowle, nor filthy bands,
Nor noyous smell his purpose could withhold,
(Entire affection hateth nicer hands)
But that with constant zeale, and courage bold,
After long paines and labours manifold,
He found the meanes that Prisoner vp to reare;
Whose feeble thighes, vnhable to vphold
His pined corse, him scarse to light could beare.
A ruefull spectacle of death and ghastly drere.
His sad dull eyes deepe sunck in hollow pits,
Could not endure th'vnwonted sunne to view;
His bare thin cheekes for want of better bits,
And empty sides deceiued of their dew,
Could make a stony hart his hap to rew;
His rawbone armes, whose mighty brawned bowres[?]
Were wont to riue steele plates, helmets hew,
Were cleane consum'd, and all his vitall powres
Decayd, and all his flesh shronk vp like withered flowres[?]
Whom when his Lady saw, to him she ran
With hasty ioy: to see him made her glad,
And sad to view his visage pale and wan,
Who earst in flowres of freshest youth was clad.
Tho when her well of teares she wasted had,
She said, Ah dearest Lord, what euill starre
On you hath fround, and pourd his influence bad,
That of your selfe ye thus berobbed arre,
And this misseeming hew your manly looks doth marre[?]
But welcome now my Lord, in wele or woe,
Whose presence I kaue lackt too long a day;
And fie on Fortune mine auowed foe,
Whose wrathfull wreakes them selues do now alay.
[Page 117]And for these wrongs shall treble penaunce pay
Of treble good: good growes of euils priefe.
The chearelesse man, whom sorrow did dismay,
Had no delight to treaten of his griefe;
[...]is long endured famine needed more reliefe.
[...]ire Lady, then said that victorious knight,
The things, that grieuous were to do, or beare,
Them to renew, I wote, breeds no delight;
Best musicke breeds delight in loathing eare:
But th'onely good, that growes of passed feare,
Is to be wise, and ware of like agein.
This dayes ensample hath this lesson deare
Deepe written in my heart with yron pen,
[...]hat blisse may not abide in state of mortall men.
[...]enceforth sir knight, take to you wonted strength,
And maister these mishaps with patient might;
Loe where your foe lyes stretcht in monstrous length,
And loe that wicked woman in your sight,
The roote of all your care, and wretched plight,
Now in your powre, to let her liue, or dye.
To do her dye (quoth Vna) were despight,
And shame t'auenge so weake an enimy;
[...]ut spoile her of her scarlot robe, and let her fly.
[...]o as she bad, that witch they disaraid,
And robd of royall robes, and purple pall,
And ornaments that richly were displaid;
Ne spared they to strip her naked all.
Then when they had despoild her tire and call,
Such as she was, their eyes might her behold,
That her mishaped parts did them appall,
A loathly, wrinckled hag, ill fauoured, old,
[...]hose secret filth good manners biddeth not be told.
Her craftie head was altogether bald,
And as in hate of honorable eld,
Was ouergrowne with scurfe and filthy scald;
Her teeth out of her rotten gummes were feld,
And her sowre breath abhominably smeld;
Her dried dugs, like bladders lacking wind,
Hong downe, and filthy matter from them weld;
Her wrizled skin as rough, as maple rind,
So scabby was, that would haue loathd all womankind.
Her neather parts, the shame of all her kind,
My chaster Muse for shame doth blush to write
But at her rompe she growing had behind
A foxes taile, with dong all fowly dight;
And eke her feete most monstrous were in sight;
For one of them was like an Eagles claw,
With griping talaunts armd to greedy fight,
The other like a Beares vneuen paw:
More vgly shape yet neuer liuing creature saw.
Which when the knights beheld, amazd they were,
And wondred at so fowle deformed wight.
Such then (said Vna) as she seemeth here,
Such is the face of falshood, such the sight
Of fowle Duessa, when her borrowed light
Is laid away, and counterfesaunce knowne.
Thus when they had the witch disrobed quight,
And all her filthy feature open showne,
They let her goe at will, and wander wayes vnknowne.
She flying fast from heauens hated face,
And from the world that her discouered wide,
Fled to the wastfull wildernesse apace,
From liuing eyes her open shame to hide,
[Page 119]And lurket in rocks and caues long vnespide.
But that faire crew of knights, and Vna faire
Did in that castle afterwards abide,
To rest them selues, and weary powres repaire,
Where store they found of all, that dainty was and rare.

Cant. IX.

His loues and lignage Arthur tells
The knights knit friendly bands:
Sir Treuisan flies from Despayre,
Whom Redcrosse knight withstands.
O Goodly golden chaine, wherewith yfere
The vertues linked are in louely wize:
And noble minds of yore allyed were,
In braue poursuit of cheualrous emprize,
That none did others safety despize,
Nor aid enuy to him, in need that stands,
But friendly each did others prayse deuize,
How to aduaunce with fauourable hands,
As this good Prince redeemd the Redcrosse knight from bands.
Who when their powres empaird through labour long,
With dew repast they had recured well,
And that weake captiue wight now wexed strong[?],
Them list no lenger there at leasure dwell,
But forward fare, as their aduentures fell,
But ere they parted, Vna faire besought
That straunger knight his name and nation tell;
Least so great good, as he for her had wrought,
Should die vnknown, & buried be in thanklesse thought.
Faire virgin (said the Prince) ye me require
A thing without the compas of my wit:
For both the lignage and the certain Sire,
From which I sprong, from me are hidden yit.
For all so soone as life did me admit
Into this world, and shewed heauens light,
From mothers pap I taken was vnfit:
And streight deliuered to a Faery knight,
To be vpbrought in gentle thewes and martiall might.
Vnto old Timon he me brought by liue,
Old Timon, who in youthly yeares hath beene
In warlike feates th'expertest man aliue,
And is the wisest now on earth I weene;
His dwelling is low in a valley greene,
Vnder the foot of Rauran mossy hore,
From whence the riuer Dee as siluer cleene
His tombling billowes rolls with gentle rore:
There all my dayes he traind me vp in vertuous lore.
Thither the great Magicien Merlin came,
As was his vse, ofttimes to visit me:
For he had charge my discipline to frame,
And Tutours nouriture to ouersee.
Him oft and oft I askt in priuitie,
Of what loines and what lignage I did spring:
Whose aunswere bad me still assured bee,
That I was sonne and heire vnto a king,
As time in her iust terme the truth to light should bring.
Well worthy impe, said then the Lady gent,
And Pupili fit for such a Tutours hand.
But what aduenture, or what high intent
Hath brought you hither into Faery land,
[Page 121]Aread Prince Arthur, crowne of Martiall band?
Full hard it is (quoth he) to read aright
The course of heauenly cause, or vnderstand
The secret meaning or th'eternall might,
That rules mens wayes, and rules the thoughts of liuing wight.
For whither he through fatall deepe foresight
Me hither sent, for cause to me vnghest,
Or that fresh bleeding wound, which day and night
Whilome doth rancle in my riuen brest,
With forced fury following his behest,
Me hither brought by wayes yet neuer found,
You to haue helpt I hold my selfe yet blest.
Ah curteous knight (quoth she) what secret wound
Could euer find, to grieue the gentlest hart on ground?
Deare Dame (quoth he) you sleeping sparkes awake,
Which troubled once, into huge flames will grow,
Ne euer will their feruent fury slake,
Till liuing moysture into smoke do flow,
And wasted life do lye in ashes low.
Yet sithens silence lesseneth not my fire,
But told it flames, and hidden it does glow,
I will reuele, what ye so much desire:
Ah Loue, lay downe thy bow, the whiles I may respire.
It was in freshest flowre of youthly yeares,
When courage first does creepe in manly chest,
Then first the coale of kindly heat appeares
To kindle loue in euery liuing brest;
But me had warnd old Timons wise behest,
Those creeping flames by reason to subdew,
Before their rage grew to so great vnrest,
As miserable louers vse to rew,
Which still wex old in woe, whiles woe still wexeth new.
That idle name of loue, and louers life,
As losse of time, and vertues enimy
I euer scornd, and ioyd to stirre vp strife,
In middest of their mournfull Tragedy,
Ay wont to laugh, when them I heard to cry,
And blow the fire, which them to ashes brent:
Their God himselfe, grieu'd at my libertie,
Shot many a dart at me with fiers intent,
But I them warded all with wary gouernment.
But all in vaine: no fort can be so strong,
Ne fleshly brest can armed be so sound,
But will at last be wonne with battrie long,
Orvnwares at disauantage found;
Nothing is sure, that growes on earthly ground:
And who most trustes in arme of fleshly might,
And boasts, in beauties chaine not to be bound,
Doth soonest fall in disauentrous fight,
And yeeldes his caytiue neck to victours most despight.
Ensample make of him your haplesse ioy,
And of my selfe now mated, as ye see;
Whose prouder vaunt that proud auenging boy
Did soone pluck downe, and curbd my libertie.
For on a day prickt forth with iollitie
Of looser life, and heat of hardiment,
Raunging the forest wide on courserfree,
The fields, the floods, the heauens with one consent
Did seeme to laugh at me, and fauour mine intent.
For-wearied with my sports, I did alight
From loftie steed, and downe to sleepe me layd;
The verdant gras my couch did goodly dight,
And pillow was my helmet faire displayd:
[Page 123]Whiles euery sence the humour sweet embayd,
And slombring soft my hart did steale away,
Me seemed, by my side a royall Mayd
Her daintie limbes full softly down did lay:
So faire a creature yet saw neuer sunny day.
Most goodly glee and louely blandishment
She to me made, and bad me loue her deare,
For dearely sure her loue was to me bent,
As when iust time expired should appeare.
But whether dreames delude, or true it were,
Was neuer hart so rauisht with delight,
Ne liuing man like words did euer heare,
As she to me deliuered all that night;
And at her parting said, She Queene of Faeries hight.
When I awoke, and found her place deuoyd,
And nought but pressed gras, where she had lyen,
I sorrowed all so much, as earst I ioyd,
And washed all her place with watry eyen.
From that day forth I lou'd that face diuine;
From that day forth I cast in carefull mind,
To seeke her out with labour, and long tyne,
And neuer vow to rest, till her I find,
Nine monethes I seeke in vaine yet ni'll that vow vnbind.
Thus as he spake, his visage wexed pale,
And chaunge of hew great passion did bewray;
Yet still he stroue to cloke his inward bale,
And hide the smoke, that did his fire display,
Till gentle Vna thus to him gan say;
O happy Queene of Faeries, that hast found
Mongst many, one that with his prowesse may
Defend thine honour, and thy foes confound:
True Loues are oftē sown, but seldom grow on ground.
Thine, O then, said the gentle Redcrosse knight,
Next to that Ladies loue, shalbe the place,
O fairest virgin, full of heauenly light,
Whose wondrous faith, exceeding earthly race,
Was firmest fixt in mine extremest case.
And you, my Lord, the Patrone of my life,
Of that great Queene may well gaine worthy grace:
For onely worthy you through prowes priefe
Yf liuing man mote worthy be, to be her liefe.
So diuersly discoursing of their loues,
The golden Sunne his glistring head gan shew,
And sad remembraunce now the Prince amoues,
With fresh desire his voyage to pursew:
Als Vna earnd her traueill to renew.
Then those two knights, fast friendship for to bynd,
And loue establish each to other trew,
Gaue goodly gifts, the signes of gratefull mynd,
And eke the pledges firme, right hands together ioynd.
Prince Arthur gaue a boxe of Diamond sure,
Embowd with gold and gorgeous ornament,
Wherein were closd few drops of liquor pure,
Of wondrous worth, and vertue excellent,
That any wound could heale incontinent:
Which to requite, the Redcrosse knight him gaue
A booke, wherein his Saueours testament
Was writ with golden letters rich and braue;
A worke of wondrous grace, and able soules to saue.
Thus beene they parted, Arthur on his way
To seeke his loue, and th'other for to fight
With Vnaes foe, that all her realme did pray.
But she now weighing the decayed plight,
[Page 125]And shrunken synewes of her chosen knight,
Would not a while her forward course pursew,
Ne bring him forth in face of dreadfull fight,
Till he recouered had his former hew:
For him to be yet weake and wearie well she knew.
So as they traueild, lo they gan espy
An armed knight towards them gallop fast,
That seemed from some feared foe to fly,
Or other griesly thing, that him agast.
Still as he fled, his eye was backward cast,
As if his feare still followed him behind;
Als flew his steed, as he his bands had brast,
And with his winged heeles did tread the wind,
As he had beene a fole of Pegasus his kind.
Nigh as he drew, they might perceiue his head
To be vnarmd, and curld vncombed heares
Vpstaring stiffe, dismayd with vncouth dread;
Nor drop of bloud in all his face appeares
Nor life in limbe: and to increase his feares,
In fowle reproch of knighthoods faire degree,
About his neck an hempen rope he weares,
That with his glistring armes does ill agree;
But he of rope or armes has now no memoree.
The Redcrosse knight toward him crossed fast,
To weet, what mister wight was so dismayd:
There him he finds all sencelesse and aghast,
That of him selfe he seemd to be afrayd;
Whom hardly he from flying forward stayd,
Till he these wordes to him deliuer might;
Sir knight, aread who hath ye thus arayd,
And eke from whom make ye this hasty flight:
For neuer knight I saw in such misseeming plight.
He answerd nought at all, but adding new
Feare to his first amazment, staring wide
With stony eyes, and hartlesse hollow hew,
Astonisht stood, as one that had aspide
Infernall furies, with their chaines vntide.
Him yet againe, and yet againe bespake
The gentle knight; who nought to him replide,
But trembling euery ioynt did inly quake,
And foltring tongue at last these words seemd forth to shake
For Gods deare loue, Sir knight, do me not stay;
For loe he comes, he comes fast after mee.
Eft looking backe would faine haue runne away;
But he him forst to stay, and tellen free
The secret cause of his perplexitie:
Yet nathemore by his bold hartie speach,
Could his bloud-frosen hart emboldned bee,
But through his boldnesse rather feare did reach,
Yet forst, at last he made through silence suddein breach.
And am I now in safetie sure (quoth he)
From him, that would haue forced me to dye?
And is the point of death now turnd fro mee,
That I may tell this haplesse history?
Feare nought: (quoth he) no daunger now is nye?
Then shall I you recount a ruefull cace,
(Said he) the which with this vnlucky eye
I late beheld, and had not greater grace
Me reft from it, had bene partaker of the place.
I lately chaunst (Would I had neuer chaunst)
With a faire knight to keepen companee,
Sir Terwin hight, that well himselfe aduaunst
In all affaires, and was both bold and free,
[Page 127]But not so happie as mote happie bee:
He lou'd, as was his lot, a Ladie gent,
That him againe lou'd in the least degree:
For she was proud, and of too high intent,
And ioyd to see her louer languish and lament.
From whom returning sad and comfortlesse,
As on the way together we did fare,
We met that villen (God from him me blesse)
That cursed wight, from whom I scapt whyleare,
A man of hell, that cals himselfe Despaire:
Who first vs greets, and after faire areedes
Of tydings strange, and of aduentures rare:
So creeping close, as Snake in hidden weedes,
Inquireth of our states, and of our knightly deedes.
Which when he knew, and felt our feeble harts
Embost with bale, and bitter byting griefe,
Which loue had launched with his deadly darts,
With wounding words and termes of foule repriefe,
He pluckt from vs all hope of due reliefe,
That earst vs held in loue of lingring life;
Then hopelesse hartlesse, gan the cunning thiefe
Perswade vs die, to stint all further strife:
To me he lent this rope, to him a rustie knife.
With which sad instrument of hastie death,
That wofull louer, loathing lenger light,
A wide way made to let forth liuing breath.
But I more fearefull, or more luckie wight,
Dismayd with that deformed dismall sight,
Fled fast away, halfe dead with dying feare:
Ne yet assur'd of life by you, Sir knight,
Whose like infirmitie like chaunce may beare:
But God you neuer let his charmed speeches heare.
How may a man (said he) with idle speach
Be wonne, to spoyle the Castle of his health?
I wote (quoth he) whom triall late did teach,
That like would not for all this worldes wealth:
His subtill tongue, like dropping honny, mealt'h
Into the hart, and searcheth euery vaine,
That ere one be aware, by secret stealth
His powre is rest, and weaknesse doth remaine.
O neuer Sir desire to try his guilefull traine.
Certes (said he) hence shall I neuer rest,
Till I that treachours art haue heard and tride;
And you Sir knight, whose name mote I request,
Of grace do me vnto his cabin guide.
I that hight: Treuisan (quoth he) will ride
Against my liking backe, to doe you grace:
But nor for gold nor glee will I abide
By you, when ye arriue in that same place;
For leuer had I die, then see his deadly face.
Ere long they come, where that same wicked wight
His dwelling has, low in an hollow caue,
Farre vnderneath a craggie clift ypight,
Darke, dolefull, drearie, like a greedie graue,
That still for carrion carcases doth craue:
On top whereof aye dwelt the ghastly Owle,
Shrieking his balefull note, which euer draue
Farre from that haunt all other chearefull fowle;
And all about it wandring ghostes did waile and howle.
And all about old stockes and stubs of trees,
Whereon nor fruit, nor leafe was euer seene,
Did hang vpon the ragged rocky knees;
On which had many wretches hanged beene,
[Page 129]Whose carcases were scattered on the greene,
And throwne about the clifts. Arriued there,
That bare-head knight for dread and dolefull teene,
Would faine haue fled, ne durst approchen neare,
But th'other forst him stay, and comforted in feare.
That darkesome caue they enter, where they find
That cursed man, low sitting on the ground,
Musing full sadly in his sulle in mind;
His griesie lockes, long growen, and vnbound,
Disordred hong about his shoulders round,
And hid his face; through which his hollow eyne
Look deadly dull, and stared as astound;
His raw-bone cheekes through penurie and pine,
Where shronke into his iawes, as he did neuer dine.
His garment nought but many ragged clouts,
With thornes together pind and patched was,
The which his naked sides he wrapt abouts;
And him beside there lay vpon the gras
A drearie corse, whose life away did pas,
All wallowd in his owne yet luke-warme blood,
That from his wound yet welled fresh alas;
In which a rustie knife fast fixed stood,
And made an open passage for the gushing flood.
Which piteous spectacle, approuing trew
The wofull tale that Treuisan had told,
When as the gentle Redcrosse knight did vew,
With firie zeale he burnt in courage bold,
Him to auenge, before his bloud were cold,
And to the villein said, Thou damned wight,
The author of this fact, we here behold,
What iustice can but iudge against thee right,
With thine owne bloud to price his bloud, here shed in sight.
What franticke fit (quoth he) hath thus distraught
Thee, foolish man, so rash a doome to giue?
What iustice euer other iudgement taught,
But he should die, who merites not to liue?
None else to death this man despayring driue,
But his owne guiltie mind deseruing death.
Is then vniust to each his due to giue?
Or let him die, that loatheth liniug breath?
Or let him die at ease, that liueth here vneath?
Who trauels by the wearie wandring way,
To come vnto his wished home in haste,
And meetes a flood, that doth his passage stay,
Is not great grace to helpe him ouer past,
Or free his feet, that in the myre sticke fast?
Most enuious man, that grieues at neighbours good
And fond, that ioyest in the woe thou hast,
Why wilt not let him passe, that long hath stood
Vpon the banke, yet wilt thy selfe not passe the flood?
He there does now enioy eternall rest
And happie ease, which thou doest want and craue,
And further from it daily wanderest:
What if some litle paine the passage haue,
That makes fraile flesh to feare the bitter waue?
Is not short paine well borne, that brings long ease,
And layes the soule to sleepe in quiet graue?
Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life does greatly please.
The knight much wondred at his suddeine wit,
And said, The terme of life is limited,
Ne may a man prolong, nor shorten it;
The souldier may not moue from watchfull sted,
[Page 131]Nor leaue his stand, vntill his Captaine bed.
Who life did limit by almightie doome,
(Quoth he) knowes best the termes established;
And he, that points the Centonell his roome,
Doth license him depart at sound of morning droome.
Is not his deed, what euer thing is donne,
In heauen and earth? did not he all create
To die againe? all ends that was begonne.
Their times in his eternall booke of fate
Are written sure, and haue their certaine date.
Who then can striue with strong necessitie,
That holds the world in his still chaunging state,
Or shunne the death ordaynd by destinie?
Whē houre of death is come, let none aske whence, nor why.
The lenger life, I wote the greater sin,
The greater sin, the greater punishment:
All those great battels, which thou boasts to win,
Through strife, and bloud-shed, and auengement,
Now praysd, hereafter deare thou shalt repent:
For life must life, and bloud must bloud repay.
Is not enough thy euill life forespent?
For he, that once hath missed the right way,
The further he doth goe, the further he doth stray.
Then do no further goe, no further stray,
But here lie downe, and to thy rest betake,
Th'ill to preuent, that life ensewen may.
For what hath life, that may it loued make,
And giues not rather cause it to forsake?
Feare, sicknesse, age, losse, labour, sorrow, strife,
Paine, hunger, cold, that makes the hart to quake;
And euer fickle fortune rageth rife,
All which, and thousands mo do make a loathsome life.
Thou wretched man, of death hast greatest need,
If in true ballance thou wilt weigh thy state:
For neuer knight, that dared warlike deede,
More lucklesse disauentures did amate:
Witnesse the dongeon deepe, wherein of late
Thy life shut vp, for death so oft did call;
And though good lucke prolonged hath thy date,
Yet death then, would the like mishaps forestall,
Into the which hereafter thou maiest happen fall.
Why then doest thou, ô man of sin, desire
To draw thy dayes forth to their last degree?
Is not the measure of thy sinfull hire
High heaped vp with huge iniquitie,
Against the day of wrath, to burden thee?
Is not enough, that to this Ladie milde
Thou falsed hast thy faith with periurie,
And sold thy selfe to serue Duessa vilde,
With whom in all abuse thou hast thy selfe defilde?
Is not he iust, that all this doth behold
From highest heauen, and beares an equall eye?
Shall he thy sins vp in his knowledge fold,
And guiltie be of thine impietie?
Is not his law, Let euery sinner die:
Die shall all flesh? what then must needs be donne,
Is it not better to doe willinglie,
Then linger, till the glasse be all out ronne?
Death is the end of woes: die soone, O faeries sonne.
The knight was much enmoued with his speach,
That as a swords point through his hart did perse,
And in his conscience made a secret breach,
Well knowing true all, that he did reherse,
[Page 133]And to his fresh remembrance did reuerse
The vgly vew of his deformed crimes,
That all his manly powres it did disperse,
As he were charmed with inchaunted rimes,
That oftentimes he quakt, and fainted oftentimes.
In which amazement, when the Miscreant
Perceiued him to wauer weake and fraile,
Whiles trembling horror did his conscience dant,
And hellish anguish did his soule assaile,
To driue him to despaire, and quite to quaile,
He shew'd him painted in a table plaine,
The damned ghosts, that doe in torments waile,
And thousand feends that doe them endlesse paine
With fire and brimstone, which for euer shall remaine.
The sight whereof so throughly him dismaid,
That nought but death before his eyes he saw,
And euer burning wrath before him laid,
By righteous sentence of th'Almighties law:
Then gan the villein him to ouercraw,
And brought vnto him swords, ropes, poison, fire,
And all that might him to perdition draw;
And bad him choose, what death he would desire:
For death was due to him, that had prouokt Gods ire.
But when as none of them he saw him take,
He to him raught a dagger sharpe and keene,
And gaue it him in hand: his hand did quake,
And tremble like a leafe of Aspin greene,
And troubled bloud through his pale face was seene
To come, and goe with tydings from the hart,
As it a running messenger had beene.
At last resolu'd to worke his finall smart,
He listed vp his hand, that backe againe did start.
Which when as Vna saw, through euery vaine
The crudled cold ran to her well of life,
As in a swowne: but soone reliu'd againe,
Out of his hand she snatcht the cursed knife,
And threw it to the ground, enraged rife,
And to him said, Fie, fie, faint harted knight,
What meanest thou by this reprochfull strife?
Is this the battell, which thou vauntst to fight
With that fire-mouthed Dragon, horrible and bright?
Come, come away, fraile, seely, fleshly wight,
Ne let vaine words bewitch thy manly hart,
Ne diuelish thoughts dismay thy constant spright.
In heauenly mercies hast thou not a part?
Why shouldst thou then despeire, that chosen art?
Where iustice growes, there grows eke greater grace▪
The which doth quench the brond of hellish smart,
And that accurst hand-writing doth deface,
Arise, Sir knight arise, and leaue this cursed place.
So vp he rose, and thence amounted streight.
Which when the carle beheld, and saw his guest
Would safe depart, for all his subtill sleight,
He chose an halter from among the rest,
And with it hung himselfe, vnbid vnblest.
But death he could not worke himselfe thereby;
For thousand times he so himselfe had drest,
Yet nathelesse it could not doe him die,
Till he should die his last, that is eternally.

Cant. X.

Her faithfull knight faire Ʋna brings
to house of Holinesse,
Where he is taught repentance, and
the way to heauenly blesse.
WHat man is he, that boasts of fleshly might,
And vaine assurance of mortality,
Which all so soone, as it doth come to fight,
Against spirituall foes, yeelds by and by,
Or from the field most cowardly doth fly?
Ne let the man ascribe it to his skill,
That thorough grace hath gained victory.
If any strength we haue, it is to ill,
But all the good is Gods, both power and eke will.
By that, which lately hapned, Vna saw,
That this her knight was feeble, and too faint;
And all his sinews woxen weake and raw,
Through long enprisonment, and hard constraint,
Which he endured in his late restraint,
That yet he was vnfit for bloudie fight:
Therefore to cherish him with diets daint,
She cast to bring him, where he chearen might,
Till he recouered had his late decayed plight.
There was an auntient house not farre away,
Renowmd throughout the world for sacred lore,
And pure vnspotted life: so well they say
It gouernd was, and guided euermore,
[Page 136]Through wisedome of a matrone graue and hore;
Whose onely ioy was to relieue the needes
Of wretched soules, and helpe the helpelesse pore:
All night she spent in bidding of her bedes,
And all the day in doing good and godly deedes.
Dame Caelia men did her call, as thought
From heauen to come, or thither to arise,
The mother of three daughters, well vpbrought
In goodly thewes, and godly exercise:
The eldest two most sober, chast, and wise,
Fidelia and Speranza virgins were,
Though spousd, yet wanting wedlocks solemnize;
But faire Charissa to a louely fere
Was lincked, and by him had many pledges dere.
Arriued there, the dore they find fast lockt;
For it was warely watched night and day,
For feare of many foes: but when they knockt,
The Porter opened vnto them streight way:
He was an aged syre, all hory gray,
With lookes full lowly cast, and gate full slow,
Wont on a staffe his feeble steps to stay,
Hight Humilta. They passe in stouping low;
For streight & narrow was the way, which he did show.
Each goodly thing is hardest to begin,
But entred in a spacious court they see,
Both plaine, and pleasant to be walked in,
Where them does meete a francklin faire and free,
And entertaines with comely courteous glee,
His name was Zele, that him right well became,
For in his speeches and behauiour hee
Did labour liuely to expresse the same,
And gladly did them guide, till to the Hall they came.
There fairely them receiues a gentle Squire,
Of milde demeanure, and rare courtesie,
Right cleanly clad in comely sad attire;
In word and deede that shew'd great modestie,
And knew his good to all of each degree,
Hight Reuerence. He them with speeches meet
Does faire entreat; no courting nicetie,
But simple true, and eke vnfained sweet,
As might become a Squire so great persons to greet.
And afterwards them to his Dame he leades,
That aged Dame, the Ladie of the place:
Who all this while was busie at her beades:
Which doen, she vp arose with seemely grace,
And toward them full matronely did pace.
Where when that fairest Vna she beheld,
Whom well she knew to spring from heauenly race,
Her hart with ioy vnwonted inly sweld,
As feeling wondrous comfort in her weaker eld.
And her embracing said, ô happic earth,
Whereon thy innocent feet doe euer tread,
Most vertuous virgin borne of heauenly berth,
That to redeeme thy woefull parents head,
From tyrans rage, and euer-dying dread,
Hast wandred through the world now long a day;
Yet ceasest not thy wearie soles to lead,
What grace hath thee now hither, brought this way?
Or doen thy feeble feet vnweeting hither stray?
Strange thing it is an errant knight to see
Here in this place, or any other wight,
That hither turnes his steps. So few there bee,
That chose the narrow path, or seeke the right:
[Page 138]All keepe the broad high way, and take delight
With many rather for to go astray,
And be partakers of their euill plight,
Then with a few to walke the rightest way;
O foolish men, why haste ye to your owne decay?
Thy selfe to see, and tyred limbs to rest,
O matrone sage (quoth she) I hither came,
And this good knight his way with me addrest,
Led with thy prayses and broad-blazed fame,
That vp to heauen is blowne. The auncient Dame,
Him goodly greeted in her modest guise,
And entertaynd them both, as best became,
With all the court'sies, that she could deuise,
Ne wanted ought, to shew her bounteous or wise.
Thus as they gan of sundry things deuise,
Loe two most goodly virgins came in place,
Ylinked arme in arme in louely wise,
With countenance demure, and modest grace,
They numbred euen steps and equall pace:
Of which the eldest, that Fidelia hight,
Like sunny beames threw from her Christall face,
That could haue dazd the rash beholders sight,
And round about her head did shine like heauens light
She was araied all in lilly white,
And in her right hand bore a cup of gold,
With wine and water fild vp to the hight,
In which a Serpent did himselfe enfold,
That horrour made to all, that did behold;
But she no whit did chaunge her constant mood:
And in her other hand she fast did hold
A booke, that was both signd and seald with blood,
Wherein darke things were writ, hard to be vnderstood.
Her younger sister, that Speranza hight,
Was clad in blew, that her beseemed well;
Not all so chearefull seemed she of sight,
As was her sister; whether dread did dwell,
Or anguish in her hart, is hard to tell:
Vpon her arme a siluer anchor lay,
Whereon she leaned euer, as befell:
And euer vp to heauen, as she did pray,
Her stedfast eyes were bent, ne swarued other way.
They seeing Vna, towards her gan wend,
Who them encounters with like courtesie;
Many kind speeches they betwene them spend,
And greatly ioy each other well to see:
Then to the knight with shamefast modestie
They turne themselues, at Vnaes meeke request,
And him salute with well beseeming glee;
Who faire them quites, as him beseemed best,
And goodly gan discourse of many a noble gest.
Then Vna thus; But she your sister deare,
The deare Charissa where is she become?
Or wants she health, or busie is elsewhere?
Ah no, said they, but forth she may not come:
For she of late is lightned of her wombe,
And hath encreast the world with one sonne more,
That her to see should be but troublesome.
Indeede (quoth she) that should be trouble sore,
But thankt be God, and her encrease so euermore.
Then said the aged Coelia, Deare dame,
And you good Sir, I wote that of your toyle,
And labours long, through which ye hither came,
Ye both forwearied be: therefore a whyle
[Page 140]I read you rest, and to your bowres recoyle.
Then called she a Groome, that forth him led
Into a goodly lodge, and gan despoile
Of puissant armes, and laid in easie bed;
His name was meeke Obedience rightfully ared.
Now when their wearie limbes with kindly rest,
And bodies were refresht with due repast,
Faire Vna gan Fidelia faire request,
To haue her knight into her schoolehouse plaste,
That of her heauenly learning he might taste,
And heare the wisedome of her words diuine.
She graunted, and that knight so much agraste,
That she him taught celestiall discipline,
And opened his dull eyes, that light mote in them shine
And that her sacred Booke, with bloudy writ,
That none could read, except she did them teach,
She vnto him disclosed euery whit,
And heauenly documents thereout did preach,
That weaker wit of man could neuer reach,
Of God, of grace, of iustice, of free will,
That wonder was to heare her goodly speach:
For she was able, with her words to kill,
And raise againe to life the hart, that she did thrill.
And when she list poure out her larger spright,
She would commaund the hastie Sunne to stay,
Or backward turne his course from heauens hight;
Sometimes great hostes of men she could dismay,
And eke huge mountaines from their natiue seat
She would commaund, themselues to beare away,
And throw in raging sea with roaring threat.
Almightie God her gaue such powre, and puissance great.
The faithfull knight now grew in litle space,
By hearing her, and by her sisters lore,
To such perfection of all heauenly grace,
That wretched world he gan for to abhore,
And mortall life gan loath, as thing forlore,
Greeu'd with remembrance of his wicked wayes,
And prickt with anguish of his sinnes so sore,
That he desirde, to end his wretched dayes:
So much the dart of sinfull guilt the soule dismayes.
But wise Speranza gaue him comfort sweet,
And taught him how to take assured hold
Vpon her siluer anchor, as was meet;
Else had his sinnes so great, and manifold
Made him forget all that Fidelia told.
In this distressed doubtfull agonie,
When him his dearest Vna did behold,
Disdeining life, desiring leaue to die,
She found her selfe assayld with great perplexitie.
And came to Coelia to declare her smart,
Who well acquainted with that commune plight,
Which sinfull horror workes in wounded hart,
Her wisely comforted all that she might,
With goodly counsell and aduisement right;
And streightway sent with carefull diligence,
To fetch a Leach, the which had great insight
In that disease of grieued conscience,
And well could cure the same; His name was Patience.
Who comming to that soule-diseased knight,
Could hardly him intreat, to tell his griefe:
Which knowne, and all that noyd his heauie spright,
Well searcht, eftsoones he gan apply reliefe.
[Page 142]Of salues and med'cines, which had passing priefe,
And thereto added words of wondrous might:
By which to ease he him recured briefe,
And much asswag'd the passion of his plight,
That he his paine endur'd, as seeming now more light
But yet the cause and root of all his ill,
Inward corruption, and infected sin,
Not purg'd nor heald, behind remained still,
And festring sore did rankle yet within,
Close creeping twixt the marrow and the skin.
Which to extirpe, he laid him priuily
Downe in a darkesome lowly place farre in,
Whereas he meant his corrosiues to apply,
And with streight diet tame his stubborne malady.
In ashes and sackcloth he did array
His daintie corse, proud humors to abate,
And dieted with fasting euery day,
The swelling of his wounds to mitigate,
And made him pray both earely and eke late:
And euer as superfluous flesh did rot
Amendment readie still at hand did wayt,
To pluck it out with pincers firie whot,
That soone in him was left no one corrupted iot.
And bitter Penance with an yron whip,
Was wont him once to disple euery day:
And sharpe Remorse his hart did pricke and nip,
That drops of bloud thence like a well did play;
And sad Repentance vsed to embay,
His bodie in salt water smarting sore,
The filthy blots of sinne to wash away.
So in short space they did to health restore
The man that would not liue, but earst lay at deathes dore
which his torment often was so great,
That like a Lyon he would cry and rore,
And rend his flesh, and his owne synewes eat.
His owne deare Vna hearing euermore
His ruefull shriekes and gronings, often tore
Her guiltlesse garments, and her golden heare,
For pitty of his paine and anguish sore;
Yet all with patience wisely she did beare;
or well she wist, his crime could else be neuer cleare,
Whom thus recouer'd by wise Patience,
And trew Repentance they to Vna brought:
Who ioyous of his cured conscience,
Him dearely kist, and fairely eke besought
Himselfe to chearish, and consuming thought
To put away out of his carefull brest.
By this Charissa, late in child-bed brought,
Was woxen strong, and left her fruitfull nest;
To her faire Vna brought this vnacquainted guest.
He was a woman in her freshest age,
Of wondrous beauty, and of bountie rare,
With goodly grace and comely personage,
That was on earth not easie to compare;
Full of great loue, but Cupids wanton snare
As hell she hated, chast in worke and will;
Her necke and breasts were euer open bare,
That ay thereof her babes might sucke their fill;
The rest was all in yellow robes arayed still.
A multitude of babes about her hong,
Playing their sports, that ioyd her to behold,
Whom still she fed, whiles they were weake & young,
But thrust them forth still, as they wexed old:
[Page 144]And on her head she wore a tyre of gold,
Adornd with gemmes and owches wondrous faire.
Whose passing price vneath was to be told;
And by her side there sate a gentle paire
Of turtle doues, she sitting in an yuorie chaire.
The knight and Vna entring, faire her greet,
And bid her ioy of that her happie brood;
Who them requites with court'sies seeming meet,
And entertaines with friendly chearefull mood.
Then Vna her besought, to be so good,
As in her vertuous rules to schoole her knight,
Now after all his torment well withstood,
In that sad house of Penaunce, where his spright
Had past the paines of hell, and long enduring night.
She was right ioyous of her iust request,
And taking by the hand that Faeries sonne,
Gan him instruct in euery good behest,
Of loue, and righteousnesse, and well to donne,
And wrath, and hatred warely to shonne,
That drew on men Gods hatred, and his wrath,
And many soules in dolours had fordonne:
In which when him she well instructed hath,
From thence to heauen she teacheth him the ready path[?]
Wherein his weaker wandring steps to guide,
An auncient matrone she to her does call,
Whose sober lookes her wisedome well descride:
Her name was Mercie, well knowne ouer all,
To be both gratious, and eke liberall:
To whom the carefull charge of him she gaue,
To lead aright, that he should neuer fall
In all his wayes through this wide worldes waue,
That Mercy in the end his righteous soule might saue.
The godly Matrone by the hand him beares
Forth from her presence, by a narrow way,
Scattred with bushy thornes, and ragged breares,
Which still before him she remou'd away,
That nothing might his ready passage stay:
And euer when his feet encombred were,
Organ to shrinke, or from the right to stray,
She held him fast, and firmely did vpbeare,
As carefull Nourse her child from falling oft does reare.
Eftsoones vnto an holy Hospitall,
That was fore by the way, she did him bring,
In which seuen Bead-men that had vowed all
Their life to seruice of high heauens king
Did spend their dayes in doing godly thing:
There gates to all were open euermore,
That by the wearie way were traueiling,
And one sate wayting euer them before,
To call in-commers by, that needy were and pore.
The first of them that eldest was, and best,
Of all the house had charge and gouernement,
As Guardian and Steward of the rest:
His office was to giue entertainement
And lodging, vnto all that came, and went:
Not vnto such, as could him feast againe,
And double quite, for that he on them spent,
But such, as want of harbour did constraine:
Those for Gods sake his dewty was to entertaine.
The second was as Almner of the place,
His office was, the hungry for to feed,
And thristy giue to drinke, a worke of grace:
He feard not once him selfe to be in need,
[Page 146]Ne car'd to hoord for those, whom he did breede:
The grace of God he layd vp still in store,
Which as a stocke he left vnto his seede;
He had enough, what need him care for more?
And had he lesse, yet some he would giue to the pore.
The third had of their wardrobe custodie,
In which were not rich tyres, nor garments gay,
The plumes of pride, and wings of vanitie,
But clothes meet to keepe keene could away,
And naked nature seemely to aray;
With which bare wretched wights he dayly clad,
The images of God in earthly clay;
And if that no spare cloths to giue he had,
His owne coate he would cut, and it distribute glad.
The fourth appointed by his office was,
Poore prisoners to relieue with gratious ayd,
And captiues to redeeme with price of bras,
From Turkes and Sarazins, which them had stayd;
And though they faultie were, yet well he wayd,
That God to vs forgiueth euery howre
Much more then that, why they in bands were layd,
And he that harrowd hell with heauie stowre,
The faultie soules from thence brought to his heauenly bowre
The fift had charge sicke persons to attend,
And comfort those, in point of death which lay;
For them most needeth comfort in the end,
When sin, and hell, and death do most dismay
The feeble soule departing hence away.
All is but lost, that liuing we bestow,
If not well ended at our dying day.
O man haue mind of that last bitter throw;
For as the tree does fall, so lyes it euer low.
The sixt had charge of them now being dead,
In seemely sort their corses to engraue,
And deck with dainty flowres their bridall bed,
That to their heauenly spouse both sweet and braue
They might appeare, when he their soules shall saue.
The wondrous workemanship of Gods owne mould,
Whose face he made, all beasts to feare, and gaue
All in his hand, euen dead we honour should.
Ah dearest God me graunt, I dead be not defould.
The seuenth now after death and buriall done,
Had charge the tender Orphans of the dead
And widowes ayd, least they should be vndone:
In face of iudgement he their right would plead,
Ne ought the powre of mighty men did dread
In their defence, nor would for gold or fee
Be wonne their rightfull causes downe to tread:
And when they stood in most necessitee,
He did supply their want, and gaue them euer free.
There when the Elfin knight arriued was,
The first and chiefest of the seuen, whose care
Was guests to welcome, towardes him did pas:
Where seeing Mercie, that his steps vp bare,
And alwayes led, to her with reuerence rare
He humbly louted in meeke lowlinesse,
And seemely welcome for her did prepare:
For of their order she was Patronesse,
Albe Charissa were their chiefest founderesse.
There she awhile him stayes, him selfe to rest,
That to the rest more able he might bee:
During which time, in euery good behest
And godly worke of Almes and charitee
[Page 148]She him instructed with great industree;
Shortly therein so perfect he became,
That from the first vnto the last degree,
His mortall life he learned had to frame
In holy righteousnesse, without rebuke or blame.
Thence forward by that painfull way they pas,
Forth to an hill, that was both steepe and hy;
On top whereof a sacred chappell was,
And eke a litle Hermitage thereby,
Wherein an aged holy man did lye,
That day and night said his deuotion,
Ne other worldly busines did apply;
His name was heauenly Contemplation;
Of God and goodnesse was his meditation.
Great grace that old man to him giuen had;
For God he often saw from heauens hight,
All were his earthly eyen both blunt and bad,
And through great age had lost their kindly sight,
Yet wondrous quick and persant was his spright,
As Eagles eye, that can behold the Sunne:
That hill they scale with all their powre and might,
That his frayle thighes nigh wearie and fordonne
Gan faile, but by her helpe the top at last he wonne.
There they do finde that godly aged Sire,
With snowy lockes adowne his shoulders shed,
As hoarie frost with spangles doth attire
The mossy braunches of an Oke halfe ded.
Each bone might through his body well be red,
And euery sinew seene through his long fast:
For nought he car'd his carcas long vnfed;
His mind was full of spirituall repast,
And pyn'd his flesh, to keepe his body low and chast.
Who when these two approching he aspide,
At their first presence grew agrieued sore,
That forst him lay his heauenly thoughts aside;
And had he not that Dame respected more,
Whom highly he did reuerence and adore,
He would not once haue moued for the knight.
They him saluted standing far afore;
Who well them greeting, humbly did requight,
And asked, to what end they clomb that tedious height.
What end (quoth he) should cause vs take such paine,
But that same end, which euery liuing wight
Should make his marke, high heauen to attaine?
Is not from hence the way, that leadeth right
To that most glorious house, that glistreth bright
With burning starres, and euerliuing fire,
Whereof the keyes are to thy hand behight
By wise Fidelia? she doth thee require,
To shew it to this knight, according his desire.
Thrise happy man, said then the father graue,
Whose staggering steps thy steady hand doth lead,
And shewes the way, his sinfull soule to saue.
Who better can the way to heauen aread,
Then thou thy selfe, that was both borne and bred
In heauenly throne, where thousand Angels shine?
Thou doest the prayers of the righteous sead
Present before the maiestie diuine,
And his auenging wrath to clemencie incline.
Yet since thou bidst, thy pleasure shalbe donne.
Then come thou man of earth, and see the way,
That neuer yet was seene of Faeries sonne,
That neuer leads the traueiler astray,
[Page 150]But after labours long, and sad delay,
Bring them to ioyous rest and endlesse blis.
But first thou must a season fast and pray,
Till from her bands the spright assoiled is,
And haue her strength recur'd from fraile infirmitis.
That done, he leads him to the highest Mount;
Such one, as that same mighty man of God,
That bloud-red billowes like a walled front
On either side disparted with his rod,
Till that his army dry-foot through them yod,
Dwelt fortie dayes vpon; where writ in stone
With bloudy letters by the hand of God,
The bitter doome of death and balefull mone
He did receiue, whiles flashing fire about him shone.
Or like that sacred hill, whose head full hie,
Adornd with fruitfull Oliues all arownd,
Is, as it were for endlesse memory
Of that deare Lord, who oft thereon was fownd,
For euer with a flowring girlond crownd:
Or like that pleasaunt Mount, that is for ay
Through famous Poets verse each where renownd,
On which the thrise three learned Ladies play
Their heauenly notes, and make full many a louely lay.
From thence, far off he vnto him did shew
A litle path, that was both steepe and long,
Which to a goodly Citie led his vew;
Whose wals and towres were builded high and strong
Of perle and precious stone, that earthly tong
Cannot describe, nor wit of man can tell;
Too high a ditty for my simple song;
The Citie of the great king hight it well,
Wherein eternall peace and happinesse doth dwell.
As he thereon stood gazing, he might see
The blessed Angels to and fro descend
From highest heauen, in gladsome companee,
And with great ioy into that Citie wend,
As commonly as friend does with his frend.
Whereathe wondred much, and gan enquere,
What stately building durst so high extend
Her loftie towres vnto the starry sphere,
And what vnknowen nation there empeopled were.
Faire knight (quoth he) Hierusalem that is,
The new Hierusalem, that God has built
For those to dwell in, that are chosen his,
His chosen people purg'd from sinfull guilt,
With piteous bloud, which cruelly was spilt
On cursed tree, of that vnspotted lam,
That for the sinnes of all the world was kilt:
Now are they Saints all in that Citie sam,
More deare vnto their God, then yoūglings to their dam.
Till now, said then the knight, I weened well,
That great Cleopolis, where I haue beene,
In which that fairest Faerie Queene doth dwell
The fairest Citie was, that might be seene;
And that bright towre all built of christall cleene,
Panthea, seemd the brightest thing, that was:
But now by proofe all otherwise I weene;
For this great Citie that does far surpas,
And this bright Angels towre quite dims that towre of glas.
Most trew, then said the holy aged man;
Yet is Cleopolis for earthly fame,
The fairest peece, that eye beholden can:
And well beseemes all knights of noble name,
[Page 152]That couet in th'immortall booke of fame
To be eternized, that same to haunt,
And doen their seruice to that soueraigne Dame,
That glorie does to them for guerdon graunt:
For she is heauenly borne, and heauen may iustly vaunt.
And thou faire ymp, sprong out from English race,
How euer now accompted Elsins sonne,
Well worthy doest thy seruice for her grace,
To aide a virgin desolate foredonne.
But when thou famous victorie hast wonne,
And high emongst all knights hast hong thy shield,
Thenceforth the suit of earthly conquest shonne,
And wash thy hands from guilt of bloudy field:
For bloud can nought but sin, & wars but sorrowes yield
Then seeke this path, that I to thee presage,
Which after all to heauen shall thee send;
Then peaceably to thy painefull pilgrimage
To yonder same Hierusalem do bend,
Where is for thee ordaind a blessed end:
For thou emongst those Saints, whom thou doest see,
Shalt be a Saint, and thine owne nations frend
And Patrone: thou Saint George shalt called bee,
Saint George of mery England, the signe of victoree.
Vnworthy wretch(quoth he) ofso great grace,
How dare I thinke such glory to attaine?
These that haue it attaind, were in like cace
(Quoth he) as wretched, and liu'd in like paine.
But deeds of armes must I at last be faine,
And Ladies loue to leaue so dearely bought?
What need of armes, where peace doth ay remaine,
(Said he) and battailes none are to be fought?
As for loose loues are vaine, and vanish into nought.
O let me not (quoth he) then turne againe
Backe to the world, whose ioyes so fruitlesse are;
But let me here for aye in peace remaine,
Or streight way on that last long voyage fare,
That nothing may my present hope empare.
That may not be (said he) ne maist thou yit
Forgo that royall maides bequeathed care,
Who did her cause into thy hand commit,
Till from her cursed foe thou haue her freely quit.
Then shall I soone, (quoth he) so God me grace,
Abet that virgins cause disconsolate,
And shortly backe returne vnto this place,
To walke this way in Pilgrims poore estate.
But now aread, old father, why of late
Didst thou behight me borne of English blood,
Whom all a Faeries sonne doen then nominate?
That word shall I (said he) auouchen good,
Sith to thee is vnknowne the cradle of thy brood.
For well I wote, thou springst from ancient race
Of Saxon kings, that haue with mightie hand
And many bloudie battailes fought in place
High reard their royall throne in Britane land,
And vanquisht them, vnable to withstand:
From thence a Faerie thee vnweeting rest,
There as thou slepst in tender swadling band,
And her base Elfin brood there for thee left.
Such men do Chaungelings call, so chaungd by Faeries theft.
Thence she thee brought into this Faerie lond,
And in an heaped furrow did thee hyde,
Where thee a Ploughman all vnweeting fond,
As he his toylesome teme that way did guyde,
[Page 154]And brought thee vp in ploughmans state to byde,
Whereof Georgos he thee gaue to name;
Till prickt with courage, and thy forces pryde,
To Faery court thou cam'st to seeke for fame,
And proue thy puissaunt armes, as seemes thee best be­came[?]
O holy Sire (quoth he) how shall I quight
The many fauours I with thee haue found,
That hast my name and nation red aright,
And taught the way that does to heauen bound?
This said, adowne he looked to the ground,
To haue returnd, but dazed were his eyne,
Through passing brightnesse, which did quite cōfoun
His feeble sence, and too exceeding shyne.
So darke are earthly things compard to things diuine.
At last whenas himselfe he gan to find,
To Vna back he cast him to retire;
Who him awaited still with pensiue mind.
Great thankes and goodly meed to that good syre,
He thence departing gaue for his paines hyre.
So came to Vna, who him ioyd to see,
And after litle rest, gan him desire,
Of her aduenture mindfull for to bee.
So leaue they take of Coelia, and her daughters three.

Cant. XI.

