Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 4, CANTOS 1-3, by EDMUND SPENSER



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THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 4, CANTOS 1-3, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The rugged forhead that with grave foresight
Last Line: That since their days such lovers were not found elswhere.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clout, Colin
Subject(s): Chaucer, Geoffrey (1342-1400); Country Life; England; Fables; Knights & Knighthood; Language; Morality; Poetry & Poets; Sleep; Virtue; English; Allegories; Words; Vocabulary; Ethics


THE FOURTH BOOKE

OF THE FAERIE QUEENE
CONTAINING
THE LEGEND OF CAMBEL AND
TRIAMOND
OR
OF FRIENDSHIP

I

THE rugged forhead that with grave foresight
Welds kingdomes causes and affaires of state,
My looser rimes (I wote) doth sharply wite,
For praising love, as I have done of late,
And magnifying lovers deare debate;
By which fraile youth is oft to follie led,
Through false allurement of that pleasing baite,
That better were in vertues discipled,
Then with vaine poemes weeds to have their fancies fed.

II

Such ones ill judge of love, that cannot love,
Ne in their frosen hearts feele kindly flame:
Forthy they ought not thing unknowne reprove,
Ne naturall affection faultlesse blame,
For fault of few that have abusd the same.
For it of honor and all vertue is
The roote, and brings forth glorious flowres of fame,
That crowne true lovers with immortall blis,
The meed of them that love, and do not live amisse.

III

Which who so list looke backe to former ages,
And call to count the things that then were donne,
Shall find, that all the workes of those wise sages,
And brave exploits which great heroes wonne,
In love were either ended or begunne:
Witnesse the father of philosophie,
Which to his Critias, shaded oft from sunne,
Of love full manie lessons did apply,
The which these Stoicke censours cannot well deny.

IV

To such therefore I do not sing at all,
But to that sacred saint my soveraigne Queene,
In whose chast breast all bountie naturall
And treasures of true love enlocked beene,
Bove all her sexe that ever yet was seene:
To her I sing of love, that loveth best
And best is lov'd of all alive, I weene;
To her this song most fitly is addrest,
The queene of love, and prince of peace from heaven blest.

V

Which that she may the better deigne to heare,
Do thou, dred infant, Venus dearling dove,
From her high spirit chase imperious feare,
And use of awfull majestie remove:
In sted thereof with drops of melting love,
Deawd with ambrosiall kisses, by thee gotten
From thy sweete smyling mother from above,
Sprinckle her heart, and haughtie courage soften,
That she may hearke to love, and reade this lesson often.

CANTO I

Fayre Britomart saves Amoret:
Duessa discord breedes
Twixt Scudamour and Blandamour:
Their fight and warlike deedes.

I

OF lovers sad calamities of old
Full many piteous stories doe remaine,
But none more piteous ever was ytold,
Then that of Amorets hart-binding chaine,
And this of Florimels unworthie paine:
The deare compassion of whose bitter fit
My softened heart so sorely doth constraine,
That I with teares full oft doe pittie it,
And oftentimes doe wish it never had bene writ.

II

For from the time that Scudamour her bought
In perilous fight, she never joyed day;
A perilous fight when he with force her brought
From twentie knights, that did him all assay:
Yet fairely well he did them all dismay,
And with great glorie both the Shield of Love
And eke the ladie selfe he brought away;
Whom having wedded, as did him behove,
A new unknowen mischiefe did from him remove.

III

For that same vile enchauntour Busyran,
The very selfe same day that she was wedded,
Amidst the bridale feast, whilest every man,
Surcharg'd with wine, were heedlesse and ill hedded,
All bent to mirth before the bride was bedded,
Brought in that Mask of Love which late was showen:
And there the ladie ill of friends bestedded,
By way of sport, as oft in maskes is knowen,
Conveyed quite away to living wight unknowen.

