Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 2, CANTOS 7-9, by EDMUND SPENSER



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THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 2, CANTOS 7-9, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Guyon finds mamon in a delve
Last Line: To read those bookes; who gladly graunted their desire.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clout, Colin


CANTO VII

Guyon findes Mamon in a delve,
Sunning his threasure hore:
Is by him tempted, and led downe,
To see his secrete store.

I

As pilot well expert in perilous wave,
That to a stedfast starre his course hath bent,
When foggy mistes or cloudy tempests have
The faithfull light of that faire lampe yblent,
And cover'd heaven with hideous dreriment,
Upon his card and compas firmes his eye,
The maysters of his long experiment,
And to them does the steddy helme apply,
Bidding his winged vessell fairely forward fly:

II

So Guyon, having lost his trustie guyde,
Late left beyond that Ydle Lake, proceedes
Yet on his way, of none accompanyde;
And evermore himselfe with comfort feedes
Of his owne vertues and praise-worthie deedes.
So long he yode, yet no adventure found,
Which Fame of her shrill trompet worthy reedes:
For still he traveild through wide wastfull ground,
That nought but desert wildernesse shewed all around.

III

At last he came unto a gloomy glade,
Cover'd with boughes and shrubs from heavens light,
Whereas he sitting found in secret shade
An uncouth, salvage, and uncivile wight,
Of griesly hew and fowle ill favour'd sight;
His face with smoke was tand, and eies were bleard,
His head and beard with sout were ill bedight,
His cole-blacke hands did seeme to have ben seard
In smythes fire-spitting forge, and nayles like clawes appeard.

IV

His yron cote, all overgrowne with rust,
Was underneath enveloped with gold,
Whose glistring glosse, darkned with filthy dust,
Well yet appeared to have beene of old
A worke of rich entayle and curious mould,
Woven with antickes and wyld ymagery:
And in his lap a masse of coyne he told,
And turned upside downe, to feede his eye
And covetous desire with his huge threasury.

V

And round about him lay on every side
Great heapes of gold, that never could be spent:
Of which some were rude owre, not purifide
Of Mulcibers devouring element;
Some others were new driven, and distent
Into great ingowes, and to wedges square;
Some in round plates withouten moniment:
But most were stampt, and in their metal bare
The antique shapes of kings and kesars straung and rare.

VI

Soone as he Guyon saw, in great affright
And haste he rose, for to remove aside
Those pretious hils from straungers envious sight,
And downe them poured through an hole full wide
Into the hollow earth, them there to hide.
But Guyon, lightly to him leaping, stayd
His hand, that trembled as one terrifyde;
And though him selfe were at the sight dismayd,
Yet him perforce restraynd, and to him doubtfull sayd:

VII

'What art thou, man, (if man at all thou art)
That here in desert hast thine habitaunce,
And these rich heapes of welth doest hide apart
From the worldes eye, and from her right usaunce?'
Thereat, with staring eyes fixed askaunce,
In great disdaine, he answerd: 'Hardy Elfe,
That darest vew my direfull countenaunce,
I read thee rash and heedlesse of thy selfe,
To trouble my still seate, and heapes of pretious pelfe.

VIII

'God of the world and worldlings I me call,
Great Mammon, greatest god below the skye,
That of my plenty poure out unto all,
And unto none my graces do envye:
Riches, renowme, and principality,
Honour, estate, and all this worldes good,
For which men swinck and sweat incessantly,
Fro me do flow into an ample flood,
And in the hollow earth have their eternall brood.

IX

'Wherefore, if me thou deigne to serve and sew,
At thy commaund, lo! all these mountaines bee;
Or if to thy great mind, or greedy vew,
All these may not suffise, there shall to thee
Ten times so much be nombred francke and free.'
'Mammon,' said he, 'thy godheads vaunt is vaine,
And idle offers of thy golden fee;
To them that covet such eye-glutting gaine
Proffer thy giftes, and fitter servaunts entertaine.

X

'Me ill besits, that in derdoing armes
And honours suit my vowed daies do spend,
Unto thy bounteous baytes and pleasing charmes,
With which weake men thou witchest, to attend:
Regard of worldly mucke doth fowly blend
And low abase the high heroicke spright,
That joyes for crownes and kingdomes to contend;
Faire shields, gay steedes, bright armes be my delight:
Those be the riches fit for an advent'rous knight.'

XI

'Vaine glorious Elfe,' saide he, 'doest not thou weet,
That money can thy wantes at will supply?
Sheilds, steeds, and armes, and all things for thee meet
It can purvay in twinckling of an eye;
And crownes and kingdomes to thee multiply.
Doe not I kings create, and throw the crowne
Sometimes to him that low in dust doth ly?
And him that raignd into his rowme thrust downe,
And whom I lust do heape with glory and renowne?'

XII

'All otherwise, saide he, 'I riches read,
And deeme them roote of all disquietnesse;
First got with guile, and then preserv'd with dread,
And after spent with pride and lavishnesse,
Leaving behind them griefe and heavinesse.
Infinite mischiefes of them doe arize,
Strife and debate, bloodshed and bitternesse,
Outrageous wrong and hellish covetize,
That noble heart, as great dishonour, doth despize.

XIII

'Ne thine be kingdomes, ne the scepters thine;
But realmes and rulers thou doest both confound,
And loyall truth to treason doest incline:
Witnesse the guiltlesse blood pourd oft on ground,
The crowned often slaine, the slayer cround,
The sacred diademe in peeces rent,
And purple robe gored with many a wound;
Castles surprizd, great citties sackt and brent:
So mak'st thou kings, and gaynest wrongfull government.

XIV

'Long were to tell the troublous stormes, that tosse
The private state, and make the life unsweet:
Who swelling sayles in Caspian sea doth crosse,
And in frayle wood on Adrian gulf doth fleet,
Doth not, I weene, so many evils meet.'
Then Mammon, wexing wroth, 'And why then,' sayd,
'Are mortall men so fond and undiscreet,
So evill thing to seeke unto their ayd,
And having not, complaine, and having it, upbrayd?'

XV

'Indeede,' quoth he, 'through fowle intemperaunce,
Frayle men are oft captiv'd to covetise:
But would they thinke, with how small allowaunce
Untroubled nature doth her selfe suffise,
Such superfluities they would despise,
Which with sad cares empeach our native joyes:
At the well head the purest streames arise:
But mucky filth his braunching armes annoyes,
And with uncomely weedes the gentle wave accloyes.

XVI

'The antique world, in his first flowring youth,
Fownd no defect in his Creators grace,
But with glad thankes, and unreproved truth,
The guifts of soveraine bounty did embrace:
Like angels life was then mens happy cace:
But later ages pride, like corn-fed steed,
Abusd her plenty and fat swolne encreace
To all licentious lust, and gan exceed
The measure of her meane, and naturall first need.

XVII

'Then gan a cursed hand the quiet wombe
Of his great grandmother with steele to wound,
And the hid treasures in her sacred tombe
With sacriledge to dig. Therein he fownd
Fountaines of gold and silver to abownd,
Of which the matter of his huge desire
And pompous pride eftsoones he did compownd;
Then avarice gan through his veines inspire
His greedy flames, and kindled life-devouring fire.'

XVIII

'Sonne,' said he then, 'lett be thy bitter scorne,
And leave the rudenesse of that antique age
To them that liv'd therin in state forlorne.
Thou, that doest live in later times, must wage
Thy workes for wealth, and life for gold engage.
If then thee list my offred grace to use,
Take what thou please of all this surplusage;
If thee list not, leave have thou to refuse:
But thing refused doe not afterward accuse.'

XIX

'Me list not,' said the Elfin knight, 'receave
Thing offred, till I know it well be gott;
Ne wote I, but thou didst these goods bereave
From rightfull owner by unrighteous lott,
Or that blood guiltinesse or guile them blott.'
'Perdy,' quoth he, 'yet never eie did vew,
Ne tong did tell, ne hand these handled not;
But safe I have them kept in secret mew
From hevens sight, and powre of al which them poursew.'

XX

'What secret place,' quoth he, 'can safely hold
So huge a masse, and hide from heavens eie?
Or where hast thou thy wonne, that so much gold
Thou canst preserve from wrong and robbery?'
'Come thou,' quoth he, 'and see.' So by and by,
Through that thick covert he him led, and fownd
A darkesome way, which no man could descry,
That deep descended through the hollow grownd,
And was with dread and horror compassed arownd.

XXI

At length they came into a larger space,
That stretcht it selfe into an ample playne,
Through which a beaten broad high way did trace,
That streight did lead to Plutoes griesly rayne:
By that wayes side there sate infernall Payne,
And fast beside him sat tumultuous Strife:
The one in hand an yron whip did strayne,
The other brandished a bloody knife,
And both did gnash their teeth, and both did threten life.