The knight with that old Dragon fights
two dayes incessantly:
The third him ouerthrowes, and gayns
most glorious victory.
HIgh time now gan it wex for Vna faire,
To thinke of those her captiue Parents deare,
And their forwasted kingdome to repaire:
Whereto whenas they now approched neare,
With hartie words her knight she gan to cheare,
And in her modest manner thus bespake;
Deare knight, as deare, as euer knight was deare,
That all these sorrowes suffer for my sake,
High heauen behold the tedious toyle, ye for me take,
Now are we come vnto my natiue soyle,
And to the place, where all our perils dwell;
Here haunts that feend, and does his dayly spoyle,
Therefore henceforth be at your keeping well,
And euer ready for your foeman fell.
The sparke of noble courage now awake,
And striue your excellent selfe to excell;
That shall ye euermore renowmed make,
Aboue all knights on earth, that batteill vndertake.
And pointing forth, lo yonder is (said she)
The brasen towre in which my parents deare
For dread of that huge feend emprisond be
Whom I from far, see on the walles appeare
[Page 156]Whose sight my feeble soule doth greatly cheare:
And on the top of all I do espye
The watchman wayting tydings glad to heare,
That ô my parents might I happily
Vnto you bring, to ease you of your misery.
With that they heard a roaring hideous sound,
That all the ayre with terrour filled wide,
And seemd vneath to shake the stedfast ground.
Eftsoones that dreadfull Dragon they espide,
Where stretch he lay vpon the sunny side,
Of a great hill, himselfe like a great hill.
But all so soone, as he from far descride
Those glistring armes, that heauen with light did fill,
He rousd himselfe full blith, and hastned them vntill.
Then bad the knight this Lady yede aloofe,
And to an hill her selfe with draw aside,
From whence she might behold that battailles proof
And eke be safe from daunger far descryde:
She him obayd, and turnd a little wyde.
Now O thou sacred Muse, most learned Dame,
Faire ympe of Phoebus, and his aged bride,
The Nourse of time, and euerlasting fame,
That warlike hands ennoblest with immortall name;
O gently come into my feeble brest,
Come gently, but not with that mighty rage,
Wherewith the martiall troupes thou doest infest,
And harts of great Heroes doest enrage,
That nought their kindled courage may aswage,
Soone as thy dreadfull trompe begins to sownd;
The God of warre with his fiers equipage
Thou doest awake, sleepe neuer he so sownd,
And feared nations doest with horrour sterne astownd.
Faire Goddesse lay that furious fit aside,
Till I of warres and bloudy Mars do sing,
And Briton fields with Sarazin bloud bedyde,
Twixt that great faery Queene and Paynim king,
That with their horrour heauen and earth did ring,
A worke of labour long, and endlesse prayse:
But now a while let downe that haughtie string,
And to my tunes thy second tenor rayse,
That I this man of God his godly armes may blaze.
By this the dreadfull Beast drew nigh to hand,
Halfe flying, and halfe footing in his hast,
That with his largenesse measured much land,
And made wide shadow vnder his huge wast;
As mountaine doth the valley ouercast.
Approching nigh, he reared high afore
His body monstrous, horrible, and wast,
Which to increase his wondrous greatnesse more,
Was swolne with wrath, & poyson, & with bloudy gore.
And ouer, all with brasen scales was armd,
Like plated coate of steele, so couched neare,
That nought mote perce, ne might his corse be harmd
With dint of sword, nor push of pointed speare;
Which as an Eagle, seeing pray appeare,
His aery plumes doth rouze, full rudely dight,
So shaked he, that horrour was to heare,
For as the clashing of an Armour bright,
Such noyse his rouzed scales did send vnto the knight.
His flaggy wings when forth he did display,
Were like two sayles, in which the hollow wynd
Is gathered full, and worketh speedy way:
And eke the pennes, that did his pineons bynd
[Page 158]Were like mayne-yards, with flying canuas lynd,
With which whenas him list the ayre to beat,
And there by force vnwonted passage find,
The cloudes before him fled for terrour great,
And all the heauens stood still amazed with his threat.
His huge long tayle wound vp in hundred foldes,
Does ouerspred his long bras-scaly backe,
Whose wreathed boughts when euer he vnfoldes,
And thicke entangled knots adown does slacke.
Bespotted all with shields of red and blacke,
It sweepeth all the land behind him farre,
And of three furlongs does but litle lacke;
And at the point two stings in-fixed arre,
Both deadly sharpe, that sharpest steele exceeden farre.
But stings and sharpest steele did far exceed
The sharpnesse of his cruell rending clawes;
Dead was it sure, as sure as death in deed,
What euer thing does touch his rauenous pawes,
Or what within his reach he euer drawes.
But his most hideous head my toung to tell,
Does tremble: for his deepe deuouring iawes
Wide gaped, like the griesly mouth of hell,
Through which into his darke abisse all rauin fell.
And that more wondrous was, in either iaw
Three ranckes of yron teeth enraunged were,
In which yet trickling bloud and gobbets raw
Of late deuoured bodies did appeare,
That sight thereof bred cold congealed feare:
Which to increase, and all atonce to kill,
A cloud of smoothering smoke and sulphur seare
Out of his stinking gorge forth steemed still,
That all the ayre about with smoke and stench did fill.
His blazing eyes, like two bright shining shields,
Did burne with wrath, and sparkled liuing fyre;
As two broad Beacons, set in open fields,
Send forth their flames farre off to euery shyre,
And warning giue, that enemies conspyre,
With fire and sword the region to inuade;
So flam'd his eyne with rage and rancorous yre:
But farre within, as in a hollow glade,
Those glaring lampes were set, that made a dreadfull shade.
So dreadfully he towards him did pas,
Forelifting vp aloft his speckled brest,
And often bounding on the brused gras,
As for great ioyance of his newcome guest.
Eftsoones he gan aduance his haughtie crest,
As chauffed Bore his bristles doth vpreare,
And shoke his scales to battell readie drest;
That made the Redcrosse knight nigh quake for feare,
As bidding bold defiance to his foeman neare.
The knight gan fairely couch his steadie speare,
And fiercely ran at him with rigorous might:
The pointed steele arriuing rudely theare,
His harder hide would neither perce, nor bight,
But glauncing by forth passed forward right;
Yet sore amoued with so puissant push,
The wrathfull beast about him turned light,
And him so rudely passing by, did brush
With his long tayle, that horse and man to ground did rush.
Both horse and man vp lightly rose againe,
And fresh encounter towards him addrest:
But th'idle stroke yet backe recoyld in vaine,
And found no place his deadly point to rest.
[Page 160]Exceeding; rage enflam'd the furious beast,
To be auenged of so great despight;
For neuer felt his imperceable brest
So wondrous force, from hand of liuing wight;
Yet had he prou'd the powre of many a puissant knight.
Then with his wauing wings displayed wyde,
Himselfe vp high he lifted from the ground,
And with strong flight did forcibly diuide
The yielding aire, which nigh too feeble found
Her flitting partes, and element vnfound,
To beare so great a weight: he cutting way
With his broad sayles, about him soared round:
At last low stouping with vnweldie sway,
Snatcht vp both horse & man, to beare them quite away.
Long he them bore aboue the subiect plaine,
So farre as Ewghen bow a shaft may send,
Till struggling strong did him at last constraine,
To let them downe before his flightes end:
As hagard hauke presuming to contend
With hardie fowle, aboue his hable might,
His wearie pounces all in vaine doth spend,
To trusse the pray too heauie for his flight;
Which comming downe to ground, does free it selfe by fight.
He so disseized of his gryping grosse,
The knight his thrillant speare againe assayd
In his bras-plated body to embosse,
And three mens strength vnto the stroke he layd;
Wherewith the stiffe beame quaked, as affrayd,
And glauncing from his scaly necke, did glyde
Close vnder his left wing, then broad displayd.
The percing steele there wrought a woundfull wyde,
That with the vncouth smart the Monster lowdly cryde.
He cryde, as raging seas are wont to rore,
When wintry storme his wrathfull wreck does threat,
The rolling billowes beat the ragged shore,
As they the earth would shoulder from her seat,
And greedie gulfe does gape, as he would eat
His neighbour element in his reuenge:
Then gin the blustring brethren boldly threat,
To moue the world from off his stedfast henge,
And boystrous battell make, each other to auenge.
The steely head stucke fast still in his flesh,
Till with his cruell clawes he snatcht the wood,
And quite a sunder broke. Forth flowed fresh
A gushing riuer of blacke goarie blood,
That drowned all the land, whereon he stood;
The streame thereof would driue a water-mill.
Trebly augmented was his furious mood
With bitter sense of his deepe rooted ill,
That flames of fire he threw forth frō his large nosethrill.
His hideous tayle then hurled he about,
And therewith all enwrapt the nimble thyes
Of his froth-fomy steed, whose courage stout
Striuing to loose the knot, that fast him tyes,
Himselfe in streighter bandes too rash implyes,
That to the ground he is perforce constraynd
To throw his rider: who can quickly ryse
From off the earth, with durty bloud distaynd,
For that reprochfull fall right fowly he disdaynd.
And fiercely tooke his trench and blade in hand,
With which he stroke so furious and so fell,
That nothing seemd the puissance could withstand:
Vpon his crest the hardned yron fell,
[Page 162]But his more hardned crest was armd so well,
That deeper dint therein it would not make;
Yet so extremely did the buffe him quell,
That from thenceforth he shund the like to take,
But when he saw them come, he did them still forsake.
The knight was wrath to see his stroke beguyld,
And smote againe with more outrageous might;
But backe againe the sparckling steele recoyld,
And left not any marke, where it did light;
As if in Adamant rocke it had bene pight.
The beast impatient of his smarting wound,
And of so fierce and forcible despight,
Thought with his wings to stye aboue the ground;
But his late wounded wing vnseruiceable found.
Then full of griefe and anguish vehement,
He lowdly brayd, that like was neuer heard,
And from his wide deuouring ouen sent
A flake of fire, that flashing in his beard,
Him all amazd, and almost made affeard:
The scorching flame sore swinged all his face,
And through his armour all his bodie seard,
That he could not endure so cruell cace,
But thought his armes to leaue, and helmet to vnlace.
Not that great Champion of the antique world,
Whom famous Poetes verse so much doth daunt,
And hath for twelue huge labours high extold,
So many furies and sharpe fits did haunt,
When him the poysoned garment did enchaunt
With Centaures bloud, and bloudie verses charm'd,
As did this knight twelue thousand dolours daunt,
Whom fyrie steele now burnt, that earst him arm'd,
That erst him goodly arm'd, now most of all him harm'd.
Faint, wearie, sore, emboyled, grieued, brent
With heat, toyle, wounds, armes, smart, & inward fire
That neuer man such mischiefes did torment;
Death better were, death did he oft desire,
But death will neuer come, when needes require.
Whom so dismayd when that his foe beheld,
He cast to suffer him no more respire,
But gan his sturdie sterne about to weld,
And him so strongly stroke, that to the ground him feld.
It fortuned (as faire it then befell)
Behind his backe vnweeting, where he stood,
Of auncient time there was a springing well,
From which fast trickled forth a siluer flood,
Full of great vertues, and for med'cine good.
Whylome, before that cursed Dragon got
That happie land, and all with innocent blood
Defyld those sacred waues, it rightly hot
The well of life, ne yet his vertues had forgot.
For vnto life the dead it could restore,
And guilt of sinfull crimes cleane wash away,
Those that with sicknesse were infected sore,
It could recure, and aged long decay
Renew, as it were borne that very day.
Both Silo this, and Iordan did excell,
And th'English Bath, and eke the german Spau,
Ne can Cephise, nor Hebrus match this well:
Into the same the knight backe ouerthrowen, fell.
Now gan the golden Phoebus for to steepe
His fierie face in billowes of the west,
And his faint steedes watred in Ocean deepe,
Whiles from their iournall labours they did rest,
[Page 164]When that infernall Monster, hauing kest
His wearie foe into that liuing well,
Can high aduance his broad discoloured brest,
Aboue his wonted pitch, with countenance fell,
And clapt his yron wings, as victor he did dwell.
Which when his penfiue Ladie saw from farre,
Great woe and sorrow did her soule assay,
As weening that the sad end of the warre,
And gan to highest God entirely pray,
That feared chance from her to turne away;
With folded hands and knees full lowly bent
All night she watcht, ne once adowne would lay
Her daintie limbs in her sad dreriment,
But praying still did wake, and waking did lament.
The morrow next gan early to appeare,
That Titan rose to runne his daily race;
But early ere the morrow next gan reare
Out of the sea faire Titans deawy face,
Vp rose the gentle virgin from her place,
And looked all about, if she might spy
Her loued knight to moue his manly pace:
For she had great doubt of his safety,
Since late she saw him fall before his enemy.
At last she saw, where he vpstarted braue
Out of the well, wherein he drenched lay;
As Eagle fresh out of the Ocean waue,
Where he hath left his plumes all hoary gray,
And deckt himselfe with feathers youthly gay,
Like Eyas hauke vp mounts vnto the skies,
His newly budded pineons to assay,
And marueiles at himselfe, still as he flies:
So new this new-borne knight to battell new did rise.
Whom when the damned feend so fresh did spy.
No wonder if he wondred at the sight,
And doubted, whether his late enemy
It were, or other new supplied knight.
He now to proue his late renewed might,
High brandishing his bright deaw-burning blade,
Vpon his crested scalpe so sore did smite,
That to the scull a yawning wound it made:
The deadly dint his dulled senses all dismaid.
I wote not, whether the reuenging steele
Were hardned with that holy water dew,
Wherein he fell, or sharper edge did feele,
Or his baptized hands now greater grew;
Or other secret vertue did ensew;
Else neuer could the force of fleshly arme,
Ne molten mettall in his bloud embrew:
For till that stownd could neuer wight him harme,
By subtilty, nor slight, nor might, nor mighty charme.
The cruell wound enraged him so sore,
That loud he yelded for exceeding paine;
As hundred ramping Lyons seem'd to rore,
Whom rauenous hunger did thereto constraine:
Then gan he tosse aloft his stretched traine,
And therewith scourge the buxome aire so sore,
That to his force to yeelden it was faine;
Ne ought his sturdie strokes might stand afore,
That high trees ouerthrew, and rocks in peeces tore.
The same aduauncing high aboue his head,
With sharpe intended sting so rude him smot,
That to the earth him droue, as stricken dead,
Ne liuing wight would haue him life behot:
[Page 166]The mortall sting his angry needle shot
Quite through his shield, and in his shoulder seasd,
Where fast it stucke, ne would there out be got:
The griefe thereof him wondrous sore diseasd,
Ne might his ranckling paine with patience be appeasd.
But yet more mindfull of his honour deare,
Then of the grieuous smart, which him did wring,
From loathed soile he can him lightly reare,
And stroue to loose the farre infixed string:
Which when in vaine he tryde with struggeling,
Inflam'd with wrath, his raging blade he heft,
And strooke so strongly, that the knotty sting
Of his huge taile he quite a sunder cleft,
Fiue ioynts thereof he hewd, and but the stump him left.
Hart cannot thinke, what outrage, and what cryes,
With foule enfouldred smoake and flashing fire,
The hell-bred beast threw forth vnto the skyes,
That all was couered with darknesse dire:
Then fraught with rancour, and engorged ire,
He cast at once him to auenge for all,
And gathering vp himselfe out of the mire,
With his vneuen wings did fiercely fall,
Vpon his sunne-bright shield, and gript it fast withall.
Much was the man encombred with his hold,
In feare to lose his weapon in his paw,
Ne wist yet, how his talants to vnfold;
For harder was from Cerberus greedie iaw
To plucke a bone, then from his cruell claw
To reaue by strength, the griped gage away:
Thrise he assayd it from his foot to draw,
And thrise in vaine to draw it did assay,
It booted nought to thinke, to robbe him of his pray.
Tho when he saw no power might preuaile,
His trustie sword he cald to his last aid,
Wherewith he fiercely did his foe assaile,
And double blowes about him stoutly laid,
That glauncing fire out of the yron plaid;
As sparckles from the Anduile vse to fly,
When heauie hammers on the wedge are swaid;
Therewith at last he forst him to vnty
One of his grasping feete, him to defend thereby.
The other foot, fast fixed on his shield
Whenas no strength, nor stroks mote him constraine
To loose, ne yet the warlike pledge to yield,
He smot thereat with all his might and maine,
That nought so wondrous puissance might sustaine;
Vpon the ioynt the lucky steele did light,
And made such way, that hewd it quite in twaine;
The paw yet missed not his minisht might,
But hong still on the shield, as it at first was pight.
For griefe thereof, and diuelish despight,
From his infernall fournace forth he threw
Huge flames, that dimmed all the heauens light,
Enrold in duskish smoke and brimstone blew;
As burning Aetna from his boyling stew
Doth belch out flames, and rockes in peeces broke,
And ragged ribs of mountaines molten new,
Enwrapt in coleblacke clouds and filthy smoke,
That all the land with stench, and heauen with horror choke.
The heate whereof, and harmefull pestilence
So sore him noyd, that forst him to retire
A little backward for his best defence,
To saue his bodie from the scorching fire,
[Page 168]Which he from hellish entrailes did expire.
It chaunst (eternall God that chaunce did guide)
As he recoyled backward, in the mire
His nigh forwearied feeble feet did slide,
And downe he fell, with dread of shame sore terrifide.
There grew a goodly tree him faire beside,
Loaden with fruit and apples rosie red,
As they in pure vermilion had beene dide,
Whereof great vertues ouer all were red:
For happie life to all, which thereon fed,
And life eke euerlasting did befall:
Great God it planted in that blessed sted
With his almightie hand, and did it call
The tree of life, the crime of our first fathers fall.
In all the world like was not to be found,
Saue in that soile, where all good things did grow,
And freely sprong out of the fruitfull ground,
As incorrupted Nature did them sow,
Till that dread Dragon all did ouerthrow.
Another like faire tree eke grew thereby,
Whereof who so did eat, eftsoones did know
Both good and ill: O mornefull memory:
That tree through one mans fault hath doen vs all to dy.
From that first tree forth flowd, as from a well,
A trickling streame of Balme, most soueraine
And daintie deare, which on the ground still fell,
And ouerflowed all the fertill plaine,
As it had deawed bene with timely raine:
Life and long health that gratious ointment gaue,
And deadly woundes could heale and reare againe
The senselesse corse appointed for the graue.
Into that same he fell: which did from death him saue.
For nigh thereto the euer damned beast
Durst not approch, for he was deadly made,
And all that life preserued, did detest:
Yet he it oft aduentur'd to inuade.
By this the drouping day-light gan to fade,
And yeeld his roome to sad succeeding night,
Who with her sable mantle gan to shade
The face of earth, and wayes of liuing wight,
And high her burning torch set vp in heauen bright.
When gentle Vna, saw the second fall
Of her deare knight, who wearie of long fight,
And faint through losse of blond, mou'd not at all,
But lay as in a dreame of deepe delight,
Besmeard with pretious Balme, whose vertuous might
Did heale his wounds, and scorching heat alay,
Againe she stricken was with sore affright,
And for his safetie gan deuoutly pray;
And watch the noyous night, and wait for ioyous day.
The ioyous day gan early to appeare,
And faire Aurora from her deawy bed
Of aged Tithone gan her selfe to reare,
With rosie cheekes, for shame as blushing red;
Her golden lockes for haste were loosely shed
About her eares, when Vna her did marke
Clymbe to her charet, all with flowers spred;
From heauen high to chase the chearelesse darke,
With merry note her loud salutes the mounting larke.
Then freshly vp arose the doughtie knight,
All healed of his hurts and woundes wide,
And did himselfe to battell readie dight;
Whose early foe awaiting him beside
[Page 170]To haue deuourd, so soone as day he spyde,
When now he saw himselfe so freshly reare,
As if late fight had nought him damnifyde,
He woxe dismayd, and gan his fate to feare;
Nathlesse with wonted rage he him aduaunced neare.
And in his first encounter, gaping wide,
He thought attonce him to haue swallowd quight,
And rusht vpon him with outragious pride;
Who him r'encountring fierce, as hauke in flight,
Perforce rebutted backe. The weapon bright
Taking aduantage of his open iaw,
Ran through his mouth with so importune might,
That deepe emperst his darksome hollow maw,
And back retyrd, his life bloud forth with all did draw.
So downe he fell, and forth his life did breath,
That vanisht into smoke and cloudes swift;
So downe he fell, that th'earth him vnderneath
Did grone, as feeble so great load to lift;
So downe he fell, as an huge rockie clift,
Whose false foundation waues haue washt away,
With dreadfull poyse is from the mayneland rift,
And rolling downe, great Neptune doth dismay;
So downe he fell, and like an heaped mountaine lay.
The knight himselfe euen trembled at his fall,
So huge and horrible a masse it seem'd;
And his deare Ladie, that beheld it all,
Durst not approch for dread, which she misdeem'd,
But yet at last, when as the direfull feend
She saw not stirre, off-shaking vaine affright,
She nigher drew, and saw that ioyous end:
Then God she praysd, and thankt her faithfull knight,
That had atchieu'd so great a conquest by his might.

Cant. XII.

Faire Ʋna to the Redcrosse knight
betrouthed is with ioy:
Though false Duessa it to barre
her false sleights doe imploy.
BEhold I see the hauen nigh at hand,
To which I meane my wearie course to bend;
Vere the maine shete, and beare vp with the land,
The which afore is fairely to be kend,
And seemeth safe from stormes, that may offend;
There this faire virgin wearie of her way
Must landed be, now at her iourneyes end:
There eke my feeble barke a while may stay,
Till merry wind and weather call her thence away.
Scarsely had Phoebus in the glooming East
Yet harnessed his firie-footed teeme,
Ne reard aboue the earth his flaming creast,
When the last deadly smoke aloft did steeme,
That signe of last outbreathed life did seeme,
Vnto the watchman on the castle wall;
Who thereby dead that balefull Beast did deeme,
And to his Lord and Ladie lowd gan call,
To tell, how he had seene the Dragons fatall fall,
Vprose with hastie ioy, and feeble speed
That aged Sire, the Lord of all that land,
And looked forth, to weet, if true indeede
Those tydings were, as he did vnderstand,
[Page 172]Which whenas true by tryall he out found,
He bad to open wyde his brazen gate,
Which long time had bene shut, and out of hond
Proclaymed ioy and peace through all his state;
For dead now was their foe, which them forrayed late.
Then gan triumphant Trompets sound on hie,
That sent to heauen the ecchoed report
Of their new ioy, and happie victorie
Gainst him, that had them long opprest with tort,
And fast imprisoned in sieged fort.
Then all the people, as in solemne feast,
To him assembled with one full consort,
Reioycing at the fall of that great beast,
From whose eternall bondage now they were releast.
Forth came that auncient Lord and aged Queene,
Arayd in antique robes downe to the ground,
And sad habiliments right well beseene;
A noble crew about them waited round
Of sage and sober Peres, all grauely gownd;
Whom farre before did march a goodly band
Of tall young men, all hable armes to sownd,
But now they laurell braunches bore in hand;
Glad signe of victorie and peace in all their land.
Vnto that doughtie Conquerour they came,
And him before themselues prostrating low,
Their Lord and Patrone loud did him proclame,
And at his feet their laurell boughes did throw.
Soone after them all dauncing on a row
The comely virgins came, with girlands dight,
As fresh as flowres in medow greene do grow,
When morning deaw vpon their leaues doth light:
And in their hands sweet Timbrels all vpheld on hight.
And them before, the fry of children young
Their wanton sports and childish mirth did play,
And to the Maydens sounding tymbrels sung
In well attuned notes, a ioyous lay,
And made delightfull musicke all the way,
Vntill they came, where that faire virgin stood;
As faire Diana in fresh sommers day,
Beholds her Nymphes, enraung'd in shadie wood,
Some wrestle, some do run, some bathe in christall flood.
So she beheld those maydens meriment
With, chearefull vew; who when to her they came,
Themselues to ground with gratious humblesse bent,
And her ador'd by honorable name,
Lifting to heauen her euerlasting fame:
Then on her head they set a girland greene,
And crowned her twixt earnest and twixt game;
Who in her selfe-resemblance well beseene,
Did seeme such, as she was, a goodly maiden Queene.
And after, all the raskall many ran,
Heaped together in rude rablement,
To see the face of that victorious man:
Whom all admired, as from heauen sent,
And gazd vpon with gaping wonderment.
But when they came, where that dead Dragon lay,
Stretcht on the ground in monstrons large extent,
The sight with idle feare did them dismay,
Ne durst approch him nigh, to touch, or once assay.
Some feard, and fled; some feard and well it faynd;
One that would wiser seeme, then all the rest,
Warnd him not touch, for yet perhaps remaynd
Some lingring life within his hollow brest,
[Page 174]Or in his wombe might lurke some hidden nest
Of many Dragonets, his fruitfull seed;
Another said, that in his eyes did rest
Yet sparckling fire, and bad thereof take heed;
Another said, he saw him moue his eyes indeed.
One mother, when as her foolehardie chyld
Did come too neare, and with his talants play,
Halfe dead through feare, her litle babe reuyld,
And to her gossips gan in counsell say;
How can I tell, but that his talents may
Yet scratch my sonne, or rend his tender hand?
So diuersly themselues in vaine they fray;
Whiles some more bold, to measure him nigh stand,
To proue how many acres he did spread of land.
Thus flocked all the folke him round about,
The whiles that hoarie king, with all his traine,
Being arriued, where that champion stout
After his foes defeasance did remaine,
Him goodly greetes, and faire does entertaine,
With princely gifts of yuorie and gold,
And thousand thankes him yeelds for all his paine.
Then when his daughter deare he does behold,
Her dearely doth imbrace, and kisseth manifold.
And after to his Pallace he them brings,
With shaumes, & trompets, & with Clarions sweet;
And all the way the ioyous people sings,
And with their garments strowes the paued street:
Whence mounting vp, they find purueyance meet
Of all, that royall Princes court became,
And all the floore was vnderneath their feet
Bespred with costly scarlot of great name,
On which they lowly sit, and fitting purpose frame.
What needs me tell their feast and goodly guize,
In which was nothing riotous nor vaine?
What needs of daintie dishes to deuize,
Of comely seruices, or courtly trayne?
My narrow leaues cannot in them containe
The large discourse of royall Princes state.
Yet was their manner then but bare and plaine:
For th'antique world excesse and pride did hate;
Such proud luxurious pompe is swollen vp but late.
Then when with meates and drinkes of euery kinde
Their feruent appetites they quenched had,
That auncient Lord gan fit occasion finde,
Of straunge aduentures, and of perils sad,
Which in his trauell him befallen had,
For to demaund of his renowmed guest:
Who then with vtt'rance graue, and count'nance sad,
From point to point, as is before exprest,
Discourst his voyage long, according his request.
Great pleasures mixt with pittifull regard,
That godly King and Queene did passionate,
Whiles they his pittifull aduentures heard,
That oft they did lament his lucklesse state,
And often blame the too importune fate,
That heapd on him so many wrathfull wreakes:
For neuer gentle knight, as he of late,
So tossed was in fortunes cruell freakes;
And all the while salt teares bedeawd the hearers cheaks.
Then said the royall Pere in sober wise;
Deare Sonne, great beene the euils, which ye bore
From first to last in your late enterprise,
That I note, whether prayse, or pitty more:
[Page 176]For neuer liuing man, I weene, so sore
In sea of deadly daungers was distrest;
But since now safe ye seised haue the shore,
And well arriued are, (high God be blest)
Let vs deuize of ease and euerlasting rest.
Ah dearest Lord, said then that doughty knight,
Of ease or rest I may not yet deuize;
For by the faith, which I to armes haue plight,
I bounden am streight after this emprize,
As that your daughter can ye well aduize,
Backe to returne to that great Faerie Queene,
And her to serue six yeares in warlike wize,
Gainst that proud Pynim king, that workes her teene:
Therefore I ought craue pardon, till I there haue beene.
Vnhappie falles that hard necessitie,
(Quoth he) the troubler of my happie peace,
And vowed foe of my felicitie;
Ne I against the same can iustly preace:
But since that band ye cannot now release,
Nor doen vndo; (for vowes may not be vaine)
Soone as the terme of those six yeares shall cease,
Ye then shall hither backe returne againe,
The marriage to accomplish vowd betwixt you twain.
Which for my part I couet to performe,
In sort as through the world I did proclame,
That who so kild that monster most deforme,
And him in hardy battaile ouercame,
Should haue mine onely daughter to his Dame,
And of my kingdome heire apparaunt bee:
Therefore since now to thee perteines the same,
By dew desert of noble cheualree,
Both daughter and eke kingdome. lo I yield to thee.
Then forth he called that his daughter faire,
The fairest Vn' his onely daughter deare,
His onely daughter, and his onely heyre;
Who forth proceeding with sad sober cheare,
As bright as doth the morning starre appeare
Out of the East, with flaming lockes bedight,
To tell the dawning day is dawning neare,
And to the world does bring long wished light;
So faire and fresh that Lady shewd her selfe in sight.
So faire and fresh, as freshest flowre in May;
For she had layd her mournefull stole aside,
And widow-like sad wimple throwne away,
Wherewith her heaunnly beautie she did hide,
Whiles on her wearie iourney she did ride;
And on her now a garment she did weare,
All lilly white, withoutten spot, or pride,
That seemd like silke and siluer wouen neare,
But neither silke nor siluer therein did appeare.
The blazing brightnesse of her beauties beame,
And glorious light of her sunshyny face
To tell, were as to striue against the streame.
My ragged rimes are all too rude and bace,
Her heauenly lineaments for to enchace.
Ne wonder; for her owne deare loued knight,
All were she dayly with himselfe in place,
Did wonder much at her celestiall sight:
Oft had he seene her faire, but neuer so faire dight.
So fairely dight, when she in presence came,
She to her Sire made humble reuerence,
And bowed low, that her right well became,
And added grace vnto her excellence:
[Page 178]Who with great wisedome, and graue eloquence
Thus gan to say. But eare he thus had said,
With flying speede, and seeming great pretence,
Came running in, much like a man dismaid,
A Messenger with letters, which his message said.
All in the open hall amazed stood,
At suddeinnesse of that vnwarie sight,
And wondred at his breathlesse hastie mood.
But he for nought would stay his passage right,
Till fast before the king he did alight;
Where falling flat, great humblesse he did make,
And kist the ground, whereon his foot was pight;
Then to his hands that writ he did betake,
Which he disclosing, red thus, as the paper spake.
To thee, most mighty king of Eden faire,
Her greeting sends in these sad lines addrest,
The wofull daughter, and forsaken heire
Of that great Emperour of all the West;
And bids thee be aduized for the best,
Ere thou thy daughter linck in holy band
Of wedlocke to that new vnknowen guest:
For he already plighted his right hand
Vnto another loue, and to another land.
To me sad mayd, or rather widow sad,
He was affiaunced long time before,
And sacred pledges he both gaue, and had,
False erraunt knight, infamous, and forswore:
Witnesse the burning Altars, which he swore,
And guiltie heauens of his bold periury,
Which though he hath polluted oft and yore,
Yet I to them for iudgement iust do fly,
And them coniure t'auenge this shamefull iniury.
Therefore since mine he is, or free or bond,
Or false or trew, or liuing or else dead,
Withhold, O soueraine Prince, your hasty hond
From knitting league with him, I you aread;
Ne weene my right with strength adowne to tread,
Through weakenesse of my widowhed, or woe:
For truth is strong, his rightfull cause to plead,
And shall find friends, if need requireth soe,
So bids thee well to fare, Thy neither friend, nor foe, Fidessa.
When he these bitter byting words had red,
The tydings straunge did him abashed make,
That still he sate long time astonished
As in great muse, ne word to creature spake.
At last his solemne silence thus he brake,
With doubtfull eyes fast fixed on his guest;
Redoubted knight, that for mine onely sake
Thy life and honour late aduenturest,
Let nought be hid from me, that ought to be exprest.
What meane these bloudy vowes, and idle threats,
Throwne out from womanish impatient mind?
What heauens? what altars? what enraged heates
Here heaped vp with termes of loue vnkind,
My conscience cleare with guilty bands would bind?
High God be witnesse, that I guiltlesse ame.
But if your selfe, Sir knight, ye faultie find,
Or wrapped be in loues of former Dame,
With crime do not it couer, but disclose the same.
To whom the Redcrosse knight this answere sent,
My Lord, my King, be nought hereat dismayd,
Till well ye wote by graue intendiment,
What woman, and wherefore doth me vpbrayd
[Page 180]With breach of loue, and loyalty betrayd.
It was in my mishaps, as hitherward
I lately traueild, that vnwares I strayd
Out of my way, through perils straunge and hard;
That day should faile me, ere I had them all declard.
There did I find, or rather I was found
Of this false woman, that Fidessa hight,
Fidessa hight the falsest Dame on ground,
Most false Duessa, royall richly dight.
That easie was to inuegle weaker sight:
Who by her wicked arts, and wylie skill,
Too false and strong for earthly skill or might,
Vmwares me wrought'vnto her wicked will,
And to my foe betrayd, when least I feared ill.
Then stepped forth the goodly royall Mayd,
And on the ground her selfe prostrating low,
With sober countenaunce thus to him sayd;
O pardon me, my soueraigne Lord, to show
The secret treasons, which of late I know
To haue bene wroght by that false sorceresse,
She onely she it is, that earst did throw
This gentle knight into so great distresse,
That death him did awaite in dayly wretchednesse.
And now it seemes, that she suborned hath
This craftie messenger with letters vaine,
To worke new woe and improuided scath,
By breaking of the band betwixt vs twaine;
Wherein she vsed hath the practicke paine
Of this false footman, clokt with simplenesse,
Whom if ye please for to discouer plaine,
Ye shall him Archimago find, I ghesse,
The falsest man aliue; wo tries shall find no lesse.
The king was greatly moued at her speach,
And all with suddein indignation fraight,
Bad on that Messenger rude hands to reach.
Eftsoones the Card, which on his state did wait,
Attacht that faitor false, and bound him strait:
Who seeming sorely chauffed at his band,
As chained Beare, whom cruell dogs do bait,
With idle force did faine them to withstand,
And often semblaunce made to scape out of their hand.
But they him layd full low in dungeon deepe,
And bound him hand and foote with yron chains,
And with continuall watch did warely keepe;
Who then would thinke, that by his subtile trains
He could escape fowle death or deadly paines?
Thus when that Princes wrath was pacifide
He gan renew the late forbidden banes,
And to the knight his daughter deare he tyde,
With sacred rites and vowes for euer to abyde.
His owne two hands the holy knots did knit,
That none but death for euer can deuide;
His owne two hands, for such a turne most fit,
The housling fire did kindle and prouide,
And holy water thereon sprinckled wide;
At which the bushy Teade a groome did light,
And sacred lampe in secret chamber hide,
Where it should not be quenched day nor night,
For feare of euill fates, but burnen euer bright.
Then gan they sprinckle all the posts with wine,
And made great feast to solemnize that day;
They all perfumde with frankencense diuine,
And precious odours fetcht from far away,
[Page 182]That all the house did sweat with great aray:
And all the while sweete Musicke did apply
Her curious skill, the warbling notes to play,
To driue away the dull Melancholy;
The whiles one sung a song of loue and iollity.
During the which there was an heauenly noise
Heard sound through all the Pallace pleasantly,
Like as it had bene many an Angels voice,
Singing before th'eternall maiesty,
In their trinall triplicities on hye;
Yet wist no creature, whence that heauenly sweet
Proceeded, yet eachone felt secretly
Himselfe thereby reft of his sences meet,
And rauished with rare impression in his sprite.
Great ioy was made that day of young and old,
And solemne feast proclaimd throughout the land,
That their exceeding merth may not be told:
Suffice it heare by signes to vnderstand
The vsuall ioyes at knitting of loues band.
Thrise happy man the knight himselfe did hold,
Possessed of his Ladies hart and hand,
And euer, when his eye did her behold,
Her heart did seeme to melt in pleasures manifold.
Her ioyous presence and sweet company
In full content he there did long enioy,
Ne wicked enuie, ne vile gealosy
His deare delights were able to annoy:
Yet swimming in that sea of blisfull ioy,
He nought forgot, how he whilome had sworne,
In case he could that monstrous beast destroy,
Vnto his Farie Queene backe to returne:
The which he shortly did, and Vna left to mourne.
Now strike your sailes ye iolly Mariners,
For we be come vnto a quiet rode,
Where we must land some of our passengers,
And light this wearie vessell of her lode.
Here she a while may make her safe abode,
Till she repaired haue her tackles spent,
And wants supplide. And then againe abroad
On the long voyage whereto she is bent:
Well may she speede and fairely finish her intent.
FINIS LIB. I.
[figure]


THE SECOND BOOKE OF THE FAERIE QVEENE. Contayning, THE LEGEND OF SIR GVYON, OR Of Temperaunce.

RIght well I wote most mighty Soueraine,
That all this famous antique history,
Of some th'aboundance of an idle braine
Will iudged be, and painted forgery,
Rather then matter of iust memory,
Sith none, that breatheth liuing aire, does know,
Where is that happy land of Faery,
Which I so much do vàunt, yet no where show,
But vouch antiquities, which no body can know.
But let that man with better sence aduize,
That of the world least part to vs is red:
And dayly how through hardy enterprize,
Many great Regions are discouered,
[Page 186]Which to late age were neuer mentioned.
Who euer heard of th'Indian Peru?
Or who in venturous vessell measured
The Amazons huge riuer now found trew?
Or fruitfullest Virginia who did euer vew?
Yet all these were, when no man did them know;
Yet haue from wisest ages hidden beene:
And later times things more vnknowne shall show.
Why then should witlesse man so much misweene
That nothing is, but that which he hath seene?
What if within the Moones faire shining spheare?
What if in euery other starre vnseene
Of other worldes he happily should heare?
He wōder would much more: yet such to some appeare.
Of Faerie lond yet if he more inquire,
By certaine signes here set in sundry place
He may it find; ne let him then admire,
But yield his sence to be too blunt and bace,
That note without an hound fine footing trace.
And thou, O fairest Princesse vnder sky,
In this faire mirrhour maist behold thy face,
And thine owne realmes in lond of Faery,
And in this antique Image thy great auncestry.
The which O pardon me thus to enfold
In couert vele, and wrap in shadowes light,
That feeble eyes your glory may behold,
Which else could not endure those beames bright,
But would be dazled with exceeding light.
O pardon, and vonchsafe with patient eare
The braue aduentures of this Faery knight
The good Sir Guyon gratiously to heare,
In whom great rule of Temp'raunce goodly doth ap­peare.

Cant. I.

Guyon by Archimage abusd,
The Redcrosse knight awaytes,
Findes Mordant and Amauia slaine
With pleasures poisoned baytes.
THat cunning Architect of cancred guile,
Whom Princes late displeasure left in bands,
For falsed letters and suborned wile,
Soone as the Redcrosse knight he vnderstands,
To beene departed out of Eden lands,
To serue againe his soueraine Elfin Queene,
His artes he moues, and out of caytiues hands
Himselfe he frees by secret meanes vnseene;
His shackles emptie left, him selfe escaped cleene.
And forth he fares full of malicious mind,
To worken mischiefe and auenging woe,
Where euer he that godly knight may find,
His onely hart sore, and his onely foe,
Sith Vna now he algates must forgoe,
Whom his victorious hands did earst restore
To natiues crowne and kingdome late ygoe:
Where she enioyes sure peace for euermore,
As weather-beaten ship arriu'd on happie shore.
Him therefore now the obiect of his spight
And deadly food he makes: him to offend
By forged treason, or by open fight
He seekes, of all his drift the aymed end:
[Page 188]Thereto his subtile engins he does bend
His practick wit, and his faire filed tong,
With thousand other sleights: for well he kend,
His credit now in doubtfull ballaunce hong;
For hardly could be hurt, who was already stong.
Still as he went, he craftie stales did lay.
With cunning traines him to entrap vnwares,
And priuie spials plast in all his way,
To weete what course he takes, and how he fares;
To ketch him at a vantage in his snares.
By triall of his former harmes and cares,
But now so wise and warie was the knight
That he descride, and shonned still his slight:
The fish that once was caught, new bait will hardly bite.
Nath'lesse th'Enchaunter would not spare his paine,
In hope to win occasion to his will;
Which when he long awaited had in vaine,
He chaungd his minde from one to other ill:
For to all good he enimy was still.
Vpon the way him fortuned to meet,
Faire marching vnderneath a shady hill,
A goodly knight, all armd in harnesse meete,
That from his head no place appeared to his feete.
His carriage was full comely and vpright,
His countenaunce demure and temperate,
But yet so sterne and terrible in sight,
That cheard his friends, and did his foes amate:
He was an Elsin borne of noble state,
And mickle worship in his natiue land;
Well could he tourney and in lists debate,
And knighthood tooke of good Sir Huons hand,
When with king Oberon he came to Faerie land.
Him als accompanyd vpon the way
A comely Palmer, clad in blacke attire,
Of ripest yeares, and haires all hoarie gray,
That with a staffe his feeble steps did stire,
Least his long way his aged limbes should tire:
And if by lookes one may the mind aread,
He seemd to be a sage and sober sire,
And euer with slow pace the knight did lead,
Who taught his trampling steed with equall steps to tread.
Such whenas Archimago them did view,
He weened well to worke some vncouth wile,
Estsoones vntwisting his deceiptfull clew,
He gan to weaue a web of wicked guile,
And with a faire countenance and flattring stile,
To them approching, thus the knight bespake:
Faire sonne of Mars, that seeke with warlike spoile.
And great atchieu'ments great your selfe to make,
Vouchsafe to stay your steed for humble misers sake.
He stayd his steed for humble misers sake,
And bad tell on the tenor of his plaint;
Who feigning then in euery limbe to quake,
Through inward feare, and seeming pale and faint
With piteous mone his percing speach gan paint;
Deare Lady how shall I declare thy cace,
Whom late I left in langourous constraint?
Would God thy selfe now present were in place,
To tell this ruefull tale; thy sight could win thee grace.
Or rather would, O would it so had chaunst,
That you, most noble Sir, had present beene,
When that lewd ribauld with vile lust aduaunst
Layd first his filthy hands on virgin cleene,
[Page 190]To spoile her daintie corse so faire and sheene,
As on the earth, great mother of vs all,
With liuing eye more faire was neuer seene,
Of chastitie and honour virginall:
Witnesse ye heauēs, whom she in vaine to helpe did call.
How may it be, (said then the knight halfe wroth,)
That knight should knighthood euer so haue shent?
None but that saw (quoth he) would weene for troth,
How shamefully that Maid he did torment.
Her looser golden lockes he rudely rent,
And drew her on the ground, and his sharpe sword,
Against her snowy brest be fiercely bent,
And threatned death with many a bloudie word;
Toung hates to tell the rest, that eye to see abhord.
Therewith amoued from his sober mood,
And liues he yet (said he) that wrought this act,
And doen the heauens afford him vitall food?
He liues, (quoth he) and boasteth of the fact,
Ne yet hath any knight his courage crackt.
Where may that treachour then (said he) be found,
Or by what meanes may I his footing tract?
That shall I shew (said he) as sure, as hound
The strickē Deare doth chalenge by the bleeding wound.
He staid not lenger talke, but with fierce ire
And zealous hast away is quickly gone
To seeke that knight, where him that craftie Squire
Supposd to be. They do arriue anone,
Where sate a gentle Lady all alone,
With garments rent, and haire discheueled,
Wringing her hands, and making piteous mone;
Her swollen eyes were much disfigured,
And her faire face with teares was fowly blubbered.
The knight approching nigh, thus to her said,
Faire Ladie, through foule sorrow ill bedight,
Great pittie is to see you thus dismaid,
And marre the blossome of your beautie bright:
For thy appease your griefe and heauie plight,
And tell the cause of your conceiued paine.
For if he liue, that hath you doen despight;
He shall you doe due recompence againe,
Or else his wrong with greater puissance maintaine.
Which when she heard, as in despightfull wise,
She wilfully her sorrow did augment,
And offred hope of comfort did despise:
Her golden lockes most cruelly she rent,
And scratcht her face with ghastly dreriment,
Ne would she speake, ne see, ne yet be seene,
But hid her visage, and her head downe bent,
Either for grieuous shame, or for great teene,
As if her hart with sorrow had transfixed beene.
Till her that Squire bespake, Madame my liefe,
For Gods deare loue be not so wilfull bent,
But doe vouchsafe now to receiue reliefe,
The which good fortune doth to you present.
For what bootes it to weepe and to wayment,
When ill is chaunst, but doth the ill increase,
And the weake mind with double woe torment?
When she her Squire heard speake, she gan appease
Her voluntarie paine, and feele some secret ease.
Eftsoone she said, Ah gentle trustie Squire,
What comfort can I wofull wretch conceaue,
Or why should euer I henceforth desire,
To see faire heauens face, and life not leaue,
[Page 192]Sith that false Traytour did my honour reaue?
False traytour certes (said the Faerie knight)
I read the man, that euer would deceaue
A gentle Ladie, or her wrong through might:
Death were too little paine for such a foule despight.
But now, faire Ladie, comfort to you make,
And read, who hath ye wrought this shamefull plight.
That short reuenge the man may ouertake,
Where so he be, and soone vpon him light.
Certes (said she) I wote not how he hight,
But vnder him a gray steede did he wield,
Whose sides with dapled circles weren dight;
Vpright he rode, and in his siluer shield
He bore a bloudie Crosse, that quartred all the field.
Now by my head (said Guyon) much I muse,
How that same knight should do so foule amis,
Or euer gentle Damzell so abuse:
For may I boldly say, he surely is
A right good knight, and true of word ywis:
I present was, and can it witnesse well,
When armes he swore, and streight did enterpris
Th'aduenture of the Errant damozell,
In which he hath great glorie wonne, as I heare tell.
Nathlesse he shortly shall againe be tryde,
And fairely quite him of th'imputed blame,
Else be ye sure he dearely shall abyde,
Or make you good amendment for the same:
All wrongs haue mends, but no amends of shame.
Now therefore Ladie, rise out of your paine,
And see the saluing of your blotted name.
Full loth she seemd thereto, but yet did faine;
For she was inly glad her purpose so to gaine.
Her purpose was not such, as she did faine,
Ne yet her person such, as it was seene,
But vnder simple shew and semblant plaine
Lurckt false Duessa secretly vnseene,
As a chast Virgin, that had wronged beene:
So had false Archimago her disguisd,
To cloke her guile with sorrow and sad teene;
And eke himselfe had craftily deuisd
To be her Squire, and do her seruice well aguisd.
Her late forlorne and naked he had found,
Where she did wander in waste wildernesse,
Lurking in rockes and caues farre vnder ground,
And with greene mode cou'ring her nakednesse,
To hide her shame and loathly filthinesse;
Sith her Prince Arthur of proud ornaments
And borrow'd beautie spoyld. Her nathelesse
Th'enchaunter finding fit for his intents,
Did thus reuest, and deckt with due habiliments.
For all he did, was to deceiue good knights,
And draw them from pursuit of praise and fame,
To slug in slouth and sensuall delights,
And end their daies with irrenowmed shame.
And now exceeding griefe him ouercame,
To see the Redcrosse thus aduaunced hye;
Therefore this craftie engine he did frame,
Against his praise to stirre vp enmitye
Ofsuch, as vertues like mote vnto him allye.
So now he Guyon guides an vncouth way
Through woods & mountaines, till they came at last
Into a pleasant dale, that lowly lay
Betwixt two hils, whose high heads ouerplast,
[Page 194]The valley did with coole shade ouercast;
Through midst thereof a little riuer rold,
By which there sate a knight with helme vnlast,
Himselfe refreshing with the liquid cold,
After his trauell long, and labours manifold.
Loe yonder he, cryde Archimage alowd,
That wrought the shamefull fast, which I did shew;
And now he doth himselfe in secret shrowd,
To flie the vengeance for his outrage dew;
But vaine: for ye shall dearely do him rew,
So God ye speed, and send you good successe;
Which we farre off will here abide to vew.
So they him left, inflam'd with wrathfulnesse,
That streight against that knight his speare he did ad­dresse.
Who seeing him from farre so fierce to pricke,
His warlike armes about him gan embrace,
And in the rest his readie speare did sticke;
Tho when as still he saw him towards pace,
He gan rencounter him in equall race.
They bene ymet, both readie to affrap,
When suddenly that warrriour gan abace
His threatned speare, as if some new mishap
Had him betidde, or hidden daunger did entrap.
And cryde, Mercie Sir knight, and mercie Lord,
For mine offence and heedlesse hardiment,
That had almost committed crime abhord,
And with reprochfull shame mine honour shent,
Whiles cursed steele against that badge I bent,
The sacred badge of my Redeemers death,
Which on your shield is set for ornament:
But his fierce foe his steede could stay vneath,
Who prickt with courage kene, did cruell battell breath.
But when he heard him speake, streight way he knew
His error, and himselfe inclyning sayd;
Ah deare Sir Guyon, well becommeth you,
But me behoueth rather to vpbrayd,
Whose hastie hand so farre from reason strayd,
That almost it did haynous violence
On that faire image of that heauenly Mayd,
That decks and armes your shield with faire defence:
Your court'sie takes on you anothers due offence.
So bene they both attone, and doen vpreare
Their beuers bright, each other for to greete;
Goodly comportance each to other beare,
And entertaine themselues with court'sies meet.
Then said the Redcrosse knight, Now mote I weet,
Sir Guyon, why with so fierce saliaunce,
And fell intent ye did at earst me meet;
For sith I know your goodly gouernaunce,
Great cause, I weene, you guided, or some vncouth chaunce.
Certes (said he) well mote I shame to tell
The fond encheason, that me hither led.
A false infamous faitour late befell
Me for to meet, that seemed ill bested,
And playnd of grieuous outrage, which he red
A knight had wrought against a Ladie gent;
Which to auenge, he to this place me led,
Where you he made the marke of his intent,
And now is fled; foule shame him follow, where he went.
So can he turne his earnest vnto game,
Through goodly handing and wise temperance.
By this his aged guide in presence came;
Who soone as on that knight his eye did glance,
[Page 196]Eft soones of him had perfect cognizance,
Sith him in Faerie court he late auizd;
And said, faire sonne, God giue you happie chance,
And that deare Crosse vpon your shield deuizd,
Wherewith aboue all knights ye goodly seeme aguizd.
Ioy may you haue, and euerlasting fame,
Of late most hard atchieu'ment by you donne,
For which enrolled is your glorious name
In heauenly Registers aboue the Sunne,
Where you a Saint with Saints your seat haue wonne:
But wretched we, where ye haue left your marke,
Must now anew begin, like race to runne;
God guide thee, Guyon, well to end thy warke,
And to the wished hauen bring thy weary barke.
Palmer, (him answered the Redcrosse knight)
His be the praise, that this atchieu'ment wrought,
Who made my hand the organ of his might;
More then goodwill to me attribute nought:
For all I did, I did but as I ought.
But you, faire Sir, whose pageant next ensewes,
Well mote yee thee, as well can wish your thought,
That home ye may report these happie newes;
For well ye worthie bene for worth and gentle thewes.
So courteous conge both did giue and take,
With right hands plighted, pledges of good will.
Then Guyon forward gan his voyage make,
With his blacke Palmer, that him guided still.
Still he him guided ouer dale and hill,
And with his steedie staffe did point his way:
His race with reason, and with words his will,
From foule intemperance he oft did stay,
And suffred not in wrath his hastie steps to stray.
In this faire wize they traueild long yfere,
Through many hard assayes, which did betide;
Of which he honour still away did beare,
And spred his glorie through all countries wide.
At last as chaunst them by a forest side
To passe, for succour from the scorching ray,
They heard a ruefull voice, that dearnly cride
With percing shriekes, and many a dolefull lay;
Which to attend, a while their forward steps they stay.
But if that carelesse heauens (quoth she) despise
The doome of iust reuenge, and take delight
To see sad pageants of mens miseries,
As bound by them to liue in liues despight,
Yet can they not warne death from wretched wight.
Come then, come soone, come sweetest death to mee,
And take away this long lent loathed light:
Sharpe be thy wounds, but sweet the medicines bee,
That long captiued soules from wearie thraldome free.
But thou, sweet Babe, whom frowning froward fate
Hath made sad witnesse of thy fathers fall,
Sith heauen thee deignes to hold in liuing state,
Long maist thou liue, and better thriue withall,
Then to thy lucklesse parents did befall:
Liue thou, and to thy mother dead attest,
That cleare she dide from blemish criminall;
Thy litle hands embrewd in bleeding brest
Loe I for pledges leaue. So giue me leaue to rest.
With that a deadly shrieke she forth did throw,
That through the wood reecchoed againe,
And after gaue a grone so deepe and low,
That seemd her tender heart was rent in twaine,
[Page 198]Or thrild with point of thorough piercing paine;
As gentle Hynd, whose sides with cruell steele
Through launched, forth her bleeding life does raine,
Whiles the sad pang approching she does feele,
Brayes out her latest breath, and vp her eyes doth seele.
Which when that warriour heard, dismounting straict
From his tall steed, he rusht into the thicke,
And soone arriued, where that sad pourtraict
Of death and labour lay, halfe dead, halfe quicke,
In whose white alabaster brest did sticke
A cruell knife, that made a griesly wound,
From which forth gusht a streme of gorebloud thick,
That all her goodly garments staind around,
And into a deepe sanguine dide the grassie ground.
Pittifull spectacle of deadly smart,
Beside a bubbling fountaine low she lay,
Which she increased with her bleeding hart,
And the cleane waues with purple gold did ray;
Als in her lap a louely babe did play
His cruell sport, in stead of sorrow dew;
For in her streaming blood he did embay
His litle hands, and tender ioynts embrew;
Pitifull spectacle, as euer eye did view.
Besides them both, vpon the soiled gras
The dead corse of an armed knight was spred,
Whose armour all with bloud besprinckled was;
His ruddie lips did smile, and rosy red
Did paint his chearefull cheekes, yet being ded,
Seemd to haue beene a goodly personage,
Now in his freshest flowre of lustie hed,
Fit to inflame faire Lady with loues rage,
But that fiers fate did crop the blossome of his age.
Whom when the good Sir Guyon did behold,
His hart gan wexe as starke, as marble stone,
And his fresh bloud did frieze with fearefull cold,
That all his senses seemd bereft attone,
At last his mightie ghost gan deepe to grone,
As Lyon grudging in his great disdaine,
Mournes inwardly, and makes to himselfe mone;
Till ruth and fraile affection did constraine,
His stout courage to stoupe, and shew his inward paine.
Out of her gored wound the cruell steele
He lightly snatcht, and did the floudgate stop
With his faire garment: then gan softly feele
Her feeble pulse, to proue if any drop
Of liuing bloud yet in her veynes did hop;
Which when he felt to moue, he hoped faire
To call backe life to her forsaken shop;
So well he did her deadly wounds repaire,
That at the last she gan to breath out liuing aire.
Which he perceiuing greatly gan reioice,
And goodly counsell, that for wounded hart
Is meetest med'cine, tempred with sweet voice;
Ay me, deare Lady, which the image art
Of ruefull pitie, and impatient smart,
What direfull chance, armd with reuenging fate,
Or cursed hand hath plaid this cruell part,
Thus fowle to hasten your vntimely date;
Speake, O deare Lady speake: help neuer comes too late.
Therewith her dim eie-lids she vp gan reare,
On which the drery death did sit, as sad
As lump of lead, and made darke clouds appeare;
But when as him all in bright armour clad
[Page 200]Before her standing she espied had,
As one out of a deadly dreame affright,
She weakely started, yet she nothing drad:
Streight downe againe her selfe in great despight,
She groueling threw to ground, as hating life and light.
The gentle knight her soone with carefull paine
Vplifted light, and softly did vphold:
Thrise he her reard, and thrise she sunke againe,
Till he his armes about her sides gan fold,
And to her said; Yet if the stony cold
Haue not all seized on your frozen hart,
Let one word fall that may your griefe vnfold,
And tell the secret of your mortall smart;
He oft finds present helpe, who does his griefe impart.
Then casting vp a deadly looke, full low,
Shee sight from bottome of her wounded brest,
And after, many bitter throbs did throw
With lips full pale and foltring tongue opprest,
These words she breathed forth from riuen chest;
Leaue, ah leaue off, what euer wight thou bee,
To let a wearie wretch from her dew rest,
And trouble dying soules tranquilitee.
Take not away now got, which none would giue to me.
Ah farre be it (said he) Deare dame fro mee,
To hinder soule from her desired rest,
Or hold sad life in long captiuitee:
For all I seeke, is but to haue redrest
The bitter pangs, that doth your heart infest.
Tell then, ô Lady tell, what fatall priefe
Hath with so huge misfortune you opprest?
That I may cast to compasse your reliefe,
Or die with you in sorrow, and partake your griefe.
With feeble hands then stretched forth on hye,
As heauen accusing guiltie of her death,
And with dry drops congealed in her eye,
In these sad words she spent her vtmost breath:
Heare then, ô man, the sorrowes that vneath
My tongue can tell, so farre all sense they pas:
Loe this dead corpse, that lies here vnderneath,
The gentlest knight, that euer on greene gras
Gay steed with spurs did pricke, the good Sir Mortdant was.
Was, (ay the while, that he is not so now)
My Lord my loue; my deare Lord, my deare loue,
So long as heauens iust with equall brow,
Vouchsafed to behold vs from aboue,
One day when him high courage did emmoue,
As wont ye knights to seeke aduentures wilde,
He pricked forth, his puissant force to proue,
Me then he left enwombed of this child,
This lucklesse child, whom thus ye see with bloud defild.
Him fortuned (hard fortune ye may ghesse)
To come, where vile Acrasia does wonne,
Acrasia a false enchaunteresse,
That many errant knights hath foule fordonne:
Within a wandring Island, that doth ronne
And stray in perilous gulfe, her dwelling is,
Faire Sir, if euer there ye trauell, shonne
The cursed land where many wend amis,
And know it by the name; it hight the Bowre of blis.
Her blisse is all in pleasure and delight,
Wherewith she makes her louers drunken mad,
And then with words & weedes of wondrous might,
On them she workes her will to vses bad:
[Page 202]My lifest Lord she thus beguiled had;
For he was flesh: (all flesh doth frailtie breed.)
Whom when I heard to beene so ill bestad,
Weake wretch I wrapt my selfe in Palmers weed,
And cast to seeke him forth through daunger and great dreed.
Now had faire Cynthia by euen tournes
Full measured three quarters of her yeare,
And thrise three times had fild her crooked hornes,
When as my wombe her burdein would forbeare,
And bad me call Lucina to me neare.
Lucina came: a manchild forth I brought:
The woods, the Nymphes, my bowres, my midwiues weare,
Hard helpe at need. So deare thee babe I bought,
Yet nought too deare I deemd, while so my dear I sought.
Him so I sought, and so at last I found,
Where him that witch had thralled to her will,
In chaines of lust and lewd desires ybound,
And so transformed from his former skill,
That me he knew not, neither his owne ill;
Till through wise handling and faire gouernance,
I him recured to a better will,
Purged from drugs of foule intemperance:
Then meanes I gan deuise for his deliuerance.
Which when the vile Enchaunteresse perceiu'd,
How that my Lord from her I would repriue,
With cup thus charmd, him parting she deceiu'd;
Sad verse, giue death to him that death does giue,
And losse of loue, to her that loues to liue,
So soone as Bacchus with the Nymphe does lincke,
So parted we and on our iourney driue,
Till comming to this well, he stoupt to drincke:
The charme fulfild, dead suddenly he downe did sincke.
Which when I wretch, Not one word more she sayd
But breaking off, the end for want of breath,
And slyding soft, as downe to sleepe her layd,
And ended all her woe in quiet death.
That seeing good Sir Guyon, could vneath
From teares abstaine, for griefe his hart did grate,
And from so heauie sight his head did wreath,
Accusing fortune, and too cruell fate,
Which plunged had faire Ladie in so wretched state.
Then turning to his Palmer said, Old syre
Behold the image of mortalitie,
And feeble nature cloth'd with fleshly tyre,
When raging passion with fierce tyrannie
Robs reason of her due regalitie,
And makes it seruant to her basest part:
The strong it weakens with infirmitie,
And with bold furie armes the weakest hart;
The strong through pleasure soonest falles, the weake through smart.
But temperance (said he) with golden squire
Betwixt them both can measure out a meane,
Neither to melt in pleasures whot desire,
Nor fry in hartlesse griefe and dolefull teene.
Thrise happie man, who fares them both atweene:
But sith this wretched woman ouercome
Of anguish, rather then of crime hath beene,
Reserue her cause to her eternall doome,
And in the meane vouchsafe her honorable toombe.
Palmer (quoth he) death is an euill doome
To good and bad, the common Inne of rest;
But after death the tryall is to come,
When best shall be to them, that liued best:
[Page 204]But both alike, when death hath both supprest,
Religious reuerence doth buriall teene,
Which who so wants, wants so much of his rest:
For all so great shame after death I weene,
As selfe to dyen bad, vnburied bad to beene.
So both agree their bodies to engraue;
The great earthes wombe they open to the sky,
And with sad Cypresse seemely it embraue,
Then couering with a clod their closed eye,
They lay therein those corses tenderly,
And bid them sleepe in euerlasting peace.
But ere they did their vtmost obsequy,
Sir Guyon more affection to increace,
Bynempt a sacred vow, which none should aye releace.
The dead knights sword out of his sheath he drew,
With which he cut a locke of all their heare,
Which medling with their bloud and earth, he threw
Into the graue, and gan deuoutly sweare;
Such and such euill Godon Guyon reare,
And worse and worse young Orphane be thy paine,
If I or thou dew vengeance doe forbeare,
Till guiltie bloud her guerdon doe obtaine:
So shedding many teares, they closd the earth againe.

