Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 1, CANTOS 7-9, by EDMUND SPENSER



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THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 1, CANTOS 7-9, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The redcrosse knight is captive made
Last Line: Till he should die his last, that is, eternally.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clout, Colin


CANTO VII

The Redcrosse Knight is captive made,
By gyaunt proud opprest:
Prince Arthure meets with Una greatly
I

WHAT man so wise, what earthly witt so ware,
As to discry the crafty cunning traine.
By which Deceipt doth maske in visour faire,
And cast her coulours died deepe in graine,
To seeme like Truth, whose shape she well can faine,
And fitting gestures to her purpose frame,
The guiltlesse man with guile to entertaine?
Great maistresse of her art was that false dame,
The false Duessa, cloked with Fidessaes name.

II

Who when, returning from the drery Night,
She fownd not in that perilous Hous of Pryde,
Where she had left, the noble Redeross Knight,
Her hoped pray, she would no lenger byde,
But forth she went to seeke him far and wide.
Ere long she fownd, whereas he wearie sate
To rest him selfe, foreby a fountaine syde,
Disarmed all of yron-coted plate,
And by his side his steed the grassy forage ate.

III

Hee feedes upon the cooling shade, and bayes
His sweatie forehead in the breathing wynd,
Which through the trembling leaves full gently playes,
Wherein the chearefull birds of sundry kynd
Doe chaunt sweet musick, to delight his mynd.
The witch approching gan him fayrely greet,
And with reproch of carelesnes unkynd
Upbrayd, for leaving her in place unmeet,
With fowle words tempring faire, soure gall with hony sweet.

IV

Unkindnesse past, they gan of solace treat,
And bathe in pleasaunce of the joyous shade,
Which shielded them against the boyling heat,
And, with greene boughes decking a gloomy glade,
About the fountaine like a girlond made;
Whose bubbling wave did ever freshly well,
Ne ever would through fervent sommer fade:
The sacred nymph, which therein wont to dwell,
Was out of Dianes favor, as it then befell.

V

The cause was this: one day when Phoebe fayre
With all her band was following the chace,
This nymph, quite tyr'd with heat of scorching ayre,
Satt downe to rest in middest of the race:
The goddesse wroth gan fowly her disgrace,
And badd the waters, which from her did flow,
Be such as she her selfe was then in place.
Thenceforth her waters wexed dull and slow,
And all that drunke thereof did faint and feeble grow.

VI

Hereof this gentle knight unweeting was,
And lying downe upon the sandie graile,
Dronke of the streame, as cleare as christall glas:
Eftsoones his manly forces gan to fayle,
And mightie strong was turnd to feeble frayle:
His chaunged powres at first them selves not felt,
Till crudled cold his corage gan assayle,
And chearefull blood in fayntnes chill did melt,
Which, like a fever fit, through all his body swelt.

VII

Yet goodly court he made still to his dame,
Pourd out in loosnesse on the grassy grownd,
Both carelesse of his health, and of his fame:
Till at the last he heard a dreadfull sownd,
Which through the wood loud bellowing did rebownd,
That all the earth for terror seemd to shake,
And trees did tremble. Th' Elfe, therewith astownd,
Upstarted lightly from his looser make,
And his unready weapons gan in hand to take.

VIII

But ere he could his armour on him dight,
Or gett his shield, his monstrous enimy
With sturdie steps came stalking in his sight,
An hideous geaunt, horrible and hye,
That with his tallnesse seemd to threat the skye;
The ground eke groned under him for dreed:
His living like saw never living eye,
Ne durst behold: his stature did exceed
The hight of three the tallest sonnes of mortall seed.

IX

The greatest Earth his uncouth mother was,
And blustring Aeolus his boasted syre;
Who with his breath, which through the world doth pas,
Her hollow womb did secretly inspyre,
And fild her hidden caves with stormie yre,
That she conceiv'd; and trebling the dew time,
In which the wombes of wemen doe expyre,
Brought forth this monstrous masse of earthly slyme,
Puft up with emptie wynd, and fild with sinfull cryme.

X

So growen great, through arrogant delight
Of th' high descent whereof he was yborne,
And through presumption of his matchlesse might,
All other powres and knighthood he did scorne.
Such now he marcheth to this man forlorne,
And left to losse: his stalking steps are stayde
Upon a snaggy oke, which he had torne
Out of his mothers bowelles, and it made
His mortall mace, wherewith his foemen he dismayde.

XI

That when the knight he spyde, he gan advaunce
With huge force and insupportable mayne,
And towardes him with dreadfull fury praunce;
Who haplesse, and eke hopelesse, all in vainc
Did to him pace, sad battaile to darrayne,
Disarmd, disgraste, and inwardly dismayde,
And eke so faint in every joynt and vayne,
Through that fraile fountain, which him feeble made,
That scarsely could he weeld his bootlesse single blade.

XII

The geaunt strooke so maynly mercilesse,
That could have overthrowne a stony towre,
And were not hevenly grace, that him did blesse,
He had beene pouldred all, as thin as flowre:
But he was wary of that deadly stowre,
And lightly lept from underneath the blow:
Yet so exceeding was the villeins powre
That with the winde it did him overthrow,
And all his sences stoond, that still he lay full low.

XIII

As when that divelish yron engin, wrought
In deepest hell, and framd by furies skill,
With windy nitre and quick sulphur fraught,
And ramd with bollet rownd, ordaind to kill,
Conceiveth fyre, the heavens it doth fill
With thundring noyse, and all the ayre doth choke,
That none can breath, nor see, nor heare at will,
Through smouldry cloud of duskish stincking smok,
That th' onely breath him daunts, who hath escapt the stroke.

XIV

So daunted when the geaunt saw the knight,
His heavie hand he heaved up on hye,
And him to dust thought to have battred quight,
Untill Duessa loud to him gan crye,
'O great Orgoglio, greatest under skye,
O hold thy mortall hand for ladies sake!
Hold for my sake, and doe him not to dye,
But vanquisht thine eternall bondslave make,
And me, thy worthy meed, unto thy leman take.'

XV

He hearkned, and did stay from further harmes,
To gayne so goodly guerdon as she spake:
So willingly she came into his armes,
Who her as willingly to grace did take,
And was possessed of his newfound make.
Then up he tooke the slombred sencelesse corse,
And ere he could out of his swowne awake,
Him to his castle brought with hastie forse,
And in a dongeon deep him threw without remorse.

XVI

From that day forth Duessa was his deare,
And highly honourd in his haughtie eye;
He gave her gold and purple pall to weare,
And triple crowne set on her head full hye,
And her endowd with royall majestye:
Then, for to make her dreaded more of men,
And peoples hartes with awfull terror tye,
A monstrous beast ybredd in filthy fen
He chose, which he had kept long time in darksom den.

XVII

Such one it was, as that renowmed snake
Which great Alcides in Stremona slew,
Long fostred in the filth of Lerna lake,
Whose many heades out budding ever new
Did breed him endlesse labor to subdew:
But this same monster much more ugly was;
For seven great heads out of his body grew,
An yron brest, and back of scaly bras,
And all embrewd in blood, his eyes did shine as glas.

XVIII

His tayle was stretched out in wondrous length,
That to the hous of hevenly gods it raught,
And with extorted powre, and borrow'd strength,
The everburning lamps from thence it braught,
And prowdly threw to ground, as things of naught;
And underneath his filthy feet did tread
The sacred thinges, and holy heastes foretaught.
Upon this dreadfull beast with sevenfold head
He sett the false Duessa, for more aw and dread.

XIX

The wofull dwarfe, which saw his maisters fall,
Whiles he had keeping of his grasing steed,
And valiant knight become a caytive thrall,
When all was past, tooke up his forlorne weed;
His mightie armour, missing most at need;
His silver shield, now idle maisterlesse;
His poynant speare, that many made to bleed;
The ruefull moniments of heavinesse;
And with them all departes, to tell his great distresse.

