Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 3, CANTOS 4-6, by EDMUND SPENSER



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THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 3, CANTOS 4-6, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Bold marinell of britomart
Last Line: And from prince arthure fled with wings of idle feare.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clout, Colin


CANTO IV

Bold Marinell of Britomart
Is throwne on the Rich Strond:
Faire Florimell of Arthure is
Long followed, but not fond.

I

WHERE is the antique glory now become,
That whylome wont in wemen to appeare?
Where be the brave atchievements doen by some?
Where be the batteilles, where the shield and speare,
And all the conquests which them high did reare,
That matter made for famous poets verse,
And boastfull men so oft abasht to heare?
Beene they all dead, and laide in dolefull herse?
Or doen they onely sleepe, and shall againe reverse?

II

If they be dead, then woe is me therefore:
But if they sleepe, O let them soone awake!
For all too long I burne with envy sore,
To heare the warlike feates which Homere spake
Of bold Penthesilee, which made a lake
Of Greekish blood so ofte in Trojan plaine;
But when I reade, how stout Debora strake
Proud Sisera, and how Camill' hath slaine
The huge Orsilochus, I swell with great disdaine.

III

Yet these, and all that els had puissaunce,
Cannot with noble Britomart compare,
Aswell for glorie of great valiaunce,
As for pure chastitie and vertue rare,
That all her goodly deedes do well declare.
Well worthie stock, from which the branches sprong
That in late yeares so faire a blossome bare
As thee, O Queene, the matter of my song,
Whose lignage from this lady I derive along.

IV

Who when, through speaches with the Redcrosse Knight,
She learned had th' estate of Arthegall,
And in each point her selfe informd aright,
A frendly league of love perpetuall
She with him bound, and conge tooke withall.
Then he forth on his journey did proceede,
To seeke adventures which mote him befall,
And win him worship through his warlike deed,
Which alwaies of his paines he made the chiefest meed.

V

But Britomart kept on her former course,
Ne ever dofte her armes, but all the way
Grew pensive through that amarous discourse,
By which the Redcrosse Knight did earst display
Her lovers shape and chevalrous aray:
A thousand thoughts she fashiond in her mind,
And in her feigning fancie did pourtray
Him such as fittest she for love could find,
Wise, warlike, personable, courteous, and kind.

VI

With such selfe-pleasing thoughts her wound she fedd,
And thought so to beguile her grievous smart;
But so her smart was much more grievous bredd,
And the deepe wound more deep engord her hart,
That nought but death her dolour mote depart.
So forth she rode without repose or rest,
Searching all lands and each remotest part,
Following the guydaunce of her blinded guest,
Till that to the seacoast at length she her addrest.

VII

There she alighted from her light-foot beast,
And sitting downe upon the rocky shore,
Badd her old squyre unlace her lofty creast:
Tho, having vewd a while the surges hore,
That gainst the craggy clifts did loudly rore,
And in their raging surquedry disdaynd
That the fast earth affronted them so sore,
And their devouring covetize restraynd,
Thereat she sighed deepe, and after thus complaynd.

VIII

'Huge sea of sorrow and tempestuous griefe,
Wherein my feeble barke is tossed long,
Far from the hoped haven of reliefe,
Why doe thy cruel billowes beat so strong,
And thy moyst mountaynes each on others throng,
Threatning to swallow up my fearefull lyfe?
O! doe thy cruell wrath and spightfull wrong
At length allay, and stint thy stormy stryfe,
Which in these troubled bowels raignes and rageth ryfe.

IX

'For els my feeble vessell, crazd and crackt
Through thy strong buffets and outrageous blowes,
Cannot endure, but needes it must be wrackt
On the rough rocks, or on the sandy shallowes,
The whiles that Love it steres, and Fortune rowes:
Love, my lewd pilott, hath a restlesse minde,
And Fortune, boteswaine, no assuraunce knowes,
But saile withouten starres gainst tyde and winde:
How can they other doe, sith both are bold and blinde?

X

'Thou god of windes, that raignest in the seas,
That raignest also in the continent,
At last blow up some gentle gale of ease,
The which may bring my ship, ere it be rent,
Unto the gladsome port of her intent:
Then, when I shall my selfe in safety see,
A table, for eternall moniment
Of thy great grace, and my great jeopardee,
Great Neptune, I avow to hallow unto thee.'

XI

Then sighing softly sore, and inly deepe,
She shut up all her plaint in privy griefe;
For her great courage would not let her weepe;
Till that old Glauce gan with sharpe repriefe
Her to restraine, and give her good reliefe,
Through hope of those which Merlin had her told
Should of her name and nation be chiefe,
And fetch their being from the sacred mould
Of her immortall womb, to be in heaven enrold.

XII

Thus as she her recomforted, she spyde
Where far away one, all in armour bright,
With hasty gallop towards her did ryde:
Her dolour soone she ceast, and on her dight
Her helmet, to her courser mounting light:
Her former sorrow into suddein wrath,
Both coosen passions of distroubled spright,
Converting, forth she beates the dusty path:
Love and despight attonce her courage kindled hath.

XIII

As when a foggy mist hath overcast
The face of heven, and the cleare ayre engroste,
The world in darkenes dwels, till that at last
The watry southwinde, from the seabord coste
Upblowing, doth disperse the vapour lo'ste,
And poures it selfe forth in a stormy showre;
So the fayre Britomart, having disclo'ste
Her clowdy care into a wrathfull stowre,
The mist of griefe dissolv'd did into vengeance powre.

XIV

Eftsoones her goodly shield addressing fayre,
That mortall speare she in her hand did take,
And unto battaill did her selfe prepayre.
The knight, approching, sternely her bespake:
'Sir knight, that doest thy voyage rashly make
By this forbidden way in my despight,
Ne doest by others death ensample take,
I read thee soone retyre, whiles thou hast might,
Least afterwards it be too late to take thy flight.'

XV

Ythrild with deepe disdaine of his proud threat,
She shortly thus: 'Fly they, that need to fly;
Wordes fearen babes: I meane not thee entreat
To passe; but maugre thee will passe or dy:'
Ne lenger stayd for th' other to reply,
But with sharpe speare the rest made dearly knowne.
Strongly the straunge knight ran, and sturdily
Strooke her full on the brest, that made her downe
Decline her head, and touch her crouper with her crown.

XVI

But she againe him in the shield did smite
With so fierce furie and great puissaunce,
That through his threesquare scuchin percing quite,
And through his mayled hauberque, by mischaunce
The wicked steele through his left side did glaunce:
Him so transfixed she before her bore
Beyond his croupe, the length of all her launce,
Till, sadly soucing on the sandy shore,
He tombled on an heape, and wallowd in his gore.

XVII

Like as the sacred oxe, that carelesse stands
With gilden hornes and flowry girlonds crownd,
Proud of his dying honor and deare bandes,
Whiles th' altars fume with frankincense arownd,
All suddeinly with mortall stroke astownd,
Doth groveling fall, and with his streaming gore
Distaines the pillours and the holy grownd,
And the faire flowres that decked him afore:
So fell proud Marinell upon the pretious shore.

XVIII

The martiall mayd stayd not him to lament,
But forward rode, and kept her ready way
Along the strond; which as she over-went,
She saw bestrowed all with rich aray
Of pearles and pretious stones of great assay,
And all the gravell mixt with golden owre;
Whereat she wondred much, but would not stay
For gold, or perles, or pretious stones an howre,
But them despised all, for all was in her powre.

XIX

Whiles thus he lay in deadly stonishment,
Tydings hereof came to his mothers eare:
His mother was the blacke-browd Cymoent,
The daughter of great Nereus, which did beare
This warlike sonne unto an earthly peare,
The famous Dumarin; who on a day
Finding the nymph a sleepe in secret wheare,
As he by chaunce did wander that same way,
Was taken with her love, and by her closely lay.

XX

There he this knight of her begot, whom borne
She, of his father, Marinell did name,
And in a rocky cave, as wight forlorne,
Long time she fostred up, till he became
A mighty man at armes, and mickle fame
Did get through great adventures by him donne:
For never man he suffred by that same
Rich Strond to travell, whereas he did wonne,
But that he must do battail with the seanymphes sonne.