Cant. II.

Babes bloudie hands may not be clensd,
the face of golden Meane.
Her sisters two Extremities:
striue her to banish cleane.
THus when Sir Guyon with his faithfull guide
Had with due rites and dolorous lament
The end of their sad Tragedie vptyde,
The litle babe vp in his armes he hent;
Who with sweet pleasance and bold blandishment
Gan smyle on them, that rather ought to weepe,
As carelesse of his woe, or innocent
Of that was doen, that ruth emperced deepe
In that knights heart, and wordes with bitter teares did steepe.
Ah lucklesse babe, borne vnder cruell starre,
And in dead parents balefull ashes bred,
Full litle weenest thou, what sorrowes are
Left thee for portion of thy liuelihed,
Poore Orphane in the wide world scattered,
As budding braunch rent from the natiue tree,
And throwen forth, till it be withered:
Such is the state of men: thus enter wee
Into this life with woe, and end with miseree.
Then soft himselfe inclyning on his knee
Downe to that well, did in the water weene
(So loue does loath disdainfull nicitee)
His guiltie hands from bloudie gore to cleene.
[Page 206]He washt them oft and oft, yet nought they beene
For all his washing cleaner. Still he stroue,
Yet still the litle hands were bloudie seene;
The which him into great amaz'ment droue,
And into diuerse doubt his wauering wonder cloue.
He wist not whether blot of foule offence
Might not be purgd with water nor with bath;
Or that high God, in lieu of innocence,
Imprinted had that token of his wrath,
To shew how sore bloudguiltinesse he hat'th;
Or that the charme and venim, which they druncke,
Their bloud with secret filth infected hath,
Being diffused through the senselesse truncke,
That through the great contagion direfull deadly stunck.
Whom thus at gaze, the Palmer gan to bord
With goodly reason, and thus faire bespake;
Ye bene right hard amated, gratious Lord,
And of your ignorance great maruell make,
Whiles cause not well conceiued ye mistake.
But know, that secret vertues are infusd
In euery fountaine, and in euery lake,
Which who hath skill them rightly to haue chusd,
To proofe of passing wonders hath full often vsd.
Of those some were so from their sourse indewd
By great Dame Nature, from whose fruitfull pap
Their welheads spring, and are with moisture deawd;
Which feedes each liuing plant with liquid sap,
And filles with flowres faire Floraes painted lap:
But other some by gift of later grace,
Or by good prayers, or by other hap,
Had vertue pourd into their waters bace,
And thenceforth were renowmd, & sought from place to place.
Such is this well, wrought by occasion straunge,
Which to her Nymph befell. Vpon a day,
As she the woods with bow and shafts did raunge,
The hartlesse Hind and Robucke to dismay,
Dan Faunus chaunst to meet her by the way,
And kindling fire at her faire burning eye,
Inflamed was to follow beauties chace,
And chaced her, that fast from him did fly;
As Hind from her, so she fled from her enimy.
At last when fayling breath began to faint,
And saw no meanes to scape, of shame affrayd,
She set her downe to weepe for sore constraint,
And to Diana calling lowd for ayde,
Her deare besought, to let her dye a mayd.
The goddesse heard, and suddeine where she sate,
Welling out streames of teares, and quite dismayd
With stony feare of that rude rustick mate,
Transformd her to a stone from stedfast virgins state.
Lo now she is that stone, from those two heads,
As from two weeping eyes, fresh streames do flow,
Yet cold through feare, and old conceiued dreads;
And yet the stone her semblance se [...]mes to show,
Shapt like a maid, that such ye may her know;
And yet her vertues in her water byde:
For it is chast and pure, as purest snow,
Ne lets her waues with any filth he dyde,
But euer like her selfe vnstained hath beene tryde.
From thence it comes, that this babes bloudy hand
May not be clensd with water of this well:
Ne certes Sir striue you it to withstand,
But let them still be bloudy, as befell,
[Page 208]That they his mothers innocence may tell,
As she bequeathd in her last testament;
That as a sacred Symbole it may dwell
In her sonnes flesh, to minde reuengement,
And be for all chast Dames an endlesse moniment.
He hearkned to his reason, and the childe
Vptaking, to the Palmer gaue to beare;
But his sad fathers armes with blond defilde,
An heauie load himselfe did lightly reare,
And turning to that place, in which whyleare
He left his loftie steed with golden sell,
And goodly gorgeous barbes, him found not theare.
By other accident that earst befell,
He is conuaide, but how or where, here fits not tell.
Which when Sir Guyon saw, all were he wroth,
Yet algates mote he soft himselfe appease,
And fairely fare on foot, how euer loth;
His double burden did him sore disease.
So long they traueiled with litle ease,
Till that at last they to a Castle came,
Built on a rocke adioyning to the seas,
It was an auncient worke of antique fame,
And wondrous strong by nature, and by skilfull frame.
Therein three sisters dwelt of sundry sort,
The children of one sire by mothers three;
Who dying whylome did diuide this fort
To them by equall shares in equall fee:
But strifull minde, and diuerse qualitee
Drew them in parts, and each made others foe:
Still did they striue, and dayly disagree;
The eldest did against the youngest goe,
And both against the middest meant to worken woe.
Where when the knight arriu'd, he was right well
Receiu'd, as knight of so much worth became,
Of second sister, who did far excell
The other two; Medina was her name,
A sober sad, and comely curteous Dame;
Who rich arayd, and yet in modest guize,
In goodly garments, that her well became,
Faire marching forth in honorable wize,
Him at the threshold met, and well did enterprize.
She led him vp into a goodly bowre,
And comely courted with meet modestie,
Ne in her speach, ne in her hauiour,
Was lightnesse seene, or looser vanitie,
But gratious womanhood, and grauitie,
Aboue the reason of her youthly yeares:
Her golden lockes she roundly did vptye
In breaded tramels, that no looser heares
Did out of order stray about her daintie eares.
Whilest she her selfe thus busily did frame,
Seemely to entertaine her new-come guest,
Newes hereof to her other sisters came,
Who all this while were at their wanton rest,
Accourting each her friend with lauish fest:
They were two knights of perelesse puissance,
And famous far abroad for warlike gest,
Which to these Ladies loue did countenaunce,
And to his mistresse each himselfe stroue to aduaunce.
He that made loue vnto the eldest Dame,
Was hight Sir Huddibras, an hardy man;
Yet not so good of deedes, as great of name,
Which he by many rash aduentures wan,
[Page 210]Since errant armes to sew he first began;
More huge in strength, then wise in workes he was,
And reason with foole-hardize ouer ran;
Sterne melancholy did his courage pas,
And was for terrour more, all armd in shyning bras.
But he that lou'd the youngest, was Sans-loy,
He that faire Vna late fowle outraged,
The most vnruly, and the boldest boy,
That euer warlike weapons menaged,
And to all lawlesse lust encouraged,
Through strong opinion of his matchlesse might:
Ne ought he car'd, whom he endamaged
By tortious wrong, or whom bereau'd of right.
He now this Ladies champion chose for loue to fight.
These two gay knights, vowd to so diuerse loues,
Each other does enuie with deadly hate,
And dayly warre against his foeman moues,
In hope to win more fauour with his mate,
And th'others pleasing seruice to abate,
To magnifie his owne. But when they heard,
How in that place straunge knight arriued late,
Both knights and Ladies forth right angry far'd,
And fiercely vnto battell sterne themselues prepar'd.
But ere they could proceede vnto the place,
Where he abode, themselues at discord fell,
And cruell combat ioynd in middle space:
With horrible assault, and furie fell,
They heapt huge strokes, the scorned life to quell,
That all on vprore from her settled seat,
The house was raysd, and all that in did dwell;
Seemd that lowde thunder with amazement great
Did rend the ratling skyes with flames of fouldring heat.
The noyse thereof calth forth that straunger knight,
To weet, what dreadfull thing was there in hand;
Where when as two braue knights in bloudy fight
With deadly rancour he enraunged fond,
His sunbroad shield about his wrest he bond,
And shyning blade vnsheathd, with which he ran
Vnto that stead, their strife to vnderstond;
And at his first arriuall, them began
With goodly meanes to pacifie, well as he can.
But they him spying, both with greedy forse
Attonce vpon him ran, and him beset
With strokes of mortall steele without remorse,
And on his shield like yron sledges bet:
As when a Beare and Tygre being met
In cruell fight on lybicke Ocean wide,
Espye a traueiler with feet surbet,
Whom they in equall pray hope to deuide,
They stint their strife, and him assaile on euery side.
But he, not like a wearie traueilere,
Their sharpe assault right bloudy did rebut,
And suffred not their blowes to byte him nere,
But with redoubled buffes them backe did put:
Whose grieued mindes, which choler did englut,
Against themselues turning their wrathfull spight,
Gan with new rage their shields to hew and cut;
But still when Guyon came to part their fight,
With heauie load on him they freshly gan to smight.
As a tallship tossed in troublous seas,
Whom raging windes threatning to make the pray
Of the rough rockes, do diuersly disease,
Meetes two contrary billowes by the way,
[Page 212]That her on either side do sore assay,
And boast to swallow her in greedy graue;
She scorning both their spights, does make wide way,
And with her brest breaking the fomy waue,
Does ride on both their backs, & faire her selfe doth saue.
So boldly he him beares, and rusheth forth
Betweene them both, by conduct of his blade
Wondrous great prowesse and heroick worth
He shewd that day, and rare ensample made,
When two so mighty warriours he dismade:
Attonce he wards and strikes, he takes and payes,
Now forst to yield, now forcing to inuade,
Before, behind, and round about him layes:
So double was his paines, so double be his prayse.
Straunge sort of fight, three valiaunt knights to see
Three combats ioyne in one, and to darraine
A triple warre with triple enmitee,
All for their Ladies froward loue to gaine,
Which gotten was but hate. So loue does raine
In stoutest minds, and maketh monstrous warre;
He maketh warre, he maketh peace againe,
And yet his peace is but continuall iarre:
O miserable men, that to him subiect arre.
Whilst thus they mingled were in furious armes,
The faire Medina with her tresses torne,
And naked brest, in pitty of their harmes,
Emongst them ran, and falling them beforne,
Besought them by the womb, which them had borne,
And by the loues, which were to them most deare,
And by the knighthood, which they sure had sworne,
Their deadly cruell discord to forbeare,
And to her iust conditions of faire peace to heare.
But her two other sisters standing by,
Her lowd gainsaid, and both their champion bad
Pursew the end of their strong enmity,
As euer of their loues they would be glad.
Yet she with pitthy words and counsell sad,
Still stroue their stubborne rages to reuoke,
That at the last suppressing fury mad,
They gan abstaine from dint of direfull stroke,
And hearken to the sober speaches, which she spoke.
Ah puissaunt Lords, what cursed euill Spright,
Or fell Erinnys in your noble harts,
Her hellish brond hath kindled with despight,
And stird you vp to worke your wilfull smarts?
Is this the ioy of armes? be these the parts
Of glorious knighthood, after bloud to thrust,
And not regard dew right and iust desarts?
Vaine is the vaunt, and victory vniust,
That more to mighty hāds, thē rightfull cause doth trust.
And were their rightfull cause of difference,
Yet were not better, faire it to accord,
Then with bloud guiltnesse to heape offence,
And mortall vengeaunce ioyne to crime abhord?
O fly from wrath, fly, O my liefest Lord:
Sad be the sights, and bitter fruits of warre,
And thousand furies wait on wrathfull sword;
Ne ought the prayse of prowesse more doth marre,
Then fowle reuenging rage, and base contentious iarre.
But louely concord, and most sacred peace
Doth nourish vertue, and fast friendship breeds;
Weake she makes strōg, & strōg thing does increace,
Till it the pitch of highest prayse exceeds:
[Page 214]Braue be her warres, and honorable deeds,
By which she triumphes ouer ire and pride,
And winnes an Oliue girlond for her meeds:
Be therefore, O my deare Lords, pacifide,
And this misseeming discord meekely lay aside.
Her gracious wordes their rancour did appall,
And suncke so deepe into their boyling brests,
That downe they let their cruell weapons fall,
And lowly did abase their loftie crests
To her faire presence, and discrete behests.
Then she began a treatie to procure,
And stablish termes betwixt both their requests,
That as a law for euer should endure;
Which to obserue in word of knights they did assure.
Which to confirme, and fast to bind their league,
After their wearie sweat and bloudy toile,
She them besought, during their quiet treague,
Into her lodging to repaire a while,
To rest themselues, and grace to reconcile.
They soone consent: so forth with her they fare,
Where they are well receiu'd, and made to spoile
Themselues of soiled armes, and to prepare
Their minds to pleasure, & their mouthes to dainty fare.
And those two froward sisters, their faire loues
Came with them eke, all were they wondrous loth,
And fained cheare, as for the time behoues,
But could not colour yet so well the troth,
But that their natures bad appeard in both:
For both did at their second sister grutch,
And inly grieue, as doth an hidden moth
The inner garment fret, not th'vtter touch;
One thought their cheare too litle, th'other thought too mutch.
Elissa (so the eldest hight) did deeme
Such entertainment base, ne ought would eat,
Ne ought would speake, but euermore did seeme
As discontent for want of merth or meat;
No solace could her Paramour intreat
Her once to show, ne court, nor dalliance,
But with bent lowring browes, as she would threat,
She scould, and frownd with froward countenaunce,
Vnworthy of faire Ladies comely gouernaunce.
But young Perissa was of other mind,
Full of disport, still laughing, loosely light,
And quite contrary to her sisters kind;
No measure in her mood, no rule of right,
But poured out in pleasure and delight;
In wine and meats she flowd aboue the bancke,
And in excesse exceeded her owne might;
In sumptuous tire she ioyd her selfe to prancke,
But of her loue too lauish (litle haue she thancke.)
First by her side did sit the bold Sans-loy,
Fit mate for such a mincing mineon,
Who in her loosenesse tooke exceeding ioy;
Might not be found a franker franion,
Of her lewd parts to make companion;
But Huddibras, more like a Malecontent,
Did see and grieue at his bold fashion;
Hardly could he endure his hardiment,
Yet still he sat, and inly did him selfe torment.
Betwixt them both the faire Medina sate
With sober grace, and goodly carriage:
With equall measure she did moderate
The strong extremities of their outrage;
[Page 216]That forward paire she euer would asswage,
When they would striue dew reason to exceed;
But that same froward twaine would accourage,
And of her plenty adde vnto their need:
So kept she them in order, and her selfe in heed.
Thus fairely she attempered her feast,
And pleasd them all with meete satietie,
At last when lust of meat and drinke was ceast,
She Guyon deare besought of curtesie.
To tell from whence he came through ieopardie,
And whither now on new aduenture bound.
Who with bold grace, and comely grauitie,
Drawing to him the eyes of all around,
From lofty siege began these words aloud to sound.
This thy demaund, ô Lady, doth reuiue
Fresh memory in me of that great Queene,
Great and most glorious virgin Queene aliue,
That with her soueraigne powre, and scepter shene
All Faery lond does peaceable sustene.
In widest Ocean she her throne does reare,
That ouer all the earth it may be seene;
As morning Sunne her beames dispredden cleare,
And in her face faire peace, and mercy doth appeare.
In her the richesse of all heauenly grace,
In chiefe degree are heaped vp on hye:
And all that else this worlds enclosure bace,
Hath great or glorious in mortall eye.
Adornes the person of her Maiestie;
That men beholding so great excellence,
And rare perfection in mortalitie,
Do her adore with sacred reuerence,
As th'Idole of her makers great magnificence.
To her I homage and my seruice owe,
In number of the noblest knights on ground,
Mongst whom on me she deigned to bestowe
Order of Maydenhead, the most renownd,
That may this day in all the world be found,
An yearely solemne feast she wontes to make
The day that first doth lead the yeare around;
To which all knights of worth and courage bold
Resort, to heare of straunge aduentures to be told.
There this old Palmer shewed himselfe that day,
And to that mighty Princesse did complaine
Of grieuous mischiefes, which a wicked Fay
Had wrought, and many whelmd in deadly paine,
Whereof he crau'd redresse. My Soueraine,
Whose glory is in gracious deeds, and ioyes
Throughout the world her mercy to maintaine,
Eftsoones deuisd redresse for such annoyes;
Me all vnfit for so great purpose she employes.
Now hath faire Phoebe with her siluer face
Thrise seene the shadowes of the neather world,
Sith last I left that honorable place,
In which her royall presence is introld;
Ne euer shall I rest in house nor hold,
Till I that false Acrasia haue wonne;
Of whose fowle deedes, too hideous to be told
I witnesse am, and this their wretched sonne,
Whose wofull parents she hath wickedly fordonne.
Tell on, faire Sir, said she, that dolefull tale,
From which sad ruth does seeme you to restraine,
That we may pitty such vnhappy bale,
And learne from pleasures poyson to abstaine:
[Page 218]Ill by ensample good doth often gayne.
Then forward he his purpose gan pursew,
And told the storie of the mortall payne,
Which Mordant and Amauia did rew;
As with lamenting eyes him selfe did lately vew.
Night was far spent, and now in Ocean deepe
Orion, flying fast from hissing snake,
His flaming head did hasten for to steepe,
When of his pitteous tale he end did make;
Whilest with delight of that he wisely spake,
Those guestes beguiled, did beguile their eyes
Of kindly sleepe, that did them ouertake.
At last when they had markt the chaunged skyes,
They wist their houre was spēt; thē each to rest him hyes.

Cant. III.

Vaine Braggadocchio getting Guyons
horse is made the scorne
Of knighthood trew, and is of fayre
Belphoebe fowle forlorne.
SOone as the morrow faire with purple beames
Disperst the shadowes of the mistie night,
And Titan playing on the eastern streames,
Gan cleare the deawy ayre with springing light,
Sir Guyon mindfull of his vow yplight,
Vprose from drowsie couch, and him addrest
Vnto the iourney which he had behight:
His puissaunt armes about his noble brest,
And many-folded shield he bound about his wrest.
Then taking Congé of that virgin pure,
The bloudy-handed babe vnto her truth
Did earnestly commit, and her coniure,
In vertuous lore to traine his tender youth,
And all that gentle noriture ensu'th:
And that so soone as ryper yeares he raught,
He might for memorie of that dayes ruth,
Be called Ruddymane, and thereby taught,
T'auenge his Parēts death on them, that had it wrought.
So forth he far'd, as now befell, on foot,
Sith his good steed is lately from him gone;
Patience perforce; helpelesse what may it boot
To fret for anger, or for griefe to mone?
His Palmer now shall foot no more alone:
So fortune wrought, as vnder greene woods syde
He lately heard that dying Lady grone,
He left his steed without, and speare besyde,
And rushed in on foot to ayd her, ere she dyde.
The whiles a losell wandring by the way,
One that to bountie neuer cast his mind,
Ne thought of honour euer did assay
His baser brest, but in his kestrell kind
A pleasing vaine of glory vaine did find,
To which his flowing toung, and troublous spright
Gaue him great ayd, and made him more inclind:
He that braue steed there finding ready dight,
Purloynd both steed and speare, and ran away full light.
Now gan his hart all swell in iollitie,
And of him selfe great hope and helpe conceiu'd,
That puffed vp with smoke of vanitie,
And with selfe-loued personage deceiu'd,
[Page 220]He gan to hope, of men to be receiu'd
For such, as he him thought, or faine would bee:
But for in court gay portaunce he perceiu'd,
And gallant shew to be in greatest gree,
Eftsoones to court he cast t'auaunce his first degree.
And by the way he chaunced to espy
One sitting idle on a sunny bancke,
To whom auaunting in great brauery,
As Peacocke, that his painted plumes doth prancke,
He smote his courser in the trembling flancke,
And to him threatned his hart-thrilling speare:
The seely man seeing him ryde so rancke,
And ayme at him, fell flat to ground for feare,
And crying Mercy lowd, his pitious hands gan reare.
Thereat the Scarcrow wexed wondrous prowd,
Through fortune of his first aduenture faire,
And with big thundring voyce reuyld him lowd;
Vile Caytiue, vassall of dread and despaire,
Vnworthie of the commune breathed aire,
Why liuest thou, dead dog, a lenger day,
And doest not vnto death thy selfe prepaire.
Dye, or thy selfe my captiue yield for ay;
Great fauour I thee graunt, for aunswere thus to stay.
Hold, ô deare Lord, hold your dead-doing hand,
Then loud he cryde, I am your humble thrall.
Ah wretch (quoth he) thy destinies withstand
My wrathfull will, and do for mercy call.
I giue thee life: therefore prostrated fall,
And kisse my stirrup; that thy homage bee.
The Miser threw him selfe, as an Offall,
Streight at his foot in base humilitee,
And cleeped him his liege, to hold of him in fee.
So happy peace they made and faire accord:
Eftsoones this liege-man gan to wexe more bold,
And when he felt the folly of his Lord,
In his owne kind he gan him selfe vnfold:
For he was wylie witted, and growne old
In cunning sleights and practick knauery.
For that day forth he cast for to vphold
His idle humour with fine flattery,
And blow the bellowes to his swelling vanity.
Trompart fit man for Braggadochio,
To serue at court in view of vaunting eye;
Vaine-glorious man, when fluttring wind does blow
In his light wings, is lifted vp to skye:
The scorne of knighthood and trew cheualrye,
To thinke without desert of gentle deed,
And noble worth to be aduaunced hye:
Such prayse is shame; but honour vertues meed
Doth beare the fairest flowre in honorable seed.
So forth they pas, a well consorted paire,
Till that at length with Archimage they meet:
Who seeing one that shone in armour faire,
On goodly courser thundring with his feet,
Eftsoones supposed him a person meet,
Of his reuenge to make the instrument:
For since the Redcrosse knight he earst did weet,
To beene with Guyon knit in one consent,
The ill, which earst to him, he now to Guyon ment.
And comming close to Trompart gan inquere
Of him, what mighty warriour that mote bee,
That rode in golden sell with single spere,
But wanted sword to wreake his enmitee.
[Page 222]He is a great aduenturer, (said he)
That hath his sword through hard assay forgone,
And now hath vowd, till he auenged bee,
Of that despight, neuer to wearen none;
That speare is him enough to doen a thousand grone.
Th'enchaunter greatly ioyed in the vaunt,
And weened well ere long his will to win,
And both his foen with equall foyle to daunt.
Tho to him louting lowly, did begin
To plaine of wrongs, which had committed bin
By Guyon, and by that false Redcrosse knight,
Which two through treason and deceiptfull gin,
Had slaine Sir Mordant, and his Lady bright:
That mote him honour win, to wreake so foule despight.
Therewith all suddeinly he seemd enraged,
And threatned death with dreadfull countenaunce,
As if their liues had in his hand beene gaged;
And with stiffe force shaking his mortall launce,
To let him weet his doughtie valiaunce,
Thus said; Old man, great sure shalbe thy meed,
If where those knights for feare of dew vengeaunce
Do lurke, thou certainly to me areed,
That I may wreake on them their hainous hatefull deed.
Certes, my Lord, (said he) that shall I soone,
And giue you eke good helpe to their decay,
But mote I wisely you aduise to doon;
Giue no ods to your foes, but do puruay
Your selfe of sword before that bloudy day:
For they be two the prowest knights on ground,
And oft approu'd in many hard assay,
And eke of surest steele, that may be found,
Do arme your selfe against that day, them to confound.
Dotard (said he) let be thy deepe aduise;
Seemes that through many yeares thy wits thee faile,
And that weake eld hath left thee nothing wise,
Else neuer should thy iudgement be so fraile,
To measure manhood by the sword or maile.
Is not enough foure quarters of a man,
Withouten sword or shield, an host to quaile?
Thou little wotest, what this right hand can:
Speake they, which haue beheld the battailes, which it wan.
The man was much abashed at his boast;
Yet well he wist, that who so would contend
With either of those knights on euen coast,
Should need of all his armes, him to defend;
Yet feared least his boldnesse should offend,
When Braggadocchio said, Once I did sweare,
When with one sword seuen knights I brought to end,
Thence forth in battell neuer sword to beare,
But it were that, which noblest knight on earth doth weare.
Perdie Sir knight, said then th'enchaunter bliue,
That shall I shortly purchase to your hond:
For now the best and noblest knight aliue
Prince Arthur is, that wonnes in Faerie lond;
He hath a sword, that flames like burning brond.
The same by my aduise I vndertake
Shall by to morrow by thy side be fond.
At which bold word that boaster gan to quake,
And wondred in his mind, what mote that monster make.
He stayd not for more bidding, but away
Was suddein vanished out of his sight:
The Northerne wind his wings did broad display
At his commaund, and reared him vp light
[Page 224]From off the earth to take his aerie flight.
They look about, but no where could espie
Tract of his foot: then dead through great affright
They both nigh were, and each bad other flie:
Both fled attonce, ne euer backe returned eie.
Till that they come vnto a forrest greene,
In which they shrowd thēselues from causelesse feare;
Yet feare them followes still, where so they beene,
Each trembling leafe, and whistling wind they heare,
As ghastly bug their haire on end does reare:
Yet both doe striue their fearfulnesse to faine.
At last they heard a horne, that shrilled cleare
Throughout the wood, that ecchoed againe,
And made the forrest ring, as it would riue in twaine.
Eft through the thicke they heard one rudely rush;
With noyse whereof he from his loftie steed
Downe fell to ground, and crept into a bush,
To hide his coward head from dying dreed.
But Trompart stoutly stayd to taken heed,
Of what might hap. Eftsoone there stepped forth
A goodly Ladie clad in hunters weed,
That seemd to be a woman of great worth,
And by her stately portance, borne of heauenly birth.
Her face so faire as flesh it seemed not,
But heauenly pourtraict of bright Angels hew,
Cleare as the skie, withouten blame or blot,
Through goodly mixture of complexions dew;
And in her cheekes the vermeill red did shew
Like roses in a bed of lillies shed,
The which ambrosiall odours from them threw,
And gazers sense with double pleasure fed,
Hable to heale the sicke, and to reuiue the ded.
In her faire eyes two liuing lamps did flame,
Kindled aboue at th'heauenly makers light,
And darted fyrie beames out of the same,
So passing persant, and so wondrous bright,
That quite bereau'd the rash beholders sight:
In them the blinded god his lustfull fire
To kindle oft assayd, but had no might;
For with dredd Maiestie, and awfull ire,
She broke his wanton darts, and quenched base desire.
Her iuorie forhead, full of bountie braue,
Like a broad table did it selfe dispred,
For Loue his loftie triumphes to engraue,
And write the battels of his great godhed:
All good and honour might therein be red:
For there their dwelling was. And when she spake,
Sweet words, like dropping honny she did shed,
And twixt the perles and rubins softly brake
A siluer sound, that heauenly musicke seemd to make.
Vpon her eyelids many Graces sate,
Vnder the shadow of her euen browes,
Working belgards, and amorous retrate,
And euery one her with a grace endowes:
And euery one with meekenesse to her bowes.
So glorious mirrhour of celestiall grace,
And soueraine moniment of mortall vowes,
How shall fraile pen descriue her heauenly face,
For feare through want of skill her beautie to disgrace?
So faire, and thousand thousand times more faire
She seemd, when she presented was to sight,
And was yclad, for heat of scorching aire,
All in a silken Camus lylly whight,
[Page 226]Purfled vpon with many a folded plight,
Which all aboue besprinckled was throughout,
With golden aygulets, that glistred bright,
Like twinckling starres, and all the skirt about
Was hemd with golden fringe
Below her ham her weed did somewhat traine,
And her streight legs most brauely were embayld
In gilden buskins of costly Cordwaine,
All bard with golden bendes, which were entayld
With curious antickes, and full faire aumayld:
Before they fastned were vnder her knee
In a rich Iewell, and therein entrayld
The ends of all their knots, that none might see,
How they within their fouldings close enwrapped bee.
Like two faire marble pillours they were seene,
Which doe the temple of the Gods support,
Whom all the people decke with girlands greene,
And honour in their festiuall resort;
Those same with stately grace, and princely port
She taught to tread, when she her selfe would grace,
But with the wooddie Nymphes when she did play,
Or when the flying Libbard she did chace,
She could them nimbly moue, and after fly apace.
And in her hand a sharpe bore-speare she held,
And at her backe a bow and quiuer gay,
Stuft with steele-headed darts, wherewith she queld
The saluage beastes in her victorious play,
Knit with a golden bauldricke, which forelay
Athwart her snowy brest, and did diuide
Her daintie paps; which like young fruit in May
Now little gan to swell, and being tide,
Through her thin weed their places only signifide.
Her yellow lockes crisped, like golden wyre,
About her shoulders weren loosely shed,
And when the winde emongst them did inspyre,
They waued like a penon wide dispred,
And low behinde her backe were scattered:
And whether art it were, or heedlesse hap,
As through the flouring forrest rash she fled,
In her rude haires sweet flowres themselues did lap,
And flourishing fresh leaues and blossomes did enwrap.
Such as Diana by the sandie shore
Of swift Eurotas, or on Cynthus greene,
Where all the Nymphes haue her vnwares forlore,
Wandreth alone with bow and arrowes keene,
To seeke her game: Or as that famous Queene
Of Amazons, whom Pyrrhus did destroy,
The day that first of Priame she was seene,
Did shew her selfe in great triumphant ioy,
To succour the weake state of sad afflicted Troy.
Such when as hartlesse Trompart her did vew,
He was dismayed in his coward mind,
And doubted, whether he himselfe should shew,
Or fly away, or bide alone behind:
Both feare and hope he in her face did find,
When she at last him spying thus bespake;
Hayle Groome; didst not thou see a bleeding Hind,
Whose right haunch earst my stedfast arrow strake?
If thou didst, tell me, that I may her ouertake.
Wherewith reviu'd, this answere forth he threw;
O Goddesse, (for such I thee take to bee)
For neither doth thy face terrestriall shew,
Nor voyce sound mortall; I auow to thee,
[Page 228]Such wounded beast, as that, I did not see,
Sith earst into this forrest wild I came.
But mote thy goodlyhed forgiue it mee,
To weet, which of the Gods I shall thee name,
That vnto thee due worship I may rightly frame.
To whom she thus; but ere her words ensewed,
Vnto the bush her eye did suddein glaunce,
In which vaine Braggadocchio was mewed,
And saw it stirre: she left her percing launce,
And towards gan a deadly shaft aduaunce,
In mind to marke the beast. At which sad stowre,
Trompart forth stept, to stay the mortall chaunce,
Out crying, ô what euer heauenly powre,
Or earthly wight thou be, withhold this deadly howre.
O stay thy hand for yonder is no game
For thy fierce arrowes, them to exercize,
But loe my Lord, my liege, whose warlike name,
Is farre renowmd through many bold emprize;
And now in shade he shrowded yonder lies.
She staid: with that he crauld out of his nest,
Forth creeping on his caitiue hands and thies,
And standing stoutly vp, his loftie crest
Did fiercely shake, and rowze, as comming late from rest.
As fearefull fowle, that long in secret caue
For dread of soaring hauke her selfe hath hid,
Not caring how, her silly life to saue,
She her gay painted plumes disorderid,
Seeing at last her selfe from daunger rid,
Peepes foorth, and soone renewes her natiue pride;
She gins her feathers foule disfigured
Proudly to prune, and set on euery side,
So shakes off shame, ne thinks how erst she did her hide.
So when her goodly visage he beheld,
He gan himselfe to vaunt: but when he vewed
Those deadly tooles, which in her hand she held,
Soone into other fits he was transmewed,
Till she to him her gratious speach renewed;
All haile, Sir knight, and well may thee befall,
As all the like, which honour haue pursewed
Through deedes of armes and prowesse martiall;
All vertue merits praise, but such the most of all.
To whom he thus; ô fairest vnder skie,
True be thy words, and worthy of thy praise,
That warlike feats doest highest glorifie.
Therein haue I spent all my youthly daies,
And many battailes fought, and many fraies
Throughout the world, wher so they might be found,
Endeuouring my dreadded name to raise
Aboue the Moone, that fame may it resound
In her eternall trompe, with laurell girland cround.
But what art thou, ô Ladie, which doest raunge
In this wilde forrest, where no pleasure is,
And doest not it for ioyous court exchaunge,
Emongst thine equall peres, where happie blis
And all delight does raigne, much more then this?
There thou maist loue, and dearely loued bee,
And swim in pleasure, which thou here doest mis;
There maist thou best be seene, and best maist see:
The wood is fit for beasts, the court is fit for thee.
Who so in pompe of proud estate (quoth she)
Does swim, and bathes himselfe in courtly blis,
Does waste his dayes in darke obscuritee,
And in obliuion euer buried is:
[Page 230]Where ease abounds, yt's eath to doe amis;
But who his limbs with labours, and his mind
Behaues with cares, cannot so easie mis.
Abroad in armes, at home in studious kind
Who seekes with painfull toile, shall honor soonest find.
In woods, in waues, in warres she wonts to dwell,
And will be found with perill and with paine;
Ne can the man, that moulds in idle cell,
Vnto her happie mansion attaine:
Before her gate high God did Sweat ordaine,
And wakefull watches euer to abide:
But easie is the way, and passage plaine
To pleasures pallace; it may soone be spide,
And day and night her dores to all stand open wide.
In Princes court, The rest she would haue said,
But that the foolish man, fild with delight
Of her sweet words, that all his sence dismaid,
And with her wondrous beautie rauisht quight,
Gan burne in filthy lust, and leaping light,
Thought in his bastard armes her to embrace.
With that she swaruing backe, her Iauelin bright
Against him bent, and fiercely did menace:
So turned her about, and fled away apace.
Which when the Peasant saw, amazd he stood,
And greiued at her flight; yet durst he not
Pursew her steps, through wild vnknowen wood;
Besides he feard her wrath, and threatned shot
Whiles in the bush he lay, not yet forgot:
Ne car'd he greatly for her presence vaine,
But turning said to Trompart, What foule blot
Is this to knight, that Ladie should againe
Depart to woods vntoucht, & leaue so proud disdaine?
Perdie (said Trompart) let her passe at will,
Least by her presence daunger mote befall.
For who can tell (and sure I feare it ill)
But that she is some powre celestiall?
For whiles she spake, her great words did a pall
My feeble courage, and my hart oppresse,
That yet I quake and tremble ouer all.
And I (said Braggadocchio) thought no lesse,
Whē first I heard her horne sound with such ghastlinesse.
For from my mothers wombe this grace I haue
Me giuen by eternall destinie,
That earthly thing may not my courage braue
Dismay with feare, or cause on foot to flie,
But either hellish feends, or powres on hie:
Which was the cause, when earst that home I heard,
Weening it had beene thunder in the skie,
I hid my selfe from it, as one affeard;
But when I other knew, my selfe I boldly reard.
But now for feare of worse, that may betide,
Let vs soone hence depart. They soone agree;
So to his steed he got, and gan to ride,
As one vnfit therefore, that all might see
He had not trayned bene in cheualree.
Which well that valiant courser did discerne;
For he despysd to tread in dew degree,
But chaufd and fom'd, with courage fierce and sterne,
And to be easd of that base burden still did erne.

Cant. IIII.

Guyon does Furor bind in chaines,
and stops Occasion:
Deliuers Phedon, and therefore
by strife is rayld vpon.
IN braue pursuit of honorable deed,
There is I know not what great difference
Betweene the vulgar and the noble seed,
Which vnto things of valorous pretence
Seemes to be borne by natiue influence;
As feates of armes, and loue to entertaine,
But chiefly skill to ride, seemes a science
Proper to gentle bloud; some others faine
To menage steeds, as did this vaunter; but in vaine.
But he the rightfull owner of that steed,
Who well could menage and subdew his pride,
The whiles on foot was forced for to yeed,
With that blacke Palmer, his most trusty guide;
Who suffred not his wandring feet to slide.
But when strong passion, or weake fleshlinesse
Would from the right way seeke to draw him wide,
He would through temperance and stedfastnesse,
Teach him the weake to strēgthen, & the strōg suppresse.
It fortuned forth faring on his way,
He saw from farre, or seemed for to see
Some troublous vprore or contentious fray,
Whereto he drew in haste it to agree.
[Page 233]A mad man, or that feigned mad to bee,
Drew by the haire along vpon the ground,
A handsome stripling with great crueltee,
Whom sore he bett, and gor'd with many a wound,
That cheekes with teares, and sides with bloud did all a­bound.
And him behind, a wicked Hag did stalke,
In ragged robes, and filthy disaray,
Her other leg was lame, that she no'te walke.
But on a staffe her feeble steps did stay;
Her lockes, that loathly were and hoarie gray,
Grew all afore, and loosely hong vnrold,
But all behind was bald, and worne away,
That none thereof could euer taken hold,
And eke her face ill fauourd, full of wrinckles old.
And euer as she went, her tongue did walke
In foule reproch, and termes of vile despight,
Prouoking him by her outrageous talke,
To heape more vengeance on that wretched wight;
Sometimes she raught him stones, wherwith to smite,
Sometimes her staffe, though it her one leg were,
Withouten which she could not go vpright;
Ne any euill meanes she did forbeare,
That might him moue to wrath, and indignation reare.
The noble Guyon mou'd with great remorse,
Approching, first the Hag did thrust away,
And after adding more impetuous forse,
His mightie hands did on the madman lay,
And pluckt him backe; who all on fire streight way,
Against him turning all his fell intent,
With beastly brutish rage gan him assay,
And smot, and bit, and kickt, and scratcht, and rent,
And did he wist not what in his auengement.
And sure he was a man of mickle might,
Had he had gouernance, it well to guide:
But when the franticke fit inflamd his spright,
His force was vaine, and strooke more often wide,
Then at the aymed marke, which he had eide:
And oft himselfe he chaunst to hurt vnwares,
Whilst reason blent through passion, nought descride,
But as a blindfold Bull at randon fares,
And where he hits, nought knowes, & whom he hurts, nought cares.
His rude assault and rugged handeling
Straunge seemed to the knight, that aye with foe
In faire defence and goodly menaging
Of armes was wont to fight, yet nathemoe
Was he abashed now not fighting so,
But more enfierced through his currish play,
Him sternely grypt, and haling to and fro,
To ouerthrow him strongly did assay,
But ouerthrew himselfe vnwares, and lower lay.
And being downe the villein sore did beat,
And bruze with clownish fistes his manly face:
And eke the Hag with many a bitter threat,
Still cald vpon to kill him in the place.
With whose reproch and odious menace
The knight emboyling in his haughtie hart,
Knit all his forces, and gan soone vnbrace
His grasping hold: so lightly did vpstart,
And drew his deadly weapon, to maintaine his part.
Which when the Palmer saw, he loudly cryde,
Not so, ô Guyon, neuer thinke that so
That Monster can be maistred or destroyd:
He is no, ah, he is not such a foe,
[Page 235]As steele can wound, or strength can ouerthroe.
That same is Furor, cursed cruell wight,
That vnto knighthood workes much shame and woe;
And that same Hag, his aged mother, hight
Occasion, the root of all wrath and despight.
With her, who so will raging Furor tame,
Must first begin, and well her amenage:
First her restraine from her reprochfull blame,
And euill meanes, with which she doth enrage
Her franticke sonne, and kindles his courage,
Then when she is withdrawen, or strong withstood,
It's eath his idle furie to asswage,
And calme the tempest of his passion wood;
The bankes are ouerflowen, when stopped is the flood.
Therewith Sir Guyon left his first emprise,
And turning to that woman, fast her hent
By the hoare lockes, that hong before her eyes,
And to the ground her threw: yet n'ould she stent
Her bitter rayling and foule reuilement,
But still prouokt her sonne to wreake her wrong;
But nathelesse he did her still torment,
And catching hold of her vngratious tong,
Thereon an yron lock, did fasten firme and strong.
Then when as vse of speach was from her reft,
With her two crooked handes she signes did make,
And beckned him, the last helpe she had left:
But he that last left helpe away did take,
And both her hands fast bound vnto a stake,
That she note stirre. Then gan her sonne to flie
Full fast away, and did her quite forsake;
But Guyon after him in haste did hie,
And soone him ouertooke in sad perplexitie.
In his strong armes he stiffely him embraste,
Who him gainstriuing, nought at all preuaild:
For all his power was vtterly defaste,
And furious fits at earst quite weren quaild:
Oft he re'nforst, and oft his forces fayld,
Yet yield he would not, nor his rancour slacke.
Then him to ground he cast, and rudely hayld,
And both his hands fast bound behind his backe,
And both his feet in fetters to an yron racke.
With hundred yron chaines he did him bind,
And hundred knots that did him sore constraine:
Yet his great yron teeth he still did grind,
And grimly gnash, threatning reuenge in vaine:
His burning eyen, whom bloudie strakes did staine,
Stared full wide, and threw forth sparkes of fire,
And more for ranck despight, then for great paine,
Shakt his long lockes, colourd like copper-wire,
And bit his tawny beard to shew his raging ire.
Thus when as Guyon Furor had captiu'd,
Turning about he saw that wretched Squire,
Whom that mad man of life nigh late depriu'd,
Lying on ground, all soild with bloud and mire:
Whom when as he perceiued to respire,
He gan to comfort, and his wounds to dresse.
Being at last recured, he gan inquire,
What hard mishap him brought to such distresse,
And made that caitiues thral, the thral of wretchednesse.
With hart then throbbing, and with watry eyes,
Faire Sir (quoth he) what man can shun the hap,
That hidden lyes vnwares him to surpryse
Misfortune waites aduantage to entrap
[Page 237]The man most warie in her whelming lap.
So me weake wretch, of many weakest one,
Vnweeting, and vnware of such mishap,
She brought to mischiefe through occasion,
Where this same wicked villein did me light vpon.
It was a faithlesse Squire, that was the sourse
Of all my sorrow, and of these sad teares,
With whom from tender dug of commune nourse,
Attonce I was vpbrought, and eft when yeares
More rype vs reason lent to chose our Peares,
Our selues in league of vowed loue we knit:
In which we long time without gealous feares,
Or faultie thoughts continewd, as was fit;
And for my part I vow, dissembled not a whit.
Is was my fortune commune to that age,
To loue a Ladie faire of great degree,
The which was borne of noble parentage,
And set in highest seat of dignitee,
Yet seemd no lesse to loue, then loued to bee:
Long I her seru'd, and found her faithfull still,
Ne euer thing could cause vs disagree:
Loue that two harts makes one; makes eke one will:
Each stroue to please, and others pleasure to fulfill.
My friend, hight Philemon, I did partake,
Of all my loue and all my priuitie;
Who greatly ioyous seemed for my sake,
And gratious to that Ladie, as to mee,
Ne euer wight, that mote so welcome bee,
As he to her, withouten blot or blame,
Ne euer thing, that she could thinke or see,
But vnto him she would impart the same:
O wretched man, that would abuse so gentle Dame.
At last such grace I found, and meanes I wrought,
That I that Ladie to my spouse had wonne;
Accord of friends, consent of parents sought,
Affiance made, my happinesse begonne,
There wanted nought but few rites to be donne,
Which mariage make; that day too farre did seeme:
Most ioyous man, on whom the shining Sunne,
Did shew his face, my selfe I did esteeme,
And that my falser friend did no lesse ioyous deeme.
But ere that wished day his beame disclosd,
He either enuying my toward good,
Or of himselfe to treason ill disposd
One day vnto me came in friendly mood,
And told for secret how he vnderstood
That Ladie whom I had to me assynd,
Had both distaind her honorable blood,
And eke the faith, which she to me did bynd;
And therfore wisht me stay, till I more truth should fynd.
The gnawing anguish and sharpe gelosy,
Which his sad speech infixed in my brest,
Ranckled so sore, and festred inwardly,
That my engreeued mind could find no rest,
Till that the truth thereof I did outwrest,
And him besought by that same sacred band
Betwixt vs both, to counsell me the best.
He then with solemne oath and plighted hand
Assur'd, ere long the truth to let me vnderstand.
Ere long with like againe he boorded mee,
Saying, he now had boulted all the floure,
And that it was a groome of base degree,
Which of my loue was partner Paramoure:
[Page 239]Who vsed in a darkesome inner bowre
Her oft to meet: which better to approue,
He promised to bring me at that howre,
When I should see, that would me nearer moue,
And driue me to withdraw my blind abused loue.
This gracelesse man for furtherance of his guile,
Did court the handmayd of my Lady deare,
Who glad t'embosome his affection vile,
Did all she might, more pleasing to appeare.
One day to worke her to his will more neare,
He woo'd her thus: Pryene (so she hight)
What great despight doth fortune to thee beare,
Thus lowly to abase thy beautie bright,
That it should not deface all others lesser light?
But if she had her least helpe to thee lent,
T'adorne thy forme according thy desart,
Their blazing pride thou wouldest soone haue blent,
And staynd their prayses with thy least good part;
Ne should faire Claribell with all her art,
Though she thy Lady be, approch thee neare:
For proofe thereof, this euening, as thou art,
Aray thy selfe in her most gorgeous geare,
That I may more delight in thy embracement deare.
The Maidē proud through prayse, and mad through loue
Him hearkned to, and soone her selfe arayd,
The whiles to me the treachour did remoue
His craftie engin, and as he had sayd,
Me leading, in a secret corner layd,
The sad spectatour of my Tragedie;
Where left, he went, and his owne false part playd,
Disguised like that groome of base degree,
Whom he had feignd th'abuser of my loue to bee.
Eftsoones he came vnto th'appointed place,
And with him brought Priene, rich arayd,
In Claribellaes clothes. Her proper face
I not descerned in that darkesome shade,
But weend it was my loue, with whom he playd.
Ah God, what horrour and tormenting griefe
My hart, my hands, mine eyes, and all assayd?
Me liefer were ten thousand deathes priefe,
Then wound of gealous worme, and shame of such re­priefe.
I home returning, fraught with fowle despight,
And chawing vengeance all the way I went,
Soone as my loathed loue appeard in sight,
With wrathfull hand I slew her innocent;
That after soone I dearely did lament:
For when the cause of that outrageous deede
Demaunded, I made plaine and euident,
Her faultie Handmayd, which that bale did breede,
Confest, how Philemon her wrought to chaunge her weede.
Which when I heard, with horrible affright
And hellish fury all enragd, I sought
Vpon my selfe that vengeable despight
To punish: yet it better first I thought,
To wreake my wrath on him, that first it wrought.
To Philemon, false faytour Philemon
I cast to pay, that I so dearely bought;
Of deadly drugs I gaue him drinke anon,
And washt away his guilt with guiltie potion.
Thus heaping crime on crime, and griefe on griefe,
To losse of loue adioyning losse of frend,
I meant to purge both with a third mischiefe,
And in my woes beginner it to end:
[Page 241]That was Pryene; she did first offend,
She last should smart: with which cruell intent,
When I at her my murdrous blade did bend,
She fled away with ghastly dreriment,
And I pursewing my fell purpose, after went.
Feare gaue her wings, and rage enforst my flight;
Through woods and plaines so long I did her chace,
Till this mad man, whom your victorious might
Hath now fast bound, me met in middle space,
As I her, so he me pursewd apace,
And shortly ouertooke: I breathing yre,
Sore chauffed at my stay in such a cace,
And with my heat kindled his cruell fyre;
Which kindled once, his mother did more rage inspyre.
Betwixt them both, they haue me doen to dye,
Through wounds, & strokes, & stubborne handeling,
That death were better, then such agony,
As griefe and furie vnto me did bring;
Of which in me yet stickes the mortall sting,
That during life will neuer be appeasd.
When he thus ended had his sorrowing,
Said Guyon, Squire, sore haue ye beene diseasd;
But all your hurts may soone through tēperance be easd.
Then gan the Palmer thus, most wretched man,
That to affections does the bridle lend;
In their beginning they are weake and wan,
But soone through suff'rance grow to fearefull end;
Whiles they are weake betimes with them contend:
For when they once to perfect strength do grow,
Strong warres they make, and cruell battry bend
Gainst fort of Reason, it to ouerthrow:
Wrath, gelosie, griefe, loue this Squire haue layd thus low.
Wrath, gealosie, griefe, loue do thus expell:
Wrath is a fire, and gealosie a weede,
Griefe is a flood, and loue a monster fell;
The fire of sparkes, the weede of little seede,
The flood of drops, the Monster filth did breede:
But sparks, seed, drops, and filth do thus delay;
The sparks soone quench, the springing seed outweed
The drops dry vp, and filth wipe cleane away:
So shall wrath, gealosie, griefe, loue dye and decay.
Vnlucky Squire (said Guyon) sith thou hast
Falne vnto mischiefe through intemperaunce,
Henceforth take heede of that thou now hast past,
And guide thy wayes with warie gouernaunce,
Least worse betide thee by some later chaunce.
But read how art thou nam'd and of what kin.
Phedon I hight (quoth he) and do aduaunce
Mine auncestry from famous Coradin,
Who first to rayse our house to honour did begin.
Thus as he spake, lo far away they spyde
A varlet running towards hastily,
Whose flying feet so fast their way applyde,
That round about a cloud of dust did fly,
Which mingled all with sweate, did dim his eye.
He soone approched, panting, breathlesse, whot,
And all so soyld, that none could him descry;
His countenaunce was bold, and bashed not
For Guyons lookes, but scornefull eyglaunce at him shot.
Behind his backe he bore a brasen shield,
On which was drawen faire, in colours fit,
A flaming fire in midst of bloudy field,
And round about the wreath this word was writ,
[Page 243] Burnt I do burne. Right well beseemed it,
To be the shield of some redoubted knight;
And in his hand two darts exceeding flit,
And deadly sharpe he held, whose heads were dight
In poyson and in bloud, of malice and despight.
When he in presence came, to Guyon first
He boldly spake, Sir knight, if knight thou bee,
Abandon this fore stalled place at erst,
For feare of further harme, I counsell thee,
Or bide the chaunce at thine owne ieoperdie.
The knight at his great boldnesse wondered,
And though he scornd his idle vanitie,
Yet mildly him to purpose answered;
For not to grow of nought he it coniectured.
Varlet, this place most dew to me I deeme,
Yielded by him, that held it forcibly.
But whēce should come that harme, which thou doest seeme
To threat to him, that minds his chaunce t'abye?
Perdy (said he) here comes, and is hard by
A knight of wondrous powre, and great assay,
That neuer yet encountred enemy,
But did him deadly daunt, or fowle dismay;
Ne thou for better hope, if thou his presence stay.
How hight he then (said Guyon) and from whence?
Pyrrhochles is his name, renowmed farre
For his bold feats and hardy confidence,
Full oft approu'd in many a cruell warre,
The brother of Cymochles, both which arre
The sonnes of old Acrates and Despight,
Acrates sonne of Phlegeton and Iarre;
But Phlegeton is sonne of Herebus and Night;
But Herebus sonne of Aeternitie is hight.
So from immortall race he does proceede,
That mortall hands may not withstand his might,
Drad for his derring do, and bloudy deed;
For all in bloud and spoile is his delight.
His am I Atin, his in wrong and right,
That matter make for him to worke vpon,
And stirre him vp to strife and cruell fight.
Fly therefore, fly this fearefull stead anon,
Least thy foolhardize worke thy sad confusion.
His be that care, whom most it doth concerne,
(Said he) but whither with such hasty flight
Art thou now bound? for well mote I discerne
Great cause, that carries thee so swift and light.
My Lord (quoth he) me sent, and streight behight
To seeke Occasion; where so she bee:
For he is all disposd to bloudy fight,
And breathes out wrath and hainous crueltie;
Hard is his hap, that first fals in his ieopardie.
Madman (said then the Palmer) that does seeke
Occasion to wrath, and cause of strife;
She comes vnsought, and shonned followes eke.
Happy, who can abstaine, when Rancour rife
Kindles Reuenge, and threats his rusty knife;
Woe neuer wants, where euery cause is caught,
And rash Occasion makes vnquiet life.
Then loe, where bound she fits, whō thou hast sought,
(Said Guyon,) let that message to thy Lord be brought.
That when the varlet heard and saw, streight way
He wexed wondrous wroth, and said, Vile knight,
That knights & knighthood doest with shame vp­bray,
And shewst th'enfāple of thy childish migbt,
[Page 245]With silly weake old woman thus to fight.
Great glory and gay spoile sure hast thou got,
And stoutly prou'd thy puissaunce here in sight;
That shall Pyrrhochles well requite, I wot,
And with thy bloud abolish so reprochfull blot.
With that one of his thrillant darts he threw,
Headed with ire and vengeable despight;
The quiuering steele his aymed end well knew,
And to his brest it selfe intended right:
But he was warie, and ere it empight
In the meant marke, aduaunst his shield atweene,
On which it seizing, no way enter might,
But backe rebounding, left the forckhead keene;
Eftsoones he fled away, and might no where be seene.