XX

He had not travaild long, when on the way
He wofull lady, wofull Una, met,
Fast flying from the Paynims greedy pray,
Whilest Satyrane him from pursuit did let:
Who when her eyes she on the dwarf had set,
And saw the signes, that deadly tydinges spake,
She fell to ground for sorrowfull regret,
And lively breath her sad brest did forsake,
Yet might her pitteous hart be seene to pant and quake.

XXI

The messenger of so unhappie newes
Would faine have dyde; dead was his hart within;
Yet outwardly some little comfort shewes:
At last recovering hart, he does begin
To rubb her temples, and to chaufe her chin,
And everie tender part does tosse and turne:
So hardly he the flitted life does win,
Unto her native prison to retourne:
Then gins her grieved ghost thus to lament and mourne:

XXII

'Ye dreary instruments of dolefull sight,
That doe this deadly spectacle behold,
Why do ye lenger feed on loathed light,
Or liking find to gaze on earthly mould,
Sith cruell fates the carefull threds unfould,
The which my life and love together tyde?
Now let the stony dart of sencelesse cold
Perce to my hart, and pas through everie side,
And let eternall night so sad sight fro me hyde.

XXIII

'O lightsome day, the lampe of highest Jove,
First made by him, mens wandring wayes to guyde,
When darknesse he in deepest dongeon drove,
Henceforth thy hated face for ever hyde,
And shut up heavens windowes shyning wyde:
For earthly sight can nought but sorow breed,
And late repentance, which shall long abyde.
Mine eyes no more on vanitie shall feed,
But, seeled up with death, shall have their deadly meed.'

XXIV

Then downe againe she fell unto the ground;
But he her quickly reared up againe:
Thrise did she sinke adowne in deadly swownd,
And thrise he her reviv'd with busie paine:
At last, when life recover'd had the raine,
And over-wrestled his strong enimy,
With foltring tong, and trembling everie vaine,
'Tell on,' quoth she, 'the wofull tragedy,
The which these reliques sad present unto mine eye.

XXV

'Tempestuous Fortune hath spent all her spight,
And thrilling Sorrow throwne his utmost dart;
Thy sad tong cannot tell more heavy plight
Then that I feele, and harbour in mine hart:
Who hath endur'd the whole, can beare ech part.
If death it be, it is not the first wound,
That launched hath my brest with bleeding smart.
Begin, and end the bitter balefull stound;
If lesse then that I feare, more favour I have found.'

XXVI

Then gan the dwarfe the whole discourse declare:
The subtile traines of Archimago old;
The wanton loves of false Fidessa fayre,
Bought with the blood of vanquisht Paynim bold;
The wretched payre transformd to treen mould;
The House of Pryde, and perilles round about;
The combat, which he with Sansjoy did hould;
The lucklesse conflict with the gyaunt stout,
Wherein captiv'd, of life or death he stood in doubt.

XXVII

She heard with patience all unto the end,
And strove to maister sorrowfull assay,
Which greater grew, the more she did contend,
And almost rent her tender hart in tway;
And love fresh coles unto her fire did lay:
For greater love, the greater is the losse.
Was never lady loved dearer day,
Then she did love the Knight of the Red-crosse;
For whose deare sake so many troubles her did tosse.

XXVIII

At last, when fervent sorrow slaked was,
She up arose, resolving him to find,
Alive or dead; and forward forth doth pas,
All as the dwarfe the way to her assynd;
And ever more, in constant carefull mind,
She fedd her wound with fresh renewed bale:
Long tost with stormes, and bet with bitter wind,
High over hills, and lowe adowne the dale,
She wandred many a wood, and measurd many a vale.

XXIX

At last she chaunced by good hap to meet
A goodly knight, faire marching by the way,
Together with his squyre, arayed meet:
His glitterand armour shined far away,
Like glauncing light of Phoebus brightest ray;
From top to toe no place appeared bare,
That deadly dint of steele endanger may:
Athwart his brest a bauldrick brave he ware,
That shind, like twinkling stars, with stones most pretious rare.

XXX

And in the midst thereof, one pretious stone
Of wondrous worth, and eke of wondrous mights,
Shapt like a ladies head, exceeding shone,
Like Hesperus emongst the lesser lights,
And strove for to amaze the weaker sights:
Thereby his mortall blade full comely hong
In yvory sheath, ycarv'd with curious slights;
Whose hilts were burnisht gold, and handle strong
Of mother perle, and buckled with a golden tong.

XXXI

His haughtie helmet, horrid all with gold,
Both glorious brightnesse and great terrour bredd;
For all the crest a dragon did enfold
With greedie pawes, and over all did spredd
His golden winges: his dreadfull hideous hedd,
Close couched on the bever, seemd to throw
From flaming mouth bright sparckles fiery redd,
That suddeine horrour to faint hartes did show;
And scaly tayle was stretcht adowne his back full low.

XXXII

Upon the top of all his loftie crest,
A bounch of heares discolourd diversly,
With sprincled pearle and gold full richly drest,
Did shake, and seemd to daunce for jollity;
Like to an almond tree ymounted hye
On top of greene Selinis all alone,
With blossoms brave bedecked daintily;
Whose tender locks do tremble every one
At everie little breath, that under heaven is blowne.

XXXIII

His warlike shield all closely cover'd was,
Ne might of mortall eye be ever seene;
Not made of steele, nor of enduring bras;
Such earthly mettals soone consumed beene;
But all of diamond perfect pure and cleene
It framed was, one massy entire mould,
Hewen out of adamant rocke with engines keene,
That point of speare it never percen could,
Ne dint of direfull sword divide the substance would.

XXXIV

The same to wight he never wont disclose,
But when as monsters huge he would dismay,
Or daunt unequall armies of his foes,
Or when the flying heavens he would affray:
For so exceeding shone his glistring ray,
That Phoebus golden face it did attaint,
As when a cloud his beames doth over-lay;
And silver Cynthia wexed pale and faynt,
As when her face is staynd with magicke arts constraint.

XXXV

No magicke arts hereof had any might,
Nor bloody wordes of bold enchaunters call,
But all that was not such as seemd in sight
Before that shield did fade, and suddeine fall:
And when him list the raskall routes appall,
Men into stones therewith he could transmew,
And stones to dust, and dust to nought at all;
And when him list the prouder lookes subdew,
He would them gazing blind, or turne to other hew.

XXXVI

Ne let it seeme that credence this exceedes;
For he that made the same was knowne right well
To have done much more admirable deedes.
It Merlin was, which whylome did excell
All living wightes in might of magicke spell:
Both shield, and sword, and armour all he wrought
For this young Prince, when first to armes he fell;
But when he dyde, the Faery Queene it brought
To Faerie Lond, where yet it may be seene, if sought.

XXXVII

A gentle youth, his dearely loved squire,
His speare of heben wood behind him bare,
Whose harmeful head, thrise heated in the fire,
Had riven many a brest with pikehead square;
A goodly person, and could menage faire
His stubborne steed with curbed canon bitt,
Who under him did trample as the aire,
And chauft, that any on his backe should sitt;
The yron rowels into frothy fome he bitt.

XXXVIII

Whenas this knight nigh to the lady drew,
With lovely court he gan her entertaine;
But when he heard her aunswers loth, he knew
Some secret sorrow did her heart distraine:
Which to allay, and calme her storming paine,
Faire feeling words he wisely gan display,
And for her humor fitting purpose faine,
To tempt the cause it selfe for to bewray;
Wherewith enmovd, these bleeding words she gan to say:

XXXIX

'What worlds delight, or joy of living speach,
Can hart, so plungd in sea of sorrowes deep,
And heaped with so huge misfortunes, reach?
The carefull cold beginneth for to creep,
And in my heart his yron arrow steep,
Soone as I thinke upon my bitter bale:
Such helplesse harmes yts better hidden keep,
Then rip up griefe, where it may not availe;
My last left comfort is, my woes to weepe and waile.'

