Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 3, CANTOS 7-9, by EDMUND SPENSER



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THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 3, CANTOS 7-9, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The witches sonne loves florimell
Last Line: Them go to rest. So all unto their bowres were brought.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clout, Colin


CANTO VII

The witches sonne loves Florimell:
She flyes, he faines to dy.
Satyrane saves the Squyre of Dames
From gyaunts tyranny.

I

LIKE as an hynd forth singled from the heard,
That hath escaped from a ravenous beast,
Yet flyes away of her owne feete afeard,
And every leafe, that shaketh with the least
Murmure of winde, her terror hath encreast;
So fledd fayre Florimell from her vaine feare,
Long after she from perill was releast:
Each shade she saw, and each noyse she did heare,
Did seeme to be the same which she escapt whileare.

II

All that same evening she in flying spent,
And all that night her course continewed:
Ne did she let dull sleepe once to relent,
Nor wearinesse to slack her hast, but fled
Ever alike, as if her former dred
Were hard behind, her ready to arrest:
And her white palfrey, having conquered
The maistring raines out of her weary wrest,
Perforce her carried where ever he thought best.

III

So long as breath and hable puissaunce
Did native corage unto him supply,
His pace he freshly forward did advaunce,
And carried her beyond all jeopardy;
But nought that wanteth rest can long aby:
He, having through incessant traveill spent
His force, at last perforce adowne did ly,
Ne foot could further move. The lady gent
Thereat was suddein strook with great astonishment;

IV

And forst t' alight, on foot mote algates fare,
A traveiler unwonted to such way:
Need teacheth her this lesson hard and rare,
That Fortune all in equall launce doth sway,
And mortall miseries doth make her play.
So long she traveild, till at length she came
To an hilles side, which did to her bewray
A litle valley, subject to the same,
All coverd with thick woodes, that quite it overcame.

V

Through the tops of the high trees she did descry
A litle smoke, whose vapour thin and light,
Reeking aloft, uprolled to the sky:
Which chearefull signe did send unto her sight
That in the same did wonne some living wight.
Eftsoones her steps she thereunto applyd,
And came at last, in weary wretched plight,
Unto the place, to which her hope did guyde,
To finde some refuge there, and rest her wearie syde.

VI

There in a gloomy hollow glen she found
A little cottage, built of stickes and reedes
In homely wize, and wald with sods around,
In which a witch did dwell, in loathly weedes,
And wilfull want, all carelesse of her needes;
So choosing solitarie to abide,
Far from all neighbours, that her divelish deedes
And hellish arts from people she might hide,
And hurt far off unknowne whom ever she envide.

VII

The damzell there arriving entred in;
Where sitting on the flore the hag she found,
Busie (as seem'd) about some wicked gin:
Who, soone as she beheld that suddein stound,
Lightly upstarted from the dustie ground,
And with fell looke and hollow deadly gaze
Stared on her awhile, as one astound,
Ne had one word to speake, for great amaze,
But shewd by outward signes that dread her sence did daze.

VIII

At last, turning her feare to foolish wrath,
She askt, what devill had her thether brought,
And who she was, and what unwonted path
Had guided her, unwelcomed, unsought.
To which the damzell, full of doubtfull thought,
Her mildly answer'd: 'Beldame, be not wroth
With silly virgin, by adventure brought
Unto your dwelling, ignorant and loth,
That crave but rowme to rest, while tempest overblo'th.'

IX

With that, adowne out of her christall eyne
Few trickling teares she softly forth let fall,
That like to orient perles did purely shyne
Upon her snowy cheeke; and therewithall
She sighed soft, that none so bestiall
Nor salvage hart, but ruth of her sad plight
Would make to melt, or pitteously appall;
And that vile hag, all were her whole delight
In mischiefe, was much moved at so pitteous sight;

X

And gan recomfort her in her rude wyse,
With womanish compassion of her plaint,
Wiping the teares from her suffused eyes,
And bidding her sit downe, to rest her faint
And wearie limbs awhile. She nothing quaint
Nor s'deignfull of so homely fashion,
Sith brought she was now to so hard constraint,
Sate downe upon the dusty ground anon,
As glad of that small rest, as bird of tempest gon.

XI

Tho gan she gather up her garments rent,
And her loose lockes to dight in order dew,
With golden wreath and gorgeous ornament;
Whom such whenas the wicked hag did vew,
She was astonisht at her heavenly hew,
And doubted her to deeme an earthly wight,
But or some goddesse, or of Dianes crew,
And thought her to adore with humble spright:
T' adore thing so divine as beauty were but right.

XII

This wicked woman had a wicked sonne,
The comfort of her age and weary dayes,
A laesy loord, for nothing good to donne,
But stretched forth in ydlenesse alwayes,
Ne ever cast his mind to covet prayse,
Or ply him selfe to any honest trade,
But all the day before the sunny rayes
He us'd to slug, or sleepe in slothfull shade:
Such laesinesse both lewd and poore attonce him made.

XIII

He, comming home at undertime, there found
The fayrest creature that he ever saw
Sitting beside his mother on the ground;
The sight whereof did greatly him adaw,
And his base thought with terrour and with aw
So inly smot, that, as one which hath gaz'd
On the bright sunne unwares, doth soone withdraw
His feeble eyne, with too much brightnes daz'd,
So stared he on her, and stood long while amaz'd.

XIV

Softly at last he gan his mother aske,
What mister wight that was, and whence deriv'd,
That in so straunge disguizement there did maske,
And by what accident she there arriv'd:
But she, as one nigh of her wits depriv'd,
With nought but ghastly lookes him answered,
Like to a ghost, that lately is reviv'd
From Stygian shores, where late it wandered;
So both at her, and each at other wondered.

XV

But the fayre virgin was so meeke and myld,
That she to them vouchsafed to embace
Her goodly port, and to their senses vyld
Her gentle speach applyde, that in short space
She grew familiare in that desert place.
During which time the chorle, through her so kind
And courteise use, conceiv'd affection bace,
And cast to love her in his brutish mind;
No love, but brutish lust, that was so beastly tind.

XVI

Closely the wicked flame his bowels brent,
And shortly grew into outrageous fire;
Yet had he not the hart, nor hardiment,
As unto her to utter his desire;
His caytive thought durst not so high aspire:
But with soft sighes and lovely semblaunces
He ween'd that his affection entire
She should aread; many resemblaunces
To her he made, and many kinde remembraunces.

XVII

Oft from the forrest wildings he did bring,
Whose sides empurpled were with smyling red,
And oft young birds, which he had taught to sing
His maistresse praises sweetly caroled;
Girlonds of flowres sometimes for her faire hed
He fine would dight; sometimes the squirrell wild
He brought to her in bands, as conquered
To be her thrall, his fellow servant vild;
All which she of him tooke with countenance meeke and mild.

XVIII

But, past awhile, when she fit season saw
To leave that desert mansion, she cast
In secret wize her selfe thence to withdraw,
For feare of mischiefe, which she did forecast
Might be by the witch or that her sonne compast:
Her wearie palfrey closely, as she might,
Now well recovered after long repast,
In his proud furnitures she freshly dight,
His late miswandred wayes now to remeasure right.

XIX

And earely, ere the dawning day appeard,
She forth issewed, and on her journey went;
She went in perill, of each noyse affeard,
And of each shade that did it selfe present;
For still she feared to be overhent
Of that vile hag, or her uncivile sonne:
Who when, too late awaking, well they kent
That their fayre guest was gone, they both begonne
To make exceeding mone, as they had beene undonne.

XX

But that lewd lover did the most lament
For her depart, that ever man did heare;
He knockt his brest with desperate intent,
And scratcht his face, and with his teeth did teare
His rugged flesh, and rent his ragged heare:
That his sad mother, seeing his sore plight,
Was greatly woe begon, and gan to feare
Least his fraile senses were emperisht quight,
And love to frenzy turnd, sith love is franticke hight.

