The thirde Booke
of the Faerie Queene.
The Legend of Britomartis.
IT falls me here to write of Chastity,
The fayrest vertue, far aboue the rest;
For which what needes me fetch from Faery
Forreine ensamples, it to haue exprest?
Sith it is shrined in my Soueraines brest,
And formd so liuely in each perfect part,
That to all Ladies, which haue it profest,
Neede but behold the pourtraict of her hart,
If pourtrayd it might bee by any liuing art.
But liuing art may not least part expresse,
Nor life-resembling pencill it can paynt,
All were it Zeuxis or Praxiteles:
His daedale hand would faile, and greatly faynt,
And her perfections with his error taynt:
Ne Poets witt, that passeth Painter farre
In picturing the parts of beauty daynt,
So hard a workemanship aduenture darre,
For fear through want of words her excellence to marre.
How then shall I, Apprentice of the skill,
That whilome in diuinest wits did rayne,
Presume so high to stretch mine humble quill?
Yet now my luckelesse lott doth me constrayne
Hereto perforce. But O dredd Souerayne
Thus far forth pardon, sith that choicest witt
Cannot your glorious pourtraict figure playne,
That I in colourd showes may shadow itt,
And antique praises vnto present persons fitt.
But if in liuing colours, and right hew,
Thy selfe thou couet to see pictured,
Who can it doe more liuely, or more trew,
Then that sweete verse, with Nectar sprinckeled,
In which a gracious seruaunt pictured
His Cynthia, his heauens fayrest light?
That with his melting sweetnes rauished,
And with the wonder of her beames bright,
My sences 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 fayrest Cynthia refuse,
In mirrours more then one her selfe to see,
But either Gloriana let her chuse,
Or in Belph be fashioned to bee:
In th'one her rule, in th'other her rare chastitee.
Guyon encountreth Britomart,
Fayre Florimell is chaced:
Duessaes traines and Malecastaes
champions are defaced.
THe famous Briton Prince and Faery knight,
After long wayes and perilous paines endur'd,
Hauing their weary limbes to perfect plight
Restord, and sory wounds right well recur'd,
Of the faire Alma greatly were procur'd,
To make there lenger soiourne and abode;
But when thereto they might not be allur'd,
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 traueill long, a nigher way,
With a strong gard, all reskew to preuent,
And her to Faery court safe to conuay,
That her for witnes of his hard assay,
Vnto his Faery Queene he might present:
But he him selfe betooke another way,
To make more triall of his hardiment,
And seeke aduentures, as he with Prince Arthure went.
Long so they traueiled through wastefull wayes,
Where daungers dwelt, and perils most did wonne,
To hunt for glory and renowmed prayse;
Full many Countreyes they did ouerronne,
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 fayre,
And him beside an aged Squire there rode,
That seemd to couch vnder his shield three-square,
As if that age badd him that burden spare,
And yield it those, that stouter could it wield:
He them espying, gan him selfe 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 ronne that turne.
He graunted: then the Faery quickly raught
His poynant speare, and sharply gan to spurne
His fomy steed, whose fiery feete did burne
The verdant gras, as he thereon did tread;
Ne did the other backe his foote returne,
But fiercely forward came withouten dread,
And bent his dreadful speare against the others head.
They beene ymett, and both theyr points arriu'd,
But Guyon droue so furious and fell,
That seemd both shield and plate it would haue riu'd;
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 mischaunce his life and limbs did spare.
Great shame and sorrow of that fall he tooke;
For neuer yet, sith warlike armes he bore,
And shiuering speare in bloody field first shooke,
He fownd him selfe dishonored so sore.
Ah gentlest knight, that euer armor bore,
Let not thee grieue dismounted to haue beene,
And brought to grownd, 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 regrett
For thy hard fortune then thou wouldst renew,
That of a single damzell thou wert mett
On equall plaine, and there so hard besett;
Euen the famous Britomart it was,
Whom straunge aduenture did from Britayne fett,
To seeke her louer (loue far sought alas,)
Whose image shee had seene in Venus looking glas.
Full of disdainefull wrath, he fierce vprose,
For to reuenge that fowle reprochefull shame,
And snatching his bright sword began to close
With her on foot, and stoutly forward came;
Dye 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 fayre perswade,
Not to prouoke misfortune, nor to weene
His speares default to mend with cruell blade;
For by his mightie Science he had seene
The secrete vertue of that weapon keene,
That mortall puissaunce mote not withstond:
Nothing on earth mote alwaies happy 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 aswage,
And laid the blame, not to his carriage,
But to his starting steed, that swaru'd asyde,
And to the ill purueyaunce of his page,
That had his furnitures not firmely tyde:
So is his angry corage fayrly pacifyde.
Thus reconcilement was betweene them knitt,
Through goodly temperaunce, and affection chaste,
And either vowd with all their power and witt,
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 tymes,
In which the sword was seruaunt vnto right;
When not for malice and contentious crymes,
But all for prayse, and proofe of manly might,
The martiall brood accustomed to fight:
Then honour was the meed of victory,
And yet the vanquished had no despight:
Let later age that noble vse enuy,
Vyle rancor to avoid, and cruel surquedry.
Long they thus traueiled in friendly wise,
Through countreyes waste, and eke well edifyde,
Seeking aduentures hard, to exercise
Their puissaunce, whylome full dernly tryde:
At length they came into a forest wyde,
Whose hideous horror and sad trembling sownd
Full griesly seemd: Therein they long did ryde,
Yet tract of liuing creature none they fownd,
Saue Beares, Lyons, and Buls, which romed them arownd.
All suddenly out of the thickest brush,
Vpon a milkwhite Palfrey all alone,
A goodly Lady 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 fledd so fast, that nothing mote him hold,
And scarse them leasure gaue, her passing to behold.
Still as she fledd, her eye she backward threw,
As fearing euill, that poursewd her fast;
And her faire yellow locks behind her flew,
Loosely disperst with puff of euery blast:
All as a blazing starre doth farre outcast
His hearie beames, and flaming lockes dispredd,
At sight whereof the people stand aghast:
But the sage wisard telles, as he has redd,
That it importunes death and dolefull dreryhedd.
So as they gazed after her a whyle,
Lo where a griesly foster forth did rush,
Breathing out beastly lust her to defyle:
His tyreling Iade he fiersly forth did push,
Through thicke and thin, both ouer banck and bush
In hope her to attaine by hooke or crooke,
That from his gory sydes the blood 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 enuy 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 behynd,
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 corage and stout hardiment;
Ne euil thing she feard, ne euill thing she ment.
At last as nigh out of the wood she came,
A stately Castle far 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 playne,
Mantled with greene, it selfe did spredden wyde,
On which she saw six knights, that did darrayne
Fiers battaill against one, with cruel might and mayne.
Mainely they all attonce vpon him laid,
And sore beset on euery side arownd,
That nigh he breathlesse grew, yet nought dismaid,
Ne euer to them yielded foot of grownd
All had he lost much blood through many a wownd,
But stoutly dealt his blowes, and euery way
To which he turned in his wrathfull stownd,
Made them recoile, and fly from dredd decay,
That none of all the six 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 apace
Vnto his reskew, and with earnest cry,
Badd 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 rownd 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 six would me enforce by oddes of might,
To chaunge my liefe, and loue another Dame,
That death me liefer were, then such despight,
So vnto wrong to yield my wrested right:
For I loue one, the truest one on grownd,
Ne list me chaunge; she th'Errant damzell hight,
For whose deare sake full many a bitter stownd,
I haue endurd, and tasted many a bloody wownd.
Certes (said she) then beene ye sixe to blame,
To weene your wrong by force to iustify:
For knight to leaue his Lady were great shame,
That faithfull is, and better were to dy.
All losse is lesse, and lesse the infamy,
Then losse of loue to him, that loues but one;
Ne may loue be compeld by maistery;
For soone as maistery comes, sweet loue anone
Taketh his nimble winges, and soone away is gone.
Then spake one of those six, There dwelleth here
Within this castle wall a Lady fayre,
Whose soueraine beautie hath no liuing pere,
Thereto so bounteous and so debonayre,
That neuer any mote with her compayre.
She hath ordaind this law, which we approue,
That euery knight, which doth this way repayre,
In case he haue no Lady, nor no loue,
Shall doe vnto her seruice neuer to remoue.
But if he haue a Lady or a Loue,
Then must he her forgoe with fowle defame,
Or els with vs by dint of sword approue,
That she is fairer, then our fairest Dame,
As did this knight, before ye hether came.
Perdy (said Britomart) the choise is hard:
But what reward had he, that ouercame?
He should aduaunced bee 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 wronges 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, and 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 (sayd 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, (saide they) and proue too well
Our faulty weakenes, 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 liegemen faith vnto you plight.
So vnderneath her feet their swords they mard,
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 commun name)
Where they were entertaynd with courteous
And comely glee of many gratious
Faire Ladies, and of 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 roiall riches and exceeding cost,
Of euery pillour and of euery post;
Which all of purest bullion framed were,
And with great perles and pretious stones embost,
That the bright glister of their beames cleare
Did sparckle forth great light, and glorious did appeare.
These stranger 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 sumpteous guize
Might be maintaynd, and each gan diuersely deuize.
The wals were round about appareiled
With costly clothes of Arras and of Toure,
In which with cunning hand was pourtrahed
The loue of Venus and her Paramoure,
The fayre 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 bee;
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 whilst 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 Paunces 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 beastes, whose brutish pryde
Mote breede him scath vnwares: but all in vaine;
For who can shun the chance, that dest'ny doth ordaine?
Lo, where beyond he lyeth languishing,
Deadly engored of a great wilde Bore,
And by his side the Goddesse groueling
Makes for him endlesse mone, and euermore
With her soft garment wipes away the gore,
Which staynes 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 rownd about it many beds were dight,
As whylome 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 Squyres,
Dauncing and reueling both day and night,
And swimming deepe in sensuall desyres,
And Cupid still emongest them kindled lustfull fyres.
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 courteous wize
Into a bowre, disarmed for to be,
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 fayre Cynthia, in darkesome night,
Is in a noyous cloud enueloped,
Where she may finde the substance thin and light,
Breakes forth her siluer beames, and her bright hed
Discouers to the world discomfited;
Of the poore traueiler, that went astray,
With thousand blessings she is heried;
Such was the beautie and the shining ray,
With which fayre 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 vnsought;
For they all seemed courteous 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 liegmen to this Ladie free,
And her knights seruice ought, to hold of her in fee.
The first of them by name Gardante hight,
A iolly person, and of comely vew;
The second was Parlante, a bold knight,
And next to him Iocante did ensew;
Basciante did him selfe most courteous shew;
But fierce Bacchante seemd too fell and keene;
And yett in armes Noctante greater grew:
All were faire knights, and goodly well beseene,
But to faire Britomart they all but shadowes beene.
For shee was full of amiable grace,
And manly terror 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 error fall;
As hee, 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 ydle wish doth lose.
Whom when the Lady saw so faire a wight,
All ignorant of her contrary sex,
(For shee her weend a fresh and lusty knight)
Shee greatly gan enamoured to wex,
And with vaine thoughts her falsed fancy vex:
Her fickle hart conceiued hasty fyre,
Like sparkes of fire, that fall in sclender flex,
That shortly brent into extreme desyre,
And ransackt all her veines with passion entyre.
Eftsoones shee grew to great impatience
And into termes of open outrage brust,
That plaine discouered her incontinence,
Ne reckt shee, 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 honor putt to flight:
So shamelesse beauty soone becomes a loathly sight.
Faire Ladies, that to loue captiued arre,
And chaste desires doe nourish in your mind,
Let not her fault your sweete affections marre,
Ne blott 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 alwaies bring forth bounteous deeds,
And in each gentle hart desire of honor breeds.
Nought so of loue this looser Dame did skill,
But as a cole 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 eies, 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 satt,
Where they were serued with all sumptuous fare,
Whiles fruitfull Ceres, and Lyaeus fatt
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
To loose her warlike limbs and strong effort,
But when shee mote not thereunto be wonne,
(For shee her sexe vnder that straunge purport
Did vse to hide, and plaine apparaunce shonne:)
In playner wise to tell her grieuaunce she begonne.
And all attonce discouered her desire
With sighes, and sobs, and plaints, and piteous griefe,
The outward sparkes of her inburning fire;
Which spent in vaine, at last she told her briefe,
That but if she did lend her short reliefe,
And doe her comfort, she mote algates dye.
But the chaste damzell, that had neuer priefe
Of such malengine and fine forgerye,
Did easely beleeue her strong extremitye.
Full easy 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 doe louing harts perplexe.
Who meanes no guile, be-guiled soonest shall,
And to faire semblaunce doth light faith annexe;
The bird, that knowes not the false fowlers call,
Into his hidden nett full easely 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 shee 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 fedd,
Till she mote winne fit time for her desire,
But yet her wound still inward freshly bledd,
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
Gan choose his dame with Bascimano gay,
With whom he ment to make his sport and courtly play.
Some fell to daunce, some fel to hazardry,
Some to make loue, some to make meryment,
As diuerse witts to diuerse things apply;
And all the while faire Malecasta bent
Her crafty engins to her close intent.
By this th'eternall lampes, wherewith high Ioue
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 euerie wight
Them to betake vnto their kindly rest;
Eftesoones long waxen torches weren light,
Vnto their bowres to guyden euery guest:
Tho when the Britonesse saw all the rest
Auoided quite, she gan her selfe despoile,
And safe committ to her soft fethered nest,
Wher through long watch, and late daies weary toile,
She soundly slept, and carefull thoughts did quite assoile.
Now whenas 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
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 scarlott mantle couered,
That was with gold and Ermines faire enueloped.
Then panting softe, and trembling euery ioynt,
Her fearfull feete towards the bowre she mou'd.
Where she for secret purpose did appoynt
To lodge the warlike maide vnwisely loou'd,
And to her bed approching, first she proou'd,
Whether she slept or wakte, with her softe hand
She softely felt, if any member moou'd,
And lent her wary eare to vnderstand,
If any puffe of breath, or signe of sence shee fond.
Which whenas none she fond, with easy shifte,
For feare least her vnwares she should abrayd,
Th'embroderd quilt she lightly vp did lifte,
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 bedd,
And to her weapon ran, in minde to gride
The loathed leachour. But the Dame halfe dedd
Through suddein feare and ghastly drerihedd,
Did shrieke alowd, that through the hous it rong,
And the whole family therewith adredd,
Rashly out of their rouzed couches sprong,
And to the troubled chamber all in armes did throng.
And those sixe 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 thother side, they saw the warlike Mayd
Al in her snow-white smocke, with locks vnbownd,
Threatning the point of her auenging blaed,
That with so troublous terror they were all dismayd.
About their Ladye first they flockt arownd,
Whom hauing laid in comfortable couch,
Shortly they reard out of her frosen swownd;
And afterwardes 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 bloody 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 blood thereout did weepe,
Which did her lilly smock with staines of vermeil steep.
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:
Here, there, and euery where about her swayd
Her wrathfull steele, that none mote it abyde;
And eke the Redcrosse knight gaue her good ayd,
Ay ioyning foot to foot, and syde to syde,
That in short space their foes they haue quite terrifyde.
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, and forth vpon their iourney went.
The Redcrosse knight to Britomart
The wondrous myrrhour, by which she
in loue with him did fall.
HEre haue I cause, in men iust blame to find,
That in their proper praise too partiall bee,
And not indifferent to woman kind,
To whom no share in armes and cheualree,
They doe impart, ne maken memoree
Of their braue gestes and prowesse martiall;
Scarse doe they spare to one or two or three,
Rowme in their writtes; yet the same writing small
Does all their deedes deface, and dims their glories all,
But by record of antique times I finde,
That wemen wont in warres to beare most sway,
And to all great exploites them selues 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 laide away,
They haue exceld in artes and pollicy,
That now we foolish men that prayse gin eke t'enuy.
Of warlike puissaunce in ages spent,
Be thou faire Britomart, whose prayse I wryte,
But of all wisedom bee thou precedent,
O soueraine Queene, whose prayse I would endyte,
Endite I would as dewtie doth excyte;
But ah my rymes too rude and rugged arre,
When in so high an obiect they doe lyte,
And striuing, fit to make, I feare doe marre:
Thy selfe thy prayses tell, and make them knowen farre.
She traueiling with Guyon by the way,
Of sondry thinges faire purpose gan to find,
T'abridg their iourney long, and lingring day;
Mongst which it fell into that Fairies mind,
To aske this Briton Maid, what vncouth wind,
Brought her into those partes, and what inquest
Made her dissemble her disguised kind:
Faire Lady she him seemd, like Lady drest,
But fairest knight aliue, when armed was her 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 fitt, did quake,
And euery daintie limbe with horrour shake,
And euer and anone the rosy red,
Flasht through her face, as it had beene a flake
Of lightning, through bright heuen 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 delight on deedes of armes is sett,
To hunt out perilles and aduentures hard,
By sea, by land, where so they may be mett,
Onely for honour and for high regard,
Without respect of richesse or reward.
For such intent into these partes I came,
Withouten compasse, or withouten card,
Far fro my natiue soyle, that is by name
The greater Brytayne, here to seeke for praise and fame.
Fame blazed hath, that here in Faery lond
Doe many famous knightes and Ladies wonne,
And many straunge aduentures to bee fond,
Of which great worth and worship may be wonne;
Which to proue, I this voyage haue begonne.
But mote I weet of you, right courteous 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 vptaking ere the fall,
Her shortly answered; Faire martiall Mayd
Certes ye misauised 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 doe, that mote deseruen blame:
The noble corage 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 Maid woxe inly wondrous glad,
To heare her Loue so highly magnifyde,
And ioyd that euer she affixed had,
Her hart on knight so goodly glorifyde,
How euer finely she it faind to hyde:
The louing mother, that nine monethes did beare,
In the deare closett of her painefull syde,
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 humor with his pleasing style,
Her list in stryfull termes with him to balke,
And thus replyde, How euer, Sir, ye fyle
Your courteous tongue, his prayses to compyle,
It ill beseemes a knight of gentle sort,
Such as ye haue him boasted, to beguyle
A simple maide, and worke so hainous tort,
In shame of knighthood, as I largely can report.
Let bee 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 mollify your mind,
(Said he) perhaps ye should it better find:
For hardie thing it is, to weene by might,
That man to hard conditions to bind,
Or euer hope to match in equall fight,
Whose prowesse paragone saw neuer liuing wight.
Ne soothlich is it easie for to read,
Where now on earth, or how he may be fownd;
For he ne wonneth in one certeine stead,
But restlesse walketh all the world arownd,
Ay doing thinges, that to his fame redownd,
Defending Ladies cause, and Orphans right,
Where so he heares, that any doth confownd
Them comfortlesse, through tyranny or might;
So is his soueraine honour raisde to heuens hight.
His feeling wordes 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 wordes are like to Magick art,
That doth the charmed Snake in slomber lay:
Such secrete ease felt gentle Britomart,
Yet list the same efforce with faind gainesay;
So dischord ofte in Musick makes the sweeter lay.
And sayd, Sir knight, these ydle termes forbeare,
And sith it is vneath to finde his haunt,
Tell me some markes, by which he may appeare,
If chaunce I him encounter parauaunt;
For perdy one shall other slay, or daunt:
What shape, what shield, what armes, what steed, what stedd,
And what so else his person most may vaunt?
All which the Redcrosse knight to point aredd,
And him in euerie part before her fashioned.
Yet him in euerie part before she knew,
How euer list her now her knowledge fayne,
Sith him whylome in Brytayne she did vew,
To her reuealed in a mirrhour playne,
Whereof did grow her first engraffed payne,
Whose root and stalke so bitter yet did taste,
That but the fruit more sweetnes did contayne,
Her wretched dayes in dolour she mote waste,
And yield the pray of loue to lothsome death at last.
By straunge occasion she did him behold,
And much more straungely gan to loue his sight,
As it in bookes hath written beene of old.
In Deheubarth that now South-wales is hight,
What time king Ryence raign'd, and dealed right,
The great Magitien Merlin had deuiz'd,
By his deepe science, and hell-dreaded might,
A looking glasse, right wondrously aguiz'd,
Whose vertues through the wyde worlde 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 heuens hight,
So that it to the looker appertaynd;
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 seemd a world of glas.
Who wonders not, that reades so wonderous worke?
But who does wonder, that has red the Towre,
Wherein th'Aegyptian Phao 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 glassy 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;
Happy this Realme, had it remayned euer since.
One day it fortuned, fayre 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 espyde that mirrhour fayre,
Her selfe awhile therein she vewd in vaine;
Tho her auizing of the vertues rare,
Which thereof spoken were, she gan againe
Her to bethinke 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 complete wize,
Through whose bright ventayle lifted vp on hye
His manly face, that did his foes agrize,
And frends to termes of gentle truce entize,
Lookt foorth, as Ph bus face out of the east,
Betwixt two shady mountaynes doth arize;
Portly his person was, and much increast
Through his Heroicke grace, and honorable gest.
His crest was couered with a couchant Hownd,
And all his armour seemd of antique mould,
But wondrous massy and assured sownd,
And round about yfretted all with gold,
In which there written was with cyphres old,
Achilles armes, which Arthogall did win.
And on his shield enueloped seuenfold
He bore a crowned litle Ermilin,
That deckt the azure field with her fayre pouldred skin.
The Damzell well did vew his Personage,
And liked well, ne further fastned not,
But went her way; ne her vnguilty age
Did weene, vnwares, that her vnlucky lot
Lay hidden in the bottome of the pot;
Of hurt vnwist 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 fether in her lofty crest,
Ruffed of loue, gan lowly to auaile,
And her prowd portaunce, 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 nether 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
Defaste the beautie of the shyning skye,
And reft from men the worldes desired vew,
She with her Nourse adowne to sleepe did lye;
But sleepe full far away from her did fly:
In stead thereof sad sighes, and sorrowes deepe
Kept watch and ward about her warily,
That nought she did but wayle, and often steepe
Her dainty couch with teares, which closely she did weepe.
And if that any drop of slombring rest
Did chaunce to still into her weary spright,
When feeble nature felt her selfe opprest,
Streight way with dreames, and with fantastick 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 fayre visage, written in her hart.
One night, when she was tost with such vnrest,
Her aged Nourse, whose name was Glauce hight,
Feeling her leape out of her loathed nest,
Betwixt her feeble armes her quickly keight,
And downe againe her in her warme bed dight;
Ah my deare daughter, ah my dearest dread,
What vncouth fit (sayd 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 suddein 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 youths fayrest flowre, but lose
Both leafe and fruite, 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 gryefe,
Sorrow is heaped in thy hollow chest,
Whence foorth it breakes in sighes and anguish ryfe,
As smoke and sulphure mingled with confused stryfe.
Ay 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,
Then I auow by this most sacred head
Of my deare foster childe, 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 sayd, her twixt her armes twaine
Shee streightly straynd, and colled tenderly,
And euery trembling ioynt, and euery vaine
Shee softly felt, and rubbed busily,
To doe the frosen cold away to fly;
And her faire deawy eies with kisses deare
Shee ofte did bathe, and ofte 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 fearfully;
Ah Nurse, what needeth thee to eke my paine?
Is not enough, that I alone doe dye,
But it must doubled bee with death of twaine?
For nought for me, but death there doth remaine.
O daughter deare (said she) despeire 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 other wownd;
For which no reason can finde remedy.
Was neuer such, but mote the like be fownd,
(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 skye
Can doe (said she) that, which cannot be donne.
Things ofte impossible (quoth she) seeme ere begonne.
These idle wordes (said she) doe nought aswage
My stubborne smart, but more annoiaunce breed.
For no no vsuall fire, no vsuall rage
Yt is, O Nourse, which on my life doth feed,
And sucks the blood, which from my hart doth bleed.
But since thy faithfull zele 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 bowells, and so sore
Now ranckleth in this same fraile fleshly mould,
That all mine entrailes flow with poisnous gore,
And th'vlcer groweth daily more and more;
Ne can my ronning sore finde remedee,
Other then my hard fortune to deplore,
And languish as the leafe faln from the tree,
Till death make one end of my daies and miseree.
Daughter (said she) what need ye be dismayd,
Or why make ye such Monster of your minde?
Of much more vncouth thing I was affrayd;
Of filthy lust, contrary vnto kinde:
But this affection nothing straunge I finde;
For who with reason can you aye reproue,
To loue the semblaunt pleasing most your minde,
And yield your heart, whence ye cannot remoue?
No guilt in you, but in the tyranny of loue.
Not so th'Arabian Myrrhe did sett her mynd,
Nor so did Biblis spend her pining hart,
But lou'd their natiue flesh against al kynd,
And to their purpose vsed wicked art:
Yet playd Pasiphae a more monstrous part,
That lou'd a Bul, and learnd a beast to bee;
Such shamefull lusts who loaths not, which depart
From course of nature and of modestee?
Swete loue such lewdnes bands from his faire companee.
But thine my Deare (welfare thy heart my deare)
Though straunge 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 alablaster brest she soft did kis,
Which all that while shee 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 vnkinde,
Yet did possesse their horrible intent:
Short end of sorowes they therby did finde;
So was their fortune good, though wicked were their minde.
But wicked fortune mine, though minde 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 chyld,
Who hauing vewed in a fountaine shere
His face, was with the loue thereof beguyld;
I fonder loue a shade, the body far exyld.
Nought like (quoth shee) for that same wretched boy
Was of him selfe the ydle 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 body hath in powre:
That body, 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 gott,
And thee abandond wholy doe possesse,
Against it strongly striue, and yield thee nott,
Til thou in open fielde adowne be smott.
But if the passion mayster thy fraile might,
So that needs loue or death must bee thy lott,
Then I auow to thee, by wrong or right
To compas 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
The clothes about her round with busy ayd,
So that at last a litle creeping sleepe
Surprisd her sence: Shee therewith well apayd,
The dronken lamp down in the oyl did steepe,
And sett her by to watch, and sett her by to weepe.
Earely the morrow next, before that day
His ioyous face did to the world reuele,
They both vprose, and tooke their ready way
Vnto the Church, their praiers to appele,
With great deuotion, and with litle zele:
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.
Retourned home, the royall Infant fell
Into her former fitt; for why no powre,
Nor guidaunce of her selfe in her did dwell.
But th'aged Nourse her calling to her bowre,
Had gathered Rew, and Sauine, and the flowre
Of Camphora, 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 milk and blood through it did spill.
Then taking thrise three heares 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
Certein sad words, with hollow voice and bace,
Shee to the virgin sayd, thrise sayd she itt;
Come daughter come, come; spit vpon my face,
Spitt thrise vpon me, thrise vpon me spitt;
Th'vneuen nomber for this busines is most fitt.
That sayd, her rownd about she from her turnd,
She turned her contrary 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 ydle charmes so lightly may remoue,
That well can witnesse, who by tryall it does proue.
Ne ought it mote the noble Mayd auayle,
Ne slake the fury of her cruell flame,
But that shee still did waste, and still did wayle,
That through long languour, 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.
Merlin bewrayes to Britomart,
The state of Arthegall.
And shews the famous Progeny
Which from them springen shall.
MOst sacred fyre, 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;
Not that same, which doth base affections moue
In brutish mindes, and filthy lust inflame,
But that sweete fit, that doth true beautie loue,
And choseth vertue for his dearest Dame,
Whence spring all noble deedes and neuer dying fame:
Well did Antiquity a God thee deeme,
That ouer mortall mindes 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 moniments.