XL

'Ah! lady deare,' quoth then the gentle knight,
'Well may I ween your grief is wondrous great;
For wondrous great griefe groneth in my spright,
Whiles thus I heare you of your sorrowes treat.
But, woefull lady, let me you intrete
For to unfold the anguish of your hart:
Mishaps are maistred by advice discrete,
And counsell mitigates the greatest smart;
Found never help, who never would his hurts impart.'

XLI

'O but,' quoth she, 'great griefe will not be tould,
And can more easily be thought then said.'
'Right so,' quoth he; 'but he, that never would,
Could never: will to might gives greatest aid.'
'But griefe,' quoth she, 'does greater grow displaid,
If then it find not helpe, and breeds despaire.'
'Despaire breeds not,' quoth he, 'where faith is staid.'
'No faith so fast,' quoth she, 'but flesh does paire.'
'Flesh may empaire,' quoth he, 'but reason can repaire.'

XLII

His goodly reason and well guided speach
So deepe did settle in her gracious thought,
That her perswaded to disclose the breach,
Which love and fortune in her heart had wrought,
And said: 'Faire sir, I hope good hap hath brought
You to inquere the secrets of my griefe,
Or that your wisedome will direct my thought,
Or that your prowesse can me yield reliefe:
Then heare the story sad, which I shall tell you briefe.

XLIII

'The forlorne maiden, whom your eies have seene
The laughing stocke of Fortunes mockeries,
Am th' onely daughter of a king and queene;
Whose parents deare, whiles equal destinies
Did ronne about, and their felicities
The favourable heavens did not envy,
Did spred their rule through all the territories,
Which Phison and Euphrates floweth by,
And Gehons golden waves doe wash continually.

XLIV

'Till that their cruell cursed enemy,
An huge great dragon, horrible in sight,
Bred in the loathly lakes of Tartary,
With murdrous ravine, and devouring might,
Their kingdome spoild, and countrey wasted quight:
Themselves, for feare into his jawes to fall,
He forst to castle strong to take their flight,
Where, fast embard in mighty brasen wall,
He has them now fowr years besiegd, to make them thrall.

XLV

'Full many knights, adventurous and stout,
Have enterprizd that monster to subdew;
From every coast, that heaven walks about,
Have thither come the noble martial crew,
That famous harde atchievements still pursew;
Yet never any could that girlond win,
But all still shronke, and still he greater grew:
All they for want of faith, or guilt of sin,
The pitteous pray of his fiers cruelty have bin.

XLVI

'At last, yled with far reported praise,
Which flying fame throughout the world had spred,
Of doughty knights, whom Fary Land did raise,
That noble order hight of Maidenhed,
Forthwith to court of Gloriane I sped,
Of Gloriane, great queene of glory bright,
Whose kingdomes seat Cleopolis is red,
There to obtaine some such redoubted knight,
That parents deare from tyrants powre deliver might.

XLVII

'Yt was my chaunce (my chaunce was faire and good)
There for to find a fresh unproved knight,
Whose manly hands imbrewd in guilty blood
Had never beene, ne ever by his might
Had throwne to ground the unregarded right:
Yet of his prowesse proofe he since hath made
(I witnes am) in many a cruell fight;
The groning ghosts of many one dismaide
Have felt the bitter dint of his avenging blade.

XLVIII

'And ye, the forlorne reliques of his powre,
His biting sword, and his devouring speare,
Which have endured many a dreadfull stowre,
Can speake his prowesse, that did earst you beare,
And well could rule: now he hath left you heare,
To be the record of his ruefull losse,
And of my dolefull disaventurous deare:
O heavie record of the good Redcrosse,
Where have yee left your lord, that could so well you tosse?

XLIX

'Well hoped I, and faire beginnings had,
That he my captive languor should redeeme;
Till, all unweeting, an enchaunter bad
His sence abusd, and made him to misdeeme
My loyalty, not such as it did seeme,
That rather death desire then such despight.
Be judge, ye heavens, that all things right esteeme,
How I him lov'd, and love with all my might!
So thought I eke of him, and think I thought aright.

L

'Thenceforth me desolate he quite forsooke,
To wander where wilde fortune would me lead,
And other bywaies he himselfe betooke,
Where never foote of living wight did tread,
That brought not backe the balefull body dead;
In which him chaunced false Duessa meete,
Mine onely foe, mine onely deadly dread,
Who with her witchcraft, and misseeming sweete,
Inveigled him to follow her desires unmeete.

LI

'At last, by subtile sleights she him betraid
Unto his foe, a gyaunt huge and tall;
Who him disarmed, dissolute, dismaid,
Unwares surprised, and with mighty mall
The monster mercilesse him made to fall,
Whose fall did never foe before behold;
And now in darkesome dungeon, wretched thrall,
Remedilesse, for aie he doth him hold;
This is my cause of griefe, more great then may be told.'

LII

Ere she had ended all, she gan to faint;
But he her comforted, and faire bespake:
'Certes, madame, ye have great cause of plaint,
That stoutest heart, I weene, could cause to quake.
But be of cheare, and comfort to you take:
For till I have acquitt your captive knight,
Assure your selfe, I will you not forsake.'
His chearefull words reviv'd her chearelesse spright:
So forth they went, the dwarfe them guiding ever right.

CANTO VIII

Faire virgin, to redeeme her deare,
Brings Arthure to the fight:
Who slayes the gyaunt, wounds the beast,
And strips Duessa quight.

I

AY me! how many perils doe enfold
The righteous man, to make him daily fall,
Were not that Heavenly Grace doth him uphold,
And stedfast Truth acquite him out of all!
Her love is firme, her care continuall,
So oft as he, through his own foolish pride
Or weaknes, is to sinfull bands made thrall:
Els should this Redcrosse Knight in bands have dyde,
For whose deliverance she this Prince doth thether guyd.

II

They sadly traveild thus, untill they came
Nigh to a castle builded strong and hye:
Then cryde the dwarfe, 'Lo! youder is the same,
In which my lord, my liege, doth lucklesse ly,
Thrall to that gyaunts hatefull tyranny:
Therefore, deare sir, your mightie powres assay.'
The noble knight alighted by and by
From loftie steed, and badd the ladie stay,
To see what end of fight should him befall that day.

III

So with the squire, th' admirer of his might,
He marched forth towardes that castle wall;
Whose gates he fownd fast shutt, ne living wight
To warde the same, nor answere commers call.
Then tooke that squire an horne of bugle small,
Which hong adowne his side in twisted gold
And tasselles gay. Wyde wonders over all
Of that same hornes great vertues weren told,
Which had approved bene in uses manifold.

IV

Was never wight that heard that shrilling sownd,
But trembling feare did feel in every vaine:
Three miles it might be easy heard arownd,
And ecchoes three aunswerd it selfe againe:
No false enchauntment, nor deceiptfull traine
Might once abide the terror of that blast,
But presently was void and wholly vaine:
No gate so strong, no locke so firme and fast,
But with that percing noise flew open quite, or brast.

V

The same before the geaunts gate he blew,
That all the castle quaked from the grownd,
And every dore of freewill open flew:
The gyaunt selfe dismaied with that sownd,
Where he with his Duessa dalliaunce fownd,
In hast came rushing forth from inner bowre,
With staring countenance sterne, as one astownd,
And staggering steps, to weet what suddein stowre
Had wrought that horror strange, and dar'd his dreaded powre.