XXI

All wayes shee sought, him to restore to plight,
With herbs, with charms, with counsel, and with teares,
But tears, nor charms, nor herbs, nor counsell might
Asswage the fury which his entrails teares:
So strong is passion that no reason heares.
Tho, when all other helpes she saw to faile,
She turnd her selfe backe to her wicked leares,
And by her divelish arts thought to prevaile,
To bring her backe againe, or worke her finall bale.

XXII

Eftesoones out of her hidden cave she cald
An hideous beast, of horrible aspect,
That could the stoutest corage have appald;
Monstrous, mishapt, and all his backe was spect
With thousand spots of colours queint elect;
Thereto so swifte that it all beasts did pas:
Like never yet did living eie detect;
But likest it to an hyena was,
That feeds on wemens flesh, as others feede on gras.

XXIII

It forth she cald, and gave it streight in charge,
Through thicke and thin her to poursew apace,
Ne once to stay to rest, or breath at large,
Till her he had attaind, and brought in place,
Or quite devourd her beauties scornefull grace.
The monster, swifte as word that from her went,
Went forth in haste, and did her footing trace
So sure and swiftly, through his perfeet sent
And passing speede, that shortly he her overhent.

XXIV

Whom when the fearefull damzell nigh espide,
No need to bid her fast away to flie;
That ugly shape so sore her terrifide,
That it she shund no lesse then dread to die;
And her flitt palfrey did so well apply
His nimble feet to her conceived feare,
That whilest his breath did strength to him supply,
From perill free he her away did beare:
But when his force gan faile, his pace gan wex areare.

XXV

Which whenas she perceiv'd, she was dismayd
At that same last extremity ful sore,
And of her safety greatly grew afrayd:
And now she gan approch to the sea shore,
As it befell, that she could flie no more,
But yield her selfe to spoile of greedinesse:
Lightly she leaped, as a wight forlore,
From her dull horse, in desperate distresse,
And to her feet betooke her doubtfull sickernesse.

XXVI

Not halfe so fast the wicked Myrrha fled
From dread of her revenging fathers hond,
Nor halfe so fast, to save her maydenhed,
Fled fearfull Daphne on th' Aegaean strond,
As Florimell fled from that monster yond,
To reach the sea ere she of him were raught:
For in the sea to drowne her selfe she fond,
Rather then of the tyrant to be caught:
Thereto fear gave her wings, and need her corage taught.

XXVII

It fortuned (High God did so ordaine)
As shee arrived on the roring shore,
In minde to leape into the mighty maine,
A little bote lay hoving her before,
In which there slept a fisher old and pore,
The whiles his nets were drying on the sand:
Into the same shee lept, and with the ore
Did thrust the shallop from the floting strand:
So safety fownd at sea, which she fownd not at land.

XXVIII

The monster, ready on the pray to sease,
Was of his forward hope deceived quight,
Ne durst assay to wade the perlous seas,
But, greedily long gaping at the sight,
At last in vaine was forst to turne his flight,
And tell the idle tidings to his dame:
Yet, to avenge his divelishe despight,
He sett upon her palfrey tired lame,
And slew him cruelly, ere any reskew came.

XXIX

And after having him embowelled,
To fill his hellish gorge, it chaunst a knight
To passe that way, as forth he traveiled:
Yt was a goodly swaine, and of great might,
As ever man that bloody field did fight;
But in vain sheows, that wont yong knights bewitch,
And courtly services tooke no delight,
But rather joyd to bee then seemen sich:
For both to be and seeme to him was labor lich.

XXX

It was to weete the good Sir Satyrane,
That raungd abrode to seeke adventures wilde,
As was his wont, in forest and in plaine:
He was all armd in rugged steele unfilde,
As in the smoky forge it was compilde,
And in his scutchin bore a satyres hedd:
He comming present, where the monster vilde
Upon that milke-white palfreyes carcas fedd,
Unto his reskew ran, and greedily him spedd.

XXXI

There well perceivd he, that it was the horse
Whereon faire Florimell was wont to ride,
That of that feend was rent without remorse:
Much feared he, least ought did ill betide
To that faire maide, the flowre of wemens pride;
For her he dearely loved, and in all
His famous conquests highly magnifide:
Besides, her golden girdle, which did fall
From her in flight, he fownd, that did him sore apall.

XXXII

Full of sad feare and doubtfull agony,
Fiercely he flew upon that wicked feend;
And with huge strokes and cruell battery
Him forst to leave his pray, for to attend
Him selfe from deadly daunger to defend:
Full many wounds in his corrupted flesh
He did engrave, and muchell blood did spend,
Yet might not doe him die, but aie more fresh
And fierce he still appeard, the more he did him thresh.

XXXIII

He wist not how him to despoile of life,
Ne how to win the wished victory,
Sith him he saw still stronger grow through strife.
And him selfe weaker through infirmity:
Greatly he grew enrag'd, and furiously
Hurling his sword away, he lightly lept
Upon the beast, that with great cruelty
Rored and raged to be underkept;
Yet he perforce him held, and strokes upon him hept.

XXXIV

As he that strives to stop a suddein flood,
And in strong bancks his violence containe,
Forceth it swell above his wonted mood,
And largely overflow the fruitfull plaine,
That all the countrey seemes to be a maine,
And the rich furrowes flote, all quite fordonne:
The wofull husbandman doth lowd complaine,
To see his whole yeares labor lost so soone,
For which to God he made so many an idle boone:

XXXV

So him he held, and did through might amate:
So long he held him, and him bett so long,
That at the last his fiercenes gan abate,
And meekely stoup unto the victor strong:
Who, to avenge the implacable wrong,
Which he supposed donne to Florimell,
Sought by all meanes his dolor to prolong,
Sith dint of steele his carcas could not quell,
His maker with her charmes had framed him so well.

XXXVI

The golden ribband, which that virgin wore
About her sclender waste, he tooke in hand,
And with it bownd the beast, that lowd did rore
For great despight of that unwonted band,
Yet dared not his victor to withstand,
But trembled like a lambe fled from the pray,
And all the way him followd on the strand,
As he had long bene learned to obay;
Yet never learned he such service till that day.

XXXVII

Thus as he led the beast along the way,
He spide far of a mighty giauntesse,
Fast flying on a courser dapled gray
From a bold knight, that with great hardinesse
Her hard pursewd, and sought for to suppresse:
She bore before her lap a dolefull squire,
Lying athwart her horse in great distresse,
Fast bounden hand and foote with cords of wire,
Whom she did meane to make the thrall of her desire.

XXXVIII

Which whenas Satyrane beheld, in haste
He lefte his captive beast at liberty,
And crost the nearest way, by which he cast
Her to encounter ere she passed by:
But she the way shund nathemore forthy,
But forward gallopt fast; which when he spyde,
His mighty speare he couched warily,
And at her ran: she having him descryde,
Her selfe to fight addrest, and threw her lode aside.

XXXIX

Like as a goshauke, that in foote doth beare
A trembling culver, having spide on hight
An eagle, that with plumy wings doth sheare
The subtile ayre, stouping with all his might,
The quarrey throwes to ground with fell despight,
And to the batteill doth her selfe prepare:
So ran the geauntesse unto the fight;
Her fyrie eyes with furious sparkes did stare,
And with blasphemous bannes High God in peeces tare.

XL

She caught in hand an huge great yron mace,
Wherewith she many had of life depriv'd;
But ere the stroke could seize his aymed place,
His speare amids her sun-brode shield arriv'd;
Yet nathemore the steele a sonder riv'd,
All were the beame in bignes like a mast,
Ne her out of the stedfast sadle driv'd,
But glauncing on the tempred metall, brast
In thousand shivers, and so forth beside her past.

XLI

Her steed did stagger with that puissaunt strooke,
But she no more was moved with that might,
Then it had lighted on an aged oke;
Or on the marble pillour, that is pight
Upon the top of Mount Olympus hight,
For the brave youthly champions to assay,
With burning charet wheeles it night to smite:
But who that smites it mars his joyous play,
And is the spectacle of ruinous decay.