XXI

An hundred knights of honorable name
He had subdew'd, and them his vassals made,
That through all Farie Lond his noble fame
Now blazed was, and feare did all invade,
That none durst passen through that perilous glade.
And to advaunce his name and glory more,
Her sea-god syre she dearely did perswade,
T' endow her sonne with threasure and rich store,
Bove all the sonnes that were of earthly wombes ybore.

XXII

The god did graunt his daughters deare demaund,
To doen his nephew in all riches flow:
Eftsoones his heaped waves he did commaund
Out of their hollow bosome forth to throw
All the huge threasure, which the sea below
Had in his greedy gulfe devoured deepe,
And him enriched through the overthrow
And wreckes of many wretches, which did weepe
And often wayle their wealth, which he from them did keepe.

XXIII

Shortly upon that shore there heaped was
Exceeding riches and all pretious things,
The spoyle of all the world, that it did pas
The wealth of th' East, and pompe of Persian kings:
Gold, amber, yvorie, perles, owches, rings,
And all that els was pretious and deare,
The sea unto him voluntary brings,
That shortly he a great lord did appeare,
As was in all the lond of Faery, or else wheare.

XXIV

Thereto he was a doughty dreaded knight,
Tryde often to the scath of many deare,
That none in equall armes him matchen might:
The which his mother seeing, gan to feare
Least his too haughtie hardines might reare
Some hard mishap, in hazard of his life:
Forthy she oft him counseld to forbeare
The bloody batteill, and to stirre up strife,
But after all his warre to rest his wearie knife.

XXV

And, for his more assuraunce, she inquir'd
One day of Proteus by his mighty spell
(For Proteus was with prophecy inspir'd)
Her deare sonnes destiny to her to tell,
And the sad end of her sweet Marinell.
Who, through foresight of his eternall skill,
Bad her from womankind to keepe him well:
For of a woman he should have much ill;
A virgin straunge and stout him should dismay or kill.

XXVI

Forthy she gave him warning every day,
The love of women not to entertaine;
A lesson too too hard for living clay,
From love in course of nature to refraine:
Yet he his mothers lore did well retaine,
And ever from fayre ladies love did fly;
Yet many ladies fayre did oft complaine,
That they for love of him would algates dy:
Dy who so list for him, he was loves enimy.

XXVII

But ah! who can deceive his destiny,
Or weene by warning to avoyd his fate?
That, when he sleepes in most security
And safest seemes, him soonest doth amate,
And findeth dew effect or soone or late.
So feeble is the powre of fleshly arme!
His mother bad him wemens love to hate,
For she of womans force did feare no harme;
So weening to have arm'd him, she did quite disarme.

XXVIII

This was that woman, this that deadly wownd,
That Proteus prophecide should him dismay,
The which his mother vainely did expownd,
To be hart-wownding love, which should assay
To bring her sonne unto his last decay.
So ticle be the termes of mortall state
And full of subtile sophismes, which doe play
With double sences, and with false debate,
T' approve the unknowen purpose of eternall fate.

XXIX

Too trew the famous Marinell it fownd,
Who, through late triall, on that wealthy strond
Inglorious now lies in sencelesse swownd,
Through heavy stroke of Britomartis hond.
Which when his mother deare did understond,
And heavy tidings heard, whereas she playd
Amongst her watry sisters by a pond,
Gathering sweete daffadillyes, to have made
Gay girlonds, from the sun their forheads fayr to shade,

XXX

Eftesoones both flowres and girlonds far away
Shee flong, and her faire deawy locks yrent;
To sorrow huge she turnd her former play,
And gamesome merth to grievous dreriment:
Shee threw her selfe downe on the continent,
Ne word did speake, but lay as in a swowne,
Whiles al her sisters did for her lament,
With yelling outcries, and with shrieking sowne;
And every one did teare her girlond from her crowne.

XXXI

Soone as shee up out of her deadly fitt
Arose, shee bad her charett to be brought,
And all her sisters, that with her did sitt,
Bad eke attonce their charetts to be sought:
Tho, full of bitter griefe and pensife thought,
She to her wagon clombe; clombe all the rest,
And forth together went, with sorow fraught.
The waves, obedient to theyr beheast,
Them yielded ready passage, and their rage surceast.

XXXII

Great Neptune stoode amazed at their sight,
Whiles on his broad rownd backe they softly slid,
And eke him selfe mournd at their mournfull plight,
Yet wist not what their wailing ment, yet did,
For great compassion of their sorow, bid
His mighty waters to them buxome bee:
Eftesoones the roaring billowes still abid,
And all the griesly monsters of the see
Stood gaping at their gate, and wondred them to see.

XXXIII

A teme of dolphins, raunged in aray,
Drew the smooth charett of sad Cymoent;
They were all taught by Triton to obay
To the long raynes at her commaundement:
As swifte as swallowes on the waves they went,
That their brode flaggy finnes no fome did reare,
Ne bubling rowndell they behinde them sent;
The rest of other fishes drawen weare,
Which with their finny oars the swelling sea did sheare.

XXXIV

Soone as they bene arriv'd upon the brim
Of the Rich Strond, their charets they forlore,
And let their temed fishes softly swim
Along the margent of the fomy shore,
Least they their finnes should bruze, and surbate sore
Their tender feete upon the stony grownd:
And comming to the place, where all in gore
And cruddy blood enwallowed they fownd
The lucklesse Marinell, lying in deadly swownd;

XXXV

His mother swowned thrise, and the third time
Could scarce recovered bee out of her paine;
Had she not beene devoide of mortall slime,
Shee should not then have bene relyv'd againe;
But soone as life recovered had the raine,
Shee made so piteous mone and deare wayment,
That the hard rocks could scarse from tears refraine,
And all her sister nymphes with one consent
Supplide her sobbing breaches with sad complement.

XXXVI

'Deare image of my selfe,' she sayd, 'that is,
The wretched sonne of wretched mother borne,
Is this thine high advauncement? O! is this
Th' immortall name, with which thee yet unborne
Thy gransire Nereus promist to adorne?
Now lyest thou of life and honor refte,
Now lyest thou a lumpe of earth forlorne,
Ne of thy late life memory is lefte,
Ne can thy irrevocable desteny bee wefte?

XXXVII

'Fond Proteus, father of false prophecis!
And they more fond, that credit to thee give!
Not this the worke of womans hand ywis,
That so deepe wound through these deare members drive.
I feared love: but they that love doe live,
But they that dye doe nether love nor hate.
Nath'lesse to thee thy folly I forgive,
and to my selfe and to accursed fate
The guilt I doe ascribe: deare wisedom bought too late.

XXXVIII

'O what availes it of immortall seed
To beene ybredd and never borne to dye?
Farre better I it deeme to die with speed,
Then waste in woe and waylfull miserye.
Who dyes the utmost dolor doth abye,
But who that lives is lefte to waile his losse:
So life is losse, and death felicity:
Sad life worse then glad death: and greater crosse
To see frends grave, then dead the grave self to engrosse.

XXXIX

'But if the heavens did his dayes envie,
And my short blis maligne, yet mote they well
Thus much afford me, ere that he did die,
That the dim eies of my deare Marinell
I mote have closed, and him bed farewell,
Sith other offices for mother meet
They would not graunt --
Yett, maulgre the, farewell, my sweetest sweet!
Farewell, my sweetest sonne, sith we no more shall meet!'

XL

Thus when they all had sorowed their fill,
They softly gan to search his griesly wownd:
And that they might him handle more at will,
They him disarmd, and spredding on the grownd
Their watchet mantles frindgd with silver rownd,
They softly wipt away the gelly blood
From th' orifice; which having well up-bownd,
They pourd in soveraine balme and nectar good,
Good both for erthly med'cine and for hevenly food.

XLI

Tho, when the lilly handed Liagore
(This Liagore whilome had learned skill
In leaches craft, by great Appolloes lore,
Sith her whilome upon high Pindus hill
He loved, and at last her wombe did fill
With hevenly seed, whereof wise Paeon sprong)
Did feele his pulse, shee knew there staied still
Some litle life his feeble sprites emong;
Which to his mother told, despeyre she from her flong.

XLII

Tho up him taking in their tender hands,
They easely unto her charett beare:
Her teme at her commaundement quiet stands,
Whiles they the corse into her wagon reare,
And strowe with flowres the lamentable beare:
Then all the rest into their coches clim,
And through the brackish waves their passage shear;
Upon great Neptunes necke they softly swim,
And to her watry chamber swiftly carry him.