VI

And after him the proud Duessa came,
High mounted on her many headed beast;
And every head with fyrie tongue did flame,
And every head was crowned on his creast,
And bloody mouthed with late cruell feast.
That when the knight beheld, his mightie shild
Upon his manly arme he soone addrest,
And at him fiersly flew, with corage fild,
And eger greedinesse through every member thrild.

VII

There with the gyant buckled him to fight,
Inflamd with scornefull wrath and high disdaine,
And lifting up his dreadfull club on hight,
All armd with ragged snubbes and knottie graine,
Him thought at first encounter to have slaine.
But wise and wary was that noble pere,
And lightly leaping from so monstrous maine,
Did fayre avoide the violence him nere;
It booted nought to thinke such thunderbolts to beare.

VIII

Ne shame he thought to shonne so hideous might.
The ydle stroke, enforcing furious way,
Missing the marke of his misaymed sight,
Did fall to ground, and with his heavy sway
So deepely dinted in the driven clay,
That three yardes deepe a furrow up did throw:
The sad earth, wounded with so sore assay,
Did grone full grievous underneath the blow,
And trembling with strange feare, did like an erthquake show.

IX

As when almightie Jove, in wrathfull mood,
To wreake the guilt of mortall sins is bent,
Hurles forth his thundring dart with deadly food,
Enrold in flames, and smouldring dreriment,
Through riven cloudes and molten firmament;
The fiers threeforked engin, making way,
Both loftie towres and highest trees hath rent,
And all that might his angry passage stay,
And shooting in the earth, castes up a mount of clay.

X

His boystrous club, so buried in the grownd,
He could not rearen up againe so light,
But that the knight him at advantage fownd,
And whiles he strove his combred clubbe to quight
Out of the earth, with blade all burning bright
He smott of his left arme, which like a block
Did fall to ground, depriv'd of native might:
Large streames of blood out of the truncked stock
Forth gushed, like fresh water streame from riven rocke.

XI

Dismayed with so desperate deadly wound,
And eke impatient of unwonted payne,
He lowdly brayd with beastly yelling sownd,
That all the fieldes rebellowed againe:
As great a noyse, as when in Cymbrian plaine
An heard of bulles, whom kindly rage doth sting,
Doe for the milky mothers want complaine,
And fill the fieldes with troublous bellowing:
The neighbor woods arownd with hollow murmur ring.

XII

That when his deare Duessa heard, and saw
The evill stownd that daungerd her estate,
Unto his aide she hastily did draw
Her dreadfull beast, who, swolne with blood of late,
Came ramping forth with proud presumpteous gate,
And threatned all his heades like flaming brandes.
But him the squire made quickly to retrate,
Encountring fiers with single sword in hand,
And twixt him and his lord did like a bulwarke stand.

XIII

The proud Duessa, full of wrathfull spight
And fiers disdaine, to be affronted so,
Enforst her purple beast with all her might,
That stop out of the way to overthroe,
Scorning the let of so unequall foe:
But nathemore would that corageous swayne
To her yeeld passage, gainst his lord to goe,
But with outrageous strokes did him restraine,
And with his body bard the way atwixt them twaine.

XIV

Then tooke the angrie witch her golden cup,
Which still she bore, replete with magick artes;
Death and despeyre did many thereof sup,
And secret poyson through their inner partes,
Th' eternall bale of heavie wounded harts;
Which, after charmes and some enchauntments said,
She lightly sprinkled on his weaker partes;
Therewith his sturdie corage soone was quayd,
And all his sences were with suddein dread dismayd.

XV

So downe he fell before the cruell beast,
Who on his neck his bloody clawes did seize,
That life nigh crusht out of his panting brest:
No powre he had to stirre, nor will to rize.
That when the carefull knight gan well avise,
He lightly left the foe with whom he fought,
And to the beast gan turne his enterprise;
For wondrous anguish in his hart it wrought,
To see his loved squyre into such thraldom brought.

XVI

And high advauncing his blood-thirstie blade,
Stroke one of those deformed heades so sore,
That of his puissaunce proud ensample made;
His monstrous scalpe downe to his teeth it tore,
And that misformed shape misshaped more:
A sea of blood gusht from the gaping wownd,
That her gay garments staynd with filthy gore,
And overflowed all the field arownd;
That over shoes in blood he waded on the grownd.

XVII

Thereat he rored for exceeding paine,
That, to have heard, great horror would have bred,
And scourging th' emptie ayre with his long trayne,
Through great impatience of his grieved hed,
His gorgeous ryder from her loftie sted
Would have cast downe, and trodd in durty myre,
Had not the gyaunt soone her succoured;
Who, all enrag'd with smart and frantick yre,
Came hurtling in full fiers, and forst the knight retyre.

XVIII

The force, which wont in two to be disperst,
In one alone left hand he now unites,
Which is through rage more strong then both were erst;
With which his hideous club aloft he dites,
And at his foe with furious rigor smites,
That strongest oake might seeme to overthrow:
The stroke upon his shield so heavie lites,
That to the ground it doubleth him full low:
What mortall wight could ever beare so monstrous blow?

XIX

And in his fall his shield, that covered was,
Did loose his vele by chaunce, and open flew:
The light whereof, that hevens light did pas,
Such blazing brightnesse through the ayer threw,
That eye mote not the same endure to vew.
Which when the gyaunt spyde with staring eye,
He downe let fall his arme, and soft withdrew
His weapon huge, that heaved was on hye,
For to have slain the man, that on the ground did lye.

XX

And eke the fruitfull-headed beast, amazd
At flashing beames of that sunshiny shield,
Became stark blind, and all his sences dazd,
That downe he tumbled on the durtie field,
And seemd himselfe as conquered to yield.
Whom when his maistresse proud perceiv'd to fall,
Whiles yet his feeble feet for faintnesse reeld,
Unto the gyaunt lowdly she gan call,
'O helpe, Orgoglio, helpe! or els we perish all.'

XXI

At her so pitteous cry was much amoov'd
Her champion stout, and for to ayde his frend,
Againe his wonted angry weapon proov'd:
But all in vaine: for he has redd his end
In that bright shield, and all his forces spend
Them selves in vaine: for since that glauncing sight,
He hath no poure to hurt, nor to defend;
As where th' Almighties lightning brond does light,
It dimmes the dazed eyen, and daunts the sences quight.

XXII

Whom when the Prince, to batteill new addrest
And threatning high his dreadfull stroke, did see,
His sparkling blade about his head he blest,
And smote off quite his right leg by the knee,
That downe he tombled; as an aged tree,
High growing on the top of rocky clift,
Whose hartstrings with keene steele nigh hewen be;
The mightie trunck halfe rent, with ragged rift
Doth roll adowne the rocks, and fall with fearefull drift.

XXIII

Or as a castle, reared high and round,
By subtile engins and malitious slight
Is undermined from the lowest ground,
And her foundation forst, and feebled quight,
At last downe falles, and with her heaped hight
Her hastie ruine does more heavie make,
And yields it selfe unto the victours might;
Such was this gyaunts fall, that seemd to shake
The stedfast globe of earth, as it for feare did quake.

XXIV

The knight then, lightly leaping to the pray,
With mortall steele him smot againe so sore,
That headlesse his unweldy bodie lay,
All wallowd in his owne fowle bloody gore,
Which flowed from his wounds in wondrous store.
But soone as breath out of his brest did pas,
That huge great body, which the gyaunt bore,
Was vanisht quite, and of that monstrous mas
Was nothing left, but like an emptie blader was.

XXV

Whose grievous fall when false Duessa spyde,
Her golden cup she cast unto the ground,
And crowned mitre rudely threw asyde;
Such percing griefe her stubborne hart did wound,
That she could not endure that dolefull stound,
But leaving all behind her, fled away:
The light-foot squyre her quickly turnd around,
And by hard meanes enforcing her to stay,
So brought unto his lord, as his deserved pray.