But thy dredd dartes 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 afterwardes did rayse
Most famous fruites of matrimoniall bowre,
Which through the earth haue spredd their liuing prayse,
That fame in tromp of gold eternally displayes.
Begin then, O my dearest sacred Dame,
Daughter of Ph bus and of Memorye,
That doest ennoble with immortall name
The warlike Worthies, from antiquitye,
In thy great volume of Eternitye:
Begin, O Clio, and recount from hence
My glorious Soueraines goodly auncestrye,
Till that by dew degrees and long protense,
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 counsel that is chiefe,
And choisest med'cine for sick harts reliefe:
For thy great care she tooke, and greater feare,
Least that it should her turne to fowle repriefe,
And sore reproch, when so her father deare
Should of his dearest daughters hard misfortune heare.
At last she her auisde, 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 means his loue might best be wrought:
For though beyond the Africk Ismael,
Or th'Indian Peru he were, she thought
Him forth through infinite endeuour to haue sought.
Forthwith them selues disguising both in straunge
And base atyre, 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 encompast round.
And if thou euer happen that same way
To traueill, go to see that dreadfull place:
It is an hideous hollow caue (they say)
Vnder a Rock that lyes a litle space
From the swift Barry, tombling downe apace,
Emongst the woody hilles of Dyneuowre:
But dare thou not, I charge, in any cace,
To enter into that same balefull Bowre,
For feare the cruell Feendes should thee vnwares deuowre.
But standing high aloft, low lay thine eare,
And there such ghastly noyse of yron chaines,
And brasen Caudrons thou shalt rombling heare,
Which thousand sprights with long enduring paines
Doe tosse, that it will stonn thy feeble braines,
And oftentimes great grones, and grieuous stownds,
When too huge toile and labour them constraines:
And oftentimes loud strokes, and ringing sowndes
From vnder that deepe Rock most horribly rebowndes.
The cause some say is this: A litle whyle
Before that Merlin dyde, he did intend,
A brasen wall in compas to compyle
About Cairmardin, and did it commend
Vnto these Sprights, to bring to perfect end.
During which worke the Lady of the Lake,
Whom long he lou'd, for him in hast did send,
Who thereby forst his workemen to forsake,
Them bownd till his retourne, 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 work forbeare,
So greatly his commandement they feare,
But there doe toyle and traueile day and night,
Vntill that brasen wall they vp doe reare:
For Merlin had in Magick more insight,
Then euer him before or after liuing wight.
For he by wordes 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 darksom night he eke could turne to day:
Huge hostes of men he could alone dismay,
And hostes of men of meanest thinges 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 Lady Nonne, that whilome hight
Matilda, daughter to Pubidius,
Who was the Lord of Mathraual by right,
And coosen vnto king Ambrosius:
Whence he indued was with skill so merueilous.
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 hardy Mayd (with loue to frend)
First entering, the dreadfull Mage there fownd
Deepe busied bout worke of wondrous end,
And writing straunge characters in the grownd,
With which the stubborne feendes he to his seruice bownd.
He nought was moued at their entraunce bold:
For of their comming well he wist afore,
Yet list them bid their businesse to vnfold,
As if ought in this world in secrete store
Were from him hidden, or vnknowne of yore.
Then Glauce thus, Let not it thee offend,
That we thus rashly through thy darksom dore,
Vnwares haue prest: for either fatall end,
Or other mightie cause vs two did hether send.
He bad tell on; And then she thus began.
Now haue three Moones with borrowd brothers light,
Thrise shined faire, and thrise seemd 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 can not 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 neede of leach-crafte hath your Damozell,
Then of my skill: who helpe may haue elswhere,
In vaine seekes wonders out of Magick 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, Yf 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 needes this colourable word,
To cloke the cause, that hath it selfe bewrayd?
Ne ye fayre Britomartis, thus arayd,
More hidden are, then Sunne in cloudy vele;
Whom thy good fortune, hauing fate obayd,
Hath hether 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 fayre Aurora rysing hastily,
Doth by her blushing tell, that she did lye
All night in old Tithonus frosen bed,
Whereof she seemes ashamed inwardly.
But her olde 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 knowe?) of grace I pray,
Pitty our playnt, and yield vs meet reliefe.
With that the Prophet still awhile did stay,
And then his spirite thus gan foorth display;
Most noble Virgin, that by fatall lore
Hast learn'd to loue, let no whit thee dismay
The hard beginne, that meetes 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 heuens hight forth stretched bee.
For from thy wombe a famous Progenee
Shall spring, out of the auncient Troian blood,
Which shall reuiue the sleeping memoree
Of those same antique Peres, the heuens brood,
Which Greeke and Asian riuers stayned 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 forren foe, that commes 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 heuenly destiny,
Led with eternall prouidence, that has
Guyded 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 doe by all dew meanes thy destiny fulfill.
But read (saide Glauce) thou Magitian
What meanes shall she out seeke, or what waies take?
How shall she know, how shall she finde the man?
Or what needes her to toyle, sith fates can make
Way for themselues, their purpose to pertake?
Then Merlin thus, Indeede the fates are firme,
And may not shrinck, though all the world do shake:
Yet ought mens good endeuours them confirme,
And guyde 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 whylome by false Faries stolne away,
Whyles 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 ayde his countrey, to withstand
The powre of forreine Paynims, which invade thy land.
Great ayd 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 secrete foes, that him shall make in mischiefe fall.
With thee yet shall he leaue for memory
Of his late puissaunce, his ymage dead,
That liuing him in all actiuity
To thee shall represent. He from the head
Of his coosen 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 might,
Against his Saxon foes in bloody 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 fayre 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 batteills 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 sondry kings to doe 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 ouerronne,
And holy Church with faithlesse handes deface,
That thy sad people vtterly fordonne,
Shall to the vtmost mountaines fly apace:
Was neuer so great waste in any place,
Nor so fowle outrage doen by liuing men:
For all thy Citties they shall sacke and race,
And the greene grasse, that groweth, they shall bren,
That euen the wilde beast shall dy in starued den.
Whiles thus thy Britons doe 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,
But him shall slay, and on a gallowes bleak
Shall giue th'enchaunter his vnhappy hire:
Then shall the Britons, late dismayd and weake,
From their long vassallage 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 slayne,
Offricke and Osricke, twinnes vnfortunate,
Both slaine in battaile vpon Layburne playne,
Together with the king of Louthiane,
Hight Adin, and the king of Orkeny,
Both ioynt partakers of their fatall payne:
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,
Al holding crosses in their hands on hye,
Shall him defeate withouten blood 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 martiredome 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 doe him fowly dye,
But shall with guifts his Lord Cadwallin pacify.
Then shall Cadwallin die, and then the raine
Of Britons eke with him attonce shall dye;
Ne shall the good Cadwallader with paine,
Or powre, be hable it to remedy,
When the full time prefixt by destiny,
Shalbe expird of Britons regiment.
For heuen 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, retourning to his natiue place,
Shalbe by vision staide from his intent:
For th'heauens haue decreed, to displace
The Britons, for their sinnes dew punishment,
And to the Saxons ouer-give 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 victors scorne,
Banisht from princely bowre to wasteful wood:
O who shal 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;
Ah but will heuens 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 defaste,
And quite from off the earth their memory be raste?
Nay but the terme (sayd he) is limited,
That in this thraldome Britons shall abide,
And the iust reuolution measured,
That they as Straungers shalbe notifide.
For twise fowre hundreth yeares shalbe supplide,
Ere they vnto their former rule restor'd shalbee,
And their importune fates all satisfide:
Yet during this their most obscuritee,
Their beames shall ofte breake forth, that men then faire may see.
For Rhodoricke, whose surname shalbe Great,
Shall of him selfe a braue ensample shew,
That Saxon kings his frendship 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 corage, that his foes shall feare,
Least back againe the kingdom 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 outronne,
There shall a Rauen far from rising Sunne,
With his wide wings vpon them fiercely fly,
And bid his faithlesse chickens oueronne
The fruitfull plaines, and with fell cruelty,
In their auenge, tread downe the victors surquedry.
Yet shall a third both these, and thine subdew;
There shall a Lion 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,
Bee 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 roiall maiesty and soueraine name;
So shall the Briton blood their crowne agayn reclame.
Thenceforth eternall vnion shall be made
Betweene the nations different afore,
And sacred Peace shall louingly persuade
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 learn 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:
Which suddein fitt, and halfe extatick stoure
When the two fearefull wemen saw, they grew
Greatly confused in behaueoure;
At last the fury past, to former hew
Hee turnd againe, and chearfull 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 deuize,
And diuerse plots did frame, to maske in strange disguise.
At last the Nourse in her foolhardy wit
Conceiud a bold deuise, and thus bespake;
Daughter, I deeme that counsel 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, whome hee lately brake
Beside Cayr Verolame, in victorious fight,
That now all Britany doth burne in armes bright.
That therefore nought our passage may empeach,
Let vs in feigned armes our selues disguize,
And our weake hands (need makes good schollers) teach
The dreadful speare and shield to exercize:
Ne certes daughter that same warlike wize
I weene, would you misseeme; for ye beene tall,
And large of limbe, t'atchieue an hard emprize,
Ne ought ye want, but skil, which practize small
Wil bring, and shortly make you a mayd Martiall.
And sooth, it ought your corage much inflame,
To heare so often, in that royall hous,
From whence to none inferior ye came:
Bards tell of many wemen valorous,
Which haue full many feats aduenturous,
Performd, in paragone of proudest men:
The bold Bunduca, whose victorious
Exployts 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 bloodly playne,
And had not Carados her hand withheld
From rash reuenge, she had him surely slayne,
Yet Carados himselfe from her escapt with payne.
Ah read, (quoth Britomart) how is she hight?
Fayre Angela (quoth she) men do her call,
No whit lesse fayre, then terrible in fight:
She hath the leading of a Martiall
And mightie people, dreaded more then all
The other Saxons, which doe for her sake
And loue, themselues of her name Angles call.
Therefore faire Infant her ensample make
Vnto thy selfe, and equall corage to thee take.
Her harty wordes so deepe into the mynd
Of the yong Damzell sunke, that great desire
Of warlike armes in her forthwith they tynd,
And generous stout courage did inspyre,
That she resolu'd, vnweeting to her Syre,
Aduent'rous knighthood on her selfe to don,
And counseld with her Nourse, her Maides attyre
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 thinges did conueniently puruay:
It fortuned (so time their turne did fitt)
A band of Britons ryding on forray
Few dayes 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 wel 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 thether 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 mightie speare,
Which Bladud made by Magick art of yore,
And vsd the same in batteill aye to beare;
Sith which it had beene 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 and 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 yong Mayd
She might in equall armes accompany,
And as her Squyre attend her carefully:
Tho to their ready Steedes they clombe full light,
And through back waies, that none might them espy,
Couered with secret cloud of silent night,
Themselues they forth conuaid, and 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 thinges 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,
Frendship professed with vnfained hart,
The Redcrosse knight diuerst, but forth rode Britomart.
Bold Marinell of Britomart,
Is throwne on the Rich strond:
Faire Florimell of Arthure is
Long followed, but not fond.
WHere is the Antique glory now become,
That whylome wont in wemen to appeare?
Where be the braue atchieuements doen by some?
Where be the batteilles, 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?
Beene they all dead, and laide 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, O let them soone awake:
For all too long I burne with enuy sore,
To heare the warlike feates, which Homere spake
Of bold Penthesilee, which made a lake
Of Greekish blood so ofte in Troian plaine;
But when I reade, how stout Debora strake
Proud Sisera, and how Camill' hath slaine
The huge Orsilochus, I swell with great disdaine.
Yet these, and all that els had puissaunce,
Cannot with noble Britomart compare,
Aswell for glorie of great valiaunce,
As for pure chastitie and vertue rare,
That all her goodly deedes do well declare.
Well worthie stock, from which the branches sprong,
That in late yeares so faire a blossome bare,
As thee, O 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 frendly league of loue perpetuall
She with him bound, and Conge 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 alwaies 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 amarous discourse,
By which the Redcrosse knight did earst display
Her louers shape, and cheualrous aray;
A thousand thoughts she fashiond in her mind,
And in her feigning fancie did pourtray
Him such, as fittest she for loue could find,
Wise, warlike, personable, courteous, and kind.
With such selfe-pleasing thoughts her wound she fedd,
And thought so to beguile her grieuous smart;
But so her smart was much more grieuous bredd,
And the deepe wound more deep 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 guydaunce of her blinded guest,
Till that to the seacoast at length she her addrest.
There she alighted from her light-foot beast,
And sitting downe vpon the rocky shore,
Badd her old Squyre 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 deuouring 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,
Why doe thy cruel billowes beat so strong,
And thy moyst mountaines each on others throng,
Threatning to swallow vp my fearefull lyfe?
O doe thy cruell wrath and spightfull wrong
At length allay, and stint thy stormy stryfe,
Which in thy troubled bowels raignes, and rageth ryfe.
For els my feeble vessell crazd, and crackt
Through thy strong buffets and outrageous blowes,
Cannot endure, but needes 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 Pilott hath a restless minde
And fortune Boteswaine no assuraunce knowes,
But saile withouten starres, gainst tyde and winde:
How can they other doe, sith both are bold and blinde?
Thou God of windes, 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,
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 avow 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 womb, to be in heauen enrold.
Thus as she her recomforted, she spyde,
Where far away one all in armour bright,
With hasty 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 dusty path;
Loue and despight attonce her courage kindled hath.
As when a foggy mist hath ouercast
The face of heuen, and the cleare ayre engroste,
The world in darkenes dwels, till that at last
The watry Southwinde from the seabord coste
Vpblowing, doth disperse the vapour lo'ste,
And poures it selfe forth in a stormy showre;
So the fayre Britomart hauing disclo'ste
Her clowdy care into a wrathfull stowre,
The mist of griefe dissolu'd, did into vengeance powre.
Eftsoones her goodly shield addressing fayre,
That mortall speare she in her hand did take,
And vnto battaill did her selfe prepayre.
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;
Wordes 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.
Strongly the straunge knight ran, and sturdily
Strooke her full on the brest, that made her downe
Decline her head, and touch her crouper with her crown.
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 sandy 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 bandes,
Whiles th'altars fume with frankincense arownd,
All suddeinly 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 ready 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 mighty 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 battail 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 aduaunce his name and glory 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 greedy gulfe deuoured deepe,
And him enriched through the ouerthrow
And wreckes of many wretches, which did weepe,
And often wayle 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 els 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 else wheare.
Thereto he was a doughty 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
Least his too haughtie hardines might reare
Some hard mishap, in hazard of his life:
For thy she oft him counseld to forbeare
The bloody batteill, and to stirre vp strife,
But after all his warre, to rest his wearie knife.
And for his more assuraunce, she inquir'd
One day of Proteus by his mighty spell,
(For Proteus was with prophecy inspir'd)
Her deare sonnes destiny 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 straunge 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 fayre Ladies loue did fly;
Yet many Ladies fayre 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 wemens 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 wownd,
That Proteus prophecide should him dismay,
The which his mother vainely did expownd,
To be hart-wownding loue, which should assay
To bring her sonne vnto his last decay.
So ticle be the termes of mortall state,
And full of subtile sophismes, which doe play
With double sences, and with false debate,
T'approue the vnknowen purpose of eternall fate.
Too trew the famous Marinell it fownd,
Who through late triall, on that wealthy Strond
Inglorious now lies in sencelesse swownd,
Through heauy stroke of Britomartis hond.
Which when his mother deare did vnderstond,
And heauy tidings heard, whereas she playd
Amongst her watry sisters by a pond,
Gathering sweete daffadillyes, to haue made
Gay girlonds, from the Sun their forheads fayr to shade,
Eftesoones both flowres and girlonds far away
Shee flong, and her faire deawy locks yrent,
To sorrow huge she turnd her former play,
And gamesome merth to grieuous dreriment:
Shee threw her selfe downe on the Continent,
Ne word did speake, but lay as in a swowne,
Whiles al 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 shee vp out of her deadly fitt
Arose, shee bad her charett to be brought,
And all her sisters, that with her did sitt,
Bad eke attonce their charetts to be sought;
Tho full of bitter griefe and pensife thought,
She to her wagon clombe; clombe all the rest,
And forth together went, with sorow fraught.
The waues obedient to theyr beheast,
Them yielded ready passage, and their rage surceast.
Great Neptune stoode amazed at their sight,
Whiles on his broad rownd backe they softly slid
And eke him selfe mournd at their mournfull plight,
Yet wist not what their wailing ment, yet did
For great compassion of their sorow, bid
His mighty waters to them buxome bee:
Eftesoones the roaring billowes still abid,
And all the griesly Monsters of the See
Stood gaping at their gate, and wondred them to see.
A teme of Dolphins raunged in aray,
Drew the smooth charett of sad Cymoent;
They were all taught by Triton, to obay
To the long raynes, at her commaundement:
As swifte as swallowes, on the waues they went,
That their brode flaggy finnes no fome did reare,
Ne bubling rowndell they behinde 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 feete vpon the stony grownd:
And comming to the place, where all in gore
And cruddy blood enwallowed they fownd
The lucklesse Marinell, lying in deadly swownd;
His mother swowned thrise, and the third time
Could scarce recouered bee out of her paine;
Had she not beene deuoide of mortall slime,
Shee should not then haue bene relyu'd againe;
But soone as life recouered had the raine,
Shee made so piteous mone and deare wayment,
That the hard rocks could scarse from tears refraine,
And all her sister Nymphes with one consent
Supplide her sobbing breaches with sad complement.
Deare image of my selfe, (she sayd) that is,
The wretched sonne of wretched mother borne,
Is this thine high aduauncement, O is this
Th'immortall name, with which thee yet vnborne
Thy Gransire Nereus promist to adorne?
Now lyest thou of life and honor refte;
Now lyest thou a lumpe of earth forlorne,
Ne of thy late life memory is lefte,
Ne can thy irreuocable desteny bee wefte?
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 doe liue,
But they that dye, doe nether 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 wisedom bought too late.
O what auailes it of immortall seed
To beene ybredd and neuer borne to dye?
Farre better I it deeme to die with speed,
Then waste in woe and waylfull miserye.
Who dyes the vtmost dolor doth abye,
But who that liues, is lefte to waile his losse:
So life is losse, and death felicity.
Sad life worse then glad death: and greater crosse
To see frends graue, then dead the graue self to engrosse.
But if the heauens did his dayes enuie,
And my short blis maligne, yet mote they well
Thus much afford me, ere that he did die
That the dim eies of my deare Marinell
I mote haue closed, and him bed farewell,
Sith other offices for mother meet
They would not graunt.
Yett maulgre them farewell, my sweetest sweet;
Farewell my sweetest sonne, till we againe may meet.
Thus when they all had sorowed their fill,
They softly gan to search his griesly wownd:
And that they might him handle more at will,
They him disarmd, and spredding on the grownd
Their watchet mantles frindgd with siluer rownd,
They softly wipt away the gelly blood
From th'orifice; which hauing well vpbownd,
They pourd in soueraine balme, and Nectar good,
Good both for erthly med'cine, and for heuenly food.
Tho when the lilly handed Liagore,
(This Liagore whilome had learned skill
In leaches craft, by great Appolloes lore,
Sith her whilome vpon high Pindus hill,
He loued, and at last her wombe did fill
With heuenly seed, whereof wise Paeon sprong)
Did feele his pulse, shee knew there staied still
Some litle life his feeble sprites emong;
Which to his mother told, despeyre she from her flong.
Tho vp him taking in their tender hands,
They easely vnto her charett beare:
Her teme at her commaundement quiet stands,
Whiles they the corse into her wagon reare,
And strowe with flowres the lamentable beare:
Then all the rest into their coches clim,
And through the brackish waues their passage shear;
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 clouds, that threat a stormy showre,
And vauted all within, like to the Skye,
In which the Gods doe dwell eternally:
There they him laide in easy 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 sitt all about him rownd,
Lamenting his mishap and heauy plight;
And ofte his mother vewing his wide wownd,
Cursed the hand, that did so deadly smight
Her dearest sonne, her dearest harts delight.
But none of all those curses ouertooke
The warlike Maide, th'ensample of that might,
But fairely well shee thryud, 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 Fary gent,
Whom late in chace of beauty excellent
Shee lefte, pursewing that same foster strong;
Of whose fowle outrage they impatient,
And full of firy zele, him followed long,
To reskew her from shame, and to reuenge her wrong.
Through thick and thin, through mountains and through playns,
Those two gret champions did attonce pursew
The fearefull damzell, with incessant payns:
Who from them fled, as light-foot hare from vew
Of hunter swifte, and sent of howndes 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 happy were, to win so goodly pray.
But Timias, the Princes gentle Squyre,
That Ladies loue vnto his Lord forlent,
And with proud enuy, and indignant yre,
After that wicked foster fiercely went.
So beene they three three sondry wayes ybent.
But fayrest fortune to the Prince befell,
Whose chaunce it was, that soone he did repent,
To take that way, in which that Damozell
Was fledd afore, affraid of him, as feend of hell.
At last of her far 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 wary heed:
Alowd 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 hasty 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 ayre her way does cut amaine,
Hauing farre off espyde a Tassell gent,
Which after her his nimble winges doth straine,
Doubleth her hast for feare to bee for-hent,
And with her pineons cleaues the liquid firmament.
With no lesse hast, and eke with no lesse dreed,
That fearefull Ladie fledd 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 vewde,
Her selfe freed from that foster insolent,
And that it was a knight, which now her sewde,
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 seldom seene,
That fast she from him fledd, no lesse afrayd,
Then of wilde beastes if she had chased beene:
Yet he her followd still with corage 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 suddeinly dim wox 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,
And that perforce, for want of lenger light,
He mote surceasse his suit, and lose the hope
Of his long labour, he gan fowly wyte
His wicked fortune, that had turnd aslope,
And cursed night, that reft from him so goodly scope.
Tho when her wayes he could no more descry,
But to and fro at disauenture strayd;
Like as a ship, whose Lodestar suddeinly
Couered with cloudes, her Pilott hath dismayd;
His wearisome pursuit perforce he stayd,
And from his loftie steed dismounting low,
Did let him forage. Downe himselfe he layd
Vpon the grassy ground, to sleepe a throw;
The cold earth was his couch, the hard steele his pillow.
But gentle Sleepe enuyde him any rest;
In stead thereof sad sorow, and disdaine
Of his hard hap did vexe his noble brest,
And thousand fancies bett his ydle brayne
With their light wings, the sights of semblants vaine:
Oft did he wish, that Lady faire mote bee
His faery Queene, for whom he did complaine:
Or that his Faery Queene were such, as shee:
And euer hasty Night he blamed bitterlie.
Night thou foule Mother of annoyaunce sad,
Sister of heauie death, and nourse of woe,
Which wast begot in heauen, but for thy bad
And brutish shape thrust downe to hell below,
Where by the grim floud of Cocytus slow
Thy dwelling is, in Herebus black hous,
(Black Herebus thy husband is the foe
Of all the Gods) where thou vngratious,
Halfe of thy dayes doest lead in horrour hideous.
What had th'eternall Maker need of thee,
The world in his continuall course to keepe,
That doest all thinges deface, ne lettest see
The beautie of his worke? Indeed in sleepe
The slouthfull body, that doth loue to steep
His lustlesse limbes, and drowne his baser mind,
Doth praise thee oft, and oft from Stygian deepe
Calles thee, his goddesse in his errour blind,
And great Dame Natures handmaide, chearing euery kind.
But well I wote, that to an heauy hart
Thou art the roote and nourse of bitter cares,
Breeder of new, renewer of old smarts:
In stead of rest thou lendest rayling teares,
In stead of sleepe thou sendest troublous feares,
And dreadfull visions, in the which aliue
The dreary image of sad death appeares:
So from the wearie spirit thou doest driue
Desired rest, and men of happinesse depriue.
Vnder thy mantle black there hidden lye,
Light-shonning thefte, and traiterous intent,
Abhorred bloodshed, and vile felony,
Shamefull deceipt, and daunger imminent;
Fowle horror, and eke hellish dreriment:
All these I wote in thy protection bee,
And light doe shonne, for feare of being shent:
For light ylike is loth'd of them and thee,
And all that lewdnesse loue, doe hate the light to see.
For day discouers all dishonest wayes,
And sheweth each thing, as it is in deed:
The prayses of high God he faire displayes,
And his large bountie rightly doth areed.
The children of day be the blessed seed,
Which darknesse shall subdue, and heauen win:
Truth is his daughter; he her first did breed,
Most sacred virgin, without spot of sinne.
Our life is day, but death with darknesse doth begin.
O when will day then turne to me againe,
And bring with him his long expected light?
O Titan, hast to reare thy ioyous waine:
Speed thee to spred abroad thy beames bright,
And chace away this too long lingring night,
Chace her away, from whence she came, to hell.
She, she it is, that hath me done despight:
There let her with the damned spirits dwell,
And yield her rowme to day, that can it gouerne well.
Thus did the Prince that wearie night outweare,
In restlesse anguish and vnquiet paine:
And earely, ere the morrow did vpreare
His deawy head out of the Ocean maine,
He vp arose, as halfe in great disdaine,
And clombe vnto his steed. So forth he went,
With heauy looke and lumpish pace, that plaine
In him bewraid great grudge and maltalent:
His steed eke seemd t'apply his steps to his intent.
Prince Arthur heares of Florimell:
three fosters Timias wound,
Belphebe findes him almost dead,
and reareth out of sownd.
WOnder it is to see, in diuerse mindes,
How diuersly loue doth his pageaunts play,
And shewes his powre in variable kindes:
The baser wit, whose ydle thoughts alway
Are wont to cleaue vnto the lowly clay,
It stirreth vp to sensuall desire,
And in lewd slouth to wast his carelesse day:
But in braue sprite it kindles goodly fire,
That to all high desert and honour doth aspire.
Ne suffereth it vncomely idlenesse,
In his free thought to build her sluggish nest:
Ne suffereth it thought of vngentlenesse,
Euer to creepe into his noble brest,
But to the highest and the worthiest
Lifteth it vp, that els would lowly fall:
It lettes not fall, it lettes it not to rest:
It lettes not scarse this Prince to breath at all,
But to his first poursuit him forward still doth call.
Who long time wandred through the forest wyde,
To finde some issue thence, till that at last
He met a Dwarfe, that seemed terrifyde
With some late perill, which he hardly past,
Or other accident, which him aghast;
Of whom he asked, whence he lately came,
And whether now he traueiled so fast:
For sore he swat, and ronning through that same
Thicke forest, was bescracht, and both his feet nigh lame.
Panting for breath, and almost out of hart,
The Dwarfe him answerd, Sir, ill mote I stay
To tell the same. I lately did depart
From Faery court, where I haue many a day
Serued a gentle Lady of great sway,
And high accompt through out all Elfin land,
Who lately left the same, and tooke this way:
Her now I seeke, and if ye vnderstand
Which way she fared hath, good Sir tell out of hand.
What mister wight (saide he) and how arayd?