XLIII

Deepe in the bottome of the sea, her bowre
Is built of hollow billowes heaped hye,
Like to thicke clouds that threat a stormy showre,
And vauted all within, like to the skye,
In which the gods doe dwell eternally:
There they him laide in easy couch well dight,
And sent in haste for Tryphon, to apply
Salves to his wounds, and medicines of might:
For Tryphon of sea gods the soveraine leach is hight.

XLIV

The whiles the nymphes sitt all about him rownd,
Lamenting his mishap and heavy plight;
And ofte his mother, vewing his wide wownd,
Cursed the hand that did so deadly smight
Her dearest sonne, her dearest harts delight.
But none of all those curses overtooke
The warlike maide, th' ensample of that might;
But fairely well shee thryvd, and well did brooke
Her noble deeds, ne her right course for ought forsooke.

XLV

Yet did false Archimage her still pursew,
To bring to passe his mischievous intent,
Now that he had her singled from the crew
Of courteous knights, the Prince and Fary gent,
Whom late in chace of beauty excellent
Shee lefte, pursewing that same foster strong;
Of whose fowle outrage they impatient,
And full of firy zele, him followed long,
To reskew her from shame, and to revenge her wrong.

XLVI

Through thick and thin, through mountains and through playns,
Those two gret champions did attonce pursew
The fearefull damzell, with incessant payns:
Who from them fled, as light-foot hare from vew
Of hunter swifte and sent of howndes trew.
At last they came unto a double way,
Where, doubtfull which to take, her to reskew,
Themselves they did dispart, each to assay
Whether more happy were to win so goodly pray.

XLVII

But Timias, the Princes gentle squyre,
That ladies love unto his lord forlent,
And with proud envy and indignant yre
After that wicked foster fiercely went.
So beene they three three sondry wayes ybent:
But fayrest fortune to the Prince befell;
Whose chaunce it was, that soone he did repent,
To take that way in which that damozell
Was fledd afore, affraid of him as feend of hell.

XLVIII

At last of her far of he gained vew:
Then gan he freshly pricke his fomy steed,
And ever as he nigher to her drew,
So evermore he did increase his speed,
And of each turning still kept wary heed:
Alowd to her he oftentimes did call,
To doe away vaine doubt and needlesse dreed:
Full myld to her he spake, and oft let fall
Many meeke wordes, to stay and comfort her withall.

XLIX

But nothing might relent her hasty flight;
So deepe the deadly feare of that foule swaine
Was earst impressed in her gentle spright:
Like as a fearefull dove, which through the raine
Of the wide ayre her way does cut amaine,
Having farre off espyde a tassell gent,
Which after her his nimble winges doth straine,
Doubleth her hast for feare to bee forhent,
And with her pineons cleaves the liquid firmament.

L

With no lesse hast, and eke with no lesse dreed,
That fearefull ladie fledd from him that ment
To her no evill thought nor evill deed;
Yet former feare of being fowly shent
Carried her forward with her first intent:
And though, oft looking backward, well she vewde
Her selfe freed from that foster insolent,
And that it was a knight which now her sewde,
Yet she no lesse the knight feard then that villein rude.

LI

His uncouth shield and straunge armes her dismayd,
Whose like in Faery Lond were seldom seene,
That fast she from him fledd, no lesse afrayd
Then of wilde beastes if she had chased beene:
Yet he her followd still with corage keene,
So long that now the golden Hesperus
Was mounted high in top of heaven sheene,
And warnd his other brethren joyeous
To light their blessed lamps in Joves eternall hous.

LII

All suddeinly dim wox the dampish ayre,
And griesly shadowes covered heaven bright,
That now with thousand starres was decked fayre;
Which when the Prince beheld, a lothfull sight,
And that perforce, for want of lenger light,
He mote surceasse his suit, and lose the hope
Of his long labour, he gan fowly wyte
His wicked fortune, that had turnd aslope,
And cursed Night, that reft from him so goodly scope.

LIII

Tho, when her wayes he could no more descry,
But to and fro at disaventure strayd,
Like as a ship, whose lodestar suddeinly
Covered with cloudes her pilott hath dismayd,
His wearisome pursuit perforce he stayd,
And from his loftie steed dismounting low,
Did let him forage. Downe himselfe he layd
Upon the grassy ground, to sleepe a throw;
The cold earth was his couch, the hard steele his pillow.

LIV

But gentle Sleepe envyde him any rest;
In stead thereof sad sorow and disdaine
Of his hard hap did vexe his noble brest,
And thousand fancies bett his ydle brayne
With their light wings, the sights of semblants vaine;
Oft did he wish that lady faire mote bee
His Faery Queene, for whom he did complaine;
Or that his Faery Queene were such as shee;
And ever hasty Night he blamed bitterlie.

LV

'Night, thou foule mother of annoyaunce sad,
Sister of heavie Death, and nourse of Woe,
Which wast begot in heaven, but for thy bad
And brutish shape thrust downe to hell below,
Where by the grim floud of Cocytus slow
Thy dwelling is, in Herebus black hous,
(Black Herebus, thy husband, is the foe
Of all the gods) where thou ungratious
Halfe of thy dayes doest lead in horrour hideous:

LVI

'What had th' Eternall Maker need of thee,
The world in his continuall course to keepe,
That doest all thinges deface, ne lettest see
The beautie of his worke? Indeed, in sleepe
The slouthfull body that doth love to steep
His lustlesse limbes, and drowne his baser mind,
Doth praise thee oft, and oft from Stygian deepe
Calles thee, his goddesse in his errour blind,
And great Dame Natures handmaide chearing every kind.

LVII

'But well I wote, that to an heavy hart
Thou art the roote and nourse of bitter cares,
Breeder of new, renewer of old smarts:
In stead of rest thou lendest rayling teares,
In stead of sleepe thou sendest troublous feares
And dreadfull visions, in the which alive
The dreary image of sad death appeares:
So from the wearie spirit thou doest drive
Desired rest, and men of happinesse deprive.

LVIII

'Under thy mantle black there hidden lye
Light-shonning thefte, and traiterous intent,
Abhorred bloodshed, and vile felony,
Shamefull deceipt, and daunger imminent,
Fowle horror, and eke hellish dreriment:
All these, I wote, in thy protection bee,
And light doe shonne, for feare of being shent:
For light ylike is loth'd of them and thee,
And all that lewdnesse love doe hate the light to see.

LIX

'For Day discovers all dishonest wayes,
And sheweth each thing as it is in deed:
The prayses of High God he faire displayes,
And His large bountie rightly doth areed.
Dayes dearest children be the blessed seed
Which Darknesse shall subdue and heaven win:
Truth is his daughter; he her first did breed,
Most sacred virgin, without spot of sinne.
Our life is day, but death with darknesse doth begin.

LX

'O when will Day then turne to me againe,
And bring with him his long expected light?
O Titan, hast to reare thy joyous waine:
Speed thee to spred abroad thy beames bright,
And chace away this too long lingring Night;
Chace her away, from whence she came, to hell:
She, she it is, that hath me done despight:
There let her with the damned spirits dwell,
And yield her rowme to Day, that can it governe well.'

LXI

Thus did the Prince that wearie night outweare
In restlesse anguish and unquiet paine;
And earely, ere the Morrow did upreare
His deawy head out of the ocean maine,
He up arose, as halfe in great disdaine,
And clombe unto his steed. So forth he went,
With heavy looke and lumpish pace, that plaine
In him bewraid great grudge and maltalent:
His steed eke seemd t' apply his steps to his intent.

CANTO V

Prince Arthur heares of Florimell:
Three fosters Timias wound;
Belphebe findes him almost dead,
And reareth out of sownd.

I

WONDER it is to see in diverse mindes
How diversly Love doth his pageaunts play,
And shewes his powre in variable kindes:
The baser wit, whose ydle thoughts alway
Are wont to cleave unto the lowly clay,
It stirreth up to sensuall desire,
And in lewd slouth to wast his carelesse day:
But in brave sprite it kindles goodly fire,
That to all high desert and honour doth aspire.