XXVI

The roiall virgin, which beheld from farre,
In pensive plight and sad perplexitie,
The whole atchievement of this doubtfull warre,
Came running fast to greet his victorie,
With sober gladnesse and myld modestie,
And with sweet joyous cheare him thus bespake:
Fayre braunch of noblesse, flowre of chevalrie,
That with your worth the world amazed make,
How shall I quite the paynes, ye suffer for my sake?

XXVII

'And you, fresh budd of vertue springing fast,
Whom these sad eyes saw nigh unto deaths dore,
What hath poore virgin for such perill past
Wherewith you to reward? Accept therefore
My simple selfe, and service evermore:
And He that high does sit, and all things see
With equall eye, their merites to restore,
Behold what ye this day have done for mee,
And what I cannot quite, requite with usuree.

XXVIII

'But sith the heavens, and your faire handeling,
Have made you master of the field this day,
Your fortune maister eke with governing,
And well begonne end all so well, I pray.
Ne let that wicked woman scape away;
For she it is, that did my lord bethrall,
My dearest lord, and deepe in dongeon lay,
Where he his better dayes hath wasted all.
O heare, how piteous he to you for ayd does call.'

XXIX

Forthwith he gave in charge unto his squyre,
That scarlot whore to keepen carefully;
Whyles he himselfe with greedie great desyre
Into the castle entred forcibly;
Where living creature none he did espye.
Then gan he lowdly through the house to call:
But no man car'd to answere to his crye.
There raignd a solemne silence over all,
Nor voice was heard, nor wight was seene in bowre or hall.

XXX

At last, with creeping crooked pace forth came
An old old man, with beard as white as snow,
That on a staffe his feeble steps did frame,
And guyde his wearie gate both too and fro;
For his eye sight him fayled long ygo:
And on his arme a bounch of keyes he bore,
The which unused rust did overgrow:
Those were the keyes of every inner dore,
But he could not them use, but kept them still in store.

XXXI

But very uncouth sight was to behold,
How he did fashion his untoward pace,
For as he forward moovd his footing old,
So backward still was turnd his wrincled face,
Unlike to men, who ever as they trace,
Both feet and face one way are wont to lead.
This was the auncient keeper of that place,
And foster father of the gyaunt dead;
His name Ignaro did his nature right aread.

XXXII

His reverend heares and holy gravitee
The knight much honord, as beseemed well,
And gently askt, where all the people bee,
Which in that stately building wont to dwell:
Who answerd him full soft, He could not tell.
Againe he askt, where that same knight was layd,
Whom great Orgoglio with his puissaunce fell
Had made his caytive thrall: againe he sayde,
He could not tell: ne ever other answere made.

XXXIII

Then asked he, which way he in might pas:
He could not tell, againe he answered.
Thereat the courteous knight displeased was,
And said: 'Old syre, it seemes thou hast not red
How ill it fits with that same silver hed,
In vaine to mocke, or mockt in vaine to bee:
But if thou be, as thou art pourtrahed
With natures pen, in ages grave degree,
Aread in graver wise what I demaund of thee.'

XXXIV

His answere likewise was, He could not tell.
Whose sencelesse speach and doted ignorance
When as the noble Prince had marked well,
He ghest his nature by his countenance,
And calmd his wrath with goodly temperance.
Then to him stepping, from his arme did reach
Those keyes, and made himselfe free enterance.
Each dore he opened without any breach;
There was no barre to stop, nor foe him to empeach.

XXXV

There all within full rich arayd he found,
With royall arras and resplendent gold,
And did with store of every thing abound,
That greatest princes presence might behold.
But all the floore (too filthy to be told)
With blood of guiltlesse babes, and innocents trew,
Which there were slaine, as sheepe out of the fold,
Defiled was, that dreadfull was to vew,
And sacred ashes over it was strowed new.

XXXVI

And there beside of marble stone was built
An altare, carv'd with cunning ymagery,
On which trew Christians blood was often spilt,
And holy martyres often doen to dye,
With cruell malice and strong tyranny:
Whose blessed sprites from underneath the stone
To God for vengeance cryde continually,
And with great griefe were often heard to grone,
That hardest heart would bleede to heare their piteous mone.

XXXVII

Through every rowme he sought, and everie bowr,
But no where could he find that wofull thrall:
At last he came unto an yron doore,
That fast was lockt, but key found not at all
Emongst that bounch to open it withall;
But in the same a little grate was pight,
Through which he sent his voyce, and lowd did call
With all his powre, to weet if living wight
Were housed therewithin, whom he enlargen might.

XXXVIII

Therewith an hollow, dreary, murmuring voyce
These pitteous plaintes and dolours did resound:
'O who is that, which bringes me happy choyce
Of death, that here lye dying every stound,
Yet live perforce in balefull darkenesse bound?
For now three moones have changed thrice their hew,
And have beene thrice hid underneath the ground,
Since I the heavens chearefull face did vew.
O welcome, thou, that doest of death bring tydings trew!'

XXXIX

Which when that champion heard, with percing point
Of pitty deare his hart was thrilled sore,
And trembling horrour ran through every joynt,
For ruth of gentle knight so fowle forlore:
Which shaking off, he rent that yron dore,
With furious force and indignation fell;
Where entred in, his foot could find no flore,
But all a deepe descent, as darke as hell,
That breathed ever forth a filthie banefull smell.

XL

But nether darkenesse fowle, nor filthy bands,
Nor noyous smell his purpose could withhold,
(Entire affection hateth nicer hands)
But that with constant zele, and corage bold,
After long paines and labors manifold,
He found the meanes that prisoner up to reare;
Whose feeble thighes, unhable to uphold
His pined corse, him scarse to light could beare,
A ruefull spectacle of death and ghastly drere.

XLI

His sad dull eies, deepe sunck in hollow pits,
Could not endure th' unwonted sunne to view;
His bare thin cheekes for want of better bits,
And empty sides deceived of their dew,
Could make a stony hart his hap to rew;
His rawbone armes, whose mighty brawned bowrs
Were wont to rive steele plates, and helmets hew,
Were clene consum'd, and all his vitall powres
Decayd, and al his flesh shronk up like withered flowres.

XLII

Whome when his lady saw, to him she ran
With hasty joy: to see him made her glad,
And sad to view his visage pale and wan,
Who earst in flowres of freshest youth was clad.
Tho, when her well of teares she wasted had,
She said: 'Ah, dearest lord! what evill starre
On you hath frownd, and pourd his influence bad,
That of your selfe ye thus berobbed arre,
And this misseeming hew your manly looks doth marre?

XLIII

'But welcome now, my lord, in wele or woe,
Whose presence I have lackt too long a day;
And fye on Fortune, mine avowed foe,
Whose wrathful wreakes them selves doe now alay,
And for these wronges shall treble penaunce pay
Of treble good: good growes of evils priefe.'
The chearelesse man, whom sorow did dismay,
Had no delight to treaten of his griefe;
His long endured famine needed more reliefe.

XLIV

'Faire lady,' then said that victorious knight,
'The things, that grievous were to doe, or beare,
Them to renew, I wote, breeds no delight;
Best musicke breeds dislike in loathing eare:
But th' only good, that growes of passed feare,
Is to be wise, and ware of like agein.
This daies ensample hath this lesson deare
Deepe written in my heart with yron pen,
That blisse may not abide in state of mortall men.

XLV

'Henceforth, sir knight, take to you wonted strength,
And maister these mishaps with patient might:
Loe wher your foe lies stretcht in monstrous length,
And loe that wicked woman in your sight,
The roote of all your care and wretched plight,
Now in your powre, to let her live, or die.'
'To doe her die,' quoth Una, 'were despight,
And shame t' avenge so weake an enimy;
But spoile her of her scarlot robe, and let her fly.'