XXII

On thother side, in one consort, there sate
Cruell Revenge, and rancorous Despight,
Disloyall Treason, and hart-burning Hate;
But gnawing Gealosy, out of their sight
Sitting alone, his bitter lips did bight;
And trembling Feare still to and fro did fly,
And found no place, wher safe he shroud him might;
Lamenting Sorrow did in darknes lye;
And Shame his ugly face did hide from living eye.

XXIII

And over them sad Horror with grim hew
Did alwaies sore, beating his yron wings;
And after him owles and night-ravens flew,
The hatefull messengers of heavy things,
Of death and dolor telling sad tidings;
Whiles sad Celeno, sitting on a clifte,
A song of bale and bitter sorrow sings,
That hart of flint a sonder could have rifte:
Which having ended, after him she flyeth swifte.

XXIV

All these before the gates of Pluto lay;
By whom they passing, spake unto them nought.
But th' Elfin knight with wonder all the way
Did feed his eyes, and fild his inner thought.
At last him to a litle dore he brought,
That to the gate of hell, which gaped wide,
Was next adjoyning, ne them parted ought:
Betwixt them both was but a litle stride,
That did the house of Richesse from hell-mouth divide.

XXV

Before the dore sat selfe-consuming Care,
Day and night keeping wary watch and ward,
For feare least Force or Fraud should unaware
Breake in, and spoile the treasure there in gard:
Ne would he suffer Sleepe once thetherward
Approch, albe his drowsy den were next;
For next to Death is Sleepe to be compard:
Therefore his house is unto his annext;
Here Sleep, ther Richesse, and helgate them both betwext.

XXVI

So soone as Mammon there arrivd, the dore
To him did open and affoorded way;
Him followed eke Sir Guyon evermore,
Ne darkenesse him, ne daunger might dismay.
Soone as he entred was, the dore streight way
Did shutt, and from behind it forth there lept
An ugly feend, more fowle then dismall day,
The which with monstrous stalke behind him stept,
And ever as he went, dew watch upon him kept.

XXVII

Well hoped hee, ere long that hardy guest,
If ever covetous hand, or lustfull eye,
Or lips he layd on thing that likte him best,
Or ever sleepe his eiestrings did untye,
Should be his pray. And therefore still on hye
He over him did hold his cruell clawes,
Threatning with greedy gripe to doe him dye,
And rend in peeces with his ravenous pawes,
If ever he transgrest the fatall Stygian lawes.

XXVIII

That houses forme within was rude and strong,
Lyke an huge cave, hewne out of rocky clifte,
From whose rough vaut the ragged breaches hong,
Embost with massy gold of glorious guifte,
And with rich metall loaded every rifte,
That heavy ruine they did seeme to threatt;
And over them Arachne high did lifte
Her cunning web, and spred her subtile nett,
Enwrapped in fowle smoke and clouds more black then jett.

XXIX

Both roofe, and floore, and walls were all of gold,
But overgrowne with dust and old decay,
And hid in darkenes, that none could behold
The hew thereof: for vew of cherefull day
Did never in that house it selfe display,
But a faint shadow of uncertein light;
Such as a lamp, whose life does fade away;
Or as the moone, cloathed with clowdy night,
Does shew to him that walkes in feare and sad affright.

XXX

In all that rowme was nothing to be seene,
But huge great yron chests and coffers strong,
All bard with double bends, that none could weene
Them to efforce by violence or wrong:
On every side they placed were along.
But all the grownd with sculs was scattered,
And dead mens bones, which round about were flong;
Whose lives, it seemed, whilome there were shed,
And their vile carcases now left unburied.

XXXI

They forward passe, ne Guyon yet spoke word,
Till that they came unto an yron dore,
Which to them opened of his owne accord,
And shewd of richesse such exceeding store,
As eie of man did never see before,
Ne ever could within one place be fownd,
Though all the wealth, which is, or was of yore,
Could gathered be through all the world arownd,
And that above were added to that under grownd.

XXXII

The charge thereof unto a covetous spright
Commaunded was, who thereby did attend,
And warily awaited day and night,
From other covetous feends it to defend,
Who it to rob and ransacke did intend.
Then Mammon, turning to that warriour, said:
'Loe here the worldes blis! loe here the end,
To which al men doe ayme, rich to be made!
Such grace now to be happy is before thee laid.'

XXXIII

'Certes,' sayd he, 'In'ill thine offred grace,
Ne to be made so happy doe intend:
Another blis before mine eyes I place,
Another happines, another end.
To them that list, these base regardes I lend:
But I in armes, and in atchievements brave,
Do rather choose my flitting houres to spend,
And to be lord of those that riches have,
Then them to have my selfe, and be their servile sclave.'

XXXIV

Thereat the feend his gnashing teeth did grate,
And griev'd, so long to lacke his greedie pray;
For well he weened that so glorious bayte
Would tempt his guest to take thereof assay:
Had he so doen, he had him snatcht away,
More light then culver in the faulcons fist.
Eternall God thee save from such decay!
But whenas Mammon saw his purpose mist,
Him to entrap unwares another way he wist.

XXXV

Thence forward he him ledd, and shortly brought
Unto another rowme, whose dore forthright
To him did open, as it had beene taught:
Therein an hundred raunges weren pight,
And hundred fournaces all burning bright:
By every fournace many feendes did byde,
Deformed creatures, horrible in sight;
And every feend his busie paines applyde,
To melt the golden metall, ready to be tryde.

XXXVI

One with great bellowes gathered filling ayre,
And with forst wind the fewell did inflame;
Another did the dying bronds repayre
With yron tongs, and sprinckled ofte the same
With liquid waves, fiers Vulcans rage to tame,
Who, maystring them, renewd his former heat;
Some scumd the drosse, that from the metall came,
Some stird the molten owre with ladles great;
And every one did swincke, and every one did sweat.

XXXVII

But when an earthly wight they present saw,
Glistring in armes and battailous aray,
From their whot work they did themselves withdraw
To wonder at the sight: for, till that day,
They never creature saw, that cam that way.
Their staring eyes, sparckling with fervent fyre,
And ugly shapes did nigh the man dismay,
That, were it not for shame, he would retyre;
Till that him thus bespake their soveraine lord and syre:

XXXVIII

'Behold, thou Faeries sonne, with mortall eye,
That living eye before did never see:
The thing that thou didst crave so earnestly
To weet, whence all the wealth late shewd by mee
Proceeded, lo! now is reveald to thee.
Here is the fountaine of the worldes good:
Now therefore, if thou wilt enriched bee,
Avise thee well, and chaunge thy wilfull mood;
Least thou perhaps hereafter wish, and be withstood.'

XXXIX

'Suffise it then, thou Money God,' quoth hee,
'That all thine ydle offers I refuse.
All that I need I have; what needeth mee
To covet more then I have cause to use?
With such vaine shewes thy worldlinges vyle abuse:
But give me leave to follow mine emprise.'
Mammon was much displeasd, yet no'te he chuse
But beare the rigour of his bold mesprise,
And thence him forward ledd, him further to entise.

XL

He brought him through a darksom narrow strayt,
To a broad gate, all built of beaten gold:
The gate was open, but therein did wayt
A sturdie villein, stryding stiffe and bold,
As if that Highest God defy he would:
In his right hand an yron club he held,
But he himselfe was all of golden mould,
Yet had both life and sence, and well could weld
That cursed weapon, when his cruell foes he queld.

XLI

Disdayne he called was, and did disdayne
To be so cald, and who so did him call:
Sterne was his looke, and full of stomacke vayne,
His portaunce terrible, and stature tall,
Far passing th' hight of men terrestriall,
Like an huge gyant of the Titans race;
That made him scorne all creatures great and small,
And with his pride all others powre deface:
More fitt emongst black fiendes then men to have his place.

XLII

Soone as those glitterand armes he did espye,
That with their brightnesse made that darknes light,
His harmefull club he gan to hurtle hye,
And threaten batteill to the Faery knight;
Who likewise gan himselfe to batteill dight,
Till Mammon did his hasty hand withhold,
And counseld him abstaine from perilous fight:
For nothing might abash the villein bold,
Ne mortall steele emperce his miscreated mould.

XLIII

So having him with reason pacifyde,
And the fiers carle commaunding to forbeare,
He brought him in. The rowme was large and wyde,
As it some gyeld or solemne temple weare:
Many great golden pillours did upbeare
The massy roofe, and riches huge sustayne,
And every pillour decked was full deare
With crownes, and diademes, and titles vaine,
Which mortall princes wore, whiles they on earth did rayne.

XLIV

A route of people there assembled were,
Of every sort and nation under skye,
Which with great uprore preaced to draw nere
To th' upper part, where was advaunced hye
A stately siege of soveraine majestye;
And thereon satt a woman gorgeous gay,
And richly cladd in robes of royaltye,
That never earthly prince in such aray
His glory did enhaunce and pompous pryde display.

XLV

Her face right wondrous faire did seeme to bee,
That her broad beauties beam great brightnes threw
Through the dim shade, that all men might it see:
Yet was not that same her owne native hew,
But wrought by art and counterfetted shew,
Thereby more lovers unto her to call;
Nath'lesse most hevenly faire in deed and vew
She by creation was, till she did fall;
Thenceforth she sought for helps to cloke her crime withall.