Cant. V.

Pyrrhochles does with Guyon fight,
And Furors chayne vnbinds
Of whom sore hurt, for his reuenge
Attin Gymochles finds.
WHo euer doth to temperaunce apply
His stedfast life, and all his actions frame,
Trust me, shall find no greater enimy,
Then stubborne perturbation, to the same;
To which right well the wise do giue that name,
For it the goodly peace of stayed mindes
Does ouerthrow, and troublous warre proclame:
His owne woes authour, who so bound it findes,
As did Pyrrhochles, and it wilfully vnbindes.
After that varlets flight, it was not long,
Ere on the plaine fast pricking Guyon spide
One in bright armes embatteiled full strong,
That as the Sunny beames do glaunce and glide
Vpon the trembling waue, so shined bright,
And round about him threw forth sparkling fire,
That seemd him to enflame on euery side:
His steed was bloudy red, and fomedire,
When with the maistring spur he did him roughly stire.
Approching nigh, he neuer stayd to greete,
Ne chaffar words, prowd courage to prouoke,
But prickt so flers, that vnderneath his feete
The smouldring dust did round about him smoke,
Both horse and man nigh able for to choke;
And fairly couching his steele-headed speare,
Him first saluted with a sturdy stroke;
It booted nought Sir Guyon comming neare
To thinke, such hideous puissaunce on foot to beare.
But lightly shunned it, and passing by,
With his bright blade did smite at him so fell,
That the sharpe steele arriuing forcibly
On his braod shield, bit not, but glauncing fell
On his horse necke before the quilted sell
And from the head the body sundred quight.
So him dismounted low, he did compell
On foot with him to matchen equall fight;
The truncked beast fast bleeding, did him fowly dight.
Sore bruzed with the fall, he slow vprose,
And all enraged, thus him loudly shent;
Disleall knight, whose coward courage chose
To wreake it selfe on beast all innocent,
[Page 247]And shund the marke, at which it should be ment,
Thereby thine armes seeme strōg, but māhood fraile;
So hast thou oft with guile thine honour blent;
But litle may such guile thee now auaile,
If wonted force and fortune do not much me faile.
With that he drew his flaming sword, and strooke
At him so fiercely, that the vpper marge
Of his seuenfolded shield away it tooke,
And glauncing on his helmet, made a large
And open gash therein: were not his targe,
That broke the violence of his intent,
The weary soule from thence it would discharge;
Nathelesse so sore a buff to him it lent,
That made him reele, and to his brest his beuer bent.
Exceeding wroth was Guyon at that blow,
And much ashamd, that stroke of liuing arme
Should him dismay, and make him stoup so low,
Though otherwise it did him litle harme:
Tho hurling high his yron braced arme,
He smote so manly on his shoulder plate,
That all his left side it did quite disarme;
Yet there the steele stayd not, but inly bate
Deepe in his flesh, and opened wide a red floodgate.
Deadly dismayd, with horrour of that dint
Pyrrhochles was, and grieued eke entyre;
Yet nathemore did it his fury stint,
But added flame vnto his former fire,
That welnigh molt his hart in raging yre,
Ne thenceforth his approued skill, to ward,
Or strike, or hurle, round in warelike gyre,
Remembred he, ne car'd for his saufgard,
But rudely rag'd, and like a cruell Tygre far'd,
He hewd, and lasht, and foynd, and thundred blowes,
And euery way did seeke into his life,
Ne plate, ne male could ward so mighty throwes,
But yielded passage to his cruell knife.
But Guyon, in the heat of all his strife,
Was warie wise, and closely did awayt
Auauntage, whilest his foe did rage most rife;
Sometimes a thwart, sometimes he strooke him strayt,
And falsed oft his blowes, t'illude him with such bayt.
Like as a Lyon, whose imperiall powre
A prowd rebellious Vnicorne defies,
T'auoide the rash assault and wrathfull stowre
Of his fiers foe, him to a tree applies,
And when him running in full course he spies,
He slips aside; the whiles that furious beast
His precious horne, sought of his enimies
Strikes in the stocke, ne thence can be relast,
But to the mighty victour yields a bounteous feast.
With such faire slight him Guyon often faild,
Till at the last all breathlesse, wearie, faint
Him spying, with fresh onset he assaild,
And kindling new his courage seeming queint,
Strooke him so hugely, that through great constraint
He made him stoup perforce vnto his knee,
And do vnwilling worship to the Saint,
That on his shield depainted he did see;
Such homage till that instant neuer learned hee.
Whom Guyon seeing stoup, pursewed fast
The present offer of faire victory,
And soone his dreadfull blade about he cast,
Wherewith he smote his haughty crest so hye,
[Page 249]That streight on ground made him full low to lye;
Then on his brest his victour foote he thrust,
With that he cryde, Mercy, do me not dye,
Ne deeme thy force by fortunes doome vniust,
That hath (maugre her spight) thus low me laid in dust.
Eftsoones his cruell hand Sir Guyon stayd,
Tempring the passion with aduizement slow,
And maistring might on enimy dismayd:
For th'equall dye of warre he well did know;
Then to him said, Liue and allegaunce owe,
To him that giues thee life and libertie,
And henceforth by this dayes ensample trow,
That hasty wroth, and heedlesse hazardrie
Do breede repentaunce late, and lasting infamie.
So vp he let him rise, who with grim looke
And count'naunce sterne vpstanding, gan to grind
His grated teeth for great disdeigne, and shooke
His sandy lockes, long hanging downe behind,
Knotted in bloud and dust, for griefe of mind,
That he in ods of armes was conquered;
Yet in himselfe some comfort he did find,
That him so noble knight had maistered,
Whose bounty more then might, yet both he wondered.
Which Guyon marking said, Be nought agrieu'd,
Sir knight, that thus ye now subdewed arre:
Was neuer man, who most conquestes atchieu'd
But sometimes had the worse, and lost by warre,
Yet shortly gaynd, that losse exceeded farre:
Losse is no shame, nor to be lesse then foe,
But to be lesser, then himselfe, doth marre
Both loosers lot, and victours prayse alsoe.
Vaine others ouerthrowes, who selfe doth ouerthrowe.
Fly, O Pyrrhochles, fly the dreadfull warre,
That in thy selfe thy lesser parts do moue,
Outrageous anger, and woe-working iarre,
Direfull impatience, and hart murdring loue;
Those, those thy foes, those warriours far remoue,
Which thee to endlesse bale captiued lead.
But sith in might thou didst my mercy proue,
Of curtesie to me the cause a read,
That thee against me drew with so impetuous dread.
Dreadlesse (said he) that shall I soone declare:
It was complaind, that thou hadst done great tort
Vnto an aged woman, poore and bare,
And thralled her in chaines with strong effort,
Voide of all succour and needfull comfort:
That ill beseemes thee, such as I thee see,
To worke such shame. Therefore I thee exhort,
To chaunge thy will, and set Occasion free,
And to her captiue sonne yield his first libertee.
Thereat Sir Guyon smilde, And is that all
(Said he) that thee so sore displeased hath?
Great mercy sure, for to enlarge a thrall,
Whose freedome shall thee turne to greatest scath.
Nath'lesse now quench thy whot emboyling wrath:
Loe there they be; to thee I yield them free.
Thereat he wondrous glad, out of the path
Did lightly leape, where he them bound did see,
And gan to breake the bands of their captiuitee.
Soone as Occasion felt her selfe vntyde,
Before her sonne could well assoyled bee,
She to her vse returnd, and streight defyde
Both Guyon and Pyrrhochles: th'one (said hee)
[Page 251]Bycause he wonne; the other because hee
Was wonne: So matter did she make of nought,
To stirre vp strife, and do them disagree:
But soone as Furor was enlargd, she sought
To kindle his quencht fire, and thousand causes wrought.
It was not long, ere she inflam'd him so,
That he would algates with Pyrrhochles fight,
And his redeemer chalengd for his foe,
Because he had not well mainteind his right,
But yielded had to that same straunger knight:
Now gan Pyrrhochles wex as wood, as hee,
And him affronted with impatient might:
So both together fiers engrasped bee,
Whiles Guyon standing by, their vncouth strife does see.
Him all that while Occasion did prouoke
Against Pyrrhochles, and new matter framed
Vpon the old, him stirring to be wroke
Of his late wrongs, in which she oft him blamed
For suffering such abuse, as knighthood shamed,
And him dishabled quite. But he was wise
Ne would with vaine occasions be inflamed;
Yet others she more vrgent did deuise:
Yet nothing could him to impatience entise.
Their fell contention still increased more,
And more thereby increased Furors might,
That he his foe has hurt, and wounded sore,
And him in bloud and durt deformed quight.
His mother eke, more to augment his spight,
Now brought to him a flaming fire brond,
Which she in Stygian lake, ay burning bright
Had kindled: that she gaue into his hond,
That armd with fire, more hardly he mote him withstōd.
Tho gan that villein wex so fiers and strong,
That nothing might sustaine his furious forse;
He cast him downe to ground, and all along
Drew him through durt and myre without remorse,
And fowly battered his comely corse,
That Guyon much disdeignd so loathly sight.
At last he was compeld to cry perforse,
Helpe, ô Sir Guyon, helpe most noble knight,
To rid a wretched man from hands of hellish wight.
The knight was greatly moued at his plaint,
And gan him dight to succour his distresse,
Till that the Palmer, by his graue restraint,
Him stayd from yielding pitifull redresse;
And said, Deare sonne, thy causelesse ruth represse,
Ne let thy stout hart melt in pitty vayne:
He that his sorrow sought through wilfulnesse,
And his foe fettred would release agayne.
Deserues to tast his follies fruit, repented payne.
Guyon obayd; So him away he drew
From needlesse trouble of renewing fight
Already fought, his voyage to pursew.
But rash Pyrrhochles varlet, Atin hight,
When late he saw his Lord in heauy plight,
Vnder Sir Guyons puissaunt stroke to fall,
Him deeming dead, as then he seemd in sight,
Fled fast away, to tell his funerall
Vnto his brother, whom Cymochles men did call.
He was a man of rare redoubted might,
Famous throughout the world for warlike prayse,
And glorious spoiles, purchast in perilous fight:
Full many doughtie knights he in his dayes
[Page 253]Had doen to death, subdewde in equall frayes,
Whose carkases, for terrour of his name,
Of fowles and beastes he made the piteous prayes,
And hong their conquered armes for more defame
On gallow trees, in honour of his dearest Dame.
His dearest Dame is that Enchaunteresse,
The vile Acrasia, that with vaine delightes,
And idle pleasures in his Bowre of Blisse,
Does charme her louers, and the feeble sprightes
Can call out of the bodies of fraile wightes:
Whom then she does transforme to mōstrous hewes,
And horribly misshapes with vgly sightes,
Captiu'd eternally in yron mewes,
And darksom dens, where Titan his face neuer shewes.
There Atin found Cymochles soiourning,
To serue his Lemans loue: for he by kind,
Was giuen all to lust and loose liuing,
When euer his fiers hands he free mote find:
And now he has pourd out his idle mind
In daintie delices, and lauish ioyes,
Hauing his warlike weapons cast behind,
And flowes in pleasures, and vaine pleasing toyes,
Mingled emongst loose Ladies and lasciuious boyes.
And ouer him, art striuing to compaire
With nature, did an Arber greene dispred,
Framed of wanton Yuie, flouring faire,
Through which the fragrant Eglantine did spred
His pricking armes, entrayld with roses red,
Which daintie odours round about them threw,
And all within with flowres was garnished,
That when myld Zephyrus emongst them blew,
Did breath out bounteous smels, & painted colors shew.
And fast beside, there trickled softly downe
A gentle streame, whose murmuring waue did play
Emongst the pumy stones, and made a sowne,
To lull him soft a sleepe, that by it lay;
The wearie Traueiler, wandring that way,
Therein did often quench his thristy heat,
And then by it his wearie limbes display,
Whiles creeping slomber made him to forget
His former paine, and wypt away his toylsom sweat.
And on the other side a pleasaunt groue
Was shot vp high, full of the stately tree,
That dedicated is t'Olympicke Ioue,
And to his sonne Alcides, whenas hee
Gaynd in Nemea goodly victoree;
Therein the mery birds of euery sort
Chaunted alowd their chearefull harmonie:
And made emongst them selues a sweet consort,
That quickned the dull spright with musicall comfort.
There he him found all carelesly displayd,
In secret shadow from the sunny ray,
On a sweet bed of lillies softly layd,
Amidst a flocke of Damzels fresh and gay,
That round about him dissolute did play
Their wanton follies, and light meriment;
Euery of which did loosely disaray
Her vpper parts of meet habiliments,
And shewd them naked, deckt with many ornaments.
And euery of them stroue, with most delights,
Him to aggrate, and greatest pleasures shew;
Some framd faire lookes, glancing like euening lights
Others sweet words, dropping like honny dew;
[Page 255]Some bathed kisses, and did soft embrew
The sugred licour through his melting lips:
One boastes her beautie, and does yeeld to vew
Her daintie limbes aboue her tender hips;
Another her out boastes, and all for tryall strips.
He, like an Adder, lurking in the weeds,
His wandring thought in deepe desire does steepe,
And his fraile eye with spoyle of beautie feedes;
Sometimes he falsely faines himselfe to sleepe,
Whiles through their lids his wanton eies do peepe,
To steale a snatch of amorous conceipt,
Whereby close fire into his heart does creepe:
So, he them deceiues, deceiu'd in his deceipt,
Made drunke with drugs of deare voluptuous receipt.
Atin arriuing there, when him he spide,
Thus in still waues of deepe delight to wade,
Fiercely approching, to him lowdly cride,
Cymochles; oh no, but Cymochles shade,
In which that manly person late did fade,
What is become of great Acrates sonne?
Or where hath he hong vp his mortall blade,
That hath so many haughtie conquests wonne?
Is all his force forlorne, and all his glory donne?
Then pricking him with his sharpe-pointed dart,
He said; vp, vp, thou womanish weake knight,
That here in Ladies lap entombed art,
Vnmindfull of thy praise and prowest might,
And weetlesse eke of lately wrought despight,
Whiles sad Pyrrhochles lies on senselesse ground,
And groneth out his vtmost grudging spright,
Through many a stroke, & many a streaming wound,
Calling thy helpe in vaine, that here in ioyes art dround.
Suddeinly out of his delightfull dreame
The man awoke, and would haue questiond more;
But he would not endure that wofull theame
For to dilate at large, but vrged sore
With percing words, and pittifull implore,
Him hastie to arise. As one affright
With hellish feends, or Furies mad vprore,
He then vprose, inflam'd with fell despight,
And called for his armes; for he would algates fight.
They bene ybrought; he quickly does him dight,
And lightly mounted, passeth on his way,
Ne Ladies loues, ne sweete entreaties might
Appease his heat, or hastie passage stay;
For he has vowd, to beene aueng'd that day,
(That day it selfe him seemed all too long:)
On him, that did Pyrrhochles deare dismay:
So proudly pricketh on his courser strong,
And Atin aie him pricks with spurs of shame & wrong.

Cant. VI.

Guyon is of immodest Merth,
led into loose desire,
Fights with Cymochles, whiles his bro­ther burnes infurious fire.
A Harder lesson, to learne Continence
In ioyous pleasure, then in grieuous paine:
For sweetnesse doth allure the weaker sence
So strongly, that vneathes it can refraine
[Page 257]From that, which feeble nature couets faine;
But griefe and wrath, that be her enemies,
And foes of life, she better can restraine;
Yet vertue vauntes in both their victories,
And Guyon in them all shewes goodly maisteries.
Whom bold Cymochles trauelling to find,
With cruell purpose bent to wreake on him
The wrath, which Atin kindled in his mind,
Came to a riuer, by whose vtmost brim
Wayting to passe, he saw whereas did swim
A long the shore, as swift as glaunce of eye,
A litle Gondelay, bedecked trim
With boughes and arbours wouen cunningly,
That like a litle forrest seemed outwardly.
And therein sate a Ladie fresh and faire,
Making sweet solace to her selfe alone;
Sometimes she sung, as loud as larke in aire,
Sometimes she laught, that nigh her breth was gone,
Yet was there not with her else any one,
That might to her moue cause of meriment:
Matter of merth enough, though there were none
She could deuise, and thousand waies inuent,
To feede her foolish humour, and vaine iolliment.
Which when farre off Cymochles heard, and saw,
He loudly cald to such, as were a bord,
The little barke vnto the shore to draw,
And him to ferrie ouer that deepe ford:
The merry marriner vnto his word
Soone hearkned, and her painted bote streightway
Turnd to the shore, where that same warlike Lord
She in receiu'd; but Atin by no way
She would admit, albe the knight her much did pray.
Eftsoones her shallow ship away did slide,
More swift, then swallow sheres the liquid skie,
Withouten oare or Pilot it to guide,
Or winged canuas with the wind to flie,
Only she turn'd a pin, and by and by
It cut away vpon the yielding waue,
Ne cared she her course for to apply:
For it was taught the way, which she would haue,
And both from rocks and flats it selfe could wisely saue.
And all the way, the wanton Damzell found
New merth, her passenger to entertaine:
For she in pleasant purpose did abound,
And greatly ioyed merry tales to faine,
Of which a store-house did with her remaine,
Yet seemed, nothing well they her became;
For all her words she drownd with laughter vaine,
And wanted grace in vtt'ring of the same,
That turned all her pleasance to a scoffing game.
And other whiles vaine toyes she would deuize,
As her fantasticke wit did most delight,
Sometimes her head she fondly would aguize
With gaudie girlonds, or fresh flowrets dight
About her necke, or rings of rushes plight;
Sometimes to doe him laugh, she would assay
To laugh at shaking of the leaues light,
Or to behold the water worke, and play
About her litle frigot, therein making way.
Her light behauiour, and loose dalliaunce
Gaue wondrous great contentment to the knight,
That of his way he had no souenaunce,
Nor care of vow'd reuenge, and cruell fight,
[Page 259]But to weake wench did yeeld his martiall might.
So easie was to quench his flamed mind
With one sweet drop of sensuall delight,
So easie is, t'appease the stormie wind
Of malice in the calme of pleasant womankind.
Diuerse discourses in their way they spent,
Mongst which Cymochles of her questioned,
Both what she was, and what that vsage ment,
Which in her cot she daily practised.
Vaine man (said she) that wouldest be reckoned
A straunger in thy home, and ignoraunt
Of Phaedria (for so my name is red)
Of Phaedria, thine owne fellow seruaunt;
For thou to serue Acrasia thy selfe doest vaunt.
In this wide Inland sea, that hight by name
The Idle lake, my wandring ship I row,
That knowes her port, and thither sailes by ayme,
Ne care, ne feare I, how the wind do blow,
Or whether swift I wend, or whether slow:
Both slow and swift a like do serue my tourne,
Ne swelling Neptune, ne loud thundring Ioue
Can chaunge my cheare, or make me euer mourne;
My litle boat can safely passe this perilous bourne.
Whiles thus she talked, and whiles thus she toyd,
They were farre past the passage, which he spake,
And come vnto an Island, waste and voyd,
That floted in the midst of that great lake,
There her small Gondelay her port did make,
And that gay paire issuing on the shore
Disburdued her. Their way they forward take
Into the land, that lay them faire before,
Whose pleasaunce she him shew'd, and plentifull great store.
It was a chosen plot of fertile land,
Emongst wide waues set, like a litle nest,
As if it had by Natures cunning hand,
Bene choisely picked out from all the rest,
And laid forth for ensample of the best:
No daintie flowre or herbe, that growes on ground,
No arboret with painted blossomes drest,
And smelling sweet, but there it might be found
To bud out faire, and her sweet smels throw all around.
No tree, whose braunches did not brauely spring;
No braunch, whereon a fine bird did not sit:
No bird, but did her shrill notes sweetly sing;
No song but did containe a louely dit:
Trees, braunches, birds, and songs were framed fit,
For to allure fraile mind to carelesse ease.
Carelesse the man soone woxe, and his weake wit
Was ouercome of thing, that did him please;
So pleased, did his wrathfull purpose faire appease.
Thus when she had his eyes and senses fed
With false delights, and fild with pleasures vaine,
Into a shadie dale she soft him led,
And laid him downe vpon a grassie plaine;
And her sweet selfe without dread, or disdaine,
She set beside, laying his head disarm'd
In her loose lap, it softly to sustaine,
Where soone he slumbred, fearing not be harm'd,
The whiles with a loud lay she thus him sweetly charm'd.
Behold, ô man, that toilesome paines doest take
The flowres, the fields, and all that pleasant growes,
How they themselues doe thine ensample make,
Whiles nothing enuious nature them forth throwes
[Page 261]Out of her fruitfull lap; how, no man knowes,
They spring, they bud, they blossome fresh and faire,
And deck the world with their rich pompous showes;
Yet no man for them taketh paines or care,
Yet no man to them can his carefull paines compare.
The lilly, Ladie of the flowring field,
The Flowre-deluce, her louely Paramoure,
Bid thee to them thy fruitlesse labours yield,
And soone leaue off this toylesome wearie stoure;
Loe loe how braue she decks her bounteous boure,
With silken curtens and gold couerlets,
Therein to shrowd her sumptuous Belamoure,
Yet neither spinnes nor cardes, ne cares nor frets,
But to her mother Nature all her care she lets.
Why then dost thou, ô man, that of them all
Art Lord, and eke of nature Soueraine,
Wilfully make thy selfe a wretched thrall,
And wast thy ioyous houres in needlesse paine,
Seeking for daunger and aduentures vaine?
What bootes it all to haue, and nothing vse?
Who shall him rew, that swimming in the maine,
Will die for thirst, and water doth refuse?
Refuse such fruitlesse toile, and present pleasures chuse.
By this she had him lulled fast a sleepe,
That of no worldly thing he care did take;
Then she with liquors strong his eyes did steepe,
That nothing should him hastily awake:
So she him left, and did her selfe betake
Vnto her boat againe, with which she cleft
The slouthfull waue of that great griesly lake;
Soone she that Island farre behind her left,
And now is come to that same place, where first she weft.
By this time was the worthy Guyon brought
Vnto the other side of that wide strond,
Where she was rowing, and for passage sought:
Him needed not long call, she soone to hond
Her ferry brought, where him she byding fond,
With his sad guide; himselfe she tooke a boord,
But the Blacke Palmer suffred still to stond,
Ne would for price, or prayers once affoord,
To ferry that old man ouer the perlous foord.
Guyon was loath to leaue his guide behind,
Yet being entred, might not backe retyre;
For the flit barke, obaying to her mind,
Forth launched quickly, as she did desire,
Ne gaue him leaue to bid that aged fire
Adieu, but nimbly ran her wonted course
Through the dull billowes thicke as troubled mire,
Whom neither wind out of their seat could forse,
Nor timely tides did driue out of their sluggish sourse.
And by the way, as was her wonted guize,
Her merry fit she freshly gan to reare,
And did of ioy and iollitie deuize,
Her selfe to cherish, and her guest to cheare:
The knight was courteous, and did not forbeare
Her honest merth and pleasaunce to partake;
But when he saw her toy, and gibe, and geare,
And passe the bonds of modest merimake,
Her dalliance he despisd, and follies did forsake.
Yet she still followed her former stile,
And said, and did all that mote him delight,
Till they arriued in that pleasant Ile,
Where sleeping late she left her other knight.
[Page 263]But when as Guyon that land had sight,
He wist himselfe amisse, and angry said;
Ah Dame, perdie ye haue not doen me right,
Thus to mislead me, whiles I you obaid:
Me litle needed from my right way to haue straid.
Faire Sir (quoth she) be not displeasd at all;
Who fares on sea, may not commaund his way,
Ne wind and weather at his pleasure call:
The sea is wide, and easie for to stray;
The wind vnstable, and doth neuer stay.
But here a while ye may in safety rest,
Till season serue new passage to assay;
Better safe port, then be in seas distrest.
Therewith she laught, and did her earnest end in iest.
But he halfe discontent, mote nathelesse
Himselfe appease, and issewd forth on shore:
The ioyes whereof, and happie fruitfulnesse,
Such as he saw she gan him lay before,
And all though pleasant, yet she made much more:
The fields did laugh, the flowres did freshly spring,
The trees did bud, and earely blossomes bore,
And all the quire of birds did sweetly sing,
And told that gardins pleasures in their caroling.
And she more sweet, then any bird on bough,
Would oftentimes emongst them beare a part,
And striue to passe (as she could well enough)
Their natiue musicke by her skilfull art:
So did she all, that might his constant hart
Withdraw from thought of warlike enterprize,
And drowne in dissolute delights apart,
Where noyse of armes, or vew of martiall guize
Might not reuiue desire of knightly exercize.
But he was wife, and warie of her will,
And euer held his hand vpon his hart:
Yet would not seeme so rude, and thewed ill,
As to despise so courteous seeming part,
That gentle Ladie did to him impart,
But fairely tempring fond desire subdewd,
And euer her desired to depart.
She list not heare, but her disports poursewd,
And euer bad him stay, till time the tide renewd.
And now by this, Cymochles howre was spent,
That he awoke out of his idle dreme,
And shaking off his drowzie dreriment,
Gan him auize, how ill did him beseeme,
In slouthfull sleepe his molten hart to steme,
And quench the brond of his conceiued ire.
Tho vp he started, stird with shame extreme,
Ne staied for his Damzell to inquire,
But marched to the strond, their passage to require.
And in the way he with Sir Guyon met,
Accompanyde with Phaedria the faire,
Eftsoones he gan to rage, and inly fret,
Crying, Let be that Ladie debonaire,
Thou recreant knight, and soone thy selfe prepaire
To battell, if thou meane her loue to gaine:
Loe, loe alreadie, how the fowles in aire
Doe flocke, awaiting shortly to obtaine
Thy carcasse for their pray, the guerdon of thy paine.
And therewithall he fiercely at him flew,
And with importance outrage him assayld;
Who soone prepard to field, his sword forth drew,
And him with equall value counteruayld:
[Page 265]Their mightie strokes their haberieons dismayld,
And naked made each others manly spalles;
The mortall steele despiteously entayld
Deepe in their flesh, quite through the yron walles,
That a large purple streme a down their giambeux falles.
Cymochles, that had neuer met before,
So puissant foe, with enuious despight
His proud presumed force increased more,
Disdeigning to be held so long in fight;
Sir Guyon grudging not so much his might,
As those vnknightly raylings, which he spoke,
With wrathfull fire his courage kindled bright,
Thereof deuising shortly to be wroke,
And doubling all his powres, redoubled euery stroke.
Both of them high attonce their hands enhaunst,
And both attonce their huge, blowes downe did sway;
Cymochles sword on Guyons shield yglaunst,
And thereof nigh one quarter sheard away;
But Guyons angry blade so fierce did play
On th'others helmet, which as Titan shone,
That quite it cloue his plumed crest in tway,
And bared all his head vnto the bone;
Wherewith astonisht, still he stood, as senselesse stone.
Still as he stood, faire Phaedria, that beheld
That deadly daunger, soone atweene them ran;
And at their feet her selfe most humbly feld,
Crying with pitteous voice, and count'nance wan;
Ah well away, most noble Lords, how can
Your cruell eyes endure so pitteous sight,
To shed your liues on ground? wo worth the man,
That first did teach the oursed steele to bight
In his owne flesh, and make way to the liuing spright.
If euer loue of Ladie did empierce
Your yron brestes, or pittie could find place,
Withhold your bloudie hands from battell fierce,
And sith for me ye fight, to me this grace
Both yeeld, to stay your deadly strife a space.
They stayd a while: and forth she gan proceed:
Most wretched woman, and of wicked race,
That am the author of this hainous deed,
And cause of death betweene two doughtie knights doe breed.
But if for me ye fight, or me will serue,
Not this rude kind of battell, nor these armes
Are meet, the which doe men in bale to sterue,
And dolefull sorrow heape with deadly harmes:
Such cruell game my scarmoges disarmes:
Another warre, and other weapons I
Doe loue, where loue does giue his sweet alarmes,
Without bloudshed, and where the enemy
Does yeeld vnto his foe a pleasant victory.
Debatefull strife, and cruell enmitie
The famous name of knighthood fowly shent;
But louely peace, and gentle amitie,
And in Amours the passing houres to spend,
The mightie martiall hands doe most commend;
Of loue they euer greater glory bore,
Then of their armes: Mars is Cupidoes frend,
And is for Venus loues renowmed more,
Then all his wars and spoiles, the which he did of yore.
Therewith she sweetly smyld. They though full bent,
To proue extremities of bloudie fight,
Yet at her speach their rages gan relent,
And calme the sea of their tempestuous spight,
[Page 267]Such powre haue pleasing words: such is the might
Of courteous clemencie in gentle hart.
Now after all was ceast, the Faery knight
Besought that Damzell suffer him depart,
And yield him readie passage to that other part.
She no lesse glad, then he desirous was
Of his departure thence; for of her ioy
And vaine delight she saw he light did pas,
A foe of folly and immodest toy,
Still solemne sad, or still disdainfull coy,
Delighting all in armes and cruell warre,
That her sweet peace and pleasures did annoy,
Troubled with terrour and vnquiet iarre,
That she well pleased was thence to amoue him farre.
Tho him she brought abord, and her swift bote
Forthwith directed to that further strand;
The which on the dull waues did lightly flote
And soone arriued on the shallow sand,
Where gladsome Guyon salied forth to land,
And to that Damzell thankes gaue for reward.
Vpon that shore he spied Atin stand,
Thereby his maister left, when late he far'd
In Phadrias flit barke ouer that perlous shard.
Well could he him remember, sith of late
He with Pyrrhochles sharp debatement made;
Streight gan he him reuile, and bitter rate,
As shepheards curre, that in darke euenings shade
Hath tracted forth some saluage beastes trade;
Vile Miscreant (said he) whither doest thou flie
The shame and death, which will thee soone inuade?
What coward hand shall doe thee next to die,
That art thus foully fled from famous enemie?
With that he stiffely shooke his steelehead dart:
But sober Guyon, hearing him so raile,
Though somewhat moued in his mightie hart,
Yet with strong reason maistred passion fraile,
And passed fairely forth. He turning taile,
Backe to the strond retyrd, and there still stayd,
Awaiting passage, which him late did faile;
The whiles Cymochles with that wanton mayd
The hastie heat of his auowd reuenge delayd.
Whylest there the varlet stood, he saw from farre
An armed knight, that towards him fast ran,
He ran on foot, as if in lucklesse warre
His forlorne steed from him the victourwan;
He seemed breathlesse, hartlesse, faint, and wan,
And all his armour sprinckled was with bloud,
And soyld with durtie gore, that no man can
Discerne the hew thereof. He neuer stood,
But bent his hastie course towards the idle flood.
The varlet saw, when to the flood he came,
How without stop or stay he fiercely lept,
And deepe him selfe beduked in the same,
That in the lake his loftie crest was steept,
Ne of his safetie seemed care he kept,
But with his raging armes he rudely flasht,
The waues about, and all his armour swept,
That all the bloud and filth away was washt,
Yet still he bet the water, and the billowes dasht.
Atin drew nigh, to weet what it mote bee;
For much he wondred at that vncouth sight;
Whom should he, but his owne deare Lord, there see,
His owne deare Lord Pyrrhochles, in sad plight,
[Page 269]Readie to drowne himselfe for fell despight.
Harrow now out, and well away, he cryde,
What dismall day hath lent this cursed light,
To see my Lord so deadly damnifyde
Pyrrhochles, ô Pyrrhochles, what is thee betyde?
I burne, I burne, I burne, then loud he cryde,
O how I burne with implacable fire,
Yet nought can quench mine inly flaming syde,
Nor sea of licour cold, nor lake of mire,
Nothing but death can doe me to respire.
Ah be it (said he) from Pyrrhochles farre
After pursewing death once to require,
Or think, that ought those puissant hands may marre:
Death is for wretches borne vnder vnhappie starre.
Perdie, then is it fit for me (said he)
That am, I weene, most wretched man aliue,
But in flames, yet no flames can I see,
And dying daily, daily yet reuiue:
O Atin, helpe to me last death to giue.
The varlet at his plaint was grieued so sore,
That his deepe wounded hart in two did riue,
And his owne health remembring now no more,
Did follow that ensample, which he blam'd afore.
Into the lake he lept, his Lord to ayd,
(So Loue the dread of daunger doth despise)
And of him catching hold him strongly stayd
From drowning. But more happie he, then wise
Of that seas nature did him not auise.
The waues thereof so slow and sluggish were,
Engrost with mud, which did them foule agrise,
That euery weightie thing they did vpbeare,
Ne ought mote euer sinke downe to the bottome there.
Whiles thus they strugled in that idle waue,
And stroue in vaine, the one himselfe to drowne,
The other both from drowning for to saue,
Lo, to that shore one in an auncient gowne,
Whose hoarie locks great grauitie did crowne,
Holding in hand a goodly arming sword,
By fortune came, led with the troublous sowne:
Where drenched deepe he found in that dull ford
The carefull seruant, striuing with his raging Lord.
Him Atin spying, knew right well of yore,
And loudly cald, Helpe helpe, ô Archimage;
To saue my Lord, in wretched plight forlore;
Helpe with thy hand, or with thy counsell sage:
Weake hands, but counsell is most strong in age.
Him when the old man saw, he wondred sore,
To see Pyrrhochles there so rudely rage:
Yet sithens helpe, he saw, he needed more
Then pittie, he in hast approched to the shore.
And cald, Pyrrhochles, what is this, I see?
What hellish furie hath at earst thee hent?
Furious euer I thee knew to bee,
Yet neuer in this straunge astonishment.
These flames, these flames (he cryde) do metorment.
What flames (quoth he) when I thee present see,
In daunger rather to be drent, then brent?
Harrow, the flames, which me consume (said hee)
Ne can be quencht, within my secret bowels bee.
That cursed man, that cruell feend of hell,
Furor, oh Furor hath me thus bedight:
His deadly wounds within my liuers swell,
And his whot fire burnes in mine entrails bright,
[Page 271]Kindled through his infernall brond of spight,
Sith late with him I batteil vaine would boste;
That now I weene Ioues dreaded thunder light
Does scorch not halfe so sore, nor damned ghoste
In flaming Phlegeton does not so felly roste.
Which when as Archimago heard, his griefe
He knew right well, and him attonce disarmd:
Then searcht his secret wounds, and made a priefe
Of euery place, that was with brusing harmd,
Or with the hidden fire too inly warmd.
Which done, he balmes and herbes thereto applyde,
And euemore with mighty spels them charmd,
That in short space he has them qualifyde,
And him restor'd to health, that would haue algates dyde.

Cant. VII.

Guyon findes Mamon in a delue,
Sunning his threasure hore:
Is by him tempted, & led downe,
To see his secret store.
AS Pilot well expert in perilous waue,
That to a stedfast starre his course hath bent,
When foggy mistes, or cloudy tempests haue
The faithfull light of that faire lampe yblent,
And couer'd heauen with hideous dreriment,
Vpon his card and compas firmes his eye,
The maisters of his long experiment,
And to them does the steddy helme apply,
Bidding his winged vessell fairely forward fly.
So Guyon hauing lost his trusty guide,
Late left beyond that Ydle lake, proceedes
Yet on his way, of none accompanide;
And euermore himselfe with comfort feedes,
Of his owne vertues, and prayse-worthy deedes.
So long he yode, yet no aduenture found,
Which fame of her shrill trompet worthy reedes:
For still he traueild through wide wastfull ground,
That nought but desert wildernesse shew'd all around.
At last he came vnto a gloomy glade,
Couer'd with boughes & shrubs from heauens light,
Whereas he sitting found in secret shade
An vncouth, saluage, and vnciulle wight,
Of griesly hew, and fowle ill fauour'd sight;
His face with smoke was tand, and eyes were bleard,
His head and beard with sout were ill bedight,
His cole-blacke hands did seeme to haue beene seard
In smithes fire-spitting forge, and nayles like clawes ap­peard.
His yron coate all ouergrowne with rust,
Was vnderneath enueloped with gold,
Whose glistring glosse darkned with filthy dust,
Well it appeared, to haue beene of old
A worke of rich entayle, and curious mould,
Wouen with antickes and wild Imagery:
And in his lap a masse of coyne he told,
And turned vpsidowne, to feede his eye
A couetous desire with his huge threasury.
And round about him lay on euery side
Great heapes of gold, that neuer could be spent:
Of which some were rude owre, not purifide
Of Mulcibers deuouring element;
[Page 273]Some others were new driuen, and distent
Into great Ingoes, and to wedges square;
Some in round plates withouten moniment;
But most were stampt, and in their metall bare
The antique shapes of kings and kesars straunge & rare.
Soone as he Guyon saw, in great affright
And hast he rose, for to remoue aside
Those pretious hils from straungers enuious sight,
And downe them poured through an hole full wide,
Into the hollow earth, them there to hide.
But Guyon lightly to him leaping, stayd
His hand, that trembled, as one terrifyde;
And though him selfe were at the sight dismayd,
Yet him perforce restraynd, and to him doubtfull sayd.
What art thou man, (if man at all thou art)
That here in desert hast thine habitaunce,
And these rich heapes of wealth doest hide apart
From the worldes eye, and from her right vsaunce?
Thereat with staring eyes fixed askaunce,
In great disdaine, he answerd; Hardy Elfe,
That darest vew my direfull, countenaunce,
I read thee rash, and heedlesse of thy selfe,
To trouble my still seate, and heapes of pretious pelfe.
God of the world and worldlings I me call,
Great Mammon, greatest god below the skye,
That of my plenty poure out vnto all,
And vnto none my graces do enuye:
Riches, renowme, and principality,
Honour, estate, and all this worldes good,
For which men swinck and sweat incessantly,
Fro me do flow into an ample flood,
And in the hollow earth haue their eternall brood.
Wherefore if me thou deigne to serue and sew,
At thy commaund lo all these mountaines bee;
Or if to thy great mind, or greedy vew
All these may not suffise, there shall to thee
Ten times so much be numbred francke and free.
Mammon (said he) thy godheades vaunt is vaine,
And idle offers of thy golden fee;
To them, that couet such eye-glutting gaine,
Proffer thy giftes, and fitter seruaunts entertaine.
Me ill besits, that in der-doing armes,
And honours suit my vowed dayes do spend,
Vnto thy bounteous baytes, and pleasing charmes,
With which weake men thou witchest, to attend:
Regard of worldly mucke doth fowly blend,
And low abase the high heroicke spright,
That ioyes for crownes and kingdomes to contend;
Faire shields, gay steedes, bright armes be my delight:
Those be the riches fit for an aduent'rous knight.
Vaine glorious Elfe (said he) doest not thou weet,
That money can thy wantes at will supply?
Sheilds, steeds, and armes, & all things for thee meet
It can puruay in twinckling of an eye;
And crownes and kingdomes to thee multiply.
Do not I kings create, throw the crowne
Sometimes to him, that low in dust doth ly?
And him that raignd, into his rowme thrust downe,
And whom I lust, do heape with glory and renowne?
All otherwise (said he) I riches read,
And deeme them roote of all disquietnesse;
First got with guile, and then preseru'd with dread,
And after spent with pride and lauishnesse,
[Page 275]Leauing behind them griefe and heauinesse.
Infinite mischiefes of them do arize,
Strife; and debate, bloudshed, and bitternesse,
Outrageous wrong, and hellish couetize,
That noble heart as great dishonour doth despize.
Ne thine be kingdomes, ne the scepters thine;
But realmes and rulers thou doest both confound,
And loyall truth to treason doest incline;
Witnesse the guiltlesse bloud pourd oft on ground,
The crowned often slaine, the slayer cround,
The sacred Diademe in peeces rent,
And purple robe gored with many a wound;
Castles surprizd, great cities sackt and brent:
So mak'st thou kings, & gaynest wrongfull gouernement.
Long were to tell the troublous stormes, that tosse
The priuate state, and make the life vnsweet:
Who swelling sayles in Caspian sea doth crosse,
And in frayle wood on Adrian gulfe doth fleet,
Doth not, I weene, so many euils meet.
Then Mammon wexing wroth, And why then, said,
Are mortall men so fond and vndiscreet,
So euill thing to seeke vnto their ayd,
And hauing not complaine, and hauing it vpbraid?
Indeede (quoth he) through fowle intemperaunce,
Frayle men are oft captiu'd to couetise:
But would they thinke, with how small allowaunce
Vntroubled Nature doth her selfe suffise,
Such superfluities they would despise,
Which with sad cares empeach our natiue ioyes:
At the well head the purest streames arise:
But mucky filth his braunching armes annoyes,
And with vncomely weedes the gentle waue accloyes.
The antique world, in his first flowring youth,
Found no defect in his Creatours grace,
But with gladthankes, and vnreproued truth,
Tne gifts of soueraigne bountie did embrace:
Like Angels life was then mens happy cace;
But later ages pride, like corn-fed steed,
Abusd her plenty, and fat swolne encreace
To all licentious lust, and gan exceed
The measure of her meane, and naturall first need.
Then gan a cursed hand the quiet wombe
Of his great Gandmother with steele to wound,
And the hid treasures in her sacred tombe,
With Sacriledge to dig. Therein he found
Fountaines of gold and siluer to abound,
Of which the matter of his huge desire
And pompous pride eftsoones he did compound;
Then auarice gan through his veines inspire
His greedy flames, and kindled life-deuouring fire.
Sonne (said he then) let be thy bitter scorne,
And leaue the rudenesse of antique age
To them, that liu'd therein in state forlorne;
Thou that doest liue in later times, must wage
Thy workes for wealth, and life for gold engage.
If then thee list my offred grace to vse,
Take what thou please of all this surplusage;
If thee list not, leaue haue thou to refuse:
But thing refused, do not afterward accuse.
Me list not (said the Elfin knight) receaue
Thing offred, till I know it well be got,
Ne wote I, but thou didst these goods bereaue
From rightfull owner by vnrighteous lot,
[Page 277]Or that bloud guiltnesse or guile them blot.
Perdy (quoth he) yet neuer eye did vew,
Ne toung did tell, ne hand these handled not,
But safe I haue them kept in secret mew,
From heauens sight, and powre of all which thē pursew.
What secret place (quoth he) can safely hold
So huge a masse, and hide from heauens eye?
Or where hast thou thy wonne, that so much gold
Thou canst preserue from wrong and robbery?
Come thou (quoth he) and see. So by and by
Through that thicke couert he him led, and found
A darkesome way, which no man could descry,
That deepe descended through the hollow ground,
And was with dread and horrour compassed around.
At length they came into a larger space,
That stretcht it selfe into an ample plaine,
Through which a beaten broad high way did trace,
That streight did lead to Plutoes griefly raine:
By that wayes side, there fate infernall Payne,
And fast beside him sat tumultuous Strife:
The one in hand an yron whip did straine,
The other brandished a bloudy knife,
And both did gnash their teeth, & both did threaten life.
On thother side in one consort there sate,
Cruell Reuenge, and rancorous Despight,
Disloyall Treason, and hart-burning Hate,
But gnawing Gealosie out of their sight
Sitting alone, his bitter lips did bight,
And trembling Feare still to and fro did fly,
And found no place, where safe he shroud him might,
Lamenting Sorrow did in darknesse lye.
And Shame his vgly face did hide from liuing eye.
And ouer them sad horrour with grim hew,
Did alwayes sore, beating his yron wings;
And after him Owles and Night-rauens flew,
The hatefull messengers of heauy things,
Of death and dolour telling sad tidings;
Whiles sad Celeno, sitting on a clift,
A song of bale and bitter sorrow sings,
That hart of flint a sunder could haue rift:
Which hauing ended, after him she flyeth swift.
All these before the gates of Pluto lay,
By whom they passing, spake vnto them nought.
But th'Elfin knight with wonder all the way
Did feed his eyes, and fild his inner thought.
At last him to a litle dore he brought,
That to the gate of Hell, which gaped wide,
Was next adioyning, ne them parted ought:
Betwixt them both was but a litle stride,
That did the house of Richesse from hell-mouth diuide.
Before the dore sat selfe-consuming Care,
Day and night keeping wary watch and ward,
For feare least Force or Fraud should vnaware
Breake in, and spoile the treasure there in gard:
Ne would he suffer Sleepe once thither-ward
Approch, albe his drowsie den were next;
For next to death is Sleepe to be compard:
Therefore his house is vnto his annext;
Here Sleep, there Richesse, & Hel-gate thē both betwext.
So soone as Mammon there arriu'd, the dore
To him did open, and affoorded way;
Him followed eke Sir Guyon euermore,
Ne darkenesse him, ne daunger might dismay.
[Page 279]Soone as he entred was, the dore streight way
Did shut, and from behind it forth there lept
An vgly feend, more fowle then dismall day,
The which with monstrous stalke behind him stept,
And euer as he went, dew watch vpon him kept.
Well hoped he, ere long that hardy guest,
If euer couetous hand, or lustfull eye,
Or lips he layd on thing, that likt him best,
Or euer sleepe his eye-strings did vntye,
Should be his pray. And therefore still on hye
He ouer him did hold his cruell clawes,
Threatning with greedy gripe to do him dye
And rend in peeces with his rauenous pawes,
If euer he transgrest the fatall Stygian lawes.
That houses forme within was rude and strong,
Like an huge caue, hewne out of rocky clift,
From whose rough vaut the ragged breaches hong,
Embost with massy gold of glorious gift,
And with rich metall loaded euery rift,
That heauy ruine they did seeme to threat;
And ouer them Arachne high did lift
Her cunning web, and spred her subtile net,
Enwrapped in fowle smoke and clouds more blacke then Iet.
Both roofe, and floore, and wals were all of gold,
But ouergrowne with dust and old decay,
And hid in darkenesse, that none could behold
The hew thereof: for vew of chearefull day
Did neuer in that house it selfe display,
But a faint shadow of vncertain light;
Such as a lamp, whose life does fade away:
Or as the Moone cloathed with clowdy night,
Does shew to him, that walkes in feare and sad affright.
In all that rowme was nothing to be seene,
But huge great yron chests and coffers strong,
All bard with double bends, that none could weene
Them to efforce by violence or wrong;
On euery side they placed were along.
But all the ground with sculs was scattered,
And dead mens bones, which round about were flong,
Whose liues, it seemed, whilome there were shed,
And their vile carcases now left vnburied.
They forward passe, ne Guyon yet spoke word,
Till that they came vnto an yron dore,
Which to them opened of his owne accord,
And shewd of richesse such exceeding store,
As eye of man did neuer see before;
Ne euer could within one place be found,
Though all the wealth, which is, or was of yore,
Could gathered be through all the world around,
And that aboue were added to that vnder ground.
The charge thereof vnto a couetous Spright
Commaunded was, who thereby did attend,
And warily awaited day and night,
From other couetous feends it to defend,
Who it to rob and ransacke did intend.
Then Mammon turning to that warriour, said;
Loe here the worldes blis, loe here the end,
To which all men do ayme, rich to be made:
Such grace now to be happy, is before thee laid.
Certes (said he) I n'ill thine offred grace,
Ne to be made so happy do intend:
Another blis before mine eyes I place,
Another happinesse, another end.
[Page 281]To them, that list, these base regardes I lend:
But I in armes, and in atchieuements braue,
Do rather choose my flitting houres to spend,
And to be Lord of those, that riches haue,
Then them to haue my selfe, and be their seruile sclaue.
Thereat the feend his gnashing teeth did grate,
And grieu'd, so long to lacke his greedy pray;
For well he weened, that so glorious bayte
Would tempt his guest, to take thereof assay:
Had he so doen, he had him snatcht away,
More light then Culuer in the Faulcons fist.
Eternall God thee saue from such decay.
But whenas Mammon saw his purpose mist,
Him to entrap vnwares another way he wist.
Thence forward he him led, and shortly brought
Vnto another rowme, whose dore forthright,
To him did open, as it had beene taught:
Therein an hundred raunges weren pight,
And hundred fornaces all burning bright;
By euery fornace many feends did bide,
Deformed creatures, horrible in sight,
And euery feend his busie paines applide,
To melt the golden metall, ready to be tride.
One with great bellowes gathered filling aire,
And with forst wind the fewell did inflame;
Another did the dying bronds repaire
With yron toungs, and sprinckled oft the same
With liquid waues, fiers Vulcans rage to tame,
Who maistring them, renewd his former heat;
Some scumd the drosse, that from the metall came;
Some stird the molten owre with ladles great;
And euery one did swincke, and euery one did sweat.
But when as earthly wight they present saw,
Glistring in armes and battailous aray,
From their whot worke they did themselues withdraw
To wonder at the sight: for till that day,
They neuer creature saw, that came that way.
Their staring eyes sparckling with feruent fire,
And vgly shapes did nigh the man dismay,
That were it not for shame, he would retire,
Till that him thus bespake their soueraigne Lord & sire.
Behold, thou Faeries sonne, with mortall eye,
That liuing eye before did neuer see:
The thing, that thou didst craue so earnestly,
To weet, whence all the wealth late shewd by mee,
Proceeded, lo now is reueald to thee.
Here is the fountaine of the worldes good:
Now therefore, if thou wilt enriched bee,
Auise thee well, and chaunge thy wilfull mood,
Least thou perhaps hereafter wish, and be withstood.
Suffise it then, thou Money God (quoth hee)
That all thine idle offers I refuse.
All that I need I haue; what needeth mee
To couet more, then I haue cause to vse?
With such vaine shewes thy worldlings vile abuse:
But giue me leaue to follow mine emprise.
Mammon was much displeasd, yet no'te he chuse,
But beare the rigour of his bold mespise,
And thence him forward led, him further to entise.
He brought him through a darksome narrow strait,
To a broad gate, all built of beaten gold:
The gate was open, but therein did wait
A sturdy villein, striding stiffe and bold,
[Page 283]As the highest God defie he would;
In his right hand an yron club he held,
But he himselfe was all of golden mould,
Yet had both life and sence, and well could weld
That cursed weapon, when his cruell foes he queld.
Disdayne he called was, and did disdaine
To be so cald, and who so did him call:
Sterne was to looke, and full of stomacke vaine,
His portaunce terrible, and stature tall,
Far passing th'hight of men terrestriall;
Like an huge Gyant of the Titans race,
That made him scorne all creatures great and small,
And with his pride all others powre deface:
More fit amongst blacke fiendes, then men to haue his place.
Soone as those glitterand armes he did espye,
That with their brightnesse made that darknesse light,
His harmefull club he gan to hurtle hye,
And threaten batteill to the Faery knight;
Who likewise gan himselfe to batteill dight,
Till Mammon did his hasty hand withhold,
And counseld him abstaine from perilous fight:
For nothing might abash the villein bold,
Ne mortall steele emperce his miscreated mould.
So hauing him with reason pacifide,
And the fiers Carle commaunding to forbeare,
He brought him in. The rowme was large and wide,
As it some Gyeld or solemne Temple weare:
Many great golden pillours did vpbeare
The massy roofe, and riches huge sustayne,
And euery pillour decked was full deare
With crownes and Diademes, & titles vaine,
Which mortall Princes wore, whiles they on earth did rayne.
A route of people there assembled were,
Of euery sort and nation vnder skye,
Which with great vprore preaced to draw nere
To th'vpper part, where was aduaunced hye
A stately siege of soueraigne maiestye;
And thereon sat a woman gorgeous gay,
And richly clad in robes of royaltye,
That neuer earthly Prince in such a ray
His glory did enhaunce, and pompous pride display.
Her face right wondrous faire did seeme to bee,
That her broad beauties beam great brightnes threw
Through the dim shade, that all men might it see:
Yet was not that same her owne natiue hew,
But wrought by art and counterfetted shew,
Thereby more louers vnto her to call;
Nath'lesse most heauenly faire in deed and vew
She by creation was, till she did fall;
Thēceforth she sought for helps, to cloke her crime with­all.
There, as in glistring glory she did sit,
She held a great gold chaine ylincked well,
Whose vpper end to highest heauen was knit,
And lower part did reach to lowest Hell;
And all that preace did round about her swell,
To catchen hold of that long chaine, thereby
To clime aloft, and others to excell:
That was Ambition, rash desire to sty,
And euery lincke thereof a step of dignity.
Some thought to raise themselues to high degree,
By riches and vnrighteous reward,
Some by close shouldrihg, some by flatteree;
Others through friends, others for base regard;
[Page 285]And all by wrong wayes for themselues prepard.
Those that were vp themselues, kept others low,
Those that were low themselues, held others hard,
Ne suffred them to rise or greater grow,
But euery one did striue his fellow downe to throw.
Which when as Guyon saw, he gan inquire,
What meant that preace about that Ladies throne,
And what she was that did so high aspire.
Him Mammon answered; That goodly one,
Whom all that folke with such contention,
Do flocke about, my deare my, daughter is;
Honour and dignitie from her alone,
Deriued are, and all this worldes blis
For which ye men do striue: few get, but many mis.
And faire Philotime she rightly hight,
The fairest wight that wonneth vnder skye,
But that this darksome neather world her light
Doth dim with horrour and deformitie,
Worthy of heauen and hye felicitie,
From whence the gods haue her for enuy thrust:
But sith thou hast found fauour in mine eye,
Thy spouse I will her make, if that thou lust,
That she may thee aduance for workes and merites iust.
Gramercy Mammon (said the gentle knight)
For so great grace and offred high estate;
But I, that am fraile flesh and earthly wight,
Vnworthy match for such immortall mate
My selfe well wote, and mine vnequall fate;
And were I not, yet is my trouth yplight,
And loue auowd to other Lady late,
That to remoue the same I haue no might:
To chaunge loue causelesse is reproch to warlike knight.
Mammon emmoued was with inward wrath;
Yet forcing it to faine, him forth thence led
Through griesly shadowes by a beaten path,
Into a gardin goodly garnished
With hearbs and fruits, whose kinds mote not be red:
Not such, as earth out of her fruitfull woomb
Throwes forth to men, sweet and well sauoured,
But direfull deadly blacke both leafe and bloom,
Fit to adorne the dead, and decke the drery toombe.
There mournfull Cypresse grew in greatest store,
And trees of bitter Gall, and Heben sad,
Dead sleeping Poppy, and blacke Hellebore,
Cold Coloquintida, and Tetra mad,
Mortall Samnitis, and Cicuta bad,
Which with th'vniust Atheniens made to dy
Wise Socrates, who thereof quaffing glad
Pourd out his life, and last Philosophy
To the faire Critias his dearest Belamy.
The Gordin of Proserpina this hight;
And in the midst thereof a siluer seat,
With a thicke Arber goodly ouer dight,
In which she often vsd from open heat
Her selfe to shroud, and pleasures to entreat.
Next thereunto did grow a goodly tree,
With braunches broad dispred and body great,
Clothed with leaues, that none the wood mote see
And loaden all with fruit as thicke as it might bee.
Their fruit were golden apples glistring bright,
That goodly was their glory to behold,
On earth like neuer grew, ne liuing wight
Like euer saw, but they from hence were sold;
[Page 287]For those, which Hercules with conquest bold
Got from great Atlas daughters, hence began,
And planted there, did bring forth fruit of gold:
And those with which th'Eubaean young man wan
Swift Atalanta, when through craft he her out ran.
Here also sprong that goodly golden fruit,
With which Acontius got his louer trew,
Whom he had long time sought with fruitlesse suit:
Here eke that famous golden Apple grew,
The which emongst the gods false Ate threw;
For which th' Idaean Ladies disagreed,
Till partiall Paris dempt it Venus dew,
And had of her, faire Helen for his meed,
That many noble Greekes and Troians made to bleed.
The warlike Elfe, much wondred at this tree,
So faire and great, that shadowed all the ground,
And his broad braunches, laden with rich fee,
Did stretch themselues without the vtmost bound
Of this great gardin, compast with a mound,
Which ouer-hanging, they themselues did steepe,
In a blacke flood which flow'd about it round;
That is the riuer of Cocytus deepe,
In which full many soules do endlesse waile and weepe.
Which to behold, he clomb vp to the banke,
And looking downe, saw many damned wights,
In those sad waues, which direfull deadly stanke,
Plonged continually of cruell Sprights,
That with their pitteous cryes, and yelling shrights,
They made the further shore resounden wide:
Emongst the rest of those same ruefull sights,
One cursed creature, he by chaunce espide,
That drenched lay full deepe, vnder the Garden side.
Deepe was he drenched to the vpmost chin,
Yet gaped still, as coueting to drinke
Of the cold liquor, which he waded in,
And stretching forth his hand, did often thinke
To reach the fruit, which grew vpon the brincke:
But both the fruit from hand, and floud from mouth
Did flie abacke, and made him vainely swinke:
The whiles he steru'd with hunger and with drouth
He daily dyde, yet neuer throughly dyen couth.
The knight him seeing labour so in vaine,
Askt who he was, and what he ment thereby:
Who groning deepe, thus answerd him againe;
Most cursed of all creatures vnder skye,
Lo Tantalus, I here tormented lye:
Of whom high Ioue wont whylome feasted bee,
Lo here I now for want of food doe dye:
But if that thou be such, as I thee see,
Of grace I pray thee, giue to eat and drinke to mee.
Nay, nay, thou greedie Tantalus (quoth he)
Abide the fortune of thy present fate,
And vnto all that liue in high degree,
Ensample be of mind intemperate,
To teach them how to vse their present state.
Then gan the cursed wretch aloud to cry,
Accusing highest Ioue and gods ingrate,
And eke blaspheming heauen bitterly,
As authour of vniustice, there to let him dye.
He lookt a little further, and espyde
Another wretch, whose carkasse deepe was drent
Within the riuer, which the same did hyde:
But both his hands most filthy feculent,
[Page 289]Aboue the water were on high extent,
And faynd to wash themselues incessantly;
Yet nothing cleaner were for such intent,
But rather fowler seemed to the eye;
So lost his labour vaine and idle industry.
The knight him calling, asked who he was,
Who lifting vp his head, him answerd thus:
I Pilate am the falsest Iudge, alas,
And most vniust, that by vnrighteous
And wicked doome, to Iewes despiteous
Deliuered vp the Lord of life to die,
And did acquite a murdrer felonous;
The whiles my hands I washt in puritie,
The whiles my soule was soyld with foule iniquitie.
Infinite moe, tormented in like paine
He there beheld, too long here to be told:
Ne Mammon would there let him long remaine,
For terrour of the tortures manifold,
In which the damned soules he did behold,
But roughly him bespake. Thou fearefull foole,
Why takest not of that same fruit of gold,
Ne sittest downe on that same siluer stoole,
To rest thy wearie person, in the shadow coole.
All which he did, to doe him deadly fall
In frayle intemperance through sinfull bayt;
To which if he inclined had at all,
That dreadfull feend, which did behind him wayt,
Would him haue rent in thousand peeces strayt:
But he was warie wise in all his way,
And well perceiued his deceiptfull sleight,
Ne suffred lust his safetie to betray;
So goodly did beguile the Guyler of the pray.
And now he has so long remained there,
That vitall powres gan wexe both weake and wan,
For want of food, and sleepe, which two vpbeare,
Like mightie pillours, this fraile life of man,
That none without the same enduren can.
For now three dayes of men were full outwrought,
Since he this hardie enterprize began:
For thy great Mammon fairely he besought,
Into the world to guide him backe, as he him brought.
The God, though loth, yet was constraind t'obay,
For lenger time, then that, no liuing wight
Below the earth, might suffred be to stay:
So backe againe, him brought to liuing light.
But all so soone as his enfeebled spright
Gan sucke this vitall aire into his brest,
As ouercome with too exceeding might,
The life did flit away out of her nest,
And all his senses were with deadly fit opprest.