Royally clad (quoth he) in cloth of gold,
As meetest may beseeme a noble mayd;
Her faire lockes in rich circlet be enrold,
A fayrer wight did neuer Sunne behold,
And on a Palfrey rydes more white then snow,
Yet she her selfe is whiter manifold:
The surest signe, whereby ye may her know,
Is, that she is the fairest wight aliue, I trow.
Now certes swaine (saide he) such one I weene,
Fast flying through this forest from her fo,
A foule ill fauoured foster, I haue seene;
Her selfe, well as I might, I reskewd tho,
But could not stay; so fast she did foregoe,
Carried away with wings of speedy feare.
Ah dearest God (quoth he) that is great woe,
And wondrous ruth to all, that shall it heare.
But can ye read Sir, how I may her finde, or where?
Perdy me leuer were to weeten that,
(Saide he) then ransome of the richest knight,
Or all the good that euer yet I gat:
But froward fortune, and too forward Night
Such happinesse did, maulgre, to me spight,
And fro me reft both life and light attone.
But Dwarfe aread, what is that Lady bright,
That through this forrest wandreth thus alone;
For of her errour straunge I haue great ruth and mone.
That Ladie is (quoth he) where so she bee,
The bountiest virgin, and most debonaire,
That euer liuing eye I weene did see;
Liues none this day, that may with her compare
In stedfast chastitie and vertue rare,
The goodly ornaments of beautie bright;
And is ycleped Florimell the fayre,
Faire Florimell belou'd of many a knight,
Yet she loues none but one, that Marinell is hight.
A Sea-nymphes sonne, that Marinell is hight,
Of my deare Dame is loued dearely well;
In other none, but him, she sets delight,
All her delight is set on Marinell;
But he sets nought at all by Florimell:
For Ladies loue his mother long ygoe
Did him, they say, forwarne through sacred spell.
But fame now flies, that of a forreine foe
He is yslaine, which is the ground of all our woe.
Fiue daies there be, since he (they say) was slaine,
And fowre, since Florimell the Court forwent,
And vowed neuer to returne againe,
Till him aliue or dead she did inuent.
Therefore, faire Sir, for loue of knighthood gent,
And honour of trew Ladies, if ye may
By your good counsell, or bold hardiment,
Or succour her, or me direct the way,
Do one, or other good, I you most humbly pray.
So may ye gaine to you full great renowme,
Of all good Ladies through the world so wide,
And haply in her hart finde highest rowme,
Of whom ye seeke to be most magnifide:
At least eternall meede shall you abide.
To whom the Prince; Dwarfe, comfort to thee take,
For till thou tidings learne, what her betide,
I here auow thee neuer to forsake.
Ill weares he armes, that nill them vse for Ladies sake.
So with the Dwarfe he backe retourn'd againe,
To seeke his Lady, where he mote her finde;
But by the way he greatly gan complaine
The want of his good Squire late left behinde,
For whom he wondrous pensiue grew in minde,
For doubt of daunger, which mote him betide;
For him he loued aboue all mankinde,
Hauing him trew and faithfull euer tride,
And bold, as euer Squyre that waited by knights side.
Who all this while full hardly was assayd
Of deadly daunger, which to him betidd;
For whiles his Lord pursewd that noble Mayd,
After that foster fowle he fiercely ridd,
To bene auenged of the shame, he did
To that faire Damzell: Him he chaced long
Through the thicke woods, wherein he would haue hid
His shamefull head from his auengement strong,
And oft him threatned death for his outrageous wrong.
Nathlesse the villein sped himselfe so well,
Whether through swiftnesse of his speedie beast,
Or knowledge of those woods, where he did dwell,
That shortly he from daunger was releast,
And out of sight escaped at the least;
Yet not escaped from the dew reward
Of his bad deedes, which daily he increast,
Ne ceased not, till him oppressed hard
The heauie plague, that for such leachours is prepard.
For soone as he was vanisht out of sight,
His coward courage gan emboldned bee,
And cast t'auenge him of that fowle despight,
Which he had borne of his bold enimee.
Tho to his brethren came: for they were three
Vngratious children of one gracelesse syre,
And vnto them complayned, how that he
Had vsed beene of that foolehardie Squyre;
So them with bitter words he stird to bloodie yre.
Forthwith themselues with their sad instruments
Of spoyle and murder they gan arme byliue,
And with him foorth into the forrest went,
To wreake the wrath, which he did earst reuiue
In their sterne brests, on him which late did driue
Their brother to reproch and shamefull flight:
For they had vow'd, that neuer he aliue
Out of that forest should escape their might;
Vile rancour their rude harts had fild with such despight.
Within that wood there was a couert glade,
Foreby a narrow foord, to them well knowne,
Through which it was vneath for wight to wade,
And now by fortune it was ouerflowne:
By that same way they knew that Squyre vnknowne
Mote algates passe; for thy themselues they set
There in await, with thicke woods ouer growne,
And all the while their malice they did whet
With cruell threats, his passage through the ford to let.
It fortuned, as they deuized had,
The gentle Squyre came ryding that same way,
Vnweeting of their wile and treason bad,
And through the ford to passen did assay;
But that fierce foster, which late fled away,
Stoutly foorth stepping on the further shore,
Him boldly bad his passage there to stay,
Till he had made amends, and full restore
For all the damage, which he had him doen afore.
With that at him a quiu'ring dart he threw,
With so fell force and villeinous despite,
That through his habericon the forkehead flew,
And through the linked mayles empierced quite,
But had no powre in his soft flesh to bite:
That stroke the hardy Squire did sore displease,
But more that him he could not come to smite;
For by no meanes the high banke he could sease,
But labour'd long in that deepe ford with vaine disease.
And still the foster with his long bore-speare
Him kept from landing at his wished will;
Anone one sent out of the thicket neare
A cruell shaft, headed with deadly ill,
And fethered with an vnlucky quill;
The wicked steele stayd not, till it did light
In his left thigh, and deepely did it thrill:
Exceeding griefe that wound in him empight,
But more that with his foes he could not come to fight.
At last through wrath and vengeaunce making way,
He on the bancke arryud with mickle payne,
Where the third brother him did sore assay,
And drove at him with all his might and mayne
A forest bill, which both his hands did strayne;
But warily he did auoide the blow,
And with his speare requited him agayne,
That both his sides were thrilled with the throw,
And a large streame of bloud out of the wound did flow.
He tombling downe, with gnashing teeth did bite
The bitter earth, and bad to lett him in
Into the balefull house of endlesse night,
Where wicked ghosts doe waile their former sin.
Tho gan the battaile freshly to begin;
For nathemore for that spectacle bad,
Did th'other two their cruell vengeaunce blin,
But both attonce on both sides him bestad,
And load vpon him layd, his life for to haue had.
Tho when that villayn he auiz'd, which late
Affrighted had the fairest Florimell,
Full of fiers fury, and indignant hate,
To him he turned, and with rigor fell
Smote him so rudely on the Pannikell,
That to the chin he clefte his head in twaine:
Downe on the ground his carkas groueling fell;
His sinfull sowle with desperate disdaine,
Out of her fleshly ferme fled to the place of paine.
That seeing now the only last of three,
Who with that wicked shafte him wounded had,
Trembling with horror, as that did foresee
The fearefull end of his auengement sad,
Through which he follow should his brethren bad,
His bootelesse bow in feeble hand vpcaught,
And therewith shott an arrow at the lad;
Which fayntly fluttring, scarce his helmet raught,
And glauncing fel to ground, but him annoyed naught.
With that he would haue fled into the wood;
But Timias him lightly ouerhent,
Right as he entring was into the flood,
And strooke at him with force so violent,
That headlesse him into the foord he sent:
The carcas with the streame was carried downe,
But th'head fell backeward on the Continent.
So mischief fel vpon the meaners crowne;
They three be dead with shame, the Squire liues with renowne.
He liues, but takes small ioy of his renowne;
For of that cruell wound he bled so sore,
That from his steed he fell in deadly swowne;
Yet still the blood forth gusht in so great store,
That he lay wallowd all in his owne gore.
Now God thee keepe, thou gentlest squire aliue,
Els shall thy louing Lord thee see no more,
But both of comfort him thou shalt depriue,
And eke thy selfe of honor, which thou didst atchiue.
Prouidence heuenly passeth liuing thought,
And doth for wretched mens reliefe make way;
For loe great grace or fortune thether brought
Comfort to him, that comfortlesse now lay.
In those same woods, ye well remember may,
How that a noble hunteresse did wonne,
Shee, that base Braggadochio did affray,
And made him fast out of the forest ronne;
Belph be was her name, as faire as Ph bus sunne.
She on a day, as shee pursewd the chace
Of some wilde beast, which with her arrowes keene
She wounded had, the same along did trace
By tract of blood, which she had freshly seene,
To haue besprinckled all the grassy greene,
By the great persue, which she there perceau'd,
Well hoped shee the beast engor'd had beene,
And made more haste, the life to haue bereav'd:
But ah, her expectation greatly was deceau'd.
Shortly she came, whereas that woefull Squire
With blood deformed, lay in deadly swownd:
In whose faire eyes, like lamps of quenched fire,
The Christall humor stood congealed rownd;
His locks, like faded leaues fallen to grownd,
Knotted with blood, in bounches rudely ran,
And his sweete lips, on which before that stownd
The bud of youth to blossome faire began,
Spoild of their rosy red, were woxen pale and wan.
Saw neuer liuing eie more heauy sight,
That could haue made a rocke of stone to rew,
Or riue in twaine: which when that Lady bright
Besides all hope with melting eies did vew,
All suddeinly abasht shee chaunged hew,
And with sterne horror backward gan to start:
But when shee better him beheld, shee grew
Full of soft passion and vnwonted smart:
The point of pitty perced through her tender hart.
Meekely shee bowed downe, to weete if life
Yett in his frosen members did remaine,
And feeling by his pulses beating rife,
That the weake sowle her seat did yett retaine,
She cast to comfort him with busy paine:
His double folded necke she reard vpright,
And rubd his temples, and each trembling vaine;
His mayled habericon she did vndight,
And from his head his heauy burganet did light.
Into the woods thenceforth in haste shee went,
To seeke for hearbes, that mote him remedy;
For shee of herbes had great intendiment,
Taught of the Nymphe, which from her infancy
Her nourced had in trew Nobility:
There, whether yt diuine Tobacco were,
Or Panachaea, or Polygony,
Shee fownd, and brought it to her patient deare
Who al this while lay bleding out his hart-blood neare.
The soueraine weede betwixt two marbles plaine
Shee pownded small, and did in peeces bruze,
And then atweene her lilly handes twaine,
Into his wound the iuice thereof did scruze,
And round about, as she could well it vze,
The flesh therewith shee suppled and did steepe,
T'abate all spasme, and soke the swelling bruze,
And after hauing searcht the intuse deepe,
She with her scarf did bind the wound from cold to keepe.
By this he had sweet life recur'd agayne,
And groning inly deepe, at last his eies,
His watry eies, drizling like deawy rayne,
He vp gan lifte toward the azure skies,
From whence descend all hopelesse remedies:
Therewith he sigh'd, and turning him aside,
The goodly Maide ful of diuinities,
And gifts of heauenly grace he by him spide,
Her bow and gilden quiuer lying him beside.
Mercy deare Lord (said he) what grace is this,
That thou hast shewed to me sinfull wight,
To send thine Angell from her bowre of blis,
To comfort me in my distressed plight?
Angell, or Goddesse doe I call thee right?
What seruice may I doe vnto thee meete,
That hast from darkenes me returnd to light,
And with thy heuenly salues and med'cines sweete,
Hast drest my sinfull wounds? I kisse thy blessed feete.
Thereat she blushing said, Ah gentle Squire,
Nor Goddesse I, nor Angell, but the Mayd,
And daughter of a woody Nymphe, desire
No seruice, but thy safety and ayd,
Which if thou gaine, I shalbe well apayd.
Wee mortall wights, whose liues and fortunes bee
To commun accidents stil open layd,
Are bownd with commun bond of frailtee,
To succor wretched wights, whom we captiued see.
By this her Damzells, which the former chace
Had vndertaken after her, arryu'd,
As did Belph be, in the bloody place,
And thereby deemd the beast had bene depriu'd
Of life, whom late their ladies arrow ryu'd:
For thy the bloody tract they followd fast,
And euery one to ronne the swiftest stryu'd;
But two of them the rest far ouerpast,
And where their Lady was, arriued at the last.
Where when they saw that goodly boy, with blood
Defowled, and their Lady dresse his wownd,
They wondred much, and shortly vnderstood,
How him in deadly case theyr Lady fownd,
And reskewed out of the heauy stownd.
Eftsoones his warlike courser, which was strayd
Farre in the woodes, whiles that he lay in swownd,
She made those Damzels search, which being stayd,
They did him set theron, and forth with them conuayd.
Into that forest farre they thence him led,
Where was their dwelling, in a pleasant glade,
With mountaines rownd about enuironed,
And mightie woodes, which did the valley shade,
And like a stately Theatre it made,
Spreading it selfe into a spatious plaine.
And in the midst a little riuer plaide
Emongst the pumy stones, which seemd to plaine
With gentle murmure, that his cours they did restraine.
Beside the same a dainty place there lay,
Planted with mirtle trees and laurells greene,
In which the birds song many a louely lay
Of gods high praise, and of their sweet loues teene,
As it an earthly Paradize had beene:
In whose enclosed shadow there was pight
A faire Pauilion, scarcely to be seene,
The which was al within most richly dight,
That greatest Princes liuing it mote well delight.
Thether they brought that wounded Squyre, and layd
In easie couch his feeble limbes to rest;
He rested him a while, and then the Mayd
His readie wound with better salues new drest;
Daily she dressed him, and did the best
His grieuous hurt to guarish, that she might,
That shortly she his dolour hath redrest,
And his foule sore reduced to faire plight:
It she reduced, but himselfe destroyed quight.
O foolish physick, and vnfruitfull paine,
That heales vp one and makes another wound:
She his hurt thigh to him recurd againe,
But hurt his hart, the which before was sound,
Through an vnwary dart, which did rebownd
From her faire eyes and gratious countenaunce.
What bootes it him from death to be vnbownd,
To be captiued in endlesse duraunce
Of sorrow and despeyre without aleggeaunce?
Still as his wound did gather, and grow hole,
So still his hart woxe sore, and health decayd:
Madnesse to saue a part, and lose the whole.
Still whenas he beheld the heauenly Mayd,
Whiles dayly playsters to his wownd she layd,
So still his Malady the more increast,
The whiles her matchlesse beautie him dismayd.
Ah God, what other could he doe at least,
But loue so fayre a Lady, that his life releast?
Long while he stroue in his corageous brest,
With reason dew the passion to subdew,
And loue for to dislodge out of his nest:
Still when her excellencies he did vew,
Her soueraine bountie, and celestiall hew,
The same to loue he strongly was constraynd:
But when his meane estate he did reuew,
He from such hardy boldnesse was restraynd,
And of his lucklesse lott and cruell loue thus playnd.
Vnthankfull wretch (said he) is this the meed,
With which her souerain mercy thou doest quight?
Thy life she saued by her gratious deed,
But thou doest weene with villeinous despight,
To blott her honour, and her heauenly light.
Dye rather, dye, then so disloyally
Deeme of her high desert, or seeme so light:
Fayre death it is to shonne more shame, to dy:
Dye rather, dy, then euer loue disloyally.
But if to loue disloyalty it bee,
Shall I then hate her, that from deathes dore
Me brought? ah farre be such reproch fro mee.
What can I lesse doe, then her loue therefore,
Sith I her dew reward cannot restore?
Dye rather, dye, and dying doe her serue,
Dying her serue, and liuing her adore;
Thy life she gaue, thy life she doth deserue:
Dye rather, dye, then euer from her seruice swerue.
But foolish boy, what bootes thy seruice bace
To her, to whom the heuens doe serue and sew?
Thou a meane Squyre, of meeke and lowly place,
She heuenly borne, and of celestiall hew.
How then? of all loue taketh equall vew:
And doth not highest God vouchsafe to take
The loue and seruice of the basest crew?
If she will not, dye meekly for her sake;
Dye rather, dye, then euer so faire loue forsake.
Thus warreid he long time against his will,
Till that through weaknesse he was forst at last,
To yield himselfe vnto the mightie ill:
Which as a victour proud, gan ransack fast
His inward partes, and all his entrayles wast,
That neither blood in face, nor life in hart
It left, but both did quite drye vp, and blast;
As percing leuin, which the inner part
Of euery thing consumes, and calcineth by art.
Which seeing fayre Belphoebe, gan to feare,
Least that his wound were inly well not heald,
Or that the wicked steele empoysned were:
Litle shee weend, that loue he close conceald;
Yet still he wasted, as the snow congeald,
When the bright sunne his beams theron doth beat;
Yet neuer he his hart to her reueald,
But rather chose to dye for sorow great,
Then with dishonorable termes her to entreat.
She gracious Lady, yet no paines did spare,
To doe him ease, or doe him remedy:
Many Restoratiues of vertues rare,
And costly Cordialles she did apply,
To mitigate his stubborne malady:
But that sweet Cordiall, which can restore
A loue-sick hart, she did to him enuy;
To him, and to all th'vnworthy world forlore
She did enuy that soueraine salue, in secret store.
That daintie Rose, the daughter of her Morne,
More deare then life she tendered, whose flowre
The girlond of her honour did adorne:
Ne suffred she the Middayes scorching powre,
Ne the sharp Northerne wind thereon to showre,
But lapped vp her silken leaues most chayre,
When so the froward skye began to lowre;
But soone as calmed was the christall ayre,
She did it fayre dispred, and let to florish fayre.
Eternall God in his almightie powre,
To make ensample of his heauenly grace,
In Paradize whylome did plant this flowre;
Whence he it fetcht out of her natiue place,
And did in stocke of earthly flesh enrace,
That mortall men her glory should admyre:
In gentle Ladies breste, and bounteous race
Of woman kind it fayrest flowre doth spyre,
And beareth fruit of honour and all chast desyre.
Fayre ympes of beautie, whose bright shining beames
Adorne the world with like to heauenly light,
And to your willes both royalties and Reames
Subdew, through conquest of your wondrous might,
With this fayre flowre your goodly girlonds dight,
Of chastity and vertue virginall,
That shall embellish more your beautie bright,
And crowne your heades with heauenly coronall,
Such as the Angels weare before Gods tribunall.
To youre faire selues a faire ensample frame,
Of this faire virgin, this Belphebe fayre,
To whom in perfect loue, and spotlesse fame
Of chastitie, none liuing may compayre:
Ne poysnous Enuy iustly can empayre
The prayse of her fresh flowring Maydenhead;
For thy she standeth on the highest stayre
Of th'honorable stage of womanhead,
That Ladies all may follow her ensample dead.
In so great prayse of stedfast chastity,
Nathlesse she was so courteous and kynde,
Tempred with grace, and goodly modesty,
That seemed those two vertues stroue to fynd
The higher place in her Heroick mynd:
So striuing each did other more augment,
And both encreast the prayse of woman kynde,
And both encreast her beautie excellent;
So all did make in her a perfect complement.
The birth of fayre Belphoebe and
Of Amorett is told.
The Gardins of Adonis fraught
With pleasures manifold.
WEll may I weene, faire Ladies, all this while
Ye wonder, how this noble Damozell
So great perfections did in her compile,
Sith that in saluage forests she did dwell,
So farre from court and royall Citadell,
The great schoolmaistresse of all courtesy:
Seemeth that such wilde woodes should far expell
All ciuile vsage and gentility,
And gentle sprite deforme with rude rusticity.
But to this faire Belph be in her berth
The heuens so fauorable were and free,
Looking with myld aspect vpon the earth,
In th'Horoscope of her natiuitee,
That all the gifts of grace and chastitee
On her they poured forth of plenteous horne;
Ioue laught on Venus from his souerayne see,
And Ph bus with faire beames did her adorne,
And all the Graces rockt her cradle being borne.
Her berth was of the wombe of Morning dew,
And her conception of the ioyous Prime,
And all her whole creation did her shew
Pure and vnspotted from all loathly crime,
That is ingenerate in fleshly slime.
So was this virgin borne, so was she bred,
So was she trayned vp from time to time,
In all chaste vertue, and true bounti-hed
Till to her dew perfection she was ripened.
Her mother was the faire Chrysogonee,
The daughter of Amphisa, who by race
A Faerie was, yborne of high degree,
She bore Belph be, she bore in like cace
Fayre Amoretta in the second place:
These two were twinnes, and twixt them two did share
The heritage of all celestiall grace.
That all the rest it seemd they robbed bare
Of bounty, and of beautie, and all vertues rare.
It were a goodly storie, to declare,
By what straunge accident faire Chrysogone
Conceiu'd these infants, and how them she bore,
In this wilde forrest wandring all alone,
After she had nine moneths fulfild and gone:
For not as other wemens commune brood,
They were enwombed in the sacred throne
Of her chaste bodie, nor with commune food,
As other wemens babes, they sucked vitall blood.
But wondrously they were begot, and bred
Through influence of th'heuens fruitfull ray,
As it in antique bookes is mentioned.
It was vpon a Sommers shinie day,
When Titan faire his beames did display,
In a fresh fountaine, far from all mens vew,
She bath'd her brest, the boyling heat t'allay;
She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.
Till faint through yrkesome wearines, adowne
Vpon the grassy ground her selfe she layd
To sleepe, the whiles a gentle slombring swowne
Vpon her fell all naked bare displayd;
The sunbeames bright vpon her body playd,
Being through former bathing mollifide,
And pierst into her wombe, where they embayd
With so sweet sence and secret power vnspide,
That in her pregnant flesh they shortly fructifide.
Miraculous may seeme to him, that reades
So straunge ensample of conception,
But reason teacheth that the fruitfull seades
Of all things liuing, through impression
Of the sunbeames in moyst complexion,
Doe life conceiue and quickned are by kynd:
So after Nilus invndation,
Infinite shapes of creatures men doe fynd,
Informed in the mud, on which the Sunne hath shynd.
Great father he of generation
Is rightly cald, th'authour of life and light;
And his faire sister for creation
Ministreth matter fit, which tempred right
With heate and humour, breedes the liuing wight.
So sprong these twinnes in womb of Chrysogone,
Yet wist she nought thereof, but sore affright,
Wondred to see her belly so vpblone,
Which still increast, till she her terme had full outgone.
Whereof conceiuing shame and foule disgrace,
Albe her guiltlesse conscience her cleard,
She fled into the wildernesse a space,
Till that vnweeldy burden she had reard,
And shund dishonor, which as death she feard:
Where wearie of long traueill, downe to rest
Her selfe she set, and comfortably cheard;
There a sad cloud of sleepe her ouerkest,
And seized euery sence with sorrow sore opprest.
It fortuned, faire Venus hauing lost
Her little sonne, the winged god of loue,
Who for some light displeasure, which him crost,
Was from her fled, as flit as ayery Doue,
And left her blisfull bowre of ioy aboue,
(So from her often he had fled away,
When she for ought him sharpely did reproue,
And wandred in the world in straunge aray,
Disguiz'd in thousand shapes, that none might him bewray.)
Him for to seeke, she left her heauenly hous,
The house of goodly formes and faire aspects,
Whence all the world deriues the glorious
Features of beautie, and all shapes select,
With which high God his workmanship hath deckt;
And searched euerie way, through which his wings
Had borne him, or his tract she mote detect:
She promist kisses sweet, and sweeter things,
Vnto the man, that of him tydings to her brings.
First she him sought in Court, where most he vs'd
Whylome to haunt, but there she found him not;
But many there she found, which sore accus'd
His falshood, and with fowle infamous blot
His cruell deedes and wicked wyles did spot:
Ladies and Lordes she euery where mote heare
Complayning, how with his empoysned shot
Their wofull harts he wounded had whyleare,
And so had left them languishing twixt hope and feare.
She then the Cities sought from gate to gate,
And euerie one did aske, did he him see;
And euerie one her answerd, that too late
He had him seene, and felt the crueltee
Of his sharpe dartes and whot artilleree;
And euery one threw forth reproches rife
Of his mischieuous deedes, and sayd, That hee
Was the disturber of all ciuill life,
The enimy of peace, and authour of all strife.
Then in the countrey she abroad him sought,
And in the rurall cottages inquir'd,
Where also many plaintes to her were brought,
How he their heedelesse harts with loue had fir'd,
And his false venim through their veines inspir'd;
And eke the gentle Shepheard swaynes, which sat
Keeping their fleecy flockes, as they were hyr'd,
She sweetly heard complaine, both how and what
Her sonne had to them doen; yet she did smile thereat.
But when in none of all these she him got,
She gan auize, where els he mote him hyde:
At last she her bethought, that she had not
Yet sought the saluage woods and forests wyde,
In which full many louely Nymphes abyde,
Mongst whom might be, that he did closely lye,
Or that the loue of some of them him tyde:
For thy she thether cast her course t'apply,
To search the secret haunts of Dianes company.
Shortly vnto the wastefull woods she came,
Whereas she found the Goddesse with her crew,
After late chace of their embrewed game,
Sitting beside a fountaine in a rew,
Some of them washing with the liquid dew
From off their dainty limbs the dusty sweat,
And soyle which did deforme their liuely hew,
Others lay shaded from the scorching heat;
The rest vpon her person gaue attendance great.
She hauing hong vpon a bough on high
Her bow and painted quiuer, had vnlaste
Her siluer buskins from her nimble thigh,
And her lanck loynes vngirt, and brests vnbraste,
After her heat the breathing cold to taste;
Her golden lockes, that late in tresses bright
Embreaded were for hindring of her haste,
Now loose about her shoulders hong vndight,
And were with sweet Ambrosia all besprinckled light.
Soone as she Venus saw behinde her backe,
She was asham'd to be so loose surpriz'd
And woxe halfe wroth against her damzels slacke,
That had not her thereof before auiz'd,
But suffred her so carelesly disguiz'd
Be ouertaken. Soone her garments loose
Vpgath'ring, in her bosome she compriz'd,
Well as she might, and to the Goddesse rose,
Whiles all her Nymphes did like a girlond her enclose.
Goodly she gan faire Cytherea greet,
And shortly asked her, what cause her brought
Into that wildernesse for her vnmeet,
From her sweete bowres, and beds with pleasures fraught:
That suddein chaung she straung aduenture thought.
To whom halfe weeping, she thus answered,
That she her dearest sonne Cupido sought,
Who in his frowardnes from her was fled;
That she repented sore, to haue him angered.
Thereat Diana gan to smile, in scorne
Of her vaine playnt, and to her scoffing sayd;
Great pitty sure, that ye be so forlorne
Of your gay sonne, that giues ye so good ayd
To your disports: ill mote ye bene apayd.
But she was more engrieued, and replide;
Faire sister, ill beseemes it to vpbrayd
A dolefull heart with so disdainfull pride;
The like that mine, may be your paine another tide.
As you in woods and wanton wildernesse
Your glory sett, to chace the saluage beasts,
So my delight is all in ioyfulnesse,
In beds, in bowres, in banckets, and in feasts:
And ill becomes you with your lofty creasts,
To scorne the ioy, that Ioue is glad to seeke;
We both are bownd to follow heauens beheasts,
And tend our charges with obeisaunce meeke:
Spare, gentle sister, with reproch my paine to eeke.