II

Ne suffereth it uncomely idlenesse
In his free thought to build her sluggish nest;
Ne suffereth it thought of ungentlenesse
Ever to creepe into his noble brest;
But to the highest and the worthiest
Lifteth it up, that els would lowly fall:
It lettes not fall, it lettes it not to rest:
It lettes not scarse this Prince to breath at all,
But to his first poursuit him forward still doth call.

III

Who long time wandred through the forest wyde,
To finde some issue thence, till that at last
He met a dwarfe, that seemed terrifyde
With some late perill, which he hardly past,
Or other accident which him aghast;
Of whom he asked, whence he lately came,
And whether now he traveiled so fast:
For sore he swat, and ronning through that same
Thicke forest, was bescracht, and both his feet nigh lame.

IV

Panting for breath, and almost out of hart,
The dwarfe him answerd: 'Sir, ill mote I stay
To tell the same. I lately did depart
From Faery court, where I have many a day
Served a gentle lady of great sway
And high accompt through out all Elfin Land,
Who lately left the same, and tooke this way:
Her now I seeke, and if ye understand
Which way she fared hath, good sir, tell out of hand.'

V

'What mister wight,' saide he, 'and how arayd?'
'Royally clad,' quoth he, 'in cloth of gold,
As meetest may beseeme a noble mayd;
Her faire lockes in rich circlet be enrold,
A fayrer wight did never sunne behold;
And on a palfrey rydes more white then snow,
Yet she her selfe is whiter manifold:
The surest signe, whereby ye may her know,
Is, that she is the fairest wight alive, I trow.'

VI

'Now certes, swaine,' saide he, 'such one, I weene,
Fast flying through this forest from her fo,
A foule ill favoured foster, I have seene;
Her selfe, well as I might, I reskewd tho,
But could not stay, so fast she did foregoe,
Carried away with wings of speedy feare.'
'Ah, dearest God!' quoth he, 'that is great woe,
And wondrous ruth to all that shall it heare.
But can ye read, sir, how I may her finde, or where?'

VII

'Perdy, me lever were to weeten that,'
Saide he, 'then ransome of the richest knight,
Or all the good that ever yet I gat:
But froward Fortune, and too forward Night,
Such happinesse did, maulgre, to me spight,
And fro me reft both life and light attone.
But, dwarfe, aread what is that lady bright,
That through this forrest wandreth thus alone;
For of her errour straunge I have great ruth and mone.'

VIII

'That ladie is,' quoth he, 'where so she bee,
The bountiest virgin and most debonaire
That ever living eye, I weene, did see;
Lives none this day that may with her com pare
In stedfast chastitie and vertue rare,
The goodly ornaments of beautie bright;
And is ycleped Florimell the Fayre,
Faire Florimell, belov'd of many a knight,
Yet she loves none but one, that Marinell is hight.

IX

'A sea-nymphes sonne, that Marinell is hight,
Of my deare dame is loved dearely well;
In other none, but him, she sets delight,
All her delight is set on Marinell;
But he sets nought at all by Florimell:
For ladies love his mother long ygoe
Did him, they say, forwarne through sacred spell.
But fame now flies, that of a forreine foe
He is yslaine, which is the ground of all our woe.

X

'Five daies there be since he (they say) was slaine,
And fowre, since Florimell the court forwent,
And vowed never to returne againe,
Till him alive or dead she did invent.
Therefore, faire sir, for love of knighthood gent
And honour of trew ladies, if ye may
By your good counsell, or bold hardiment,
Or succour her, or me direct the way,
Do one or other good, I you most humbly pray.

XI

'So may ye gaine to you full great renowme
Of all good ladies through the world so wide,
And haply in her hart finde highest rowme,
Of whom ye seeke to be most magnifide:
At least eternall meede shall you abide.'
To whom the Prince: 'Dwarfe, comfort to thee take;
For till thou tidings learne, what her betide,
I here avow thee never to forsake.
Ill weares he armes, that nill them use for ladies sake.'

XII

So with the dwarfe he backe retourn'd againe,
To seeke his lady, where he mote her finde;
But by the way he greatly gan complaine
The want of his good squire, late left behinde,
For whom he wondrous pensive grew in minde,
For doubt of daunger, which mote him betide;
For him he loved above all mankinde,
Having him trew and faithfull ever tride,
And bold, as ever squyre that waited by knights side.

XIII

Who all this while full hardly was assayd
Of deadly daunger, which to him betidd;
For whiles his lord pursewd that noble mayd,
After that foster fowle he fiercely ridd,
To bene avenged of the shame he did
To that faire damzell. Him he chaced long
Through the thicke woods, wherein he would have hid
His shamefull head from his avengement strong,
And oft him threatned death for his outrageous wrong.

XIV

Nathlesse the villein sped himselfe so well,
Whether through swiftnesse of his speedie beast,
Or knowledge of those woods, where he did dwell,
That shortly he from daunger was releast,
And out of sight escaped at the least;
Yet not escaped from the dew reward
Of his bad deedes, which daily he increast,
Ne ceased not, till him oppressed hard
The heavie plague that for such leachours is prepard.

XV

For soone as he was vanisht out of sight,
His coward courage gan emboldned bee,
And cast t' avenge him of that fowle despight,
Which he had borne of his bold enimee.
Tho to his brethren came; for they were three
Ungratious children of one gracelesse syre;
And unto them complayned how that he
Had used beene of that foolehardie squyre:
So them with bitter words he stird to bloodie yre.

XVI

Forthwith themselves with their sad instruments
Of spoyle and murder they gan arme bylive,
And with him foorth into the forrest went,
To wreake the wrath, which he did earst revive
In their sterne brests, on him which late did drive
Their brother to reproch and shamefull flight:
For they had vow'd, that never he alive
Out of that forest should escape their might;
Vile rancour their rude harts had fild with such despight.

XVII

Within that wood there was a covert glade,
Foreby a narrow foord, to them well knowne,
Through which it was uneath for wight to wade,
And now by fortune it was overflowne:
By that same way they knew that squyre unknowne
Mote algates passe; forthy themselves they set
There in await, with thicke woods over growne,
And all the while their malice they did whet
With cruell threats, his passage through the ford to let.

XVIII

It fortuned, as they devized had,
The gentle squyre came ryding that same way,
Unweeting of their wile and treason bad,
And through the ford to passen did assay;
But that fierce foster, which late fled away,
Stoutly foorth stepping on the further shore,
Him boldly bad his passage there to stay,
Till he had made amends, and full restore
For all the damage which he had him doen afore.

XIX

With that, at him a quiv'ring dart he threw,
With so fell force and villeinous despite,
That through his haberjeon the forkehead flew,
And through the linked mayles empierced quite,
But had no powre in his soft flesh to bite:
That stroke the hardy squire did sore displease,
But more that him he could not come to smite;
For by no meanes the high banke he could sease,
But labour'd long in that deepe ford with vaine disease.

XX

And still the foster with his long borespeare
Him kept from landing at his wished will.
Anone one sent out of the thicket neare
A cruell shaft, headed with deadly ill,
And fethered with an unlucky quill:
The wicked steele stayd not, till it did light
In his left thigh, and deepely did it thrill:
Exceeding griefe that wound in him empight,
But more that with his foes he could not come to fight.

XXI

At last, through wrath and vengeaunce making way,
He on the bancke arryvd with mickle payne,
Where the third brother him did sore assay,
And drove at him with all his might and mayne
A forest bill, which both his hands did strayne;
But warily he did avoide the blow,
And with his speare requited him agayne,
That both his sides were thrilled with the throw,
And a large streame of blood out of the wound did flow.

XXII

He, tombling downe, with gnashing teeth did bite
The bitter earth, and bad to lett him in
Into the balefull house of endlesse night,
Where wicked ghosts doe waile their former sin.
Tho gan the battaile freshly to begin;
For nathemore for that spectacle bad
Did th' other two their cruell vengeaunce blin,
But both attonce on both sides him bestad,
And load upon him layd, his life for to have had.

XXIII

Tho when that villayn he aviz'd, which late
Affrighted had the fairest Florimell,
Full of fiers fury and indignant hate,
To him he turned, and with rigor fell
Smote him so rudely on the pannikell,
That to the chin he clefte his head in twaine:
Downe on the ground his carkas groveling fell;
His sinfull sowle, with desperate disdaine,
Out of her fleshly ferme fled to the place of paine.