XLII

Yet therewith sore enrag'd, with sterne regard
Her dreadfull weapon she to him addrest,
Which on his helmet martelled so hard,
That made him low incline his lofty crest,
And bowd his battred visour to his brest:
Wherewith he was so stund that he n'ote ryde,
But reeled to and fro from east to west:
Which when his crnell enimy espyde,
She lightly unto him adjoyned syde to syde;

XLIII

And on his collar laying puissaunt hand,
Out of his wavering seat him pluckt perforse,
Perforse him pluckt, unable to withstand,
Or helpe himselfe, and laying thwart her horse,
In loathly wise like to a carrion corse,
She bore him fast away. Which when the knight
That her pursewed saw, with great remorse
He nere was touched in his noble spright,
And gan encrease his speed, as she encreast her flight.

XLIV

Whom when as nigh approching she espyde,
She threw away her burden angrily;
For she list not the batteill to abide,
But made her selfe more light, away to fly:
Yet her the hardy knight pursewd so nye
That almost in the backe he oft her strake:
But still, when him at hand she did espy,
She turnd, and semblaunce of faire fight did make;
But when he stayd, to flight againe she did her take.

XLV

By this the good Sir Satyrane gan wake
Out of his dreame, that did him long entraunce,
And seeing none in place, he gan to make
Exceeding mone, and curst that cruell chaunce,
Which reft from him so faire a chevisaunce:
At length he spyde whereas that wofull squyre,
Whom he had reskewed from captivaunce
Of his strong foe, lay tombled in the myre,
Unable to arise, or foot or hand to styre.

XLVI

To whom approching, well he mote perceive
In that fowle plight a comely personage,
And lovely face, made fit for to deceive
Fraile ladies hart with loves consuming rage,
Now in the blossome of his freshest age:
He reard him up, and loosd his yron bands,
And after gan inquire his parentage,
And how he fell into that gyaunts hands,
And who that was, which chaced her along the lands.

XLVII

Then trembling yet through feare, the squire bespake:
'That geauntesse Argante is behight,
A daughter of the Titans which did make
Warre against heven, and heaped hils on hight,
To scale the skyes, and put Jove from his right:
Her syre Typhoeus was, who, mad through merth,
And dronke with blood of men, slaine by his might,
Through incest her of his owne mother Earth
Whylome begot, being but halfe twin of that berth.

XLVIII

'For at that berth another babe she bore,
To weet, the mightie Ollyphant, that wrought
Great wreake to many errant knights of yore,
And many hath to foule confusion brought.
These twinnes, men say, (a thing far passing thought)
Whiles in their mothers wombe enclosd they were,
Ere they into the lightsom world were brought,
In fleshly lust were mingled both yfere,
And in that monstrous wise did to the world appere.

XLIX

'So liv'd they ever after in like sin,
Gainst natures law and good behaveoure:
But greatest shame was to that maiden twin,
Who, not content so fowly to devoure
Her native flesh, and staine her brothers bowre,
Did wallow in all other fleshly myre,
And suffred beastes her body to deflowre,
So whot she burned in that lustfull fyre:
Yet all that might not slake her sensuall desyre.

L

'But over all the countrie she did raunge,
To seeke young men, to quench her flaming thrust,
And feed her fancy with delightfull chaunge:
Whom so she fittest findes to serve her lust,
Through her maine strength, in which she most doth trust,
She with her bringes into a secret ile,
Where in eternall bondage dye he must,
Or be the vassall of her pleasures vile,
And in all shamefull sort him selfe with her defile.

LI

'Me, seely wretch, she so at vauntage caught,
After she long in waite for me did lye,
And meant unto her prison to have brought,
Her lothsom pleasure there to satisfye;
That thousand deathes me lever were to dye,
Then breake the vow, that to faire Columbell
I plighted have, and yet keepe stedfastly.
As for my name, it mistreth not to tell;
Call me the Squyre of Dames; that me beseemeth well.

LII

'But that bold knight, whom ye pursuing saw
That geauntesse, is not such as she seemd,
But a faire virgin, that in martiall law
And deedes of armes above all dames is deemd,
And above many knightes is eke esteemd,
For her great worth; she Palladine is hight:
She you from death, you me from dread, redeemd.
Ne any may that monster match in fight,
But she, or such as she, that is so chaste a wight.'

LIII

'Her well beseemes that quest,' quoth Satyrane:
'But read, thou Squyre of Dames, what vow is this,
Which thou upon thy selfe hast lately ta'ne?'
'That shall I you recount,' quoth he, 'ywis,
So be ye pleasd to pardon all amis.
That gentle lady whom I love and serve,
After long suit and wearie servicis,
Did aske me how I could her love deserve,
And how she might be sure that I would never swerve.

LIV

'I glad by any meanes her grace to gaine,
Badd her commaund my life to save or spill.
Eftsoones she badd me, with incessaunt paine
To wander through the world abroad at will,
And every where, where with my power or skill
I might doe service unto gentle dames,
That I the same should faithfully fulfill,
And at the twelve monethes end should bring their names
And pledges, as the spoiles of my victorious games.

LV

'So well I to faire ladies service did,
And found such favour in their loving hartes,
That, ere the yeare his course had compassid,
Thre hundred pledges for my good desartes,
And thrise three hundred thanks for my good partes,
I with me brought, and did to her present:
Which when she saw, more bent to eke my smartes
Then to reward my trusty true intent,
She gan for me devise a grievous punishment:

LVI

'To weet, that I my traveill should resume,
And with like labour walke the world arownd,
Ne ever to her presence should presume,
Till I so many other dames had fownd,
The which, for all the suit I could propownd,
Would me refuse their pledges to afford,
But did abide for ever chaste and sownd.'
'Ah! gentle squyre,' quoth he, 'tell at one word,
How many fowndst thou such to put in thy record?'

LVII

'In deed, sir knight,' said he, 'one word may tell
All that I ever fownd so wisely stayd;
For onely three they were disposd so well,
And yet three yeares I now abrode have strayd,
To fynd them out.' 'Mote I,' then laughing sayd
The knight, 'inquire of thee, what were those three,
The which thy proffred curtesie denayd?
Or ill they seemed sure avizd to bee,
Or brutishly brought up, that nev'r did fashions see.'

LVIII

'The first which then refused me,' said hee,
'Certes was but a common courtisane,
Yet flat refusd to have adoe with mee,
Because I could not give her many a jane.'
(Thereat full hartely laughed Satyrane.)
'The second was an holy nunne to chose,
Which would not let me be her chappellane,
Because she knew, she sayd, I would disclose
Her counsell, if she should her trust in me repose.

LIX

'The third a damzell was of low degree,
Whom I in countrey cottage fownd by chaunce:
Full litle weened I, that chastitee
Had lodging in so meane a maintenaunce;
Yet was she fayre, and in her countenaunce
Dwelt simple truth in seemely fashion.
Long thus I woo'd her with dew observaunce,
In hope unto my pleasure to have won,
But was as far at last, as when I first begon.

LX

'Safe her, I never any woman found,
That chastity did for it selfe embrace,
But were for other causes firme and sound,
Either for want of handsome time and place,
Or else for feare of shame and fowle disgrace.
Thus am I hopelesse ever to attaine
My ladies love, in such a desperate case,
But all my dayes am like to waste in vaine,
Seeking to match the chaste with th' unchaste ladies traine.'

LXI

'Perdy,' sayd Satyrane, 'thou Squyre of Dames,
Great labour fondly hast thou hent in hand,
To get small thankes, and therewith many blames,
That may emongst Alcides labours stand.'
Thence backe returning to the former land,
Where late he left the beast he overcame,
He found him not; for he had broke his band,
And was returnd againe unto his dame,
To tell what tydings of fayre Florimell became.

CANTO VIII

The witch creates a snowy lady,
like to Florimell:
Who, wronged by carle, by Proteus sav'd,
Is sought by Paridell.

I

So oft as I this history record,
My hart doth melt with meere compassion,
To thinke how causelesse of her owne accord
This gentle damzell, whom I write upon,
Should plonged be in such affliction,
Without all hope of comfort or reliefe,
That sure I weene, the hardest hart of stone
Would hardly finde to aggravate her griefe;
For misery craves rather mercy then repriefe.