XLVI

So, as she bad, that witch they disaraid,
And robd of roiall robes, and purple pall,
And ornaments that richly were displaid;
Ne spared they to strip her naked all.
Then, when they had despoyld her tire and call,
Such as she was, their eies might her behold,
That her misshaped parts did them appall,
A loathly, wrinckled hag, ill favoured, old,
Whose secret filth good manners biddeth not be told.

XLVII

Her crafty head was altogether bald,
And, as in hate of honorable eld,
Was overgrowne with scurfe and filthy scald;
Her teeth out of her rotten gummes were feld,
And her sowre breath abhominably smeld;
Her dried dugs, lyke bladders lacking wind,
Hong downe, and filthy matter from them weld;
Her wrizled skin, as rough as maple rind,
So scabby was, that would have loathd all womankind.

XLVIII

Her neather parts, the shame of all her kind,
My chaster Muse for shame doth blush to write:
But at her rompe she growing had behind
A foxes taile, with dong all fowly dight;
And eke her feete most monstrous were in sight;
For one of them was like an eagles claw,
With griping talaunts armd to greedy fight,
The other like a beares uneven paw:
More ugly shape yet never living creature saw.

XLIX

Which when the knights beheld, amazd they were,
And wondred at so fowle deformed wight.
'Such then,' said Una, 'as she seemeth here,
Such is the face of Falshood, such the sight
Of fowle Duessa, when her borrowed light
Is laid away, and counterfesaunce knowne.'
Thus when they had the witch disrobed quight,
And all her filthy feature open showne,
They let her goe at will, and wander waies unknowne.

L

Shee, flying fast from heavens hated face,
And from the world that her discovered wide,
Fled to the wastfull wildernesse apace,
From living eies her open shame to hide,
And lurkt in rocks and caves, long unespide.
But that faire crew of knights, and Una faire,
Did in that castle afterwards abide,
To rest them selves, and weary powres repaire;
Where store they fownd of al that dainty was and rare

CANTO IX

His loves and lignage Arthure tells:
The knights knitt friendly bands:
Sir Trevisan flies from Despeyre,
Whom Redcros Knight withstands.

I

O GOODLY golden chayne! wherewith yfere
The vertues linked are in lovely wize,
And noble mindes of yore allyed were,
In brave poursuitt of chevalrous emprize,
That none did others safety despize,
Nor aid envy to him, in need that stands,
But friendly each did others praise devize
How to advaunce with favourable hands,
As this good Prince redeemd the Redcrosse Knight from bands.

II

Who when their powres, empayrd through labor long,
With dew repast they had recured well,
And that weake captive wight now wexed strong,
Them list no lenger there at leasure dwell,
But forward fare, as their adventures fell:
But ere they parted, Una faire besought
That straunger knight his name and nation tell;
Least so great good, as he for her had wrought,
Should die unknown, and buried be in thankles thought.

III

'Faire virgin,' said the Prince, 'yee me require
A thing without the compas of my witt:
For both the lignage and the certein sire,
From which I sprong, from mee are hidden yitt.
For all so soone as life did me admitt
Into this world, and shewed hevens light,
From mothers pap I taken was unfitt,
And streight deliver'd to a Fary knight,
To be upbrought in gentle thewes and martiall might.

IV

'Unto old Timon he me brought bylive,
Old Timon, who in youthly yeares hath beene
In warlike feates th' expertest man alive,
And is the wisest now on earth I weene:
His dwelling is low in a valley greene,
Under the foot of Rauran mossy hore,
From whence the river Dee, as silver cleene,
His tombling billowes rolls with gentle rore:
There all my daies he traind mee up in vertuous lore.

V

'Thether the great magicien Merlin came,
As was his use, ofttimes to visitt mee;
For he had charge my discipline to frame,
And tutors nouriture to oversee.
Him oft and oft I askt in privity,
Of what loines and what lignage I did spring.
Whose aunswere bad me still assured bee,
That I was sonne and heire unto a king,
As time in her just term the truth to light should bring.'

VI

'Well worthy impe,' said then the lady gent,
'And pupill fitt for such a tutors hand!
But what adventure, or what high intent,
Hath brought you hether into Fary Land,
Aread, Prince Arthure, crowne of martiall band?'
'Full hard it is,' quoth he, 'to read aright
The course of heavenly cause, or understand
The secret meaning of th' Eternall Might,
That rules mens waies, and rules the thoughts of living wight.

VII

'For whether He through fatal deepe foresight
Me hither sent, for cause to me unghest,
Or that fresh bleeding wound, which day and night
Whilome doth rancel in my riven brest,
With forced fury following his behest,
Me hether brought by wayes yet never found,
You to have helpt I hold my selfe yet blest.'
'Ah! courteous knight,' quoth she, 'what secret wound
Could ever find to grieve the gentlest hart on ground?'

VIII

'Deare dame,' quoth he, 'you sleeping sparkes awake,
Which, troubled once, into huge flames will grow,
Ne ever will their fervent fury slake,
Till living moysture into smoke do flow,
And wasted life doe lye in ashes low.
Yet sithens silence lesseneth not my fire,
But, told, it flames, and, hidden, it does glow,
I will revele what ye so much desire:
Ah Love! lay down thy bow, the whiles I may respyre.

IX

'It was in freshest flowre of youthly yeares,
When corage first does creepe in manly chest;
Then first the cole of kindly heat appeares,
To kindle love in every living brest:
But me had warnd old Timons wise behest,
Those creeping flames by reason to subdew,
Before their rage grew to so great unrest,
As miserable lovers use to rew,
Which still wex old in woe, whiles wo stil wexeth new.

X

'That ydle name of love, and lovers life,
As losse of time, and vertues enimy,
I ever scornd, and joyd to stirre up strife
In middest of their mournfull tragedy,
Ay wont to laugh, when them I heard to cry,
And blow the fire, which them to ashes brent:
Their god himselfe, grievd at my libertie,
Shott many a dart at me with fiers intent,
But I them warded all with wary government.

XI

'But all in vaine: no fort can be so strong,
Ne fleshly brest can armed be so sownd,
But will at last be wonne with battrie long,
Or unawares at disavantage fownd:
Nothing is sure that growes on earthly grownd:
And who most trustes in arme of fleshly might,
And boastes, in beauties chaine not to be bownd,
Doth soonest fall in disaventrous fight,
And yeeldes his caytive neck to victours most despight.

XII

'Ensample make of him your haplesse joy,
And of my selfe now mated, as ye see;
Whose prouder vaunt that proud avenging boy
Did soone pluck downe, and curbd my libertee.
For on a day, prickt forth with jollitee
Of looser life, and heat of hardiment,
Raunging the forest wide on courser free,
The fields, the floods, the heavens, with one consent,
Did seeme to laugh on me, and favour mine intent.

XIII

'Forwearied with my sportes, I did alight
From loftie steed, and downe to sleepe me layd;
The verdant gras my couch did goodly dight,
And pillow was my helmett fayre displayd:
Whiles every sence the humour sweet embayd,
And slombring soft my hart did steale away,
Me seemed, by my side a royall mayd
Her daintie limbes full softly down did lay:
So fayre a creature yet saw never sunny day.

XIV

'Most goodly glee and lovely blandishment
She to me made, and badd me love her deare;
For dearely sure her love was to me bent,
As, when just time expired, should appeare.
But whether dreames delude, or true it were,
Was never hart so ravisht with delight,
Ne living man like wordes did ever heare,
As she to me delivered all that night;
And at her parting said, she Queene of Faries hight.

XV

'When I awoke, and found her place devoyd,
And nought but pressed gras where she had lyen,
I sorrowed all so much as earst I joyd,
And washed all her place with watry eyen.
From that day forth I lov'd that face divyne;
From that day forth I cast in carefull mynd,
To seeke her out with labor and long tyne,
And never vow to rest, till her I fynd:
Nyne monethes I seek in vain, yet ni'll that vow unbynd.'