IV

Seven moneths he so her kept in bitter smart,
Because his sinfull lust she would not serve,
Untill such time as noble Britomart
Released her, that else was like to sterve,
Through cruell knife that her deare heart did kerve.
And now she is with her upon the way,
Marching in lovely wise, that could deserve
No spot of blame, though spite did oft assay
To blot her with dishonor of so faire a pray.

V

Yet should it be a pleasant tale, to tell
The diverse usage, and demeanure daint,
That each to other made, as oft befell.
For Amoret right fearefull was and faint,
Lest she with blame her honor should attaint,
That everie word did tremble as she spake,
And everie looke was coy and wondrous quaint,
And everie limbe that touched her did quake:
Yet could she not but curteous countenance to her make.

VI

For well she wist, as true it was indeed,
That her lives lord and patrone of her health
Right well deserved, as his duefull meed,
Her love, her service, and her utmost wealth:
All is his justly, that all freely dealth.
Nathlesse her honor, dearer then her life,
She sought to save, as thing reserv'd from stealth;
Die had she lever with enchanters knife,
Then to be false in love, profest a virgine wife.

VII

Thereto her feare was made so much the greater
Through fine abusion of that Briton mayd:
Who, for to hide her fained sex the better
And maske her wounded mind, both did and sayd
Full many things so doubtfull to be wayd,
That well she wist not what by them to gesse;
For other whiles to her she purpos made
Of love, and otherwhiles of lustfulnesse,
That much she feard his mind would grow to some excesse.

VIII

His will she feard; for him she surely thought
To be a man, such as indeed he seemed,
And much the more, by that he lately wrought,
When her from deadly thraldome he redeemed,
For which no service she too much esteemed:
Yet dread of shame and doubt of fowle dishonor
Made her not yeeld so much as due she deemed.
Yet Britomart attended duly on her,
As well became a knight, and did to her all honor.

IX

It so befell one evening, that they came
Unto a castell, lodged there to bee,
Where many a knight, and many a lovely dame,
Was then assembled, deeds of armes to see:
Amongst all which was none more faire then shee,
That many of them mov'd to eye her sore.
The custome of that place was such, that hee
Which had no love nor lemman there in store
Should either winne him one, or lye without the dore.

X

Amongst the rest there was a jolly knight,
Who, being asked for his love, avow'd
That fairest Amoret was his by right,
And offred that to justifie alowd.
The warlike virgine, seeing his so prowd
And boastfull chalenge, wexed inlie wroth,
But for the present did her anger shrowd;
And sayd, her love to lose she was full loth,
But either he should neither of them have, or both.

XI

So foorth they went, and both together giusted;
But that same younker soone was over throwne,
And made repent that he had rashly lusted
For thing unlawfull, that was not his owne:
Yet since he seemed valiant, though unknowne,
She, that no lesse was courteous then stout,
Cast how to salve, that both the custome showne
Were kept, and yet that knight not locked out;
That seem'd full hard t' accord two things so far in dout.

XII

The seneschall was cal'd to deeme the right:
Whom she requir'd, that first fayre Amoret
Might be to her allow'd, as to a knight
That did her win and free from chalenge set:
Which straight to her was yeelded without let.
Then, since that strange knights love from him was quitted,
She claim'd that to her selfe, as ladies det,
He as a knight might justly be admitted;
So none should be out shut, sith all of loves were fitted.

XIII

With that, her glistring helmet she unlaced;
Which doft, her golden lockes, that were up bound
Still in a knot, unto her heeles downe traced,
And like a silken veile in compasse round
About her backe and all her bodie wound:
Like as the shining skie in summers night,
What time the dayes with scorching heat abound,
Is creasted all with lines of firie light,
That it prodigious seemes in common peoples sight.

XIV

Such when those knights and ladies all about
Beheld her, all were with amazement smit,
And every one gan grow in secret dout
Of this and that, according to each wit:
Some thought that some enchantment faygned it;
Some, that Bellona in that warlike wise
To them appear'd, with shield and armour fit;
Some, that it was a maske of strange disguise:
So diversely each one did sundrie doubts devise.