II

But that accursed hag, her hostesse late,
Had so enranckled her malitious hart,
That she desyrd th' abridgement of her fate,
Or long enlargement of her painefull smart.
Now when the beast, which by her wicked art
Late foorth she sent, she backe retourning spyde,
Tyde with her broken girdle, it a part
Of her rich spoyles, whom he had earst destroyd,
She weend, and wondrous gladnes to her hart applyde.

III

And with it ronning hast'ly to her sonne,
Thought with that sight him much to have reliv'd;
Who thereby deeming sure the thing as donne,
His former griefe with furie fresh reviv'd,
Much more then earst, and would have algates riv'd
The hart out of his brest: for sith her dedd
He surely dempt, himselfe he thought depriv'd
Quite of all hope, wherewith he long had fedd
His foolish malady, and long time had misledd.

IV

With thought whereof, exceeding mad he grew,
And in his rage his mother would have slaine,
Had she not fled into a secret mew,
Where she was wont her sprightes to entertaine,
The maisters of her art: there was she faine
To call them all in order to her ayde,
And them conjure, upon eternall paine,
To counsell her so carefully dismayd,
How she might heale her sonne, whose senses were decayd.

V

By their advise, and her owne wicked wit,
She there deviz'd a wondrous worke to frame,
Whose like on earth was never framed yit,
That even Nature selfe envide the same,
And grudg'd to see the counterfet should shame
The thing it selfe. In hand she boldly tooke
To make another like the former dame,
Another Florimell, in shape and looke
So lively and so like that many it mistooke.

VI

The substance, whereof she the body made,
Was purest snow in massy mould congeald,
Which she had gathered in a shady glade
Of the Riphaean hils, to her reveald
By errant sprights, but from all men conceald:
The same she tempred with fine mercury,
And virgin wex, that never yet was seald,
And mingled them with perfect vermily,
That like a lively sanguine it seemd to the eye.

VII

In stead of eyes, two burning lampes she set
In silver sockets, shyning like the skyes,
And a quicke moving spirit did arret
To stirre and roll them, like a womans eyes:
In stead of yellow lockes, she did devyse,
With golden wyre to weave her curled head;
Yet golden wyre was not so yellow thryse
As Florimells fayre heare: and in the stead
Of life, she put a spright to rule the carcas dead:

VIII

A wicked spright, yfraught with fawning guyle
And fayre resemblance, above all the rest
Which with the Prince of Darkenes fell somewhyle
From heavens blis and everlasting rest:
Him needed not instruct, which way were best
Him selfe to fashion likest Florimell,
Ne how to speake, ne how to use his gest;
For he in counterfesaunce did excell,
And all the wyles of wemens wits knew passing well.

IX

Him shaped thus she deckt in garments gay,
Which Florimell had left behind her late,
That who so then her saw would surely say,
It was her selfe whom it did imitate,
Or fayrer then her selfe, if ought algate
Might fayrer be. And then she forth her brought
Unto her sonne, that lay in feeble state;
Who seeing her gan streight upstart, and thought
She was the lady selfe, whom he so long had sought.

X

Tho, fast her clipping twixt his armes twayne,
Extremely joyed in so happy sight,
And soone forgot his former sickely payne;
But she, the more to seeme such as she hight,
Coyly rebutted his embracement light;
Yet still with gentle countenaunce retain'd
Enough to hold a foole in vaine delight:
Him long she so with shadowes entertain'd,
As her creatresse had in charge to her ordain'd.

XI

Till on a day, as he disposed was
To walke the woodes with that his idole faire,
Her to disport, and idle time to pas
In th' open freshnes of the gentle aire,
A knight that way there chaunced to repaire;
Yet knight he was not, but a boastfull swaine,
That deedes of armes had ever in despaire,
Proud Braggadocchio, that in vaunting vaine
His glory did repose, and credit did maintaine.

XII

He, seeing with that chorle so faire a wight,
Decked with many a costly ornament,
Much merveiled thereat, as well he might,
And thought that match a fowle disparagement:
His bloody speare eftesoones he boldly bent
Against the silly clowne, who, dead through feare,
Fell streight to ground in great astonishment:
'Villein,' sayd he, 'this lady is my deare;
Dy, if thou it gainesay: I will away her beare.'

XIII

The fearefull chorle durst not gainesay, nor dooe,
But trembling stood, and yielded him the pray;
Who, finding litle leasure her to wooe,
On Tromparts steed her mounted without stay,
And without reskew led her quite away.
Proud man himselfe then Braggadochio deem'd,
And next to none, after that happy day,
Being possessed of that spoyle, which seem'd
The fairest wight on ground, and most of men esteem'd.

XIV

But when hee saw him selfe free from pour-sute,
He gan make gentle purpose to his dame,
With termes of love and lewdnesse dissolute;
For he could well his glozing speaches frame
To such vaine uses, that him best became:
But she thereto would lend but light regard,
As seeming sory that she ever came
Into his powre, that used her so hard,
To reave her honor, which she more then life prefard.

XV

Thus as they two of kindnes treated long,
There them by chaunce encountred on the way
An armed knight, upon a courser strong,
Whose trampling feete upon the hollow lay
Seemed to thunder, and did nigh affray
That capons corage: yet he looked grim,
And faynd to cheare his lady in dismay,
Who seemd for feare to quake in every lim,
And her to save from outrage meekely prayed him.

XVI

Fiercely that straunger forward came, and nigh
Approching, with bold words and bitter threat,
Bad that same boaster, as he mote on high,
To leave to him that lady for excheat,
Or bide him batteill without further treat.
That challenge did too peremptory seeme,
And fild his senses with abashment great;
Yet, seeing nigh him jeopardy extreme,
He it dissembled well, and light seemd to esteeme;

XVII

Saying, 'Thou foolish knight! that weenst with words
To steale away that I with blowes have wonne,
And broght throgh points of many perilous swords:
But if thee list to see thy courser ronne,
Or prove thy selfe, this sad encounter shonne,
And seeke els without hazard of thy hedd.'
At those prowd words that other knight begonne
To wex exceeding wroth, and him aredd
To turne his steede about, or sure he should be dedd.

XVIII

'Sith then,' said Braggadochio, 'needes thou wilt
Thy daies abridge, through proofe of puissaunce,
Turne we our steeds, that both in equall tilt
May meete againe, and each take happy chaunce.'
This said, they both a furlongs mountenaunce
Retird their steeds, to ronne in even race:
But Braggadochio with his bloody launce
Once having turnd, no more returnd his face,
But lefte his love to losse, and fled him selfe apace.

XIX

The knight, him seeing flie, had no regard
Him to poursew, but to the lady rode,
And having her from Trompart lightly reard,
Upon his courser sett the lovely lode,
And with her fled away without abode.
Well weened he, that fairest Florimell
It was, with whom in company he yode,
And so her selfe did alwaies to him tell;
So made him thinke him selfe in heven, that was in hell.

XX

But Florimell her selfe was far away,
Driven to great distresse by fortune straunge,
And taught the carefull mariner to play,
Sith late mischaunce had her compeld to chaunge
The land for sea, at randon there to raunge:
Yett there that cruell queene avengeresse,
Not satisfyde so far her to estraunge
From courtly blis and wonted happinesse,
Did heape on her new waves of weary wretchednesse.

XXI

For being fled into the fishers bote,
For refuge from the monsters cruelty,
Long so she on the mighty maine did flote,
And with the tide drove forward carelesly;
For th' ayre was milde, and cleared was the skie,
And all his windes Dan Aeolus did keepe
From stirring up their stormy enmity,
As pittying to see her waile and weepe;
But all the while the fisher did securely sleepe.

XXII

At last when droncke with drowsinesse he woke,
And saw his drover drive along the streame,
He was dismayd, and thrise his brest he stroke,
For marveill of that accident extreame;
But when he saw that blazing beauties beame,
Which with rare light his bote did beautifye,
He marveild more, and thought he yet did dreame
Not well awakte, or that some extasye
Assotted had his sence, or dazed was his eye.