And tell me, if that ye my sonne haue heard,
To lurke emongst your Nimphes in secret wize;
Or keepe their cabins: much I am affeard,
Least he like one of them him selfe disguize,
And turne his arrowes to their exercize:
So may he long him selfe full easie hide:
For he is faire and fresh in face and guize,
As any Nimphe (let not it be enuide.)
So saying euery Nimph full narrowly shee eide.
But Ph be therewith sore was angered,
And sharply saide, Goe Dame, goe seeke your boy,
Where you him lately lefte, in Mars his bed;
He comes not here, we scorne his foolish ioy,
Ne lend we leisure to his idle toy:
But if I catch him in this company,
By Stygian lake I vow, whose sad annoy
The Gods doe dread, he dearly shall abye:
Ile clip his wanton wings, that he no more shall flye.
Whom whenas Venus saw so sore displeasd,
Shee inly sory was, and gan relent,
What shee had said: so her she soone appeasd,
With sugred words and gentle blandishment,
From which a fountaine from her sweete lips went,
And welled goodly forth, that in short space
She was well pleasd, and forth her damzells sent
Through all the woods, to search from place to place,
If any tract of him or tidings they mote trace.
To search the God of loue her Nimphes she sent,
Throughout the wandring forest euery where:
And after them her selfe eke with her went
To seeke the fugitiue [, both farre and nere.]
So long they sought, till they arriued were
In that same shady couert, whereas lay
Faire Crysogone in slombry traunce whilere:
Who in her sleepe (a wondrous thing to say)
Vnwares had borne two babes, as faire as springing day.
Vnwares she them conceiud, vnwares she bore:
She bore withouten paine, that she conceiu'd
Withouten pleasure: ne her need implore
Lucinaes aide: which when they both perceiu'd,
They were through wonder nigh of sence bereu'd,
And gazing each on other, nought bespake:
At last they both agreed, her seeming grieu'd
Out of her heauie swowne not to awake,
But from her louing side the tender babes to take.
Vp they them tooke, eachone a babe vptooke,
And with them carried, to be fostered;
Dame Ph be to a Nymphe her babe betooke,
To be vpbrought in perfect Maydenhed,
And of her selfe her name Belph be red:
But Venus hers thence far away conuayd,
To be vpbrought in goodly womanhed,
And in her litle loues stead, which was strayd,
Her Amoretta cald, to comfort her dismayd.
Shee brought her to her ioyous Paradize,
Wher most she wonnes, when she on earth does dwell.
So faire a place, as Nature can deuize:
Whether in Paphos, or Cytheron hill,
Or it in Gnidas bee, I wote not well;
But well I wote by triall, that this same
All other pleasaunt places doth excell,
And called is by her lost louers name,
The Gardin of Adonis, far renowmd by fame.
In that same Gardin all the goodly flowres,
Wherewith dame Nature doth her beautify,
And decks the girlonds of her Paramoures,
Are fetcht: there is the first seminary
Of all things, that are borne to liue and dye,
According to their kynds. Long worke it were,
Here to account the endlesse progeny
Of all the weeds, that bud and blossome there;
But so much as doth need, must needs be counted here.
It sited was in fruitfull soyle of old,
And girt in with two walls on either side;
The one of yron, the other of bright gold,
That none might thorough breake, nor ouer-stride:
And double gates it had, which opened wide,
By which both in and out men moten pas;
Th'one faire and fresh, the other old and dride:
Old Genius the porter of them was,
Old Genius, the which a double nature has.
He letteth in, he letteth out to wend,
All that to come into the world desire;
A thousand thousand naked babes attend
About him day and night, which doe require,
That he with fleshly weeds would them attire:
Such as him list, such as eternall fate
Ordained hath, he clothes with sinfull mire,
And sendeth forth to liue in mortall state,
Till they agayn returne backe by the hinder gate.
After that they againe retourned beene,
They in that Gardin planted bee agayne;
And grow afresh, as they had neuer seene
Fleshly corruption, nor mortall payne.
Some thousand yeares so doen they there remayne,
And then of him are clad with other hew,
Or sent into the chaungefull world agayne,
Till thether they retourne, where first they grew:
So like a wheele arownd they ronne from old to new.
Ne needs there Gardiner to sett, or sow,
To plant or prune: for of their owne accord
All things, as they created were, doe grow,
And yet remember well the mighty word,
Which first was spoken by th'Almighty lord,
That bad them to increase and multiply:
Ne doe they need with water of the ford,
Or of the clouds to moysten their roots dry;
For in themselues eternall moisture they imply.
Infinite shapes of creatures there are bred,
And vncouth formes, which none yet euer knew,
And euery sort is in a sondry bed
Sett by it selfe, and ranckt in comely rew:
Some fitt for reasonable sowles t'indew,
Some made for beasts, some made for birds to weare,
And all the fruitfull spawne of fishes hew
In endlesse rancks along enraunged were,
That seemd the Ocean could not containe them there.
Daily they grow, and daily forth are sent
Into the world, it to replenish more,
Yet is the stocke not lessened, nor spent,
But still remaines in euerlasting store,
As it at first created was of yore.
For in the wide wombe of the world there lyes,
In hatefull darknes and in deepe horrore,
An huge eternal Chaos, which supplyes
The substaunces of natures fruitfull progenyes.
All things from thence doe their first being fetch,
And borrow matter, whereof they are made,
Which whenas forme and feature it does ketch,
Becomes a body, and doth then inuade
The state of life, out of the griesly shade.
That substaunce is eterne, and bideth so,
Ne when the life decayes, and forme does fade,
Doth it consume, and into nothing goe,
But chaunged is, and often altred to and froe.
The substaunce is not chaungd, nor altered,
But th'only forme and outward fashion;
For euery substaunce is conditioned
To chaunge her hew, and sondry formes to don
Meet for her temper and complexion:
For formes are variable and decay,
By course of kinde, and by occasion;
And that faire flowre of beautie fades away,
As doth the lilly fresh before the sunny ray.
Great enimy to it, and to all the rest,
That in the Gardin of Adonis springs,
Is wicked Tyme, who with his scyth addrest,
Does mow the flowring herbes and goodly things,
And all their glory to the ground downe flings,
Where they do wither, and are fowly mard:
He flyes about, and with his flaggy winges
Beates downe both leaues and buds without regard,
Ne euer pitty may relent his malice hard.
Yet pitty often did the gods relent,
To see so faire thinges mard, and spoiled quight:
And their great mother Venus did lament
The losse of her deare brood, her deare delight:
Her hart was pierst with pitty at the sight,
When walking through the Gardin, them she spyde,
Yet no'te she find redresse for such despight:
For all that liues, is subiect to that law:
All things decay in time, and to their end doe draw.
But were it not, that Time their troubler is,
All that in this delightfull Gardin growes,
Should happy bee, and haue immortall blis:
For here all plenty, and all pleasure flowes,
And sweete loue gentle fitts emongst them throwes,
Without fell rancor, or fond gealosy;
Franckly each Paramor his leman knowes,
Each bird his mate, ne any does enuy
Their goodly meriment, and gay felicity.
There is continuall Spring, and haruest there
Continuall, both meeting at one tyme:
For both the boughes doe laughing blossoms beare,
And with fresh colours decke the wanton Pryme,
And eke attonce the heauenly trees they clyme,
Which seeme to labour vnder their fruites lode:
The whiles the ioyous birdes make their pastyme
Emongst the shady leaues, their sweet abode,
And their trew loues without suspition tell abrode.
Right in the middest of that Paradise,
There stood a stately Mount, on whose round top
A gloomy groue of mirtle trees did rise,
Whose shady boughes sharp steele did neuer lop,
Nor wicked beastes their tender buds did crop,
But like a girlond compassed the hight,
And from their fruitfull sydes sweet gum did drop,
That all the ground with pretious deaw bedight,
Threw forth most dainty odours, and most sweet delight.
And in the thickest couert of that shade,
There was a pleasaunt Arber, not by art,
But of the trees owne inclination made,
Which knitting their rancke braunches part to part,
With wanton yuie twyne entrayld athwart,
And Eglantine, and Caprifole emong,
Fashiond aboue within their inmost part,
That nether Phoebus beams could through them throng,
Nor Aeolus sharp blast could worke them any wrong.
And all about grew euery sort of flowre,
To which sad louers were transformde of yore;
Fresh Hyacinthus, Ph bus paramoure,
[And dearest loue,]
Foolish Narcisse, that likes the watry shore,
Sad Amaranthus, made a flowre but late,
Sad Amaranthus, in whose purple gore
Me seemes I see Amintas wretched fate,
To whom sweet Poets verse hath giuen endlesse date.
There wont fayre Venus often to enioy
Her deare Adonis ioyous company,
And reape sweet pleasure of the wanton boy:
There yet, some say, in secret he does ly,
Lapped in flowres and pretious spycery,
By her hid from the world, and from the skill
Of Stygian Gods, which doe her loue enuy;
But she her selfe, when euer that she will,
Possesseth him, and of his sweetnesse takes her fill.
And sooth it seemes they say: for he may not
For euer dye, and euer buried bee
In balefull night, where all thinges are forgot;
All be he subiect to mortalitie,
Yet is eterne in mutabilitie,
And by succession made perpetuall,
Transformed oft, and chaunged diuerslie:
For him the Father of all formes they call;
Therfore needs mote he liue, that liuing giues to all.
There now he liueth in eternall blis,
Ioying his goddesse, and of her enioyd:
Ne feareth he henceforth that foe of his,
Which with his cruell tuske him deadly cloyd:
For that wilde Bore, the which him once annoyd,
She firmely hath emprisoned for ay,
That her sweet loue his malice mote auoyd,
In a strong rocky Caue, which is they say,
Hewen vnderneath that Mount, that none him losen may.
There now he liues in euerlasting ioy,
With many of the Gods in company,
Which thether haunt, and with the winged boy
Sporting him selfe in safe felicity:
Who when he hath with spoiles and cruelty
Ransackt the world, and in the wofull harts
Of many wretches set his triumphes hye,
Thether resortes, and laying his sad dartes
Asyde, with faire Adonis playes his wanton partes.
And his trew loue faire Psyche with him playes,
Fayre Psyche to him lately reconcyld,
After long troubles and vnmeet vpbrayes,
With which his mother Venus her reuyld,
And eke himselfe her cruelly exyld:
But now in stedfast loue and happy state
She with him liues, and hath him borne a chyld,
Pleasure, that doth both gods and men aggrate,
Pleasure, the daughter of Cupid and Psyche late.
Hether great Venus brought this infant fayre,
The yonger daughter of Chrysogonee,
And vnto Psyche with great trust and care
Committed her, yfostered to bee,
And trained vp in trew feminitee:
Who no lesse carefully her tendered,
Then her owne daughter Pleasure, to whom shee
Made her companion, and her lessoned
In all the lore of loue, and goodly womanhead.
In which when she to perfect ripenes grew,
Of grace and beautie noble Paragone,
She brought her forth into the worldes vew,
To be th'ensample of true loue alone,
And Lodestarre of all chaste affection,
To all fayre Ladies, that doe liue on grownd.
To Faery court she came, where many one
Admyrd her goodly haueour, and fownd
His feeble hart wide launched with loues cruel wownd.
But she to none of them her loue did cast,
Saue to the noble knight Sir Scudamore,
To whom her louing hart she linked fast
In faithfull loue, t'abide for euermore,
And for his dearest sake endured sore,
Sore trouble of an hainous enimy,
Who her would forced haue to haue forlore
Her former loue, and stedfast loialty,
As ye may elswhere reade that ruefull history.
But well I weene, ye first desire to learne,
What end vnto that fearefull Damozell,
Which fledd so fast from that same foster stearne,
Whom with his brethren Timias slew, befell:
That was to weet, the goodly Florimell,
Who wandring for to seeke her louer deare,
Her louer deare, her dearest Marinell,
Into misfortune fell, as ye did heare,
And from Prince Arthure fled with wings of idle feare.
The witches sonne loues Florimell:
She flyes, he faines to dy.
Satyrane saues the Squyre of Dames
From Gyaunts tyranny.
LIke as an Hynd forth singled from the heard,
That hath escaped from a rauenous beast,
Yet flyes away of her owne feete afeard,
And euery leafe, that shaketh with the least
Murmure of winde, her terror hath encreast;
So fledd fayre Florimell from her vaine feare,
Long after she from perill was releast:
Each shade she saw, and each noyse she did heare,
Did seeme to be the same, which she escapt whileare.
All that same euening she in flying spent,
And all that night her course continewed:
Ne did she let dull sleepe once to relent,
Nor wearinesse to slack her hast, but fled
Euer alike, as if her former dred
Were hard behind, her ready to arrest:
And her white Palfrey hauing conquered
The maistring raines out of her weary wrest,
Perforce her carried, where euer he thought best.
So long as breath, and hable puissaunce
Did natiue corage vnto him supply,
His pace he freshly forward did aduaunce,
And carried her beyond all ieopardy,
But nought that wanteth rest, can long aby.
He hauing through incessant traueill spent
His force, at last perforce adowne did ly,
Ne foot could further moue: The Lady gent
Thereat was suddein strook with great astonishment.
And forst t'alight, on foot mote algates fare,
A traueiler vnwonted to such way:
Need teacheth her this lesson hard and rare,
That fortune all in equall launce doth sway,
And mortall miseries doth make her play.
So long she traueild, till at length she came
To an hilles side, which did to her bewray
A litle valley, subiect to the same,
All couerd with thick woodes, that quite it ouercame.
Through the tops of the high trees she did descry
A litle smoke, whose vapour thin and light,
Reeking aloft, vprolled to the sky:
Which, chearefull signe did send vnto her sight,
That in the same did wonne some liuing wight.
Eftsoones her steps she thereunto applyd,
And came at last in weary wretched plight
Vnto the place, to which her hope did guyde,
To finde some refuge there, and rest her wearie syde.
There in a gloomy hollow glen she found
A little cottage, built of stickes and reedes
In homely wize, and wald with sods around,
In which a witch did dwell, in loathly weedes,
And wilfull want, all carelesse of her needes,
So choosing solitarie to abide,
Far from all neighbours, that her diuelish deedes
And hellish arts from people she might hide,
And hurt far off vnknowne, whom euer she envide.
The Damzell there arriuing entred in;
Where sitting on the flore the Hag she found,
Busie (as seem'd) about some wicked gin:
Who soone as she beheld that suddein stound,
Lightly vpstarted from the dustie ground,
And with fell looke and hollow deadly gaze
Stared on her awhile, as one astound,
Ne had one word to speake, for great amaze,
But shewd by outward signes, that dread her sence did daze.
At last turning her feare to foolish wrath,
She askt, what deuill had her thether brought,
And who she was, and what vnwonted path
Had guided her, vnwelcomed, vnsought.
To which the Damzell full of doubtfull thought,
Her mildly answer'd; Beldame be not wroth
With silly Virgin by aduenture brought
Vnto your dwelling, ignorant and loth,
That craue but rowme to rest, while tempest ouerblo'th.
With that adowne out of her christall eyne
Few trickling teares she softly forth let fall,
That like two orient perles, did purely shyne
Vpon her snowy cheeke; and therewithall
She sighed soft, that none so bestiall,
Nor saluage hart, but ruth of her sad plight
Would make to melt, or pitteously appall;
And that vile Hag, all were her whole delight
In mischiefe, was much moued at so pitteous sight.
And gan recomfort her in her rude wyse,
With womanish compassion of her plaint,
Wiping the teares from her suffused eyes,
And bidding her sit downe, to rest her faint
And wearie limbs a while. She nothing quaint
Nor s'deignfull of so homely fashion,
Sith brought she was now to so hard constraint,
Sate downe vpon the dusty ground anon,
As glad of that small rest, as Bird of tempest gon.
Tho gan she gather vp her garments rent,
And her loose lockes to dight in order dew,
With golden wreath and gorgeous ornament;
Whom such whenas the wicked Hag did vew,
She was astonisht at her heauenly hew,
And doubted her to deeme an earthly wight,
But or some Goddesse, or of Dianes crew,
And thought her to adore with humble spright;
T'adore thing so diuine as beauty, were but right.
This wicked woman had a wicked sonne,
The comfort of her age and weary dayes,
A laesy loord, for nothing good to donne,
But stretched forth in ydlenesse alwayes,
Ne euer cast his mind to couet prayse,
Or ply him selfe to any honest trade,
But all the day before the sunny rayes
He vs'd to slug, or sleepe in slothfull shade:
Such laesinesse both lewd and poore attonce him made.
He comming home at vndertime, there found
The fayrest creature, that he euer saw,
Sitting beside his mother on the ground;
The sight whereof did greatly him adaw,
And his base thought with terrour and with aw
So inly smot, that as one, which hath gaz'd
On the bright Sunne vnwares, doth soone withdraw
His feeble eyne, with too much brightnes daz'd,
So stared he on her, and stood long while amaz'd.
Softly at last he gan his mother aske,
What mister wight that was, and whence deriu'd,
That in so straunge disguizement there did maske,
And by what accident she there arriu'd:
But she, as one nigh of her wits depriu'd,
With nought but ghastly lookes him answered,
Like to a ghost, that lately is reuiu'd
From Stygian shores, where late it wandered;
So both at her, and each at other wondered.
But the fayre Virgin was so meeke and myld,
That she to them vouchsafed to embace
Her goodly port, and to their senses vyld,
Her gentle speach applyde, that in short space
She grew familiare in that desert place.
During which time, the Chorle through her so kind
And courteise vse conceiu'd affection bace,
And cast to loue her in his brutish mind;
No loue, but brutish lust, that was so beastly tind.
Closely the wicked flame his bowels brent,
And shortly grew into outrageous fire;
Yet had he not the hart, nor hardiment,
As vnto her to vtter his desire;
His caytiue thought durst not so high aspire,
But with soft sighes, and louely semblaunces,
He ween'd that his affection entire
She should aread; many resemblaunces
To her he made, and many kinde remembraunces.
Oft from the forrest wildings he did bring,
Whose sides empurpled were with smyling red,
And oft young birds, which he had taught to sing
His maistresse praises, sweetly caroled,
Girlonds of flowres sometimes for her faire hed
He fine would dight; sometimes the squirrell wild
He brought to her in bands, as conquered
To be her thrall, his fellow seruant vild;
All which, she of him tooke with countenance meeke and mild.
But past awhile, when she fit season saw
To leaue that desert mansion, she cast
In secret wize her selfe thence to withdraw,
For feare of mischiefe, which she did forecast
Might by the witch or by her sonne compast:
Her wearie Palfrey closely, as she might,
Now well recouered after long repast,
In his proud furnitures she freshly dight,
His late miswandred wayes now to remeasure right.
And earely ere the dawning day appeard,
She forth issewed, and on her iourney went;
She went in perill, of each noyse affeard,
And of each shade, that did it selfe present;
For still she feared to be ouerhent,
Of that vile hag, or her vnciuile sonne:
Who when too late awaking, well they kent,
That their fayre guest was gone, they both begonne
To make exceeding mone, as they had beene vndonne.
But that lewd louer did the most lament
For her depart, that euer man did heare;
He knockt his brest with desperate intent,
And scratcht his face, and with his teeth did teare
His rugged flesh, and rent his ragged heare:
That his sad mother seeing his sore plight,
Was greatly woe begon, and gan to feare,
Least his fraile senses were emperisht quight,
And loue to frenzy turnd, sith loue is franticke hight.
All wayes shee sought, him to restore to plight,
With herbs, with charms, with counsel, and with teares,
But tears, nor charms, nor herbs, nor counsell might
Asswage the fury, which his entrails teares:
So strong is passion, that no reason heares.
Tho when all other helpes she saw to faile,
She turnd her selfe backe to her wicked leares
And by her diuelish arts thought to preuaile,
To bring her backe againe, or worke her finall bale.
Eftesoones out of her hidden caue she cald
An hideous beast, of horrible aspect,
That could the stoutest corage haue appald;
Monstrous, mishapt, and all his backe was spect
With thousand spots of colours queint elect,
Thereto so swifte, that it all beasts did pas:
Like neuer yet did liuing eie detect;
But likest it to an Hyena was,
That feeds on wemens flesh, as others feede on gras.
It forth she cald, and gaue it streight in charge,
Through thicke and thin her to poursew apace,
Ne once to stay to rest, or breath at large,
Till her he had attaind, and brought in place,
Or quite deuourd her beauties scornefull grace.
The Monster swifte as word, that from her went,
Went forth in haste, and did her footing trace
So sure and swiftly, through his perfect sent,
And passing speede, that shortly he her ouerhent.
Whom when the fearefull Damzell nigh espide,
No need to bid her fast away to flie;
That vgly shape so sore her terrifide,
That it she shund no lesse, then dread to die,
And her flitt Palfrey did so well apply
His nimble feet to her conceiued feare,
That whilest his breath did strength to him supply,
From perill free he her away did beare:
But when his force gan faile, his pace gan wex areare.
Which whenas she perceiu'd, she was dismayd
At that same last extremity ful sore,
And of her safety greatly grew afrayd;
And now she gan approch to the sea shore,
As it befell, that she could flie no more,
But yield her selfe to spoile of greedinesse.
Lightly she leaped, as a wight forlore,
From her dull horse, in desperate distresse,
And to her feet betooke her doubtfull sickernesse.
Not halfe so fast the wicked Myrrha fled
From dread of her reuenging fathers hond:
Nor halfe so fast to saue her maydenhed,
Fled fearfull Daphne on th'AEgaean strond,
As Florimell fled from that Monster yond,
To reach the sea, ere she of him were raught:
For in the sea to drowne her selfe she fond,
Rather then of the tyrant to be caught:
Thereto fear gaue her wings, and need her corage taught.
It fortuned (high God did so ordaine)
As shee arriued on the roring shore,
In minde to leape into the mighty maine,
A little bote lay hoving her before,
In which there slept a fisher old and pore,
The whiles his nets were drying on the sand:
Into the same shee lept, and with the ore
Did thrust the shallop from the floting strand:
So safety fownd at sea, which she fownd not at land.
The Monster ready on the pray to sease,
Was of his forward hope deceiued quight,
Ne durst assay to wade the perlous seas,
But greedily long gaping at the sight,
At last in vaine was forst to turne his flight,
And tell the idle tidings to his Dame:
Yet to auenge his diuelishe despight,
He sett vpon her Palfrey tired lame,
And slew him cruelly, ere any reskew came.
And after hauing him embowelled,
To fill his hellish gorge, it chaunst a knight
To passe that way, as forth he traueiled;
Yt was a goodly Swaine, and of great might,
As euer man that bloody field did fight;
But in vain sheows, that wont yong knights bewitch,
And courtly seruices tooke no delight,
But rather ioyd to bee, then seemen sich:
For both to be and seeme to him was labor lich.
It was to weete the good Sir Satyrane,
That raungd abrode to seeke aduentures wilde,
As was his wont in forest, and in plaine;
He was all armd in rugged steele vnfilde,
As in the smoky forge it was compilde,
And in his Scutchin bore a Satyres hedd:
He comming present, where the Monster vilde
Vpon that milke-white Palfreyes carcas fedd,
Vnto his reskew ran, and greedily him spedd.
There well perceiud he, that it was the horse,
Whereon faire Florimell was wont to ride,
That of that feend was rent without remorse:
Much feared he, least ought did ill betide
To that faire Maide, the flowre of wemens pride;
For her he dearely loued, and in all
His famous conquests highly magnifide:
Besides her golden girdle, which did fall
From her in flight, he fownd, that did him sore apall.
Full of sad feare, and doubtfull agony,
Fiercely he flew vpon that wicked feend,
And with huge strokes, and cruell battery
Him forst to leaue his pray, for to attend
Him selfe from deadly daunger to defend:
Full many wounds in his corrupted flesh
He did engraue, and muchell blood did spend,
Yet might not doe him die, but aie more fresh
And fierce he still appeard, the more he did him thresh.
He wist not, how him to despoile of life,
Ne how to win the wished victory,
Sith him he saw still stronger grow through strife,
And him selfe weaker through infirmity;
Greatly he grew enrag'd, and furiously
Hurling his sword away, he lightly lept
Vpon the beast, that with great cruelty
Rored, and raged to be vnderkept:
Yet he perforce him held, and strokes vpon him hept.
As he that striues to stop a suddein flood,
And in strong bancks his violence enclose,
Forceth it swell aboue his wonted mood,
And largely ouerflow the fruitfull plaine,
That all the countrey seemes to be a Maine,
And the rich furrowes flote, all quite fordonne:
The wofull husbandman doth lowd complaine,
To see his whole yeares labor lost so soone,
For which to God he made so many an idle boone.
So him he held, and did through might amate:
So long he held him, and him bett so long,
That at the last his fiercenes gan abate,
And meekely stoup vnto the victor strong:
Who to auenge the implacable wrong,
Which he supposed donne to Florimell,
Sought by all meanes his dolor to prolong,
Sith dint of steele his carcas could not quell:
His maker with her charmes had framed him so well.
The golden ribband, which that virgin wore
About her sclender waste, he tooke in hand,
And with it bownd the beast, that lowd did rore
For great despight of that vnwonted band,
Yet dared not his victor to withstand,
But trembled like a lambe, fled from the pray,
And all the way him followd on the strand,
As he had long bene learned to obay;
Yet neuer learned he such seruice, till that day.
Thus as he led the Beast along the way,
He spide far off a mighty Giauntesse,
Fast flying on a Courser dapled gray,
From a bold knight, that with great hardinesse
Her hard pursewd, and sought for to suppresse;
She bore before her lap a dolefull Squire,
Lying athwart her horse in great distresse,
Fast bounden hand and foote with cords of wire,
Whom she did meane to make the thrall of her desire.
Which whenas Satyrane beheld, in haste
He lefte his captiue Beast at liberty,
And crost the nearest way, by which he cast
Her to encounter, ere she passed by:
But she the way shund nathemore for thy,
But forward gallopt fast, which when he spyde,
His mighty speare he couched warily,
And at her ran: she hauing him descryde,
Her selfe to fight addrest, and threw her lode aside.
Like as a Goshauke, that in foote doth beare
A trembling Culuer, hauing spide on hight
An Eagle, that with plumy wings doth sheare
The subtile ayre, stouping with all his might,
The quarrey throwes to ground with fell despight,
And to the batteill doth her selfe prepare:
So ran the Geauntesse vnto the fight;
Her fyrie eyes with furious sparkes did stare,
And with blasphemous bannes high God in peeces tare.
She caught in hand an huge great yron mace,
Wherewith she many had of life depriu'd;
But ere the stroke could seize his aymed place,
His speare amids her sun-brode shield arriu'd,
Yet nathemore the steele a sonder riu'd,
All were the beame in bignes like a mast,
Ne her out of the stedfast sadle driu'd,
But glauncing on the tempred metall, brast
In thousand shiuers, and so forth beside her past.
Her Steed did stagger with that puissaunt strooke;
But she no more was moued with that might,
Then it had lighted on an aged Oke;
Or on the marble Pillour, that is pight
Vpon the top of Mount Olympus hight,
For the braue youthly Champions to assay,
With burning charet wheeles it nigh to smite:
But who that smites it, mars his ioyous play,
And is the spectacle of ruinous decay.