Cant. VIII.

Sir Guyon laid in swowne is by
Acrates sonnes despoyld,
Whom Arthur soone hath reskewed
And Paynim brethren foyld.
ANd is there care in heauen? and is there loue
In heauenly spirits to these creatures bace,
That may compassion of their euils moue?
There is: else much more wretched were the cace
[Page 291]Of men, then beasts. But ô th'exceeding grace
Of highest God, that loues his creatures so,
And all his workes with mercy doth embrace,
That blessed Angels, he sends to and fro,
To serue to wicked man, to serue his wicked foe.
How oft do they, their siluer bowers leaue,
To come to succour vs, that succour want?
How oft do they with golden pineons, cleaue
The flitting skyes, like flying Pursuiuant,
Against foule feends to aide vs millitant?
They for vs fight, they watch and dewly ward,
And their bright Squadrons round about vs plant,
And all for loue, and nothing for reward:
O why should heauenly God to men haue such regard?
During the while, that Guyon did abide
In Mamons house, the Palmer, whom whyleare
That wanton Mayd of passage had denide,
By further search had passage found elsewhere,
And being on his way, approched neare,
Where Guyon lay in traunce, when suddenly
He heard a voice, that called loud and cleare,
Come hither, come hither, ô come hastily;
That all the fields resounded with the ruefull cry.
The Palmer lent his eare vnto the noyce,
To weet, who called so importunely:
Againe he heard a more efforced voyce,
That bad him come in haste. He by and by
His feeble feet directed to the cry;
Which to that shadie delue him brought at last,
Where Mammon earst did sunne his threasury:
There the good Guyon he found slumbring fast
In senselesse dreame; which sight at first him sore aghast.
Beside his head there sate a faire young man,
Of wondrous beautie, and of freshest yeares,
Whose tender bud to blossome new began,
And flourish faire aboue his equall peares;
His snowy front curled with golden heares,
Like Phoebus face adornd with sunny rayes,
Diuinely shone, and two sharpe winged sheares,
Decked with diuerse plumes, like painted Iayes,
Were fixed at his backe, to cut his ayerie wayes.
Like as Cupido on Idaean hill,
When hauing laid his cruell bow away,
And mortall arrowes, wherewith he doth fill
The world with murdrous spoiles and bloudie pray,
With his faire mother he him dights to play,
And with his goodly sisters, Graces three;
The Goddesse pleased with his wanton play,
Suffers her selfe through sleepe beguild to bee,
The whiles the other Ladies mind their merry glee.
Whom when the Palmer saw, abasht he was
Through feare and wonder, that he nought could say,
Till him the child bespoke, Long lackt, alas,
Hath bene thy faithfull aide in hard assay,
Whiles deadly fit thy pupill doth dismay;
Behold this heauie sight, thou reuerend Sire,
But dread of death and dolour doe away;
For life ere long shall to her home retire,
And he that breathlesse seemes, shal corage bold respire.
The charge, which God doth vnto me arret,
Of his deare safetie, I to thee commend;
Yet will I not forgoe, ne yet forget
The care thereof my selfe vnto the end,
[Page 293]But euermore him succour, and defend
Against his foe and mine: watch thou I pray;
For euill is at hand him to offend.
So hauing said, eftsoones he gan display
His painted nimble wings, and vanisht quite away.
The Palmer seeing his left empty place,
And his slow eyes beguiled of their sight,
Woxe fore affraid, and standing still a space,
Gaz'd after him, as fowle escapt by flight;
At last him turning to his charge behight,
With trembling hand his troubled pulse gan try;
Where finding life not yet dislodged quight,
He much reioyst, and courd it tenderly,
As chicken newly hatcht, from dreaded destiny.
At last he spide, where towards him did pace
Two Paynim knights, all armd as bright as skie,
And them beside an aged Sire did trace,
And farre before a light-foot Page did flie,
That breathed strife and troublous enmitie;
Those were the two sonnes of Acrates old,
Who meeting earst with Archimago slie,
Foreby that idle strond, of him were told,
That he, which earst them combatted, was Guyon bold.
Which to auenge on him they dearely vowd,
Where euer that on ground they mote him fynd;
False Archimage prouokt their courage prowd,
And stryfull Atin in their stubborne mynd
Coles of contention and whot vengeance tynd.
Now bene they come, whereas the Palmer sate,
Keeping that slombred corse to him assynd;
Well knew they both his person, sith of late
With him in bloudie armes they rashly did debate.
Whom when Pyrrhochles saw, inflam'd with rage,
That sire he soule bespake, Thou dotard vile,
That with thy brutenesse shendst thy comely age,
Abandone soone, I read, the caitiue spoile
Of that same outcast carkasse, that erewhile
Made it selfe famous through false trechery,
And crownd his coward crest with knightly stile;
Loe where he now inglorious doth lye,
To proue he liued ill, that did thus foully dye.
To whom the Palmer fearelesse answered;
Certes, Sir knight, ye bene too much to blame,
Thus for to blot the honour of the dead,
And with foule cowardize his carkasse shame,
Whose liuing hands immortalizd his name.
Vile is the vengeance on the ashes cold,
And enuie base, to barke at sleeping fame:
Was neuer wight, that treason of him told;
Your selfe his prowesse prou'd & found him fiers & bold.
Then said Cymochles; Palmer, thou doest dote,
Ne canst of prowesse, ne of knighthood deeme,
Saue as thou seest or hearst. But well I wote,
That of his puissance tryall made extreeme;
Yet gold all is not, that doth golden seeme,
Ne all good knights, that shake well speare and shield:
The worth of all men by their end esteeme,
And then due praise, or due reproch them yield;
Bad therefore I him deeme, that thus lies dead on field.
Good or bad (gan his brother fierce reply)
What doe I recke, sith that he dyde entire?
Or what doth his bad death now satisfy
The greedy hunger of reuenging ire,
[Page 295]Sith wrathfull hand wrought not her owne desire?
Yet since no way is left to wreake my spight,
I will him reaue of armes, the victors hire,
And of that shield, more worthy of good knight;
For why should a dead dog be deckt in armour bright?
Faire Sir, said then the Palmer suppliaunt,
For knighthoods loue, do not so foule a deed,
Ne blame your honour with so shamefull vaunt
Of vile reuenge. To spoile the dead of weed
Is sacrilege, and doth all sinnes exceed;
But leaue these relicks of his liuing might,
To decke his herce, and trap his tomb-blacke steed.
What herce or steede (said he) should he haue dight,
But be entombed in the rauen or the kight?
With that, rude hand vpon his shield he laid,
And th'other brother gan his helme vnlace,
Both fiercely bent to haue him disaraid;
Till that they spide, where towards them did pace
An armed knight, of bold and bounteous grace,
Whose squire bore after him an heben launce,
And couerd shield, Well kend him so farre space
Th'enchaunter by his armes and amenaunce,
When vnder him he saw his Lybian steed to praunce.
And to those brethren said, Rise rise by liue,
And vnto battell doe your selues addresse;
For yonder comes the prowest knight aliue,
Prince Arthur, flowre of grace and nobilesse,
That hath to Paynim knights wrought great distresse,
And thousand Sar'zins foully donne to dye.
That word so deepe did in their harts impresse,
That both eftsoones vpstarted furiously,
And gan themselues prepare to battell greedily.
But fierce Pyrrhochles, lacking his owne sword,
The want thereof now greatly gan to plaine,
And Archimage besought, him that afford,
Which he had brought for Braggadocchio vaine.
So would I (said th'enchaunter) glad and faine
Beteeme to you this sword, you to defend,
Or ought that else your honour might maintaine,
But that this weapons powre I well haue kend,
To be contrarie to the worke, which ye intend.
For that same knights owne sword this is of yore,
Which Merlin made by his almightie art
For that his noursling, when he knighthood swore,
Therewith to doen his foes eternall smart.
The metall first he mixt with Medaewart,
That no enchauntment from his dint might saue;
Then it in flames of Aetna wrought apart,
And seuen times dipped in the bitter waue
Of hellish Styx, which hidden vertue to it gaue.
The vertue is, that neither steele, nor stone
The stroke thereof from entrance may defend;
Ne euer may be vsed by his fone,
Ne forst his rightfull owner to offend,
Ne euer will it breake, ne euer bend.
Wherefore Morddure it rightfully is hight.
In vaine therefore, Pyrrhochles, should I lend
The same to thee, against his lord to fight,
For sure it would deceiue thy labour, and thy might.
Foolish old man, said then the Pagan wroth,
That weenest words or charmes may force withstond:
Soone shalt thou see, and then beleeue for troth,
That I can carue with this inchaunted brond
[Page 297]His Lords owne flesh. Therewith out of his hond
That vertuous steele he rudely snatcht away,
And Guyons shield about his wrest he bond;
So readie dight, fierce battaile to assay,
And match his brother proud in battailous array.
By this that straunger knight in presence came,
And goodly salued them; who nought againe
Him answered, as courtesie became,
But with sterne lookes, and stomachous disdaine,
Gaue signes of grudge and discontentment vaine:
Then turning to the Palmer, he gan spy
Where at his feete, with sorrowfull demaine
And deadly hew, an armed corse did lye,
In whose dead face he red great magnanimity.
Said he then to the Palmer, Reuerend syre,
What great misfortune hath betidd this knight?
Or did his life her fatall date expyre,
Or did he fall by treason, or by fight?
How euer, sure I rew his pitteous plight.
Not one, nor other, (said the Palmer graue)
Hath him befalne, but cloudes of deadly night
A while his heauie eylids couer'd haue,
And all his senses drowned in deepe senselesse waue.
Which, those same foes, that stand hereby,
Making aduantage, to reuenge their spight,
Would him disarme, and treaten shamefully,
Vnworthy vsage of redoubted knight.
But you, faire Sir, whose honorable sight
Doth promise hope of helpe, and timely grace,
Mote I beseech to succour his sad plight,
And by your powre protect his feeble cace.
First praise of knighthood is, foule outrage to deface.
Palmer, (said he) no knight so rude, I weene,
As to doen outrage to a sleeping ghost:
Ne was there euer noble courage seene,
That in aduauntage would his puissance bost:
Honour is least, where oddes appeareth most.
May be, that better reason will asswage,
The rash reuengers heat. Words well dispost
Haue secret powre, t'appease inflamed rage:
If not, leaue vnto me thy knights last patonage.
Tho turning to those brethren, thus bespoke,
Ye warlike payre, whose valorous great might
It seemes, iust wrongs to vengeance doe prouoke,
To wreake your wrath on this dead seeming knight,
Mote ought allay the storme of your despight,
And settle patience in so furious heat?
Not to debate the chalenge of your right,
But for this carkasse pardon I entreat,
Whom fortune hath alreadie laid in lowest seat.
To whom Cymochles said; For what art thou,
That mak'st thy selfe his dayes-man, to prolong
The vengeance prest? Or who shall let me now,
On this vile bodie from to wreake my wrong,
And make his carkasse as the outcast dong?
Why should not that dead carrion satisfie
The guilt, which if he liued had thus long,
His life for due reuenge should deare abie?
The trespasse still doth liue, albe the person die.
Indeed (then said the Prince) the euill donne
Dyes not, when breath the bodie first doth leaue,
But from the grandsyre to the Nephewes sonne,
And all his seed the curse doth often cleaue,
[Page 299]Till vengeance vtterly the guilt bereaue:
So streightly God doth iudge. But gentle knight,
That doth against the dead his hand vpreare,
His honour staines with rancour and despight,
And great disparagment makes to his former might.
Pyrrhochles gan reply the second time,
And to him said, Now felon sure I read,
How that thou art partaker of his crime:
Therefore by Termagaunt thou shalt be dead.
With that his hand, more sad then lomp of lead,
Vplifting high, he weened with Morddure,
His owne good sword Morddure, to cleaue his head.
The faithfull steele such treason no'uld endure,
But swaruing from the marke, his Lords life did assure.
Yet was the force so furious and so fell,
That horse and man it made to reele aside;
Nath'lesse the Prince would not forsake his sell:
For well of yore he learned had to ride,
But full of anger fiercely to him cride;
False traitour miscreant, thou broken hast
The law of armes, to strike foe vndefide.
But thou thy treasons fruit, I hope, shalt taste
Right sowre, & feele the law, the which thou hast defast.
With that his balefull speare, he fiercely bent
Against the Pagans brest, and therewith thought
His cursed life out of her lodge haue rent:
But ere the point arriued, where it ought,
That seuen-fold shield, which he from Guyon brought
He cast betwene to ward the bitter stound:
Through all those foldes the steelehead passage wrought
And through his shoulder pierst; wherwith to groūd
He groueling fell, all gored in his gushing wound.
Which when his brother saw, fraught with great griefe
And wrath, he to him leaped furiously,
And fowly said, By Mahoune, cursed thiefe,
That direfull stroke thou dearely shalt aby.
Then hurling vp his harmefull blade on hye,
Smote him so hugely on his haughtie crest,
That from his saddle forced him to fly:
Else mote it needes downe to his manly brest
Haue cleft his head in twaine, and life thence dispossest.
Now was the Prince in daungerous distresse,
Wanting his sword, when he on foot should fight:
His single speare could doe him small redresse,
Against two foes of so exceeding might,
The least of which was match for any knight.
And now the other, whom he earst did daunt,
Had reard himselfe againe to cruell fight,
Three times more furious, and more puissaunt,
Vnmindfull of his wound, of his fate ignoraunt.
So both attonce him charge on either side,
With hideous strokes, and importable powre,
That forced him his ground to trauerse wide,
And wisely watch to ward that deadly stowre:
For in his shield, as thicke as stormie showre,
Their strokes did raine, yet did he neuer quaile,
Ne backward shrinke, but as a stedfast towre,
Whom foe with double battry doth assaile,
Them on her bulwarke beares, and bids them nought a­uaile.
So stoutly he withstood their strong assay,
Till that at last, when he aduantage spyde,
His poinant speare he thrust with puissant sway
At proud Cymochles, whiles his shield was wyde,
[Page 301]That through his thigh the mortall steele did gryde:
He swaruing with the force, within his flesh
Did breake the launce, and let the head abyde:
Out of the wound the red bloud flowed fresh,
That vnderneath his feet soone made a purple plesh.
Horribly then he gan to rage, and rayle,
Cursing his Gods, and himselfe damning deepe:
Als when his brother saw the red bloud rayle
Adowne so fast, and all his armour steepe,
For very felnesse lowd he gan to weepe,
And said, Caytiue, curffe on thy cruell hond,
That twise hath sped; yet shall it not thee keepe
From the third brunt of this my fatall brond:
Loe where the dreadfull Death behind thy backe doth stond.
With that he strooke, and th'other strooke withall,
That nothing seem'd mote beare so monstrous might:
The one vpon his couered shield did fall,
And glauncing downe would not his owner byte:
But th'other did vpon his troncheon smyte,
Which hewing quite a sunder, further way
It made, and on his hacqueton did lyte,
The which diuiding with importune sway,
It seizd in his right side, and there the dint did stay.
Wyde was the wound, and a large lukewarme flood,
Red as the Rose, thence gushed grieuously;
That when the Paynim spyde the streaming blood,
Gaue him great hart, and hope of victory.
On th'other side, in huge perplexity,
The Prince now stood, hauing his weapon broke;
Nought could he hurt, but still at ward did ly:
Yet with his troncheon he so rudely stroke
Cymochles twise, that twise him forst his foot reuoke.
Whom when the Palmer saw in such distresse,
Sir Guyons sword he lightly to him raught,
And said; faire Son, great God thy right hand blesse,
To vse that sword so wisely as it ought.
Glad was the knight, & with fresh courage fraught,
When as againe he armed felt his hond;
Then like a Lion, which hath long time saught
His robbed whelpes, and at the last them fond
Emongst the shepheard swaynes, then wexeth wood & yond.
So fierce he laid about him, and dealt blowes
On either side, that neither mayle could hold,
Ne shield defend the thunder of his throwes:
Now to Pyrrhochles many strokes he told;
Eft to Cymochles twise so many fold:
Then backe againe turning his busie hond,
Them both attonce compeld with courage bold,
To yield wide way to his hart-thrilling brond;
And though they both stood stiffe, yet could not both withstond.
As saluage Bull, whom two fierce mastiues bayt,
When rancour doth with rage him once engore,
Forgets with warie ward them to awayt,
But with his dreadfull hornes them driues afore,
Or flings aloft, or treads downe in the flore,
Breathing out wrath, and bellowing disdaine,
That all the forrest quakes to heare him rore:
So rag'd Prince Arthur twixt his foemen twaine,
That neither could his mightie puissance sustaine.
But euer at Pyrrhochles when he smit,
Who Guyons shield cast euer him before,
Whereon the Faery Queenes pourtract was writ,
His hand relented, and the stroke forbore,
[Page 303]And his deare hart the picture gan adore,
Which ost the Paynim sau'd from deadly stowre.
But him henceforth the same can saue no more;
For now arriued is his fatall howre,
That no'te auoyded be by earthly skill or powre.
For when Cymochles saw the fowle reproch,
Which them appeached, prickt with gulty shame,
And inward griefe, he fiercely gan approch,
Resolu'd to put away that loathly blame,
Or dye with honour and desert of fame;
And on the hauberk stroke the Prince so sore,
That quite disparted all the linked frame,
And pierced to the skin, but bit no more,
Yet made him twise to reele, that neuer moou'd afore.
Whereat renfierst with wrath and sharpe regret,
He stroke so hugely with his borrowd blade,
That it empierst the Pagans burganet,
And cleauing the hard steele, did deepe inuade
Into his head, and cruell passage made
Quite through his braine. He tombling downe on ground,
Breathd out has ghost, which to th'infernall shade
Fast flying, there eternall torment found,
For all the sinnes, wherewith his lewd life did abound,
Which when his german saw, the stony feare,
Ran to his hart, and all his sence dismayd,
Ne thenceforth life ne courage did appeare,
But as a man, whom hellish feends haue frayd,
Long trembling still he stood: at last thus sayd;
Traytour what hast thou doen? how euer may
Thy cursed hand so cruelly haue swayd
Against that knight: Horrow and well away,
After so wicked deed why liu'st thou lenger day?
With that all desperate as loathing light,
And with reuenge desiring soone to dye,
Assembling all his force and vtmost might,
With his owne sword he fierce at him did flye,
And strooke, and foynd, and lasht outrageously,
Withouten reason or regard. Well knew
The Prince, with patience and sufferaunce sly
So hasty heat soone cooled to subdew:
Tho when this breathlesse woxe, that batteil gan renew.
As when a windy tempest bloweth hye,
That nothing may withstand his stormy stowre,
The cloudes, as things affrayd, before him flye;
But all so soone as his outrageous powre
Is layd, they fiercely then begin to shoure,
And as in scorne of his spent stormy spight,
Now all attonce their malice forth do poure;
So did Sir Guyon beare himselfe in fight,
And suffred rash Pyrrhochles wast his idle might.
At last when as the Sarazin perceiu'd,
How that straunge sword refusd, to serue his need,
But when he stroke most strong, the dint deceiu'd,
He flong it from him, and deuoyd of dreed,
Vpon him lightly leaping without heed,
Twixt his two mighty armes engrasped fast,
Thinking to ouerthrow and downe him tred:
But him in strength and skill the Prince surpast,
And through his nimble sleight did vnder him down cast.
Nought booted it the Paynim then to striue;
For as a Bittur in the Eagles claw,
That may not hope by flight to scape aliue,
Still waites for death with dread and trembling aw;
[Page 305]So he now subiect to the victours law,
Did not once moue, nor vpward cast his eye,
Forvile disdaine and rancour, which did gnaw
His hart in twaine with sad melancholy,
As one that loathed life, and yet despisd to dye.
But full of Princely bounty and great mind,
The Conquerour nought cared him to slay,
But, casting wrongs and all reuenge behind,
More glory thought to giue life, then decay,
And said, Paynim, this is thy dismall day;
Yet if thou wilt renounce thy miscreaunce,
And my trew liegeman yield thy selfe for ay,
Life will I graunt thee for thy valiaunce,
And all thy wrongs will wipe out of my souenaunce.
Foole (said the Pagan) I thy gift defye,
But vse thy fortune, as it doth befall,
And say, that I not ouercome do dye,
But in despight of life, for death do call.
Wroth was the Prince, and sory yet withall,
That he so wilfully refused grace;
Yet sith his fate so cruelly did fall,
His shining Helmet he gan soone vnlace,
And left his headlesse body bleeding all the place.
By this Sir Guyon from his traunce awakt,
Life hauing maistered her sencelesse foe;
And looking vp, when as his shield he lakt,
And sword saw not, he wexed wondrous woe:
But when the Palmer, whom he long ygoe
Hast lost, he by him spide, right glad he grew,
And said, Deare sir, whom wandring to and fro
I long haue lackt, I ioy thy face to vew;
Firme is thy faith, whom daunger neuer fro me drew.
But rend what wicked hand hath robbed mee
Of my good sword and shield? The Palmer glad,
With so fresh hew vprising him to see,
Him answered; faire sonne, be no whit sad
For want of weapons, they shall soone be had.
So gan he to discourse the whole debate,
Which that straunge knight for him sustained had,
And those two Sarazins confounded late,
Whose carcases on ground were horribly prostrate.
Which when he heard, and saw the tokens trew,
His hart with great affection was embayd,
And to the Prince with bowing reuerence dew,
As to the Patrone of his life, thus sayd;
My Lord, my liege, by whose most gratious ayd
I liue this day, and see my foes subdewd,
What may suffise, to be for meede repayd
Of so great graces, as ye haue me shewd,
But to be euer bound
To whom the Insant thus, Faire Sir, what need
Good turnes be counted, as a seruile bond,
To bind their doers, to receiue their meede?
Are not all knights by oath bound, to withstond
Oppressours powre by armes and puissant hond?
Suffise, that I haue done my dew in place.
So goodly purpose they together fond,
Of kindnesse and of curteous aggrace;
The whiles false Archimage and Atin fled apace.

Cant. IX.

The house of Temperance, in which
doth sober Almadwell,
Besiegd of many foes, whom straunger
knightes to fight compell.
O Fall Gods workes, which do this world adorne,
There is no one more faire and excellent,
Then is mans body both for powre and forme,
Whiles it is kept in sober gouernment;
But none then it, more fowle and indecent,
Distempred through misrule and passions bace:
It growes a Monster, and incontinent
Doth loose his dignitie and natiue grace.
Behold, who list, both one and other in this place.
After the Paynim brethren conquer'd were,
The Briton Prince recou'ring his stolne sword,
And Guyon his lost shield, they both yfere
Forth passed on their way in faire accord,
Till him the Prince with gentle court did bord;
Sir knight, mote I of you this curt'sie read,
To weet why on your shield so goodly scord
Beare ye the picture of that Ladies head?
Full liuely is the semblaunt, though the substance dead.
Faire Sir (said he) if in that picture dead
Such life ye read, and vertue in vaine shew,
What mote ye weene, if the trew liuely-head
Of that most glorious visage ye did vew?
[Page 308]But if the beautie of her mind ye knew,
That is her bountie, and imperiall powre,
Thousand times fairer then her mortall hew,
O how great wonder would your thoughts deuoure,
And infinite desire into your spirite poure!
She is the mighty Queene of Faerie,
Whose faire retrait I in my shield do beare;
She is the flowre of grace and chastitie,
Throughout the world renowmed far and neare,
My liefe, my liege, my Soueraigne, my deare,
Whose glory shineth as the morning starre,
And with her light the earth enlumines cleare;
Far reach her mercies, and her prayses farre,
As well in state of peace, as puissaunce in warre.
Thrise happy man, (said then the Briton knight)
Whom gracious lot, and thy great valiaunce
Haue made thee souldier of that Princesse bright,
Which with her bounty and glad countenance
Doth blesse her seruaunts, and them high aduaunce.
How may straunge knight hope euer to aspire,
By faithfull seruice, and meet amenance,
Vnto such blisse? sufficient were that hire
For losse of thousand liues, to dye at her desire.
Said Guyon, Noble Lord, what meed so great,
Or grace of earthly Prince so soueraine,
But by your wondrous worth and warlike feat
Ye well may hope, and easely attaine?
But were your will, her sold to entertaine,
And numbred be mongst knights of Maydenhed,
Great guerdon, well I wote, should you remaine,
And in her fauour high be reckoned,
As Arthegall, and Sophy now beene honored.
Certes (then said the Prince) I God auow,
That sith I armes and knighthood first did plight,
My whole desire hath beene, and yet is now,
To serue that Queene with all my powre and might.
Now hath the Sunne with his lamp-burning light,
Walkt round about the world, and I no lesse,
Sith of that Goddesse I haue sought the sight,
Yet no where can her find: such happinesse
Heauen doth to me enuy, and fortune fauourlesse.
Fortune, the foe of famous cheuisaunce
Seldome (said Guyon) yields to vertue aide,
But in her way throwes mischiefe and mischaunce,
Whereby her course is stopt, and passage staid.
But you faire Sir, be not herewith dismaid,
But constant keepe the way, in which ye stand;
Which were it not, that I am else delaid
With hard aduenture, which I haue in hand,
I labour would to guide you through all Faery land.
Gramercy Sir (said he) but mote I wote,
What straunge aduenture do ye now pursew?
Perhaps my succour, or aduizement meete
Mote stead you much your purpose to subdew.
Then gan Sir Guyon all the story shew
Of false Acrasia, and her wicked wiles,
Which to auenge, the Palmer him forth drew
From Faery court. So talked they, the whiles
They wasted had much way, and measurd many miles.
And now faire Phoebus gan decline in hast
His weary wagon to the Westerne vale,
Whenas they spide a goodly castle, plast
Foreby a riuer in a pleasaunt dale,
[Page 310]Which choosing for that euenings hospitale,
They thither marcht: but when they came in sight,
And from their sweaty Coursers did auale,
They found the gates fast barred long ere night,
And euery loup fast lockt, as fearing foes despight.
Which when they saw, they weened fowle reproch
Was to them doen, their entrance to forstall,
Till that the Squire gan nigher to approch;
And wind his horne vnder the castle wall,
That with the noise it shooke, as it would fall:
Eftsoones forth looked from the highest spire
The watch, and lowd vnto the knights did call,
To weete, what they so rudely did require.
Who gently answered, They entrance did desire.
Fly fly, good knights, (said he) fly fast away
If that your liues ye loue, as meete ye should;
Fly fast, and saue your selues from neare decay,
Here may ye not haue entraunce, though we would:
We would and would againe, if that we could;
But thousand enemies about vs raue,
And with long siege vs in this castle hould:
Seuen yeares this wize they vs besieged haue,
And many good knights slaine, that haue vs sought to saue.
Thus as he spoke, loe with outragious cry
A thousand villeins round about them swarmd
Out of the rockes and caues adioyning nye,
Vile caytiue wretches, ragged, rude, deformd,
All threatning death, all in straunge manner armd,
Some with vnweldy clubs, some with long speares,
Some rusty kniues, some staues in fire warmd.
Sterne was their looke, like wild amazed steares,
Staring with hollow eyes, and stiffe vpstanding heares.
Fiersly at first those knights they did assaile,
And droue them to recoile: but when againe
They gaue fresh charge, their forces gan to faile,
Vnhable their encounter to sustaine;
For with such puissaunce and impetuous maine
Those Champions broke on them, that forst them fly,
Like scattered Speepe, whenas the Shepheards swaine
A Lyon and a Tigre doth espye,
With greedy pace forth rushing from the forest nye.
A while they fled, but soone returnd againe
With greater fury, then before was found;
And euermore their cruell Captaine
Sought with his raskall routs t'enclose them round,
And ouerrun to tread them to the ground.
But soone the knights with their bright-burning blades
Broke their rude troupes, and orders did confound,
Hewing and slashing at their idle shades;
For though they bodies seeme, yet substance from them fades.
As when a swarme of Gnats at euentide
Out of the fennes of Allan do arise,
Their murmuring small trompets sounden wide,
Whiles in the aire their clustring army flies,
That as a cloud doth seeme to dim the skies;
Ne man nor beast may rest, or take repast,
For their sharpe wounds, and noyous iniuries,
Till the fierce Northerne wind blustring blast
Doth blow them quite away, and in the Ocean cast.
Thus when they had that troublous rout disperst,
Vnto the castle gate they come againe,
And entraunce crau'd, which was denied erst.
Now when report of that their perilous paine,
[Page 312]And combrous comflict, which they did sustaine,
Came to the Ladies eare, which there did dwell,
She forth issewed with a goodly traine
Of Squires and Ladies equipaged well,
And entertained them right fairely, as befell.
Alma she called was, a virgin bright;
That had not yet felt Cupides wanton rage,
Yet was she woo'd of many a gentle knight,
And many a Lord of noble parentage,
That sought with her to lincke in marriage:
For she was faire, as faire mote euer bee,
And in the flowre now of her freshest age;
Yet full of grace and goodly modestee,
That euen heauen reioyced her sweete face to see.
In robe of lilly white she was arayd,
That from her shoulder to her heele downe raught,
The traine whereof loose far behind her strayd,
Braunched with gold & pearle, most richly wrought,
And borne of two faire Damsels, which were taught
That seruice well. Her yellow golden heare
Was trimly wouen, and in tresses wrought,
Ne other tyre she on her head did weare,
But crowned with a garland of sweete Rosiere.
Goodly she entertaind those noble knights,
And brought them vp into her castle hall;
Where gentle court and gracious delight
She to them made, with mildnesse virginall,
Shewing her selfe both wise and liberall:
There when they rested had a season dew,
They her be sought of fauour speciall,
Of that faire Castle to affoord them vew;
She graunted, & them leading forth, the same did shew.
First she them led vp to the Castle wall,
That was so high, as foe might not it clime,
And all so faire, and sensible withall,
Not built of bricke, ne yet of stone and lime,
But of thing like to that AEgyptian slime,
Whereof king Nine whilome built Babell towre;
But ô great pitty, that no lenger time
So goodly workemanship should not endure:
Soone it must turne to earth; no earthly thing is sure.
The frame thereof seemd partly circulare,
And part triangulare, ô worke diuine;
Those two the first and last proportions are,
The one imperfect, mortall, foeminine;
Th'other immortall, perfect, masculine,
And twixt them both a quadrate was the base,
Proportioned equally by seuen and nine;
Nine was the circle set in heauens place,
All which compacted made a goodly Dyapase.
Therein two gates were placed seemly well:
The one before, by which all in did pas,
Did th'other far in workmanship excell;
For not of wood, nor of enduring bras,
But of more worthy substance fram'd it was;
Doubly disparted, it did locke and close,
That when it locked, none might thorough pas,
And when it opened, no man might it close,
Still open to their friends, and closed to their foes.
Of hewen stone the porch was fairely wrought,
Stone more of valew, and more smooth and fine,
Then let or Marble far from Ireland brought;
Ouer the which was cast a wandring vine,
[Page 314]Enchaced with a wanton yuie twine.
And ouer it a faire Portcullis hong,
Which to the gate directly did incline,
With comely compasse, and compacture strong,
Neither vnseemely short, nor yet exceeding long.
Within the Barbican a Porter sate,
Day and night duely keeping watch and ward,
Nor wight, nor word mote passe out of the gate,
But in good order, and with dew regard;
Vtterers of secrets he from thence debard,
Bablers of folly, and blazers of crime.
His larumbell might lowd and wide be hard,
When cause requird, but neuer out of time;
Early and late it rong, at euening and at prime.
And round about the porch on euery side
Twise sixteen warders sat, all armed bright
In glistring steele, and strongly fortifide:
Tall yeomen seemed they, and of great might,
And were enraunged ready, still for sight.
By them as Alma passed with her guestes,
They did obeysaunce, as beseemed right,
And then againe returned to their restes:
The Porter eke to her did lout with humble gestes.
Thence she them brought into a stately Hall,
Wherein were many tables faire dispred,
And ready dight with drapets festiuall,
Against the viaundes should be ministred.
At th'upper end there sate, yclad in red
Downe to the ground, a comely personage,
That in his hand a white rod menaged,
He Steward was hight Diet; rype of age,
And in demeanure sober, and in counsell sage.
And through the Hall there walked to and fro
A iolly yeoman, Marshall of the same,
Whose name was Appetite; he did bestow
Both guestes and meate, when euer in they came,
And knew them how to order without blame,
As him the Steward bad. They both attone
Did dewty to their Lady, as became;
Who passing by, forth led her guestes anone
Into the kitchin rowme, ne spard for nicenesse none.
It was a vaut ybuilt for great dispence,
With many raunges reard along the wall;
And one great chimney, whose long tonnell thence,
The smoke forth threw. And in the midst of all
There placed was a caudron wide and tall,
Vpon a mighty furnace, burning whot,
More whot, then Aetn, or flaming Mongiball:
For day and night it brent, ne ceased not,
So long as any thing it in the caudron got.
But to delay the heat, least by mischaunce
It might breake out, and set the whole on fire,
There added was by goodly ordinaunce,
An huge great paire of bellowes, which did styre
Continually, and cooling breath inspyre.
About the Caudron many Cookes accoyld,
With hookes and ladles, as need did require;
The whiles the viandes in the vessell boyld
They did about their businesse sweat, and sorely toyld.
The maister Cooke was cald Concoction,
A carefull man, and full of comely guise:
The kitchin Clerke, that hight Digestion,
Did order all th'Achates in seemely wise,
[Page 316]And set them forth, as well he could deuise.
The rest had seuerall offices assind,
Some to remoue the scum, as it did rise;
Others to beare the same away did mind;
And others it to vse according to his kind.
But all the liquour, which was fowle and wast,
Not good nor seruiceable else for ought,
They in another great round vessell plast,
Till by a conduit pipe it thence were brought:
And all the rest, that noyous was, and nought,
By secret wayes, that none might it espy,
Was close conuaid, and to the back-gate brought,
That cleped was Port Esquiline, whereby
It was auoided quite, and throwne out priuily.
Which goodly order, and great workmans skill
When as those knights beheld, with rare delight,
And gazing wonder they their minds did fill;
For neuer had they seene so straunge a sight.
Thence backe againe faire Alma led them right,
And soone into a goodly Parlour brought,
That was with royall arras richly dight,
In which was nothing pourtrahed, nor wrought,
Not wrought, nor pourtrahed, but easie to be thought.
And in the midst thereof vpon the floure,
A louely beuy of faire Ladies sate,
Courted of many a iolly Paramoure,
The which them did in modest wise amate,
And each one sought his Lady to aggrate;
And eke emongst them litle Cupid playd
His wanton sports, being returned late
From his fierce warres, and hauing from him layd
His cruell bow, wherewith he thousands hath dismayd.
Diuerse delights they found them selues to please;
Some song in sweet consort, some laught for ioy,
Some plaid with strawes, some idly sat at ease;
But other some could not abide to toy,
All pleasaunce was to them griefe and annoy:
This fround, that faund, the third for shame did blush,
Another seemed enuious, or coy,
Another in her teeth did gnaw a rush:
But at these straungers presence euery one did hush.
Soone as the gracious Alma came in place,
They all attonce out of their seates arose,
And to her homage made, with humble grace:
Whom when the knights beheld, they gan dispose
Themselues to court, and each a Damsell chose:
The Prince by chaunce did on a Lady light,
That was right faire and fresh as morning rose,
But somwhat sad, and solemne eke in sight,
As if some pensiue thought cōstraind her gentle spright.
In a long purple pall, whose skirt with gold,
Was fretted all about, she was arayd;
And in her hand a Poplar braunch did hold:
To whom the Prince in curteous manner said;
Gentle Madame, why beene ye thus dismaid,
And your faire beautie do with sadnesse spill?
Liues any, that you hath thus ill apaid?
Or doen your loue, or doen you lacke your will?
What euer be the cause, it sure beseemes you ill.
Faire Sir, (said she halfe in disdainefull wise,)
How is it, that this word in me ye blame,
And in your selfe do not the same aduise?
Him ill beseemes, anothers fault to name,
[Page 318]That may vnwares be blotted with the same:
Pensiue I yeeld I am, and sad in mind,
Through great desire of glory and of fame;
Ne ought I weene are ye therein behind,
That haue twelue moneths sought one, yet no where can her find.
The Prince was inly moued at her speach,
Well weeting trew, what she had rashly told;
Yet with faire samblaunt sought to hide the breach,
Which chaunge of colour did perforce vnfold,
Now seeming flaming whot, now stony cold.
Tho turning soft aside, he did inquire,
What wight she was, that Poplar braunch did hold:
It answered was, her name was Prays-desire.
That by well doing sought to honour to aspire.
The whiles, the Faerie knight did entertaine
Another Damsell of that gentle crew,
That was right faire, and modest of demaine,
But that too oft she chaung'd her natiue hew:
Straunge was her tyre, and all her garment blew,
Close round about her tuckt with many a plight:
Vpon her fist the bird, which shonneth vew,
And keepes in couerts close from liuing wight,
Did sit, as yet ashamd, how rude Pan did her dight.
So long as Guyon with her commoned,
Vnto the ground she cast her modest eye,
And euer and anone with rosie red
The bashfull bloud her snowy cheekes did dye,
That her became, as polisht yuory,
Which cunning Craftesman hand hath ouerlayd
With faire vermilion or pure lastery.
Great wonder had the knight, to see the mayd
So straungely passioned, and to her gently sayd,
Faire Damzell, seemeth, by your troubled cheare,
That either me too bold ye weene, this wise
You to molest, or other ill to feare
That in the secret of your hart close lyes,
From whence it doth, as cloud from sea arise.
If it be I, of pardon I you pray;
But if ought else that I mote not deuise,
I will, if please you it discure, assay,
To ease you of that ill, so wisely as I may.
She answerd nought, but more abasht for shame,
Held downe her head, the whiles her louely face
The flashing bloud with blushing did inflame,
And the strong passion mard her modest grace,
That Guyon meruayld at her vncouth cace:
Till Alma him bespake, why wonder yee
Faire Sir at that, which ye so much embrace?
She is the fountaine of your modestee;
You shamefast are, but Shamefastnesse it selfe is shee.
Thereat the Elfe did blush in priuitee,
And turnd his face away; but she the same
Dissembled faire, and faynd to ouersee.
Thus they awhile with court and goodly game,
Themselues did solace each one with his Dame,
Till that great Ladie thence away them sought,
To vew her castles other wondrous frame.
Vp to a stately Turret she them brought,
Ascending by ten steps of Alablaster wrought.
That Turrets frame most admirable was,
Like highest heauen compassed around,
And lifted high aboue this earthly masse,
Which it suruew'd, as hils doen lower ground;
[Page 320]But not on Ground mote like to this be found,
Not that, which antique Cadmus whylome built
In Thebes, which Alexander did confound;
Nor that proud towre of Troy, though richly guilt,
From which young Hectors bloud by cruell Greekes was spilt.
The roofe hereof was arched ouer head,
And deckt with flowers and herbars daintily;
Two goodly Beacons, set in watches stead,
Therein gaue light, and flam'd continually:
For they of liuing fire most subtilly
Were made, and set in siluer sockets bright,
Couer'd with lids deuiz'd of substance sly,
That readily they shut and open might.
O who can tell the prayses of that makers might!
Ne can I tell, ne can I stay to tell
This parts great workmanship, & wondrous powre,
That all this other worlds worke doth excell,
And likest is vnto that heauenly towre,
That God hath built for his owne blessed bowre.
Therein were diuerse roomes, and diuerse stages,
But three the chiefest, and of greatest powre,
In which there dwelt three honorable sages,
The wisest men, I weene, that liued in their ages.
Not he, whom Greece, the Nourse of all good arts,
By Phoebus doome, the wisest thought aliue,
Might be compar'd to these by many parts:
Nor that sage Pylian syre, which did suruiue
Three ages, such as mortall men contriue,
By whose aduise old Priams cittie fell,
With these in praise of pollicies mote striue.
These three in these three roomes did sundry dwell,
And counselled faire Alma, how to gouerne well.
The first of them could things to come foresee:
The next could of things present best aduize;
The third things past could keepe in memoree,
So that no time, nor reason could arize,
But that the same could one of these comprize.
For thy the first did in the forepart sit,
That nought mote hinder his quicke preiudize:
He had a sharpe foresight, and working wit,
That neuer idle was, ne once could rest a whit.
His chamber was dispainted all within,
With sundry colours, in the which were writ
Infinite shapes of things dispersed thin;
Some such as in the world were neuer yit,
Ne can deuized be of mortall wit;
Some daily seene, and knowen by their names,
Such as in idle fantasies doe flit:
Infernall Hags, Centaurs, feendes, Hippodames,
Apes, Lions, Aegles, Owles, fooles, louers, children, Dames.
And all the chamber filled was with flyes,
Which buzzed all about, and made such sound,
That they encombred all mens eares and eyes,
Like many swarmes of Bees assembled round,
After their hiues with honny do abound:
All those were idle thoughts and fantasies,
Deuices, dreames, opinions vnsound,
Shewes, visions, sooth-sayes, and prophesies;
And all that fained is, as leasings, tales, and lies.
Emongst them all sate he, which wonned there,
That hight Phantastes by his nature trew;
A man of yeares yet fresh, as mote appere,
Of swarth complexion, and of crabbed hew,
[Page 322]That him full of melancholy did shew;
Bent hollow beetle browes, sharpe staring eyes,
That mad or foolish seemd: one by his vew
More deeme him borne with ill disposed skyes,
When oblique Saturne sate in the house of agonyes.
Whom Alma hauing shewed to her guestes,
Thence brought thē to the second roome, whose wals
Were painted faire with memorable gestes,
Of famous Wisards, and with picturals
Of Magistrates, of courts, of tribunals,
Of commen wealthes, of states, of pollicy,
Of lawes, of iudgements, and of decretals;
All artes, all science, all Philosophy,
And all that in the world was aye thought wittily.
Of those that roome was full, and them among
There sate a man of ripe and perfect age,
Who did them meditate all his life long,
That through continuall practise and vsage,
He now was growne right wise, and wondrous sage.
Great pleasure had those stranger knights, to see
His goodly reason, and graue personage,
That his disciples both desir'd to bee;
But Alma thence thē led to th'hindmost roome of three.
That chamber seemed ruinous and old,
And therefore was remoued farre behind.
Yet were the wals, that did the same vphold,
Right firme & strong, though somewhat they declind;
And therein sate an old oldman, halfe blind,
And all decrepit in his feeble corse,
Yet liuely vigour rested in his mind,
And recompenst him with a better scorse:
Weake body well is chang'd for minds redoubled forse.
This man of infinite remembrance was,
And things foregone through many ages held,
Which he recorded still, as they did pas,
Ne suffred them to perish through long eld,
As all things else, the which this world doth weld,
But laid them vp in his immortall scrine,
Where they for euer incorrupted dweld:
The warres he well remembred of king Nine,
Of old Assaracus, and Inachus diuine.
The yeares of Nestor nothing were to his,
Ne yet Mathusalem, though longest liu'd;
For he remembred both their infancies:
Ne wonder then, if that he were depriu'd
Of natiue strength now, that he them suruiu'd.
His chamber all was hangd about with rolles,
And old records from auncient times deriu'd,
Some made in books, some in long parchmēt scrolles,
That were all worme-eaten, and full of canker holes.
Amidst them all he in a chaire was set,
Tossing and turning them withouten end;
But for he was vnhable them to set,
A litle boy did on him still attend,
To reach, when euer he for ought did send;
And oft when things were lost, or laid amis,
That boy them sought, and vnto him did lend.
Therefore he Anamnestes cleped is,
And that old man Eumnestes, by their propertis.
The knights there entring, did him reuerence dew
And wondred at his endlesse exercise,
Then as they gan his Librarie to vew,
And antique Registers for to auise,
[Page 324]There chaunced to the Princes hand to rize,
An auncient booke, hight Briton moniments,
That of this lands first conquest did deuize,
And old diuision into Regiments,
Till it reduced was to one mans gouernments.
Sir Guyon chaunst eke on another booke,
That hight Antiquitie of Faerie lond.
In which when as he greedily did looke;
Th'off-spring of Elues and Faries there he fond,
As it deliuered was from hond to hond:
Whereat they burning both with feruent fire,
Their countries auncestry to vnderstond,
Crau'd leaue of Alma, and that aged sire,
To read those bookes; who gladly graunted their desire.

Cant. X.