XXIV

That seeing now the only last of three,
Who with that wicked shafte him wounded had,
Trembling with horror, as that did foresee
The fearefull end of his avengement sad,
Through which he follow should his brethren bad,
His bootelesse bow in feeble hand upcaught,
And therewith shott an arrow at the lad;
Which, fayntly fluttring, scarce his helmet raught,
And glauncing fel to ground, but him annoyed naught.

XXV

With that he would have fled into the wood;
But Timias him lightly overhent,
Right as he entring was into the flood,
And strooke at him with force so violent,
That headlesse him into the foord he sent;
The carcas with the streame was carried downe,
But th' head fell backeward on the continent.
So mischief fel upon the meaners crowne;
They three be dead with shame, the squire lives with renowne.

XXVI

He lives, but takes small joy of his renowne;
For of that cruell wound he bled so sore,
That from his steed he fell in deadly swowne;
Yet still the blood forth gusht in so great store,
That he lay wallowd all in his owne gore.
Now God thee keepe, thou gentlest squire alive,
Els shall thy loving lord thee see no more,
But both of comfort him thou shalt deprive,
And eke thy selfe of honor, which thou didst atchive.

XXVII

Providence hevenly passeth living thought,
And doth for wretched mens reliefe make way;
For loe! great grace or fortune thether brought
Comfort to him that comfortlesse now lay.
In those same woods, ye well remember may
How that a noble hunteresse did wonne,
Shee that base Braggadochio did affray,
And made him fast out of the forest ronne;
Belphaebe was her name, as faire as Phoebus sunne.

XXVIII

She on a day, as shee pursewd the chace
Of some wilde beast, which with her arrowes keene
She wounded had, the same along did trace
By tract of blood, which she had freshly seene
To have besprinckled all the grassy greene;
By the great persue, which she there perceav'd,
Well hoped shee the beast engor'd had beene,
And made more haste, the life to have bereav'd:
But ah! her expectation greatly was deceav'd.

XXIX

Shortly she came whereas that woefull squire,
With blood deformed, lay in deadly swownd:
In whose faire eyes, like lamps of quenched fire,
The christall humor stood congealed rownd;
His locks, like faded leaves fallen to grownd,
Knotted with blood in bounches rudely ran;
And his sweete lips, on which before that stownd
The bud of youth to blossome faire began,
Spoild of their rosy red, were woxen pale and wan.

XXX

Saw never living eie more heavy sight,
That could have made a rocke of stone to rew,
Or rive in twaine: which when that lady bright,
Besides all hope, with melting eies did vew,
All suddeinly abasht shee chaunged hew,
And with sterne horror backward gan to start:
But when shee better him beheld, shee grew
Full of soft passion and unwonted smart:
The point of pitty perced through her tender hart.

XXXI

Meekely shee bowed downe, to weete if life
Yett in his frosen members did remaine;
And feeling by his pulses beating rife
That the weake sowle her seat did yett retaine,
She cast to comfort him with busy paine:
His double folded necke she reard upright,
And rubd his temples and each trembling vaine;
His mayled haberjeon she did undight,
And from his head his heavy burganet did light.

XXXII

Into the woods thenceforth in haste shee went,
To seeke for hearbes that mote him remedy;
For shee of herbes had great intendiment,
Taught of the nymphe, which from her infancy
Her nourced had in trew nobility:
There, whether yt divine tobacco were,
Or panachaea, or polygony,
Shee fownd, and brought it to her patient deare,
Who al this while lay bleding out his hartblood neare.

XXXIII

The soveraine weede betwixt two marbles plaine
Shee pownded small, and did in peeces bruze,
And then atweene her lilly handes twaine
Into his wound the juice thereof did scruze,
And round about, as she could well it uze,
The flesh therewith shee suppled and did steepe,
T' abate all spasme and soke the swelling bruze,
And after having searcht the intuse deepe,
She with her scarf did bind the wound from cold to keepe.

XXXIV

By this he had sweet life recur'd agayne,
And, groning inly deepe, at last his eies,
His watry eies, drizling like deawy rayne,
He up gan lifte toward the azure skies,
From whence descend all hopelesse remedies:
Therewith he sigh'd, and turning him aside,
The goodly maide ful of divinities
And gifts of heavenly grace he by him spide,
Her bow and gilden quiver lying him beside.

XXXV

'Mercy! deare Lord,' said he, 'what grace is this,
That thou hast shewed to me, sinfull wight,
To send thine angell from her bowre of blis,
To comfort me in my distressed plight?
Angell, or goddesse doe I call thee right?
What service may I doe unto thee meete,
That hast from darkenes me returnd to light,
And with thy hevenly salves and med'cines sweete
Hast drest my sinfull wounds? I kisse thy blessed feete.

XXXVI

Thereat she blushing said: 'Ah! gentle squlre,
Nor goddesse I, nor angell, but the mayd
And daughter of a woody nymphe, desire
No service but thy safety and ayd;
Which if thou gaine, I shalbe well apayd.
Wee mortall wights, whose lives and fortunes bee
To commun accidents stil open layd,
Are bownd with commun bond of frailtee,
To succor wretched wights, whom we captived see.'

XXXVII

By this her damzells, which the forme chace
Had undertaken after her, arryv'd,
As did Belphoebe, in the bloody place,
And thereby deemd the beast had bene depriv'd
Of life, whom late their ladies arrow ryv'd,
Forthy the bloody tract they followd fast,
And every one to ronne the swiftest stryv'd;
But two of them the rest far overpast,
And where their lady was arrived at the last.

XXXVIII

Where when they saw that goodly boy, with blood
Defowled, and their lady dresse his wownd,
They wondred much, and shortly understood
How him in deadly case theyr lady fownd,
And reskewed out of the heavy stownd.
Eftsoones his warlike courser, which was strayd
Farre in the woodes, whiles that he lay in swownd,
She made those damzels search, which being stayd,
They did him set theron, and forth with them convayd.

XXXIX

Into that forest farre they thence him led,
Where was their dwelling, in a pleasant glade
With mountaines rownd about environed,
And mightie woodes, which did the valley shade,
And like a stately theatre it made,
Spreading it selfe into a spatious plaine;
And in the midst a little river plaide
Emongst the pump stones, which seemd to plaine
With gentle murmure that his cours they did restraine.

XL

Beside the same a dainty place there lay,
Planted with mirtle trees and laurells greene,
In which the birds song many a lovely lay
Of Gods high praise, and of their loves sweet teene,
As it an earthly paradize had beene:
In whose enclosed shadow there was pight
A faire pavilion, scarcely to be seene,
The which was al within most richly dight,
That greatest princes living it mote well delight.

XLI

Thether they brought that wounded squyre, and layd
In easie couch his feeble limbes to rest.
He rested him a while, and then the mayd
His readie wound with better salves new drest:
Daily she dressed him, and did the best,
His grievous hurt to guarish, that she might,
That shortly she his dolour hath redrest,
And his foule sore reduced to faire plight:
It she reduced, but himselfe destroyed quight.

XLII

O foolish physick, and unfruitfull paine,
That heales up one and makes another wound!
She his hurt thigh to him recurd againe,
But hurt his hart, the which before was sound,
Through an unwary dart, which did rebownd
From her faire eyes and gratious countenaunce.
What bootes it him from death to be unbownd,
To be captived in endlesse duraunce
Of sorrow and despeyre without aleggeaunce?

XLIII

Still as his wound did gather, and grow hole,
So still his hart woxe sore, and health decayd:
Madnesse to save a part, and lose the whole!
Still whenas he beheld the heavenly mayd,
Whiles dayly playsters to his wownd she layd,
So still his malady the more increast,
The whiles her matchlesse beautie him dismayd.
Ah God! what other could he doe at least,
But love so fayre a lady, that his life releast?

XLIV

Long while he strove in his corageous brest,
With reason dew the passion to subdew,
And love for to dislodge out of his nest:
Still when her excellencies he did vew,
Her soveraine bountie and celestiall hew,
The same to love he strongly was constraynd:
But when his meane estate he did revew,
He from such hardy boldnesse was restraynd,
And of his lucklesse lott and cruell love thus playnd.