XV

But that young knight, which through her gentle deed
Was to that goodly fellowship restor'd,
Ten thousand thankes did yeeld her for her meed,
And, doubly overcommen, her ador'd:
So did they all their former strife accord;
And eke fayre Amoret, now freed from feare,
More franke affection did to her afford,
And to her bed, which she was wont forbeare,
Now freely drew, and found right safe assurance theare.

XVI

Where all that night they of their loves did treat,
And hard adventures, twixt themselves alone,
That each the other gan with passion great
And griefull pittie privately bemone.
The morow next, so soone as Titan shone,
They both uprose, and to their waies them dight:
Long wandred they, yet never met with none
That to their willes could them direct aright,
Or to them tydings tell that mote their harts delight.

XVII

Lo! thus they rode, till at the last they spide
Two armed knights, that toward them did pace,
And ech of them had ryding by his side
A ladie, seeming in so farre a space;
But ladies none they were, albee in face
And outward shew faire semblance they did beare;
For under maske of beautie and good grace
Vile treason and fowle falshood hidden were,
That mote to none but to the warie wise appeare.

XVIII

The one of them the false Duessa hight,
That now had chang'd her former wonted hew:
For she could d'on so manie shapes in sight,
As ever could cameleon colours new;
So could she forge all colours, save the trew.
The other no whit better was then shee,
But that, such as she was, she plaine did shew;
Yet otherwise much worse, if worse might bee,
And dayly more offensive unto each degree.

XIX

Her name was Ate, mother of debate
And all dissention, which doth dayly grow
Amongst fraile men, that many a publike state
And many a private oft doth overthrow.
Her false Duessa, who full well did know
To be most fit to trouble noble knights,
Which hunt for honor, raised from below
Out of the dwellings of the damned sprights,
Where she in darknes wastes her cursed daies and nights.

XX

Hard by the gates of hell her dwelling is,
There whereas all the plagues and harmes abound,
Which punish wicked men, that walke amisse.
It is a darksome delve farre under ground,
With thornes and barren brakes environd round,
That none the same may easily out win;
Yet many waies to enter may be found,
But none to issue forth when one is in:
For discord harder is to end then to begin.

XXI

And all within, the riven walls were hung
With ragged monuments of times forepast,
All which the sad effects of discord sung:
There were rent robes and broken scepters plast,
Altars defyl'd, and holy things defast,
Disshivered speares, and shields ytorne in twaine,
Great cities ransackt, and strong castles rast,
Nations captived, and huge armies slaine:
Of all which ruines there some relicks did remaine.

XXII

There was the signe of antique Babylon,
Of fatall Thebes, of Rome that raigned long,
Of sacred Salem, and sad Ilion,
For memorie of which on high there hong
The golden apple, cause of all their wrong,
For which the three faire goddesses did strive:
There also was the name of Nimrod strong,
Of Alexander, and his princes five,
Which shar'd to them the spoiles that he had got alive:

XXIII

And there the relicks of the drunken fray,
The which amongst the Lapithees befell:
And of the bloodie feast, which sent away
So many Centaures drunken soules to hell,
That under great Alcides furie fell:
And of the dreadfull discord, which did drive
The noble Argonauts to outrage fell,
That each of life sought others to deprive,
All mindlesse of the Golden Fleece, which made them strive.

XXIV

And eke of private persons many moe,
That were too long a worke to count them all;
Some of sworne friends, that did their faith forgoe;
Some of borne brethren, prov'd unnaturall;
Some of deare lovers, foes perpetuall:
Witnesse their broken bandes there to be seene,
Their girlonds rent, their bowres despoyled all;
The moniments whereof there byding beene,
As plaine as at the first, when they were fresh and greene.