XLVI
There as in glistring glory she did sitt,
She held a great gold chaine ylincked well,
Whose upper end to highest heven was knitt,
And lower part did reach to lowest hell;
And all that preace did rownd about her swell,
To catchen hold of that long chaine, thereby
To climbe aloft, and others to excell:
That was Ambition, rash desire to sty,
And every linck thereof a step of dignity.

XLVII

Some thought to raise themselves to high degree
By riches and unrighteous reward;
Some by close shouldring, some by flatteree;
Others through friendes, others for base regard;
And all by wrong waies for themselves prepard.
Those that were up themselves, kept others low,
Those that were low themselves, held others hard,
Ne suffred them to ryse or greater grow,
But every one did strive his fellow downe to throw.

XLVIII

Which whenas Guyon saw, he gan inquire,
What meant that preace about that ladies throne,
And what she was that did so high aspyre.
Him Mammon answered: 'That goodly one,
Whom all that folke with such contention
Doe flock about, my deare, my daughter is:
Honour and dignitie from her alone
Derived are, and all this worldes blis,
For which ye men doe strive: few gett, but many mis.

XLIX

'And fayre Philotime she rightly hight,
The fairest wight that wonneth under skye,
But that this darksom neather world her light
Doth dim with horror and deformity,
Worthie of heven and hye felicitie,
From whence the gods have her for envy thrust:
But sith thou hast found favour in mine eye,
Thy spouse I will her make, if that thou lust,
That she may thee advance for works and merits just.'

L

'Gramercy, Mammon,' said the gentle knight,
'For so great grace and offred high estate,
But I, that am fraile flesh and earthly wight,
Unworthy match for such immortall mate
My selfe well wote, and mine unequall fate:
And were I not, yet is my trouth yplight,
And love avowd to other lady late,
That to remove the same I have no might:
To chaunge love causelesse is reproch to warlike knight.'

LI

Mammon emmoved was with inward wrath;
Yet, forcing it to fayne, him forth thence ledd,
Through griesly shadowes by a beaten path,
Into a gardin goodly garnished
With hearbs and fruits, whose kinds mote not be redd:
Not such as earth out of her fruitfull woomb
Throwes forth to men, sweet and well savored,
But direfull deadly black, both leafe and bloom,
Fitt to adorne the dead and deck the drery toombe.

LII

There mournfull cypresse grew in greatest store,
And trees of bitter gall, and heben sad,
Dead sleeping poppy, and black hellebore,
Cold coloquintida, and tetra mad,
Mortall samnitis, and cicuta bad,
With which th' unjust Atheniens made to dy
Wise Socrates, who thereof quaffing glad,
Pourd out his life and last philosophy
To the fayre Critias, his dearest belamy.

LIII

The Gardin of Proserpina this hight;
And in the midst thereof a silver seat,
With a thick arber goodly overdight,
In which she often usd from open heat
Her selfe to shroud, and pleasures to entreat.
Next thereunto did grow a goodly tree,
With braunches broad dispredd and body great,
Clothed with leaves, that none the wood mote see,
And loaden all with fruit as thick as it might bee.

LIV

Their fruit were golden apples glistring bright,
That goodly was their glory to behold;
On earth like never grew, ne living wight
Like ever saw, but they from hence were sold;
For those, which Hercules with conquest bold
Got from great Atlas daughters, hence began,
And, planted there, did bring forth fruit of gold;
And those with which th' Eubaean young man wan
Swift Atalanta, when through craft he her out ran.

LV

Here also sprong that goodly golden fruit,
With which Acontius got his lover trew,
Whom he had long time sought with fruitlesse suit:
Here eke that famous golden apple grew,
The which emongst the gods false Ate threw;
For which th' Idaean ladies disagreed,
Till partiall Paris dempt it Venus dew,
And had of her fayre Helen for his meed,
That many noble Greekes and Trojans made to bleed.

LVI

The warlike Elfe much wondred at this tree,
So fayre and great, that shadowed all the ground,
And his broad braunches, laden with rich fee,
Did stretch themselves without the utmost bound
Of this great gardin, compast with a mound:
Which over-hanging, they themselves did steepe
In a blacke flood, which flow'd about it round;
That is the river of Cocytus deepe,
In which full many soules do endlesse wayle and weepe.

LVII

Which to behold, he clomb up to the bancke,
And, looking downe, saw many damned wightes,
In those sad waves, which direfull deadly stancke,
Plonged continually of cruell sprightes,
That with their piteous cryes, and yelling shrightes,
They made the further shore resounden wide.
Emongst the rest of those same ruefull sightes,
One cursed creature he by chaunce espide,
That drenched lay full deepe, under the garden side.

LVIII

Deepe was he drenched to the upmost chin,
Yet gaped still, as coveting to drinke
Of the cold liquour which he waded in,
And stretching forth his hand, did often thinke
To reach the fruit which grew upon the brincke:
But both the fruit from hand, and flood from mouth,
Did fly abacke, and made him vainely swincke:
The whiles he sterv'd with hunger and with drouth,
He daily dyde, yet never throughly dyen couth.

LIX

The knight, him seeing labour so in vaine,
Askt who he was, and what he ment thereby:
Who, groning deepe, thus answerd him againe:
'Most cursed of all creatures under skye,
Lo! Tantalus, I here tormented lye:
Of whom high Jove wont whylome feasted bee,
Lo! here I now for want of food doe dye:
But if that thou be such as I thee see,
Of grace I pray thee, give to eat and drinke to mee.'

LX

'Nay, nay, thou greedy Tantalus,' quoth he,
'Abide the fortune of thy present fate,
And unto all that live in high degree
Ensample be of mind intemperate,
To teach them how to use their present state.'
Then gan the cursed wretch alowd to cry,
Accusing highest Jove and gods ingrate,
And eke blaspheming heaven bitterly,
As authour of unjustice, there to let him dye.

LXI

He lookt a litle further, and espyde
Another wretch, whose carcas deepe was drent
Within the river, which the same did hyde:
But both his handes, most filthy feculent,
Above the water were on high extent,
And faynd to wash themselves incessantly;
Yet nothing cleaner were for such intent,
But rather fowler seemed to the eye;
So lost his labour vaine and ydle industry.

LXII

The knight, him calling, asked who he was;
Who, lifting up his head, him answerd thus:
'I Pilate am, the falsest judge, alas!
And most unjust; that, by unrighteous
And wicked doome, to Jewes despiteous
Delivered up the Lord of Life to dye,
And did acquite a murdrer felonous:
The whiles my handes I washt in purity,
The whiles my soule was soyld with fowle iniquity.'

LXIII

Infinite moe, tormented in like paine,
He there beheld, too long here to be told:
Ne Mammon would there let him long remayne,
For terrour of the tortures manifold,
In which the damned soules he did behold,
But roughly him bespake: 'Thou fearefull foole,
Why takest not of that same fruite of gold,
Ne sittest downe on that same silver stoole,
To rest thy weary person in the shadow coole?'

LXIV

All which he did, to do him deadly fall
In frayle intemperaunce through sinfull bayt;
To which if he inclyned had at all,
That dreadfull feend, which did behinde him wayt,
Would him have rent in thousand peeces strayt:
But he was wary wise in all his way,
And well perceived his deceiptfull sleight,
Ne suffred lust his safety to betray;
So goodly did beguile the guyler of his pray.

LXV

And now he has so long remained theare,
That vitall powres gan wexe both weake and wan,
For want of food and sleepe, which two upbeare,
Like mightie pillours, this frayle life of man,
That none without the same enduren can.
For now three dayes of men were full outwrought,
Since he this hardy enterprize began:
Forthy great Mammon fayrely he besought,
Into the world to guyde him backe, as he him brought.

LXVI

The god, though loth, yet was constraynd t' obay,
For, lenger time then that, no living wight
Below the earth might suffred be to stay:
So backe againe him brought to living light.
But all so soone as his enfeebled spright
Gan sucke this vitall ayre into his brest,
As overcome with too exceeding might,
The life did flit away out of her nest,
And all his sences were with deadly fit opprest.

CANTO VIII

Sir Guyon, layd in swowne, is by
Acrates sonnes despoyld;
Whom Arthure soone hath reskewed
And Paynim brethren foyld.

I

AND is there care in heaven? And is there love
In heavenly spirits to these creatures bace,
That may compassion of their evilles move?
There is: else much more wretched were the cace
Of men then beasts. But O th' exceeding grace
Of Highest God, that loves his creatures so,
And all his workes with mercy doth embrace,
That blessed angels he sends to and fro,
To serve to wicked man, to serve his wicked foe!

II

How oft do they their silver bowers leave
To come to succour us, that succour want!
How oft do they with golden pineons cleave
The flitting skyes, like flying pursuivant,
Against fowle feendes to ayd us militant!
They for us fight, they watch and dewly ward,
And their bright squadrons round about us plant;
And all for love, and nothing for reward:
O why should hevenly God to men have such regard?