XLV

'Unthankfull wretch,' said he, 'is this the meed,
With which her soverain mercy thou doest quight?
Thy life she saved by her gratious deed,
But thou doest weene with villeinous despight
To blott her honour and her heavenly light.
Dye rather, dye, then so disloyally
Deeme of her high desert, or seeme so light:
Fayre death it is, to shonne more shame, to dy:
Dye rather, dy, then ever love disloyally.

XLVI

'But if to love disloyalty it bee,
Shall I then hate her, that from deathes dore
Me brought? ah! farre be such reproch fro mee!
What can I lesse doe, then her love therefore,
Sith I her dew reward cannot restore?
Dye rather, dye, and dying doe her serve,
Dying her serve, and living her adore;
Thy life she gave, thy life she doth deserve:
Dye rather, dye, then ever from her service swerve.

XLVII

'But, foolish boy, what bootes thy service bace
To her, to whom the hevens doe serve and sew?
Thou a meane squyre, of meeke and lowly place,
She hevenly borne, and of celestiall hew.
How then? of all Love taketh equall vew:
And doth not Highest God vouchsafe to take
The love and service of the basest crew?
If she will not, dye meekly for her sake:
Dye rather, dye, then ever so faire love forsake.'

XLVIII

Thus warreid he long time against his will,
Till that through weaknesse he was forst at last
To yield himselfe unto the mightie ill:
Which, as a victour proud, gan ransack fast
His inward partes, and all his entrayles wast,
That neither blood in face nor life in hart
It left, but both did quite drye up and blast;
As percing levin, which the inner part
Of every thing consumes and calcineth by art.

XLIX

Which seeing fayre Belphoebe, gan to feare
Least that his wound were inly well not heald,
Or that the wicked steele empoysned were:
Litle shee weend that love he close conceald:
Yet still he wasted, as the snow congeald,
When the bright sunne his beams theron doth beat;
Yet never he his hart to her reveald,
But rather chose to dye for sorow great,
Then with dishonorable termes her to entreat.

L

She, gracious lady, yet no paines did spare,
To doe him ease, or doe him remedy:
Many restoratives of vertues rare
And costly cordialles she did apply,
To mitigate his stubborne malady:
But that sweet cordiall, which can restore
A love-sick hart, she did to him envy;
To him, and to all th' unworthy world forlore,
She did envy that soveraine salve, in secret store.

LI

That daintie rose, the daughter of her morne,
More deare then life she tendered, whose flowre
The girlond of her honour did adorne:
Ne suffred she the middayes scorching powre,
Ne the sharp northerne wind thereon to showre,
But lapped up her silken leaves most chayre,
When so the froward skye began to lowre;
But soone as calmed was the christall ayre,
She did it fayre dispred, and let to florish fayre.

LII

Eternall God, in his almightie powre,
To make ensample of his heavenly grace,
In paradize whylome did plant this flowre;
Whence he it fetcht out of her native place,
And did in stocke of earthly flesh enrace,
That mortall men her glory should admyre.
In gentle ladies breste and bounteous race
Of woman kind it fayrest flowre doth spyre,
And beareth fruit of honour and all chast desyre.

LIII

Fayre ympes of beautie, whose bright shining beames
Adorne the world with like to heavenly light,
And to your willes both royalties and reames
Subdew, through conquest of your wondrous might,
With this fayre flowre your goodly girlonds dight
Of chastity and vertue virginall,
That shall embellish more your beautie bright,
And crowne your heades with heavenly coronall,
Such as the angels weare before Gods tribunall.

LIV

To youre faire selves a faire ensample frame
Of this faire virgin, this Belphebe fayre,
To whom, in perfect love and spotlesse fame
Of chastitie, none living may compayre:
Ne poysnous envy justly can empayre
The prayse of her fresh flowring maydenhead;
Forthy she standeth on the highest stayre
Of th' honorable stage of womanhead,
That ladies all may follow her ensample dead.

LV

In so great prayse of stedfast chastity
Nathlesse she was so courteous and kynde,
Tempred with grace and goodly modesty,
That seemed those two vertues strove to fynd
The higher place in her heroick mynd:
So striving each did other more augment,
And both encreast the prayse of woman kynde,
And both encreast her beautie excellent;
So all did make in her a perfect complement.

CANTO VI

The birth of fayre Belphoebe and
Of Amorett is told:
The Gardins of Adonis fraught
With pleasures manifold.

I

WELL may I weene, faire ladies, all this while
Ye wonder how this noble damozell
So great perfections did in her compile,
Sith that in salvage forests she did dwell,
So farre from court and royall citadell,
The great schoolmaistresse of all courtesy:
Seemeth that such wilde woodes should far expell
All civile usage and gentility,
And gentle sprite deforme with rude rusticity.

II

But to this faire Belphaebe in her berth
The hevens so favorable were and free,
Looking with myld aspect upon the earth
In th' horoscope of her nativitee,
That all the gifts of grace and chastitee
On her they poured forth of plenteous horne;
Jove laught on Venus from his soverayne see,
And Phoebus with faire beames did her adorne,
And all the Graces rockt her cradle being borne.

III

Her berth was of the wombe of morning dew,
And her conception of the joyous prime,
And all her whole creation did her shew
Pure and unspotted from all loathly crime,
That is ingenerate in fleshly slime.
So was this virgin borne, so was she bred,
So was she trayned up from time to time
In all chaste vertue and true bounti-hed,
Till to her dew perfection she was ripened

IV

Her mother was the faire Chrysogonee,
The daughter of Amphisa, who by race
A Faerie was, yborne of high degree:
She bore Belphaebe, she bore in like cace
Fayre Amoretta in the second place:
These two were twinnes, and twixt them two did share
The heritage of all celestiall grace;
That all the rest it seemd they robbed bare
Of bounty, and of beautie, and all vertues rare.

V

It were a goodly storie to declare
By what straunge accident faire Chrysogone
Conceiv'd these infants, and how them she bare,
In this wilde forrest wandring all alone,
After she had nine moneths fulfild and gone:
For not as other wemens commune brood
They were enwombed in the sacred throne
Of her chaste bodie, nor with commune food,
As other wemens babes, they sucked vitall blood.

VI

But wondrously they were begot and bred,
Through influence of th' hevens fruitfull ray,
As it in antique bookes is mentioned.
It was upon a sommers shinie day,
When Titan faire his beames did display,
In a fresh fountaine, far from all mens vew,
She bath'd her brest, the boyling heat t' allay;
She bath'd with roses red and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres that in the forrest grew:

VII

Till, faint through yrkesome wearines, adowne
Upon the grassy ground her selfe she layd
To sleepe, the whiles a gentle slombring swowne
Upon her fell all naked bare displayd:
The sunbeames bright upon her body playd,
Being through former bathing mollifide,
And pierst into her wombe, where they embayd
With so sweet sence and secret power unspide,
That in her pregnant flesh they shortly fructifide.

VIII

Miraculous may seeme to him that reades
So straunge ensample of conception;
But reason teacheth that the fruitfull seades
Of all things living, through impression
Of the sunbeames in moyst complexion,
Doe life conceive and quickned are by kynd:
So, after Nilus inundation,
Infinite shapes of creatures men doe fynd,
Informed in the mud, on which the sunne hath shynd.

IX

Great father he of generation
Is rightly cald, th' authour of life and light;
And his faire sister for creation
Ministreth matter fit, which, tempred right
With heate and humour, breedes the living wight.
So sprong these twinnes in womb of Chrysogone;
Yet wist she nought thereof, but, sore affright,
Wondred to see her belly so upblone,
Which still increast, till she her terme had full outgone.

X

Whereof conceiving shame and foule disgrace,
Albe her guiltlesse conscience her cleard,
She fled into the wildernesse a space,
Till that unweeldy burden she had reard,
And shund dishonor, which as death she feard:
Where, wearie of long traveill, downe to rest
Her selfe she set, and comfortably cheard;
There a sad cloud of sleepe her overkest,
And seized every sence with sorrow sore opprest.