A chronicle of Briton kings,
from Brute to Vthers rayne.
And rolles of Elfin Emperours,
till time of Gloriane.
WHo now shall giue vnto me words and sound,
Equall vnto this haughtie enterprise?
Or who shal lend me wings, with which from ground
My lowly verse may loftily arise,
And lift it selfe vnto the highest skies?
More ample spirit, then hitherto was, wount,
Here needes me, whiles the famous auncestries
Of my most dreaded Soueraigne I recount,
By which all earthly Princes she doth farre surmount.
Ne vnder Sunne, that shines so wide and faire,
Whence all that liues, does borrow life and light,
Liues ought, that to her linage may compaire,
Which though from earth it be deriued right,
Yet doth it selfe stretch forth to heauens hight,
And all the world with wonder ouerspred;
A labour huge, exceeding farre my might:
How shall fraile pen, with feare disparaged,
Conceiue such soueraine glory, and great bountihed?
Argument worthy of Moenian quill,
Or rather worthy of great Phoebus rote,
Whereon the ruines of great, Ossa hill,
And triumphes of Phelegraean Ioue he wrote,
[Page 326]That all the Gods admird his loftie note.
But if some relish of that heauenly lay
His learned daughters would to me report,
To decke my song withall, I would assay,
Thy name, ô soueraine Queene, to blazon farre away.
Thy name ô soueraine Queene, thy realme and race,
From this renowmed Prince deriued arre,
Whom mightily vpheld that royall mace,
Which now thou bearst, to thee descended farre
From mightie kings and conquerours in warre,
Thy fathers and great Grandfathers of old,
Whose noble deedes aboue the Northerne starre
Immortall fame for euer hath enrold;
As in that old mans booke they were in order told.
The land, which warlike Britons now possesse,
And therein haue their mightie empire raysd,
In antique times was saluage wildernesse,
Vnpeopled, vnmanurd, vnprou'd, vnpraysd,
Ne was it Island then, ne was it paysd
Amid the Ocean waues, ne was it sought
Of marchants farre, for profits therein praysd,
But was all desolate, and of some thought
By sea to haue bene frō the Celtioke mayn-land brought.
Ne did it then deserue a name to haue,
Till that the venturous Mariner that way
Learning his ship from those white rocks to saue,
Which all along the Southerne sea-coast lay,
Threatning vnheedie wrecke and rash decay,
For safeties sake that same his sea-marke made,
And namd it Albion. But later day
Finding in it fit ports for fishers trade,
Gan more the same frequent, and further to inuade.
But farre in land a saluage nation dwelt,
Of hideous Giants, and halfe beastly men,
That neuer tasted grace, nor goodnesse felt,
But like wild beasts lurking in loathsome den,
And flying fast as Roebucke through the fen,
All naked without shame, or care of cold,
By hunting and by spoiling liued then;
Of stature huge, and eke of courage bold,
That sonnes of men amazd their sternnesse to behold.
But whence they sprong, or how they were begot,
Vneath is to assure; vneath to wene
That monstrous error, which doth some assot,
That Dioclesians fiftie daughters shene
Into this land by chaunce haue driuen bene,
Where companing with feends and filthy Sprights,
Through vaine illusion of their lust vnclene,
They brought forth Giants and such dreadfull wights,
As farre exceeded men in their immeasurd mights.
They held this land, and with their filthinesse
Polluted this same gentle soyle long time:
That their owne mother loathd their beastlinesse,
And gan abhorre her broods vnkindly crime,
All were they borne of her owne natiue slime;
Vntill that Brutus anciently deriu'd
From royall stocke of old Assaraos line,
Driuen by fatall error, here arriu'd,
And them of their vniust possession depriu'd.
But ere he had established his throne,
And spred his empire to the vtmost shore,
He fought great battels with his saluage fone;
In which he them defeated euermore,
[Page 328]And many Giants left on groning flore;
That well can witnesse yet vnto this day
The westerne Hogh, besprincled with the gore
Of mightie Goemot, whom in stout fray
Corineus conquered, and cruelly did slay.
And eke that ample Pit, yet farre renownd,
For the large leape, which Debon did compell
Coulin to make, being eight lugs of grownd;
Into the which returning backe, he fell,
But those three monstrous stones doe most excell
Which that huge sonne of hideous Albion,
Whose father Hercules in Fraunce did quell,
Great Godmer threw, in fierce contention,
At bold Canutus; but of him was slaine anon.
In meed of these great conquests by them got,
Corineus had that Prouince vtmost west,
To him assigned for his worthy lot,
Which of his name and memorable gest
He called Cornewaile, yet so called best:
And Debons shayre was, that is Deuonshyre:
But Canute had his portion from the rest,
The which he cald Canutium, for his hyre;
Now Cantium, which Kent we commenly inquire.
Thus Brute this Realme vnto his rule subdewd,
And raigned long in great felicitie,
Lou'd of his friends, and of his foes eschewd,
He left three sonnes, his famous progeny,
Borne of faire Inogene of Italy;
Mongst whom he parted his imperiall state,
And Locrine left chiefe Lord of Britany.
At last ripe age bad him surrender late
His life, and long good fortune vnto finall fate.
Locrine was left the soueraine Lord of all;
But Albanact had all the Northrene part,
Which of himselfe Albania, he did call;
And Camber did possesse the Westerne quart,
Which Seuerne now from Logris doth depart:
And each his portion peaceably enioyd,
Ne was there outward breach, nor grudge in hart,
That once their quiet gouernment annoyd,
But each his paines to others profit still employd.
Vntill a nation straung, with visage swart,
And courage fierce, that all men did affray,
Which through the world thē swarmd in euery part,
And ouerflow'd all countries farre away,
Like Noyes great flood, with their importune sway,
This land inuaded with like violence,
And did themselues through all the North display:
Vntill that Locrine for his Realmes defence,
Did head against them make, and strong munifience.
He them encountred, a confused rout,
Foreby the Riuer, that whylome was hight
The auncient Abus, where with courage stout
He them defeated in victorious fight,
And chaste so fiercely after fearefull flight,
That forst their Chieftaine, for his safeties sake,
(Their Chieftaine Humber named was aright)
Vnto the mightie streame him to betake,
Where he an end of battell, and of life did make.
The king returned proud of victorie,
And insolent wox through vnwonted ease,
That shortly he forgot the ieopardie,
Which in his land he lately did appease,
[Page 330]And fell to vaine voluptuous disease:
He lou'd faire Ladie Estrild, lewdly lou'd,
Whose wanton pleasures him too much did please,
That quite his hart from Guendolene remou'd,
Frō Guendolene his wife, though alwaies faithfull prou'd.
The noble daughter of Corineus
Would not endure to be so vile disdaind,
But gathering force, and courage valorous,
Encountred him in battell well ordaind,
In which him vanquisht she to fly constraind:
But she so fast pursewd, that him she tooke,
And threw in bands, where he till death remaind;
Als his faire Leman, flying through a brooke,
She ouerhent, nought moued with her piteous looke.
But both her selfe, and eke her daughter deare,
Begotten by her kingly Paramoure,
The faire Sabrina almost dead with feare,
She there attached, farre from all succoure;
The one she slew in that impatient stoure,
But the sad virgin innocent of all,
Adowne the rolling riuer she did poure,
Which of her name now Seuerne men do call:
Such was the end, that to disloyall loue did fall.
Then for her sonne, which she to Locrin bore,
Madan was young, vnmeet the rule of sway,
In her owne hand the crowne she kept in store,
Till ryper yeares he raught, and stronger stay:
During which time her powre she did display
Through all this realme, the glorie of her sex,
And first taught men a woman to obay:
But when her sonne to mans estate did wex,
She it surrendred, ne her selfe would lenger vex.
Tho Madan raignd, vnworthie of his race:
For with all shame that sacred throne he fild:
Next Memprise, as vnworthy of that place,
In which being consorted with Manild,
For thirst of single kingdome him he kild.
But Ebranck salued both their infamies
With noble deedes, and warreyd on Brunchild
In Henault, where yet of his victories
Braue moniments remaine, which yet that land enuies.
An happie man in his first dayes he was,
And happie father of faire progeny:
For all so many weekes as the yeare has,
So many children he did multiply;
Of which were twentie sonnes, which did apply,
Their minds to praise, and cheualrous desire:
Those germans did subdew all Germany,
Of whom it hight; but in the end their Sire
With foule repulse from Fraunce was forced to retire.
Which blot his sonne succeeding in his seat,
The second Brute, the second both in name,
And eke in semblance of his puissance great,
Right well recur'd, and did away that blame
With recompence of euerlasting fame.
He with his victour sword first opened,
The bowels of wide Fraunce, a forlorne Dame,
And taught her first how to be conquered;
Since which, with sundrie spoiles she hath beene ransac­ked.
Let Scaldis tell, and let tell Hania,
And let the marsh of Estham bruges tell,
What colour were their waters that same day,
And all the moore twixt Eluersham and Dell,
[Page 332]With bloud of Henalois, which therein fell.
How oft that day did sad Brunchildis see
The greene shield dyde in dolorous vermell?
That not Scuith guiridh it mote seeme to bee.
But rather y Scuith gogh, signe of sad crueltee.
His sonne king Leill by fathers labour long,
Enioyd an heritage of lasting peace,
And built Cairleill, and built Cairleon strong.
Next Huddibras his realme did not encrease,
But taught the land from wearie warres to cease.
Whose footsteps Bladud following, in arts
Exceld at Athens all the learned preace,
From whence he brought them to these saluage parts,
And with sweet science mollifide their stubborne harts.
Ensample of his wondrous faculty,
Behold the boyling Bathes at Cairbadon,
Which seeth with secret fire eternally,
And in their entrails, full of quicke Brimston,
Nourish the flames, which they are warm'd vpon,
That to her people wealth they forth do well,
And health to euery forreine nation:
Yet he at last contending to excell
The reach of men, through flight into fond mischief fell.
Next him king Leyr in happie peace long raind,
But had no issue male him to succeed,
But three faire daughters, which were well vptraind,
In all that seemed sit for kingly seed:
Mongst whom his realme he equally decreed
To haue diuided. Tho when feeble age
Nigh to his vtmost date he saw proceed,
He cald his daughters; and with speeches sage
Inquyrd, which of them most did loue her parentage.
The eldest Gonorill gan to protest,
That she much more then her owne life him lou'd:
And Regan greater loue to him profest,
Then all the world, when euer it were proou'd;
But Cordeill said she lou'd him, as behoou'd:
Whose simple answere, wanting colours faire
To paint it forth, him to displeasance moou'd,
That in his crowne he counted her no haire,
But twixt the other twaine his kingdome whole did shaire.
So wedded th'one to Maglan king of Scots,
And th'other to the king of Cambria,
And twixt them shayrd his realme by equall lots:
But without dowre the wise Cordelia,
Was sent to Aganip of Celtica.
Their aged Syre, thus cased of his crowne,
A priuate life led in Albania,
With Gonorill, long had in great renowne,
That nought him grieu'd to bene from rule deposed downe.
But true it is, that when the oyle is spent,
The light goes out, and weeke is throwne away;
So when he had resignd his regiment,
His daughter gan despise his drouping day,
And wearie waxe of his continuall stay.
Tho to his daughter Rigan he repayrd,
Who him at first well vsed euery way;
But when of his departure she despayrd,
Her bountie she abated, and his cheare empayrd.
The wretched man gan then auise too late,
That loue is not, where most it is profest,
Too truely tryde in his extreamest state;
At last resolu'd likewise to proue the rest,
[Page 334]He to Cordelia him selfe addrest,
Who with entire affection him receau'd,
As for her Syre and king her seemed best;
And after all an army strong she leau'd,
To war on those, which him had of his realme bereau'd.
So to his crowne she him restor'd againe,
In which he dyde, made ripe for death by eld,
And after wild, it should to her remaine:
Who peaceably the same long time did weld:
And all mens harts in dew obedience held:
Till that her sisters children, woxen strong
Through proud ambition, against her rebeld,
And ouercommen kept in prison long,
Till wearie of that wretched life, her selfe she hong.
Then gan the bloudie brethren both to raine:
But fierce Cundah gan shortly to enuie
His brother Morgan, prickt with proud disdaine,
To haue a pere in part of soueraintie,
And kindling coles of cruell enmitie,
Raisd warre, and him in battell ouerthrew:
Whence as he to those woodie hils did flie,
Which hight of him Glamorgan, there him slew:
Then did he raigne alone, when he none equall knew.
His sonne Riuallo his dead roome did supply,
In whose sad time bloud did from heauen raine:
Next great Gurgustus, then faire Caecily
In constant peace their kingdomes did containe,
After whom Lago, and Kinmarke did raine,
And Gorbogud, till farre in yeares he grew:
Till his ambitious sonnes vnto them twaine,
Arraught the rule, and from their father drew,
Stout Ferrex and sterne Porrex him in prison threw.
[Page 335]But ô, the greedy thirst of royall crowne,
That knowes no kinred, nor regardes no right,
Stird Porrex vp to put his brother downe;
Who vnto him assembling forreine might,
Made warre on him, and fell him selfe in fight:
Whose death t'auenge, his mother mercilesse,
Most mercilesse of women, VVyden hight,
Her other sonne fast sleeping did oppresse,
And with most cruell hand him murdred pittilesse.
Here ended Brutus sacred progenie,
Which had seuen hundred yeares this scepter borne,
With high renowme, and great felicitie?
The noble braunch from th'antique stocke was torne
Through discord, and the royall throne forlorne:
Thenceforth this Realme was into factions rent,
Whilest each of Brutus boasted to be borne,
That in the end was left no moniment
Of Brutus, nor of Britons glory auncient.
Then vp arose a man of matchlesse might,
And wondrous wit to menage high affaires,
Who stird vp pitty of the stressed plight
Of this sad Realme, cut into sundry shaires
By such, as claymd themselues Brutes rightfull haires,
Gathered the Princes of the people loose,
To taken counsell of their common cares;
Who with his wisedom won, him streight did choose,
Their king, and swore him fealty to win or loose.
Then made he head against his enimies,
And Ymner slew, or Logris miscreate;
Then Ruddoc and proud Stater, both allyes,
This of Albanie newly nominate,
[Page 336]And that of Cambry king confirmed late,
He ouerthrew through his owne valiaunce;
Whose countreis he redus'd to quiet state,
And shortly brought to ciuill gouernaunce,
Now one, which earst were many, made through vari­aunce.
Then made he sacred lawes, which some men say
Were vnto him reueald in vision,
By which he freed the Traueilers high way,
The Churches part, and Ploughmans portion,
Restraining stealth, and strong extortion;
The gracious Numa of great Britanie:
For till his dayes, the chiefe dominion
By strength was wielded without pollicie;
Therefore he first wore crowne of gold for dignitie.
Donwallo dyde (for what may liue for ay?)
And left two sonnes, of pearelesse prowesse both;
That sacked Rome too dearely did assay,
The recompence of their periured oth,
And ransackt Greece well tryde, whē they were wroth;
Besides subiected Fraunce, and Germany,
Which yet their prayses speake, all be they loth,
And inly tremble at the memory
Of Brennus and Bellinus, kings of Britany.
Next them did Gurgunt, great Bellinus sonne
In rule succeede, and eke in fathers prayse;
He Easterland subdewd, and Danmarke wonne,
And of them both did foy and tribute raise,
The which was dew in his dead fathers dayes:
He also gaue to fugitiues of Spayne,
Whom he at sea found wandring from their wayes,
A seate in Ireland safely to remayne,
Which they should hold of him, as subiect to Britayne.
After him raigned Guitheline his hayre,
The iustest man and trewest in his dayes,
Who had to wife Dame Mertia the fayre,
A woman worthy of immortall prayse,
Which for this Realme found many goodly layes,
And wholesome Statutes to her husbahd brought;
Her many deemd to haue beene of the Fayes,
As was Aegerie that Numa tought;
Those yet of her be Mertiā lawes both nam'd & thought.
Her sonnes Sifillus after her did rayne,
And then Kimarus, and then Danius;
Next whom Morindus did the crowne sustaine,
Who, had he not with wrath outrageous,
And cruell rancour dim'd his valorous
And mightie deeds, should matched haue the best:
As well in that same field victorious
Against the forreine Morands he exprest;
Yet liues his memorie, though carcas sleepe in rest.
Fiue sonne he left begotten of one wife,
All which successiuely by turnes did raine;
First Gorboman a man of vertuous life;
Next Archigald, who for his proud disdaine,
Deposed was from Princedome soueraine,
And pitteous Elidure put in his sted;
Who shortly it to him restord againe,
Till by his death he it recouered;
But Peridure and Vigent him disthronized.
In wretched prison long he did remaine,
Till they outraigned had their vtmost date,
And then therein reseized was againe,
And ruled long with honorable state,
[Page 338]Till he surrendred Realme and life to fate.
Then all the sonnes of these fiue brethren raynd
By dew successe, and all their Nephewes late,
Euen thrise eleuen descents the crowne retaynd,
Till aged Hely by dew heritage it gaynd.
He had two sonnes, whose eldest called Lud
Left of his life most famous memory,
And endlesse moniments of his great good:
The ruin'd wals he did reaedifye
Of Troynouant, gainst force of enimy,
And built that gate, which of his name is hight,
By which he lyes entombed solemnly.
He left two sonnes, too young to rule aright,
Androgeus and Tenantius, pictures of his might.
Whilst they were young, Cassibalane their Eme
Was by the people chosen in their sted,
Who on him tooke the royall Diademe,
And goodly well long time it gouerned,
Till the prowd Romanes him disquieted,
And warlike Caesar, tempted with the name
Of this sweet Island, neuer conquered,
And enuying the Britons blazed fame,
(O hideous hunger of dominion) hither came.
Yet twise they were repulsed backe againe,
And twise renforst, backe to their ships to fly,
The whiles with bloud they all the shore did staine.
And the gray Ocean into purple dy:
Ne had they footing found at last perdie,
Had not Androgeus, false to natiue soyle,
And enuious or Vncles soueraintie,
Betrayd his contrey vnto forreine spoyle:
Nought else, but treason, from the first this lād did foyle.
So by him Caesar got the victory,
Through great bloushed, and many a sad assay,
In which him selfe was charged heauily
Of hardy Nennius, whom he yet did slay,
But lost his sword, yet to be seene this day.
Thenceforth this land was tributarie made
T'ambitious Rome, and did their rule obay,
Till Arthur all that reckoning did defray;
Yet oft the Briton kings against them strongly swayd.
Next him Tenantius raignd, then Kimbeline,
What time th'eternall Lord in fleshly slime
Enwombed was, from wretched Adams line
To purge away the guilt of sinfull crime:
O ioyous memorie of happytime,
That heauenly grace so plenteously displayd;
(O too high ditty for my simple rime.)
Soone after this the Romanes him wrrayd;
For that their tribute he refusd to let be payd.
Good Claudius, that next was Emperour,
An army brought, and with him battell fought,
In which the king was by a Treachetour
Disguised slaine, ere any thereof thought:
Yet ceased not the bloudy fight for ought;
For Aruirage his brothers place supplide,
Both in armes, and crowne, and by that draught
Did driue the Romanes to the weaker side,
That they to peace agreed. So all was pacifide.
Was neuer king more highly magnifide,
Nor dred of Romanes, then was Aruirage,
For which the Emperour to him allide
His daughter Genuiss' in marriage:
[Page 340]Yet shortly he renounst the vassalage
Of Rome againe, who hither hastly sent
Vespasian, that with great spoile and rage
Forwasted all, till Genuissa gent
Perswaded him to ceasse, and her Lord to relent.
He dyde; and him succeeded Marius,
Who ioyd his dayes in great tranquillity,
Then Coyll, and after him good Lucius,
That first receiued Christianitie,
The sacred pledge of Christes Euangely:
Yet true it is, that long before that day
Hither came Ioseph of Arimathy,
Who brought with him the holy grayle, (they say)
And preacht the truth, but since it greatly did decay.
This good king shortly without issew dide,
Whereof great trouble in the kingdome grew,
That did her selfe in sundry parts diuide,
And with her powre her owne selfe ouerthrew,
Whilest Romanes dayly did the weake subdew:
Which seeing stout Bunduca, vp arose,
And taking armes, the Britons to her drew;
With whom she marched streight against her foes,
And them vnwares besides the Seuerne did enclose.
There she with them a cruell battell tride,
Not with so good successe, as she deseru'd;
By reason that the Captaines on her side,
Corrupted by Paulinus, from her sweru'd:
Yet such, as were through former flight perseru'd,
Gathering againe, her Host she did renew,
And with fresh courage on the victour seru'd:
But being all defeated, saue a few,
Rather then fly, or be captiu'd her selfe she slew.
O famous moniment of womens prayse,
Matchable either to Semiramis,
Whom antique history so high doth raise,
Or to Hysiphil' or to Thomiris:
Her Host two hundred thousand numbred is;
Who whiles good fortune fauoured her might,
Triumphed oft against her enimis;
And yet though ouercome in haplesse fight,
She triumphed on death, in enemies despight.
Her reliques Fulgent hauing gathered,
Fought with Scuerus, and him ouerthrew;
Yet in the chace was slaine of them, that fled:
So made them victours, whom he did subdew.
Then gan Carausius tirannize anew,
And gainst the Romanes bent their proper powre,
But him Allectus treacherously slew,
And tooke on him the robe of Emperoure:
Nath'lesse the same enioyed but short happy howre:
For Asclepiodate him ouercame,
And left inglorious on the vanquisht playne,
Without or robe, or rag, to hide his shame.
Then afterwards he in his stead did rayne;
But shortly was by Coyll in battell slaine:
Who after long debate, since Lucies time,
Was of the Britons first crownd Soueraine:
Then gan this Realme renewe her passed prime:
He of his name Coylchester built of stone and lime.
Which when the Romanes heard, they hither sent
Constantius, a man of mickle might,
With whom king Coyll made an agreement,
And to him gaue for wife his daughter bright,
[Page 342]Faire Helena, the fairest liuing wight;
Who in all godly thewes, and goodly prayse
Did far excell, but was most famous hight
For skill in Musicke of all in her dayes,
Aswell in curious instruments, as cunning layes.
Of whom he did great Constantine beget,
Who afterward was Emperour of Rome;
To which whiles absent he his mind did set,
Octauius here lept into his roome,
And it vsurped by vnrighteous doome:
But he his title iustifide by might,
Slaying Traherne, and hauing ouercome
The Romane legion in dreadfull fight:
So settled he his kingdome, and confirmd his right.
But wanting issew male, his daughter deare,
He gaue in wedlocke to Maximian,
And him with her made of his kingdome heyre,
Who soone by meanes thereof the Empire wan,
Till murdred by the friends of Gratian;
Then gan the Hunnes and Picts inuade this land,
During the raigne of Maximinian;
Who dying left none heire them to withstand,
But that they ouerran all parts with easie hand.
The weary Britons, whose war-hable youth
Was by Maximian lately led away,
With wretched miseries, and woefull ruth,
Were to those Pagans made an open pray,
And dayly spectacle of sad decay:
Whom Romane warres, which now foure hundred yeares,
And more had wasted, could no whit dismay;
Till by consent of Commons and of Peares,
They crownd the second Constantine with ioyous teares,
Who hauing oft in battell vanquished
Those spoilefull Picts, and swarming Easterlings,
Long time in peace his Realme established,
Yet oft annoyd with sundry bordragings
Of neighbour Scots, and forrein Scatterlings,
With which the world did in those dayes abound:
Which to outbarre, with painefull pyonings
From sea to sea he heapt a mightie mound,
Which from Alcluid to Panwelt did that border bound.
Three sonnes he dying left, all vnder age;
By meanes whereof, their vncle Vortigere
Vsurpt the crowne, during their pupillage;
Which th'Infants tutors gathering to feare,
Them closely into Armorick did beare:
For dread of whom, and for those Picts annoyes,
He sent to Germanie, straunge aid to reare,
From whence eftsoones arriued here three hoyes
Of Saxons, whom he for his safetie imployes.
Two brethren were their Captains, which hight
Hengist and Horsus, well approu'd in warre,
And both of them men of renowmed might;
Who making vantage of their ciuill iarre,
And of those forreiners, which came from farre,
Grew great, and got large portions of land,
That in the Realme ere long they stronger arre,
Then they which sought at first their helping hand,
And Vortiger enforst the kingdome to aband.
But by the helpe of Vortimere his sonne,
He is againe vnto his rule restord,
And Hengist seeming sad, for that was donne,
Receiued is to grace and new accord,
[Page 344]Through his faire daughters face, & flattring word;
Soone after which, three hundred Lordes he slew
Of British bloud, all sitting at his bord;
Whose dolefull moniments who list to rew,
Th'eternall markes of treason may at Stonheng vew.
By this the sonnes of Constantine, which fled,
Ambrise and Vther did ripe yeares attaine,
And here arriuing, strongly challenged
The crowne, which Vortiger did long detaine:
Who flying from his guilt, by them was slaine.
And Hengist eke soone brought to shamefull death.
Thenceforth Aurelius peaceably did rayne,
Till that through poyson stopped was his breath;
So now entombed lyes at Stoneheng by the heath.
After him Vther, which Pendragon hight,
Succeding There abruptly it did end,
Without full point, or other Cesure right,
As if the rest some wicked hand did rend,
Or th' Authour selfe could not at least attend
To finish it: that so vntimely breach
The Prince him selfe halfe seemeth to offend,
Yet secret pleasure did offence empeach,
And wonder of antiquitie long stopt his speach.
At last quite rauisht with delight, to heare
The royall Ofspring of his natiue land,
Cryde out, Deare countrey, ô how dearely deare
Ought thy remembraunce, and perpetuall band
Be to thy foster Childe, that from thy hand
Did commun breath and nouriture receaue?
How brutish is it not to vnderstand,
How much to her we owe, that all vs gaue,
That gaue vnto vs all, what euer good we haue.
But Guyon all this while his booke did read,
Ne yet has ended: for it was a great
And ample volume, that doth far excead
My leasure, so long leaues here to repeat:
It told, how first Prometheus did create
A man, of many partes from beasts deriued
And then stole fire from heauen, to animate
His worke, for which he was by loue depriued
Of life him selfe, and hart-strings of an Aegle riued.
That man so made, he called Elfe, to weet
Quick, the first author of all Elfin kind:
Who wandring through the world with wearie feet,
Did in the gardins of Adonis find
A goodly creature, whom he deemd in mind
To beno earthly wight, but either Spright,
Or Angell, th'authour of all woman kind;
Therefore a Fay he her according hight,
Of whom all Faeryes spring, and fetch their lignage right.
Of these a mightie people shortly grew,
And puissaunt kings, which all the world warrayd,
And to them selues all Nations did subdew:
The first and eldest, which that scepter swayd,
Was Elfin; him all India obayd,
And all that now America men call:
Next him was noble Elfinan, who layd
Cleopolis foundation first of all:
But Elfiline enclosd it with a golden wall.
His sonne was Elfinell, who ouercame
The wicked Gobbelines in bloudy field:
But Elfant was of most renowmed fame,
Who all of Christall did Panthea build:
[Page 346]Then Elfar, who two brethren gyants kild,
The one of which had two heads, th'other three:
Then Elfinor, who was in Magick skild;
He built by art vpon the glassy See
A bridge of bras, whose sound heauēs thunder seem'd to bee
He left three sonnes, the which in order raynd,
And all their Ofspring, in their dew descents,
Euen seuen hundred Princes, which maintaynd
With mightie deedes their sundry gouernments;
That were too long their infinite contents
Here to record, ne much materiall:
Yet should they be most famous moniments,
And bratie ensample, both of martiall,
And ciuill rule to kings and states imperiall.
After all these Elficleos did rayne,
The wise Elficleos in great Maiestie,
Who mightily that scepter did sustayne,
And with rich spoiles and famous victorie,
Did high aduaunce the crowne of Faery:
He left two sonnes, of which faire Elferon
The eldest brother did vntimely dy;
Whose emptie place the mightie Oberon
Doubly supplide, in spousall, and dominion.
Great was his power and glorie ouer all,
Which him before, that sacred seate did fill,
That yet remaines his wide memoriall:
He dying left the fairest Tanaquill,
Him to succeede therein, by his last will:
Fairer and nobler liueth none this howre,
Ne like in grace, ne like in learned skill;
Therefore they Glorian call that glorious flowre,
Long mayst thou Glorian liue, in glory and great powre.
Beguild thus with delight of nouelties,
And naturall desire of countreys state,
So long they red in those antiquities,
That how the time was fled, they quite forgate,
Till geutle Alma seeing it so late,
Perforce their studies broke, and them besought
To thinke, how supper did them long awaite.
So halfe vnwilling from their bookes them brought,
And fairely feasted, as so nobles knights she ought.

Cant. XI.

The enimies of Temperaunce
besiege her dwelling place:
Prince Arthur them repelles, and fowle
Maleger doth deface.
WHat warre so cruell, or what siege so sore,
As that, which strong affections do apply
Against the fort of reason euermore
To bring the soule into captiuitie:
Their force is fiercer through infirmitie
Of the fraile flesh, relenting to their rage,
And exercise most bitter tyranny
Vpon the parts, brought into their bondage:
No wretchednesse is like to sinfull vellenage.
But in a body, which doth freely yeeld
His partes to reasons rule obedient,
And letteth her that ought the scepter weeld,
All happy peace and goodly gouernment
[Page 348]Is setled there in sure establishment;
There Alma like a virgin Queene most bright,
Doth florish in all beautie excellent:
And to her guestes doth bounteous banket dight,
Attempted goodly well for health and delight.
Early before the Morne with cremosin ray,
The windowes of bright heauen opened had,
Through which into the world the dawning day
Might looke, that maketh euery creature glad,
Vprose Sir Guyon, in bright armour clad,
And to his purposd iourney him prepar'd:
With him the Palmer eke in habit sad,
Him selfe addrest to that aduenture hard:
So to the riuers side they both together far'd.
Where them awaited ready at the ford
The Ferriman, as Alma had behight,
With his well rigged boate: They go abord,
And eftsoones gan launch his barke forthright.
Ere long they rowed were quite out of sight,
And fast the land behind them fled away.
But let them pas, whiles wind and weather right
Do serue their turnes: here I a while must stay,
To see a cruell fight doen by the Prince this day.
For all so soone, as Guyon thence was gon
Vpon his voyage with his trustie guide,
That wicked band of villeins fresh begon
That castle to assaile on euery side,
And lay strong siege about it far and wide.
So huge and infinite their numbers were,
That all the land they vnder them did hide;
So fowle and vgly, that exceeding feare
Their visages imprest, when they approched neare.
Them in twelue troupes their Captain did dispart
And round about in sittest steades did place,
Where each might best offend his proper part,
And his contrary obiect most deface,
As euery one seem'd meetest in that cace.
Seuen of the same against the Castle gate,
In strong entrenchments he did closely place,
Which with incessaunt force and endlesse hate,
They battred day and night, and entraunce did awate.
The other fiue, fiue sundry wayes he set,
Against the fiue great Bulwarkes of that pile.
And vnto each a Bulwarke did arret,
T'assayle with open force or hidden guile,
In hope thereof to win victorious spoile.
They all that charge did seruently apply,
With greedie malice and importune toyle,
And planted there their huge artillery,
With which they dayly made most dreadfull battery.
The first troupe was a monstrous rablement
Of fowle misshapen wights, of which some were
Headed like Owles, with beckes vncomely bent,
Others like Dogs, others like Gryphons dreare,
And some had wings, and some had clawes to teare,
And euery one of them had Lynces eyes,
And euery one did bow and arrowes beare:
All those were lawlesse lustes, corrupt enuies,
And couetous aspectes, all cruell enimies.
Those same against the bulwarke of the Sight
Did lay strong siege, and battailous assault,
Ne once did yield it respit day nor night,
But soone as Titan gan his head exault.
[Page 350]And soone againe as he his light with hault,
Their wicked engins they against it bent:
That is each thing, by which the eyes may fault,
But two then all more huge and violent,
Beautie, and money, they that Bulwarke sorely rent.
The second Bulwarke was the Hearing sence,
Gainst which the second troupe dessignment makes;
Deformed creatures, in straunge difference,
Some hauing heads like Harts, some like to Snakes,
Some like wild Bores late rouzd out of the brakes;
Slaunderous reproches, and fowle infamies,
Leasings, backbytings, and vaine-glorious crakes,
Bad counsels, prayses, and false flatteries.
All those a gainst that fort did bend their batteries.
Likewise that same third Fort, that is the Smell
Of that third troupe was cruelly assayd:
Whose hideous shapes were like to feends of hell,
Some like to hounds, some like to Apes, dismayd,
Some like to Puttockes, all in plumes arayd:
All shap't according their conditions,
For by those vgly formes weren pourtrayd,
Foolish delights and fond abusions,
Which do that sence besiege with light illusions.
And that fourth band, which cruell battry bent,
Against the fourth Bulwarke, that is the Tast,
Was as the rest, a grysie rablement,
Some mouth'd like greedy Oystriges, some fast
Like loathly Toades, some fashioned in the wast
Like swine; for so deformd is luxury,
Surfeat, misdiet, and vnthriftie wast,
Vaine feasts, and idle superfluity:
All those this sences Fort assayle incessantly.
But the fift troupe most horrible of hew,
And fierce or force, was dreadfull to report:
For some like Snailes, some did like spyders shew,
And some like vgly Vrchins thicke and short:
Cruelly they assayled that fift Fort,
Armed with darts of sensuall delight,
With stings of carnall lust, and strong effort
Of feeling pleasures, with which day and night
Against that same fift bulwarke they continued fight.
Thus these twelue troupes with dreadfull puissance
Against that Castle restlesse siege did lay,
And euermore their hideous Ordinance
Vpon the Bulwarkes cruelly did play,
That now it gan to threaten neare decay:
And euermore their wicked Capitaine
Prouoked them the breaches to assay,
Somtimes with threats, somtimes with hope of gaine,
Which by the ransack of that peece they should attaine.
On th'other side, th'assieged Castles ward
Their stedfast stonds did mightily maintaine,
And many bold repulse, and many hard
Atchieuement wrought with perill and with paine,
That goodly frame from ruine to sustaine:
And those two brethren Giants did defend
The walles so stoutly with their sturdie maine,
That neuer entrance any durst pretend,
But they to direfull death their groning ghosts did send.
The noble virgin, Ladie of the place,
Was much dismayed with that dreadfull sight:
For neuer was she in so euill cace,
Till that the Prince seeing her wofull plight,
[Page 352]Gan her recomfort from so sad affright,
Offring his seruice, and his dearest life
For her defence, against that Carle to fight,
Which was their chiefe and th'author of that strife:
She him remercied as the Patrone of her life.
Eftsoones himselfe in glitterand armes he dight,
And his well proued weapons to him hent;
So taking courteous conge he behight,
Those gates to be vnbar'd, and forth he went.
Faire mote he thee, the prowest and most gent,
That euer brandished bright steele on hye:
Whom soone as that vnruly rablement,
With his gay Squire issuing did espy,
They reard a most outrageous dreadfull yelling cry.
And therewith all attonce at him let fly
Their fluttring arrowes, thicke as flakes of snow,
And round about him flocke impetuously,
Like a great water flood, that tombling low
From the high mountaines, threats to ouerflow
With suddein fury all the fertile plaine,
And the sad husbandmans long hope doth throw
A downe the streame, and all his vowes make vaine,
Nor bounds nor banks his headlong ruine may sustaine.
Vpon his shield their heaped hayle he bore,
And with his sword disperst the raskall flockes,
Which fled a sunder, and him fell before,
As withered leaues drop from their dried stockes,
Whē the wroth Western wind does reaue their locks;
And vnder neath him his courageous steed,
The fierce Spumador trode them downe like docks,
The fierce Spumador borne of heauenly seed:
Such as Laomedon of Phoebus race did breed
Which suddeine horrour and confused cry,
When as their Captaine heard, in haste he yode,
The cause to weet, and fault to remedy;
Vpon a Tygre swift and fierce he rode,
That as the winde ran vnderneath his lode,
Whiles his long legs nigh raught vnto the ground;
Full large he was of limbe, and shoulders brode,
But of such subtile substance and vnsound,
That like a ghost he seem'd, whose graue-clothes were vnbound.
And in his hand a bended bow was seene,
And many arrowes vnder his right side,
All deadly daungerous, all cruell keene,
Headed with flint, and feathers bloudie dide,
Such as the Indians in their quiuers hide;
Those could he well direct and streight as line,
And bid them strike the marke, which he had eyde,
Ne was their salue, ne was their medicine,
That mote recure their wounds: so inly they did tine.
As pale and wan as ashes was his looke,
His bodie leane and meagre as a rake,
And skin all withered like a dryed rooke,
Thereto as cold and drery as a Snake,
That seem'd to tremble euermore, and quake:
All in a canuas thin he was bedight,
And girded with a belt of twisted brake,
Vpon his head he wore an Helmet light,
Made of a dead mans skull, that seem'd a ghastly sight.
Maleger was his name, and after him,
There follow'd fast at hand two wicked Hags,
With hoarie lockes all loose, and visage grim;
Their feet vnshod, their bodies wrapt in rags,
[Page 354]And both as swift on foot, as chased Stags;
And yet the one her other legge had lame,
Which with a staffe, all full of litle snags
She did disport, and Impotence her name:
But th'other was Impatience, arm'd with raging flame.
Soone as the Carle from farre the Prince espyde,
Glistring in armes and warlike ornament,
His Beast he felly prickt on either syde,
And his mischieuous bow full readie bent,
With which at him a cruell shaft he sent:
But he was warie, and it warded well
Vpon his shield, that it no further went,
But to the ground the idle quarrell fell:
Then he another and another did expell.
Which to preuent, the Prince his mortall speare
Soone to him raught, and fierce at him did ride,
To be auenged of that shot whyleare:
But he was not so hardie to abide
That bitter stownd, but turning quicke aside
His light-foot beast, fled fast away for feare:
Whom to pursue, the Infant after hide,
So fast as his good Courser could him beare,
But labour lost it was, to weene approch him neare.
For as the winged wind his Tigre fled,
That vew of eye could scarse him ouertake,
Ne scarse his feet on ground were seene to tred;
Through hils and dales he speedie way did make,
Ne hedge ne ditch his readie passage brake,
And in his flight the villein turn'd his face,
(As wonts the Tartar by the Caspian lake,
When as the Russian him in fight does chace)
Vnto his Tygres taile, and shot at him apace.
Apace he shot, and yet he fled apace,
Still as the greedy knight nigh to him drew,
And oftentimes he would relent his pace,
That him his foe more fiercely should pursew:
Who when his vncouth manner he did vew,
He gan auize to follow him no more,
But keepe his standing, and his shaftes eschew,
Vntill he quite had spent his perlous store,
And then assayle him fresh, ere he could shift for more.
But that lame Hag, still as abroad he strew
His wicked arrowes, gathered them againe,
And to him brought, fresh battell to renew:
Which he espying, cast her to restraine
From yielding succour to that cursed Swaine,
And her attaching, thought her hands to tye;
But soone as him dismounted on the plaine,
That other Hag did farre away espy
Binding her sister, she to him ran hastily.
And catching hold of him, as downe he lent,
Him backward ouerthrew, and downe him stayd
With their rude hands and griefly graplement,
Till that the ville in comming to their aye,
Vpon him fell, and lode vpon him layd;
Full litle wanted, but he had him slaine,
And of the battell balefull end had made,
Had not his gentle Squire beheld his paine,
And commen to his reskew, ere his bitter bane.
So greatest and most glorious thing on ground
May often need the helpe of weaker hand;
So feeble is mans state, and life vnsound,
That in assurance it may neuer stand,
[Page 356]Till it dissolued be from earthly band.
Proofe be thou Prince, the prowest man aliue,
And noblest borne of all in Briton land;
Yet thee fierce Fortune did so nearely driue,
That had not grace thee blest, thou shouldest not reuiue.
The Squire arriuing, fiercely in his armes
Snatcht first the one, and then the other Iade,
His chiefest lets and authors of his harmes,
And them perforce withheld with threatned blade,
Least that his Lord they should behind inuade;
The whiles the Prince prickt with reprochfull shame,
As one awakt out of long slombring shade,
Reuiuing thought of glorie and of fame,
Vnited all his powres to purge himselfe from blame.
Like as a fire, the which in hollow caue
Hath long bene vnderkept, and downe supprest,
With murmurous disdaine doth inly raue,
And grudge, in so streight prison to be prest,
At last breakes forth with furious vnrest,
And striues to mount vnto his natiue seat;
All that did earst it hinder and molest,
It now deuoures with flames and scorching heat,
And carries into smoake with rage and horror great.
So mightily the Briton Prince him rouzd
Out of his hold, and broke his caitiue bands,
And as a Beare whom angry curres haue touzd,
Hauing off-shakt them, and escapt their hands,
Becomes more fell, and all that him withstands
Treads downe and ouerthrowes. Now had the Carle
Alighted from his Tigre, and his hands
Discharged of his bow and deadly quar'le,
To seize vpon his foe flat lying on the marle.
Which now him turnd to disauantage deare;
For neither can he fly, nor other harme,
But trust vnto his strength and manhood meare,
Sith now he is farre from his monstrous swarme,
And of his weapons did himselfe disarme.
The knight yet wrothfull for his late disgrace,
Fiercely aduaunst his valorous right arme,
And him so sore smote with his yron mace,
That groueling to the ground he fell, and fild his place.
Well weened he, that field was then his owne,
And all his labour brought to happie end,
When suddein vp the villein ouerthrowne,
Out of his swowne arose, fresh to contend,
And gan himselfe to second battell bend,
As hurt he had not bene. Thereby there lay
An huge great stone, which stood vpon one end,
And had not bene remoued many a day;
Some land-marke seem'd to be, or signe of sundry way.
The same he snatcht, and with exceeding sway
Threw at his foe, who was right well aware
To shunne the engin of his meant decay;
It booted not to thinke that throw to beare,
But ground he gaue, and lightly leapt areare:
Eft fierce returning, as a Faulcon faire
That once hath failed of her souse full neare,
Remounts againe into the open aire,
And vnto better fortune doth her selfe prepaire.
So braue returning, with his brandisht blade,
He to the Carle himselfe againe addrest,
And strooke at him so sternely, that he made
An open passage through his riuen brest,
[Page 358]That halfe the steele behind his back did rest;
Which drawing backe, he looked euermore
When the hart bloud should gush out of his chest,
Or his dead corse should fall vpon the flore;
But his dead corse vpon the flore fell nathemore.
Ne drop of bloud appeared shed to bee,
All were the wounde so wide and wonderous,
That through his carkasse one might plainely see:
Halfe in a maze with horror hideous,
And halfe in rage, to be deluded thus,
Againe through both the sides he strooke him quight,
That made his spright to grone full piteous:
Yet nathemore forth fled his groning spright,
But freshly as at first, prepard himselfe to fight.
Thereat he smitten was with great affright,
And trembling terror did his hart apall,
Ne wist he, what to thinke of that same sight,
Ne what to say, ne what to doe at all;
He doubted, least it were some magicall
Illusion, that did beguile his sense,
Or wandring ghost, that wanted funerall,
Or aerie spirit vnder false pretence,
Or hellish feend raysd vp through diuelish science.
His wonder farre exceeded reasons reach,
That he began to doubt his dazeled sight,
And oft of error did himselfe appeach:
Flesh without bloud, a person without spright,
Wounds without hurt, a bodie without might,
That could doe harme, yet could not harmed bee,
That could not die, yet seem'd a mortall wight,
That was most strong in most infirmitee;
Like did he neuer heare, like did he neuer see.
A while he stood in this astonishment,
Yet would he not for all his great dismay
Giue ouer to effect his first intent,
And th'vtmost meanes of victorie assay,
Or th'vtmost issew of his owne decay.
His owne good sword Mordure, that neuer fayld
At need, till now, he lightly threw away,
And his bright shield, that nought him now auayld,
And with his naked hands him forcibly assayld.
Twixt his two mightie armes him vp he snatcht,
And crusht his carkasse so against his brest,
That the disdainfull soule he thence dispatcht,
And th'idle breath all vtterly exprest:
Tho when he felt him dead, adowne he kest
The lumpish corse vnto the senselesse grownd;
Adowne he kest it with so puissant wrest,
That backe againe it did aloft rebownd,
And gaue against his mother earth a gronefull sownd.
As when Ioues harnesse-bearing Bird from hie
Stoupes at a flying heron with proud disdaine,
The stone-dead quarrey fals so forciblie,
That it rebounds against the lowly plaine,
A second fall redoubling backe againe.
Then thought the Prince all perill sure was past,
And that he victor onely did remaine;
No sooner thought, then that the Carle as fast
Gan heap huge strokes on him, as ere he downe was cast.
Nigh his wits end then woxe th'amazed knight,
And thought his labour lost and trauell vaine,
Against this lifelesse shadow so to fight:
Yet life he saw, and felt his mightie maine,
[Page 360]That whiles he marueild still, did still him paine:
For thy he gan some other wayes aduize,
How to take life from that dead-liuing swaine,
Whom still he marked freshly to arize
From th'earth, & from her wombe new spirits to reprize.
He then remembred well, that had bene sayd,
How th'Earth his mother was, and first him bore;
She eke so often, as his life decayd,
Did life with vsury to him restore,
And raysd him vp much stronger then before,
So soone as he vnto her wombe did fall;
Therefore to ground he would him cast no more,
Ne him commit to graue terrestriall,
But beare him farre from hope of succour vsuall.
Tho vp he caught him twixt his puissant hands,
And hauing scruzd out of his carrion corse
The lothfull life, now loosd from sinfull bands,
Vpon his shoulders carried him perforse
Aboue three furlongs, taking his full course,
Vntill he came vnto a standing lake;
Him thereinto he threw without remorse,
Ne stird, till hope of life did him forsake;
So end of that Carles dayes, and his owne paines did make▪
Which when those wicked Hags from farre did spy,
Like two mad dogs they ran about the lands,
And th'one of them with dreadfull yelling cry,
Throwing away her broken chaines and bands,
And hauing quencht her burning fier brands,
Hedlong her selfe did cast into that lake;
But Impotence with her owne wilfull hands,
One of Malegers cursed darts did take,
So riu'd her trembling hart, and wicked end did make.
Thus now alone he conquerour remaines;
Tho comming to his Squire, that kept his steed,
Thought to haue mounted, but his feeble vaines
Him faild thereto, and serued not his need,
Through losse of bloud, which from his wounds did bleed,
That he began to faint, and life decay:
But his good Squire him helping vp with speed,
With stedfast hand vpon his horse did stay,
And led him to the Castle by the beaten way.
Where many Groomes and Squiers readie were,
To take him from his steed full tenderly,
And eke the fairest Alma met him there
With balme and wine and costly spicery,
To comfort him in his infirmity;
Eftsoones she causd him vp to be conuayd,
And of his armes despoyled easily,
In sumptuous bed she made him to be layd,
And all the while his wounds were dressing, by him stayd.

Cant. XII.