III

During the while that Guyon did abide
In Mamons house, the palmer, whom whyleare
That wanton mayd of passage had denide,
By further search had passage found elsewhere,
And, being on his way, approched neare
Where Guyon lay in traunce, when suddeinly
He heard a voyce, that called lowd and cleare,
'Come hether! come hether! O come hastily!'
That all the fields resounded with the ruefull cry.

IV

The palmer lent his eare unto the noyce,
To weet who called so importunely:
Againe he heard a more efforced voyce,
That bad him come in haste. He by and by
His feeble feet directed to the cry;
Which to that shady delve him brought at last,
Where Mammon earst did sunne his threasury:
There the good Guyon he found slumbring fast
In senceles dreame; which sight at first him sore aghast.

V

Beside his head there satt a faire young man,
Of wondrous beauty and of freshest yeares,
Whose tender bud to blossome new began,
And florish faire above his equall peares:
His snowy front, curled with golden heares,
Like Phoebus face adornd with sunny rayes,
Divinely shone, and two sharpe winged sheares,
Decked with diverse plumes, like painted jayes,
Were fixed at his backe, to cut his ayery wayes.

VI

Like as Cupido on Idaean hill,
When having laid his cruell bow away,
And mortall arrowes, wherewith he doth fill
The world with murdrous spoiles and bloody pray,
With his faire mother he him dights to play,
And with his goodly sisters, Graces three;
The goddesse, pleased with his wanton play,
Suffers her selfe through sleepe beguild to bee,
The whiles the other ladies mind theyr mery glee.

VII

Whom when the palmer saw, abasht he was
Through fear and wonder, that he nought could say,
Till him the childe bespoke: 'Long lackt, alas!
Hath bene thy faithfull aide in hard assay,
Whiles deadly fitt thy pupill doth dismay.
Behold this heavy sight, thou reverend sire:
But dread of death and dolor doe away;
For life ere long shall to her home retire,
And he, that breathlesse seems, shal corage bold respire.

VIII

'The charge, which God doth unto me arrett,
Of his deare safety, I to thee commend;
Yet will I not forgoe, ne yet forgett,
The care thereof my selfe unto the end,
But evermore him succour, and defend
Against his foe and mine: watch thou, I pray;
For evill is at hand him to offend.'
So having said, eftsoones he gan display
His painted nimble wings, and vanisht quite away.

IX

The palmer seeing his lefte empty place,
And his slow eies beguiled of their sight,
Woxe sore affraid, and standing still a space,
Gaz'd after him, as fowle escapt by flight:
At last him turning to his charge behight,
With trembling hand his troubled pulse gan try,
Where finding life not yet dislodged quight,
He much rejoyst, and courd it tenderly,
As chicken newly hatcht, from dreaded destiny.

X

At last he spide where towards him did pace
Two Paynim knights, al armd as bright as skie,
And them beside an aged sire did trace,
And far before a light-foote page did flie,
That breathed strife and troublous enmitie.
Those were the two sonnes of Acrates old,
Who, meeting earst with Archimago slie,
Foreby that idle strond, of him were told,
That he which earst them combatted was Guyon bold.

XI

Which to avenge on him they dearly vowd,
Where ever that on ground they mote him find:
False Archimage provokte their corage prowd,
And stryful Atin in their stubborne mind
Coles of contention and whot vengeaunce tind.
Now bene they come whereas the Palmer sate,
Keeping that slombred corse to him assind:
Well knew they both his person, sith of late
With him in bloody armes they rashly did debate.

XII

Whom when Pyrochles saw, inflam'd with rage
That sire he fowl bespake: 'Thou dotard vile,
That with thy brutenesse shendst thy comely age,
Abandon soone, I read, the caytive spoile
Of that same outcast carcas, that ere while
Made it selfe famous through false trechery,
And crownd his coward crest with knightly stile:
Loe where he now inglorious doth lye,
To proove he lived il, that did thus fowly dye.'

XIII

To whom the palmer fearlesse answered:
'Certes, sir knight, ye bene too much to blame,
Thus for to blott the honor of the dead,
And with fowle cowardize his carcas shame,
Whose living handes immortalizd his name.
Vile is the vengeaunce on the ashes cold,
And envy base, to barke at sleeping fame:
Was never wight that treason of him told:
Your self his prowesse prov'd, and found him fiers and bold.'

XIV

Then sayd Cymochles: 'Palmer, thou doest dote,
Ne canst of prowesse ne of knighthood deeme,
Save as thou seest or hearst: but well I wote,
That of his puissaunce tryall made extreeme:
Yet gold al is not, that doth golden seeme,
Ne all good knights, that shake well speare and shield:
The worth of all men by their end esteeme,
And then dew praise or dew reproch them yield:
Bad therefore I him deeme that thus lies dead on field.'

XV

'Good or bad,' gan his brother fiers reply,
'What doe l recke, sith that he dide entire?
Or what doth his bad death now satisfy
The greedy hunger of revenging yre,
Sith wrathfull hand wrought not her owne desire?
Yet since no way is lefte to wreake my spight,
I will him reave of armes, the victors hire,
And of that shield, more worthy of good knight;
For why should a dead dog be deckt in armour bright?'

XVI

'Fayr sir,' said then the palmer suppliaunt,
'For knighthoods love, doe not so fowle a deed,
Ne blame your honor with so shamefull vaunt
Of vile revenge. To spoile the dead of weed
Is sacrilege, and doth all sinnes exceed;
But leave these relicks of his living might
To decke his herce, and trap his tomb-blacke steed.'
'What herce or steed,' said he, 'should he have dight,
But be entombed in the raven or the kight?'

XVII

With that, rude hand upon his shield he laid,
And th' other brother gan his helme unlace,
Both fiercely bent to have him disaraid;
Till that they spyde where towards them did pace
An armed knight, of bold and bounteous grace,
Whose squire bore after him an heben launce
And coverd shield. Well kend him so far space
Th' enchaunter by his armes and amenaunce,
When under him he saw his Lybian steed to praunce;

XVIII

And to those brethren sayd: 'Rise, rise bylive,
And unto batteil doe your selves addresse;
For yonder comes the prowest knight alive,
Prince Arthur, flowre of grace and nobilesse,
That hath to Paynim knights wrought gret distresse,
And thousand Sar'zins fowly donne to dye.'
That word so deepe did in their harts impresse,
That both eftsoones upstarted furiously,
And gan themselves prepare to batteill greedily.

XIX

But fiers Pyrochles, lacking his owne sword,
The want thereof now greatly gan to plaine,
And Archimage besought, him that afford,
Which he had brought for Braggadochio vaine.
'So would I,' said th' enchaunter, 'glad and faine
Beteeme to you this sword, you to defend,
Or ought that els your honor might maintaine,
But that this weapons powre I well have kend
To be contrary to the worke which ye intend.

XX

'For that same knights owne sword this is, of yore
Which Merlin made by his almightie art
For that his noursling, when he knighthood swore,
Therewith to doen his foes eternall smart.
The metall first he mixt with medaewart,
That no enchauntment from his dint might save;
Then it in flames of Aetna wrought apart,
And seven times dipped in the bitter wave
Of hellish Styx, which hidden vertue to it gave.

XXI

'The vertue is, that nether steele nor stone
The stroke thereof from entraunce may defend;
Ne ever may be used by his fone,
Ne forst his rightful owner to offend;
Ne ever will it breake, ne ever bend:
Wherefore Morddure it rightfully is hight.
In vaine therefore, Pyrochles, should I lend
The same to thee, against his lord to fight,
For sure yt would deceive thy labor and thy might.'

XXII

'Foolish old man,' said then the Pagan wroth,
'That weenest words or charms may force withstond:
Soone shalt thou see, and then beleeve for troth,
That I can carve with this inchaunted brond
His lords owne flesh.' Therewith out of his hond
That vertuous steele he rudely snatcht away,
And Guyons shield about his wrest he bond;
So ready dight, fierce battaile to assay,
And match his brother proud in battailous aray.

XXIII

By this, that straunger knight in presence came,
And goodly salued them; who nought againe
Him answered, as courtesie became,
But with sterne lookes, and stomachous disdaine,
Gave signes of grudge and discontentment vaine:
Then, turning to the palmer, he gan spy
Where at his feet, with sorrowfull demayne
And deadly hew, an armed corse did lye,
In whose dead face he redd great magnanimity.

XXIV

Sayd he then to the palmer: 'Reverend syre,
What great misfortune hath betidd this knight?
Or did his life her fatall date expyre,
Or did he fall by treason, or by fight?
How ever, sure I rew his pitteous plight.'
'Not one, nor other,' sayd the palmer grave,
'Hath him befalne; but cloudes of deadly night
A while his heavy eylids cover'd have,
And all his sences drowned in deep sencelesse wave.