Yet therewith sore enrag'd, with sterne regard
Her dreadfull weapon she to him addrest,
Which on his helmet martelled so hard,
That made him low incline his lofty crest,
And bowd his battred visour to his brest:
Wherewith hee was so stund, that he n'ote ryde
But reeled to and fro from east to west:
Which when his cruell enimy espyde,
She lightly vnto him adioyned syde to syde;
And on his collar laying puissaunt hand,
Out of his wauering seat him pluckt perforse,
Perforse him pluckt, vnable to withstand,
Or helpe himselfe, and laying thwart her horse,
In loathly wise like to a carrion corse,
She bore him fast away. Which when the knight,
That her pursewed, saw with great remorse,
He nere was touched in his noble spright,
And gan encrease his speed, as she encreast her flight.
Whom when as nigh approching she espyde,
She threw away her burden angrily;
For she list not the batteill to abide,
But made her selfe more light, away to fly:
Yet her the hardy knight pursewd so nye
That almost in the backe he oft her strake:
But still when him at hand she did espy,
She turnd, and semblaunce of faire fight did make;
But when he stayd, to flight againe she did her take.
By this the good Sir Satyrane gan wake
Out of his dreame, that did him long entraunce,
And seeing none in place, he gan to make
Exceeding mone, and curst that cruell chaunce,
Which reft from him so faire a cheuisaunce:
At length he spyde, whereas that wofull Squyre,
Whom he had reskewed from captiuaunce
Of his strong foe, lay tombled in the myre,
Vnable to arise, or foot or hand to styre.
To whom approching, well he mote perceiue
In that fowle plight a comely personage,
And louely face, made fit for to deceiue
Fraile Ladies hart with loues consuming rage,
Now in the blossome of his freshest age:
He reard him vp, and loosd his yron bands,
And after gan inquire his parentage,
And how he fell into the Gyaunts hands,
And who that was, which chaced her along the lands.
Then trembling yet through feare, the Squire bespake,
That Geauntesse Argante is behight,
A daughter of the Titans which did make
Warre against heuen, and heaped hils on hight,
To scale the skyes, and put Ioue from his right:
Her syre Typhoeus was, who mad through merth,
And dronke with blood of men, slaine by his might,
Through incest, her of his owne mother Earth
Whylome begot, being but halfe twin of that berth.
For at that berth another Babe she bore,
To weet the mightie Ollyphant, that wrought
Great wreake to many errant knights of yore,
Till him Chylde Thopas to confusion brought.
These twinnes, men say, (a thing far passing thought)
Whiles in their mothers wombe enclosd they were,
Ere they into the lightsom world were brought,
In fleshly lust were mingled both yfere,
And in that monstrous wise did to the world appere.
So liu'd they euer after in like sin,
Gainst natures law, and good behaueoure:
But greatest shame was to that maiden twin,
Who not content so fowly to deuoure
Her natiue flesh, and staine her brothers bowre,
Did wallow in all other fleshly myre,
And suffred beastes her body to deflowre:
So whot she burned in that lustfull fyre,
Yet all that might not slake her sensuall desyre.
But ouer all the countrie she did raunge,
To seeke young men, to quench her flaming thrust,
And feed her fancy with delightfull chaunge:
Whom so she fittest findes to serue her lust,
Through her maine strength, in which she most doth trust,
She with her bringes into a secret Ile,
Where in eternall bondage dye he must,
Or be the vassall of her pleasures vile,
And in all shamefull sort him selfe with her defile.
Me seely wretch she so at vauntage caught,
After she long in waite for me did lye,
And meant vnto her prison to haue brought,
Her lothsom pleasure there to satisfye;
That thousand deathes me leuer were to dye,
Then breake the vow, that to faire Columbell
I plighted haue, and yet keepe stedfastly:
As for my name, it mistreth not to tell;
Call me the Squyre of Dames that me beseemeth well.
But that bold knight, whom ye pursuing saw
That Geauntesse, is not such, as she seemd,
But a faire virgin, that in martiall law,
And deedes of armes aboue all Dames is deemd,
And aboue many knightes is eke esteemd,
For her great worth; She Palladine is hight:
She you from death, you me from dread redeemd.
Ne any may that Monster match in fight,
But she, or such as she, that is so chaste a wight.
Her well beseemes that Quest (quoth Satyrane)
But read, thou Squyre of Dames, what vow is this,
Which thou vpon thy selfe hast lately ta'ne.
That shall I you recount (quoth he) ywis,
So be ye pleasd to pardon all amis.
That gentle Lady, whom I loue and serue,
After long suit and wearie seruicis,
Did aske me, how I could her loue deserue,
And how she might be sure, that I would neuer swerue.
I glad by any meanes her grace to gaine,
Badd her commaund my life to saue, or spill.
Eftsoones she badd me, with incessaunt paine
To wander through the world abroad at will,
And euery where, where with my power or skill
I might doe seruice vnto gentle Dames,
That I the same should faithfully fulfill,
And at the twelue monethes end should bring their names
And pledges; as the spoiles of my victorious games.
So well I to faire Ladies seruice did,
And found such fauour in their louing hartes,
That ere the yeare his course had compassid,
Three hundred pledges for my good desartes,
And thrise three hundred thanks for my good partes
I with me brought, and did to her present:
Which when she saw, more bent to eke my smartes,
Then to reward my trusty true intent,
She gan for me deuise a grieuous punishment.
To weet, that I my traueill should resume,
And with like labour walke the world arownd,
Ne euer to her presence should presume,
Till I so many other Dames had fownd,
The which, for all the suit I could propownd,
Would me refuse their pledges to afford,
But did abide for euer chaste and sownd.
Ah gentle Squyre (quoth he) tell at one word,
How many fowndst thou such to put in thy record?
In deed Sir knight (said he) one word may tell
All, that I euer fownd so wisely stayd;
For onely three they were disposd so well,
And yet three yeares I now abrode haue strayd,
To fynd them out. Mote I (then laughing sayd
The knight) inquire of thee, what were those three,
The which thy proffred curtesie denayd?
Or ill they seemed sure auizd to bee,
Or brutishly brought vp, that neu'r did fashions see.
The first which then refused me (said hee)
Certes was but a common Courtisane,
Yet flat refusd to haue a doe with mee,
Because I could not giue her many a Iane.
(Thereat full hartely laughed Satyrane)
The second was an holy Nunne to chose,
Which would not let me be her Chappellane,
Because she knew, she sayd, I would disclose
Her counsell, if she should her trust in me repose.
The third a Damzell was of low degree,
Whom I in countrey cottage fownd by chaunce;
Full litle weened I, that chastitee
Had lodging in so meane a maintenaunce,
Yet was she fayre, and in her countenaunce
Dwelt simple truth in seemely fashion.
Long thus I woo'd her with dew obseruaunce,
In hope vnto my pleasure to haue won,
But was as far at last, as when I first begon.
Safe her, I neuer any woman found,
That chastity did for it selfe embrace,
But were for other causes firme and sound,
Either for want of handsome time and place,
Or else for feare of shame and fowle disgrace.
Thus am I hopelesse euer to attaine
My Ladies loue, in such a desperate case,
But all my dayes am like to waste in vaine,
Seeking to match the chaste with th'vnchaste Ladies traine.
Perdy, (sayd Satyrane) thou Squyre of Dames,
Great labour fondly hast thou hent in hand,
To get small thankes, and therewith many blames,
That may emongst Alcides labours stand.
Thence backe returning to the former land,
Where late he left the Beast, he ouercame,
He found him not; for he had broke his band,
And was returnd againe vnto his Dame,
To tell what tydings of fayre Florimell became.
The Witch creates a snowy Lady,
like to Florimell,
Who wrongd by Carle by Proteus sau'd,
is sought by Paridell.
SO oft as I this history record,
My hart doth melt with meere compassion,
To thinke, how causelesse of her owne accord
This gentle Damzell, whom I write vpon,
Should plonged be in such affliction,
Without all hope of comfort or reliefe,
That sure I weene, the hardest hart of stone,
Would hardly finde to aggrauate her griefe;
For misery craues rather mercy, then repriefe.
But that accursed Hag, her hostesse late,
Had so enranckled her malitious hart,
That she desyrd th'abridgement of her fate,
Or long enlargement of her painefull smart.
Now when the Beast, which by her wicked art
Late foorth she sent, she backe retourning spyde,
Tyde with her golden girdle, it a part
Of her rich spoyles, whom he had earst destroyd,
She weend, and wondrous gladnes to her hart applyde.
And with it ronning hast'ly to her sonne,
Thought with that sight him much to haue reliu'd;
Who thereby deeming sure the thing as donne,
His former griefe with furie fresh reuiu'd,
Much more then earst, and would haue algates riu'd
The hart out of his brest: for sith her dedd
He surely dempt, himselfe he thought depriu'd
Quite of all hope, wherewith he long had fedd
His foolish malady, and long time had misledd.
With thought whereof, exceeding mad he grew,
And in his rage his mother would haue slaine,
Had she not fled into a secret mew,
Where she was wont her Sprightes to entertaine
The maisters of her art: there was she faine
To call them all in order to her ayde,
And them coniure vpon eternall paine,
To counsell her so carefully dismayd,
How she might heale her sonne, whose senses were decayd.
By their deuice, and her owne wicked wit,
She there deuiz'd a wondrous worke to frame,
Whose like on earth was neuer framed yit,
That euen Nature selfe enuide the same,
And grudg'd to see the counterfet should shame
The thing it selfe: In hand she boldly tooke
To make another like the former Dame,
Another Florimell, in shape and looke
So liuely and so like, that many it mistooke.
The substance, whereof she the body made,
Was purest snow in massy mould congeald,
Which she had gathered in a shady glade
Of the Riph an hils, to her reueald
By errant Sprights, but from all men conceald:
The same she tempred with fine Mercury,
And virgin wex, that neuer yet was seald,
And mingled them with perfect vermily,
That like a liuely sanguine it seemd to the eye.
In stead of eyes two burning lampes she set
In siluer sockets, shyning like the skyes,
And a quicke mouing Spirit did arret
To stirre and roll them, like to womens eyes;
In stead of yellow lockes she did deuyse,
With golden wyre to weaue her curled head;
Yet golden wyre was not so yellow thryse
As Florimells fayre heare: and in the stead
Of life, she put a Spright to rule the carcas dead.
A wicked Spright yfraught with fawning guyle,
And fayre resemblance aboue all the rest,
Which with the Prince of Darkenes fell somewhyle,
From heauens blis and euerlasting rest,
Him needed not instruct, which way were best
Him selfe to fashion likest Florimell,
Ne how to speake, ne how to vse his gest;
For he in counterfesaunce did excell,
And all the wyles of wemens wits knew passing well.
Him shaped thus, she deckt in garments gay,
Which Florimell had left behind her late,
That who so then her saw, would surely say,
It was her selfe, whom it did imitate,
Or fayrer then her selfe, if ought algate
Might fayrer be. And then she forth her brought
Vnto her sonne, that lay in feeble state;
Who seeing her gan streight vpstart, and thought
She was the Lady selfe, who he so long had sought.
Tho fast her clipping twixt his armes twayne,
Extremely ioyed in so happy sight,
And soone forgot his former sickely payne;
But she, the more to seeme such as she hight,
Coyly rebutted his embracement light;
Yet still with gentle countenaunce retain'd,
Enough to hold a foole in vaine delight:
Him long she so with shadowes entertain'd,
As her Creatresse had in charge to her ordain'd.
Till on a day, as he disposed was
To walke the woodes with that his Idole faire,
Her to disport, and idle time to pas,
In th'open freshnes of the gentle aire,
A knight that way there chaunced to repaire;
Yet knight he was not, but a boastfull swaine,
That deedes of armes had euer in despaire,
Proud Braggadocchio, that in vaunting vaine
His glory did repose, and credit did maintaine.
He seeing with that Chorle so faire a wight,
Decked with many a costly ornament,
Much merueiled thereat, as well he might,
And thought that match a fowle disparagement:
His bloody speare eftesoones he boldly bent
Against the silly clowne, who dead through feare,
Fell streight to ground in great astonishment;
Villein (sayd he) this Lady is my deare,
Dy, if thou it gainesay: I will away her beare.
The fearefull Chorle durst not gainesay, nor dooe,
But trembling stood, and yielded him the pray;
Who finding litle leasure her to wooe,
On Tromparts steed her mounted without stay,
And without reskew led her quite away.
Proud man himselfe then Braggadochio deem'd,
And next to none, after that happy day,
Being possessed of that spoyle, which seem'd
The fairest wight on ground, and most of men esteem'd.
But when hee saw him selfe free from poursute,
He gan make gentle purpose to his Dame,
With termes of loue and lewdnesse dissolute;
For he could well his glozing speaches frame
To such vaine vses, that him best became:
But she thereto would lend but light regard,
As seeming sory, that she euer came
Into his powre, that vsed her so hard,
To reaue her honor, which she more then life prefard.
Thus as they two of kindnes treated long,
There them by chaunce encountred on the way
An armed knight, vpon a courser strong,
Whose trampling feete vpon the hollow lay
Seemed to thunder, and did nigh affray
That Capons corage: yet he looked grim,
And faynd to cheare his lady in dismay,
Who seemd for feare to quake in euery lim,
And her to saue from outrage, meekely prayed him.
Fiercely that straunger forward came, and nigh
Approching, with bold words and bitter threat,
Bad that same boaster, as he mote, on high
To leaue to him that lady for excheat,
Or bide him batteill without further treat.
That challenge did too peremptory seeme,
And fild his senses with abashment great;
Yet seeing nigh him ieopardy extreme,
He it dissembled well, and light seemd to esteeme.
Saying, Thou foolish knight, that weenst with words
To steale away, that I with blowes haue wonne,
And broght throgh points of many perilous swords:
But if thee list to see thy Courser ronne,
Or proue thy selfe, this sad encounter shonne,
And seeke els without hazard of thy hedd.
At those prowd words that other knight begonne
To wex exceeding wroth, and him aredd
To turne his steede about, or sure he should be dedd.
Sith then (said Braggadochio) needes thou wilt
Thy daies abridge, through proofe of puissaunce,
Turne we our steeds, that both in equall tilt
May meete againe, and each take happy chaunce.
This said, they both a furlongs mountenaunce
Retird their steeds, to ronne in euen race:
But Braggadochio with his bloody launce
Once hauing turnd, no more returnd his face,
But lefte his loue to losse, and fled him selfe apace.
The knight him seeing flie, had no regard
Him to poursew, but to the lady rode,
And hauing her from Trompart lightly reard,
Vpon his Courser sett the louely lode,
And with her fled away without abode.
Well weened he, that fairest Florimell
It was, with whom in company he yode,
And so her selfe did alwaies to him tell;
So made him thinke him selfe in heuen, that was in hell.
But Florimell her selfe was far away,
Driuen to great distresse by fortune straunge,
And taught the carefull Mariner to play,
Sith late mischaunce had her compeld to chaunge
The land for sea, at randon there to raunge:
Yett there that cruell Queene auengeresse,
Not satisfyde so far her to estraunge
From courtly blis and wonted happinesse,
Did heape on her new waues of weary wretchednesse.
For being fled into the fishers bote,
For refuge from the Monsters cruelty,
Long so she on the mighty maine did flote,
And with the tide droue forward carelesly,
For th'ayre was milde, and cleared was the skie,
And all his windes Dan Aeolus did keepe,
From stirring vp their stormy enmity,
As pittying to see her waile and weepe;
But all the while the fisher did securely sleepe.
At last when droncke with drowsinesse, he woke,
And saw his drouer driue along the streame,
He was dismayd, and thrise his brest he stroke,
For marueill of that accident extreame;
But when he saw, that blazing beauties beame,
Which with rare light his bote did beautifye,
He marueild more, and thought he yet did dreame
Not well awakte, or that some extasye
Assotted had his sence, or dazed was his eye.
But when her well auizing, hee perceiu'd
To be no vision, nor fantasticke sight,
Great comfort of her presence he conceiu'd,
And felt in his old corage new delight
To gin awake, and stir his frosen spright:
Tho rudely askte her, how she thether came.
Ah (sayd she) father I note read aright,
What hard misfortune brought me to this same;
Yet am I glad that here I now in safety ame.
But thou good man, sith far in sea we bee,
And the great waters gin apace to swell,
That now no more we can the mayn-land see,
Haue care, I pray, to guide the cock-bote well,
Least worse on sea then vs on land befell.
Thereat th'old man did nought but fondly grin,
And saide, his boat the way could wisely tell:
But his deceiptfull eyes did neuer lin,
To looke on her faire face, and marke her snowy skin.
The sight whereof in his congealed flesh,
Infixt such secrete sting of greedy lust,
That the drie withered stocke it gan refresh,
And kindled heat, that soone in flame forth brust:
The driest wood is soonest burnt to dust.
Rudely to her he lept, and his rough hand
Where ill became him, rashly would haue thrust,
But she with angry scorne him did withstond,
And shamefully reprou'd for his rudenes fond.
But he, that neuer good nor maners knew,
Her sharpe rebuke full litle did esteeme;
Hard is to teach an old horse amble trew.
The inward smoke, that did before but steeme,
Broke into open fire and rage extreme,
And now he strength gan adde vnto his will,
Forcyng to doe, that did him fowle misseeme:
Beastly he threwe her downe, ne car'd to spill
Her garments gay with scales of fish, that all did fill.
The silly virgin stroue him to withstand,
All that she might, and him in vaine reuild:
Shee strugled strongly both with foote and hand,
To saue her honor from that villaine vilde,
And cride to heuen, from humane helpe exild.
O ye braue knights, that boast this Ladies loue,
Where be ye now, when she is nigh defild
Of filthy wretch? well may she you reproue
Of falsehood or of slouth, when most it may behoue.
But if that thou, Sir Satyran, didst weete,
Or thou, Sir Peridure, her sory state,
How soone would yee assemble many a fleete,
To fetch from sea, that ye at land lost late;
Towres, citties, kingdomes ye would ruinate,
In your auengement and dispiteous rage,
Ne ought your burning fury mote abate;
But if Sir Calidore could it presage,
No liuing creature could his cruelty asswage.
But sith that none of all her knights is nye,
See how the heauens of voluntary grace,
And soueraine fauor towards chastity,
Doe succor send to her distressed cace:
So much high God doth innocence embrace.
It fortuned, whilest thus she stifly stroue,
And the wide sea importuned long space
With shrilling shriekes, Proteus abrode did roue,
Along the fomy waues driuing his finny droue.
Proteus is Shepheard of the seas of yore,
And hath the charge of Neptunes mighty heard,
An aged sire with head all frory hore,
And sprinckled frost vpon his deawy beard:
Who when those pittifull outcries he heard,
Through all the seas so ruefully resownd,
His charett swifte in hast he thether steard,
Which with a teeme of scaly Phocas bownd
Was drawne vpon the waues, that fomed him arownd.
And comming to that Fishers wandring bote,
That went at will, withouten card or sayle,
He therein saw that yrkesome sight, which smote
Deepe indignation and compassion frayle
Into his hart attonce: streight did he hayle
The greedy villein from his hoped pray,
Of which he now did very litle fayle,
And with his staffe, that driues his heard astray,
Him bett so sore, that life and sence did much dismay.
The whiles the pitteous Lady vp did ryse,
Ruffled and fowly raid with filthy soyle,
And blubbred face with teares of her faire eyes:
Her heart nigh broken was with weary toyle,
To saue her selfe from that outrageous spoyle,
But when she looked vp, to weet, what wight
Had her from so infamous fact assoyld,
For shame, but more for feare of his grim sight,
Downe in her lap she hid her face, and lowdly shright.
Herselfe not saued yet from daunger dredd
She thought, but chaung'd from one to other feare;
Like as a fearefull partridge, that is fledd
From the sharpe hauke, which her attached neare,
And fals to ground, to seeke for succor theare,
Whereas the hungry Spaniells she does spye,
With greedy iawes her ready for to teare;
In such distresse and sad perplexity
Was Florimell, when Proteus she did see her by.
But he endeuored with speaches milde
Her to recomfort, and accourage bold,
Bidding her feare no more her foeman vilde,
Nor doubt himselfe; and who he was her told.
Yet all that could not from affright her hold,
Ne to recomfort her at all preuayld;
For her faint hart was with the frosen cold
Benumbd so inly, that her wits nigh fayld,
And all her sences with abashment quite were quayld.
Her vp betwixt his rugged hands he reard,
And with his frory lips full softly kist,
Whiles the cold ysickles from his rough beard,
Dropped adowne vpon her yuory brest:
Yet he him selfe so busily addrest,
That her out of astonishment he wrought,
And out of that same fishers filthy nest
Remouing her, into his charet brought,
And there with many gentle termes her faire besought.
But that old leachour, which with bold assault
That beautie durst presume to violate,
He cast to punish for his hainous fault;
Then tooke he him yet trembling sith of late,
And tyde behind his charet, to aggrate
The virgin, whom he had abusde so sore:
So drag'd him through the waues in scornfull state,
And after cast him vp, vpon the shore;
But Florimell with him vnto his bowre he bore.
His bowre is in the bottom of the maine,
Vnder a mightie rocke, gainst which doe raue
The roring billowes in their proud disdaine,
That with the angry working of the waue,
Therein is eaten out an hollow caue,
That seemes rough Masons hand with engines keene
Had long while laboured it to engraue:
There was his wonne, ne liuing wight was seene,
Saue one old Nymph, hight Panope to keepe it cleane.
Thether he brought the sory Florimell,
And entertained her the best he might
And Panope her entertaind eke well,
As an immortall mote a mortall wight,
To winne her liking vnto his delight:
With flattering wordes he sweetly wooed her,
And offered faire guiftes, t'allure her sight,
But she both offers and the offerer
Despysde, and all the fawning of the flatterer.
Dayly he tempted her with this or that,
And neuer suffred her to be at rest:
But euermore she him refused flat,
And all his fained kindnes did detest.
So firmely she had sealed vp her brest.
Sometimes he boasted, that a God he hight:
But she a mortall creature loued best:
Then he would make him selfe a mortall wight;
But then she said she lou'd none, but a Faery knight.
Then like a Faerie knight him selfe he drest;
For euery shape on him he could endew:
Then like a king he was to her exprest,
And offred kingdoms vnto her in vew,
To be his Leman and his Lady trew:
But when all this he nothing saw preuaile,
With harder meanes he cast her to subdew,
And with sharpe threates her often did assayle,
So thinking for to make her stubborne corage quayle.
To dreadfull shapes he did him selfe transforme,
Now like a Gyaunt, now like to a feend,
Then like a Centaure, then like to a storme,
Raging within the waues: thereby he weend
Her will to win vnto his wished eend.
But when with feare, nor fauour, nor with all
He els could doe, he saw him selfe esteemd,
Downe in a Dongeon deepe he let her fall,
And threatned there to make her his eternall thrall.
Eternall thraldome was to her more liefe,
Then losse of chastitie, or chaunge of loue:
Dye had she rather in tormenting griefe,
Then any should of falseness her reproue,
Or loosenes, that she lightly did remoue.
Most vertuous virgin, glory be thy meed,
And crowne of heauenly prayse with Saintes aboue,
Where most sweet hymmes of this thy famous deed
Are still emongst them song, that far my rymes exceed.
Fit song of Angels caroled to bee,
But yet what so my feeble Muse can frame,
Shalbe t'aduance thy goodly chastitee,
And to enroll thy memorable name,
In th'heart of euery honourable Dame,
That they thy vertuous deedes may imitate,
And be partakers of thy endlesse fame.
Yt yrkes me, leaue thee in this wofull state,
To tell of Satyrane, where I him left of late.
Who hauing ended with that Squyre of Dames
A long discourse of his aduentures vayne,
The which himselfe, then Ladies more defames,
And finding not th'Hyena to be slayne,
With that same Squyre, retourned back agayne
To his first way. And as they forward went,
They spyde a knight fayre pricking on the playne,
As if he were on some aduenture bent,
And in his port appeared manly hardiment.
Sir Satyrane him towardes did addresse,
To weet, what wight he was, and what his quest:
And comming nigh, eftsoones he gan to gesse
Both by the burning hart, which on his brest
He bare, and by the colours in his crest,
That Paridell it was. Tho to him yode,
And him saluting, as beseemed best,
Gan first inquire of tydinges farre abrode;
And afterwardes, on what aduenture now he rode.
Who thereto answering said, The tydinges bad,
Which now in Faery court all men doe tell,
Which turned hath great mirth, to mourning sad,
Is the late ruine of proud Marinell,
And suddein parture of faire Florimell,
To find him forth: and after her are gone
All the braue knightes, that doen in armes excell,
To sauegard her, ywandred all alone;
Emongst the rest my lott (vnworthy') is to be one.
Ah gentle knight (said then Sir Satyrane)
Thy labour all is lost, I greatly dread,
That hast a thanklesse seruice on thee ta'ne,
And offrest sacrifice vnto the dead:
For dead, I surely doubt, thou maist aread
Henceforth for euer Florimell to bee,
That all the noble knights of Maydenhead,
Which her ador'd, may sore repent with mee,
And all faire Ladies may for euer sory bee.
Which wordes when Paridell had heard, his hew
Gan greatly chaung and seemd dismaid to bee,
Then said, Fayre Sir, how may I weene it trew,
That ye doe tell in such vncerteintee?
Or speake ye of report, or did ye see
Iust cause of dread, that makes ye doubt so sore?
For perdie elles how mote it euer bee,
That euer hand should dare for to engore
Her noble blood? the heuens such crueltie abhore.
These eyes did see, that they will euer rew
To haue seene, (quoth he) when as a monstrous beast
The Palfrey, whereon she did trauell, slew,
And of his bowels made his bloody feast:
Which speaking token sheweth at the least
Her certeine losse, if not her sure decay:
Besides, that more suspicion encreast,
I found her golden girdle cast astray,
Distaynd with durt and blood, as relique of the pray.
Ay me, (said Paridell) the signes be sadd,
And but God turne the same to good sooth say,
That Ladies safetie is sore to be dradd:
Yet will I not forsake my forward way,
Till triall doe more certeine truth bewray.
Faire Sir (quoth he) well may it you succeed,
Ne long shall Satyrane behind you stay,
But to the rest, which in this Quest proceed
My labour adde, and be partaker of their speed.
Ye noble knights (said then the Squyre of Dames)
Well may yee speede in so praiseworthy payne:
But sith the Sunne now ginnes to slake his beames,
In deawy vapours of the westerne mayne,
And lose the teme out of his weary wayne,
Mote not mislike you also to abate
Your zealous hast, till morrow next againe
Both light of heuen, and strength of men relate:
Which if ye please, to yonder castle turne your gate.
That counsell pleased well; so all yfere
Forth marched to a Castle them before,
Where soone arryuing, they restrained were
Of ready entraunce, which ought euermore
To errant knights be commune: wondrous sore
Thereat displeasd they were, till that young Squyre
Gan them informe the cause, why that same dore
Was shut to all, which lodging did desyre:
The which to let you weet, will further time requyre.
Malbecco will no straunge knights host,
For peeuish gealosy:
Paridell giusts with Britomart:
both shew their auncestry.
REdoubted knights, and honorable Dames,
To whom I leuell all my labours end,
Right sore I feare, least with vnworthie blames
This odious argument my rymes should shend,
Or ought your goodly patience offend,
Whiles of a wanton Lady I doe write,
Which with her loose incontinence doth blend
The shyning glory of your soueraine light,
And knighthood fowle defaced by a faithlesse knight.