Guyon by Palmers gouernance,
passing through perils great,
Doth ouerthrow the Bowre of blisse,
and Acrasie defeat.
NOw gins this goodly frame of Temperance
Fairely to rise, and her adorned hed
To pricke of highest praise forth to aduance,
Formerly grounded, and fast setteled
On firme foundation of true bountihed;
And this braue knight, that for this vertue fights,
Now comes to point of that same perilous sted,
Where Pleasure dwelles in sensuall delights,
Mōgst thousand dangers, & ten thousand magick mights.
Two dayes now in that sea he sayled has,
Ne euer land beheld, ne liuing wight,
Ne ought saue perill, still as he did pas:
Tho when appeared the third Morrow bright,
Vpon the waues to spred her trembling light,
An hideous roaring farre away they heard,
That all their senses filled with affright,
And streight they saw the raging surges reard
Vp to the skyes, that them of drowning made affeard.
Said then the Boteman, Palmer stere aright,
And keepe an euen course; for yonder way
We needes must passe (God do vs well acquight,)
That is the Gulfe of Greedinesse, they say,
[Page 363]That deepe engorgeth all this worldes pray:
Which hauing swallowd vp excessiuely,
He soone in vomit vp againe doth lay,
And belcheth forth his superfluity,
That all the seas for feare do seeme away to fly.
On th'other side an hideous Rocke is pight,
Of mightie Magnes stone, whose craggie clift
Depending from on high, dreadfull to sight,
Ouer the waues his rugged armes doth lift,
And threatneth downe to throw his ragged rift
On who so commeth nigh; yet nigh it drawes
All passengers, that none from it can shift:
For whiles they fly that Gulfes deuouring iawes,
They on this rock are rent, and sunck in helplesse wawes.
Forward they passe, and strongly he them rowes,
Vntill they nigh vnto that Gulfe arriue,
Where streame more violent and greedy growes:
Then he with all his puissance doth striue
To strike his oares, and mightily doth driue
The hollow vessell through the threatfull waue,
Which gaping wide, to swallow them aliue,
In th'huge abysse of his engulfing graue,
Doth rore at them in vaine, and with great terror raue.
They passing by, that griesly mouth did see,
Sucking the seas into his entralles deepe,
That seem'd more horrible then hell to bee,
Or that darke dreadfull hole of Tartare steepe,
Through which the damned ghosts doen often creepe
Backe to the world, bad liuers to torment:
But nought that falles into this direfull deepe,
Ne that approcheth nigh the wide descent,
May backe returne, but is condemned to be drent.
On th'other side, they saw that perilous Rocke,
Threatning it selfe on them to ruinate,
On whose sharpe clifts the ribs of vessels broke,
And shiuered ships, which had bene wrecked late,
Yet stuck, with carkasses exanimate
Of such, as hauing all their subtance spent
In wanton ioyes, and lustes intemperate,
Did afterwards make shipwracke violent,
Both of their life, and fame for euer fowly blent.
For thy, this hight The Rocke of vile Reproch,
A daungerous and detestable place,
To which nor fish nor fowle did once approch,
But yelling Meawes, with Seagulles hoarse and bace,
And Cormoyrants, with birds of rauenous race,
Which still sate waiting on that wastfull clift,
For spoyle of wretches, whose vnhappie cace,
After lost credite and consumed thrift,
At last them driuen hath to this despairefull drift.
The Palmer seeing them in safetie past,
Thus said; behold th'ensamples in our sights,
Of lustfull luxurie and thriftlesse wast:
What now is left of miserable wights,
Which spent their looser daies in lewd delights,
But shame and sad reproch, here to be red,
By these rent reliques, speaking their ill plights?
Let all that liue, hereby be counselled,
To shunne Rocke of Reproch, and it as death to dred.
So forth they rowed, and that Ferryman
With his stiffe oares did brush the sea so strong,
That the hoare waters from his frigot ran,
And the light bubbles daunced all along,
[Page 365]Whiles the salt brine out of the billowes sprong.
At last farre off they many Islands spy,
On euery side floting the floods emong:
Then said the knight, Loe I the land descry,
Therefore old Syre thy course do thereunto apply.
That may not be, said then the Ferryman
Least we vnweeting hap to be fordonne:
For those same Islands, seeming now and than,
Are not firme lande, nor any certein wonne,
But straggling plots, which to and fro do ronne
In the wide waters: therefore are they hight
The wandring Islands. Therefore doe them shonne;
For they haue oft drawne many a wandring wight
Into most deadly daunger and distressed plight.
Yet well they seeme to him, that farre doth vew,
Both faire and fruitfull, and the ground dispred
With grassie greene of delectable hew,
And the tall trees with leaues apparelled,
Are deckt with blossomes dyde in white and red,
That mote the passengers thereto allure;
But whosoeuer once hath fastened
His foot thereon, may neuer it recure,
But wandreth euer more vncertein and vnsure.
As th'Isle of Delos whylome men report
Amid th'Aegaean sea long time did stray,
Ne made for shipping any certaine port,
Till that Latona traueiling that way,
Flying from Iunoes wrath and hard assay,
Of her faire twins was there deliuered,
Which afterwards did rule the night and day;
Thenceforth it firmely was established,
And for Apolloes honor highly herried.
They to him hearken, as beseemeth meete,
And passe on forward: so their way does ly,
That one of those same Islands, which doe fleet
In the wide sea, they needes must passen by,
Which seemd so sweet and pleasant to the eye,
That it would tempt a man to touchen there:
Vpon the banck they sitting did espy
A daintie damzell, dressing of her heare,
By whom a litle skippet floting did appeare.
She them espying, loud to them can call,
Bidding them nigher draw vnto the shore;
For she had cause to bufie them withall;
And therewith loudly laught: But nathemore
Would they once turne, but kept on as afore:
Which when she saw, she left her lockes vndight,
And running to her boat withouten ore,
From the departing land it launched light,
And after them did driue with all her power and might.
Whom ouertaking, she in merry sort
Them gan to bord, and purpose diuersly,
Now faining dalliance and wanton sport,
Now throwing forth lewd words immodestly;
Till that the Palmer gan full bitterly
Her to rebuke, for being loose and light:
Which not abiding, but more scornefully
Scoffing at him, that did her iustly wite,
She turnd her bote about, and from them rowed quite.
That was the wanton Phoedria, which late
Did ferry him ouer the Idle lake:
Whom nought regarding, they kept on their gate,
And all her vaine allurements did forsake,
[Page 367]When them the wary Boateman thus bespake;
Here now behoueth vs well to auyse,
And of our safetie good heede to take;
For here before a perlous passage lyes,
Where many Mermayds haunt, making false melodies.
But by the way, there is a great Quicksand,
And a whirlepoole of hidden ieopardy,
Therefore, Sir Palmer, keepe an euen hand;
Scarse had he said, when hard at hand they spy
That quicksand nigh with water couered;
But by the checked waue they did descry
It plaine, and by the sea discoloured:
It called was the quicksand of Vnthriftyhed.
They passing by, a goodly Ship did see,
Laden from far with precious merchandize,
And brauely furnished, as ship might bee,
Which through great disauenture, or mesprize,
Her selfe had runne into that hazardize;
Whose mariners and merchants with much toyle,
Labour'd in vaine, to haue recur'd their prize,
And the rich wares to saue from pitteous spoyle,
But neither toyle nor trauell might her backe recoyle.
On th'other side they see that perilous Poole,
That called was the VVhirlepoole of decay,
In which full many had with haplesse doole
Beene suncke, of whom no memorie did stay:
Whose circled waters rapt with whirling sway,
Like to a restlesse wheele, still running round,
Did couet, as they passed by that way,
To draw the boate within the vtmost bound
Of his wide Labyrinth, and then to haue them dround.
But th'heedfull Boateman strongly forth did stretch
His brawnie armes, and all his body straine,
That th'vtmost sandy breach they shortly fetch,
Whiles the dred daunger does behind remaine.
Suddeine they see from midst of all the Maine,
The surging waters like a mountaine rise,
And the great sea puft vp with proud disdaine,
To swell aboue the measure of his guise,
As threatning to deuoure all, that his powre despise.
The waues come rolling, and the billowes rore
Outragiously, as they enraged were,
Or wrathfull Neptune did them driue before
His whirling charet, for exceeding feare:
For not one puffe of wind there did appeare,
That all the three thereat woxe much afrayd,
Vnweeting, what such horrour straunge did reare.
Eftsoones they saw an hideous hoast arrayd,
Of huge Sea monsters, such as liuing sence dismayd.
Most vgly shapes, and horrible aspects,
Such as Dame Nature selfe mote feare to see,
Or shame, that euer should so fowle defects
From her most cunning hand escaped bee;
All dreadfull pourtraicts of deformitee:
Spring-headed Hydraes, and sea-shouldring Whales,
Great whirlpools, which all fishes make to flee,
Bright Scolopendraes, arm'd with siluer scales,
Mighty Monoceros, with immeasured tayles.
The dreadfull Fish, that hath deseru'd the name
Of Death, and like him lookes in dreadfull hew,
The griefly Wasserman, that makes his game
The flying ships with swiftnesse to pursew,
[Page 369]The horrible Sea-satyre, that doth shew
His fearefull face in time of greatest storme,
Huge Ziffius, whom Mariners eschew
No lesse, then rockes, (as trauellers informe,)
And greedy Rosmarines with visages deforme.
All these, and thousand thousands many more,
And more deformed Monsters thousand fold,
With dreadfull noise, and hollow rombling rore,
Came rushing in the fomy waues enrold,
Which seem'd to fly for feare, them to behold:
Ne wonder, if these did the knight appall;
For all that here on earth we dreadfull hold,
Be but as bugs to fearen babes withall,
Compared to the creatures in the seas entrall.
Feare nought, (then said the Palmer well auiz'd;)
For these same Monsters are not these in deed,
But are into these fearefull shapes disguiz'd
By that same wicked witch, to worke vs dreed,
And draw from on this iourney to proceede.
Tho lifting vp his vertuous staffe on hye,
He smote the sea, which calmed was with speed,
And all that dreadfull Armie fast gan flye
Into great Tethys bosome, where they hidden lye.
Quit from that daunger, forth their course they kept,
And as they went, they heard a ruefull cry
Of one, that wayld and pittifull wept,
That through the sea the resounding plaints did fly:
At last they in an Island did espy
A seemely Maiden, sitting by the shore,
That with great sorrow and sad agony,
Seemed some great misfortune to deplore,
And lowd to them for succour called euermore.
Which Guyon hearing, streight his Palmer bad,
To stere the boate towards that dolefull Mayd,
That he might know, and ease her sorrow sad:
Who him auizing better, to him sayd;
Faire Sir, be not displeasd, if disobayd:
For ill it were to hearken to her cry;
For she is inly nothing ill apayd,
But onely womanish fine forgery,
Your stubborne hart t'affect with fraile infirmity.
To which when she your courage hath inclind
Through foolish pitty, then her guilefull bayt
She will embosome deeper in your mind,
And for your ruine at the last awayt.
The knight was ruled, and the Boateman strayt
Held on his course with stayed stedfastnesse,
Ne euer shruncke, ne euer sought to bayt
His tyred armes for toylesome wearinesse,
But with his oares did sweepe the watry wildernesse.
And now they nigh approched to the sted,
Where as those Mermayds dwelt: it was a still
And calmy bay, on th'one side sheltered
With the brode shadow of an hoarie hill,
On th'other side an high rocke toured still,
That twixt them both a peasaunt port they made,
And did like an halfe Theatre fulfill:
There those fiue sisters had continuall trade,
And vsd to bath themselues in that deceiptfull shade.
They were faire Ladies, till they fondly striu'd
With th' Heliconian maides for maistery;
Of whom they ouer-comen, were depriu'd
Of their proud beautie, and th'one moyity
[Page 371]Transform'd to fish, for their bold surquedry,
But th'vpper halfe their hew retained still,
And their sweet skill in wonted melody;
Which euer after they abusd to ill,
T'allure weake trauellers, whom gotten they did kill.
So now to Guyon, as he passed by,
Their pleasaunt tunes they sweetly thus applide;
O thou faire sonne of gentle Faery,
Thou art in mighty armes most magnifide
Aboue all knights, that euer battell tride,
O turne thy rudder hither-ward a while:
Here may thy storme-bet vessell safely ride;
This is the Port of rest from troublous toyle,
The worlds sweet In, from paine & wearisome turmoyle.
With that the rolling sea resounding soft,
In his big base them sitly answered,
And on the rocke the waues breaking aloft,
A solemne Meane vnto them measured,
The whiles sweet Zephirus lowd whisteled
His treble, a straunge kinde of harmony;
Which Guyons senses softly tickeled,
That he the boateman bad row easily,
And let him heare some part of their rare melody.
But him the Palmer from that vanity,
With temperate aduice discounselled,
That they it past, and shortly gan descry
The land, to which their course they leueled;
When suddeinly a grosse fog ouer spred
With his dull vapour all that desert has,
And heauens chearefull face enueloped,
That all things one, and one as nothing was,
And this great Vniuerse seemd one confused mas.
Thereat they greatly were dismayd, ne wist
How to direct their way in darkenesse wide,
But feard to wander in that wastfull mist,
For tombling into mischiefe vnespide.
Worse is the daunger hidden, then descride.
Suddeinly an innumerable flight
Of harmefull fowles about them fluttering, cride,
And with their wicked wings them oft did smight,
And sore annoyed, groping in that griesly night.
Euen all the nation of vnfortunate
And fatall birds about them flocked were,
Such as by nature men abhorre and hate,
The ill-faste Owle, deaths dreadfull messengere,
The hoars Night-rauen, trump of dolefull drere,
The lether-winged Bat, dayes enimy,
The ruefull Strich, still waiting on the bere,
The Whistler shrill, that who so heares, doth dy,
The hellisn Harpies, prophets of sad destiny.
All those, and all that else does horrour breed,
About them flew, and fild their sayles with feare:
Yet stayd they not, but forward did proceed,
Whiles th'one did row, and th'other stifly steare;
Till that at last the weather gan to cleare,
And the faire land it selfe did plainly show.
Said then the Palmer, Lo where does appeare
The sacred soile, where all our perils grow;
Therefore, Sirknight, your ready armes about you throw.
He hearkned, and his armes about him tooke,
The whiles the nimble boate so well her sped,
That with her crooked keele the land she strooke,
Then forth the noble Guyon sallied,
[Page 373]And his sage Palmer, that him gouerned;
But th'other by his boate behind did stay.
They marched fairly forth, of nought ydred,
Both firmely armd for euery hard assay,
With constancy and care, gainst daunger and dismay.
Ere long they heard an hideous bellowing
Of many beasts, that roard outrageously,
As if that hungers point, or Venus sting
Had them enraged with fell surquedry;
Yet nought they feard, but past on hardily,
Vntill they came in vew of those wild beasts:
Who all attonce, gaping full greedily,
And rearing fiercely their vpstarting crests,
Ran towards, to deuoure those vnexpected guests.
But soone as they approcht with deadly threat,
The Palmer ouer them his staffe vpheld,
His mighty staffe, that could all charmes defeat:
Eftsoones their stubborne courages were queld,
And high aduaunced crests downe meekely feld,
In stead of fraying, they them selues did feare,
And trembled, as them passing they beheld:
Such wondrous powre did in that staffe appeare,
All monsters to subdew to him, that did it beare.
Of that same wood it fram'd was cunningly,
Of which Caduceus whilome was made,
Caduceus the rod of Mercury,
With which he wonts the Stygian realmes inuade,
Through ghastly horrour, and eternall shade;
Th'infernall feends with it he can asswage,
And Orcus tame, whom nothing can perswade,
And rule the Furyes, when they most do rage:
Such vertue in his staffe had eke this Palmer sage.
Thence passing forth, they shortly do arriue,
Whereas the Bowre of Blisse was situate;
A place pick out by choice of best aliue,
That natures worke by art can imitate:
In which what euer in this worldly state
Is sweet, and pleasing vnto liuing sense,
Or that may dayntiest fantasie aggrate,
Was poured forth with plentifull dispence,
And made there to abound with lauish affluence.
Goodly it was enclosed round about,
Aswell their entred guestes to keepe within,
As those vnruly beasts to hold without;
Yet was the fence thereof but weake and thin;
Nought feard their force, that fortilage to win,
But wisedomes powre, and temperaunces might,
By which the mightiest things efforced bin:
And eke the gate was wrought of substaunce light,
Rather for pleasure, then for battery or fight.
Yt framed was of precious yuory,
That seemd a worke of admirable wit;
And therein all the famous history
Of Iason and Medaea was ywrit;
Her mighty charmes, her furious louing fit,
His goodly conquest of the golden fleece,
His falsed faith, and loue too lightly flit,
The wondred Argo, which in venturous peece
First through the Euxine seas bore all the flowr of Greece.
Ye might haue seene the frothy billowes fry
Vnder the ship, as thorough them she went,
That seemd the waues were into yuory,
Or yuory into the waues were sent;
[Page 375]And other where the snowy substaunce sprent
With vermell, like the boyes bloud therein shed,
A piteous spectacle did represent,
And otherwhiles with gold besprinkeled;
Yt seemd th'enchaunted flame, which did Creiisa wed.
All this, and more might in that goodly gate
Be red; that euer open stood to all,
Which thither came: but in the Porch there sate
A comely personage of stature tall,
And semblaunce pleasing, more then naturall,
That trauellers to him seemd to entize;
His looser garment to the ground did fall,
And flew about his heeles in wanton wize,
Not fit for speedy pace, or manly exercize.
They in that place him Genius did call:
Not that celestiall powre, to whom the care
Of life, and generation of all
That liues, pertaines in charge particulare,
Who wondrous things concerning our welfare,
And straunge phantomes doth let vs oft forsee,
And oft of secret ill bids vs beware:
That is our Selfe, whom though we do not see,
Yet each doth in him selfe it well perceiue to bee.
Therefore a God him sage Antiquity
Did wisely make, and good Agdistes call:
But this same was to that quite contrary,
The foe of life, that good enuyes to all,
That secretly doth vs procure to fall,
Through guilefull semblaunts, which he makes vs see.
He of this Gardin had the gouernall,
And Pleasures porter was deuizd to bee,
Holding a staffe in hand for more formalitee.
With diuerse flowres he daintily was deckt,
And strowed round about, and by his side
A mighty Mazer bowle of wine was set
As if it had to him bene sacrifide;
Wherewith all new-come guests he gratifide:
So did he eke Sir Guyon passing by:
But he his idle curtesie defide,
And ouerthrew his bowle disdainfully;
And broke his staffe, with which he charmed semblants sly.
Thus being entred, they behold around
A large and spacious plaine, on euery side
Strowed with, pleasauns, whose faire grassy ground
Mantled with grenee, and goodly beautifide
With all the ornaments of Floraes pride,
Wherewith her mother Art, as halfe in scome
Of niggard Nature, like a pompous bride
Did decke her, and too lauishly adorne,
When forth from virgin bowre she comes in th'early morne.
Thereto the Heauens alwayes Iouiall,
Lookt on them louely, still in stedfast state,
Ne suffred storme nor frost on them to fall,
Their tender buds or leaues to violate,
Nor scorching heat, nor cold intemperate
Tafflict the crearures, which therein did dwell,
But the milde aire with season moderate
Gently attempred, and disposd so well,
That still it breathed forth sweet spirit & holesome smell.
More sweet and holesome, then the pleasaunt hill
Of Rhodope, on which the Nimphe, that bore
A gyaunt babe, her selfe for griefe did kill;
Or the Thessalian Tempe, where of yore
[Page 377]Faire Daphne Phoebus hart with loue did gore;
Or Ida, where the Gods lou'd to repaire,
When euer they their heauenly bowres forlore;
Or sweet Parnasse, the ha unt of Muses faire;
Of Eden, if ought with Eden mote compaire.
Much wondred Guyon at the faire aspect
Of that sweet place, yet suffred no delight
To sincke into his sence, nor mind affect,
But passed forth, and lookt still forward right,
Bridling his will, and maistering his might:
Till that he came vnto another gate,
No gate, but like one, being goodly dight
With boughes and braunches, which did broad dilate
Their clasping armes, in wanton wreathings intricate.
So fashioned a Porch with rare deuice,
Archt ouer head with an embracing vine,
Whose bounches hanging downe, seemed to entice
All passers by, to tast their lushious wine,
And did themselues into their hands incline,
As freely offering to be gathered:
Some deepe empurpled as the Hyacint,
Some as the Rubine, laughing sweetly red,
Some like faire Emeraudes, not yet well ripened.
And them amongst, some were of burnisht gold,
So made by art, to beautifie the rest,
Which did themselues emongst the leaues enfold,
As lurking from the vew of couetous guest,
That the weake bowes, with so rich load opprest,
Did bow adowne, as ouer-burdened.
Vnder that Porch a comely dame did rest,
Clad in faire weedes, but fowle disordered,
And garments loose, that seemd vnmeet for womanhed
In her left hand a Cup of gold she held,
And with her right the riper fruit did reach,
Whose sappy liquor, that with fulnesse sweld,
Into her cup she scruzd, with daintie breach
Of her fine fingers, without fowle empeach,
That so faire wine-presse made the wine more sweet:
Thereof she vsd to giue to drinke to each,
Whom passing by she happened to meet:
It was her guise, all Straungers goodly so to greet,
So she to Gayon offred it to tast;
Who taking it out of her tender hond,
The cup to ground did violently cast,
That all in pecces it was broken fond,
And with the liquor stained all the lond:
Whereat Excesse exceedingly was wroth,
Yet no'te the same amend, ne yet withstond,
But suffered him to passe, all were she loth;
Who not regarding her displeasure forward goth.
There the mod daintie Paradise on ground,
It selfe doth offer to his sober eye,
In which all pleasures plenteously abound,
And none does others happinesse enuye:
The painted flowres, the trees vpshooting hye,
The dales for shade, the hilles for breathing space,
The trembling groues, the Christall running by;
And that, which all faire workes doth most aggrace,
The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place.
One would haue thought, (so cunningly, the rude,
And scorned parts were mingled with the fine,)
That nature had for wantonesse ensude
Art, and that Art at nature did repine;
[Page 379]So striuing each th'other to vndermine,
Each did the others worke more beautifie;
So diff'ring both in willes, agreed in fine:
So all agreed through sweete diuersitie,
This Gardin to adorne with all varietie.
And in the midst of all, a fountaine stood,
Of richest substaunce, that on earth might bee,
So pure and shiny, that the siluer flood
Through euery channell running one might see;
Most goodly it with curious imageree
Was ouer-wrought, and shapes of naked boyes,
Of which some seemd with liuely iollitee,
To fly about, playing their wanton toyes,
Whilest others did themselues embay in liquid ioyes,
And ouer all, of purest gold was spred,
A trayle of yuie in his natiue hew:
For the rich mettall was so coloured,
That wight, who did not well auis'd it vew,
Would surely deeme it to be yuie trew:
Low his lasciuious armes adown did creepe,
That themselues dipping in the siluer dew,
Their fleecy flowres they tenderly did steepe,
Which drops of Christall seemd for wantones to weepe.
Infinit streames continually did well
Out of this fountaine, sweet and faire to see
The which into an ample lauer fell,
And shortly grew to so great quantitie,
That like a little lake it seemd to bee;
Whose depth exceeded not three cubits hight,
That through the waues one might the bortom see,
All pau'd beneath with Iaspar shining bright,
That seemd the fountaine in that sea did sayle vpright.
And all the margent round about was set,
With shady Laurell trees, thence to defend
The sunny beames, which on the billowes bet,
And those which therein bathed, mote offend.
As Guyon hapned by the same to wend,
Two naked Damzelles he therein espyde,
Which therein bathing, seemed to contend,
And wrestle wantonly, ne car'd to hyde,
Their dainty parts from vew of any, which them eyde.
Sometimes the one would lift the other quight
Aboue the waters, and then downe againe
Her plong, as ouer maistered by might,
Where both awhile would couered remaine,
And each the other from to rise restraine;
The whiles their snowy limbes, as through a vele,
So through the Christall waues appeared plaine:
Then suddeinly both would themselues vnhele,
And th'amarous sweet spoiles to greedy eyes reuele.
As that faire Starre, the messenger of morne,
His deawy face out of the sea doth reare:
Or as the Cyprian goddesse, newly borne
Of th'Oceans fruitfull froth, did first appeare:
Such seemed they, and so their yellow heare
Christalline humour dropped downe apace.
Whom such when Guyon saw, he drew him neare,
And somewhat gan relent his earnest pace,
His stubborne brest gan secret pleasaunce to embrace.
The wanton Maidens him espying, stood
Gazing a while at his vnwonted guise;
Then th'one her selfe low ducked in the flood,
Abasht, that her a straunger did a vise:
[Page 381]But th'other rather higher did arise,
And her two lilly paps aloft displayd,
And all, that might his melting hart entise
To her delights, she vnto him bewrayd:
The rest hid vnderneath, him more desirous made.
With that, the other likewise vp arose,
And her faire lockes, which formerly were bownd
Vp in one knot, she low adowne did lose:
Which flowing long and thick, her cloth'd arownd,
And th'yuorie in golden mantle gownd:
So that faire spectacle from him was rest,
Yet that, which rest it, no lesse faire was fownd:
So hid in lockes and waues from lookers theft,
Nought but her louely face she for his looking left.
Withall she laughed, and she blusht withall,
That blushing to her laughter gaue more grace,
And laughter to her blushing, as did fall:
Now when they spide the knight to slacke his pace,
Them to behold, and in his sparkling face
The secret signes of kindled lust appeare,
Their wanton meriments they did encreace,
And to him beckned, to approch more neare,
And shewd him many sights, that courage cold could reare.
On which when gazing him the Palmer saw,
He much rebukt those wandring eyes of his,
And counseld well, him forward thence did draw.
Now are they come nigh to the Bowre of blis
Of her fond fauorites so nam'd amis:
When thus the Palmer; Now Sir, well auise;
For here the end of all our trauell is:
Here wonnes Acrasia, whom we must surprise,
Else she will slip away, and all our drift despise.
Eftsoones they heard a most melodious sound,
Of all that mote delight a daintie eare,
Such as attonce might not on liuing ground,
Saue 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 liuing eare,
Was there consorted in one harmonee,
Birdes, voyces, instruments, windes, waters, all agree.
The ioyous birdes shrouded in chearefull shade,
Their notes vnto the voyce attempred sweet;
Th' Angelicall soft trembling voyces made
To th'instruments diuine respondence meet:
The siluer sounding instruments did meet
With the base murmure of the waters fall:
The waters fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, now loud, vnto 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 Louer, 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 ioyes:
Whilst round about them pleasauntly did sing
Many faire Ladies, and lasciuious boyes,
That euer mixt their song with light licentious toyes.
And all that while, right ouer him she hong,
With her false eyes fast fixed in his sight,
As seeking medicine, whence she was stong,
Or greedily depasturing delight:
[Page 383]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 louely 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 loue, whilest yet is time,
Whilest louing thou mayst loued be with equall crime.
He ceast, and then gan all the quire of birdes
Their diuerse notes t'attune vnto his lay,
As in approuance of his pleasing words.
The constant paire heard all, that he did say,
Yet swarued not, but kept their forward way,
Through many couert groues, and thickets close,
In which they creeping did at last display
That wanton Ladie, with her louer lose,
Whose sleepie head she in her lap did soft dispose.
Vpon a bed of Roses she was layd,
As faint through heat, or dight to pleasant sin,
And was arayd, or rather disarayd,
All in a vele of silke and siluer thin,
That hid no whit her alablaster skin,
But rather shewd more white, if more might bee:
More subtile web Arachne can not spin,
Nor the fine nets, which oft we wouen see
Of scorched deaw, do not in th'aire more lightly flee.
Her snowy brest was bare to readie spoyle
Of hungry eies, which n'ote therewith be fild,
And yet through languour of her late sweet toyle,
Few drops, more cleare then Nectar, forth distild,
That like pure Orient perles adowne it trild,
And her faire eyes sweet smyling in delight,
Moystened their fierie beames, with which she thrild
Fraile harts, yet quenched not; like starry light
Which sparckling on the silent waues, does seeme more bright.
The young man sleeping by her, seemd to bee
Some goodly swayne of honorable place,
That certes it great pittie was to see
Him his nobilitie so foule deface;
A sweet regard, and amiable grace,
Mixed with manly sternnesse did appeare
Yet sleeping, in his well proportiond face,
And on his tender lips the downy heare
Did now but freshly spring, and silken blossomes beare.
His warlike armes, the idle instruments
Of sleeping praise, were hong vpon a tree,
And his braue shield, full of old moniments,
Was fowly ra'st, that none the signes might see;
[Page 385]Ne for them, ne for honour cared hee,
Ne ought, that did to his aduauncement tend,
But in lewd loues, and wastfull luxuree,
His dayes, his goods, his bodie he did spend:
O horrible enchantment, that him so did blend.
The noble Elfe, and carefull Palmer drew
So nigh them, minding nought, but lustfull game,
That suddein forth they on them rusht, and threw
A subtile net, which onely for the same
The skilfull Palmer formally did frame.
So held them vnder fast, the whiles the rest
Fled all away for feare of fowler shame.
The faire Enchauntresse, so vnwares opprest,
Tryde all her arts, & all her sleights, thence out to wrest.
And eke her louer stroue: but all in vaine;
For that same net so cunningly was wound,
That neither guile, nor force might it distraine.
They tooke them both, & both them strongly bound
In captiue bandes, which there they readie found:
But her in chaines of adamant he tyde;
For nothing else might keepe her safe and sound;
But Verdant (so he hight) he soone vntyde,
And counsell sage in steed thereof to him applyde.
But all those pleasant bowres and Pallace braue,
Guyon broke downe, with rigour pittilesse;
Ne ought their goodly workmanship might saue
Them from the tempest of his wrathfulnesse,
But that their blisse he turn'd to balefulnesse:
Their groues he feld, their gardins did deface,
Their arbers spoyld, their Cabinets suppresse,
Their banket houses burne, their buildings race,
And of the fairest late, now made the fowlest place.
Then led they her away, and eke that knight
They with them led, both sorrowfull and sad:
The way they came, the same retourn'd they right,
Till they arriued, where they lately had
Charm'd those wild-beasts, that rag'd with furie mad.
Which now awaking, fierce at them gan fly,
As in their mistresse reskew, whom they lad;
But them the Palmer soone did pacify.
Then Guyon askt, what meant those beastes, which there didly.
Said he, these seeming beasts are men indeed,
Whom this Enchauntresse hath transformed thus,
Whylome her louers, which her lusts did feed,
Now turned into figures hideous,
According to their mindes like monstruous.
Sad end (quoth he) of life intemperate,
And mournefull meed of ioyes delicious:
But Palmer, if it mote thee so aggrate,
Let them returned be vnto their former state.
Streight way he with his vertuous staffe them strooke,
And streight of beasts they comely men became;
Yet being men they did vnmanly looke,
And stared ghastly, some for inward shame,
And some for wrath, to see their captiue Dame:
But one aboue the rest in speciall,
That had an hog beene late, hight Grille by name,
Repined greatly, and did him miscall,
That had from hoggish forme him brought to naturall.
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,
[Page 387]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 haue his hoggish mind,
But let vs hence depart, whilest wether serues and wind.

THE THIRD BOOKE OF THE FAERIE QVEENE. Contayning, THE LEGEND OF BRITOMARTIS. OR Of Chastitie.

IT falles me here to write of Chastity,
That fairest vertue, farre aboue the rest;
For which what needs me fetch from Faery
Forreine ensamples, it to haue exprest?
Sith it is shrined in my Soueraines brest,
And form'd so liuely in each perfect part,
That to all Ladies, which haue it profest,
Need but behold the pourtraict of her hart,
If pourtrayd it might be by any liuing art.
But liuing art may not least part expresse,
Nor life-resembling pencill it can paint,
All were it Zeuxis or Praxiteles:
His daedale hand would faile, and greatly faint,
[Page 390]And her perfections with his error taint:
Ne Poets wit, that passeth Painter farre
In picturing the parts of beautie daint,
So hard a workmanship aduenture darre,
For fear through want of words her excellence to marre.
How then shall I, Apprentice of the skill,
That whylome in diuinest wits did raine,
Presume so high to stretch mine humble quill?
Yet now my lucklesse lot doth me constraine
Hereto perforce. But ô dred Soueraine
Thus farre forth pardon, sith that choicest wit
Cannot your glorious pourtraict figure plaine
That I in colourd showes may shadow it,
And antique praises vnto present persons fit.
But if in liuing colours, and right hew,
Your selfe you couet to see pictured,
Who can it doe more liuely, or more trew,
Then that sweet verse, with Nectar sprinckeled,
In which a gracious seruant pictured
His Cynthia, his heauens fairest light?
That with his melting sweetnesse rauished,
And with the wonder of her beames bright,
My senses lulled are in slomber of delight.
But let that same delitious Poet lend
A little leaue vnto a rusticke Muse
To sing his mistresse prayse, and let him mend,
If ought amis her liking may abuse:
Ne let his fairest Cynthia refuse,
In mirrours more then one her selfe to see,
But either Gloriana let her chuse,
Or in Belphoebe fashioned to bee:
In th'one her rule, in th'other her rare chastitee.

Cant. I.

Guyon encountreth Britomart,
faire Florimell is chaced:
Duessaes traines and Materastaes
champions are defaced.
THe famous Briton Prince and Faerie knight,
After long wayes and perilous paines endured,
Hauing their wearie limbes to perfect plight
Restord, and sory wounds right well recured,
Of the faire Alma greatly were procured,
To make there lenger soiourne and abode;
But when thereto they might not be allured,
From seeking praise, and deeds of armes abrode,
They courteous conge tooke, and forth together yode.
But the captiu'd Acrasia he sent,
Because of trauell long, a nigher way,
With a strong gard, all reskew to preuent,
And her to Faerie court safe to conuay,
That her for witnesse of his hard assay,
Vnto his Faerie Queene he might present:
But he himselfe betooke another way,
To make more triall of his hardiment,
And seeke aduentures, as he with Prince Arthur went.
Long so they trauelled through wastefull wayes,
Where daungers dwelt, and perils most did wonne,
To hunt for glorie and renowmed praise;
Full many Countries they did ouerronne,
[Page 392]From the vprising to the setting Sunne,
And many hard aduentures did atchieue;
Of all the which they honour euer wonne,
Seeking the weake oppressed to relieue,
And to recouer right for such, as wrong did grieue.
At last as through an open plaine they yode,
They spide a knight, that towards pricked faire,
And him beside an aged Squire there rode,
That seem'd to couch vnder his shield three-square,
As if that age bad him that burden spare,
And yield it those, that stouter could it wield:
He them espying, gan himselfe prepare,
And on his arme addresse his goodly shield
That bore a Lion passant in a golden field.
Which seeing good Sir Guyon, deare besought
The Prince of grace, to let him runne that turne.
He graunted: then the Faery quickly raught
His poinant speare, and sharpely gan to spurne
His fomy steed, whose fierie feete did burne
The verdant grasse, as he thereon did tread;
Ne did the other backe his foot returne,
But fiercely forward came withouten dread,
And bent his dreadfull speare against the others head.
They bene ymet, and both their points arriued,
But Guyon droue so furious and fell,
That seem'd both shield & plate it would haue riued;
Nathelesse it bore his foe not from his sell,
But made him stagger, as he were not well:
But Guyon selfe, ere well he was aware,
Nigh a speares length behind his crouper fell,
Yet in his fall so well him selfe he bare,
That mischieuous mischance his life & limbes did spare.
Great shame and sorrow of that fall he tooke;
For neuer yet, sith warlike armes he bore,
And shiuering speare in bloudie field first shooke,
He found himselfe dishonored so sore.
Ah gentlest knight, that euer armour bore,
Let not thee grieue dismounted to haue beene,
And brought to ground, that neuer wast before;
For not thy fault, but secret powre vnseene,
That speare enchaunted was, which layd thee on the greene.
But weenedst thou what wight thee ouerthrew,
Much greater griefe and shamefuller regret
For thy hard fortune then thou wouldst renew,
That of a single damzell thou wert met
On equall plaine, and there so hard beset;
Euen the famous Britomart it was,
Whom straunge aduenture did from Britaine fet,
To seeke her louer (loue farre sought alas,)
Whose image she had feene in Venus looking glas.
Full of disdainefull wrath, he fierce vprose,
For to reuenge that foule reprochfull shame,
And snatching his bright sword began to close
With her on foot, and stoutly forward came;
Die rather would he, then endure that same.
Which when his Palmer saw, he gan to feare
His toward perill and vntoward blame,
Which by that new rencounter he should reare:
For death sate on the point of that enchaunted speare.
And hasting towards him gan faire perswade,
Not to prouoke misfortune, nor to weene
His speares default to mend with cruell blade;
For by his mightie Science he had seene
[Page 394]The secret vertue of that weapon keene,
That mortall puissance mote not withstond:
Nothing on earth mote alwaies happie beene.
Great hazard were it, and aduenture fond,
To loose long gotten honour with one euill hond.
By such good meanes he him discounselled,
From prosecuting his reuenging rage;
And eke the Prince like treaty handeled,
His wrathfull will with reason to asswage,
And laid the blame, not to his carriage,
But to his starting steed, that swaru'd asyde,
And to the ill purueyance of his page,
That had his furnitures not firmely tyde:
So is his angry courage fairely pacifyde.
Thus reconcilement was betweene them knit,
Through goodly temperance, and affection chaste,
And either vowd with all their power and wit,
To let not others honour be defaste,
Of friend or foe, who euer it embaste,
Ne armes to beare against the others syde:
In which accord the Prince was also plaste,
And with that golden chaine of concord tyde.
So goodly all agreed, they forth yfere did ryde.
O goodly vsage of those antique times,
In which the sword was seruant vnto right;
When not for malice and contentious crimes,
But all for praise, and proofe of manly might,
The martiall brood accustomed to fight:
Then honour was the meed of victorie,
And yet the vanquished had no despight:
Let later age that noble vse enuie,
Vile rancour to auoid, and cruell surquedrie.
Long they thus trauelled in friendly wise,
Through countries waste, and eke well edifyde,
Seeking aduentures hard, to exercise
Their puissance, whylome full dernely tryde:
At length they came into a forrest wyde,
Whose hideous horror and sad trembling sound
Full griesly seem'd: Therein they long did ryde,
Yet tract of liuing creatures none they found,
Saue Beares, Lions, & Buls, which romed them around.
All suddenly out of the thickest brush,
Vpon a milke-white Palfrey all alone,
A goodly Ladie did foreby them rush,
Whose face did seeme as cleare as Christall stone,
And eke through feare as white as whales bone:
Her garments all were wrought of beaten gold,
And all her steed with tinsell trappings shone,
Which fled so fast, that nothing mote him hold,
And scarse them leasure gaue, her passing to behold.
Still as she fled, her eye she backward threw,
As fearing euill, that pursewd her fast;
And her faire yellow locks behind her flew,
Loosely disperst with puffe of euery blast:
All as a blazing starre doth farre outcast
His hearie beames, and flaming lockes dispred,
At sight whereof the people stand aghast:
But the sage wisard telles, as he has red,
That it importunes death and dolefull drerihed.
So as they gazed after her a while,
Lo where a griesly Foster forth did rush,
Breathing out beastly lust her to defile:
His tyreling iade he fiercely forth did push,
[Page 396]Through thicke and thin, both ouer banke and bush
In hope her to attaine by hooke or crooke,
That from his gorie sides the bloud did gush:
Large were his limbes, and terrible his looke,
And in his clownish hand a sharp bore speare he shooke.
Which outrage when those gentle knights did see,
Full of great enuie and fell gealosy,
They stayd not to auise, who first should bee,
But all spurd after fast, as they mote fly,
To reskew her from shamefull villany.
The Prince and Guyon equally byliue
Her selfe pursewd, in hope to win thereby
Most goodly meede, the fairest Dame aliue:
But after the foule foster Timias did striue.
The whiles faire Britomart, whose constant mind,
Would not so lightly follow beauties chace,
Ne reckt of Ladies Loue, did stay behind,
And them awayted there a certaine space,
To weet if they would turne backe to that place:
But when she saw them gone, she forward went,
As lay her iourney, through that perlous Pace,
With stedfast courage and stout hardiment;
Ne euill thing she fear'd, ne euill thing she ment.
At last as nigh out of the wood she came,
A stately Castle farre away she spyde,
To which her steps directly she did frame.
That Castle was most goodly edifyde,
And plaste for pleasure nigh that forrest syde:
But faire before the gate a spatious plaine,
Mantled with greene, it selfe did spredden wyde,
On which she saw sixe knights, that did darraine
Fierce battell against one, with cruell might and maine.
Mainly they all attonce vpon him laid,
And sore beset on euery side around,
That nigh he breathlesse grew, yet nought dismaid,
Ne euer to them yielded foot of ground
All had he lost much bloud through many a wound,
But stoutly dealt his blowes, and euery way
To which he turned in his wrathfull stound,
Made them recoile, and fly from dred decay,
That none of all the sixe before, him durst assay.
Like dastard Curres, that hauing at a bay
The saluage beast embost in wearie chace,
Dare not aduenture on the stubborne pray,
Ne byte before, but rome from place to place,
To get a snatch, when turned is his face.
In such distresse and doubtfull ieopardy,
When Britomart him saw, she ran a pace
Vnto his reskew, and with earnest cry,
Bad those same sixe forbeare that single enimy.
But to her cry they list not lenden eare,
Ne ought the more their mightie strokes surceasse,
But gathering him round about more neare,
Their direfull rancour rather did encreasse;
Till that she rushing through the thickest preasse,
Perforce disparted their compacted gyre,
And soone compeld to hearken vnto peace:
Tho gan she myldly of them to inquyre
The cause of their dissention and outrageous yre.
Whereto that single knight did answere frame;
These sixe would me enforce by oddes of might,
To chaunge my liefe, and loue another Dame,
That death me liefer were, then such despight,
[Page 398]So vnto wrong to yield my wrested right:
For I loue one, the truest one on ground,
Ne list me chaunge; she th'Errant Damzell hight,
For whose deare sake full many a bitter stownd,
I haue endur'd, and tasted many a bloudy wound.
Certes (said she) then bene ye sixe to blame,
To weene your wrong by force to iustifie:
For knight to leaue his Ladie were great shame,
That faithfull is, and better were to die.
All losse is lesse, and lesse the infamie,
Then losse of loue to him, that loues but one;
Ne may loue be compeld by maisterie;
For soone as maisterie comes, sweet loue anone
Taketh his nimble wings, and soone away is gone.
Then spake one of those sixe, There dwelleth here
Within this castle wall a Ladie faire,
Whose soueraine beautie hath no liuing pere,
Thereto so bounteous and so debonaire,
That neuer any mote with her compaire.
She hath ordaind this law, which we approue,
That euery knight, which doth this way repaire,
In case he haue no Ladie, nor no loue,
Shall doe vnto her seruice neuer to remoue.
But if he haue a Ladie or a Loue,
Then must he her forgoe with foule defame,
Or else with vs by dint of sword approue,
That she is fairer, then our fairest Dame,
As did this knight, before ye hither came.
Perdie (said Britomart) the choise is hard:
But what reward had he, that ouercame?
He should aduaunced be to high regard,
(Said they) and haue our Ladies loue for his reward.
Therefore a read Sir, if thou haue a loue.
Loue haue I sure, (quoth she) but Lady none;
Yet will I not fro mine owne loue remoue,
Ne to your Lady will I seruice done,
But wreake your wrongs wrought to this knight a­lone,
And proue his cause. With that her mortall speare
She mightily auentred towards one,
And downe him smot, ere well aware he weare,
Then to the next she rode, & downe the next did beare.
Ne did she stay, till three on ground she layd,
That none of them himselfe could reare againe;
The fourth was by that other knight dismayd,
All were he wearie of his former paine,
That now there do but two of six remaine;
Which two did yield, before she did them smight.
Ah (said she then) now may ye all see plaine,
That truth is strong, and trew loue most of might,
That for his trusty seruaunts doth so strongly fight.
Too well we see, (said they) and proue too well
Our faulty weaknesse, and your matchlesse might:
For thy faire Sir, yours be the Damozell,
Which by her owne law to your lot doth light,
And we your liege men faith vnto you plight.
So vnderneath her feet their swords they shard,
And after her besought, well as they might,
To enter in, and reape the dew reward:
She graunted, and then in they all together far'd.
Long were it to describe the goodly frame,
And stately port of Castle Ioyeous,
(For so that Castle hight by commune name)
Where they were entertaind with curteous
[Page 400]And comely glee of many gracious
Faire Ladies, and many a gentle knight,
Who through a Chamber long and spacious,
Eftsoones them brought vnto their Ladies sight.
That of them cleeped was the Lady of delight.
But for to tell the sumptuous aray
Of that great chamber, should be labour lost:
For liuing wit, I weene, cannot display
The royall riches and exceeding cost,
Of euery pillour and of euery post;
Which all of purest bullion framed were,
And with great pearles and pretious stones embost,
That the bright glister of their beames cleare
Did sparckle forth great light, and glorious did appeare.
These straunger knights through passing, forth were led
Into an inner rowme, whose royaltee
And rich purueyance might vneath be red;
Mote Princes place be seeme so deckt to bee.
Which stately manner when as they did see,
The image of superfluous riotize,
Exceeding much the state of meane degree,
They greatly wondred, whence so sumptuous guize
Might be maintaynd, and each gan diuersely deuize.
The wals were round about apparelled
With costly clothes of Arras and of Toure,
In which with cunning hand was pourtrahed
The loue of Venus and her Paramoure
The faire Adonis, turned to a flowre,
A worke of rare deuice, and wondrous wit.
First did it shew the bitter balefull stowre,
Which her assayd with many a feruent fit,
When first her tender hart was with his beautie smit.
Then with what sleights and sweet allurements she
Entyst the Boy, as well that art she knew,
And wooed him her Paramoure to be;
Now making girlonds of each flowre that grew,
To crowne his golden lockes with honour dew;
Now leading him into a secret shade
From his Beauperes, and from bright heauens vew,
Where him to sleepe she gently would perswade,
Or bathe him in a fountaine by some couert glade.
And whilst he slept, she ouer him would spred
Her mantle, colour'd like the starry skyes,
And her soft arme lay vnderneath his hed,
And with ambrosiall kisses bathe his eyes;
And whilest he bath'd with her two crafty spyes,
She secretly would search each daintie lim,
And throw into the well sweet Rosemaryes,
And fragrant violets, and Pances trim,
And euer with sweet Nectar she did sprinkle him.
So did she steale his heedelesse hart away,
And ioyd his loue in secret vnespyde.
But for she saw him bent to cruell play,
To hunt the saluage beast in forrest wyde,
Dreadfull of daunger, that mote him betyde,
She oft and oft aduiz'd him to refraine
From chase of greater beasts, whose brutish pryde
Mote breede him scath vnwares: but all in vaine;
For who can shun the chaunce, that dest'ny doth ordaine?
Lo, where beyond he lyeth languishing,
Deadly engored of a great wild Bore,
And by his side the Goddesse groueling
Makes for him endlesse mone, and euermore
[Page 402]With her soft garment wipes away the gore,
Which staines his snowy skin with hatefull hew:
But when she saw no helpe might him restore,
Him to a dainty flowre she did transmew,
Which in that cloth was wrought, as if it liuely grew.
So was that chamber clad in goodly wize,
And round about it many beds were dight,
As whilome was the antique worldes guize,
Some for vntimely ease, some for delight,
As pleased them to vse, that vse it might:
And all was full of Damzels, and of Squires,
Dauncing and reueling both day and night,
And swimming deepe in sensuall desires,
And Cupid still emongst them kindled lustfull fires.
And all the while sweet Musicke did diuide
Her looser notes with Lydian harmony;
And all the while sweet birdes thereto applide
Their daintie layes and dulcet melody,
Ay caroling of loue and iollity,
That wonder was to heare their trim consort.
Which when those knights beheld, with scornefull eye,
They sdeigned such lasciuious disport,
And loath'd the loose demeanure of that wanton sort.
Thence they were brought to that great Ladies vew,
Whom they found sitting on a sumptuous bed,
That glistred all with gold and glorious shew,
As the proud Persian Queenes accustomed:
She seemd a woman of great bountihed,
And of rare beautie, sauing that askaunce
Her wanton eyes, ill signes of womanhed,
Did roll too highly, and too often glaunce,
Without regard of grace, or comely amenaunce.
Long worke it were, and needlesse to deuize
Their goodly entertainement and great glee:
She caused them be led in curteous wize
Into a bowre, disarmed for to bee,
And cheared well with wine and spiceree:
The Redcrosse Knight was soone disarmed there,
But the braue Mayd would not disarmed bee,
But onely vented vp her vmbriere,
And so did let her goodly visage to appere.
As when faire Cynthia, in darke some night,
Is in a noyous cloud enueloped,
Where she may find the substaunce thin and light,
Breakes forth her siluer beames, and her bright hed
Discouers to the world discomfited;
Of the poore traueller, that went astray,
With thousand blessings she is heried;
Such was the beautie and the shining ray,
With which faire Britomart gaue light vnto the day.
And eke those six, which lately with her fought,
Now were disarmd, and did them selues present
Vnto her vew, and company vnsoght;
For they all seemed curteous and gent,
And all sixe brethren, borne of one parent,
Which had them traynd in all ciuilitee,
And goodly taught to tilt and turnament;
Now were they liegemen to this Lady free,
And her knights seruice ought, to hold of her in fee.
The first of them by name Gardante hight,
Aiolly person, and of comely vew;
The second was Parlante, a bold knight,
And next to him Iocante did ensew;
[Page 404] Basciante did him selfe most curteous shew;
But fierce Bacchante seemd too fell and keene;
And yet in amies Noctante greater grew:
All were faire knights, and goodly well beseene,
But to faire Britomart they all but shadowes beene.
For she was full of amiable grace,
And manly terrour mixed therewithall,
That as the one stird vp affections bace,
So th'other did mens rash desires apall,
And hold them backe, that would in errour fall;
As he, that hath espide a vermeill Rose,
To which sharpe thornes and breres the way forstall,
Dare not for dread his hardy hand expose,
But wishing it far off, his idle wish doth lose.
Whom when the Lady saw so faire a wight.
All ignoraunt of her contrary sex,
(For she her weend a fresh and lusty knight)
She greatly gan enamoured to wex,
And with vaine thoughts her falsed fancy vex:
Her fickle hart conceiued hasty fire,
Like sparkes of fire, which fall in sclender flex,
That shortly brent into extreme desire,
And ransackt all her veines with passion entire.
Eftsoones she grew to great impatience
And into termes of open outrage brust,
That plaine discouered her incontinence,
Ne reckt she, who her meaning did mistrust;
For she was giuen all to fleshly lust,
And poured forth in sensuall delight,
That all regard of shame she had discust,
And meet respect: of honour put to flight:
So shamelesse beauty soone becomes a loathy sight,
Faire Ladies, that to loue captiued arre,
And chaste desires do nourish in your mind,
Let not her fault your sweet affections marre,
Ne blot the bounty of all womankind;
Mongst thousands good one wanton Dame to find:
Emongst the Roses grow some wicked weeds;
For this was not to loue, but lust inclind;
For loue does alwayes bring forth bounteous deeds,
And in each gentle hart desire of honour breeds.
Nought so of loue this looser Dame did skill,
But as a coale to kindle fleshly flame,
Giuing the bridle to her wanton will,
And treading vnder foote her honest name:
Such loue is hate, and such desire is shame.
Still did she roue at her with crafty glaunce
Of her false eyes, that at her hart did ayme,
And told her meaning in her countenaunce;
But Britomart dissembled it with ignoraunce.
Supper was shortly dight and downe they sat,
Where they were serued with all sumptuous fare,
Whiles fruitfull Ceres, and Lyaeus sat
Pourd out their plenty, without spight or spare:
Nought wanted there, that dainty was and rare;
And aye the cups their bancks did ouerflow,
And aye betweene the cups, she did prepare
Way to her loue, and secret darts did throw;
But Britomart would not such guilfull message know.
So when they slaked had the feruent heat
Of appetite with meates of euery sort,
The Lady did faire Britomart entreat,
Her to disarme, and with delightfull sport
[Page 406]To loose her warlike limbs and strong effort,
But when she mote not thereunto be wonne,
(For she her sexe vnder that straunge purport
Did vse to hide, and plaine apparaunce shonne:)
In plainer wise to tell her grieuaunce she begonne.
And all attonce discouered her desire
With sighes, and sobs, and plaints, & piteous griefe,
The outward sparkes of her in burning fire;
Which spent in vaine, at last she told her briefe,
That but if she did lend her short reliefe,
And do her comfort, she mote algates dye.
But the chaste damzell, that had neuer priefe
Of such malengine and fine forgerie,
Did easily beleeue her strong extremitie.
Full easie was for her to haue beliefe,
Who by self-feeling of her feeble sexe,
And by long triall of the inward griefe,
Wherewith imperious loue her hart did vexe,
Could iudge what paines do louing harts perplexe.
Who meanes no guile, beguiled soonest shall,
And to faire semblaunce doth light faith annexe;
The bird, that knowes not the false fowlers call,
Into his hidden net full easily doth fall.
For thy she would not in discourteise wise,
Scorne the faire offer of good will profest;
For great rebuke it is, loue to despise,
Or rudely sdeigne a gentle harts request;
But with faire countenaunce, as beseemed best,
Her entertaynd; nath'lesse she inly deemd
Her loue too light, to wooe a wandring guest:
Which she misconstruing, thereby esteemd
That from like inward fire that outward smoke had steemd,
Therewith a while she her flit fancy fed,
Till she mote winne fit time for her desire,
But yet her wound still inward freshly bled,
And through her bones the false instilled fire
Did spred it selfe, and venime close inspire.
Tho were the tables taken all away,
And euery knight, and euery gentle Squire
Can choose his dame with Basciomani gay,
With whom he meant to make his sport & courtly play.
Some fell to daunce, some fell to hazardry,
Some to make loue, some to make meriment,
As diuerse wits to diuers things apply;
And all the while faire Malecasta bent
Her crafty engins to her close intent.
By this th'eternall lampes, wherewith high loue
Doth light the lower world, were halfe yspent,
And the moist daughters of huge Atlas stroue
Into the Ocean deepe to driue their weary droue.
High time it seemed then for euery wight
Them to betake vnto their kindly rest;
Eftsoones long waxen torches weren light,
Vnto their bowres to guiden euery guest:
Tho when the Britonesse saw all the rest
Auoided quite, she gan her selfe despoile,
And safe commit to her soft fetherednest,
Where through long watch, & late dayes weary toile,
She soundly slept, & carefull thoughts did quite assoile.
Now when as all the world in silence deepe
Yshrowded was, and euery mortall wight
Was drowned in the depth of deadly sleepe,
Faire Malecasta, whose engrieued spright
[Page 408]Could find no rest in such perplexed plight,
Lightly arose out of her wearie bed,
And vnder the blacke vele of guilty Night,
Her with a scarlot mantle couered,
That was with gold and Ermines faire enueloped.
Then panting soft, and trembling euery ioynt,
Her fearfull feete towards the bowre she moued;
Where she for secret purpose did appoynt
To lodge the warlike mayd vnwisely loued,
And to her bed approching, first she prooued,
Whether she slept or wakt, with her soft hand
She softly felt, if any member mooued,
And lent her weary eare to vnderstand,
If any puffe of breath, or signe of sence she fond.
Which whenas none she fond, with easie snift,
For feare least her vnwares she should abrayd,
Th'embroderd quilt she lightly vp did lift,
And by her side her selfe she softly layd,
Of euery finest fingers touch affrayd;
Ne any noise she made, ne word she spake,
But inly sigh'd. At last the royall Mayd
Out of her quiet slomber did awake,
And chaungd her weary side, the better ease to take.
Where feeling one close couched by her side,
She lightly lept out of her filed bed,
And to her weapon ran, in minde to gride
The loathed leachour. But the Dame halfe ded
Through suddein feare and ghastly drerihed,
Did shrieke alowd, that through the house it rong,
And the whole family therewith adred,
Rashly out of their rouzed couches sprong,
And to the troubled chamber all in armes did throng.
And those six Knights that Ladies Champions,
And eke the Redcrosse knight ran to the stownd,
Halfe armd and halfe vnarmd, with them attons:
Where when confusedly they came, they fownd
Their Lady lying on the sencelesse grownd;
On th'other side, they saw the warlike Mayd
All in her snow-white smocke, with locks vnbownd,
Threatning the point of her auenging blade,
That with so troublous terrour they were all dismayde.
About their Lady first they flockt arownd,
Whom hauing laid in comfortable couch,
Shortly they reard out of her frosen swownd;
And afterwards they gan with fowle reproch
To stirre vp strife, and troublous contecke broch:
But by ensample of the last dayes losse,
None of them rashly durst to her approch,
Ne in so glorious spoile themselues embosse;
Her succourd eke the Champion of the bloudy Crosse.
But one of those sixe knights, Gardante hight,
Drew out a deadly bow and arrow keene,
Which forth he sent with felonous despight,
And fell intent against the virgin sheene:
The mortall steele stayd not, till it was seene
To gore her side, yet was the wound not deepe,
But lightly rased her soft silken skin,
That drops of purple bloud thereout did weepe,
Which did her lilly smock with staines of vermeil steepe.
Wherewith enrag'd she fiercely at them flew,
And with her flaming sword about her layd,
That none of them foule mischiefe could eschew,
But with her dreadfull strokes were all dismayd:
[Page 410]Here, there, and euery where about her swayd
Her wrathfull steele, that none mote it a bide;
And eke the Redcrosse knight gaue her good aid,
Ay ioyning foot to foot, and side to side,
That in short space their foes they haue quite terrifide.
Tho whenas all were put to shamefull flight,
The noble Britomartis her arayd,
And her bright armes about her body dight:
For nothing would she lenger there be stayd,
Where so loose life, and so vngentle trade
Was vsd of Knights and Ladies seeming gent:
So earely ere the grosse Earthes gryesy shade,
Was all disperst out of the firmament,
They tooke their steeds, & forth vpō their iourney went.

Cant. II.