XXV

Such was her house within; but all without,
The barren ground was full of wicked weedes,
Which she her selfe had sowen all about,
Now growen great, at first of little seedes,
The seedes of evill wordes and factious deedes;
Which, when to ripenesse due they growen arre,
Bring foorth an infinite increase, that breedes
Tumultuous trouble and contentious jarre,
The which most often end in bloudshed and in warre.

XXVI

And those same cursed seedes doe also serve
To her for bread, and yeeld her living food:
For life it is to her, when others sterve
Through mischievous debate and deadly feood,
That she may sucke their life and drinke their blood,
With which she from her childhood had bene fed:
For she at first was borne of hellish brood,
And by infernall furies nourished,
That by her monstrous shape might easily be red.

XXVII

Her face most fowle and filthy was to see,
With squinted eyes contrarie wayes intended,
And loathly mouth, unmeete a mouth to bee,
That nought but gall and venim comprehended,
And wicked wordes that God and man offended:
Her lying tongue was in two parts divided,
And both the parts did speake, and both contended;
And as her tongue, so was her hart discided,
That never thoght one thing, but doubly stil was guided.

XXVIII

Als as she double spake, so heard she double,
With matchlesse eares deformed and distort,
Fild with false rumors and seditious trouble,
Bred in assemblies of the vulgar sort,
That still are led with every light report.
And as her eares, so eke her feet were odde,
And much unlike, th' one long, the other short,
And both misplast; that, when th' one forward yode,
The other backe retired, and contrarie trode.

XXIX

Likewise unequall were her handes twaine:
That one did reach, the other pusht away;
That one did make, the other mard againe,
And sought to bring all things unto decay;
Whereby great riches, gathered manie a day,
She in short space did often bring to nought,
And their possessours often did dismay:
For all her studie was and all her thought,
How she might overthrow the things that Concord wrought.

XXX

So much her malice did her might surpas,
That even th' Almightie selfe she did maligne,
Because to man so mercifull he was,
And unto all his creatures so benigne,
Sith she her selfe was of his grace indigne:
For all this worlds faire workmanship she tride
Unto his last confusion to bring,
And that great golden chaine quite to divide,
With which it blessed Concord hath together tide.

XXXI

Such was that hag which with Duessa roade,
And serving her in her malitious use,
To hurt good knights, was as it were her baude,
To sell her borrowed beautie to abuse.
For though, like withered tree that wanteth juyce,
She old and crooked were, yet now of late
As fresh and fragrant as the floure deluce
She was become, by chaunge of her estate,
And made full goodly joyance to her new found mate.

XXXII

Her mate, he was a jollie youthfull knight,
That bore great sway in armes and chivalrie,
And was indeed a man of mickle might:
His name was Blandamour, that did descrie
His fickle mind full of inconstancie.
And now himselfe he fitted had right well
With two companions of like qualitie,
Faithlesse Duessa, and false Paridell,
That whether were more false, full hard it is to tell.

XXXIII

Now when this gallant with his goodly crew
From farre espide the famous Britomart,
Like knight adventurous in outward vew,
With his faire paragon, his conquests part,
Approching nigh, eftsoones his wanton hart
Was tickled with delight, and jesting sayd:
'Lo! there, Sir Paridel, for your desart,
Good lucke presents you with yond lovely mayd,
For pitie that ye want a fellow for your ayd.'

XXXIV

By that the lovely paire drew nigh to hond:
Whom when as Paridel more plaine beheld,
Albee in heart he like affection fond,
Yet mindfull how he late by one was feld,
That did those armes and that same scutchion weld,
He had small lust to buy his love so deare,
But answerd: 'Sir, him wise I never held,
That, having once escaped perill neare,
Would afterwards afresh the sleeping evill reare.

XXXV

'This knight too late his manhood and his might
I did assay, that me right dearely cost,
Ne list I for revenge provoke new fight,
Ne for light ladies love, that soone is lost.'
The hot-spurre youth so scorning to be crost,
'Take then to you this dame of mine,' quoth hee,
'And I, without your perill or your cost,
Will chalenge yond same other for my fee.'
So forth he fiercely prickt, that one him scarce could see.