XXIII

But when her well avizing, hee perceiv'd
To be no vision nor fantasticke sight,
Great comfort of her presence he conceiv'd,
And felt in his old corage new delight
To gin awake, and stir his frosen spright:
Tho rudely askte her, how she thether came.
'Ah!' sayd she, 'father, I note read aright
What hard misfortune brought me to this same;
Yet am I glad that here I now in safety ame.

XXIV

'But thou good man, sith far in sea we bee,
And the great waters gin apace to swell,
That now no more we can the mayn-land see,
Have care, I pray, to guide the cock-bote well,
Least worse on sea then us on land befell.'
Thereat th' old man did nought but fondly grin,
And saide, his boat the way could wisely tell:
But his deceiptfull eyes did never lin
To looke on her faire face, and marke her snowy skin.

XXV

The sight whereof in his congealed flesh
Infixt such secrete sting of greedy lust,
That the drie withered stocke it gan refresh,
And kindled heat, that soone in flame forth brust:
The driest wood is soonest burnt to dust.
Rudely to her he lept, and his rough hand,
Where ill became him, rashly would have thrust;
But she with angry scorne him did withstond,
And shamefully reproved for his rudenes fond.

XXVI

But he, that never good nor maners knew,
Her sharpe rebuke full litle did esteeme;
Hard is to teach an old horse amble trew.
The inward smoke, that did before but steeme,
Broke into open fire and rage extreme;
And now he strength gan adde unto his will,
Forcyng to doe that did him fowle misseeme:
Beastly he threwe her downe, ne car'd to spill
Her garments gay with scales of fish, that all did fill.

XXVII

The silly virgin strove him to withstand,
All that she might, and him in vaine revild:
Shee strugled strongly both with foote and hand,
To save her honor from that villaine vilde,
And cride to heven, from humane helpe exild.
O ye brave knights, that boast this ladies love,
Where be ye now, when she is nigh defild
Of filthy wretch? Well may she you reprove
Of falsehood or of slouth, when most it may behove.

XXVIII

But if that thou, Sir Satyran, didst weete,
Or thou, Sir Peridure, her sory state,
How soone would yee assemble many a fleete,
To fetch from sea that ye at land lost late!
Towres, citties, kingdomes ye would ruinate,
In your avengement and dispiteous rage,
Ne ought your burning fury mote abate;
But if Sir Calidore could it presage,
No living creature could his cruelty asswage.

XXIX

But sith that none of all her knights is nye,
See how the heavens, of voluntary grace
And soveraine favor towards chastity,
Doe succor send to her distressed cace:
So much High God doth innocence embrace.
It fortuned, whilest thus she stifly strove,
And the wide sea importuned long space
With shrilling shriekes, Proteus abrode did rove,
Along the fomy waves driving his finny drove.

XXX

Proteus is shepheard of the seas of yore,
And hath the charge of Neptunes mighty heard,
An aged sire with head all frowy hore,
And sprinckled frost upon his deawy beard:
Who when those pittifull outcries he heard
Through all the seas so ruefully resownd,
His charett swifte in hast he thether steard,
Which, with a teeme of scaly phocas bownd,
Was drawne upon the waves, that fomed him arownd.

XXXI

And comming to that fishers wandring bote,
That went at will, withouten card or sayle,
He therein saw that yrkesome sight, which smote
Deepe indignation and compassion frayle
Into his hart attonce: streight did he hayle
The greedy villein from his hoped pray,
Of which he now did very litle fayle,
And with his staffe, that drives his heard astray,
Him bett so sore, that life and sence did much dismay.

XXXII

The whiles the pitteous lady up did ryse,
Ruffled and fowly raid with filthy soyle,
And blubbred face with teares of her faire eyes:
Her heart nigh broken was with weary toyle,
To save her selfe from that outrageous spoyle:
But when she looked up, to weet what wight
Had her from so infamous fact assoyld,
For shame, but more for feare of his grim sight,
Downe in her lap she hid her face, and lowdly shright.

XXXIII

Her selfe not saved yet from daunger dredd
She thought, but chaung'd from one to other feare:
Like as a fearefull partridge, that is fledd
From the sharpe hauke, which her attached neare,
And fals to ground, to seeke for succor theare,
Whereas the hungry spaniells she does spye,
With greedy jawes her ready for to teare;
In such distresse and sad perplexity
Was Florimell, when Proteus she did see thereby.

XXXIV

But he endevored with speaches milde
Her to recomfort, and accourage bold,
Bidding her feare no more her foeman vilde,
Nor doubt himselfe; and who he was her told.
Yet all that could not from affright her hold,
Ne to recomfort her at all prevayld;
For her faint hart was with the frosen cold
Benumbd so inly, that her wits nigh fayld,
And all her sences with abashment quite were quayld.

XXXV

Her up betwixt his rugged hands he reard,
And with his frory lips full softly kist,
Whiles the cold ysickles from his rough beard
Dropped adowne upon her yvory brest:
Yet he him selfe so busily addrest,
That her out of astonishment he wrought,
And out of that same fishers filthy nest
Removing her, into his charet brought,
And there with many gentle termes her faire besought.

XXXVI

But that old leachour, which with bold assault
That beautie durst presume to violate,
He cast to punish for his hainous fault:
Then tooke he him, yet trembling sith of late,
And tyde behind his charet, to aggrate
The virgin, whom he had abusde so sore:
So drag'd him through the waves in scornfull state,
And after cast him up upon the shore;
But Florimell with him unto his bowre he bore.

XXXVII

His bowre is in the bottom of the maine,
Under a mightie rocke, gainst which doe rave
The roring billowes in their proud disdaine,
That with the angry working of the wave
Therein is eaten out an hollow cave,
That seemes rough masons hand with engines keene
Had long while laboured it to engrave:
There was his wonne, ne living wight was seene,
Save one old nymph, hight Panope, to keepe it cleane.

XXXVIII

Thether he brought the sory Florimell,
And entertained her the best he might,
And Panope her entertaind eke well,
As an immortall mote a mortall wight,
To winne her liking unto his delight:
With flattering wordes he sweetly wooed her,
And offered faire guiftes, t' allure her sight;
But she both offers and the offerer
Despysde, and all the fawning of the flatterer.

XXXIX

Dayly he tempted her with this or that,
And never suffred her to be at rest:
But evermore she him refused flat,
And all his fained kindnes did detest;
So firmely she had sealed up her brest.
Sometimes he boasted that a god he hight;
But she a mortall creature loved best:
Then he would make him selfe a mortall wight;
But then she said she lov'd none but a Faery knight.

XL

Then like a Faerie knight him selfe he drest;
For every shape on him he could endew:
Then like a king he was to her exprest,
And offred kingdoms unto her in vew,
To be his leman and his lady trew:
But when all this he nothing saw prevaile,
With harder meanes he cast her to subdew,
And with sharpe threates her often did assayle,
So thinking for to make her stubborne corage quayle.

XLI

To dreadfull shapes he did him selfe transforme,
Now like a gyaunt, now like to a feend,
Then like a centaure, then like to a storme,
Raging within the waves: thereby he weend
Her will to win unto his wished eend.
But when with feare, nor favour, nor with all
He els could doe, he saw him selfe esteemd,
Downe in a dongeon deepe he let her fall,
And threatned there to make her his eternall thrall.

XLII

Eternall thraldome was to her more liefe,
Then losse of chastitie, or chaunge of love:
Dye had she rather in tormenting griefe,
Then any should of falsenesse her reprove,
Or loosenes, that she lightly did remove.
Most vertuous virgin! glory be thy meed,
And crowne of heavenly prayse with saintes above,
Where most sweet hymmes of this thy famous deed
Are still emongst them song, that far my rymes exceed.

XLIII

Fit song of angels caroled to bee!
But yet what so my feeble Muse can frame,
Shalbe t' advance thy goodly chastitee,
And to enroll thy memorable name
In th' heart of every honourable dame,
That they thy vertuous deedes may imitate,
And be partakers of thy endlesse fame.
Yt yrkes me leave thee in this wofull state,
To tell of Satyrane, where I him left of late.