The Redcrosse knight to Britomart
describeth Artegall:
The wondrous myrrhour, by which she
in loue wth him did fall.
HEre haue I cause, in men iust blame to find,
That in their proper prayse too partiall bee,
And not indifferent to woman kind,
To whom no share in armes and cheualrie
They do impart, ne maken memorie
Of their braue gestes and prowese martiall;
Scarse do they spare to one or two or three,
Rowme in their writs; yet the same writing small
Does all their deeds deface, and dims their glories all,
But by record of anqique times I find,
That women wont in warres to beare most sway,
And to all great exploits them selue inclind:
Of which they still the girlond bore away,
Till enuious Men fearing their rules decay.
Gan coyne streight lawes to curb their liberty;
Yet sith they warlike armes haue layd away:
They haue exceld in artes and pollicy
That now we foolish men that prayse gin eker'enuy.
Of warlike puissaunce in ages spent,
Be thou faire Britomart, whose prayse I write
But of all wisedome be thou precedent,
Endite I would as dewtie doth excite;
But ah my rimes too rude and rugged arre,
When in so high an obiect they do lite,
And striuing, fit to make, I feare do marre:
Thy selfe thy prayses tell, and make them knowen farre.
She trauelling with Guyon by the way,
Of sundry things faire purpose gan to find,
T'abridg their iourney long, and lingring day;
Mongst which it fell into that Faeries mind,
To aske this Briton Mayd, what vncouth wind,
Made her dissemble her disguised kind:
Faire Lady she him seemd, like Lady drest,
But fairest knight aliue, when armed washer brest.
Thereat she sighing softly, had no powre
To speake a while, ne ready answere make,
But with hart-thrilling throbs and bitter stowre,
As if she had a feuer fit, did quake,
[Page 412]And euery daintie limbe with horrour shake;
And euer and anone the rosy red,
Flasht through her face, as it had beene a flake
Oflightning, through bright heauen fulmined;
At last the passion past she thus him answered.
Faire Sir, I let you weete, that from the howre
I taken was from nourses tender pap,
I haue beene trained, vp in warlike stowre,
To tossen speare and shield, and to affrap
The warlike ryder to his most mishap;
Sithence I loathed haue my life to lead,
As Ladies wont, in pleasures wanton lap,
To finger the fine needle and nyce thread;
Me leuer were with point of foemans speare be dead.
All my delights deedes of armes is set,
To hunt out perils and aduentures hard,
By sea, by land, where so they may be met,
Onely for honour and for high regard,
Without respect of richesse or reward.
For such intent into these parts I came,
Withouten compasse, or withouten card,
Far fro my natiue soyle, that is by name
The greater Britaine, here to seeke for prayse and fame.
Fame blazed hath, that here in Faery lond
Do many famous Knightes and Ladies wonne,
And many straunge aduentures to be fond,
Of which great worth and worship may be wonne;
Which I to proue, this voyage haue begonne.
But mote I weet of you, right curteous knight,
Tydings of one, that hath vnto me donne
Late foule dishonour and reprochfull spight,
The which I seeke to wreake, and Arthegall he hight.
The word gone out, she backe againe would call,
As her repenting so to haue missayd,
But that he it vp-taking ere the fall,
Her shortly answered; Faire martiall Mayd
Certes ye misa uised beene, t'vpbrayd
A gentle knight with so vnknightly blame:
For weet ye well of all, that euer playd
At tilt or tourney, or like warlike game,
The noble Arthegall hath euer borne the name.
For thy great wonder were it, if such shame
Should euer enter in his bounteous thought,
Or euer do, that mote deseruen blame:
The noble courage neuer weeneth ought,
That may vnworthy of it selfe be thought.
Therefore, faire Damzell, be ye well aware,
Least that too farre ye haue your sorrow sought:
You and your countrey both I wish welfare,
And honour both; for each of other worthy are.
The royall Mayd woxe inly wondrous glad,
To heare her Loue so highly magnifide,
And ioyd that euer she affixed had,
Her hart on knight so goodly glorifide,
How euer finely she it faind to hide:
The louing mother, that nine monethes did beare,
In the deare closet of her paine full side,
Her tender babe, it seeing safe appeare,
Doth not so much reioyce, as she reioyced theare.
But to occasion him to further talke,
To feed her humour with his pleasing stile,
Her list in strifull termes with him to balke,
Aud thus replide, How euer, Sir, ye file
[Page 414]Your curteous tongue, his prayses to compile,
It ill beseemes a knight of gentle sort,
Such as ye haue him boasted, to beguile
A simple mayd, and worke so haynous tort,
In shame of knighthood, as I largely can report.
Let be therefore my vengeaunce to disswade,
And read, where I that faytour false may find.
Ah, but if reason faire might you perswade,
To slake your wrath, and mollifie your mind,
(Said he) perhaps ye should it better find:
For hardy thing it is, to weene by might,
That man to hard conditions to bind,
Or euer hope to match in equall fight,
Whose prowesse paragon saw neuer liuing wight.
Ne soothlich is it easie for to read,
Where now on earth, or how he may be found;
For he ne wonneth in one certaine stead,
But restlesse walketh all the world around,
Ay doing things, that to his same redound,
Defending Ladies cause, and Orphans right,
Where so he heares, that any doth confound
Them comfortlesse, through tyranny or might;
So is his soueraine honour raisde to heavens hight.
His feeling words her feeble sence much pleased,
And softly sunck into her molten hart;
Hart that is inly hurt, is greatly eased
With hope of thing, that may allegge his smart;
For pleasing words are like to Magick art,
That doth the charmed Snake in slomber lay:
Such secret ease felt gentle Britomart,
Yet list the same efforce with faind gainesay;
So dischord oft in Musick makes the sweeter lay.
And said, Sir knight, these idle termes forbeare,
And sith it is vneath to find his haunt,
Tell me some markes, by which he may appeare,
If chaunce I him encounter parauant;
For perdie one shall other slay, or daunt:
What shape, what shield, what armes, what steed, what sted,
And what so else his person most may vaunt?
All which the Redcrosse knight to point ared,
And him in euery part before her fashioned.
Yet him in euery part before she knew,
How euer list her now her knowledge faine,
Sith him whilome in Britaine she did vew,
To her reuealed in a mirrhour plaine,
Whereof did grow her first engraffed paine;
Whose root and stalke so bitter yet did tast,
That but the fruit more sweetnesse did containe,
Her wretched dayes in dolour she mote wast,
And yield the pray of loue to lothsome death at last.
By strange occasion she did him behold,
And much more strangely gan to loue his sight,
As it in bookes hath written bene of old.
In Deheubarth that now South-wales is hight,
What time king Ryence raign'd, and dealed right,
The great Magitian Merlin had deuiz'd,
By his deepe science, and hell-dreaded might,
A looking glasse, right wondrously aguiz'd,
Whose vertues through the wyde world soone were so­lemniz'd.
It vertue had, to shew in perfect sight,
What euer thing was in the world contaynd,
Betwixt the lowest earth and heauens hight,
So that it to the looker appertaynd;
[Page 416]What euer foe had wrought, or frend had faynd,
Therein discouered was, ne ought mote pas,
Ne ought in secret from the same remaynd;
For thy it round and hollow shaped was,
Like to the world it selfe, and seem'd a world of glas.
Who wonders not, that reades so wonderous worke?
But who does wonder, that has red the Towre,
Wherein th' Aegyptian Phaeo long did lurke
From all mens vew, that none might her discoure,
Yet she might all men vew out of her bowre?
Great Ptolomaee it for his lemans sake
Ybuilded all of glasse, by Magicke powre,
And also it impregnable did make;
Yet when his loue was false, he with a peaze it brake.
Such was the glassie globe that Merlin made,
And gaue vnto king Ryence for his gard,
That neuer foes his kingdome might inuade,
But he it knew at home before he hard
Tydings thereof, and so them still debar'd.
It was a famous Present for a Prince,
And worthy worke of infinite reward,
That treasons could bewray, and foes conuince;
Happie this Realme, had it remained euer since.
One day it fortuned, faire Britomart
Into her fathers closet to repayre;
For nothing he from her reseru'd apart,
Being his onely daughter and his hayre:
Where when she had espyed that mirrhour fayre,
Her selfe a while therein she vewd in vaine;
Tho her auizing of the vertues rare,
Which thereof spoken were, she gan againe
Her to be thinke of, that mote to her selfe pertaine.
But as it falleth, in the gentlest harts
Imperious Loue hath highest set his throne,
And tyrannizeth in the bitter smarts
Of them, that to him buxome are and prone:
So thought this Mayd (as maydens vse to done)
Whom fortune for her husband would allot,
Not that she lusted after any one;
For she was pure from blame of sinfull blot,
Yet wist her life at last must lincke in that same knot.
Eftsoones there was presented to her eye
A comely knight, all arm'd in complet wize,
Through whose bright ventayle lifted vp on hye
His manly face, that did his foes agrize,
And friends to termes of gentle truce entize,
Lookt foorth, as Phoebus face out of the east,
Betwixt two shadie mountaines doth arize;
Portly his person was, and much increast
Through his Heroicke grace, and honorable gest.
His crest was couered with a couchant Hound,
And all his armour seem'd of antique mould,
But woundrous massie and assured sound,
And round about yfretted all with gold,
In which there written was with cyphers old,
Achilles armes, which Arthegall did win.
And on his shield enueloped seuenfold
He bore a crowned litle Ermilin,
That deckt the azure field with her faire pouldred skin.
The Damzell well did vew his personage,
And like well, ne further fastned not,
But went her way; ne her vnguilty age
Did weene, vnwares, that her vnlucky lot
[Page 418]Lay hidden in the bottome of the pot;
Of hurt vnwift most daunger doth redound:
But the false Archer, which that arrow shot
So slyly, that she did not feele the wound,
Did smyle full smoothly at her weetlesse wofull stound.
Thenceforth the feather in her loftie crest,
Ruffed of loue, gan lowly to auaile,
And her proud portance, and her princely gest,
With which she earst tryumphed, now did quaile:
Sad, solemne, sowre, and full of fancies fraile
She woxe; yet wist she neither how, nor why,
She wist not, silly Mayd, what she did aile,
Yet wist, she was not well at ease perdy,
Yet thought it was not loue, but some melancholy.
So soone as Night had with her pallid hew
Defast the beautie of the shining sky,
And reft from men the worlds desired vew,
She with her Nourse adowne to sleepe did lye;
But sleepe full farre away from her did fly:
In stead there of fad sighes, and sorrowes deepe
Kept watch and ward about her warily,
That nought she did but wayle, and often steepe
Her daintie couch with teares, which closely she did weepe.
And if that any drop of slombring rest
Did chaunce to still into her wearie spright,
When feeble nature felt her selfe opprest,
Streight way with dreames, and with fantasticke sight
Of dreadfull things the same was put to flight,
That oft out of her bed she did astart,
As one with vew of ghastly feends affright:
Tho gan she to renew her former smart,
And thinke of that faire visage, written in her hart.
One night, when she was tost with such vnrest,
Her aged Nurse, whose name was Glauce hight,
Feeling her leape out of her loathed nest,
Betwixt her feeble armes her quickly keight,
And downe againe in her warme bed her dight;
Ah my deare daughter, ah my dearest dread,
What vncouth fit (said she) what euill plight
Hath thee opprest, and with sad drearyhead
Chaunged thy liuely cheare, and liuing made thee dead?
For not of nought these suddeine ghastly feares
All night afflict thy naturall repose,
And all the day, when as thine equall peares
Their fit disports with faire delight doe chose,
Thou in dull corners doest thy selfe inclose,
Ne tastest Princes pleasures, ne doest spred
Abroad thy fresh youthes fairest flowre, but lose
Both leafe and fruit, both too vntimely shed,
As one in wilfull bale for euer buried.
The time, that mortall men their weary cares
Do lay away, and all wilde beastes do rest,
And euery riuer eke his course forbeares
Then doth this wicked euill thee infest,
And riue with thousand throbs thy thrilled brest;
Like an huge Aetn' of deepe engulfed griefe,
Sorrow is heaped in thy hollow chest,
Whence forth it breakes in sighes and anguish rife,
As smoke and sulphure mingled with confused strife.
Aye me, how much I feare, least loue it bee;
But if that loue it be, as sure I read
By knowen signes and passions, which I see,
Be it worthy of thy race and royall sead,
[Page 420]Then I auow by this most sacred head
Of my deare foster child, to ease thy griefe,
And win thy will: Therefore away doe dread;
For death nor daunger from thy dew reliefe
Shall me debarre, tell me therefore my liefest liefe.
So hauing said, her twixt her armes twaine
She straightly straynd, and colled tenderly,
And euery trembling ioynt, and euery vaine
She softly felt, and rubbed busily,
To doe the frosen cold away to fly;
And her faire deawy eies with kisses deare
She oft did bath, and oft againe did dry;
And euer her importund, not to feare
To let the secret of her hart to her appeare.
The Damzell pauzd, and then thus fearefully;
Ah Nurse, what needeth thee to eke my paine?
Is not enough, that I alone doe dye,
But it must doubled be with death of twaine?
For nought for me but death there doth remaine.
O daughter deare (said she) despaire no whit;
For neuer sore, but might a salue obtaine:
That blinded God, which hath ye blindly smit,
Another arrow hath your louers hart to hit.
But mine is not (quoth she) like others wound;
For which no reason can find remedy.
Was neuer such, but mote the like be found,
(Said she) and though no reason may apply
Salue to your sore, yet loue can higher stye,
Then reasons reach, and oft hath wonders donne.
But neither God of loue, nor God of sky
Can doe (said she) that, which cannot be donne.
Things oft impossible (quoth she) seeme, ere begonne.
These idle words (said she) doe nought asswage
My stubborne smart, but more annoyance breed,
For no no vsuall fire, no vsuall rage
It is, ô Nurse, which on my life doth feed,
And suckes the bloud, which from my hart doth bleed.
But since thy faithfull zeale lets me not hyde
My crime, (if crime it be) I will it reed.
Nor Prince, nor pere it is, whose loue hath gryde
My feeble brest of late, and launched this wound wyde.
Nor man it is, nor other liuing wight;
For then some hope I might vnto me draw,
But th'only shade and semblant of a knight,
Whose shape or person yet I neuer saw,
Hath me subiected to loues cruell law:
The same one day, as me misfortune led,
I in my fathers wondrous mirrhour saw,
And pleased with that seeming goodly-hed,
Vnwares the hidden hooke with baite I swallowed.
Sithens it hath infixed faster hold
Within my bleeding bowels, and so sore
Now ranckleth in this same fraile fleshly mould,
That all mine entrailes flow with poysnous gore,
And th'vlcer groweth daily more and more;
Ne can my running sore find remedie,
Other then my hard fortune to deplore,
And languish as the leafe falne from the tree,
Till death make one end of my dayes and miserie.
Daughter (said she) what need ye be dismayd,
Or why make ye such Monster of your mind?
Of much more vncouth thing I was affrayd;
Of filthy lust, contrarie vnto kind:
[Page 422]But this affection nothing straunge I find;
For who with reason can you aye reproue,
To loue the semblant pleasing most your mind,
And yield your heart, whence ye cannot remoue?
No guilt in you, but in the tyranny of loue.
Not so th' Arabian Myrrhe did set her mind;
Not so did Biblis spend her pining hart,
But lou'd their natiue flesh against all kind,
And to their purpose vsed wicked art:
Yet playd Pasiphaë a more mostrous part,
That lou'd a Bull, and learnd a beast to bee;
Such shamefull lusts who loaths not, which depart
From course of nature and of modestie?
Sweet loue such lewdnes bands from his faire companie.
But thine my Deare (welfare thy heart my deare)
Though strange beginning had, yet fixed is
On one, that worthy may perhaps appeare;
And certes seemes bestowed not amis:
Ioy thereof haue thou and eternall blis.
With that vpleaning on her elbow weake,
Her alablasted brest she soft did kis,
Which all that while she felt to pant and quake,
As it an Earth-quake were; at last she thus bespake.
Beldame, your words doe worke me litle ease;
For though my loue be not so lewdly bent,
As those ye blame, yet may it nought appease
My raging smart, ne ought my flame relent,
But rather doth my helpelesse griefe augment.
For they, how euer shamefull and vnkind,
Yet did possesse their horrible intent:
Short end of sorrowes they thereby did find;
So was their fortune good, though wicked were their mind.
But wicked fortune mine, though mind be good,
Can haue no end, nor hope of my desire,
But feed on shadowes, whiles I die for food,
And like a shadow wexe, whiles with entire
Affection, I doe languish and expire.
I fonder, then Cephisus foolish child,
Who hauing vewed in a fountaine shere
His face, was with the loue thereof beguild;
I fonder loue a shade, the bodie farre exild.
Nought like (quoth she) for that same wretched boy
Was of himselfe the idle Paramoure;
Both loue and louer, without hope of ioy,
For which he faded to a watry flowre.
But better fortune thine, and better howre,
Which lou'st the shadow of a warlike knight;
No shadow, but a bodie hath in powre:
That bodie, wheresoeuer that it light,
May learned be by cyphers, or by Magicke might.
But if thou may with reason yet represse
The growing euill, ere it strength haue got,
And thee abandond wholly doe possesse,
Against it strongly striue, and yield thee not,
Till thou in open field adowne be smot.
But if the passion mayster thy fraile might,
So that needs loue or death must be thy lot,
Then I auow to thee, by wrong or right
To compasse thy desire, and find that loued knight.
Her chearefull words much cheard the feeble spright
Of the sicke virgin, that her downe she layd
In her warme bed to sleepe, if that she might;
And the old-woman carefully displayd
[Page 424]The clothes about her round with busie ayd;
So that at last a little creeping sleepe
Surprisd her sense: She therewith well apayd,
The drunken lampe downe in the oyle did steepe,
And set her by to watch, and set her by to weepe.
Earely the morrow next, before that day
His ioyous face did to the world reueale,
They both vprose and tooke their readie way
Vnto the Church, their prayers to appeale,
With great deuotion, and with litle zeale:
For the faire Damzell from the holy herse
Her loue-sicke hart to other thoughts did steale;
And that old Dame said many an idle verse,
Out of her daughters hart fond fancies to reuerse.
Returned home, the royall Infant fell
Into her former fit; for why, no powre
Nor guidance of her selfe in her did dwell.
But th'aged Nurse her calling to her bowre,
Had gathered Rew, and Sauine, and the flowre
Of Camphara, and Calamint, and Dill,
All which she in a earthen Pot did poure,
And to the brim with Colt wood did it fill,
And many drops of milke and bloud through it did spill.
Then taking thrise three haires from off her head,
Them trebly breaded in a threefold lace,
And round about the pots mouth, bound the thread,
And after hauing whispered a space
Certaine sad words, with hollow voice and bace,
She to the virgin said, thrise said she it;
Come daughter come, come; spit vpon my face,
Spit thrise vpon me, thrise vpon me spit;
Th'vneuen number for this businesse is most fit.
That sayd, her round about she from her turnd,
She turned her contrarie to the Sunne,
Thrise she her turnd contrary, and returnd,
All contrary, for she the right did shunne,
And euer what she did, was streight vndonne.
So thought she to vndoe her daughters loue:
But loue, that is in gentle brest begonne,
No idle charmes so lightly may remoue,
That well can witnesse, who by triall it does proue.
Ne ought it mote the noble Mayd auayle,
Ne slake the furie of her cruell flame,
But that she still did waste, and still did wayle,
That through long laugour, and hart-burning brame
She shortly like a pyned ghost became,
Which long hath waited by the Stygian strond.
That when old Glauce saw, for feare least blame
Of her miscarriage should in her be fond,
She wist not how t'amend, nor how it to withstond.

Cant. III.

Merlin bewrayes to Britomart,
the state of Artegall.
And shewes the famous Progeny
which from them springen shall.
MOst sacred fire, that burnest mightily
In liuing brests, ykindled first aboue,
Emongst th'eternall spheres and lamping sky,
And thence pourd into men, which men call Loue;
[Page 426]Not that same, which doth base affections moue
In brutish minds, and filthy lust inflame,
But that sweet fit, that doth true beautie loue,
And choseth vertue for his dearest Dame,
Whence spring all noble deeds and neuer dying fame:
Well did Antiquitie a God thee deeme,
That ouer mortall minds hast so great might,
To order them, as best to thee doth seeme,
And all their actions to direct aright;
The fatall purpose of diuine foresight,
Thou doest effect in destined descents,
Through deepe impression of thy secret might,
And stirredst vp th'Heroes high intents,
Which the late world admyres for wondrous monimēts.
But thy dread darts in none doe triumph more,
Ne brauer proofe in any, of thy powre
Shew'dst thou, then in this royall Maid of yore,
Making her seeke an vnknowne Paramoure,
From the worlds end, through many a bitter stowre:
From whose two loynes thou afterwards did rayse
Most famous fruits of matrimoniall bowre,
Which through the earth haue spred their liuing prayse,
That fame in trompe of gold eternally displayes.
Begin then, ô my dearest sacred Dame,
Daughter of Phoebus and of Memorie,
That doest ennoble with immortall name
The warlike Worthies, from antiquitie,
In thy great volume of Eternitie:
Begin, ô Clio, and recount from hence
My glorious Soueraines goodly auncestie,
Till that by dew degrees and long pretence,
Thou haue it lastly brought vnto her Excellence.
Full many wayes within her troubled mind,
Old Glauce, cast, to cure this Ladies griefe:
Full many waies she sought, but none could find,
Nor herbes, nor charmes, nor counsell, that is chiefe
And choisest med'cine for sicke harts reliefe:
For thy great care she tooke, and greater feare,
Least that it should her turne to foule repriefe,
And sore reproch, when so her father deare
Should of his dearest daughters hard misfortune heare.
At last she her auisd, that he, which made
That mirrhour, wherein the sicke Damosell
So straungely vewed her straunge louers shade,
To weet, the learned Merlin, well could tell,
Vnder what coast of heauen the man did dwell,
And by what meanes his loue might best be wrought:
For though beyond the Africk Ismaell,
Or th'Indian Peru he were, she thought
Him forth through infinite endeuour to haue sought.
Forthwith themselues disguising both in straunge
And base attyre, that none might them bewray,
To Maridunum, that is now by chaunge
Of name Cayr-Merdin cald, they tooke their way:
There the wise Merlin whylome wont (they say)
To make his wonne, low vnderneath the ground,
In a deepe delue, farre from the vew of day,
That of no liuing wight he mote be found,
When so he counseld with his sprights encōpast round.
And if thou euer happen that same way
To trauell, goe to see that dreadfull place:
It is an hideous hollow caue (they say)
Vnder a rocke that lyes a litle space
[Page 428]From the swift Barry, tombling downe apace,
Emongst the woodie hilles of Dyneuowre:
But dare thou not, I charge, in any cace,
To enter into that same balefull Bowre,
For fear the cruell Feends should thee vnwares deuowre.
But standing high aloft, low lay thine eare,
And there such ghastly noise of yron chaines,
And brasen Caudrons thou shalt rombling heare,
Which thousand sprights with long enduring paines
Doe tosse, that it will stonne thy feeble braines,
And oftentimes great grones, and grieuous stounds,
When too huge toile and labour them constraines:
And oftentimes loud strokes, and ringing sounds
From vnder that deepe Rocke most horribly rebounds.
The cause some say is this: A litle while
Before that Merlin dyde, he did intend,
A brasen wall in compas to compile
About Cairmardin, and did it commend
Vnto these Sprights, to bring to perfect end.
During which worke the Ladie of the Lake,
Whom long he lou'd, for him in hast did send,
Who thereby forst his workemen to forsake,
Them bound till his returne, their labour not to slake.
In the meane time through that false Ladies traine,
He was surprisd, and buried vnder beare,
Ne euer to his worke returnd againe:
Nath'lesse those feends may not their worke forbeare,
So greatly his commaundement they feare,
But there doe toyle and trauell day and night,
Vntill that brasen wall they vp doe reare:
For Merlin had in Magicke more insight,
Then euer him before or after liuing wight.
For he by words could call out of the sky
Both Sunne and Moone, and make them him obay:
The land to sea, and sea to maineland dry,
And darkesome night he eke could turne to day:
Huge hostes of men he could alone dismay,
And hostes of men of meanest things could frame,
When so him list his enimies to fray:
That to this day for terror of his fame,
The feends do quake, when any him to them does name.
And sooth, men say that he was not the sonne
Of mortall Syre, or other liuing wight,
But wondrously begotten, and begonne
By false illusion of a guilefull Spright,
On a faire Ladie Nonne, that whilome hight
Matilda, daughter to Pubidius,
Who was the Lord of Mathrauall by right,
And coosen vnto king Ambrosius:
Whence he indued was with skill so maruellous.
They here ariuing, staid a while without,
Ne durst aduenture rashly in to wend,
But of their first intent gan make new dout
For dread of daunger, which it might portend:
Vntill the hardie Mayd (with loue to frend)
First entering, the dreadfull Mage there found
Deepe busied bout worke of wondrous end,
And writing strange characters in the ground,
With which the stubborn feends he to his seruice bound.
He nought was moued at their entrance bold:
For of their comming well he wist afore,
Yet list them bid their businesse to vnfold,
As if ought in this world in secret store
[Page 430]Were from him hidden, or vnknowne of yore.
Then Glauce thus, let not it thee offend,
That we thus rashly through thy darkesome dore,
Vnwares haue prest: for either fatall end,
Or other mightie cause vs two did hither send.
He bad tell on; And then she thus began.
Now haue three Moones with borrow'd brothers light,
Thrice shined faire, and thrice seem'd dim and wan,
Sith a sore euill, which this virgin bright
Tormenteth, and doth plonge in dolefull plight,
First rooting tooke; but what thing it mote bee,
Or whence it sprong, I cannot read aright:
But this I read, that but if remedee,
Thou her afford, full shortly I her dead shall see.
Therewith th'Enchaunter softly gan to smyle
At her smooth speeches, weeting inly well,
That she to him dissembled womanish guyle,
And to her said, Beldame, by that ye tell,
More need of leach-craft hath your Damozell,
Then of my skill: who helpe may haue elsewhere,
In vaine seekes wonders out of Magicke spell.
Th'old woman wox half blanck, those words to heare;
And yet was loth to let her purpose plaine appeare.
And to him said, If any leaches skill,
Or other learned meanes could haue redrest
This my deare daughters deepe engraffed ill,
Certes I should be loth thee to molest:
But this sad euill, which doth her infest,
Doth course of naturall cause farre exceed,
And housed is within her hollow brest,
That either seemes some cursed witches deed,
Or euill spright, that in her doth such torment breed.
The wisard could no lenger beare her bord,
But brusting forth in laughter, to her sayd;
Glauce, what needs this colourable word,
To cloke the cause, that hath it selfe bewrayd?
Ne ye faire Britomartis, thus arayd,
More hidden are, then Sunne in cloudy vele;
Whom thy good fortune, hauing fate obayd,
Hath hither brought, for succour to appele:
The which the powres to thee are pleased to reuele.
The doubtfull Mayd, seeing her selfe descryde,
Was all abasht, and her pure yuory
Into a cleare Carnation suddeine dyde;
As faire Aurora rising hastily,
Doth by her blushing tell, that she did lye
All night in old Tithonus frosen bed,
Whereof she seemes ashamed inwardly.
But her old Nourse was nought dishartened,
But vauntage made of that, which Merlin had ared.
And sayd, Sith then thou knowest all our griefe,
(For what doest not thou know?) of grace I pray,
Pitty our plaint, and yield vs meet reliefe.
With that the Prophet still a while did stay,
And then his spirite thus gan forth display;
Most noble Virgin, that by fatall lore
Hast learn'd to loue, let no whit thee dismay
The hard begin, that meets thee in the dore.
And with sharpe fits thy tender hart oppresseth sore.
For so must all things excellent begin,
And eke enrooted deepe must be that Tree,
Whose big embodied braunches shall not lin,
Till they to heauens hight forth stretched bee.
[Page 432]For from thy wombe a famous Progenie
Shall spring, out of the auncient Troian blood,
Which shall reuiue the sleeping memorie
Of those same antique Peres, the heauens brood,
Which Greece and Asian riuers stained with their blood.
Renowmed kings, and sacred Emperours,
Thy fruitfull Ofspring, shall from thee descend;
Braue Captaines, and most mighty warriours,
That shall their conquests through all lands extend,
And their decayed kingdomes shall amend:
The feeble Britons, broken with long warre,
They shall vpreare, and mightily defend
Against their forrein foe, that comes from farre,
Till vniuersall peace compound all ciuill iarre.
It was not, Britomart, thy wandring eye,
Glauncing vnwares in charmed looking glas,
But the streight course of heauenly destiny,
Led with eternall prouidence, that has
Guided thy glaunce, to bring his will to pas:
Ne is thy fate, ne is thy fortune ill,
To loue the prowest knight, that euer was.
Therefore submit thy wayes vnto his will,
And do by all dew meanes thy destiny fulfill.
But read (said Glauce) thou Magitian
What meanes shall she out seeke, or what wayes take?
How shall she know, how shall she find the man?
Or what needs her to toyle, sith fates can make
Way for themselues, their purpose to partake?
Then Merlin thus; Indeed the fates are firme,
And may not shrinck, though all the world do shake:
Yet ought mens good endeuours them confirme,
And guide the heauenly causes to their constant terme.
The man whom heauens haue ordaynd to bee
The spouse of Britomart, is Arthegall:
He wonneth in the land of Fayeree,
Yet is no Fary borne, ne sib at all
To Elfes, but sprong of seed terrestriall,
And whilome by false Faries stolne away,
Whiles yet in infant cradle he did crall;
Ne other to himselfe is knowne this day,
But that he by an Elfe was gotten of a Fay.
But sooth he is the sonne of Gorlois,
And brother vnto Cador Cornish king,
And for his warlike feates renowmed is,
From where the day out of the sea doth spring,
Vntill the closure of the Euening.
From thence, him firmely bound with faithfull band,
To this his natiue soyle thou backe shalt bring,
Strongly to aide his countrey, to withstand
The powre of forrein Paynims, which inuade thy land.
Great aid thereto his mighty puissaunce,
And dreaded name shall giue in that sad day:
Where also proofe of thy prow valiaunce
Thou then shalt make, t'increase thy louers pray.
Long time ye both in armes shall beare great sway,
Till thy wombes burden thee from them do call,
And his last fate him from thee take away,
Too rathe cut off by practise criminall
Of secret foes, that him shall make in mischiefe fall.
Where thee yet shall he leaue for memory
Of his late puissaunce, his Image dead,
That liuing him in all actiuity
To thee shall represent. He from the head
[Page 434]Of his coosin Constantius without dread
Shall take the crowne, that was his fathers right,
And therewith crowne himselfe in th'others stead:
Then shall he issew forth with dreadfull mighty,
Against his Saxon foes in bloudy field to fight.
Like as a Lyon, that in drowsie caue
Hath long time slept, himselfe so shall he shake,
And comming forth, shall spred his banner braue
Ouer the troubled South, that it shall make
The warlike Mertians for feare to quake:
Thrise shall he fight with them, and twise shall win,
But the third time shall faire accordaunce make:
And if he then with victorie can lin,
He shall his dayes with peace bring to his earthly In.
His sonne, hight Vortipore, shall him succeede
In kingdome, but not in felicity;
Yet shall he long time warre with happy speed,
And with great honour many battels try:
But at the last to th'importunity
Of froward fortune shall be forst to yield.
But his sonne Malgo shall full mightily
Auenge his fathers losse, with speare and shield,
And his proud foes discomfit in victorious field.
Behold the man, and tell me Britomart,
If ay more goodly creature thou didst see;
How like a Gyaunt in each manly part
Beares he himselfe with portly maiestee,
That one of th'old Heroes seemes to bee:
He the six Islands, comprouinciall
In auncient times vnto great Britainee,
Shall to the same reduce, and to him call
Their sundry kings to do their homage seuerall.
All which his sonne Careticus awhile
Shall well defend, and Saxons powre suppresse,
Vntill a straunger king from vnknowne soyle
Arriuing, him with multitude oppresse;
Great Gormond, hauing with huge mightinesse
Ireland subdewd, and therein fixt his throne,
Like a swift Otter, fell through emptinesse,
Shall ouerswim the sea with many one
Of his Norueyses, to assist the Britons fone.
He in his furie all shall ouerrunne,
And holy Church with faithlesse hands deface,
That thy sad people vtterly fordonne,
Shall to the vtmost mountaines fly apace:
Was neuer so great wast in any place,
Nor so fowle autrage doen by liuing men:
For all thy Cities they shall sacke and race,
And the greene grasse, that groweth, they shall bren,
That euen the wild beast shall dy in starued den.
Whiles thus the Britons do in languour pine,
Proud Etheldred shall from the North arise,
Seruing th'ambitious will of Augustine,
And passing Dee with hardy enterprise,
Shall backe repulse the valiaunt Brockwell twise,
And Bangor with massacred Martyrs fill;
But the third time shall rew his foolhardise:
For Cadwan pittying his peoples ill,
Shall stoutly him defeat, and thousand Saxons kill.
But after him, Cadwallin mightily
On his sonne Edwin all those wrongs shall wreake;
Ne shall auaile the wicked sorcery
Of false Pellite, his purposes to breake,
[Page 436]But him shall slay, and on a gallowes bleake
Shall giue th'enchaunter his vnhappy hire
Then shall the Britons, late dismayd and weake,
From their long vassalage gin to respire,
And on their Paynim foes auenge their ranckled ire.
Ne shall he yet his wrath so mitigate,
Till both the sonnes of Edwin he haue slaine,
Offricke and Osricke, twinnes vnfortunate,
Both slaine in battell vpon Layburne plaine,
Together with the king of Louthiane,
Hight Adin, and the king of Orkeny,
Both ioynt partakers of the fatall paine:
But Penda, fearefull of like desteny,
Shall yield him selfe his liegeman, and sweare fealty.
Him shall he make his fatall Instrument,
T'afflict the other Saxons vnsubdewd;
He marching forth with fury insolent
Against the good king Oswald, who indewd
With heauenly powre, and by Angels reskewd,
All holding crosses in their hands on hye,
Shall him defeate withouten bloud imbrewd:
Of which, that field for endlesse memory,
Shall Heuenfield be cald to all posterity.
Whereat Cadwallin wroth, shall forth issew,
And an huge hoste into Northumber lead,
With which he godly Oswald shall subdew,
And crowne with martyrdome his sacred head.
Whose brother Oswin, daunted with like dread,
With price of siluer shall his kingdome buy,
And Penda, seeking him adowne to tread,
Shall tread adowne, and do him fowly dye,
But shall with gifts his Lord Cadwallin pacify.
Then shall Cadwallin dye, and then the raine
Of Britons eke with him attonce shall dye;
Ne shall the good Cadwallader with paine,
Or powre, behable it to remedy,
When the full time prefixt by destiny,
Shalbe expird of Britons regiment.
For heauen it selfe shall their successe enuy,
And them with plagues and murrins pestilent
Consume, till all their warlike puissaunce be spent.
Yet after all these sorrowes, and huge hills
Of dying people, during eight yeares space,
Cadwallader not yielding to his ills,
From Armoricke, where long in wretched cace
He liu'd, returning to his natiue place,
Shalbe by vision staid from his intent:
For th'heauens haue decreed, to displace
The Britons, for their sinnes dew punishment,
And to the Saxons ouer-giue their gouernment.
Then woe, and woe, and euerlasting woe,
Be to the Briton babe, that shalbe borne,
To liue in thraldome of his fathers foe;
Late King, now captiue, late Lord, now forlorne,
The worlds reproch, the cruell victours scorne,
Banisht from Princely bowre to wastfull wood:
O who shall helpe me to lament, and mourne
The royall seed, the antique Troian blood,
Whose Empire lenger here, then euer any stood.
The Damzell was full deepe empassioned,
Both for his griefe, and for her peoples sake,
Whose future woes so plaine he fashioned,
And sighing sore, at length him thus bespake;
[Page 438]Ah but will heauens fury neuer slake,
Nor vengeaunce huge relent it selfe at last?
Will not long misery late mercy make,
But shall their name for euer be defast,
And quite from th'earth their memory be rast?
Nay but the terme (said he) is limited,
That in this thraldome Britons shall abide,
And the iust reuolution measured,
That they as Straungers shalbe notifide.
For twise foure hundreth shalbe supplide,
Ere they to former rule restor'd shalbee.
And their importune fates all satisfide:
Yet during this their most obscuritee,
Their beames shall oft breake forth, that men them faire may see.
For Rhodoricke, whose surname shalbe Great,
Shall of him selfe a braue ensample shew,
That Saxon kings his friendship shall intreat;
And Howell Dha shall goodly well indew
The saluage minds with skill of iust and trew;
Then Griffyth Conan also shall vp reare
His dreaded head, and the old sparkes renew
Of natiue courage, that his foes shall feare,
Least backe againe the kingdome he from them should beare.
Ne shall the Saxons selues all peaceably
Enioy the crowne, which they from Britons wonne
First ill, and after ruled wickedly:
For ere two hundred yeares be full ouerronne,
There shall a Rauen far from rising Sunne,
With his wide wings vpon them fiercely fly,
And bid his faithlesse chickens ouerronne
The fruitfull plaines, and with fell cruelty,
In their auenge, tread downe the victours surquedry.
Yet shall a third both these, and thine subdew;
There shall a Lyon from the sea-bord wood
Of Neustria come roring, with a crew
Of hungry whelpes, his battailous bold brood,
Whose clawes were newly dipt in cruddy blood,
That from the Daniske Tyrants head shall rend
Th'vsurped crowne, as if that he were wood,
And the spoile of the countrey conquered
Emongst his young ones shall diuide with bountyhed.
Tho when the terme is full accomplishid,
There shall a sparke of fire, which hath long-while
Bene in his ashes raked vp, and hid,
Be freshly kindled in the fruitfull Ile
Of Mona, where it lurked in exile;
Which shall breake forth into bright burning flame,
And reach into the house, that beares the stile
Of royall maiesty and soueraigne name;
So shall the Briton bloud their crowne againe reclame.
Thenceforth eternall vnion shall be made
Betweene the nations different afore,
And sacred Peace shall louingly perswade
The warlike minds, to learne her goodly lore,
And ciuile armes to exercise no more:
Then shall a royall virgin raine, which shall
Stretch her white rod ouer the Belgicke shore,
And the great Castle smite so sore with all,
That it shall make him shake, and shortly learne to fall.
But yet the end is not. There Merlin stayd,
As ouercomen of the spirites powre,
Or other ghastly spectacle dismayd,
That secretly he saw, yet note discoure:
[Page 440]Which suddein fit, and halfe extatick stoure
When the two fearefull women saw, they grew
Greatly confused in behauioure;
At last the fury past, to former hew
She turnd againe, and chearefull looks did shew.
Then, when them selues they well instructed had
Of all, that needed them to be inquird,
They both conceiuing hope of comfort glad,
With lighter hearts vnto their home retird;
Where they in secret counsell close conspird,
How to effect so hard an enterprize,
And to possesse the purpose they desird:
Now this, now that twixt them they did deuise,
And diuerse plots did frame, to maske in strange deuise.
At last the Nourse in her foolhardy wit
Conceiu'd a bold deuise, and thus bespake;
Daughter, I deeme that counsell aye most fit,
That of the time doth dew aduauntage take;
Ye see that good king Vther now doth make
Strong warre vpon the Paynim brethren, hight
Octa and Oza, whom he lately brake
Beside Cayr Verolame, in victorious fight,
That now all Britanie doth burne in armes bright.
That therefore nought our passage may empeach,
Let vs in feigned armes our selues disguize,
And our weake hands (whom need new strength shall teach
The dreadfull speare and shield to exercize:
Ne certes daughter that same warlike wize
I weene, would you misseeme; for ye bene tall,
And large of limbe, t'atchieue an hard emprize,
Ne ought ye want, but skill, which practize small
Will bring, and shortly make you a mayd Martiall.
And sooth, it ought your courage much inflame,
To heare so often, in that royall hous,
From whence to none inferiour ye came:
Bards tell of many women valorous
Which haue full many feats aduenturous
Performd, in paragone of proudest men:
The bold Bunduca, whose victorious
Exploits made Rome to quake, stout Guendolen,
Renowmed Martia, and redoubted Emmilen.
And that, which more then all the rest may sway,
Late dayes ensample, which these eyes beheld,
In the last field before Meneuia
Which Vther with those forrein Pagans held,
I saw a Saxon Virgin, the which feld
Great Vlfin thrise vpon the bloudy plaine,
And had not Carados her hand withheld
From rash reuenge, she had him surely slaine,
Yet Carados himselfe from her escapt with paine.
Ah read, (quoth Britomart) how is she hight?
Faire Angela (quoth she) men do her call,
No whit lesse faire, then terrible in fight:
She hath the leading of a Martiall
And mighty people, dreaded more then all
The other Saxons, which do for her sake
And loue, themselues of her name Angles call.
Therefore faire Infant her ensample make
Vnto thy selfe, and equall courage to thee take.
Her harty words so deepe into the mynd
Of the young Damzell sunke, that great desire
Of warlike armes in her forthwith they tynd,
And generous stout courage did inspire,
[Page 442]That she resolu'd, vnmeeting to her Sire,
Aduent'rous knighthood on her selfe to don,
And counseld with her Nourse, her Maides attire
To turne into a massy habergeon,
And bad her all things put in readinesse anon.
Th'old woman nought, that needed, did omit;
But all things did conuiently puruay:
It fortuned (so time their turne did fit)
A band of Britons ryding on forray
Few dryes before, had gotten a great pray
Of Saxon goods, emongst the which was seene
A goodly Armour, and full rich aray,
Which long'd to Angela, the Saxon Queene,
All fretted round with gold, and goodly well beseene.
The same, with all the other ornaments,
King Ryence caused to be hanged hy
In his chiefe Church, for endlesse moniments
Of his successe and gladfull victory:
Of which her selfe auising readily,
In th'euening late old Glauce thither led
Faire Britomart, and that same Armory
Downe taking, her therein appareled,
Well as she might, and with braue bauldrick garnished.
Beside those armes there stood a mighty speare,
Which Bladud made by Magick art of yore,
And vsd the same in battell aye to beare;
Sith which it had bin here preseru'd in store,
For his great vertues proued long afore:
For neuer wight so fast in sell could sit,
But him perforce vnto the ground it bore:
Both speare she tooke, and shield, which hong by it:
Both speare & shield of great powre, for her purpose fit
Thus when she had the virgin all arayd,
Another harnesse, which did hang thereby,
About her selfe she dight, that the young Mayd
She might in equall armes accompany,
And as her Squire attend her carefully:
Tho to their ready Steeds they clombe full light,
And through back wayes, that none might them espy,
Couered with secret cloud of silent night,
Themselues they forth conuayd, & passed forward right.
Ne rested they, till that to Faery lond
They came, as Merlin them directed late:
Where meeting with this Redcrosse knight, she fond
Of diuerse things discourses to dilate,
But most of Arthegall, and his estate.
At last their wayes so fell, that they mote part
Then each to other well affectionate,
Friendship professed with vnfained hart,
The Redcrosse knight diuerst, but forth rode Britomart.

Cant. IIII.

Bold Marinell of Britomart,
Is throwne on the Rich strond:
Faire Florimell of Arthur is
Long followed, but not fond.
WHere is the Antique glory now become,
That whilome wont in women to appeare?
Where be the braue atchieuements doen by some?
Where be the battels, where the shield and speare,
And all the conquests, which them high did reare,
That matter made for famous Poets verse,
And boastfull men so oft abasht to heare?
Bene they all dead, and laid in dolefull herse?
Or doen they onely sleepe, and shall againe reuerse?
If they be dead, then woe is me therefore:
But if they sleepe, ô let them soone awake:
For all too long I burne with enuy sore,
To heare the warlike feates, which Homere spake
Of bold Panthesilee, which made a lake
Of Greekish bloud so oft in Troian plaine;
But when I read, how stout Debora strake
Proud Sisera, and how Camill' hath slaine
The huge Orsilochus, I swell with great disdaine.
Yet these, and all that else had puissaunce,
Cannot with noble Britomart compare,
Aswell for glory of great valiaunce,
As for pure chastitie and vertue rare,
[Page 445]That all her goodly deeds do well declare.
Well worthy stock, from which the branches sprong,
That in late yeares so faire a blossome bare,
As thee, ô Queene, the matter of my song,
Whose lignage from this Lady I deriue along.
Who when through speaches with the Redcrosse knight,
She learned had th'estate of Arthegall,
And in each point her selfe informd aright,
A friendly league of loue perpetuall
She with him bound, and Congé tooke withall.
Then he forth on his iourney did proceede,
To seeke aduentures, which mote him befall,
And win him worship through his warlike deed,
Which alwayes of his paines he made the chiefest meed.
But Britomart kept on her former course,
Ne euer dofte her armes, but all the way
Grew pensiue through that amorous discourse,
By which the Redcrosse knight did earst display
Her louers shape, and cheualrous aray;
A thousand thoughts she fashioned in her mind,
And in her feigning fancie did pourtray
Him such, as fittest she for loue could find,
Wise, warlike, personable, curteous, and kind.
With such selfe-pleasing thoughts her wound she fed,
And thought so to beguile her grieuous smart;
But so her smart was much more grieuous bred,
And the deepe wound more deepe engord her hart,
That nought but death her dolour mote depart.
So forth she rode without repose or rest,
Searching all lands and each remotest part,
Following the guidaunce of her blinded guest,
Till that to the sea-coast at length she her addres
There she a lighted from her light-foot beast,
And sitting downe vpon the rocky shore,
Bad her old Squire vnlace her lofty creast;
Tho hauing vewd a while the surges hore,
That gainst the craggy clifts did loudly rore,
And in their raging surquedry disdaynd,
That the fast earth affronted them so sore,
And their deuoring couetize restraynd,
Thereat she sighed deepe, and after thus complaynd.
Huge sea of sorrow, and tempestuous griefe,
Wherein my feeble barke is tossed long,
Far from the hoped hauen of reliefe,
Who do thy cruell billowes beat so strong,
And thy moyst mountaines each on others throng,
Threatning to swallow vp my fearefull life?
O do thy cruell wrath and spightfull wrong
At length allay, and stint thy stormy strife,
Which in these troubled bowels raignes, & rageth rife.
For else my feeble vessell crazd, and crackt
Through thy strong buffets and outrageous blowes,
Cannot endure, but needs it must be wrackt
On the rough rocks, or on the sandy shallowes,
The whiles that loue it steres, and fortune rowes;
Loue my lewd Pilot hath a restlesse mind
And fortune Boteswaine no assuraunce knowes,
But saile withouten starres, gainst tide and wind:
How can they other do, sith both are bold and blind?
Thou God of winds, that raignest in the seas,
That raignest also in the Continent,
At last blow vp some gentle gale of ease,
The which may bring my ship, ere it be rent,
[Page 447]Vnto the gladsome port of her intent:
Then when I shall my selfe in safety see,
A table for eternall moniment
Of thy great grace, and my great ieopardee,
Great Neptune, I auow to hallow vnto thee.
Then sighing softly sore, and inly deepe,
She shut vp all her plaint in priuy griefe;
For her great courage would not let her weepe,
Till that old Glauce gan with sharpe repriefe,
Her to restraine, and giue her good reliefe,
Through hope of those, which Merlin had her told
Should of her name and nation be chiefe,
And fetch their being from the sacred mould
Of her immortall wombe, to be in heauen enrold.
Thus as she her recomforted, she spyde,
Where farre away one all in armour bright,
With hastie gallop towards her did ryde;
Her dolour soone she ceast, and on her dight
Her Helmet, to her Courser mounting light:
Her former sorrow into suddein wrath,
Both coosen passions of distroubled spright,
Conuerting, forth she beates the dustie path;
Loue and despight attonce her courage kindled hath.
As when a foggy mist hath ouercast
The face of heauen, and the cleare aire engrost,
The world in darkenesse dwels, till that at last
The watry Southwinde from the seabord cost
Vpblowing, doth disperse the vapour lo'st,
And poures it selfe forth in a stormy showre;
So the faire Britomart hauing disclo'st
Her clowdy care into a wrathfull stowre,
The mist of griefe dissolu'd, into vengeance powre,
Eftsoones her goodly shield addressing faire,
That mortall speare she in her hand did take,
And vnto battell did her selfe prepaire.
The knight approching, sternely her bespake;
Sir knight, that doest thy voyage rashly make
By this forbidden way in my despight,
Ne doest by others death ensample take,
I read thee soone retyre, whiles thou hast might,
Least afterwards it be too late to take thy flight.
Ythrild with deepe disdaine of his proud threat,
She shortly thus; Fly they, that need to fly;
Words fearen babes. I meane not thee entreat
To passe; but maugre thee will passe or dy.
Ne lenger stayd for th'other to reply,
But with sharpe speares the rest made dearly knowne.
Srongly the straunge knight ran, and sturdily
Strooke her full on the brest, that made her downe
Decline her head, & touch her crouper with her crowne.
But she againe him in the shield did smite
With so fierce furie and great puissaunce,
That through his threesquare scuchin percing quite,
And through his mayled hauberque, by mischaunce
The wicked steele through his left side did glaunce;
Him so transfixed she before her bore
Beyond his croupe, the length of all her launce,
Till sadly soucing on the sandie shore,
He tombled on an heape, and wallowd in his gore.
Like as the sacred Oxe, that carelesse stands,
With gilden hornes, and flowry girlonds crownd,
Proud of his dying honor and deare bands,
Whiles th'altars fume with frankincense arownd,
[Page 449]All suddenly with mortall stroke astownd,
Doth groueling fall, and with his streaming gore
Distaines the pillours, and the holy grownd,
And the faire flowres, that decked him afore;
So fell proud Marinell vpon the pretious shore.
The martiall Mayd stayd not him to lament,
But forward rode, and kept her readie way
Along the strond, which as she ouer-went,
She saw bestrowed all with rich aray
Of pearles and pretious stones of great assay,
And all the grauell mixt with golden owre;
Whereat she wondred much, but would not stay
For gold, or perles, or pretious stones an howre,
But them despised all; for all was in her powre.
Whiles thus he lay in deadly stonishment,
Tydings hereof came to his mothers eare;
His mother was the blacke-browd Cymoent,
The daughter of great Nereus, which did beare
This warlike sonne vnto an earthly peare,
The famous Dumarin; who on a day
Finding the Nymph a sleepe in secret wheare,
As he by chaunce did wander that same way,
Was taken with her loue, and by her closely lay.
There he this knight of her begot, whom borne
She of his father Marinell did name,
And in a rocky caue as wight forlorne,
Long time she fostred vp, till he became
A mightie man at armes, and mickle fame
Did get through great aduentures by him donne:
For neuer man he suffred by that same
Rich strond to trauell, whereas he did wonne,
But that he must do battell with the Sea-nymphes sonne.
An hundred knights of honorable name
He had subdew'd, and them his vassals made,
That through all Farie lond his noble fame
Now blazed was, and feare did all inuade,
That none durst passen through that perilous glade.
And to aduance his name and glorie more,
Her Sea-god syre she dearely did perswade,
T'endow her sonne with threasure and rich store,
Boue all the sonnes, that were of earthly wombes ybore.
The God did graunt his daughters deare demaund,
To doen his Nephew in all riches flow;
Eftsoones his heaped waues he did commaund,
Out of their hollow bosome forth to throw
All the huge threasure, which the sea below
Had in his greedie gulfe deuoured deepe,
And him enriched through the ouerthrow
And wreckes of many wretches, which did weepe,
And often waile their wealth, which he from them did keepe.
Shortly vpon that shore there heaped was,
Exceeding riches and all pretious things,
The spoyle of all the world, that it did pas
The wealth of th'East, and pompe of Persian kings;
Gold, amber, yuorie, perles, owches, rings,
And all that else was pretious and deare,
The sea vnto him voluntary brings,
That shortly he a great Lord did appeare,
As was in all the lond of Faery, or elsewheare.
Thereto he was a doughtie dreaded knight,
Tryde often to the scath of many deare,
That none in equall armes him matchen might,
The which his mother seeing, gan to feare
[Page 451]Least his too haughtie hardines might reare
Some hard mishap, in hazard of his life:
For thy she oft him counseld to forbeare
The bloudie battell, and to stirre vp strife,
But after all his warre, to rest his wearie knife.
And for his more assurance, she inquir'd
One day of Proteus by his mightie spell,
(For Proteus was with prophecie inspir'd)
Her deare sonnes destinie to her to tell,
And the sad end of her sweet Marinell.
Who through foresight of his eternall skill,
Bad her from womankind to keepe him well:
For of a woman he should haue much ill,
A virgin strange and stout him should dismay, or kill.
For thy she gaue him warning euery day,
The loue of women not to entertaine;
A lesson too too hard for liuing clay,
From loue in course of nature to refraine:
Yet he his mothers lore did well retaine,
And euer from faire Ladies loue did fly;
Yet many Ladies faire did oft complaine,
That they for loue of him would algates dy:
Dy, who so list for him, he was loues enimy.
But ah, who can deceiue his destiny,
Or weene by warning to auoyd his fate?
That when he sleepes in most security,
And safest seemes, him soonest doth amate,
And findeth dew effect or soone or late.
So feeble is the powre of fleshly arme.
His mother bad him womens loue to hate,
For she of womans force did feare no harme;
So weening to haue arm'd him, she did quite disarme.
This was that woman, this that deadly wound,
That Proteus prophecide should him dismay,
The which his mother vainely did expound,
To be hart-wounding loue, which should assay
To bring her sonne vnto his last decay.
So tickle be the termes of mortall state,
And full of subtile sophismes, which do play
With double senses, and with false debate,
Tapproue the vnknowen purpose of eternall fate.
Too true the famous Marinell it fownd,
Who through late triall, on that wealthy Strond
Inglorious now lies in senselesse swownd,
Through heauy stroke of Britomartis hond.
Which when his mother deare did vnderstond,
And heauy tydings heard, whereas she playd
Amongst her watry sisters by a pond,
Gathering sweet daffadillyes, to haue made
Gay girlonds, from the Sun their forheads faire to shade.
Eftsoones both flowres and girlonds farre away
She flong, and her faire deawy lockes yrent,
To sorrow huge she turnd her former play,
And gameson merth to grieuous dreriment:
She threw her selfe downe on the Continent,
Ne word did speake, but lay as in a swowne,
Whiles all her sisters did for her lament,
With yelling outcries, and with shrieking sowne;
And euery one did teare her girlond from her crowne.
Soone as she vp out of her deadly fit
Arose, she bad her charet to be brought,
And all her sisters, that with her did sit,
Bad eke attonce their charets to be sought;
[Page 453]Tho full of bitter griefe and pensiue thought,
She to her wagon clombe; clombe all the rest,
And forth together went, with sorrow fraught.
The waues obedient to their beheast,
Them yielded readie passage, and their rage surceast.
Great Neptune stood amazed at their sight,
Whiles on his broad round backe they softly slid
And eke himselfe mournd at their mournfull plight,
Yet wist not what their wailing ment, yet did
For great compassion of their sorrow, bid
His mightie waters to them buxome bee:
Eftsoones the roaring billowes still abid,
And all the griefly Monsters of the See
Stood gaping at their gate, and wondred them to see.
A teme of Dolphins raunged in aray,
Drew the smooth charet of sad Cymoent;
They were all taught by Triton, to obay
To the long traines, at her commaundement:
As swift as swallowes, on the waues they went,
That their broad flaggie finnes no fome did reare,
Ne bubbling roundell they behind them sent;
The rest of other fishes drawen weare,
Which with their finny oars the swelling sea did sheare.
Soone as they bene arriu'd vpon the brim
Of the Rich strond, their charets they forlore,
And let their temed fishes softly swim
Along the margent of the fomy shore,
Least they their finnes should bruze, and surbate sore
Their tender feet vpon the stony ground:
And comming to the place, where all in gore
And cruddy bloud enwallowed they found
The lucklesse Marinell, lying in deadly swound;
His mother swowned thrise, and the third time
Could scarce recouered be out of her paine;
Had she not bene deuoyd of mortall slime,
She should not then haue bene reliu'd againe,
But soone as life recouered had the raine,
She made so piteous mone and deare wayment,
That the hard rocks could scarse from teares refraine,
And all her sister Nymphes with one consent
Supplide her sobbing breaches with sad complement.
Deare image of my selfe (she said) that is,
The wretched sonne of wretched mother borne,
Is this thine high aduauncement, ô is this
Th'immortall name, with which thee yet vnborne
Thy Gransire Nereus promist to adorne?
Now lyest thou of life and honor reft;
Now lyest thou a lumpe of earth forlorne,
Ne of thy late life memory is left,
Ne can thy irreuocable destiny be weft?
Fond Proteus, father of false prophecis,
And they more fond, that credit to thee giue,
Not this the worke of womans hand ywis,
That so deepe wound through these deare members driue.
I feared loue: but they that loue do liue,
But they that die, doe neither loue nor hate.
Nath'lesse to thee thy folly I forgiue,
And to my selfe, and to accursed fate
The guilt I doe ascribe: deare wisedome bought too late.
O what auailes it of immortall seed
To beene ybred and neuer borne to die?
Farre better I it deeme to die with speed,
Then waste in woe and wailefull miserie.
[Page 455]Who dyes the vtmost dolour doth abye,
But who that liues, is left to waile his losse:
So life is losse, and death felicitie.
Sad life worse then glad death: and greater crosse
To see friends graue, thē dead the graue selfe to engrosse.
But if the heauens did his dayes enuie,
And my short blisse maligne, yet mote they well
Thus much afford me, ere that he did die
That the dim eyes of my deare Marinell
I mote haue closed, and him bed farewell,
Sith other offices for mother meet
They would not graunt.
Yet maulgre them farewell, my sweetest sweet;
Farewell my sweetest sonne, sith we no more shall meet.
Thus when they all had sorrowed their fill,
They softly gan to search his griesly wound:
And that they might him handle more at will,
They him disarm'd, and spredding on the ground
Their watchet mantles frindgd with siluer round,
They softly wipt away the gelly blood
From th'orifice; which hauing well vpbound,
They pourd in soueraine balme, and Nectar good,
Good both for earthly med'cine, and for heauenly food.
Tho when the lilly handed Liagore,
(This Liagore whylome had learned skill
In leaches craft, by great Appolloes lore,
Sith her whylome vpon high Pindus hill,
He loued, and at last her wombe did fill
With heauenly seed, whereof wise Paeon sprong)
Did feele his pulse, she knew their staied still
Some litle life his feeble sprites emong;
Which to his mother told, despeire she from her flong.
Tho vp him taking in their tender hands,
They easily vnto her charet beare:
Her teme at her commaundement quiet stands,
Whiles they the corse into her wagon reare,
And strow with flowres the lamentable beare:
Then all the rest into their coches clim,
And through the brackish waues their passage sheare;
Vpon great Neptunes necke they softly swim,
And to her watry chamber swiftly carry him.
Deepe in the bottome of the sea, her bowre
Is built of hollow billowes heaped hye,
Like to thicke cloudes, that threat a stormy showre,
And vauted all within, like to the sky,
In which the Gods do dwell eternally:
There they him laid in easie couch well dight;
And sent in haste for Tryphon, to apply
Salues to his wounds, and medicines of might:
For Tryphon of sea gods the soueraine leach is hight.
The whiles the Nymphes sit all about him round,
Lamenting his mishap and heauy plight;
And oft his mother vewing his wide wound,
Cursed the hand, that did so deadly smight
Her dearest sonne, her dearest harts delight.
But none of all those curses ouertooke
The warlike Maid, th'ensample of that might,
But fairely well she thriu'd, and well did brooke
Her noble deeds, ne her right course for ought forsooke.
Yet did false Archimage her still pursew,
To bring to passe his mischieuous intent,
Now that he had her singled from the crew
Of courteous knights, the Prince, and Faery gent,
[Page 457]Whom late in chace of beautie excellent
She left, pursewing that same foster strong;
Of whose foule outrage they impatient,
And full of fiery zeale, him followed long,
To reskew her from shame, and to reuenge her wrong.
Through thick and thin, through mountaines & through plains,
Those two great chāpions did attonce pursew
The fearefull damzell, with incessant paines:
Who from them fled, as light-foot hare from vew
Of hunter swift, and sent of houndes trew.
At last they came vnto a double way,
Where, doubtfull which to take, her to reskew,
Themselues they did dispart, each to assay,
Whether more happie were, to win so goodly pray.
But Timias, the Princes gentle Squire,
That Ladies loue vnto his Lord forlent,
And with proud enuy, and indignant ire,
After that wicked foster fiercely went.
So beene they three three sundry wayes ybent.
But fairest fortune to the Prince befell,
Whose chaunce it was, that soone he did repent,
To take that way, in which that Damozell
Was fled afore, affraid of him, as feend of hell.
At last of her farre off he gained vew:
Then gan he freshly pricke his fomy steed,
And euer as he nigher to her drew,
So euermore he did increase his speed,
And of each turning still kept warie heed:
Aloud to her he oftentimes did call,
To doe away vaine doubt, and needlesse dreed:
Full myld to her he spake, and oft let fall
Many meeke wordes, to stay and comfort her withall.
But nothing might relent her hastie flight;
So deepe the deadly feare of that foule swaine
Was earst impressed in her gentle spright:
Like as a fearefull Doue, which through the raine,
Of the wide aire her way does cut amaine,
Hauing farre off espyde a Tassell gent,
Which after her his nimble wings doth straine,
Doubleth her haste for feare to be for-hent,
And with her pineons cleaues the liquid firmament.
With no lesse haste, and eke with no lesse dreed,
That fearefull Ladie fled from him, that ment
To her no euill thought, nor euill deed;
Yet former feare of being fowly shent,
Carried her forward with her first intent:
And though oft looking backward, well she vewd,
Her selfe freed from that foster insolent,
And that it was a knight, which now her sewd,
Yet she no lesse the knight feard, then that villein rude.
His vncouth shield and straunge armes her dismayd,
Whose like in Faery lond were seldome seene,
That fast she from him fled, no lesse affrayd,
Then of wilde beastes if she had chased beene:
Yet he her followd still with courage keene,
So long that now the golden Hesperus
Was mounted high in top of heauen sheene,
And warnd his other brethren ioyeous,
To light their blessed lamps in Ioues eternall hous.
All suddenly dim woxe the dampish ayre,
And griesly shadowes couered heauen bright,
That now with thousand starres was decked fayre;
Which when the Prince beheld, a lothfull sight,