XXXVI

The warlike Britonesse her soone addrest,
And with such uncouth welcome did receave
Her fayned paramour, her forced guest,
That, being forst his saddle soone to leave,
Him selfe he did of his new love deceave,
And made him selfe thensample of his follie.
Which done, she passed forth, not taking leave,
And left him now as sad as whilome jollie,
Well warned to beware with whom he dar'd to dallie.

XXXVII

Which when his other companie beheld,
They to his succour ran with readie ayd:
And finding him unable once to weld,
They reared him on horsebacke, and upstayd,
Till on his way they had him forth convayd:
And all the way, with wondrous griefe of mynd
And shame, he shewd him selfe to be dismayd,
More for the love which he had left behynd,
Then that which he had to Sir Paridel resynd.

XXXVIII

Nathlesse he forth did march well as he might,
And made good semblance to his companie,
Dissembling his disease and evill plight;
Till that ere long they chaunced to espie
Two other knights, that towards them did ply
With speedie course, as bent to charge them new.
Whom when as Blandamour approching nie
Perceiv'd to be such as they seemd in vew,
He was full wo, and gan his former griefe renew.

XXXIX

For th' one of them he perfectly descride
To be Sir Scudamour, by that he bore
The God of Love with wings displayed wide,
Whom mortally he hated evermore,
Both for his worth, that all men did adore,
And eke because his love he wonne by right:
Which when he thought, it grieved him full sore,
That, through the bruses of his former fight,
He now unable was to wreake his old despight.

XL

Forthy he thus to Paridel bespake:
'Faire sir, of friendship let me now you pray,
That as I late adventured for your sake,
The hurts whereof me now from battell stay,
Ye will me now with like good turne repay,
And justifie my cause on yonder knight.'
'Ah! sir,' said Paridel, 'do not dismay
Your selfe for this; my selfe will for you fight,
As ye have done for me: the left hand rubs the right.'

XLI

With that he put his spurres unto his steed,
With speare in rest, and toward him did fare,
Like shaft out of a bow preventing speed.
But Scudamour was shortly well aware
Of his approch, and gan him selfe prepare
Him to receive with entertainment meete.
So furiously they met, that either bare
The other downe under their horses feete,
That what of them became themselves did scarsly weete.

XLII

As when two billowes in the Irish sowndes,
Forcibly driven with contrarie tydes,
Do meete together, each abacke rebowndes
With roaring rage; and dashing on all sides,
That filleth all the sea with fome, divydes
The doubtfull current into divers wayes:
So fell those two in spight of both their prydes;
But Scudamour himselfe did soone uprayse,
And mounting light, his foe for lying long upbrayes.

XLIII

Who, rolled on an heape, lay still in swound,
All carelesse of his taunt and bitter rayle;
Till that the rest, him seeing lie on ground,
Ran hastily, to weete what did him ayle:
Where finding that the breath gan him to fayle,
With busie care they strove him to awake,
And doft his helmet, and undid his mayle:
So much they did, that at the last they brake
His slomber, yet so mazed that he nothing spake.

XLIV

Which when as Blandamour beheld, he sayd:
'False faitour Scudamour, that hast by slight
And foule advantage this good knight dismayd,
A knight much better then thy selfe behight,
Well falles it thee that I am not in plight,
This day, to wreake the dammage by thee donne:
Such is thy wont, that still when any knight
Is weakned, then thou doest him overronne:
So hast thou to thy selfe false honour often wonne.'

XLV

He little answer'd, but in manly heart
His mightie indignation did forbeare,
Which was not yet so secret, but some part
Thereof did in his frouning face appeare:
Like as a gloomie cloud, the which doth beare
An hideous storme, is by the northerne blast
Quite overblowne, yet doth not passe so cleare,
But that it all the skie doth overcast
With darknes dred, and threatens all the world to wast.