But neuer let th'ensample of the bad
Offend the good: for good by paragone
Of euill, may more notably be rad,
As white seemes fayrer, macht with blacke attone;
Ne all are shamed by the fault of one:
For lo in heuen, whereas all goodnes is,
Emongst the Angels, a whole legione
Of wicked Sprightes did fall from happy blis;
What wonder then, if one of women all did mis?
Then listen Lordings, if ye list to weet
The cause, why Satyrane and Paridell
Mote not be entertaynd, as seemed meet,
Into that Castle (as that Squyre does tell.)
Therein a cancred crabbed Carle does dwell,
That has no skill of Court nor courtesie,
Ne cares, what men say of him ill or well;
For all his dayes he drownes in priuitie,
Yet has full large to liue, and spend at libertie.
But all his mind is set on mucky pelfe,
To hoord vp heapes of euill gotten masse,
For which he others wrongs and wreckes himselfe;
Yet is he lincked to a louely lasse,
Whose beauty doth her bounty far surpasse,
The which to him both far vnequall yeares,
And also far vnlike conditions has;
For she does ioy to play emongst her peares,
And to be free from hard restraynt and gealous feares.
But he is old, and withered like hay,
Vnfit faire Ladies seruice to supply;
The priuie guilt whereof makes him alway
Suspect her truth, and keepe continuall spy
Vpon her with his other blincked eye;
Ne suffreth he resort of liuing wight
Approch to her, ne keepe her company,
But in close bowre her mewes from all mens sight,
Depriu'd of kindly ioy and naturall delight.
Malbecco he, and Hellenore she hight,
Vnfitly yokt together in one teeme,
That is the cause, why neuer any knight
Is suffred here to enter, but he seeme
Such, as no doubt of him he neede misdeeme.
Thereat Sir Satyrane gan smyle, and say;
Extremely mad the man I surely deeme,
That weenes with watch and hard restraynt to stay
A womans will, which is disposd to go astray.
In vaine he feares that, which he cannot shonne:
For who wotes not, that womans subtiltyes
Can guylen Argus, when she list misdonne?
It is not yron bandes, nor hundred eyes,
Nor brasen walls, nor many wakefull spyes,
That can withhold her wilfull wandring feet,
But fast goodwill with gentle courtesyes,
And timely seruice to her pleasures meet
May her perhaps containe, that else would algates fleet.
Then is he not more mad (sayd Paridell)
That hath himselfe vnto such seruice sold,
In dolefull thraldome all his dayes to dwell?
For sure a foole I doe him firmely hold,
That loues his fetters, though they were of gold.
But why doe wee deuise of others ill,
Whyles thus we suffer this same dotard old,
To keepe vs out, in scorne of his owne will,
And rather do not ransack all, and him selfe kill?
Nay let vs first (sayd Satyrane) entreat
The man by gentle meanes, to let vs in,
And afterwardes affray with cruell threat,
Ere that we to efforce it doe begin:
Then if all fayle, we will by force it win,
And eke reward the wretch for his mesprise,
As may be worthy of his haynous sin.
That counsell pleasd: then Paridell did rise,
And to the Castle gate approcht in quiet wise.
Whereat soft knocking, entrance he desyrd.
The good man selfe, which then the Porter playd,
Him answered, that all were now retyrd
Vnto their rest, and all the keyes conuayd
Vnto their maister, who in bed was layd,
That none him durst awake out of his dreme;
And therefore them of patience gently prayd.
Then Paridell began to chaunge his theme,
And threatned him with force and punishment extreme.
But all in vaine; for nought mote him relent,
And now so long before the wicket fast
They wayted, that the night was forward spent,
And the faire welkin fowly ouercast,
Gan blowen vp a bitter stormy blast,
With showre and hayle so horrible and dred,
That this faire many were compeld at last,
To fly for succour to a little shed,
The which beside the gate for swyne was ordered.
It fortuned, soone after they were gone,
Another knight, whom tempest thether brought,
Came to that Castle, and with earnest mone,
Like as the rest, late entrance deare besought;
But like so as the rest he prayd for nought,
For flatly he of entrance was refusd.
Sorely thereat he was displeasd, and thought
How to auenge himselfe so sore abusd,
And euermore the Carle of courtesie accusd.
But to auoyde th'intollerable stowre,
He was compeld to seeke some refuge neare,
And to that shed, to shrowd him from the showre,
He came, which full of guests he found whyleare,
So as he was not let to enter there:
Whereat he gan to wex exceeding wroth,
And swore, that he would lodge with them yfere,
Or them dislodg, all were they liefe or loth;
And so defyde them each, and so defyde them both.
Both were full loth to leaue that needfull tent,
And both full loth in darkenesse to debate;
Yet both full liefe him lodging to haue lent,
And both full liefe his boasting to abate;
But chiefely Paridell his hart did grate,
To heare him threaten so despightfully,
As if he did a dogge in kenell rate,
That durst not barke; and rather had he dy,
Then when he was defyde, in coward corner ly.
Tho hastily remounting to his steed,
He forth issew'd; like as a boystrous winde,
Which in th'earthes hollow caues hath long ben hid,
And shut vp fast within her prisons blind,
Makes the huge element against her kinde
To moue, and tremble as it were aghast,
Vntill that it an issew forth may finde;
Then forth it breakes, and with his furious blast
Confounds both land and seas, and skyes doth ouercast.
Their steel-hed speares they strongly coucht, and met
Together with impetuous rage and forse,
That with the terrour of their fierce affret,
They rudely droue to ground both man and horse,
That each awhile lay like a sencelesse corse.
But Paridell sore brused with the blow,
Could not arise, the counterchaunge to scorse,
Till that young Squyre him reared from below;
Then drew he his bright sword, and gan about him throw.
But Satyrane forth stepping, did them stay
And with faire treaty pacifide their yre;
Then when they were accorded from the fray,
Against that Castles Lord they gan conspire,
To heape on him dew vengeaunce for his hire.
They beene agreed, and to the gates they goe
To burne the same with vnquenchable fire,
And that vncurteous Carle their commune foe
To doe fowle death to die, or wrap in grieuous woe.
Malbecco seeing them resolud in deed
To flame the gates, and hearing them to call
For fire in earnest, ran with fearfull speed,
And to them calling from the castle wall,
Besought them humbly, him to beare with all,
As ignorant of seruants bad abuse,
And slacke attendaunce vnto straungers call.
The knights were willing all things to excuse,
Though nought beleu'd, and entraunce late did not refuse.
They beene ybrought into a comely bowre,
And serud of all things that mote needfull bee;
Yet secretly their hoste did on them lowre,
And welcomde more for feare, then charitee;
But they dissembled, what they did not see,
And welcomed themselues. Each gan vndight
Their garments wett, and weary armour free,
To dry them selues by Vulcanes flaming light,
And eke their lately bruzed parts to bring in plight.
And eke that straunger knight emongst the rest,
Was for like need enforst to disaray:
Tho whenas vailed was her lofty crest,
Her golden locks, that were in tramells gay
Vpbounden, did them selues adowne display,
And raught vnto her heeles; like sunny beames,
That in a cloud their light did long time stay,
Their vapour vaded, shewe their golden gleames,
And through the persant aire shoote forth their azure streames.
Shee also dofte her heauy haberieon,
Which the faire feature of her limbs did hyde,
And her well plighted frock, which she did won
To tucke about her short, when she did ryde,
Shee low let fall, that flowd from her lanck syde
Downe to her foot, with carelesse modestee.
Then of them all she plainly was espyde,
To be a woman wight, vnwist to bee,
The fairest woman wight, that euer eie did see.
Like as Bellona, being late returnd
From slaughter of the Giaunts conquered;
Where proud Encelade, whose wide nosethrils burnd
With breathed flames, like to a furnace redd,
Transfixed with her speare, downe tombled dedd
From top of Hemus, by him heaped hye;
Hath loosd her helmet from her lofty hedd,
And her Gorgonian shield gins to vntye
From her lefte arme, to rest in glorious victorye.
Which whenas they beheld, they smitten were
With great amazement of so wondrous sight,
And each on other, and they all on her
Stood gazing, as if suddein great affright
Had them surprizd. At last auizing right,
Her goodly personage and glorious hew,
Which they so much mistooke, they tooke delight
In their first error, and yett still anew
With wonder of her beauty fed their hongry vew.
Yet note their hongry vew be satisfide,
But seeing still the more desir'd to see,
And euer firmely fixed did abide
In contemplation of diuinitee:
But most they meruaild at her cheualree,
And noble prowesse, which they had approu'd,
That much they faynd to know, who she mote bee;
Yet none of all them her thereof amou'd,
Yet euery one her likte, and euery one her lou'd.
And Paridell though partly discontent
With his late fall, and fowle indignity,
Yet was soone wonne his malice to relent,
Through gratious regard of her faire eye,
And knightly worth, which he too late did try,
Yet tried did adore. Supper was dight;
Then they Malbecco prayd of courtesy,
That of his lady they might haue the sight,
And company at meat, to doe them more delight.
But he to shifte their curious request,
Gan causen, why she could not come in place;
Her crased helth, her late recourse to rest,
And humid euening ill for sicke folkes cace,
But none of those excuses could take place;
Ne would they eate, till she in presence came.
Shee came in presence with right comely grace,
And fairely them saluted, as became,
And shewd her selfe in all a gentle courteous Dame.
They sate to meat, and Satyrane his chaunce,
Was her before, and Paridell beside;
But he him selfe sate looking still askaunce,
Gainst Britomart, and euer closely eide
Sir Satyrane, that glaunces might not glide:
But his blinde eie, that sided Paridell,
All his demeasnure from his sight did hide:
On her faire face so did he feede his fill,
And sent close messages of loue to her at will.
And euer and anone, when none was ware,
With speaking lookes, that close embassage bore,
He rou'd at her, and told his secret care:
For all that art he learned had of yore.
Ne was she ignoraunt of that leud lore,
But in his eye his meaning wisely redd,
And with the like him aunswerd euermore:
Shee sent at him one fyrie dart, whose hedd
Empoisned was with priuy lust, and gealous dredd.
He from that deadly throw made no defence,
But to the wound his weake heart opened wyde;
The wicked engine through false influence,
Past through his eies, and secretly did glyde
Into his heart, which it did sorely gryde.
But nothing new to him was that same paine,
Ne paine at all; for he so ofte had tryde
The powre thereof, and lou'd so oft in vaine,
That thing of course he counted, loue to entertaine.
Thenceforth to her he sought to intimate
His inward griefe, by meanes to him well knowne,
Now Bacchus fruit out of the siluer plate
He on the table dasht, as ouerthrowne,
Or of the fruitfull liquor ouerflowne,
And by the dauncing bubbles did diuine,
Or therein write to lett his loue be showne;
Which well she redd out of the learned line,
A sacrament prophane in mistery of wine.
And when so of his hand the pledge she raught,
The guilty cup she fained to mistake,
And in her lap did shed her idle draught,
Shewing desire her inward flame to slake:
By such close signes they secret way did make
Vnto their wils, and one eies watch escape;
Two eies him needeth, for to watch and wake,
Who louers will deceiue. Thus was the ape,
By their faire handling, put into Malbeccoes cape.
Now when of meats and drinks they had their fill,
Purpose was moued by that gentle Dame,
Vnto those knights aduenturous, to tell
Of deeds of armes, which vnto them became,
And euery one his kindred, and his name.
Then Paridell, in whom a kindly pride
Of gratious speach, and skill his words to frame
Abounded, being yglad of so fitte tide
Him to commend to her, thus spake, of al well eide.
Troy, that art now nought, but an idle name,
And in thine ashes buried low dost lie,
Though whilome far much greater then thy fame,
Before that angry Gods, and cruell skie
Vpon thee heapt a direfull destinie,
What boots it boast thy glorious descent,
And fetch from heuen thy great genealogie,
Sith all thy worthie prayses being blent,
Their ofspring hath embaste, and later glory shent.
Most famous Worthy of the world, by whome
That warre was kindled, which did Troy inflame,
And stately towres of Ilion whilome
Brought vnto balefull ruine, was by name
Sir Paris far renowmd through noble fame,
Who through great prowesse and bold hardinesse,
From Lacedaemon fetcht the fayrest Dame,
That euer Greece did boast, or knight possesse,
Whom Venus to him gaue for meed of worthinesse.
Fayre Helene, flowre of beautie excellent,
And girlond of the mighty Conquerours,
That madest many Ladies deare lament
The heauie losse of their braue Paramours,
Which they far off beheld from Troian toures,
And saw the fieldes of faire Scamander strowne
With carcases of noble warrioures,
Whose fruitlesse liues were vnder furrow sowne,
And Xanthus sandy bankes with blood all ouerflowne.
From him my linage I deriue aright,
Who long before the ten yeares siege of Troy,
Whiles yet on Ida he a shepeheard hight,
On faire Oenone got a louely boy,
Whom for remembrance of her passed ioy,
She of his Father Parius did name;
Who, after Greekes did Priams realme destroy,
Gathred the Troian reliques sau'd from flame,
And with them sayling thence, to th'Isle of Paros came.
That was by him cald Paros, which before
Hight Nausa, there he many yeares did raine,
And built Nausicle by the Pontick shore,
The which he dying lefte next in remaine
To Paridas his sonne.
From whom I Paridell by kin descend;
But for faire ladies loue, and glories gaine,
My natiue soile haue lefte, my dayes to spend
In seewing deeds of armes, my liues and labors end.
Whenas the noble Britomart heard tell
Of Troian warres, and Priams citie sackt,
The ruefull story of Sir Paridell,
She was empassiond at that piteous act,
With zelous enuy of Greekes cruell fact,
Against that nation, from whose race of old
She heard, that she was lineally extract:
For noble Britons sprong from Troians bold,
And Troynouant was built of old Troyes ashes cold.
Then sighing soft awhile, at last she thus:
O lamentable fall of famous towne,
Which raignd so many yeares victorious,
And of all Asie bore the soueraine crowne,
In one sad night consumd, and throwen downe:
What stony hart, that heares thy haplesse fate,
Is not empierst with deepe compassiowne,
And makes ensample of mans wretched state,
That floures so fresh at morne, and fades at euening late?
Behold, Sir, how your pitifull complaint
Hath fownd another partner of your payne:
For nothing may impresse so deare constraint,
As countries cause, and commune foes disdayne.
But if it should not grieue you, backe agayne
To turne your course, I would to heare desyre,
What to Aeneas fell; sith that men sayne
He was not in the cities wofull fyre
Consum'd, but did him selfe to safety retyre.
Anchyses sonne begott of Venus fayre,
Said he, out of the flames for safegard fled,
And with a remnant did to sea repayre,
Where he through fatall errour long was led
Full many yeares, and weetlesse wandered
From shore to shore, emongst the Lybick sandes,
Ere rest he fownd. Much there he suffered,
And many perilles past in forreine landes,
To saue his people sad from victours vengefull handes.
At last in Latium he did arryue,
Where he with cruell warre was entertaind
Of th'inland folke, which sought him backe to driue,
Till he with old Latinus was constraind,
To contract wedlock: (so the fates ordaind.)
Wedlocke contract in blood, and eke in blood
Accomplished, that many deare complaind:
The riuall slaine, the victour through the flood
Escaped hardly, hardly praisd his wedlock good.
Yet after all, he victour did suruiue,
And with Latinus did the kingdom part.
But after, when both nations gan to striue,
Into their names the title to conuart,
His sonne Iulus did from thence depart,
With all the warlike youth of Troians bloud,
And in long Alba plast his throne apart,
Where faire it florished, and long time stoud,
Till Romulus renewing it, to Rome remoud.
There there (said Britomart) a fresh appeard
The glory of the later world to spring,
And Troy againe out of her dust was reard,
To sitt in second seat of soueraine king,
Of all the world vnder her gouerning.
But a third kingdom yet is to arise,
Out of the Troians scattered ofspring,
That in all glory and great enterprise,
Both first and second Troy shall dare to equalise.
It Troynouant is hight, that with the waues
Of wealthy Thamis washed is along,
Vpon whose stubborne neck whereat he raues
With roring rage, and sore him selfe does throng,
That all men feare to tempt his billowes strong,
She fastned hath her foot, which standes so hy,
That it a wonder of the world is song
In forreine landes, and all which passen by,
Beholding it from farre, doe thinke it threates the skye.
The Troian Brute did first that citie fownd,
And Hygate made the meare thereof by west,
And Ouert gate by North: that is the bownd
Toward the land; two riuers bownd the rest.
So huge a scope at first him seemed best,
To be the compasse of his kingdomes seat:
So huge a mind could not in lesser rest,
Ne in small meares containe his glory great,
That Albion had conquered first by warlike feat.
Ah fairest Lady knight, (said Paridell)
Pardon I pray my heedlesse ouersight,
Who had forgot, that whylome I heard tell
From aged Mnemon; for my wits beene light.
Indeed he said (if I remember right,)
That of the antique Troian stocke, there grew
Another plant, that raught to wondrous hight,
And far abroad his mightie braunches threw,
Into the vtmost Angle of the world he knew.
For that same Brute, whom much he did aduaunce
In all his speach, was Syluius his sonne,
Whom hauing slain, through luckles arrowes glaunce
He fled for feare of that he had misdonne,
Or els for shame, so fowle reproch to shonne,
And with him ledd to sea an youthly trayne,
Where wearie wandring they long time did wonne,
And many fortunes prou'd in th'Ocean mayne,
And great aduentures found, that now were long to sayne.
At last by fatall course they driuen were
Into an Island spatious and brode,
The furthest North, that did to them appeare:
Which after rest they seeking farre abrode,
Found it the fittest soyle for their abode,
Fruitfull of all thinges fitt for liuing foode,
But wholy waste, and void of peoples trode,
Saue an huge nation of the Geaunts broode,
That fed on liuing flesh, and dronck mens vitall blood.
Whom he through wearie wars and labours long,
Subdewd with losse of many Britons bold:
In which the great Goemagot of strong
Corineus, and Coulin of Debon old
Were ouerthrowne, and laide on th'earth full cold,
Which quaked vnder their so hideous masse,
A famous history to bee enrold
In euerlasting moniments of brasse,
That all the antique Worthies merits far did passe.
His worke great Troynouant, his worke is eke
Faire Lincolne, both renowmed far away,
That who from East to West will endlong seeke,
Cannot two fairer Cities find this day,
Except Cleopolis: so heard I say
Old Mnemon. Therefore Sir, I greet you well
Your countrey kin, and you entyrely pray
Of pardon for the strife, which late befell
Betwixt vs both vnknowne. So ended Paridell.
But all the while, that he these speeches spent,
Vpon his lips hong faire Dame Hellenore,
With vigilant regard, and dew attent,
Fashioning worldes of fancies euermore
In her fraile witt, that now her quite forlore:
The whiles vnwares away her wondring eye,
And greedy eares her weake hart from her bore:
Which he perceiuing, euer priuily
In speaking, many false belgardes at her let fly.
So long these knightes discoursed diuersly,
Of straunge affaires, and noble hardiment,
Which they had past with mickle ieopardy,
That now the humid night was farforth spent,
And heuenly lampes were halfendeale ybrent:
Which th'old man seeing wel, who too long thought
Euery discourse and euery argument,
Which by the houres he measured, besought
Them go to rest. So all vnto their bowres were brought.
Paridell rapeth Hellenore:
Malbecco her poursewes:
Fynds emongst Satyres, whence with him
To turne she doth refuse.
THe morow next, so soone as Ph bus Lamp
Bewrayed had the world with early light,
And fresh Aurora had the shady damp
Out of the goodly heuen amoued quight,
Faire Britomart and that same Faery knight
Vprose, forth on their iourney for to wend:
But Paridell complaynd, that his late fight
With Britomart, so sore did him offend,
That ryde he could not, till his hurts he did amend.
So foorth they far'd, but he behind them stayd,
Maulgre his host, who grudged grieuously,
To house a guest, that would be needes obayd,
And of his owne him left not liberty:
Might wanting measure moueth surquedry.
Two things he feared, but the third was death;
That fiers youngmans vnruly maystery;
His money, which he lou'd as liuing breath;
And his faire wife, whom honest long he kept vneath.
But patience perforce he must abie,
What fortune and his fate on him will lay,
Fond is the feare, that findes no remedie;
Yet warily he watcheth euery way,
By which he feareth euill happen may:
So th'euill thinkes by watching to preuent;
Ne doth he suffer her, nor night, nor day,
Out of his sight her selfe once to absent.
So doth he punish her and eke himselfe torment.
But Paridell kept better watch, then hee,
A fit occasion for his turne to finde:
False loue, why do men say, thou canst not see,
And in their foolish fancy feigne thee blinde,
That with thy charmes the sharpest sight doest binde,
And to thy will abuse? Thou walkest free,
And seest euery secret of the minde;
Thou seest all, yet none at all sees thee;
All that is by the working of thy Deitee.
So perfect in that art was Paridell,
That he Malbeccoes halfen eye did wyle,
His halfen eye he wiled wondrous well,
And Hellenors both eyes did eke beguyle,
Both eyes and hart attonce, during the whyle
That he there soiourned his woundes to heale,
That Cupid selfe it seeing, close did smyle,
To weet how he her loue away did steale,
And bad, that none their ioyous treason should reueale.
The learned louer lost no time nor tyde,
That least auantage mote to him afford,
Yet bore so faire a sayle, that none espyde
His secret drift, till he her layd abord.
When so in open place, and commune bord,
He fortun'd her to meet, with commune speach
He courted her, yet bayted euery word,
That his vngentle hoste n'ote him appeach
Of vile vngentlenesse, or hospitages breach.
But when apart (if euer her apart)
He found, then his false engins fast he plyde,
And all the sleights vnbosomd in his hart;
He sigh'd, he sobd, he swownd, he perdy dyde,
And cast himselfe on ground her fast besyde:
Tho when againe he him bethought to liue,
He wept, and wayld, and false laments belyde,
Saying, but if she Mercie would him giue
That he mote algates dye, yet did his death forgiue.
And otherwhyles with amorous delights,
And pleasing toyes he would her entertaine,
Now singing sweetly, to surprize her sprights,
Now making layes of loue and louers paine,
Bransles, Ballads, virelayes, and verses vaine;
Oft purposes, oft riddles he deuysd,
And thousands like, which flowed in his braine,
With which he fed her fancy, and entysd
To take with his new loue, and leaue her old despysd.
And euery where he might, and euerie while
He did her seruice dewtifull, and sewd
At hand with humble pride, and pleasing guile,
So closely yet, that none but she it vewd,
Who well perceiued all, and all indewd.
Thus finely did he his false nets dispred,
With which he many weake harts had subdewd,
Of yore, and many had ylike misled:
What wonder then, if she were likewise carried?
No fort so fensible, no wals so strong,
But that continuall battery will riue,
Or daily siege through dispuruayaunce long,
And lacke of reskewes will to parley driue;
And Peece, that vnto parley eare will giue,
Will shortly yield it selfe, and will be made
The vassall of the victors will byliue:
That stratageme had oftentimes assayd
This crafty Paramoure, and now it plaine displayd.
For through his traines he her intrapped hath,
That she her loue and hart hath wholy sold
To him, without regard of gaine, or scath,
Or care of credite, or of husband old,
Whom she hath vow'd to dub a fayre Cucquold.
Nought wants but time and place, which shortly shee
Deuized hath, and to her lover told.
It pleased well. So well they both agree;
So readie rype to ill, ill wemens counsels bee.
Darke was the Euening, fit for louers stealth,
When chaunst Malbecco busie be elsewhere,
She to his closet went, where all his wealth
Lay hid: thereof she countlesse summes did reare,
The which she meant away with her to beare;
The rest she fyr'd for sport, or for despight;
As Hellene, when she saw aloft appeare
The Troiane flames, and reach to heuens hight
Did clap her hands, and ioyed at that dolefull sight.
This second Helene, fayre Dame Hellenore,
The whiles her husband ran with sory haste,
To quench the flames, which she had tyn'd before,
Laught at his foolish labour spent in waste;
And ran into her louers armes right fast;
Where streight embraced, she to him did cry,
And call alowd for helpe, ere helpe were past,
For lo that Guest did beare her forcibly,
And meant to rauish her, that rather had to dy.
The wretched man hearing her call for ayd,
And ready seeing him with her to fly,
In his disquiet mind was much dismayd:
But when againe he backeward cast his eye,
And saw the wicked fire so furiously
Consume his hart, and scorch his Idoles face,
He was therewith distressed diuersely,
Ne wist he how to turne, nor to what place;
Was neuer wretched man in such a wofull cace.
Ay when to him she cryde, to her he turnd,
And left the fire; loue money ouercame:
But when he marked, how his money burnd,
He left his wife; money did loue disclame:
Both was he loth to loose his loued Dame,
And loth to leaue his liefest pelfe behinde,
Yet sith he n'ote saue both, he sau'd that same,
Which was the dearest to his dounghill minde,
The God of his desire, the ioy of misers blinde.
Thus whilest all things in troublous vprore were,
And all men busie to suppresse the flame,
The louing couple neede no reskew feare,
But leasure had, and liberty to frame
Their purpost flight, free from all mens reclame;
And Night, the patronesse of loue-stealth fayre,
Gaue them safe conduct, till to end they came:
So beene they gone yfere, a wanton payre
Of louers loosely knit, where list them to repayre.
Soone as the cruell flames yslaked were,
Malbecco seeing, how his losse did lye,
Out of the flames, which he had quencht whylere
Into huge waues of griefe and gealosye
Full deepe emplonged was, and drowned nye,
Twixt inward doole and felonous despight;
He rau'd, he wept, he stampt, he lowd did cry,
And all the passions, that in man may light,
Did him attonce oppresse, and vex his caytiue spright.
Long thus he chawd the cud of inward griefe,
And did consume his gall with anguish sore,
Still when he mused on his late mischiefe,
So still the smart thereof increased more,
And seemd more grieuous, then it was before:
At last when sorrow he saw booted nought,
Ne griefe might not his loue to him restore,
He gan deuise, how her he reskew mought,
Ten thousand wayes he cast in his confused thought.
At last resoluing, like a Pilgrim pore,
To search her forth, where so she might be fond,
And bearing with him treasure in close store,
The rest he leaues in ground: So takes in hond
To seeke her endlong, both by sea and lond.
Long he her sought, he sought her far and nere,
And euery where that he mote vnderstond,
Of knights and ladies any meetings were,
And of eachone he mett, he tidings did inquere.
But all in vaine, his woman was too wise,
Euer to come into his clouch againe,
And hee too simple euer to surprise
The iolly Paridell, for all his paine.
One day, as hee forpassed by the plaine
With weary pace, he far away espide
A couple, seeming well to be his twaine,
Which houed close vnder a forest side,
As if they lay in wait, or els them selues did hide.
Well weened hee, that those the same mote bee,
And as he better did their shape auize,
Him seemed more their maner did agree;
For th'one was armed all in warlike wize,
Whom, to be Paridell he did deuize;
And th'other al yclad in garments light,
Discolourd like to womanish disguise,
He did resemble to his lady bright,
And euer his faint hart much earned at the sight.