XXV

'Which those his cruell foes, that stand hereby,
Making advauntage, to revenge their spight,
Would him disarme and treaten shamefully;
Unworthie usage of redoubted knight.
But you, faire sir, whose honourable sight
Doth promise hope of helpe and timely grace,
Mote I beseech to succour his sad plight,
And by your powre protect his feeble cace.
First prayse of knighthood is, fowle outrage to deface.'

XXVI

'Palmer,' said he, 'no knight so rude, I weene,
As to doen outrage to a sleeping ghost:
Ne was there ever noble corage seene,
That in advauntage would his puissaunce bost:
Honour is least, where oddes appeareth most.
May bee, that better reason will aswage
The rash revengers heat. Words well dispost
Have secrete powre t' appease inflamed rage:
If not, leave unto me thy knights last patronage.'

XXVII

Tho, turning to those brethren, thus bespoke:
'Ye warlike payre, whose valorous great might,
It seemes, just wronges to vengeaunce doe provoke,
To wreake your wrath on this dead seeming knight,
Mote ought allay the storme of your despight,
And settle patience in so furious heat?
Not to debate the chalenge of your right,
But for this carkas pardon I entreat,
Whom fortune hath already laid in lowest seat.'

XXVIII

To whom Cymochles said: 'For what art thou,
That mak'st thy selfe his dayes-man, to prolong
The vengeaunce prest? Or who shall let me now,
On this vile body from to wreak my wrong,
And make his carkas as the outcast dong?
Why should not that dead carrion satisfye
The guilt which, if he lived had thus long,
His life for dew revenge should deare abye?
The trespas still doth live, albee the person dye.'

XXIX

'Indeed,' then said the Prince, 'the evill donne
Dyes not, when breath the body first doth leave,
But from the grandsyre to the nephewes sonne,
And all his seede, the curse doth often cleave,
Till vengeaunce utterly the guilt bereave:
So streightly God doth judge. But gentle knight,
That doth against the dead his hand upheave,
His honour staines with rancour and despight,
And great disparagment makes to his former might.'

XXX

Pyrochles gan reply the second tyme,
And to him said: 'Now, felon, sure I read,
How that thou art partaker of his cryme:
Therefore by Termagaunt thou shalt be dead.'
With that, his hand, more sad then lomp of lead,
Uplifting high, he weened with Morddure,
His owne good sword Morddure, to cleave his head.
The faithfull steele such treason no'uld endure,
But swarving from the marke, his lordes life did assure.

XXXI

Yet was the force so furious and so fell,
That horse and man it made to reele asyde:
Nath'lesse the Prince would not forsake his sell,
For well of yore he learned had to ryde,
But full of anger fiersly to him cryde:
'False traitour miscreaunt! thou broken hast
The law of armes, to strike foe undefide.
But thou thy treasons fruit, I hope, shalt taste
Right sowre, and feele the law, the which thou hast defast.'

XXXII

With that, his balefull speare he fiercely bent
Against the Pagans brest, and therewith thought
His cursed life out of her lodg have rent:
But ere the point arrived where it ought,
That seven fold shield, which he from Guyon brought,
He cast between to ward the bitter stownd:
Through all those foldes the steelehead passage wrought,
And through his shoulder perst; wherwith to ground
He groveling fell, all gored in his gushing wound.

XXXIII

Which when his brother saw, fraught with great griefe
And wrath, he to him leaped furiously,
And fowly saide. 'By Mahoune, cursed thiefe,
That direfull stroke thou dearely shalt aby.'
Then, hurling up his harmefull blade on hy,
Smote him so hugely on his haughtie crest,
That from his saddle forced him to fly:
Els mote it needes downe to his manly brest
Have cleft his head in twaine, and life thence dispossest.

XXXIV

Now was the Prince in daungerous distresse,
Wanting his sword, when he on foot should fight:
His single speare could doe him small redresse
Against two foes of so exceeding might,
The least of which was match for any knight.
And now the other, whom he earst did daunt,
Had reard him selfe againe to cruel fight,
Three times more furious and more puissaunt,
Unmindfull of his wound, of his fate ignoraunt.

XXXV

So both attonce him charge on either syde,
With hideous strokes and importable powre,
That forced him his ground to traverse wyde,
And wisely watch to ward that deadly stowre:
For in his shield, as thicke as stormie showre,
Their strokes did raine; yet did he never quaile,
Ne backward shrinke, but as a stedfast towre,
Whom foe with double battry doth assaile,
Them on her bulwarke beares, and bids them nought availe, --

XXXVI

So stoutly he withstood their strong assay;
Till that at last, when he advantage spyde,
His poynant speare he thrust with puissant sway
At proud Cymochles, whiles his shield was wyde,
That through his thigh the mortall steele did gryde:
He, swarving with the force, within his flesh
Did breake the launce, and let the head abyde:
Out of the wound the red blood flowed fresh,
That underneath his feet soone made a purple plesh.

XXXVII

Horribly then he gan to rage and rayle,
Cursing his gods, and him selfe damning deepe:
Als when his brother saw the red blood rayle
Adowne so fast, and all his armour steepe,
For very felnesse lowd he gan to weepe,
And said: 'Caytive, cursse on thy cruell hond,
That twise hath spedd! yet shall it not thee keepe
From the third brunt of this my fatall brond:
Lo where the dreadfull Death behynd thy backe doth stond!'

XXXVIII

With that he strooke, and thother strooke withall,
That nothing seemd mote beare so monstrous might:
The one upon his covered shield did fall,
And glauncing downe would not his owner byte:
But th' other did upon his troncheon smyte,
Which hewing quite a sunder, further way
It made, and on his hacqueton did lyte,
The which dividing with importune sway,
It seizd in his right side, and there the dint did stay.

XXXIX

Wyde was the wound, and a large lukewarme flood,
Red as the rose, thence gushed grievously,
That when the Paynym spyde the streaming blood,
Gave him great hart, and hope of victory.
On thother side, in huge perplexity
The Prince now stood, having his weapon broke;
Nought could he hurt, but still at warde did ly:
Yet with his troncheon he so rudely stroke
Cymochles twise, that twise him forst his foot revoke.

XL

Whom when the palmer saw in such distresse,
Sir Guyons sword he lightly to him raught,
And said: 'Fayre sonne, great God thy right hand blesse,
To use that sword so well as he it ought.'
Glad was the knight, and with fresh courage fraught,
When as againe he armed felt his hond:
Then like a lyon, which hath long time saught
His robbed whelpes, and at the last them fond
Emongst the shepeheard swaynes, then wexeth wood and yond;

XLI

So fierce he laid about him, and dealt blowes
On either side, that neither mayle could hold,
Ne shield defend the thunder of his throwes:
Now to Pyrochles many strokes he told;
Eft to Cymochles twise so many fold:
Then backe againe turning his busie hond,
Them both atonce compeld with courage bold,
To yield wide way to his hart-thrilling brond;
And though they both stood stiffe, yet could not both withstond.

XLII

As salvage bull, whom two fierce mastives bayt,
When rancour doth with rage him once engore,
Forgets with wary warde them to awayt,
But with his dreadfull hornes them drives afore,
Or flings aloft, or treades downe in the flore,
Breathing out wrath, and bellowing disdaine,
That all the forest quakes to heare him rore:
So rag'd Prince Arthur twixt his foemen twaine,
That neither could his mightie puissaunce sustaine.

XLIII

But ever at Pyrochles when he smitt,
Who Guyons shield cast ever him before,
Whereon the Faery Queenes pourtract was writt,
His hand relented, and the stroke forbore,
And his deare hart the picture gan adore;
Which oft the Paynim sav'd from deadly stowre.
But him henceforth the same can save no more;
For now arrived is his fatall howre,
That no'te avoyded be by earthly skill or powre.

XLIV

For when Cymochles saw the fowle reproch,
Which them appeached, prickt with guiltie shame
And inward griefe, he fiercely gan approch,
Resolv'd to put away that loathly blame,
Or dye with honour and desert of fame;
And on the haubergh stroke the Prince so sore,
That quite disparted all the linked frame,
And pierced to the skin, but bit no more,
Yet made him twise to reele, that never moov'd afore.

XLV

Whereat renfierst with wrath and sharp regret,
He stroke so hugely with his borrowd blade,
That it empierst the Pagans burganet,
And cleaving the hard steele, did deepe invade
Into his head, and cruell passage made
Quite through his brayne. He, tombling downe on ground,
Breathd out his ghost, which, to th' infernall shade
Fast flying, there eternall torment found
For all the sinnes wherewith his lewd life did abound.

XLVI

Which when his german saw, the stony feare
Ran to his hart, and all his sence dismayd,
Ne thenceforth life ne corage did appeare;
But as a man, whom hellish feendes have frayd,
Long trembling still he stoode: at last thus sayd:
'Traytour, what hast thou doen? How ever may
Thy cursed hand so cruelly have swayd
Against that knight? Harrow and well away!
After so wicked deede why liv'st thou lenger day?'