XLVI

'Ah! gentle knight,' then false Duessa sayd,
'Why do ye strive for ladies love so sore,
Whose chiefe desire is love and friendly aid
Mongst gentle knights to nourish evermore?
Ne be ye wroth, Sir Scudamour, therefore,
That she your love list love another knight,
Ne do your selfe dislike a whit the more;
For love is free, and led with selfe delight,
Ne will enforced be with maisterdome or might.'

XLVII

So false Duessa, but vile Ate thus:
'Both foolish knights, I can but laugh at both,
That strive and storme, with stirre outrageous,
For her that each of you alike doth loth,
And loves another, with whom now she goth
In lovely wise, and sleepes, and sports, and playes;
Whilest both you here with many a cursed oth
Sweare she is yours, and stirre up bloudie frayes,
To win a willow bough, whilest other weares the bayes.'

XLVIII

'Vile hag,' sayd Scudamour, 'why dost thou lye?
And falsly seekst a vertuous wight to shame?'
'Fond knight,' sayd she, 'the thing that with this eye
I saw, why should I doubt to tell the same?'
'Then tell,' quoth Blandamour, 'and feare no blame,
Tell what thou saw'st, maulgre who so it heares.'
'I saw,' quoth she, a stranger knight, whose name
I wote not well, but in his shield he beares
(That well I wote) the heads of many broken speares.

XLIX

'I saw him have your Amoret at will,
I saw him kisse, I saw him her embrace,
I saw him sleepe with her all night his fill,
All manie nights, and manie by in place,
That present were to testifie the case.'
Which when as Scudamour did heare, his heart
Was thrild with inward griefe, as when in chace
The Parthian strikes a stag with shivering dart,
The beast astonisht stands in middest of his smart.

L

So stood Sir Scudamour, when this he heard,
Ne word he had to speake for great dismay,
But lookt on Glauce grim, who woxe afeard
Of outrage for the words which she heard say,
Albee untrue she wist them by assay.
But Blandamour, whenas he did espie
His chaunge of cheere, that anguish did bewray,
He woxe full blithe, as he had got thereby,
And gan thereat to triumph without victorie.

LI

'Lo! recreant,' sayd he, 'the fruitlesse end
Of thy vaine boast, and spoile of love misgotten,
Whereby the name of knight-hood thou dost shend,
And all true lovers with dishonor blotten:
All things not rooted well will soone be rotten.'
'Fy, fy! false knight,' then false Duessa cryde,
'Unworthy life, that love with guile hast gotten;
Be thou, where ever thou do go or ryde,
Loathed of ladies all, and of all knights defyde.'

LII

But Scudamour, for passing great despight,
Staid not to answer, scarcely did refraine,
But that in all those knights and ladies sight
He for revenge had guiltlesse Glauce slaine:
But being past, he thus began amaine:
'False traitour squire, false squire of falsest knight,
Why doth mine hand from thine avenge abstaine,
Whose lord hath done my love this foule despight?
Why do I not it wreake on thee now in my might?

LIII

'Discourteous, disloyall Britomart,
Untrue to God, and unto man unjust,
What vengeance due can equall thy desart,
That hast with shamefull spot of sinfull lust
Defil'd the pledge committed to thy trust?
Let ugly shame and endlesse infamy
Colour thy name with foule reproaches rust.
Yet thou, false squire, his fault shalt deare aby,
And with thy punishment his penance shalt supply.'

LIV

The aged dame, him seeing so enraged,
Was dead with feare; nathlesse, as neede required,
His flaming furie sought to have assuaged
With sober words, that sufferance desired
Till time the tryall of her truth expyred:
And evermore sought Britomart to cleare.
But he the more with furious rage was fyred,
And thrise his hand to kill her did upreare,
And thrise he drew it backe: so did at last forbeare.

CANTO II

Blandamour winnes false Florimell;
Paridell for her strives;
They are accorded: Agape
Doth lengthen her sonnes lives.