And euer faine he towards them would goe,
But yet durst not for dread approchen nie,
But stood aloofe, vnweeting what to doe,
Till that prickt forth with loues extremity,
That is the father of fowle gealosy,
He closely nearer crept, the truth to weet:
But, as he nigher drew, he easily
Might scerne, that it was not his sweetest sweet,
Ne yet her Belamour, the partner of his sheet.
But it was scornefull Braggadochio,
That with his seruant Trompart houerd there,
Sith late he fled from his too earnest foe:
Whom such whenas Malbecco spyed clere,
He turned backe, and would haue fled arere;
Till Trompart ronning hastely, him did stay,
And bad before his soueraine Lord appere:
That was him loth, yet durst he not gainesay,
And comming him before, low louted on the lay.
The Boaster at him sternely bent his browe,
As if he could haue kild him with his looke,
That to the ground him meekely made to bowe,
And awfull terror deepe into him strooke,
That euery member of his body quooke.
Said he, Thou man of nought, what doest thou here,
Vnfitly furnisht with thy bag and booke,
Where I expected one with shield and spere,
To proue some deeds of armes vpon an equall pere.
The wretched man at his imperious speach,
Was all abasht, and low prostrating, said;
Good Sir, let not my rudenes be no breach
Vnto your patience, ne be ill ypaid;
For I vnwares this way by fortune straid,
A silly Pilgrim driuen to distresse,
That seeke a Lady, There he suddein staid,
And did the rest with grieuous sighes suppresse,
While teares stood in his eies, few drops of bitternesse.
What Lady, man? (said Trompart) take good hart,
And tell thy griefe, if any hidden lye;
Was neuer better time to shew thy smart,
Then now, that noble succor is thee by,
That is the whole worlds commune remedy.
That chearful word his weak heart much did cheare,
And with vaine hope his spirits faint supply,
That bold he sayd, O most redoubted Pere,
Vouchsafe with mild regard a wretches cace to heare.
Then sighing sore, It is not long (saide hee)
Sith I enioyd the gentlest Dame aliue;
Of whom a knight, no knight at all perdee,
But shame of all, that doe for honor striue,
By treacherous deceipt did me depriue;
Through open outrage he her bore away,
And with fowle force vnto his will did driue,
Which al good knights, that armes do bear this day,
Are bownd for to reuenge, and punish if they may.
And you most noble Lord, that can and dare
Redresse the wrong of miserable wight,
Cannot employ your most victorious speare
In better quarell, then defence of right,
And for a Lady gainst a faithlesse knight,
So shall your glory bee aduaunced much,
And all faire Ladies magnify your might,
And eke my selfe, albee I simple such,
Your worthy paine shall wel reward with guerdon rich.
With that out of his bouget forth he drew
Great store of treasure, therewith him to tempt;
But he on it lookt scornefully askew,
As much disdeigning to be so misdempt,
Or a war-monger to be basely nempt;
And sayd, Thy offers base I greatly loth,
And eke thy words vncourteous and vnkempt;
I tread in dust thee and thy money both,
That, were it not for shame, So turned from him wroth.
But Trompart, that his maistres humor knew,
In lofty looks to hide an humble minde,
Was inly tickled with that golden vew,
And in his eare him rownded close behinde:
Yet stoupt he not, but lay still in the winde,
Waiting aduauntage on the pray to sease;
Till Trompart lowly to the grownd inclinde,
Besought him his great corage to appease,
And pardon simple man, that rash did him displease.
Big looking like a doughty Doucepere,
At last he thus, Thou clod of vilest clay,
I pardon yield, and that with rudenes beare;
But weete henceforth, that all that golden pray,
And all that els the vaine world vaunten may,
I loath as doung, ne deeme my dew reward:
Fame is my meed, and glory vertuous pray.
But minds of mortal men are muchell mard,
And mou'd amisse with massy mucks vnmeet regard.
And more, I graunt to thy great misery
Gratious respect, thy wife shall backe be sent,
And that vile knight, who euer that he bee,
Which hath thy lady reft, and knighthood shent,
By Sanglamort my sword, whose deadly dent
The blood hath of so many thousands shedd,
I sweare, ere long shall dearly it repent;
Ne he twixt heuen and earth shall hide his hedd,
But soone he shalbe fownd, and shortly doen be dedd.
The foolish man thereat woxe wondrous blith,
As if the word so spoken, were halfe donne,
And humbly thanked him a thousand sith,
That had from death to life him newly wonne.
Tho forth the Boaster marching, braue begonne
His stolen steed to thunder furiously,
As if he heauen and hell would oueronne,
And all the world confound with cruelty,
That much Malbecco ioyed in his iollity.
Thus long they three together traueiled,
Through many a wood, and many an vncouth way,
To seeke his wife, that was far wandered:
But those two sought nought, but the present pray,
To weete the treasure, which he did bewray,
On which their eies and harts were wholly sett,
With purpose, how they might it best betray;
For sith the howre, that first he did them lett
The same behold, therwith their keene desires were whett.
It fortuned as they together far'd,
They spide, where Paridell came pricking fast
Vpon the plaine, the which him selfe prepar'd
To giust with that braue straunger knight a cast,
As on aduenture by the way he past:
Alone he rode without his Paragone;
For hauing filcht her bells, her vp he cast
To the wide world, and let her fly alone,
He nould be clogd. So had he serued many one.
The gentle Lady, loose at randon lefte,
The greene-wood long did walke, and wander wide
At wilde aduenture, like a forlorne wefte,
Till on a day the Satyres her espide
Straying alone withouten groome or guide;
Her vp they tooke, and with them home her ledd,
With them as housewife euer to abide,
To milk their gotes, and make them cheese and bredd,
And euery one as commune good her handeled.
That shortly she Malbecco has forgott,
And eke Sir Paridell, all were he deare;
Who from her went to seeke another lott,
And now by fortune was arriued here,
Where those two guilers with Malbecco were:
Soone as the oldman saw Sir Paridell,
He fainted, and was almost dead with feare,
Ne word he had to speake, his griefe to tell,
But to him louted low, and greeted goodly well.
And after asked him for Hellenore,
I take no keepe of her (sayd Paridell)
She wonneth in the forrest there before.
So forth he rode, as his aduenture fell;
The whiles the Boaster from his loftie sell
Faynd to alight, something amisse to mend;
But the fresh Swayne would not his leasure dwell,
But went his way; whom when he passed kend,
He vp remounted light, and after faind to wend.
Perdy nay (said Malbecco) shall ye not:
But let him passe as lightly, as he came:
For litle good of him is to be got,
And mickle perill to bee put to shame.
But let vs goe to seeke my dearest Dame,
Whom he hath left in yonder forest wyld:
For of her safety in great doubt I ame,
Least saluage beastes her person haue despoyld:
Then all the world is lost, and we in vaine haue toyld.
They all agree, and forward them addrest:
Ah but (said crafty Trompart) weete ye well,
That yonder in that wastefull wildernesse
Huge monsters haunt, and many dangers dwell;
Dragons, and Minotaures, and feendes of hell,
And many wilde woodmen, which robbe and rend
All traueilers; therefore aduise ye well,
Before ye enterprise that way to wend:
One may his iourney bring too soone to euill end.
Malbecco stopt in great astonishment,
And with pale eyes fast fixed on the rest,
Their counsell crau'd, in daunger imminent.
Said Trompart, You that are the most opprest
With burdein of great treasure, I thinke best
Here for to stay in safetie behynd;
My Lord and I will search the wide forest.
That counsell pleased not Malbeccoes mynd;
For he was much afraid, him selfe alone to fynd.
Then is it best (said he) that ye doe leaue
Your treasure here in some security,
Either fast closed in some hollow greaue,
Or buried in the ground from ieopardy,
Till we returne againe in safety:
As for vs two, least doubt of vs ye haue,
Hence farre away we will blyndfolded ly,
Ne priuy bee vnto your treasures graue.
It pleased: so he did. Then they march forward braue.
Now when amid the thickest woodes they were,
They heard a noyse of many bagpipes shrill,
And shrieking Hububs them approching nere,
Which all the forest did with horrour fill:
That dreadfull sound the bosters hart did thrill,
With such amazment, that in hast he fledd,
Ne euer looked back for good or ill,
And after him eke fearefull Trompart spedd;
The old man could not fly, but fell to ground half dedd.
Yet afterwardes close creeping, as he might,
He in a bush did hyde his fearefull hedd,
The iolly Satyres full of fresh delight,
Came dauncing forth, and with them nimbly ledd
Faire Helenore, with girlonds all bespredd,
Whom their May-lady they had newly made:
She proude of that new honour, which they redd,
And of their louely fellowship full glade,
Daunst liuely, and her face did with a Lawrell shade.
The silly man that in the thickett lay
Saw all this goodly sport, and grieued sore,
Yet durst he not against it doe or say,
But did his hart with bitter thoughts engore,
To see th'vnkindnes of his Hellenore.
All day they daunced with great lusty hedd,
And with their horned feet the greene gras wore,
The whiles their Gotes vpon the brouzes fedd,
Till drouping Ph bus gan to hyde his golden hedd.
Tho vp they gan their mery pypes to trusse,
And all their goodly heardes did gather rownd,
But euery Satyre first did giue a busse
To Hellenore: so busses did abound.
Now gan the humid vapour shed the grownd
With perly deaw, and th'Earthes gloomy shade
Did dim the brightnesse of the welkin rownd,
That euery bird and beast awarned made,
To shrowd themselues, whiles sleepe their sences did inuade.
Which when Malbecco saw, out of his bush
Vpon his hands and feete he crept full light,
And like a Gote emongst the Gotes did rush,
That through the helpe of his faire hornes on hight,
And misty dampe of misconceyuing night,
And eke through likenesse of his gotish beard,
He did the better counterfeite aright:
So home he marcht emongst the horned heard,
That none of all the Satyres him espyde or heard.
At night, when all they went to sleepe, he vewd,
Whereas his louely wife emongst them lay,
Embraced of a Satyre rough and rude,
Who all the night did minde his ioyous play:
Nine times he heard him come aloft ere day,
That all his hart with gealosy did swell;
But yet that nights ensample did bewray,
That not for nought his wife them loued so well,
When one so oft a night did ring his matins bell.
So closely as he could, he to them crept,
When wearie of their sport to sleepe they fell,
And to his wife, that now full soundly slept,
He whispered in her eare, and did her tell,
That it was he, which by her side did dwell,
And therefore prayd her wake, to heare him plaine.
As one out of a dreame not waked well,
She turnd her, and returned backe againe:
Yet her for to awake he did the more constraine.
At last with irkesom trouble she abrayd;
And then perceiuing, that it was indeed
Her old Malbecco, which did her vpbrayd,
With loosenesse of her loue, and loathly deed,
She was astonisht with exceeding dreed,
And would haue wakt the Satyre by her syde;
But he her prayd, for mercy, or for meed,
To saue his life, ne let him be descryde,
But hearken to his lore, and all his counsell hyde.
Tho gan he her perswade, to leaue that lewd
And loathsom life, of God and man abhord,
And home returne, where all should be renewd
With perfect peace, and bandes of fresh accord,
And she receiud againe to bed and bord,
As if no trespas euer had beene donne:
But she it all refused at one word,
And by no meanes would to his will be wonne,
But chose emongst the iolly Satyres still to wonne.
He wooed her, till day spring he espyde;
But all in vaine: and then turnd to the heard,
Who butted him with hornes on euery syde,
And trode downe in the durt, where his hore beard
Was fowly dight, and he of death afeard.
Early before the heauens fairest light
Out of the ruddy East was fully reard,
The heardes out of their foldes were loosed quight,
And he emongst the rest crept forth in sory plight.
So soone as he the Prison dore did pas,
He ran as fast, as both his feet could beare,
And neuer looked, who behind him was,
Ne scarsely who before: like as a Beare
That creeping close, amongst the hiues to reare
An hony combe, the wakefull dogs espy,
And him assayling, sore his carkas teare,
That hardly he with life away does fly,
Ne stayes, till safe him selfe he see from ieopardy.
Ne stayd he, till he came vnto the place,
Where late his treasure he entombed had,
Where when he found it not (for Trompart bace
Had it purloyned for his maister bad:)
With extreme fury he became quite mad,
And ran away, ran with him selfe away:
That who so straungely had him seene bestadd,
With vpstart haire, and staring eyes dismay,
From Limbo lake him late escaped sure would say.
High ouer hilles and ouer dales he fledd,
As if the wind him on his winges had borne,
Ne banck nor bush could stay him, when he spedd
His nimble feet, as treading still on thorne:
Griefe, and despight, and gealosy, and scorne
Did all the way him follow hard behynd,
And he himselfe himselfe loath'd so forlorne,
So shamefully forlorne of womankynd;
That as a Snake, still lurked in his wounded mynd.
Still fled he forward, looking backward still,
Ne stayd his flight, nor fearefull agony,
Till that he came vnto a rocky hill,
Ouer the sea, suspended dreadfully,
That liuing creature it would terrify,
To looke adowne, or vpward to the hight:
From thence he threw him selfe dispiteously,
All desperate of his fore-damned spright,
That seemd no help for him was left in liuing sight.
But through long anguish, and selfe-murdring thought
He was so wasted and forpined quight,
That all his substance was consum'd to nought,
And nothing left, but like an aery Spright,
That on the rockes he fell so flit and light,
That he thereby receiu'd no hurt at all,
But chaunced on a craggy cliff to light;
Whence he with crooked clawes so long did crall,
That at the last he found a caue with entrance small.
Into the same he creepes, and thenceforth there
Resolu'd to build his balefull mansion,
In drery darkenes, and continuall feare
Of that rocks fall, which euer and anon
Threates with huge ruine him to fall vpon,
That he dare neuer sleepe, but that one eye
Still ope he keepes for that occasion;
Ne euer rests he in tranquillity,
The roring billowes beat his bowre so boystrously.
Ne euer is he wont on ought to feed,
But todes and frogs, his pasture poysonous,
Which in his cold complexion doe breed
A filthy blood, or humour rancorous,
Matter of doubt and dread suspitious,
That doth with curelesse care consume the hart,
Corrupts the stomacke with gall vitious,
Croscuts the liuer with internall smart,
And doth transfixe the soule with deathes eternall dart.
Yet can he neuer dye, but dying liues,
And doth himselfe with sorrow new sustaine,
That death and life attonce vnto him giues.
And painefull pleasure turnes to pleasing paine.
There dwels he euer, miserable swaine,
Hatefull both to him selfe, and euery wight;
Where he through priuy griefe, and horrour vaine,
Is woxen so deform'd that he has quight
Forgot he was a man, and Gelosy is hight.
Britomart chaceth Ollyphant,
findes Scudamour distrest:
Assayes the house of Busyrane,
where loues spoyles are exprest.
O Hatefull hellish Snake, what furie furst
Brought thee from balefull house of Proserpine,
Where in her bosome she thee long had nurst,
And fostred vp with bitter milke of tine,
Fowle Gealosy, that turnest loue diuine
To ioylesse dread, and mak'st the louing hart
With hatefull thoughts to languish and to pine,
And feed it selfe with selfe-consuming smart?
Of all the passions in the mind thou vilest art.
O let him far be banished away,
And in his stead let Loue for euer dwell,
Sweete Loue, that doth his golden wings embay
In blessed Nectar, and pure Pleasures well,
Vntroubled of vile feare, or bitter fell.
And ye faire Ladies, that your kingdomes make
In th'harts of men, them gouerne wisely well,
And of faire Britomart ensample take,
That was as trew in loue, as Turtle to her make.
Who with Sir Satyrane, as earst ye red,
Forth ryding from Malbeccoes hostlesse hous,
Far off aspyde a young man, the which fled
From an huge Geaunt, that with hideous
And hatefull outrage long him chaced thus;
It was that Ollyphant, the brother deare
Of that Argante vile and vitious,
From whom the Squyre of Dames was reft whylere;
This all as bad as she, and worse, if worse ought were.
For as the sister did in feminine
And filthy lust exceede all woman kinde,
So he surpassed his sex masculine,
In beastly vse all, that I euer finde:
Whom when as Britomart beheld behinde
The fearefull boy so greedily poursew,
She was emmoued in her noble minde,
T'employ her puissaunce to his reskew,
And pricked fiercely forward, where she did him vew.
Ne was Sir Satyrane her far behinde,
But with like fiercenesse did ensew the chace:
Whom when the Gyaunt saw, he soone resinde
His former suit, and from them fled apace;
They after both, and boldly bad him bace,
And each did striue the other to outgoe;
But he them both outran a wondrous space,
For he was long, and swift as any Roe,
And now made better speed, t'escape his feared foe.
It was not Satyrane, whom he did feare,
But Britomart the flowre of chastity;
For he the powre of chaste hands might not beare,
But alwayes did their dread encounter fly:
And now so fast his feet he did apply,
That he has gotten to a forrest neare,
Where he is shrowded in security.
The wood they enter, and search euerie where,
They searched diuersely, so both diuided were.
Fayre Britomart so long him followed,
That she at last came to a fountaine sheare,
By which there lay a knight all wallowed
Vpon the grassy ground, and by him neare
His haberieon, his helmet, and his speare;
A little off his shield was rudely throwne,
On which the winged boy in colours cleare
Depeincted was, full easie to be knowne,
And he thereby, where euer it in field was showne.
His face vpon the grownd did groueling ly,
As if he had beene slombring in the shade,
That the braue Mayd would not for courtesy,
Out of his quiet slomber him abrade,
Nor seeme too suddeinly him to inuade:
Still as she stood, she heard with grieuous throb
Him grone, as if his hart were peeces made,
And with most painefull pangs to sigh and sob,
That pitty did the Virgins hart of patience rob.
At last forth breaking into bitter plaintes
He sayd, O souerayne Lord that sit'st on hye,
And raignst in blis emongst thy blessed Saintes,
How suffrest thou such shamefull cruelty,
So long vnwreaked of thine enimy?
Or hast thou, Lord, of good mens cause no heed?
Or doth thy iustice sleepe, and silent ly?
What booteth then the good and righteous deed,
If goodnesse find no grace, nor righteousnes no meed?
If good find grace, and righteousnes reward,
Why then is Amoret in caytiue band,
Sith that more bounteous creature neuer far'd
On foot, vpon the face of liuing land?
Or if that heuenly iustice may withstand
The wrongfull outrage of vnrighteous men,
Why then is Busirane with wicked hand
Suffred, these seuen monethes day in secret den
My Lady and my loue so cruelly to pen?
My Lady and my loue is cruelly pend
In dolefull darkenes from the vew of day,
Whilest deadly torments doe her chast brest rend,
And the sharpe steele doth riue her hart in tway,
All for she Scudamore will not denay.
Yet thou vile man, vile Scudamore art sound,
Ne canst her ayde, ne canst her foe dismay;
Vnworthy wretch to tread vpon the ground,
For whom so faire a Lady feeles so sore a wound.
There an huge heape of singulfes did oppresse
His strugling soule, and swelling throbs empeach
His foltring toung with pangs of drerinesse,
Choking the remnant of his plaintife speach,
As if his dayes were come to their last reach.
Which when she heard, and saw the ghastly fit,
Threatning into his life to make a breach,
Both with great ruth and terrour she was smit,
Fearing least from her cage the wearie soule would flit.
Tho stouping downe she him amoued light;
Who therewith somewhat starting, vp gan looke,
And seeing him behind a stranger knight,
Whereas no liuing creature he mistooke,
With great indignaunce he that sight forsooke,
And downe againe himselfe disdainefully
Abiecting, th'earth with his faire forhead strooke:
Which the bold Virgin seeing, gan apply
Fit medcine to his griefe, and spake thus courtesly.
Ah gentle knight, whose deepe conceiued griefe
Well seemes t'exceede the powre of patience,
Yet if that heuenly grace some good reliefe
You send, submit you to high prouidence,
And euer in your noble hart prepense,
That all the sorrow in the world is lesse,
Then vertues might, and values confidence.
For who nill bide the burden of distresse,
Must not here thinke to liue: for life is wretchednesse.
Therefore, faire Sir, doe comfort to you take,
And freely read, what wicked felon so
Hath outrag'd you, and thrald your gentle make.
Perhaps this hand may helpe to ease your woe,
And wreake your sorrow on your cruell foe,
At least it faire endeuour will apply.
Those feeling words so neare the quicke did goe,
That vp his head he reared easily,
And leaning on his elbowe, these few words lett fly.
What boots it plaine, that cannot be redrest,
And sow vaine sorrow in a fruitlesse eare,
Sith powre of hand, nor skill of learned brest,
Ne worldly price cannot redeeme my deare,
Out of her thraldome and continuall feare?
For he the tyrant, which her hath in ward
By strong enchauntments and blacke Magicke leare,
Hath in a dungeon deepe her close embard,
And many dreadfull feends hath pointed to her gard.
There he tormenteth her most terribly,
And day and night afflicts with mortall paine,
Because to yield him loue she doth deny,
Once to me yold, not to be yolde againe:
But yet by torture he would her constraine
Loue to conceiue in her disdainfull brest;
Till so she doe, she must in doole remaine,
Ne may by liuing meanes be thence relest:
What boots it then to plaine, that cannot be redrest?
With this sad hersall of his heauy stresse,
The warlike Damzell was empassiond sore,
And sayd, Sir knight, your cause is nothing lesse,
Then is your sorrow, certes if not more;
For nothing so much pitty doth implore,
As gentle Ladyes helplesse misery.
But yet, if please ye listen to my lore,
I will with proofe of last extremity,
Deliuer her fro thence, or with her for you dy.
Ah gentlest knight aliue, (sayd Scudamore)
What huge heroicke magnanimity
Dwells in thy bounteous brest? what couldst thou more,
If shee were thine, and thou as now am I?
O spare thy happy daies, and them apply
To better boot, but let me die, that ought;
More is more losse: one is enough to dy.
Life is not lost, (said she) for which is bought
Endlesse renowm, that more then death is to be sought.
Thus shee at length persuaded him to rise,
And with her wend, to see what new successe
Mote him befall vpon new enterprise;
His armes, which he had vowed to disprofesse,
She gathered vp, and did about him dresse,
And his forwandred steed vnto him gott:
So forth they both yfere make their progresse,
And march not past the mountenaunce of a shott,
Till they arriu'd, whereas their purpose they did plott.
There they dismounting, drew their weapons bold
And stoutly came vnto the Castle gate;
Whereas no gate they found, them to withhold,
Nor ward to wait at morne and euening late,
But in the Porch, that did them sore amate,
A flaming fire, ymixt with smouldry smoke,
And stinking Sulphure, that with griesly hate
And dreadfull horror did all entraunce choke,
Enforced them their forward footing to reuoke.
Greatly thereat was Britomart dismayd,
Ne in that stownd wist, how her selfe to beare;
For daunger vaine it were, to haue assayd
That cruell element, which all things feare,
Ne none can suffer to approchen neare:
And turning backe to Scudamour, thus sayd;
What monstrous enmity prouoke we heare,
Foolhardy, as the Earthes children, which made
Batteill against the Gods? so we a God inuade.
Daunger without discretion to attempt,
Inglorious and beastlike is: therefore Sir knight,
Aread what course of you is safest dempt,
And how we with our foe may come to fight.
This is (quoth he) the dolorous despight,
Which earst to you I playnd: for neither may
This fire be quencht by any witt or might,
Ne yet by any meanes remou'd away;
So mighty be th'enchauntments, which the same do stay.
What is there ells, but cease these fruitlesse paines,
And leaue me to my former languishing?
Faire Amorett must dwell in wicked chaines,
And Scudamore here die with sorrowing.
Perdy not so; (saide shee) for shameful thing
Yt were t'abandon noble cheuisaunce,
For shewe of perill, without venturing:
Rather let try extremities of chaunce,
Then enterprised praise for dread to disauaunce.
Therewith resolu'd to proue her vtmost might,
Her ample shield she threw before her face,
And her swords point directing forward right,
Assayld the flame, the which eftesoones gaue place,
And did it selfe diuide with equall space,
That through she passed, as a thonder bolt
Perceth the yielding ayre, and doth displace
The soring clouds into sad showres ymolt;
So to her yold the flames, and did their force reuolt.
Whome whenas Scudamour saw past the fire,
Safe and vntoucht, he likewise gan assay,
With greedy will, and enuious desire,
And bad the stubborne flames to yield him way:
But cruell Mulciber would not obay
His threatfull pride, but did the more augment
His mighty rage, and with imperious sway
Him forst (maulgre) his fercenes to relent,
And backe retire, all scorcht and pitifully brent.
With huge impatience he inly swelt,
More for great sorrow, that he could not pas,
Then for the burning torment, which he felt,
That with fell woodnes he effierced was,
And wilfully him throwing on the gras,
Did beat and bounse his head and brest ful sore;
The whiles the Championesse now decked has
The vtmost rowme, and past the formest dore,
The vtmost rowme, abounding with all precious store.
For round about, the walls yclothed were
With goodly arras of great maiesty,
Wouen with gold and silke so close and nere,
That the rich metall lurked priuily,
As faining to be hidd from enuious eye;
Yet here, and there, and euery where vnwares
It shewd it selfe, and shone vnwillingly;
Like to a discolourd Snake, whose hidden snares
Through the greene gras his long bright burnisht back declares.
And in those Tapets weren fashioned
Many faire pourtraicts, and many a faire feate,
And all of loue, and al of lusty-hed,
As seemed by their semblaunt did entreat;
And eke all Cupids warres they did repeate,
And cruell battailes, which he whilome fought
Gainst all the Gods, to make his empire great;
Besides the huge massacres, which he wrought
On mighty kings and kesars, into thraldome brought.
Therein was writt, how often thondring Ioue
Had felt the point of his hart percing dart,
And leauing heauens kingdome, here did roue
In straunge disguize, to slake his scalding smart;
Now like a Ram, faire Helle to peruart,
Now like a Bull, Europa to withdraw:
Ah, how the fearefull Ladies tender hart
Did liuely seeme to tremble, when she saw
The huge seas vnder her t'obay her seruaunts law.
Soone after that into a golden showre
Him selfe he chaung'd, faire Danae to vew,
And through the roofe of her strong brasen towre
Did raine into her lap an hony dew,
The whiles her foolish garde, that litle knew
Of such deceipt, kept th'yron dore fast bard,
And watcht, that none should enter nor issew;
Vaine was the watch, and bootlesse all the ward,
Whenas the God to golden hew him selfe transfard.
Then was he turnd into a snowy Swan,
To win faire Leda to his louely trade:
O wondrous skill, and sweet wit of the man,
That her in daffadillies sleeping made,
From scorching heat her daintie limbes to shade:
Whiles the proud Bird ruffing his fethers wyde,
And brushing his faire brest, did her inuade;
Shee slept, yet twixt her eielids closely spyde,
How towards her he rusht, and smiled at his pryde.
Then shewd it, how the Thebane Semelee
Deceiud of gealous Iuno, did require
To see him in his souerayne maiestee,
Armd with his thunderbolts and lightning fire,
Whens dearely she with death bought her desire.
But faire Alcmena better match did make,
Ioying his loue in likenes more entire;
Three nights in one, they say, that for her sake
He then did put, her pleasures lenger to partake.
Twise was he seene in soaring Eagles shape,
And with wide winges to beat the buxome ayre,
Once, when he with Asterie did scape,
Againe, when as the Troiane boy so fayre
He snatcht from Ida hill, and with him bare:
Wondrous delight it was, there to behould,
How the rude Shepheards after him did stare,
Trembling through feare, least down he fallen should
And often to him calling, to take surer hould.