XLIV

Who having ended with that Squyre of Dames
A long discourse of his adventures vayne,
The which himselfe, then ladies, more defames,
And finding not th' hyena to be slayne,
With that same squyre retourned back agayne
To his first way. And as they forward went,
They spyde a knight fayre pricking on the playne,
As if he were on some adventure bent,
And in his port appeared manly hardiment.

XLV

Sir Satyrane him towardes did addresse,
To weet what wight he was, and what his quest:
And comming nigh, eftsoones he gan to gesse
Both by the burning hart which on his brest
He bare, and by the colours in his crest,
That Paridell it was: tho to him yode,
And him saluting as beseemed best,
Gan first inquire of tydinges farre abrode;
And afterwardes, on what adventure now he rode.

XLVI

Who thereto answering said: 'The tydinges bad,
Which now in Faery court all men doe tell,
Which turned hath great mirth to mourning sad,
Is the late ruine of proud Marinell,
And suddein parture of faire Florimell,
To find him forth: and after her are gone
All the brave knightes, that doen in armes excell,
To savegard her, ywandred all alone;
Emongst the rest my lott (unworth') is to be one.'

XLVII

'Ah! gentle knight,' said then Sir Satyrane,
'Thy labour all is lost, I greatly dread,
That hast a thanklesse service on thee ta'ne,
And offrest sacrifice unto the dead.
For dead, I surely doubt, thou maist aread
Henceforth for ever Florimell to bee,
That all the noble knights of Maydenhead,
Which her ador'd, may sore repent with mee,
And all faire ladies may for ever sory bee.'

XLVIII

Which wordes when Paridell had heard, his hew
Gan greatly chaung, and seemd dismaid to bee;
Then said: 'Fayre sir, how may I weene it trew,
That ye doe tell in such uncerteintee?
Or speake ye of report, or did ye see
Just cause of dread, that makes ye doubt so sore?
For, perdie, elles how mote it ever bee,
That ever hand should dare for to engore
Her noble blood? The hevens such crueltie abhore.'

XLIX

'These eyes did see, that they will ever rew
To have seene,' quoth he, 'when as a monstrous beast
The palfrey whereon she did travell slew,
And of his bowels made his bloody feast:
Which speaking token sheweth at the least
Her certeine losse, if not her sure decay:
Besides, that more suspicion encreast,
I found her golden girdle cast astray,
Distaynd with durt and blood, as relique of the pray.'

L

'Ay me!' said Paridell, 'the signes be sadd,
And but God turne the same to good sooth say,
That ladies safetie is sore to be dradd:
Yet will I not forsake my forward way,
Till triall doe more certeine truth bewray.'
'Faire sir,' quoth he, 'well may it you succeed:
Ne long shall Satyrane behind you stay,
But to the rest, which in this quest proceed,
My labour adde, and be partaker of their speed.'

LI

'Ye noble knights,' said then the Squyre of Dames,
'Well may yee speede in so praiseworthy payne:
But sith the sunne now ginnes to slake his beames
In deawy vapours of the westerne mayne,
And lose the teme out of his weary wayne,
Mote not mislike you also to abate
Your zealous hast, till morrow next againe
Both light of heven and strength of men relate:
Which if ye please, to yonder castle turne your gate.'

LII

That counsell pleased well; so all yfere
Forth marched to a castle them before;
Where soone arryving, they restrained were
Of ready entraunce, which ought evermore
To errant knights be commune: wondrous sore
Thereat displeasd they were, till that young squyre
Gan them informe the cause why that same dore
Was shut to all which lodging did desyre:
The which to let you weet will further time requyre.

CANTO IX

Malbecco will no straunge knights host,
For peevish gealosy:
Paridell giusts with Britomart:
Both shew their auncestry.

I

REDOUBTED knights, and honorable dames,
To whom I levell all my labours end,
Right sore I feare, least with unworthie blames
This odious argument my rymes should shend,
Or ought your goodly patience offend,
Whiles of a wanton lady I doe write,
Which with her loose incontinence doth blend
The shyning glory of your soveraine light;
And knighthood fowle defaced by a faithlesse knight.

II

But never let th' ensample of the bad
Offend the good: for good, by paragone
Of evill, may more notably be rad,
As white seemes fayrer, macht with blacke attone;
Ne all are shamed by the fault of one:
For lo! in heven, whereas all goodnes is,
Emongst the angels, a whole legione
Of wicked sprightes did fall from happy blis;
What wonder then, if one of women all did mis?

III

Then listen, lordings, if ye list to weet
The cause why Satyrane and Paridell
Mote not be entertaynd, as seemed meet,
Into that castle (as that squyre does tell.)
'Therein a cancred crabbed carle does dwell,
That has no skill of court nor courtesie,
Ne cares what men say of him ill or well;
For all his dayes he drownes in privitie,
Yet has full large to live, and spend at libertie.

IV

'But all his mind is set on mucky pelfe,
To hoord up heapes of evill gotten masse,
For which he others wrongs and wreckes himselfe;
Yet is he lincked to a lovely lasse,
Whose beauty doth her bounty far surpasse,
The which to him both far unequall yeares
And also far unlike conditions has;
For she does joy to play emongst her peares,
And to be free from hard restraynt and gealous feares.

V

'But he is old, and withered like hay,
Unfit faire ladies service to supply,
The privie guilt whereof makes him alway
Suspect her truth, and keepe continuall spy
Upon her with his other blincked eye;
Ne suffreth he resort of living wight
Approch to her, ne keepe her company,
But in close bowre her mewes from all mens sight,
Depriv'd of kindly joy and naturall delight.

VI

'Malbecco he, and Hellenore she hight,
Unfitly yokt together in one teeme:
That is the cause why never any knight
Is suffred here to enter, but he seeme
Such as no doubt of him he neede misdeeme.'
Thereat Sir Satyrane gan smyle, and say:
'Extremely mad the man I surely deeme,
That weenes with watch and hard restraynt to stay
A womans will, which is disposd to go astray.

VII

'In vaine he feares that which he cannot shonne:
For who wotes not, that womans subtiltyes
Can guylen Argus, when she list misdonne?
It is not yron bandes, nor hundred eyes,
Nor brasen walls, nor many wakefull spyes,
That can withhold her wilfull wandring feet;
But fast goodwill with gentle courtesyes,
And timely service to her pleasures meet,
May her perhaps containe, that else would algates fleet.'

VIII

'Then is he not more mad,' sayd Paridell,
'That hath himselfe unto such service sold,
In dolefull thraldome all his dayes to dwell?
For sure a foole I doe him firmely hold,
That loves his fetters, though they were of gold.
But why doe wee devise of others ill,
Whyles thus we suffer this same dotard old
To keepe us out, in scorne, of his owne will,
And rather do not ransack all, and him selfe kill?'

IX

'Nay, let us first,' sayd Satyrane, 'entreat
The man by gentle meanes, to let us in;
And afterwardes affray with cruell threat,
Ere that we to efforce it doe begin:
Then if all fayle, we will by force it win,
And eke reward the wretch for his mesprise,
As may be worthy of his haynous sin.'
That counsell pleasd: then Paridell did rise,
And to the castle gate approcht in quiet wise.

X

Whereat soft knocking, entrance he desyrd.
The good man selfe, which then the porter playd,
Him answered, that all were now retyrd
Unto their rest, and all the keyes convayd
Unto their maister, who in bed was layd,
That none him durst awake out of his dreme;
And therefore them of patience gently prayd.
Then Paridell began to chaunge his theme,
And threatned him with force and punishment extreme.

XI

But all in vaine; for nought mote him relent:
And now so long before the wicket fast
They wayted, that the night was forward spent,
And the faire welkin, fowly overcast,
Gan blowen up a bitter stormy blast,
With showre and hayle so horrible and dred,
That this faire many were compeld at last
To fly for succour to a little shed,
The which beside the gate for swyne was ordered.