XI

If fortuned, faire Venus having lost
Her little sonne, the winged God of Love,
Who for some light displeasure, which him crost,
Was from her fled, as flit as ayery dove,
And left her blisfull bowre of joy above;
(So from her often he had fled away,
When she for ought him sharpely did reprove,
And wandred in the world in straunge aray,
Disguiz'd in thousand shapes, that none might him bewray;)

XII

Him for to seeke, she left her heavenly hous,
The house of goodly formes and faire aspects,
Whence all the world derives the glorious
Features of beautie, and all shapes select,
With which High God his workmanship hath deckt;
And searched everie way through which his wings
Had borne him, or his tract she mote detect:
She promist kisses sweet, and sweeter things,
Unto the man that of him tydings to her brings.

XIII

First she him sought in court, where most he us'd
Whylome to haunt, but there she found him not;
But many there she found, which sore accus'd
His falshood, and with fowle infamous blot
His cruell deedes and wicked wyles did spot:
Ladies and lordes she every where mote heare
Complayning, how with his empoysned shot
Their wofull harts he wounded had whyleare,
And so had left them languishing twixt hope and feare.

XIV

She then the cities sought from gate to gate,
And everie one did aske, did he him see?
And everie one her answerd, that too late
He had him seene, and felt the crueltee
Of his sharpe dartes and whot artilleree;
And every one threw forth reproches rife
Of his mischievous deedes, and sayd that hee
Was the disturber of all civill life,
The enimy of peace, and authour of all strife.

XV

Then in the countrey she abroad him sought,
And in the rurall cottages inquir'd,
Where also many plaintes to her were brought,
How he their heedelesse harts with love had fir'd,
And his false venim through their veines inspir'd;
And eke the gentle shepheard swaynes, which sat
Keeping their fleecy flockes, as they were hyr'd,
She sweetly heard complaine both how and what
Her sonne had to them doen; yet she did smile thereat.

XVI

But when in none of all these she him got,
She gan avize where els he mote him hyde:
At last she her bethought, that she had not
Yet sought the salvage woods and forests wyde,
In which full many lovely nymphes abyde,
Mongst whom might be that he did closely lye,
Or that the love of some of them him tyde:
Forthy she thether cast her course t' apply,
To search the secret haunts of Dianes company.

XVII

Shortly unto the wastefull woods she came,
Whereas she found the goddesse with her crew,
After late chace of their embrewed game,
Sitting beside a fountaine in a rew;
Some of them washing with the liquid dew
From of their dainty limbs the dusty sweat
And soyle, which did deforme their lively hew;
Others lay shaded from the scorching heat;
The rest upon her person gave attendance great.

XVIII

She, having hong upon a bough on high
Her bow and painted quiver, had unlaste
Her silver buskins from her nimble thigh,
And her lanck loynes ungirt, and brests unbraste,
After her heat the breathing cold to taste;
Her golden lockes, that late in tresses bright
Embreaded were for hindring of her haste,
Now loose about her shoulders hong undight,
And were with sweet ambrosia all besprinckled light.

XIX

Soone as she Venus saw behinde her backe,
She was asham'd to be so loose surpriz'd,
And woxe halfe wroth against her damzels slacke,
That had not her thereof before aviz'd,
But suffred her so carelesly disguiz'd
Be overtaken. Soone her garments loose
Upgath'ring, in her bosome she compriz'd,
Well as she might, and to the goddesse rose,
Whiles all her nymphes did like a girlond her enclose.

XX

Goodly she gan faire Cytherea greet,
And shortly asked her, what cause her brought
Into that wildernesse for her unmeet,
From her sweete bowres, and beds with pleasures fraught:
That suddein chaung she straung adventure thought.
To whom halfe weeping she thus answered:
That she her dearest sonne Cupido sought,
Who in his frowardnes from her was fled;
That she repented sore to have him angered.

XXI

Thereat Diana gan to smile, in scorne
Of her vaine playnt, and to her scoffing sayd:
'Great pitty sure that ye be so forlorne
Of your gay sonne, that gives ye so good ayd
To your disports: ill mote ye bene apayd!'
But she was more engrieved, and replide:
'Faire sister, ill beseemes it to upbrayd
A dolefull heart with so disdainfull pride;
The like that mine, may be your paine another tide.

XXII

'As you in woods and wanton wildernesse
Your glory sett, to chace the salvage beasts,
So my delight is all in joyfulnesse,
In beds, in bowres, in banckets, and in feasts:
And ill becomes you, with your lofty creasts,
To scorne the joy that Jove is glad to seeke;
We both are bownd to follow heavens beheasts,
And tend our charges with obeisaunce meeke:
Spare, gentle sister, with reproch my paine to eeke.

XXIII

'And tell me if that ye my sonne have heard
To lurke emongst your nimphes in secret wize,
Or keepe their cabins: much I am affeard,
Least he like one of them him selfe disguize,
And turne his arrowes to their exercize:
So may he long him selfe full easie hide:
For he is faire, and fresh in face and guize,
As any nimphe (let not it be envide.)'
So saying, every nimph full narrowly shee eide.

XXIV

But Phoebe therewith sore was angered,
And sharply saide: 'Goe, dame; goe, seeke your boy,
Where you him lately lefte, in Mars his bed:
He comes not here; we scorne his foolish joy,
Ne lend we leisure to his idle toy:
But if I catch him in this company,
By Stygian lake I vow, whose sad annoy
The gods doe dread, he dearly shall abye:
Ile clip his wanton wings, that he no more shall flye.'

XXV

Whom whenas Venus saw so sore displeasd,
Shee inly sory was, and gan relent
What shee had said: so her she soone appeasd
With sugred words and gentle blandishment,
Which as a fountaine from her sweete lips went,
And welled goodly forth, that in short space
She was well pleasd, and forth her damzells sent
Through all the woods, to search from place to place,
If any tract of him or tidings they mote trace.

XXVI

To search the God of Love her nimphes she sent,
Throughout the wandring forest every where:
And after them her selfe eke with her went
To seeke the fugitive both farre and nere.
So long they sought, till they arrived were
In that same shady covert whereas lay
Faire Crysogone in slombry traunce whilere:
Who in her sleepe (a wondrous thing to say)
Unwares had borne two babes, as faire as springing day.

XXVII

Unwares she them conceivd, unwares she bore:
She bore withouten paine that she conceiv'd
Withouten pleasure: ne her need implore
Lucinaes aide: which when they both perceiv'd,
They were through wonder nigh of sence berev'd,
And gazing each on other, nought bespake:
At last they both agreed, her seeming griev'd
Out of her heavie swowne not to awake,
But from her loving side the tender babes to take.

XXVIII

Up they them tooke, eachone a babe uptooke,
And with them carried, to be fostered:
Dame Phoebe to a nymphe her babe betooke,
To be upbrought in perfect maydenhed,
And, of her selfe, her name Belphaebe red:
But Venus hers thence far away convayd,
To be upbrought in goodly womanhed,
And in her litle Loves stead, which was strayd,
Her Amoretta cald, to comfort her dismayd.

XXIX

Shee brought her to her joyous paradize,
Wher most she wonnes, when she on earth does dwell:
So faire a place as Nature can devize:
Whether in Paphos, or Cytheron hill,
Or it in Gnidus bee, I wote not well;
But well I wote by triall, that this same
All other pleasaunt places doth excell,
And called is by her lost lovers name,
The Gardin of Adonis, far renowmd by fame.

XXX

In that same gardin all the goodly flowres,
Wherewith Dame Nature doth her beautify,
And decks the girlonds of her paramoures,
Are fetcht: there is the first seminary
Of all things that are borne to live and dye,
According to their kynds. Long worke it were,
Here to account the endlesse progeny
Of all the weeds that bud and blossome there;
But so much as doth need must needs be counted here.

XXXI

It sited was in fruitfull soyle of old,
And girt in with two walls on either side,
The one of yron, the other of bright gold,
That none might thorough breake, nor overstride:
And double gates it had, which opened wide,
By which both in and out men moten pas;
Th' one faire and fresh, the other old and dride:
Old Genius the porter of them was,
Old Genius, the which a double nature has.

XXXII

He letteth in, he letteth out to wend,
All that to come into the world desire:
A thousand thousand naked babes attend
About him day and night, which doe require
That he with fleshly weeds would them attire:
Such as him list, such as eternall Fate
Ordained hath, he clothes with sinfull mire,
And sendeth forth to live in mortall state,
Till they agayn returne backe by the hinder gate.