XLVII

With that all desperate, as loathing light,
And with revenge desyring soone to dye,
Assembling all his force and utmost might,
With his owne swerd he fierce at him did flye,
And strooke, and foynd, and lasht outrageously,
Withouten reason or regard. Well knew
The Prince, with pacience and sufferaunce sly
So hasty heat soone cooled to subdew:
Tho, when this breathlesse woxe, that batteil gan renew.

XLVIII

As when a windy tempest bloweth hye,
That nothing may withstand his stormy stowre,
The clowdes, as thinges affrayd, before him flye;
But all so soone as his outrageous powre
Is layd, they fiercely then begin to showre,
And, as in scorne of his spent stormy spight,
Now all attonce their malice forth do poure:
So did Prince Arthur beare himselfe in fight,
And suffred rash Pyrochles waste his ydle might.

XLIX

At last when as the Sarazin perceiv'd,
How that straunge sword refused to serve his neede,
But, when he stroke most strong, the dint deceiv'd,
He flong it from him, and, devoyd of dreed,
Upon him lightly leaping without heed,
Twixt his two mighty armes engrasped fast,
Thinking to overthrowe and downe him tred:
But him in strength and skill the Prince surpast,
And through his nimble sleight did under him down cast.

L

Nought booted it the Paynim then to strive;
For as a bittur in the eagles clawe,
That may not hope by flight to scape alive,
Still waytes for death with dread and trembling aw,
So he, now subject to the victours law,
Did not once move, nor upward cast his eye,
For vile disdaine and rancour, which did gnaw
His hart in twaine with sad melancholy,
As one that loathed life, and yet despysd to dye.

LI

But full of princely bounty and great mind,
The conquerour nought cared him to slay,
But casting wronges and all revenge behind,
More glory thought to give life then decay,
And sayd: 'Paynim, this is thy dismall day;
Yet if thou wilt renounce thy miscreaunce,
And my trew liegeman yield thy selfe for ay,
Life will I graunt thee for thy valiaunce,
And all thy wronges will wipe out of my sovenaunce.'

LII

'Foole!' sayd the Pagan, 'I thy gift defye;
But use thy fortune, as it doth befall,
And say, that I not overcome doe dye,
But in despight of life for death doe call.'
Wroth was the Prince, and sory yet withall,
That he so wilfully refused grace;
Yet, sith his fate so cruelly did fall,
His shining helmet he gan soone unlace,
And left his headlesse body bleeding all the place.

LIII

By this, Sir Guyon from his traunce awakt,
Life having maystered her sencelesse foe;
And looking up, when as his shield he lakt,
And sword saw not, he wexed wondrous woe:
But when the palmer, whom he long ygoe
Had lost, he by him spyde, right glad he grew,
And saide: 'Deare sir, whom wandring to and fro
I long have lackt, I joy thy face to vew:
Firme is thy faith, whom daunger never fro me drew.

LIV

'But read, what wicked hand hath robbed mee
Of my good sword and shield?' The palmer, glad
With so fresh hew uprysing him to see,
Him answered: 'Fayre sonne, be no whit sad
For want of weapons; they shall soone be had.'
So gan he to discourse the whole debate,
Which that straunge knight for him sustained had,
And those two Sarazins confounded late,
Whose carcases on ground were horribly prostrate.

LV

Which when he heard, and saw the tokens trew,
His hart with great affection was embayd,
And to the Prince bowing with reverence dew,
As to the patrone of his life, thus sayd:
'My lord, my liege, by whose most gratious ayd
I live this day, and see my foes subdewd,
What may suffise to be for meede repayd
Of so great graces as ye have me shewd,
But to be ever bound --'

LVI

To whom the infant thus: 'Fayre sir, what need
Good turnes be counted, as a servile bond,
To bind their dooers to receive their meed?
Are not all knightes by oath bound to withstond
Oppressours powre by armes and puissant hond?
Suffise, that I have done my dew in place.'
So goodly purpose they together fond
Of kindnesse and of courteous aggrace;
The whiles false Archimage and Atin fled apace.

CANTO IX

The House of Temperance, in which
Doth sober Alma dwell,
Besiegd of many foes, whom straunger
knightes to flight compell.

I

OF all Gods workes, which doe this world adorne,
There is no one more faire and excellent,
Then is mans body both for powre and forme,
Whiles it is kept in sober government;
But none then it more fowle and indecent,
Distempred through misrule and passions bace:
It growes a monster, and incontinent
Doth loose his dignity and native grace.
Behold, who list, both one and other in this place.

II

After the Paynim brethren conquer'd were,
The Briton Prince recov'ring his stolne sword,
And Guyon his lost shield, they both yfere
Forth passed on their way in fayre accord,
Till him the Prince with gentle court did bord:
'Sir knight, mote I of you this court'sy read,
To weet why on your shield, so goodly scord,
Beare ye the picture of that ladies head?
Full lively is the semblaunt, though the substance dead.'

III

'Fayre sir,' sayd he, 'if in that picture dead
Such life ye read, and vertue in vaine shew,
What mote ye weene, if the trew lively-head
Of that most glorious visage ye did vew?
But yf the beauty of her mind ye knew,
That is, her bounty and imperiall powre,
Thousand times fairer then her mortal hew,
O how great wonder would your thoughts devoure,
And infinite desire into your spirite poure!

IV

'Shee is the mighty Queene of Faery,
Whose faire retraitt I in my shield doe beare;
Shee is the flowre of grace and chastity,
Throughout the world renowmed far and neare,
My liefe, my liege, my soveraine, my deare,
Whose glory shineth as the morning starre,
And with her light the earth enlumines cleare:
Far reach her mercies, and her praises farre,
As well in state of peace, as puissaunce in warre.'

V

'Thrise happy man,' said then the Briton knight,
'Whom gracious lott and thy great valiaunce
Have made thee soldier of that princesse bright,
Which with her bounty and glad countenaunce
Doth blesse her servaunts, and them high advaunce.
How may straunge knight hope ever to aspire,
By faithfull service and meete amenaunce,
Unto such blisse? Sufficient were that hire
For losse of thousand lives, to die at her desire.'

VI

Said Guyon, 'Noble lord, what meed so great,
Or grace of earthly prince so soveraine,
But by your wondrous worth and warlike feat
Ye well may hope, and easely attaine?
But were your will, her sold to entertaine,
And numbred be mongst Knights of Maydenhed,
Great guerdon, well I wote, should you remaine,
And in her favor high bee reckoned,
As Arthegall and Sophy now beene honored.'

VII

'Certes,' then said the Prince, 'I God avow,
That sith I armes and knighthood first did plight,
My whole desire hath beene, and yet is now,
To serve that Queene with al my powre and might.
Now hath the sunne with his lamp-burning light
Walkt round about the world, and I no lesse,
Sith of that goddesse I have sought the sight,
Yet no where can her find: such happinesse
Heven doth to me envy, and Fortune favourlesse.'

VIII

'Fortune, the foe of famous chevisaunce,
Seldome,' said Guyon, 'yields to vertue aide,
But in her way throwes mischiefe and mischaunce,
Whereby her course is stopt and passage staid.
But you, faire sir, be not herewith dismaid,
But constant keepe the way in which ye stand;
Which were it not that I am els delaid
With hard adventure, which I have in hand,
I labour would to guide you through al Fary Land.'

IX

'Gramercy, sir,' said he; 'but mote I weete
What straunge adventure doe ye now pursew?
Perhaps my succour or advizement meete
Mote stead you much your purpose to subdew.'
Then gan Sir Guyon all the story shew
Of false Acrasia, and her wicked wiles,
Which to avenge, the palmer him forth drew
From Faery court. So talked they, the whiles
They wasted had much way, and measurd many miles.

X

And now faire Phoebus gan decline in haste
His weary wagon to the westerne vale,
Whenas they spide a goodly castle, plaste
Foreby a river in a pleasaunt dale;
Which choosing for that evenings hospitale,
They thether marcht: but when they came in sight,
And from their sweaty coursers did avale,
They found the gates fast barred long ere night,
And every loup fast lockt, as fearing foes despight.

XI

Which when they saw, they weened fowle reproch
Was to them doen, their entraunce to forstall,
Till that the squire gan nigher to approch,
And wind his horne under the castle wall,
That with the noise it shooke, as it would fall.
Eftsoones forth looked from the highest spire
The watch, and lowd unto the knights did call,
To weete what they so rudely did require:
Who gently answered, they entraunce did desire.

XII

'Fly, fly, good knights,' said he, 'fly fast away,
If that your lives ye love, as meete ye should;
Fly fast, and save your selves from neare decay;
Here may ye not have entraunce, though we would:
We would and would againe, if that we could;
But thousand enemies about us rave,
And with long siege us in this castle hould:
Seven yeares this wize they us besieged have,
And many good knights slaine, that have us sought to save.'

XIII

Thus as he spoke, loe! with outragious cry
A thousand villeins rownd about them swarmd
Out of the rockes and caves adjoyning nye:
Vile caitive wretches, ragged, rude, deformd,
All threatning death, all in straunge manner armd;
Some with unweldy clubs, some with long speares,
Some rusty knifes, some staves in fier warmd.
Sterne was their looke, like wild amazed steares,
Staring with hollow eies, and stiffe upstanding heares.