XII

It fortuned, soone after they were gone,
Another knight, whom tempest thether brought,
Came to that castle, and with earnest mone,
Like as the rest, late entrance deare besought;
But like so as the rest, he prayd for nought,
For flatly he of entrance was refusd.
Sorely thereat he was displeasd, and thought
How to avenge himselfe so sore abusd,
And evermore the carle of courtesie accusd.

XIII

But to avoyde th' intollerable stowre,
He was compeld to seeke some refuge neare,
And to that shed, to shrowd him from the showre,
He came, which full of guests he found whyleare,
So as he was not let to enter there:
Whereat he gan to wex exceeding wroth,
And swore that he would lodge with them yfere,
Or them dislodg, all were they liefe or loth;
And so defyde them each, and so defyde them both.

XIV

Both were full loth to leave that needfull tent,
And both full loth in darkenesse to debate;
Yet both full liefe him lodging to have lent,
And both full liefe his boasting to abate;
But chiefely Paridell his hart did grate,
To heare him threaten so despightfully,
As if he did a dogge in kenell rate,
That durst not barke; and rather had he dy
Then, when he was defyde, in coward corner ly.

XV

Tho, hastily remounting to his steed,
He forth issew'd; like as a boystrous winde,
Which in th' earthes hollow caves hath long ben hid,
And shut up fast within her prisons blind,
Makes the huge element, against her kinde,
To move and tremble as it were aghast,
Untill that it an issew forth may finde;
Then forth it breakes, and with his furious blast
Confounds both land and seas, and skyes doth overcast.

XVI

Their steel-hed speares they strongly coucht, and met
Together with impetuous rage and forse,
That with the terrour of their fierce affret,
They rudely drove to ground both man and horse,
That each awhile lay like a sencelesse corse.
But Paridell, sore brused with the blow,
Could not arise, the counterchaunge to scorse,
Till that young squyre him reared from below;
Then drew he his bright sword, and gan about him throw.

XVII

But Satyrane, forth stepping, did them stay,
And with faire treaty pacifide their yre:
Then, when they were accorded from the fray,
Against that castles lord they gan conspire,
To heape on him dew vengeaunce for his hire.
They beene agreed, and to the gates they goe,
To burne the same with unquenchable fire,
And that uncurteous carle, their commune foe,
To doe fowle death to die, or wrap in grievous woe.

XVIII

Malbecco seeing them resolvd in deed
To flame the gates, and hearing them to call
For fire in earnest, ran with fearfull speed,
And to them calling from the castle wall,
Besought them humbly him to beare with all,
As ignorant of servants bad abuse,
And slacke attendaunce unto straungers call.
The knights were willing all things to excuse,
Though nought belev'd, and entraunce late did not refuse.

XIX

They beene ybrought into a comely bowre,
And servd of all things that mote needfull bee;
Yet secretly their hoste did on them lowre,
And welcomde more for feare then charitee;
But they dissembled what they did not see,
And welcomed themselves. Each gan undight
Their garments wett, and weary armour free,
To dry them selves by Vulcanes flaming light,
And eke their lately bruzed parts to bring in plight.

XX

And eke that straunger knight emongst the rest
Was for like need enforst to disaray:
Tho, whenas vailed was her lofty crest,
Her golden locks, that were in tramells gay
Upbounden, did them selves adowne display,
And raught unto her heeles; like sunny beames,
That in a cloud their light did long time stay,
Their vapour vaded, shewe their golden gleames,
And through the persant aire shoote forth their azure streames.

XXI

Shee also dofte her heavy haberjeon,
Which the faire feature of her limbs did hyde,
And her well plighted frock, which she did won
To tucke about her short, when she did ryde,
Shee low let fall, that flowd from her lanck syde
Downe to her foot with carelesse modestee.
Then of them all she plainly was espyde
To be a woman wight, unwist to bee,
The fairest woman wight that ever eie did see.

XXII

Like as Minerva, being late returnd
From slaughter of the giaunts conquered;
Where proud Encelade, whose wide nosethrils burnd
With breathed flames, like to a furnace redd,
Transfixed with her speare, downe tombled dedd
From top of Hemus, by him heaped hye;
Hath loosd her helmet from her lofty hedd,
And her Gorgonian shield gins to untye
From her lefte arme, to rest in glorious victorye.

XXIII

Which whenas they beheld, they smitten were
With great amazement of so wondrous sight,
And each on other, and they all on her,
Stood gazing, as if suddein great affright
Had them surprizd. At last avizing right
Her goodly personage and glorious hew,
Which they so much mistooke, they tooke delight
In their first error, and yett still anew
With wonder of her beauty fed their hongry vew.

XXIV

Yet note their hongry vew be satisfide,
But seeing, still the more desir'd to see,
And ever firmely fixed did abide
In contemplation of divinitee;
But most they mervaild at her chevalree
And noble prowesse, which they had approv'd,
That much they faynd to know who she mote bee;
Yet none of all them her thereof amov'd,
Yet every one her likte, and every one her lov'd.

XXV

And Paridell, though partly discontent
With his late fall and fowle indignity,
Yet was soone wonne his malice to relent,
Through gratious regard of her faire eye,
And knightly worth, which he too late did try,
Yet tried did adore. Supper was dight;
Then they Malbecco prayd of courtesy,
That of his lady they might have the sight,
And company at meat, to doe them more delight.

XXVI

But he, to shifte their curious request,
Gan causen why she could not come in place;
Her crased helth, her late recourse to rest,
And humid evening, ill for sicke folkes cace;
But none of those excuses could take place,
Ne would they eate, till she in presence came.
Shee came in presence with right comely grace,
And fairely them saluted, as became,
And shewd her selfe in all a gentle courteous dame.

XXVII

They sate to meat, and Satyrane his chaunce
Was her before, and Paridell beside;
But he him selfe sate looking still askaunce
Gainst Britomart, and ever closely eide
Sir Satyrane, that glaunces might not glide:
But his blinde eie, that sided Paridell,
All his demeasnure from his sight did hide:
On her faire face so did he feede his fill,
And sent close messages of love to her at will.

XXVIII

And ever and anone, when none was ware,
With speaking lookes, that close embassage bore,
He rov'd at her, and told his secret care:
For all that art he learned had of yore.
Ne was she ignoraunt of that leud lore,
But in his eye his meaning wisely redd,
And with the like him aunswerd evermore:
Shee sent at him one fyrie dart, whose hedd
Empoisned was with privy lust and gealous dredd.

XXIX

He from that deadly throw made no defence,
But to the wound his weake heart opened wyde:
The wicked engine through false influence
Past through his eies, and secretly did glyde
Into his heart, which it did sorely gryde.
But nothing new to him was that same paine,
Ne paine at all; for he so ofte had tryde
The powre thereof, and lov'd so oft in vaine,
That thing of course he counted, love to entertaine.

XXX

Thenceforth to her he sought to intimate
His inward griefe, by meanes to him well knowne:
Now Bacchus fruit out of the silver plate
He on the table dasht, as overthrowne,
Or of the fruitfull liquor overflowne,
And by the dauncing bubbles did divine,
Or therein write to lett his love be showne;
Which well she redd out of the learned line:
A sacrament prophane in mistery of wine.

XXXI

And when so of his hand the pledge she raught,
The guilty cup she fained to mistake,
And in her lap did shed her idle draught,
Shewing desire her inward flame to slake.
By such close signes they secret way did make
Unto their wils, and one eies watch escape:
Two eies him needeth, for to watch and wake,
Who lovers will deceive. Thus was the ape,
By their faire handling, put into Malbeccoes cape.

XXXII

Now when of meats and drinks they had their fill,
Purpose was moved by that gentle dame
Unto those knights adventurous, to tell
Of deeds of armes which unto them became,
And every one his kindred and his name.
Then Paridell, in whom a kindly pride
Of gratious speach and skill his words to frame
Abounded, being glad of so fitte tide
Him to commend to her, thus spake, of al well eide:

XXXIII

'Troy, that art now nought but an idle name,
And in thine ashes buried low dost lie,
Though whilome far much greater then thy fame,
Before that angry gods and cruell skie
Upon thee heapt a direfull destinie,
What boots it boast thy glorious descent,
And fetch from heven thy great genealogie,
Sith all thy worthie prayses being blent,
Their ofspring hath embaste, and later glory shent?