XXXIII

After that they againe retourned beene,
They in that gardin planted bee agayne,
And grow afresh, as they had never seene
Fleshly corruption nor mortall payne.
Some thousand yeares so doen they there remayne,
And then of him are clad with other hew,
Or sent into the chaungefull world agayne,
Till thether they retourne, where first they grew:
So like a wheele arownd they ronne from old to new.

XXXIV

Ne needs there gardiner to sett or sow,
To plant or prune: for of their owne accord
All things, as they created were, doe grow,
And yet remember well the mighty word,
Which first was spoken by th' Almighty Lord,
That bad them to increase and multiply:
Ne doe they need with water of the ford
Or of the clouds to moysten their roots dry;
For in themselves eternall moisture they imply.

XXXV

Infinite shapes of creatures there are bred,
And uncouth formes, which none yet ever knew;
And every sort is in a sondry bed
Sett by it selfe, and ranckt in comely rew:
Some fitt for reasonable sowles t' indew,
Some made for beasts, some made for birds to weare,
And all the fruitfull spawne of fishes hew
In endlesse rancks along enraunged were,
That seemd the ocean could not containe them there.

XXXVI

Daily they grow, and daily forth are sent
Into the world, it to replenish more;
Yet is the stocke not lessened nor spent,
But still remaines in everlasting store,
As it at first created was of yore:
For in the wide wombe of the world there lyes,
In hatefull darknes and in deepe horrore,
An huge eternal chaos, which supplyes
The substaunces of Natures fruitfull progenyes.

XXXVII

All things from thence doe their first being fetch,
And borrow matter whereof they are made,
Which, whenas forme and feature it does ketch,
Becomes a body, and doth then invade
The state of life out of the griesly shade.
That substaunce is eterne, and bideth so,
Ne when the life decayes, and forme does fade,
Doth it consume and into nothing goe,
But chaunged is, and often altred to and froe.

XXXVIII

The substaunce is not chaungd nor altered,
But th' only forme and outward fashion;
For every substaunce is conditioned
To chaunge her hew, and sondry formes to don,
Meet for her temper and complexion:
For formes are variable, and decay
By course of kinde and by occasion;
And that faire flowre of beautie fades away,
As doth the lilly fresh before the sunny ray.

XXXIX

Great enimy to it, and to all the rest,
That in the Gardin of Adonis springs,
Is wicked Tyme, who, with his scyth addrest,
Does mow the flowring herbes and goodly things,
And all their glory to the ground downe flings,
Where they do wither and are fowly mard:
He flyes about, and with his flaggy winges
Beates downe both leaves and buds without regard,
Ne ever pitty may relent his malice hard.

XL

Yet pitty often did the gods relent,
To see so faire thinges mard and spoiled quight:
And their great mother Venus did lament
The losse of her deare brood, her deare delight:
Her hart was pierst with pitty at the sight,
When walking through the gardin them she saw,
Yet no'te she find redresse for such despight:
For all that lives is subject to that law:
All things decay in time, and to their end doe draw.

XLI

But were it not, that Time their troubler is,
All that in this delightfull gardin growes
Should happy bee, and have immortall blis:
For here all plenty and all pleasure flowes,
And sweete Love gentle fitts emongst them throwes,
Without fell rancor or fond gealosy:
Franckly each paramor his leman knowes,
Each bird his mate, ne any does envy
Their goodly meriment and gay felicity.

XLII

There is continuall spring, and harvest there
Continuall, both meeting at one tyme:
For both the boughes doe laughing blossoms beare,
And with fresh colours decke the wanton pryme,
And eke attonce the heavy trees they clyme,
Which seeme to labour under their fruites lode:
The whiles the joyous birdes make their pastyme
Emongst the shady leaves, their sweet abode,
And their trew loves without suspition tell abrode.

XLIII

Right in the middest of that paradise
There stood a stately mount, on whose round top
A gloomy grove of mirtle trees did rise,
Whose shady boughes sharp steele did never lop,
Nor wicked beastes their tender buds did crop,
But like a girlond compassed the hight,
And from their fruitfull sydes sweet gum did drop,
That all the ground, with pretious deaw bedight,
Threw forth most dainty odours, and most sweet delight.

XLIV

And in the thickest covert of that shade
There was a pleasaunt arber, not by art,
But of the trees owne inclination made,
Which knitting their rancke braunches part to part,
With wanton yvie twyne entrayld athwart,
And eglantine and caprifole emong,
Fashiond above within their inmost part,
That nether Phoebus beams could through them throng,
Nor Aeolus sharp blast could worke them any wrong.

XLV

And all about grew every sort of flowre,
To which sad lovers were transformde of yore;
Fresh Hyacinthus, Phoebus paramoure
And dearest love,
Foolish Narcisse, that likes the watry shore,
Sad Amaranthus, made a flowre but late,
Sad Amaranthus, in whose purple gore
Me seemes I see Amintas wretched fate,
To whom sweet poets verse hath given endlesse date.

XLVI

There wont fayre Venus often to enjoy
Her deare Adonis joyous company,
And reape sweet pleasure of the wanton boy:
There yet, some say, in secret he does ly,
Lapped in flowres and pretious spycery,
By her hid from the world, and from the skill
Of Stygian gods, which doe her love envy;
But she her selfe, when ever that she will,
Possesseth him, and of his sweetnesse takes her fill.

XLVII

And sooth, it seemes, they say: for he may not
For ever dye, and ever buried bee
In balefull night, where all thinges are forgot;
All be he subject to mortalitie,
Yet is eterne in mutabilitie,
And by succession made perpetuall,
Transformed oft, and chaunged diverslie:
For him the father of all formes they call;
Therfore needs mote he live, that living gives to all.

XLVIII

There now he liveth in eternall blis,
Joying his goddesse, and of her enjoyd:
Ne feareth he henceforth that foe of his,
Which with his cruell tuske him deadly cloyd:
For that wilde bore, the which him once annoyd,
She firmely hath emprisoned for ay,
That her sweet love his malice mote avoyd,
In a strong rocky cave, which is, they say,
Hewen underneath that mount, that none him losen may.

XLIX

There now he lives in everlasting joy,
With many of the gods in company,
Which thether haunt, and with the winged boy
Sporting him selfe in safe felicity:
Who, when he hath with spoiles and cruelty
Ransackt the world, and in the wofull harts
Of many wretches set his triumphes hye,
Thether resortes, and laying his sad dartes
Asyde, with faire Adonis playes his wanton partes.

L

And his trew love, faire Psyche, with him playes,
Fayre Psyche to him lately reconcyld,
After long troubles and unmeet upbrayes,
With which his mother Venus her revyld,
And eke himselfe her cruelly exyld:
But now in stedfast love and happy state
She with him lives, and hath him borne a chyld,
Pleasure, that doth both gods and men aggrate,
Pleasure, the daughter of Cupid and Psyche late.

LI

Hether great Venus brought this infant fayre,
The yonger daughter of Chrysogonee,
And unto Psyche with great trust and care
Committed her, yfostered to bee,
And trained up in trew feminitee:
Who no lesse carefully her tendered
Then her owne daughter Pleasure, to whom shee
Made her companion, and her lessoned
In all the lore of love and goodly woman-head.

LII

In which when she to perfect ripenes grew,
Of grace and beautie noble paragone,
She brought her forth into the worldes vew,
To be th' ensample of true love alone,
And lodestarre of all chaste affection
To all fayre ladies, that doe live on grownd.
To Faery court she came, where many one
Admyrd her goodly haveour, and fownd
His feeble hart wide launched with loves cruel wownd.

LIII

But she to none of them her love did cast,
Save to the noble knight, Sir Scudamore,
To whom her loving hart she linked fast
In faithfull love, t' abide for evermore,
And for his dearest sake endured sore,
Sore trouble of an hainous enimy,
Who her would forced have to have forlore
Her former love and stedfast loialty,
As ye may elswhere reade that ruefull history.

LIV

But well I weene ye first desire to learne
What end unto that fearefull damozell,
Which fledd so fast from that same foster stearne,
Whom with his brethren Timias slew, befell:
That was, to weet, the goodly Florimell,
Who, wandring for to seeke her lover deare,
Her lover deare, her dearest Marinell,
Into misfortune fell, as ye did heare,
And from Prince Arthure fled with wings of idle feare.





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