XIV

Fiersly at first those knights they did assayle,
And drove them to recoile: but, when againe
They gave fresh charge, their forces gan to fayle,
Unhable their encounter to sustaine;
For with such puissaunce and impetuous maine
Those champions broke on them, that forst them fly,
Like scattered sheepe, whenas the shepherds swaine
A lyon and a tigre doth espye,
With greedy pace forth rushing from the forest nye.

XV

A while they fled, but soone retournd againe
With greater fury then before was fownd;
And evermore their cruell capitaine
Sought with his raskall routs t' enclose them rownd,
And overronne to tread them to the grownd.
But soone the knights with their brightburning blades
Broke their rude troupes, and orders did confownd,
Hewing and slashing at their idle shades;
For though they bodies seem, yet substaunce from them fades.

XVI

As when a swarme of gnats at eventide
Out of the fennes of Allan doe arise,
Their murmuring small trompetts sownden wide,
Whiles in the aire their clustring army flies,
That as a cloud doth seeme to dim the skies;
Ne man nor beast may rest, or take repast,
For their sharpe wounds and noyous injuries,
Till the fierce northerne wind with blustring blast
Doth blow them quite away, and in the ocean cast.

XVII

Thus when they had that troublous rout disperst,
Unto the castle gate they come againe,
And entraunce crav'd, which was denied erst.
Now when report of that their perlous paine,
And combrous conflict which they did sustaine,
Came to the ladies eare, which there did dwell,
Shee forth issewed with a goodly traine
Of squires and ladies equipaged well,
And entertained them right fairely, as befell.

XVIII

Alma she called was, a virgin bright,
That had not yet felt Cupides wanton rage;
Yet was shee wooed of many a gentle knight,
And many a lord of noble parentage,
That sought with her to lincke in marriage,
For shee was faire, as faire mote ever bee,
And in the flowre now of her freshest age;
Yet full of grace and goodly modestee,
That even heven rejoyced her sweete face to see.

XIX

In robe of lilly white she was arayd,
That from her shoulder to her heele downe raught;
The traine whereof loose far behind her strayd,
Braunched with gold and perle, most richly wrought,
And borne of two faire damsels, which were taught
That service well. Her yellow golden heare
Was trimly woven, and in tresses wrought,
Ne other tire she on her head did weare,
But crowned with a garland of sweete rosiere.

XX

Goodly shee entertaind those noble knights,
And brought them up into her castle hall;
Where gentle court and gracious delight
Shee to them made, with mildnesse virginall,
Shewing her selfe both wise and liberall.
There when they rested had a season dew,
They her besought, of favour speciall,
Of that faire castle to affoord them vew:
Shee graunted, and them leading forth, the same did shew.

XXI

First she them led up to the castle wall,
That was so high as foe might not it clime,
And all so faire and fensible withall;
Not built of bricke, ne yet of stone and lime,
But of thing like to that AEgyptian slime,
Whereof King Nine whilome built Babell towre:
But O great pitty that no lenger time
So goodly workemanship should not endure!
Soone it must turne to earth: no earthly thing is sure.

XXII

The frame thereof seemd partly circulare,
And part triangulare: O worke divine!
Those two the first and last proportions are;
The one imperfect, mortall, foeminine,
Th' other immortall, perfect, masculine:
And twixt them both a quadrate was the base,
Proportioned equally by seven and nine;
Nine was the circle sett in heavens place:
All which compacted made a goodly diapase.

XXIII

Therein two gates were placed seemly well:
The one before, by which all in did pas,
Did th' other far in workmanship excell;
For not of wood, nor of enduring bras,
But of more worthy substance fram'd it was:
Doubly disparted, it did locke and close,
That, when it locked, none might thorough pas,
And when it opened, no man might it close;
Still open to their friendes, and closed to their foes.

XXIV

Of hewen stone the porch was fayrely wrought,
Stone more of valew, and more smooth and fine,
Then jett or marble far from Ireland brought;
Over the which was cast a wandring vine.
Enchaced with a wanton yvie twine.
And over it a fayre portcullis hong,
Which to the gate directly did incline,
With comely compasse and compacture strong,
Nether unseemly short, nor yet exceeding long.

XXV

Within the barbican a porter sate,
Day and night duely keeping watch and ward;
Nor wight nor word mote passe out of the gate,
But in good order, and with dew regard:
Utterers of secrets he from thence debard,
Bablers of folly, and blazers of cryme:
His larumbell might lowd and wyde be hard,
When cause requyrd, but never out of time;
Early and late it rong, at evening and at prime.

XXVI

And rownd about the porch on every syde
Twise sixteene warders satt, all armed bright
In glistring steele, and strongly fortifyde:
Tall yeomen seemed they, and of great might,
And were enraunged ready still for fight.
By them as Alma passed with her guestes,
They did obeysaunce, as beseemed right,
And then againe retourned to their restes:
The porter eke to her did lout with humble gestes.

XXVII

Thence she them brought into a stately hall,
Wherein were many tables fayre dispred
And ready dight with drapets festivall,
Against the viaundes should be ministred
At th' upper end there sate, yclad in red
Downe to the ground, a comely personage,
That in his hand a white rod menaged:
He steward was, hight Diet; rype of age,
And in demeanure sober, and in counsell sage.

XXVIII

And through the hall there walked to and fro
A jolly yeoman, marshall of the same,
Whose name was Appetite: he did bestow
Both guestes and meate, when ever in they came,
And knew them how to order without blame,
As him the steward badd. They both attone
Did dewty to their lady, as became;
Who, passing by, forth ledd her guestes anone
Into the kitchin rowme, ne spard for nicenesse none.

XXIX

It was a vaut ybuilt for great dispence,
With many raunges reard along the wall,
And one great chimney, whose long tonnell thence
The smoke forth threw: and in the midst of all
There placed was a caudron wide and tall,
Upon a mightie fornace, burning whott,
More whott then Aetn', or flaming Mongiball:
For day and night it brent, ne ceased not,
So long as any thing it in the caudron gott.

XXX

But to delay the heat, least by mischaunce
It might breake out, and set the whole on fyre,
There added was by goodly ordinaunce
An huge great payre of bellowes, which did styre
Continually, and cooling breath inspyre.
About the caudron many cookes accoyld,
With hookes and ladles, as need did requyre:
The whyles the viaundes in the vessell boyld,
They did about their businesse sweat, and sorely toyld.

XXXI

The maister cooke was cald Concoction,
A carefull man, and full of comely guyse.
The kitchin clerke, that hight Digestion,
Did order all th' achates in seemely wise,
And set them forth, as well he could devise.
The rest had severall offices assynd:
Some to remove the scum, as it did rise;
Others to beare the same away did mynd;
And others it to use according to his kynd.

XXXII

But all the liquour, which was fowle and waste,
Not good nor serviceable elles for ought,
They in another great rownd vessel plaste,
Till by a conduit pipe it thence were brought:
And all the rest, that noyous was and nought,
By secret wayes, that none might it espy,
Was close convaid, and to the backgate brought,
That cleped was Port Esquiline, whereby
It was avoided quite, and throwne out privily.

XXXIII

Which goodly order and great workmans skill
Whenas those knightes beheld, with rare delight
And gazing wonder they their mindes did fill;
For never had they seene so straunge a sight.
Thence backe againe faire Alma led them right,
And soone into a goodly parlour brought,
That was with royall arras richly dight,
In which was nothing pourtrahed nor wrought,
Not wrought nor pourtrahed, but easie to be thought.

XXXIV

And in the midst thereof upon the floure,
A lovely bevy of faire ladies sate,
Courted of many a jolly paramoure,
The which them did in modest wise amate,
And eachone sought his lady to aggrate:
And eke emongst them litle Cupid playd
His wanton sportes, being retourned late
From his fierce warres, and having from him layd
His cruel bow, wherewith he thousands hath dismayd.

XXXV

Diverse delights they fownd them selves to please;
Some song in sweet consort, some laught for joy,
Some plaid with strawes, some ydly satt at ease;
But other some could not abide to toy,
All pleasaunce was to them griefe and annoy:
This fround, that faund, the third for shame did blush,
Another seemed envious, or coy,
Another in her teeth did gnaw a rush:
But at these straungers presence every one did hush.

XXXVI

Soone as the gracious Alma came in place,
They all attonce out of their seates arose,
And to her homage made, with humble grace:
Whom when the knights beheld, they gan dispose
Themselves to court, and each a damzell chose.
The Prince by chaunce did on a lady light,
That was right faire and fresh as morning rose,
But somwhat sad and solemne eke in sight,
As if some pensive thought constraind her gentle spright.