XXXIV

'Most famous worthy of the world, by whome
That warre was kindled which did Troy inflame,
And stately towres of Ilion whilome
Brought unto balefull ruine, was by name
Sir Paris, far renowmd through noble fame;
Who, through great prowesse and bold hardinesse,
From Lacedaemon fetcht the fayrest dame,
That ever Greece did boast, or knight possesse,
Whom Venus to him gave for meed of worthinesse:

XXXV

'Fayre Helene, flowre of beautie excellent,
And girlond of the mighty conquerours,
That madest many ladies deare lament
The heavie losse of their brave paramours,
Which they far off beheld from Trojan toures,
And saw the fieldes of faire Scamander strowne
With carcases of noble warrioures,
Whose fruitlesse lives were under furrow sowne,
And Xanthus sandy bankes with blood all overflowne.

XXXVI

'From him my linage I derive aright,
Who long before the ten yeares siege of Troy,
Whiles yet on Ida he a shepeheard hight,
On faire Oenone got a lovely boy,
Whom, for remembrance of her passed joy,
She of his father Parius did name;
Who, after Greekes did Priams realme destroy,
Gathred the Trojan reliques sav'd from flame,
And with them sayling thence, to th' isle of Paros came.

XXXVII

'That was by him cald Paros, which before
Hight Nausa; there he many yeares did raine,
And built Nausicle by the Pontick shore,
The which he dying lefte next in remaine
To Paridas his sonne,
From whom I, Paridell, by kin descend;
But, for faire ladies love and glories gaine,
My native soile have lefte, my dayes to spend
In seewing deeds of armes, my lives and labors end.'

XXXVIII

Whenas the noble Britomart heard tell
Of Trojan warres and Priams citie sackt,
The ruefull story of Sir Paridell,
She was empassiond at that piteous act,
With zelous envy of Greekes cruell fact
Against that nation, from whose race of old
She heard that she was lineally extract:
For noble Britons sprong from Trojans bold,
And Troynovant was built of old Troyes ashes cold.

XXXIX

Then sighing soft awhile, at last she thus:
'O lamentable fall of famous towne,
Which raignd so many yeares victorious,
And of all Asie bore the soveraine crowne,
In one sad night consumd and throwen downe!
What stony hart, that heares thy haplesse fate,
Is not empierst with deepe compassiowne,
And makes ensample of mans wretched state,
That floures so fresh at morne, and fades at evening late?

XL

'Behold, sir, how your pitifull complaint
Hath fownd another partner of your payne:
For nothing may impresse so deare constraint,
As countries cause and commune foes disdayne.
But if it should not grieve you, backe agayne
To turne your course, I would to heare desyre
What to Aeneas fell; sith that men sayne
He was not in the cities wofull fyre
Consum'd, but did him selfe to safety retyre.'

XLI

'Anchyses sonne, begott of Venus fayre,'
Said he, 'out of the flames for safegard fled,
And with a remnant did to sea repayre,
Where he through fatall errour long was led
Full many yeares, and weetlesse wandered
From shore to shore, emongst the Lybick sandes,
Ere rest he fownd. Much there he suffered,
And many perilles past in forreine landes,
To save his people sad from victours vengefull handes.

XLII

'At last in Latium he did arryve,
Where he with cruell warre was entertaind
Of th' inland folke, which sought him backe to drive,
Till he with old Latinus was constraind
To contract wedlock; (so the Fates ordaind;)
Wedlocke contract in blood, and eke in blood
Accomplished, that many deare complaind:
The rivall slaine, the victour, through the flood
Escaped hardly, hardly praisd his wedlock good.

XLIII

'Yet after all, he victour did survive,
And with Latinus did the kingdom part.
But after, when both nations gan to strive,
Into their names the title to convart,
His sonne lulus did from thence depart
With all the warlike youth of Trojans bloud,
And in Long Alba plast his throne apart,
Where faire it florished, and long time stoud,
Till Romulus, renewing it, to Rome remoud.'

XLIV

'There, there,' said Britomart, 'a fresh appeard
The glory of the later world to spring,
And Troy againe out of her dust was reard,
To sitt in second seat of soveraine king
Of all the world under her governing.
But a third kingdom yet is to arise
Out of the Trojans scattered ofspring,
That, in all glory and great enterprise,
Both first and second Troy shall dare to equalise.

XLV

'It Troynovant is hight, that with the waves
Of wealthy Thamis washed is along,
Upon whose stubborne neck, whereat he raves
With roring rage, and sore him selfe does throng,
That all men feare to tempt his billowes strong,
She fastned hath her foot, which standes so hy,
That it a wonder of the world is song
In forreine landes, and all which passen by,
Beholding it from farre, doe thinke it threates the skye.

XLVI

'The Trojan Brute did first that citie fownd,
And Hygate made the meare thereof by west,
And Overt gate by north: that is the bownd
Toward the land; two rivers bownd the rest.
So huge a scope at first him seemed best,
To be the compasse of his kingdomes seat:
So huge a mind could not in lesser rest,
Ne in small meares containe his glory great,
That Albion had conquered first by warlike feat.'

XLVII

'Ah! fairest lady knight,' said Paridell,
'Pardon, I pray, my heedlesse oversight,
Who had forgot that whylome I hard tell
From aged Mnemon; for my wits beene light.
Indeed he said (if I remember right)
That of the antique Trojan stocke there grew
Another plant, that raught to wondrous hight,
And far abroad his mightie braunches threw
Into the utmost angle of the world he knew.

XLVIII

'For that same Brute, whom much he did advaunce
In all his speach, was Sylvius his sonne,
Whom having slain through luckles arrowes glaunce,
He fled for feare of that he had misdonne,
Or els for shame, so fowle reproch to shonne,
And with him ledd to sea an youthly trayne,
Where wearie wandring they long time did wonne,
And many fortunes prov'd in th' ocean mayne,
And great adventures found, that now were long to sayne.

XLIX

'At last by fatall course they driven were
Into an island spatious and brode,
The furthest north that did to them appeare:
Which, after rest, they seeking farre abrode,
Found it the fittest soyle for their abode,
Fruitfull of all thinges fitt for living foode,
But wholy waste and void of peoples trode,
Save an huge nation of the geaunts broode,
That fed on living flesh, and dronck mens vitall blood.

L

'Whom he, through wearie wars and labours long,
Subdewd with losse of many Britons bold:
In which the great Goemagot of strong
Corineus, and Coulin of Debon old,
Were overthrowne and laide on th' earth full cold,
Which quaked under their so hideous masse:
A famous history to bee enrold
In everlasting moniments of brasse,
That all the antique worthies merits far did passe.

LI

'His worke great Troynovant, his worke is eke
Faire Lincolne, both renowmed far away,
That who from east to west will endlong seeke,
Cannot two fairer cities find this day,
Except Cleopolis: so heard I say
Old Mnemon. Therefore, sir, I greet you well,
Your countrey kin, and you entyrely pray
Of pardon for the strife which late befell
Betwixt us both unknowne.' So ended Paridell.

LII

But all the while that he these speeches spent,
Upon his lips hong faire Dame Hellenore,
With vigilant regard and dew attent,
Fashioning worldes of fancies evermore
In her fraile witt, that now her quite forlore:
The whiles unwares away her wondring eye
And greedy eares her weake hart from her bore:
Which he perceiving, ever privily,
In speaking, many false belgardes at her let fly.

LIII

So long these knightes discoursed diversly
Of straunge affaires, and noble hardiment,
Which they had past with mickle jeopardy,
That now the humid night was farforth spent,
And hevenly lampes were halfendeale ybrent:
Which th' old man seeing wel, who too long thought
Every discourse and every argument,
Which by the houres he measured, besought
Them go to rest. So all unto their bowres were brought.





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