XVI

Thus as he spake, his visage wexed pale,
And chaunge of hew great passion did bewray;
Yett still he strove to cloke his inward bale,
And hide the smoke that did his fire display;
Till gentle Una thus to him gan say:
'O happy Queene of Faries, that hast fownd,
Mongst many, one that with his prowesse may
Defend thine honour, and thy foes confownd!
True loves are often sown, but seldom grow on grownd.'

XVII

'Thine, O then,' said the gentle Redcrosse Knight,
'Next to that ladies love, shalbe the place,
O fayrest virgin, full of heavenly light,
Whose wondrous faith, exceeding earthly race,
Was firmest fixt in myne extremest case.
And you, my lord, the patrone of my life,
Of that great Queene may well gaine worthie grace:
For onely worthie you through prowes priefe,
Yf living man mote worthie be, to be her liefe.'

XVIII

So diversly discoursing of their loves,
The golden sunne his glistring head gan shew,
And sad remembraunce now the Prince amoves
With fresh desire his voyage to pursew:
Als Una earnd her traveill to renew.
Then those two knights, fast frendship for to bynd,
And love establish each to other trew,
Gave goodly gifts, the signes of gratefull mynd,
And eke, as pledges firme, right hands together joynd.

XIX

Prince Arthur gave a boxe of diamond sure,
Embowd with gold and gorgeous ornament,
Wherein were closd few drops of liquor pure,
Of wondrous worth, and vertue excellent,
That any wownd could heale incontinent:
Which to requite, the Redcrosse Knight him gave
A booke, wherein his Saveours Testament
Was writt with golden letters rich and brave;
A worke of wondrous grace, and hable soules to save.

XX

Thus beene they parted, Arthur on his way
To seeke his love, and th' other for to fight
With Unaes foe, that all her realme did pray.
But she, now weighing the decayed plight
And shrunken synewes of her chosen knight,
Would not a while her forward course pursew,
Ne bring him forth in face of dreadfull fight,
Till he recovered had his former hew:
For him to be yet weake and wearie well she knew.

XXI

So as they traveild, lo! they gan espy
An armed knight towards them gallop fast,
That seemed from some feared foe to fly,
Or other griesly thing, that him aghast.
Still as he fledd, his eye was backward cast,
As if his feare still followed him behynd;
Als flew his steed, as he his bandes had brast,
And with his winged heeles did tread the wynd,
As he had beene a fole of Pegasus his kynd.

XXII

Nigh as he drew, they might perceive his head
To bee unarmd, and curld uncombed heares
Upstaring stiffe, dismaid with uncouth dread;
Nor drop of blood in all his face appeares,
Nor life in limbe: and to increase his feares,
In fowle reproch of knighthoodes fayre degree,
About his neck an hempen rope he weares,
That with his glistring armes does ill agree;
But he of rope, or armes, has now no memoree.

XXIII

The Redcrosse Knight toward him crossed fast,
To weet what mister wight was so dismayd:
There him he findes all sencelesse and aghast,
That of him selfe he seemd to be afrayd;
Whom hardly he from flying forward stayd,
Till he these wordes to him deliver might:
'Sir knight, aread who hath ye thus arayd,
And eke from whom make ye this hasty flight?
For never knight I saw in such misseeming plight.'

XXIV

He answerd nought at all, but adding new
Feare to his first amazment, staring wyde
With stony eyes and hartlesse hollow hew,
Astonisht stood, as one that had aspyde
Infernall furies, with their chaines untyde.
Him yett againe, and yett againe bespake
The gentle knight; who nought to him replyde,
But, trembling every joynt, did inly quake,
And foltring tongue at last these words seemd forth to shake:

XXV

'For Gods deare love, sir knight, doe me not stay;
For loe! he comes, he comes fast after mee!'
Eft looking back, would faine have runne away;
But he him forst to stay, and tellen free
The secrete cause of his perplexitie:
Yet nathemore by his bold hartie speach
Could his blood frosen hart emboldened bee,
But through his boldnes rather feare did reach;
Yett, forst, at last he made through silence suddein breach.

XXVI

'And am I now in safetie sure,' quoth he,
'From him that would have forced me to dye?
And is the point of death now turnd fro mee,
That I may tell this haplesse history?'
'Feare nought,' quoth he, 'no daunger now is nye.'
'Then shall I you recount a ruefull cace,'
Said he, 'the which with this unlucky eye
I late beheld; and had not greater grace
Me reft from it, had bene partaker of the place.

XXVII

'I lately chaunst (would I had never chaunst!)
With a fayre knight to keepen companee,
Sir Terwin hight, that well himselfe advaunst
In all affayres, and was both bold and free,
But not so happy as mote happy bee:
He lov'd, as was his lot, a lady gent,
That him againe lov'd in the least degree:
For she was proud, and of too high intent,
And joyd to see her lover languish and lament.

XXVIII

'From whom retourning sad and comfortlesse,
As on the way together we did fare,
We met that villen, (God from him me blesse!)
That cursed wight, from whom I scapt whyleare,
A man of hell, that calls himselfe Despayre:
Who first us greets, and after fayre areedes
Of tydinges straunge, and of adventures rare:
So creeping close, as snake in hidden weedes,
Inquireth of our states, and of our knightly deedes.

XXIX

'Which when he knew, and felt our feeble harts
Embost with bale, and bitter byting griefe,
Which love had launched with his deadly darts,
With wounding words, and termes of foule repriefe,
He pluckt from us all hope of dew reliefe,
That earst us held in love of lingring life:
Then hopelesse hartlesse, gan the cunning thiefe
Perswade us dye, to stint all further strife:
To me he lent this rope, to him a rusty knife.

XXX

'With which sad instrument of hasty death,
That wofull lover, loathing lenger light,
A wyde way made to let forth living breath,
But I, more fearefull or more lucky wight,
Dismayd with that deformed dismall sight,
Fledd fast away, halfe dead with dying feare;
Ne yet assur'd of life by you, sir knight,
Whose like infirmity like chaunce may beare:
But God you never let his charmed speaches heare.'

XXXI

'How may a man,' said he, 'with idle speach
Be wonne to spoyle the castle of his health?'
'I wote,' quoth he, 'whom tryall late did teach,
That like would not for all this worldes wealth:
His subtile tong, like dropping honny, mealt'h
Into the heart, and searcheth every vaine,
That ere one be aware, by secret stealth
His powre is reft, and weaknes doth remaine.
O never, sir, desire to try his guilefull traine.'

XXXII

'Certes,' sayd he, 'hence shall I never rest,
Till I that treachours art have heard and tryde;
And you, sir knight, whose name mote I request,
Of grace do me unto his cabin guyde.'
'I that hight Trevisan,' quoth he, 'will ryde
Against my liking backe, to doe you grace:
But nor for gold nor glee will I abyde
By you, when ye arrive in that same place;
For lever had I die, then see his deadly face.'

XXXIII

Ere long they come, where that same wicked wight
His dwelling has, low in an hollow cave,
Far underneath a craggy clift ypight,
Darke, dolefull, dreary, like a greedy grave,
That still for carrion carcases doth crave:
On top whereof ay dwelt the ghastly owle,
Shrieking his balefull note, which ever drave
Far from that haunt all other chearefull fowle;
And all about it wandring ghostes did wayle and howle.

XXXIV

And all about old stockes and stubs of trees,
Whereon nor fruite nor leafe was ever seene,
Did hang upon the ragged rocky knees;
On which had many wretches hanged beene,
Whose carcases were scattred on the greene,
And throwne about the cliffs. Arrived there,
That bare-head knight, for dread and dolefull teene,
Would faine have fled, ne durst approchen neare,
But th' other forst him staye, and comforted in feare.