XXXVII

In a long purple pall, whose skirt with gold
Was fretted all about, she was arayd;
And in her hand a poplar braunch did hold:
To whom the Prince in courteous maner sayd:
'Gentle madame, why beene ye thus dismayd,
And your faire beautie doe with sadnes spill?
Lives any, that you hath thus ill apayd?
Or doen you love, or doen you lack your will?
What ever bee the cause, it sure beseemes you ill.'

XXXVIII

'Fayre sir,' said she, halfe in disdainefull wise,
'How is it, that this word in me ye blame,
And in your selfe doe not the same advise?
Him ill beseemes, anothers fault to name,
That may unwares bee blotted with the same:
Pensive I yeeld I am, and sad in mind,
Through great desire of glory and of fame;
Ne ought I weene are ye therein behynd,
That have twelve moneths sought one, yet no where can her find.'

XXXIX

The Prince was inly moved at her speach,
Well weeting trew what she had rashly told,
Yet with faire semblaunt sought to hyde the breach,
Which chaunge of colour did perforce unfold,
Now seeming flaming whott, now stony cold.
Tho, turning soft aside, he did inquyre
What wight she was, that poplar braunch did hold:
It answered was, her name was Praysdesire,
That by well doing sought to honour to aspyre.

XL

The whyles, the Faery knight did entertayne
Another damsell of that gentle crew,
That was right fayre, and modest of demayne,
But that too oft she chaung'd her native hew:
Straunge was her tyre, and all her garment blew,
Close rownd about her tuckt with many a plight:
Upon her fist the bird, which shonneth vew
And keepes in coverts close from living wight,
Did sitt, as yet ashamd, how rude Pan did her dight.

XLI

So long as Guyon with her commoned,
Unto the grownd she cast her modest eye,
And ever and anone with rosy red
The bashfull blood her snowy cheekes did dye,
That her became, as polisht yvory
Which cunning craftesman hand hath overlayd
With fayre vermilion or pure castory.
Great wonder had the knight, to see the mayd
So straungely passioned, and to her gently said:

XLII

'Fayre damzell, seemeth by your troubled cheare,
That either me too bold ye weene, this wise
You to molest, or other ill to feare
That in the secret of your hart close lyes,
From whence it doth, as cloud from sea, aryse.
If it be I, of pardon I you pray;
But if ought else that I mote not devyse,
I will, if please you it discure, assay
To ease you of that ill, so wisely as I may.'

XLIII

She answerd nought, but more abasht for shame,
Held downe her head, the whiles her lovely face
The flashing blood with blushing did inflame,
And the strong passion mard her modest grace,
That Guyon mervayld at her uncouth cace;
Till Alma him bespake: 'Why wonder yee,
Faire sir, at that which ye so much embrace?
She is the fountaine of your modestee;
You shamefast are, but Shamefastnes it selfe is shee.'

XLIV

Thereat the Elfe did blush in privitee,
And turnd his face away; but she the same
Dissembled faire, and faynd to oversee.
Thus they awhile with court and goodly game
Themselves did solace each one with his dame,
Till that great lady thence away them sought,
To vew her castles other wondrous frame.
Up to a stately turret she them brought,
Ascending by ten steps of alablaster wrought.

XLV

That turrets frame most admirable was,
Like highest heaven compassed around,
And lifted high above this earthly masse,
Which it survewd, as hils doen lower ground:
But not on ground mote like to this be found;
Not that, which antique Cadmus whylome built
In Thebes, which Alexander did confound;
Nor that proud towre of Troy, though richly guilt,
From which young Hectors blood by cruell Greekes was spilt.

XLVI

The roofe hereof was arched over head,
And deckt with flowers and herbars daintily:
Two goodly beacons, set in watches stead,
Therein gave light, and flamd continually;
For they of living fire most subtilly
Were made, and set in silver sockets bright,
Cover'd with lids deviz'd of substance sly,
That readily they shut and open might.
O who can tell the prayses of that makers might?

XLVII

Ne can I tell, ne can I stay to tell
This parts great workemanship and wondrous powre,
That all this other worldes worke doth excell,
And likest is unto that heavenly towre,
That God hath built for his owne blessed bowre.
Therein were divers rowmes, and divers stages,
But three the chiefest, and of greatest powre,
In which there dwelt three honorable sages,
The wisest men, I weene, that lived in their ages.

XLVIII

Not he, whom Greece, the nourse of all good arts,
By Phoebus doome, the wisest thought alive,
Might be compar'd to these by many parts:
Nor that sage Pylian syre, which did survive
Three ages, such as mortall men contrive,
By whose advise old Priams cittie fell,
With these in praise of pollicies mote strive.
These three in these three rowmes did sondry dwell,
And counselled faire Alma, how to governe well.

XLIX

The first of them could things to come foresee;
The next could of thinges present best advize;
The third things past could keepe in memoree:
So that no time nor reason could arize,
But that the same could one of these comprize.
Forthy the first did in the forepart sit,
That nought mote hinder his quicke prejudize:
He had a sharpe foresight, and working wit,
That never idle was, ne once would rest a whit.

L

His chamber was dispainted all with in
With sondry colours, in the which were writ
Infinite shapes of thinges dispersed thin;
Some such as in the world were never yit,
Ne can devized be of mortall wit;
Some daily seene, and knowen by their names,
Such as in idle fantasies doe flit:
Infernall hags, centaurs, feendes, hippodames,
Apes, lyons, aegles, owles, fooles, lovers, children, dames.

LI

And all the chamber filled was with flyes,
Which buzzed all about, and made such sound,
That they encombred all mens eares and eyes,
Like many swarmes of bees assembled round,
After their hives with honny do abound:
All those were idle thoughtes and fantasies,
Devices, dreames, opinions unsound,
Shewes, visions, sooth-sayes, and prophesies;
And all that fained is, as leasings, tales, and lies.

LII

Emongst them all sate he which wonned there,
That hight Phantastes by his nature trew,
A man of yeares yet fresh, as mote appere,
Of swarth complexion, and of crabbed hew,
That him full of melancholy did shew;
Bent hollow beetle browes, sharpe staring eyes,
That mad or foolish seemd: one by his vew
Mote deeme him borne with ill-disposed skyes,
When oblique Saturne sate in the house of agonyes.

LIII

Whom Alma having shewed to her guestes,
Thence brought them to the second rowme, whose wals
Were painted faire with memorable gestes
Of famous wisards, and with picturals
Of magistrates, of courts, of tribunals,
Of commen wealthes, of states, of pollicy,
Of lawes, of judgementes, and of decretals;
All artes, all science, all philosophy,
And all that in the world was ay thought wittily.

LIV

Of those that rowme was full, and them among
There sate a man of ripe and perfect age,
Who did them meditate all his life long,
That through continuall practise and usage,
He now was growne right wise and wondrous sage.
Great plesure had those straunger knightes, to see
His goodly reason and grave personage,
That his disciples both desyrd to bee;
But Alma thence them led to th' hindmost rowme of three.

LV

That chamber seemed ruinous and old,
And therefore was removed far behind,
Yet were the wals, that did the same uphold,
Right firme and strong, though somwhat they declind;
And therein sat an old old man, halfe blind,
And all decrepit in his feeble corse,
Yet lively vigour rested in his mind,
And recompenst him with a better scorse:
Weake body well is chang'd for minds redoubled forse.

LVI

This man of infinite remembraunce was,
And things foregone through many ages held,
Which he recorded still, as they did pas,
Ne suffred them to perish through long eld,
As all things els, the which this world doth weld,
But laid them up in his immortall scrine,
Where they for ever incorrupted dweld:
The warres he well remembred of King Nine,
Of old Assaracus, and Inachus divine.

LVII

The yeares of Nestor nothing were to his,
Ne yet Mathusalem, though longest liv'd;
For he remembred both their infancis:
Ne wonder then, if that he were depriv'd
Of native strength now that he them surviv'd.
His chamber all was hangd about with rolls,
And old records from auncient times derivd,
Some made in books, some in long parchment scrolls,
That were all worm-eaten and full of canker holes.

LVIII

Amidst them all be in a chaire was sett,
Tossing and turning them withouten end;
But for he was unhable them to fett,
A litle boy did on him still attend,
To reach, when ever he for ought did send;
And oft when thinges were lost, or laid amis,
That boy them sought and unto him did lend:
Therefore he Anamnestes cleped is,
And that old man Eumnestes, by their propertis.

LIX

The knightes, there entring, did him reverence dew,
And wondred at his endlesse exercise.
Then as they gan his library to vew,
And antique regesters for to avise,
There chaunced to the Princes hand to rize
An auncient booke, hight Briton Moniments,
That of this lands first conquest did devize,
And old division into regiments,
Till it reduced was to one mans governements.

LX

Sir Guyon chaunst eke on another booke,
That hight Antiquitee of Faery Lond:
In which whenas he greedily did looke,
Th' ofspring of Elves and Faryes there he fond,
As it delivered was from hond to hond.
Whereat they, burning both with fervent fire
Their countreys auncestry to understond,
Crav'd leave of Alma and that aged sire,
To read those bookes; who gladly graunted their desire.





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