I

FIREBRAND of hell, first tynd in Phlegeton
By thousand furies, and from thence out throwen
Into this world, to worke confusion
And set it all on fire by force unknowen,
Is wicked discord, whose small sparkes once blowen
None but a god or godlike man can slake;
Such as was Orpheus, that when strife was growen
Amongst those famous ympes of Greece, did take
His silver harpe in hand, and shortly friends them make;

II

Or such as that celestiall Psalmist was,
That when the wicked feend his lord tormented,
With heavenly notes, that did all other pas,
The outrage of his furious fit relented.
Such musicke is wise words with time concented,
To moderate stiffe mindes, disposd to strive:
Such as that prudent Romane well invented,
What time his people into partes did rive,
Them reconcyld againe, and to their homes did drive.

III

Such us'd wise Glauce to that wrathfull knight,
To calme the tempest of his troubled thought:
Yet Blandamour, with termes of foule despight,
And Paridell her scornd, and set at nought,
As old and crooked and not good for ought.
Both they unwise, and warelesse of the evill
That by themselves unto themselves is wrought,
Through that false witch, and that foule aged drevill,
The one a feend, the other an incarnate devill.

IV

With whom as they thus rode accompanide,
They were encountred of a lustie knight,
That had a goodly ladie by his side,
To whom he made great dalliance and delight.
It was to weete the bold Sir Ferraugh hight,
He that from Braggadocchio whilome reft
The snowy Florimell, whose beautie bright
Made him seeme happie for so glorious theft;
Yet was it in due triall but a wandring weft.

V

Which when as Blandamour, whose fancie light
Was alwaies flitting, as the wavering wind,
After each beautie that appeard in sight,
Beheld, eftsoones it prickt his wanton mind
With sting of lust, that reasons eye did blind,
That to Sir Paridell these words he sent:
'Sir knight, why ride ye dumpish thus behind,
Since so good fortune doth to you present
So fayre a spoyle, to make you joyous meriment?'

VI

But Paridell, that had too late a tryall
Of the bad issue of his counsell vaine,
List not to hearke, but made this faire denyall:
'Last turne was mine, well proved to my paine;
This now be yours; God send you better gaine.'
Whose scoffed words he taking halfe in scorne,
Fiercely forth prickt his steed, as in disdaine,
Against that knight, ere he him well could torne;
By meanes whereof he hath him lightly overborne.

VII

Who, with the sudden stroke astonisht sore
Upon the ground a while in slomber lay;
The whiles his love away the other bore,
And shewing her, did Paridell upbray:
'Lo! sluggish knight, the victors happie pray!
So Fortune friends the bold: 'whom Paridell
Seeing so faire indeede, as he did say,
His hart with secret envie gan to swell,
And inly grudge at him, that he had sped so well.

VIII

Nathlesse proud man himselfe the other deemed,
Having so peerelesse paragon ygot:
For sure the fayrest Florimell him seemed
To him was fallen for his happie lot,
Whose like alive on earth he weened not:
Therefore he her did court, did serve, did wooe,
With humblest suit that he imagine mot,
And all things did devise, and all things dooe,
That might her love prepare, and liking win theretoo.

IX

She, in regard thereof, him recompenst
With golden words and goodly countenance,
And such fond favours sparingly dispenst:
Sometimes him blessing with a light eye-glance,
And coy lookes tempring with loose dalliance;
Sometimes estranging him in sterner wise;
That, having cast him in a foolish trance,
He seemed brought to bed in Paradise,
And prov'd himselfe most foole in what he seem'd most wise.

X

So great a mistresse of her art she was,
And perfectly practiz'd in womans craft,
That though therein himselfe he thought to pas,
And by his false allurements wylie draft
Had thousand women of their love beraft,
Yet now he was surpriz'd: for that false spright,
Which that same witch had in this forme engraft,
Was so expert in every subtile slight,
That it could overreach the wisest earthly wight.