XXXV

That darkesome cave they enter, where they find
That cursed man, low sitting on the ground,
Musing full sadly in his sullein mind:
His griesie lockes, long growen and unbound,
Disordred hong about his shoulders round,
And hid his face; through which his hollow eyne
Lookt deadly dull, and stared as astound;
His raw-bone cheekes, through penurie and pine,
Were shronke into his jawes, as he did never dyne.

XXXVI

His garment nought but many ragged clouts,
With thornes together pind and patched was,
The which his naked sides he wrapt abouts;
And him beside there lay upon the gras
A dreary corse, whose life away did pas,
All wallowd in his own yet luke-warme blood,
That from his wound yet welled fresh, alas!
In which a rusty knife fast fixed stood,
And made an open passage for the gushing flood.

XXXVII

Which piteous spectacle, approving trew
The wofull tale that Trevisan had told,
When as the gentle Redcrosse Knight did vew,
With firie zeale he burnt in courage bold,
Him to avenge, before his blood were cold;
And to the villein sayd: 'Thou damned wight,
The authour of this fact we here behold,
What justice can but judge against thee right,
With thine owne blood to price his blood, here shed in sight?'

XXXVIII

'What franticke fit,' quoth he, 'hath thus distraught
Thee, foolish man, so rash a doome to give?
What justice ever other judgement taught,
But he should dye, who merites not to live?
None els to death this man despayring drive,
But his owne guiltie mind deserving death.
Is then unjust to each his dew to give?
Or let him dye, that loatheth living breath?
Or let him die at ease, that liveth here uneath?

XXXIX

'Who travailes by the wearie wandring way,
To come unto his wished home in haste,
And meetes a flood, that doth his passage stay,
Is not great grace to helpe him over past,
Or free his feet, that in the myre sticke fast?
Most envious man, that grieves at neighbours good,
And fond, that joyest in the woe thou hast!
Why wilt not let him passe, that long hath stood
Upon the bancke, yet wilt thy selfe not pas the flood?

XL

'He there does now enjoy eternall rest
And happy ease, which thou doest want and crave,
And further from it daily wanderest:
What if some little payne the passage have,
That makes frayle flesh to feare the bitter wave?
Is not short payne well borne, that bringes long ease,
And layes the soule to sleepe in quiet grave?
Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life does greatly please.'

XLI

The knight much wondred at his suddeine wit,
And said: 'The terme of life is limited,
Ne may a man prolong, nor shorten it:
The souldier may not move from watchfull sted,
Nor leave his stand, untill his captaine bed.'
'Who life did limit by almightie doome,'
Quoth he, 'knowes best the termes established;
And he that points the centonell his roome,
Doth license him depart at sound of morning droome.

XLII

'Is not His deed, what ever thing is donne
In heaven and earth? Did not He all create,
To die againe? All ends, that was begonne.
Their times in His eternall booke of fate
Are written sure, and have their certein date.
Who then can strive with strong necessitie,
That holds the world in his still chaunging state,
Or shunne the death ordaynd by destinie?
When houre of death is come, let none aske whence, nor why.

XLIII

'The lenger life, I wote, the greater sin,
The greater sin, the greater punishment:
All those great battels, which thou boasts to win,
Through strife, and blood-shed, and avengement,
Now praysd, hereafter deare thou shalt repent:
For life must life, and blood must blood repay.
Is not enough thy evill life forespent?
For he that once hath missed the right way,
The further he doth goe, the further he doth stray.

XLIV

'Then doe no further goe, no further stray,
But here ly downe, and to thy rest betake,
Th'ill to prevent, that life ensewen may.
For what hath life, that may it loved make,
And gives not rather cause it to forsake?
Feare, sicknesse, age, losse, labour, sorrow, strife,
Payne, hunger, cold, that makes the hart to quake;
And ever fickle Fortune rageth rife;
All which, and thousands mo, do make a loathsome life.

XLV

'Thou, wretched man, of death hast greatest need,
If in true ballaunce thou wilt weigh thy state:
For never knight, that dared warlike deed,
More luckless dissaventures did amate:
Witnes the dungeon deepe, wherein of late
Thy life shutt up for death so oft did call;
And though good lucke prolonged hath thy date,
Yet death then would the like mishaps forestall,
Into the which heareafter thou maist happen fall.

XLVI

'Why then doest thou, O man of sin, desire
To draw thy dayes forth to their last degree?
Is not the measure of thy sinfull hire
High heaped up with huge iniquitee,
Against the day of wrath, to burden thee?
Is not enough, that to this lady mild
Thou falsed hast thy faith with perjuree,
And sold thy selfe to serve Duessa vild,
With whom in al abuse thou hast thy selfe defild?

XLVII

'Is not He just, that all this doth behold
From highest heven, and beares an equall eie?
Shall He thy sins up in His knowledge fold,
And guilty be of thine impietie?
Is not His lawe, Let every sinner die:
Die shall all flesh? What then must needs be donne,
Is it not better to doe willinglie,
Then linger till the glas be all out ronne?
Death is the end of woes: die soone, O Faries sonne.'

XLVIII

The knight was much enmoved with his speach,
That as a swords poynt through his hart did perse,
And in his conscience made a secrete breach,
Well knowing trew all that he did reherse;
And to his fresh remembraunce did reverse
The ugly vew of his deformed crimes,
That all his manly powres it did disperse,
As he were charmed with inchaunted rimes,
That oftentimes he quakt, and fainted oftentimes.

XLIX

In which amazement when the miscreaunt
Perceived him to waver, weake and fraile,
Whiles trembling horror did his conscience daunt,
And hellish anguish did his soule assaile,
To drive him to despaire, and quite to quaile,
Hee shewd him, painted in a table plaine,
The damned ghosts, that doe in torments waile,
And thousand feends, that doe them endlesse paine
With fire and brimstone, which for ever shall remaine.

L

The sight whereof so throughly him dismaid,
That nought but death before his eies he saw,
And ever burning wrath before him laid,
By righteous sentence of th' Almighties law:
Then gan the villein him to overcraw,
And brought unto him swords, ropes, poison, fire,
And all that might him to perdition draw;
And had him choose, what death he would desire:
For death was dew to him, that had provokt Gods ire.

LI

But whenas none of them he saw him take,
He to him raught a dagger sharpe and keene,
And gave it him in hand: his hand did quake,
And tremble like a leafe of aspin greene,
And troubled blood through his pale face was seene
To come and goe, with tidings from the heart,
As it a ronning messenger had beene.
At last, resolv'd to worke his finall smart,
He lifted up his hand, that backe againe did start.

LII

Which whenas Una saw, through every vaine
The crudled cold ran to her well of life,
As in a swowne: but soone reliv'd againe,
Out of his hand she snatcht the cursed knife,
And threw it to the ground, enraged rife,
And to him said: 'Fie, fie, faint hearted knight!
What meanest thou by this reprochfull strife?
Is this the battaile, which thou vauntst to fight
With that fire-mouthed dragon, horrible and bright?

LIII

'Come, come away, fraile, feeble, fleshly wight,
Ne let vaine words bewitch thy manly hart,
Ne divelish thoughts dismay thy constant spright.
In heavenly mercies hast thou not a part?
Why shouldst thou then despeire, that chosen art?
Where justice growes, there grows eke greter grace,
The which doth quench the brond of hellish smart,
And that accurst hand-writing doth deface.
Arise, sir knight, arise, and leave this cursed place.'

LIV

So up he rose, and thence amounted streight.
Which when the carle beheld, and saw his guest
Would safe depart, for all his subtile sleight,
He chose an halter from among the rest,
And with it hong him selfe, unbid unblest.
But death he could not worke himselfe thereby;
For thousand times he so him selfe had drest,
Yet nathelesse it could not doe him die,
Till he should die his last, that is, eternally.





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