In Satyres shape Antiopa he snatcht:
And like a fire, when he Aegin' assayd:
A shepeheard, when Mnemosyne he catcht:
And like a Serpent to the Thracian mayd.
Whyles thus on earth great Ioue these pageaunts playd,
The winged boy did thrust into his throne,
And scoffing, thus vnto his mother sayd,
Lo now the heuens obey to me alone,
And take me for their Ioue, whiles Ioue to earth is gone.
And thou, faire Ph bus, in thy colours bright
Wast there enwouen, and the sad distresse,
In which that boy thee plonged, for despight,
That thou bewray'dst his mothers wantonnesse,
When she with Mars was meynt in ioyfulnesse:
For thy he thrild thee with a leaden dart,
To loue faire Daphne, which thee loued lesse:
Lesse she thee lou'd, then was thy iust desart,
Yet was thy loue her death, and her death was thy smart.
So louedst thou the lusty Hyacinct,
So louedst thou the faire Coronis deare:
Yet both are of thy haplesse hand extinct,
Yet both in flowres doe liue; and loue thee beare,
The one a Paunce, the other a sweet breare:
For griefe whereof, ye mote haue liuely seene
The God himselfe rending his golden heare,
And breaking quite his garlond euer greene,
With other signes of sorrow and impatient teene.
Both for those two, and for his owne deare sonne,
The sonne of Climene he did repent,
Who bold to guide the charet of the Sunne,
Himselfe in thousand peeces fondly rent,
And all the world with flashing fire brent:
So like, that all the walles did seeme to flame.
Yet cruell Cupid, not herewith content,
Forst him eftsoones to follow other game,
And loue a Shephards daughter for his dearest Dame.
He loued Isse for his dearest Dame,
And for her sake her cattell fedd a while,
And for her sake a cowheard vile became,
The seruant of Admetus cowheard vile,
Whiles that from heauen he suffered exile.
Long were to tell his other louely fitt,
Now like a Lyon, hunting after spoile,
Now like a Stag, now like a faulcon flit:
All which in that faire arras was most liuely writ.
Next vnto him was Neptune pictured,
In his diuine resemblance wondrous lyke:
His face was rugged, and his hoarie hed
Dropped with brackish deaw; his threeforkt Pyke
He stearnly shooke, and therewith fierce did stryke
The raging billowes, that on euery syde
They trembling stood, and made a long broad dyke,
That his swift charet might haue passage wyde,
Which foure great Hippodames did draw in temewise tyde.
His seahorses did seeme to snort amayne,
And from their nosethrilles blow the brynie streame,
That made the sparckling waues to smoke agayne,
And flame with gold, but the white fomy creame,
Did shine with siluer, and shoot forth his beame.
The God himselfe did pensiue seeme and sad,
And hong adowne his head, as he did dreame:
For priuy loue his brest empierced had,
Ne ought but deare Bisaltis ay could make him glad.
He loued eke Iphimedia deare,
And Aeolus faire daughter Arne hight,
For whom he turnd him selfe into a Steare,
And fedd on fodder, to beguile her sight.
Also to win Deucalions daughter bright,
He turnd him selfe into a Dolphin fayre;
And like a winged horse he tooke his flight,
To snaky-locke Medusa to repayre,
On whom he got faire Pegasus, that flitteth in the ayre.
Next Saturne was, (but who would euer weene,
That sullein Saturne euer weend to loue?
Yet loue is sullein, and Saturnlike seene,
As he did for Erigone it proue.)
That to a Centaure did him selfe transmoue.
So proou'd it eke that gratious God of wine,
When for to compasse Philliras hard loue,
He turnd himselfe into a fruitfull vine,
And into her faire bosome made his grapes decline.
Long were to tell the amorous assayes,
And gentle pangues, with which he maked meeke
The mightie Mars, to learne his wanton playes:
How oft for Venus, and how often eek
For many other Nymphes he sore did shreek,
With womanish teares, and with vnwarlike smarts,
Priuily moystening his horrid cheeke.
There was he painted full of burning dartes,
And many wide woundes launched through his inner partes.
Ne did he spare (so cruell was the Elfe)
His owne deare mother, (ah why should he so?)
Ne did he spare sometime to pricke himselfe,
That he might taste the sweet consuming woe,
Which he had wrought to many others moe.
But to declare the mournfull Tragedyes,
And spoiles, wherewith he all the ground did strow,
More eath to number, with how many eyes
High heuen beholdes sad louers nightly theeueryes.
Kings Queenes, Lords Ladies, Knights and Damsels gent
Were heap'd together with the vulgar sort,
And mingled with the raskall rablement,
Without respect of person or of port,
To shew Dan Cupids powre and great effort:
And round about a border was entrayld,
Of broken bowes and arrowes shiuered short,
And a long bloody riuer through them rayld,
So liuely and so like, that liuing sence it fayld.
And at the vpper end of that faire rowme,
There was an Altar built of pretious stone,
Of passing valew, and of great renowme,
On which there stood an Image all alone,
Of massy gold, which with his owne light shone;
And winges it had with sondry colours dight,
More sondry colours, then the proud Pauone
Beares in his boasted fan, or Iris bright,
When her discolourd bow she spreds through heuen bright.
Blyndfold he was, and in his cruell fist
A mortall bow and arrowes keene did hold,
With which he shot at randon, when him list,
Some headed with sad lead, some with pure gold;
(Ah man beware, how thou those dartes behold)
A wounded Dragon vnder him did ly,
Whose hideous tayle his lefte foot did enfold,
And with a shaft was shot through either eye,
That no man forth might draw, ne no man remedye.
And vnderneath his feet was written thus,
Vnto the Victor of the Gods this bee:
And all the people in that ample hous
Did to that image bowe their humble knee,
And oft committed fowle Idolatree,
That wondrous sight faire Britomart amazd,
Ne seeing could her wonder satisfie,
But euermore and more vpon it gazd,
The whiles the passing brightnes her fraile sences dazd.
Tho as she backward cast her busie eye,
To search each secrete of that goodly sted,
Ouer the dore thus written she did spye
Bee bold: she oft and oft it ouer-red,
Yet could not find what sence it figured:
But what so were therein, or writ or ment,
She was no whit thereby discouraged,
From prosecuting of her first intent,
But forward with bold steps into the next roome went.
Much fayrer, then the former, was that roome,
And richlier by many partes arayd:
For not with arras made in painefull loome,
But with pure gold it all was ouerlayd,
Wrought with wilde Antickes, which their follies playd,
In the rich metall, as they liuing were:
A thousand monstrous formes therein were made,
Such as false loue doth oft vpon him weare,
For loue in thousand monstrous formes doth oft appeare.
And all about, the glistring walles were hong
With warlike spoiles, and with victorious prayes,
Of mightie Conquerours and Captaines strong,
Which were whilome captiued in their dayes,
To cruell loue, and wrought their owne decayes:
Their swerds and speres were broke, and hauberques rent
And their proud girlonds of tryumphant bayes,
Troden in dust with fury insolent,
To shew the victors might and mercilesse intent.
The warlike Mayd beholding earnestly
The goodly ordinaunce of this rich Place,
Did greatly wonder, ne could satisfy
Her greedy eyes with gazing a long space,
But more she meruaild that no footings trace,
Nor wight appear'd, but wastefull emptinesse,
And solemne silence ouer all that place:
Straunge thing it seem'd, that none was to possesse
So rich purueyaunce, ne them keepe with carefulnesse.
And as she lookt about, she did behold,
How ouer that same dore was likewise writ,
Be bolde, be bolde, and euery where Be bold,
That much she muz'd, yet could not construe it
By any ridling skill, or commune wit.
At last she spyde at that rowmes vpper end,
Another yron dore, on which was writ,
Be not too bold; whereto though she did bend
Her earnest minde, yet wist not what it might intend.
Thus she there wayted vntill euentyde,
Yet liuing creature none she saw appeare:
And now sad shadowes gan the world to hyde
From mortall vew, and wrap in darkenes dreare;
Yet nould she d'off her weary armes, for feare
Of secret daunger, ne let sleepe oppresse
Her heauy eyes with natures burdein deare,
But drew her selfe aside in sickernesse,
And her welpointed wepons did about her dresse.
The maske of Cupid, and th'enchanted
Chamber are displayd,
Whence Britomart redeemes faire
Amoret, through charmes decayd.
THo when as chearelesse Night ycouered had
Fayre heauen with an vniuersall clowd,
That euery wight dismayd with darkenes sad,
In silence and in sleepe themselues did shrowd,
She heard a shrilling Trompet sound alowd,
Signe of nigh battaill, or got victory;
Nought therewith daunted was her courage prowd,
But rather stird to cruell enmity,
Expecting euer, when some foe she might descry.
With that, an hideous storme of winde arose,
With dreadfull thunder and lightning atwixt,
And an earthquake, as if it streight would lose
The worlds foundations from his centre fixt;
A direfull stench of smoke and sulphure mixt
Ensewd, whose noyaunce fild the fearefull sted,
From the fourth howre of night vntill the sixt;
Yet the bold Britonesse was nought ydred,
Though much emmou'd, but stedfast still perseuered.
All suddeinly a stormy whirlwind blew
Throughout the house, that clapped euery dore,
With which that yron wicket open flew,
As it with mighty leuers had bene tore:
And forth yssewd, as on the readie flore
Of some Theatre, a graue personage,
That in his hand a braunch of laurell bore,
With comely haueour and count'nance sage,
Yclad in costly garments, fit for tragicke Stage.
Proceeding to the midst, he stil did stand,
As if in minde he somewhat had to say,
And to the vulgare beckning with his hand,
In signe of silence, as to heare a play,
By liuely actions he gan bewray
Some argument of matter passioned;
Which doen, he backe retyred soft away,
And passing by, his name discouered,
Ease, on his robe in golden letters cyphered.
The noble Mayd, still standing all this vewd,
And merueild at his straunge intendiment;
With that a ioyous fellowship issewd
Of Minstrales, making goodly meriment,
With wanton Bardes, and Rymers impudent,
All which together song full chearefully
A lay of loues delight, with sweet concent:
After whom marcht a iolly company,
In manner of a maske, enranged orderly.
The whiles a most delitious harmony,
In full straunge notes was sweetly heard to sound,
That the rare sweetnesse of the melody
The feeble sences wholy did confound,
And the frayle soule in deepe delight nigh drownd:
And when it ceast, shrill trompets lowd did bray,
That their report did far away rebound,
And when they ceast, it gan againe to play,
The whiles the maskers marched forth in trim aray.
The first was Fansy, like a louely Boy,
Of rare aspect, and beautie without peare,
Matchable ether to that ympe of Troy,
Whom Ioue did loue, and chose his cup to beare,
Or that same daintie lad, which was so deare
To great Alcides, that when as he dyde,
He wailed womanlike with many a teare,
And euery wood, and euery valley wyde
He fild with Hylas name; the Nymphes eke Hylas cryde.
His garment nether was of silke nor say,
But paynted plumes, in goodly order dight,
Like as the sunburnt Indians do aray
Their tawney bodies, in their proudest plight:
As those same plumes, so seemd he vaine and light,
That by his gate might easily appeare;
For still he far'd as dauncing in delight,
And in his hand a windy fan did beare,
That in the ydle ayre he mou'd still here and theare.
And him beside marcht amorous Desyre,
Who seemd of ryper yeares, then th'other Swayne,
Yet was that other swayne this elders syre,
And gaue him being, commune to them twayne:
His garment was disguysed very vayne,
And his embrodered Bonet sat awry;
Twixt both his hands few sparks he close did strayne,
Which still he blew, and kindled busily,
That soone they life conceiu'd, and forth in flames did fly.
Next after him went Doubt, who was yclad
In a discolour'd cote, of straunge disguyse,
That at his backe a brode Capuccio had,
And sleeues dependaunt Albanese-wyse:
He lookt askew with his mistrustfull eyes,
And nycely trode, as thornes lay in his way
Or that the flore to shrinke he did auyse
And on a broken reed he still did stay,
His feeble steps, which shrunck, when hard thereon he lay.
With him went Daunger, cloth'd in ragged weed,
Made of Beares skin, that him more dreadfull made,
Yet his owne face was dreadfull, ne did need
Straunge horrour, to deforme his griesly shade;
A net in th'one hand, and a rusty blade
In th'other was, this Mischiefe, that mishap;
With th'one his foes he threatned to inuade,
With th'other he his friends ment to enwrap:
For whom he could not kill, he practizd to entrap.
Next him was Feare, all arm'd from top to toe,
Yet thought himselfe not safe enough thereby,
But feard each shadow mouing to or froe,
And his owne armes when glittering he did spy,
Or clashing heard, he fast away did fly,
As ashes pale of hew, and winged heeld;
And euermore on daunger fixt his eye,
Gainst whom he alwayes bent a brasen shield,
Which his right hand vnarmed fearefully did wield.
With him went Hope in rancke, a handsome Mayd,
Of chearefull looke and louely to behold;
In silken samite she was light arayd,
And her fayre lockes were wouen vp in gold;
She alway smyld, and in her hand did hold
An holy water Sprinckle, dipt in deowe,
With which she sprinckled fauours manifold,
On whom she list, and did great liking sheowe,
Great liking vnto many, but true loue to feowe.
And after them Dissemblaunce, and Suspect
Marcht in one rancke, yet an vnequall paire:
For she was gentle, and of milde aspect,
Courteous to all, and seeming debonaire,
Goodly adorned, and exceeding faire:
Yet was that all but paynted, and pourloynd,
And her bright browes were deckt with borrowed haire:
Her deeds were forged, and her words false coynd,
And alwaies in her hand two clewes of silke she twynd.
But he was fowle, ill fauoured, and grim,
Vnder his eiebrowes looking still askaunce;
And euer as Dissemblaunce laught on him,
He lowrd on her with daungerous eyeglaunce;
Shewing his nature in his countenaunce;
His rolling eies did neuer rest in place,
But walkte each where, for feare of hid mischaunce,
Holding a lattis still before his face,
Through which he stil did peep, as forward he did pace.
Next him went Griefe, and Fury matcht yfere;
Griefe all in sable sorrowfully clad,
Downe hanging his dull head, with heauy chere,
Yet inly being more, then seeming sad:
A paire of Pincers in his hand he had,
With which he pinched people to the hart,
That from thenceforth a wretched life they ladd,
In wilfull languor and consuming smart,
Dying each day with inward wounds of dolours dart.
But Fury was full ill appareiled,
In rags, that naked nigh she did appeare,
With ghastly looks and dreadfull drerihed;
For from her backe her garments she did teare,
And from her head ofte rent her snarled heare:
In her right hand a firebrand shee did tosse
About her head, still roming here and there;
As a dismayed Deare in chace embost,
Forgetfull of his safety, hath his right way lost.
After them went Displeasure and Pleasaunce,
He looking lompish and full sullein sad,
And hanging downe his heauy countenaunce;
She chearfull fresh and full of ioyaunce glad,
As if no sorrow she ne felt ne dread;
That euill matched paire they seemd to bee:
An angry Waspe th'one in a viall had,
Th'other in hers an hony-lady Bee;
Thus marched these six couples forth in faire degree.
After all these there marcht a most faire Dame,
Led of two grysie villeins, th'one Despight,
The other cleped Cruelty by name:
She dolefull Lady, like a dreary Spright,
Cald by strong charmes out of eternall night,
Had Deathes owne ymage figurd in her face,
Full of sad signes, fearfull to liuing sight,
Yet in that horror shewd a seemely grace,
And with her feeble feete did moue a comely pace.
Her brest all naked, as nett yuory,
Without adorne of gold or siluer bright,
Wherewith the Craftesman wonts it beautify,
Of her dew honour was despoyled quight,
And a wide wound therein (O ruefull sight)
Entrenched deep with knyfe accursed keene,
Yet freshly bleeding forth her fainting spright,
(The worke of cruell hand) was to be seene,
That dyde in sanguine red her skin all snowy cleene.
At that wide orifice her trembling hart
Was drawne forth, and in siluer basin layd,
Quite through transfixed with a deadly dart,
And in her blood yet steeming fresh embayd:
And those two villeins, which her steps vpstayd,
When her weake feete could scarcely her sustaine,
And fading vitall powres gan to fade,
Her forward still with torture did constraine,
And euermore encreased her consuming paine.
Next after her, the winged God him selfe
Came riding on a Lion rauenous,
Taught to obay the menage of that Elfe,
That man and beast with powre imperious
Subdeweth to his kingdome tyrannous:
His blindfold eies he bad a while vnbinde,
That his proud spoile of that same dolorous
Faire Dame he might behold in perfect kinde,
Which seene, he much reioyced in his cruell minde.
Of which ful prowd, him selfe vp rearing hye,
He looked round about with sterne disdayne;
And did suruay his goodly company:
And marshalling the euill ordered trayne,
With that the darts which his right hand did straine,
Full dreadfully he shooke that all did quake,
And clapt on hye his coulourd winges twaine,
That all his many it affraide did make:
Tho blinding him againe, his way he forth did take.
Behinde him was Reproch, Repentaunce, Shame;
Reproch the first, Shame next, Repent behinde:
Repentaunce feeble, sorowfull, and lame:
Reproch despightful, carelesse, and vnkinde;
Shame most ill fauourd, bestiall, and blinde:
Shame lowrd, Repentaunce sigh'd, Reproch did scould;
Reproch sharpe stings, Repentaunce whips entwinde,
Shame burning brond-yrons in her hand did hold:
All three to each vnlike, yet all made in one mould.
And after them a rude confused rout
Of persons flockt, whose names is hard to read:
Emongst them was sterne Strife, and Anger stout,
Vnquiet Care, and fond Vnthriftyhead,
Lewd Losse of Time, and Sorrow seeming dead,
Inconstant Chaunge, and false Disloyalty,
Consuming Riotise, and guilty Dread
Of heauenly vengeaunce, faint Infirmity,
Vile Pouerty, and lastly Death with infamy.
There were full many moe like maladies,
Whose names and natures I note readen well;
So many moe, as there be phantasies
In wauering wemens witt, that none can tell,
Or paines in loue, or punishments in hell;
All which disguized marcht in masking wise,
About the chamber by the Damozell,
And then returned, hauing marched thrise,
Into the inner rowme, from whence they first did rise.
So soone as they were in, the dore streight way
Fast locked, driuen with that stormy blast,
Which first it opened; nothing did remayne.
Then the braue Maid, which al this while was plast,
In secret shade, and saw both first and last,
Issewed forth, and went vnto the dore,
To enter in, but fownd it locked fast:
It vaine she thought with rigorous vprore
For to efforce, when charmes had closed it afore.
Where force might not auaile, there sleights and art
She cast to vse, both fitt for hard emprize;
For thy from that same rowme not to depart
Till morrow next, shee did her selfe auize,
When that same Maske againe should forth arize.
The morrowe next appeard with ioyous cheare,
Calling men to their daily exercize,
Then she, as morrow fresh, her selfe did reare
Out of her secret stand, that day for to outweare.
All that day she outwore in wandering,
And gazing on that Chambers ornament,
Till that againe the second euening
Her couered with her sable vestiment,
Wherewith the worlds faire beautie she hath blent:
Then when the second watch was almost past,
That brasen dore flew open, and in went
Bold Britomart, as she had late forecast,
Nether of ydle showes, nor of false charmes aghast.
So soone as she was entred, rownd about
Shee cast her eies, to see what was become
Of all those persons, which she saw without:
But lo, they streight were vanisht all and some,
Ne liuing wight she saw in all that roome,
Saue that same woefull Lady, both whose hands
Were bounden fast, that did her ill become,
And her small waste girt rownd with yron bands,
Vnto a brasen pillour, by the which she stands.
And her before the vile Enchaunter sate,
Figuring straunge characters of his art,
With liuing blood he those characters wrate,
Dreadfully dropping from her dying hart,
Seeming transfixed with a cruell dart,
And all perforce to make her him to loue.
Ah who can loue the worker of her smart?
A thousand charmes he formerly did proue;
Yet thousand charmes could not her stedfast hart remoue.
Soone as that virgin knight he saw in place,
His wicked bookes in hast he ouerthrew,
Not caring his long labours to deface,
And fiercely running to that Lady trew,
A murdrous knife out of his pocket drew,
The which he thought, for villeinous despight,
In her tormented bodie to embrew:
But the stout Damzell to him leaping light,
His cursed hand withheld, and maistered his might.
From her, to whom his fury first he ment,
The wicked weapon rashly he did wrest,
And turning to the next his fell intent,
Vnwares it strooke into her snowie chest,
That litle drops empurpled her faire brest.
Exceeding wroth therewith the virgin grew,
Albe the wound were nothing deepe imprest,
And fiercely forth her mortall blade she drew,
To giue him the reward for such vile outrage dew.
So mightily she smote him, that to ground
He fell halfe dead; next stroke him should haue slaine,
Had not the Lady, which by him stood bound,
Dernly vnto her called to abstaine,
From doing him to dy. For else her paine
Should be remedilesse, sith none but hee,
Which wrought it, could the same recure againe.
Therewith she stayd her hand, loth stayd to bee;
For life she him enuyde, and long'd reuenge to see.
And to him said, Thou wicked man, whose meed
For so huge mischiefe, and vile villany
Is death, or if that ought doe death exceed,
Be sure, that nought may saue thee from to dy,
But if that thou this Dame doe presently
Restore vnto her health, and former state;
This doe and liue, els dye vndoubtedly.
He glad of life, that lookt for death but late,
Did yield him selfe right willing to prolong his date.
And rising vp, gan streight to ouerlooke
Those cursed leaues, his charmes back to reuerse;
Full dreadfull thinges out of that balefull booke
He red, and measur'd many a sad verse,
That horrour gan the virgins hart to perse,
And her faire locks vp stared stiffe on end,
Hearing him those same bloody lynes reherse;
And all the while he red, she did extend
Her sword high ouer him, if ought he did offend.
Anon she gan perceiue the house to quake,
And all the dores to rattle round about;
Yet all that did not her dismaied make,
Nor slack her threatfull hand for daungers dout,
But still with stedfast eye and courage stout,
Abode to weet, what end would come of all.
At last that mightie chaine, which round about
Her tender waste was wound, adowne gan fall,
And that great brasen pillour broke in peeces small.
The cruell steele, which thrild her dying hart,
Fell softly forth, as of his owne accord,
And the wyde wound, which lately did dispart
Her bleeding brest, and riuen bowels gor'd,
Was closed vp, as it had not beene sor'd,
And euery part to safety full sownd,
As she were neuer hurt, was soone restor'd:
Tho when she felt her selfe to be vnbownd,
And perfect hole, prostrate she fell vnto the grownd.
Before faire Britomart, she fell prostrate,
Saying, Ah noble knight, what worthy meede
Can wretched Lady, quitt from wofull state,
Yield you in lieu of this your gracious deed?
Your vertue selfe her owne reward shall breed,
Euen immortall prayse, and glory wyde
Which I your vassall, by your prowesse freed,
Shall through the world make to be notifyde,
And goodly well aduaunce that goodly well was tryde.
But Britomart vprearing her from grownd,
Said, Gentle Dame, reward enough I weene
For many labours more, then I haue found,
This, that in safetie now I haue you seene,
And meane of your deliuerance haue beene:
Henceforth faire Lady comfort to you take,
And put away remembraunce of late teene;
In sted thereof know, that your louing Make,
Hath no lesse griefe endured for your gentle sake.
She much was cheard to heare him mentiond,
Whom of all liuing wightes she loued best.
Then laid the noble Championesse strong hond
Vpon th'enchaunter, which had her distrest
So sore, and with foule outrages opprest:
With that great chaine, wherewith not long ygoe
He bound that pitteous Lady prisoner, now relest,
Himselfe she bound, more worthy to be so,
And captiue with her led to wretchednesse and wo.
Returning back, those goodly rowmes, which erst
She saw so rich and royally arayd,
Now vanisht vtterly, and cleane subuerst
She found, and all their glory quite decayd,
That sight of such a chaunge her much dismayd.
Thenceforth descending to that perlous Porch,
Those dreadfull flames she also found delayd,
And quenched quite, like a consumed torch,
That erst all entrers wont so cruelly to scorch.
At last she came vnto the place, where late
She left Sir Scudamour in great distresse,
Twixt dolour and despight halfe desperate,
Of his loues succour, of his owne redresse,
And of the hardie Britomarts successe:
There on the cold earth him now thrown she found,
In wilfull anguish, and dead heauinesse,
And to him cald; whose voices knowen sound
Soone as he heard, himself he reared light from ground.
There did he see, that most on earth him ioyd,
His dearest loue, the comfort of his dayes,
Whose too long absence him had sore annoyd,
And wearied his life with dull delayes:
Straight he vpstarted from the loathed layes,
And to her ran with hasty egernesse,
Like as a Deare, that greedily embayes
In the coole soile, after long thirstinesse,
Which he in chace endured hath, now nigh breathlesse.
Lightly he clipt her twixt his armes twaine,
And streightly did embrace her body bright,
Her body, late the prison of sad paine,
Now the sweet lodge of loue and deare delight:
But she faire Lady ouercommen quight
Of huge affection, did in pleasure melt,
And in sweete rauishment pourd out her spright:
No word they spake, nor earthly thing they felt,
But like two senceles stocks in long embracement dwelt.
Had ye them seene, ye would haue surely thought,
That they had beene that faire Hermaphrodite,
Which that rich Romane of white marble wrought,
And in his costly Bath causd to bee site:
So seemd those two, as growne together quite,
That Britomart halfe enuying their blesse,
Was much empassiond in her gentle sprite,
And to her selfe oft wisht like happinesse,
In vaine she wisht, that fate n'ould let her yet possesse.
Thus doe those louers with sweet counteruayle,
Each other of loues bitter fruit despoile.
But now my teme begins to faint and fayle,
All woxen weary of their iournall toyle:
Therefore I will their sweatie yokes assoyle
At this same furrowes end, till a new day:
And ye faire Swayns, after your long turmoyle,
Now cease your worke, and at your pleasure play;
Now cease your worke; to morrow is an holy day.
[The ending of Book III in the edition of 1596]
More easie issew now, then entrance late
She found: for now that fained dreadfull flame,
Which chokt the porch of that enchaunted gate,
And passage bard to all, that thither came,
Was vanisht quite, as it were not the same,
And gaue her leaue at pleasure forth to passe.
Th'Enchaunter selfe, which all that fraud did frame,
To haue efforst the loue of that faire lasse,
Seeing his worke now wasted deepe engrieued was.
But when the victoresse arriued there,
Where late she left the pensife Scudamore,
With her owne trusty Squire, both full of feare,
Neither of them she found where she them lore:
Thereat her noble hart was stonisht sore;
But most faire Amoret, whose gentle spright
Now gan to feede on hope, which she before
Conceiued had, to see her owne deare knight,
Being thereof beguyld was fild with new affright.
But he sad man, when he had long in drede
Awayted there for Britomarts returne,
Yet saw her not nor signe of her good speed,
His expectation to despaire did turne,
Misdeeming sure that her those flames did burne;
And therefore gan aduize with her old Squire,
Who her deare nourslings losse no lesse did mourne,
Thence to depart for further aide t'enquire:
Where let them wend at will, whilest here I doe respire.