XI

Yet he to her did dayly service more,
And dayly more deceived was thereby;
Yet Paridell him envied therefore,
As seeming plast in sole felicity:
So blind is lust, false colours to descry.
But Ate soone discovering his desire,
And finding now fit opportunity
To stirre up strife twixt love and spight and ire,
Did privily put coles unto his secret fire.

XII

By sundry meanes thereto she prickt him forth,
Now with remembrance of those spightfull speaches,
Now with opinion of his owne more worth,
Now with recounting of like former breaches
Made in their friendship, as that hag him teaches:
And ever when his passion is allayd,
She it revives and new occasion reaches:
That, on a time, as they together way'd,
He made him open chalenge, and thus boldly sayd:

XIII

'Too boastfull Blandamour, too long I beare
The open wrongs thou doest me day by day:
Well know'st thou, when we friendship first did sweare,
The covenant was, that every spoyle or pray
Should equally be shard betwixt us tway:
Where is my part, then, of this ladie bright,
Whom to thy selfe thou takest quite away?
Render therefore therein to me my right,
Or answere for thy wrong, as shall fall out in fight.'

XIV

Exceeding wroth thereat was Blandamour,
And gan this bitter answere to him make:
'Too foolish Paridell, that fayrest floure
Wouldst gather faine, and yet no paines wouldst take!
But not so easie will I her forsake;
This hand her wonne, this hand shall her defend.'
With that they gan their shivering speares to shake,
And deadly points at eithers breast to bend,
Forgetfull each to have bene ever others frend.

XV

Their firie steedes with so untamed forse
Did beare them both to fell avenges end,
That both their speares, with pitilesse remorse,
Through shield and mayle and haberjeon did wend,
And in their flesh a griesly passage rend,
That with the furie of their owne affret
Each other, horse and man, to ground did send;
Where lying still awhile, both did forget
The perilous present stownd in which their lives were set.

XVI

As when two warlike brigandines at sea,
With murdrous weapons arm'd to cruell fight,
Doe meete together on the watry lea,
They stemme ech other with so fell despight,
That with the shocke of their owne heedlesse might,
Their wooden ribs are shaken nigh a sonder;
They which from shore behold the dreadfull sight
Of flashing fire, and heare the ordenance thonder,
Do greatly stand amaz'd at such unwonted wonder.

XVII

At length they both upstarted in amaze,
As men awaked rashly out of dreme,
And round about themselves a while did gaze;
Till, seeing her that Florimell did seme,
In doubt to whom she victorie should deeme,
Therewith their dulled sprights they edgd anew,
And drawing both their swords with rage extreme,
Like two mad mastiffes each on other flew,
And shields did share, and mailes did rash, and helmes did hew.

XVIII

So furiously each other did assayle,
As if their soules they would attonce have rent
Out of their brests, that streames of bloud did rayle
Adowne, as if their springs of life were spent;
That all the ground with purple bloud was sprent,
And all their armours staynd with bloudie gore;
Yet scarcely once to breath would they relent,
So mortall was their malice and so sore
Become of fayned friendship which they vow'd afore.

XIX

And that which is for ladies most besitting,
To stint all strife, and foster friendly peace,
Was from those dames so farre and so unfitting,
As that, in stead of praying them surcease,
They did much more their cruelty encrease;
Bidding them fight for honour of their love,
And rather die then ladies cause release.
With which vaine termes so much they did them move,
That both resolv'd the last extremities to prove.

XX

There they, I weene, would fight untill this day,
Had not a squire, even he the Squire of Dames,
By great adventure travelled that way;
Who seeing both bent to so bloudy games,
And both of old well knowing by their names,
Drew nigh, to weete the cause of their debate:
And first laide on those ladies thousand blames,
That did not seeke t' appease their deadly hate,
But gazed on their harmes, not pittying their estate.

XXI

And then those knights he humbly did beseech
To stay their hands, till he a while had spoken:
Who lookt a little up at that his speech,
Yet would not let their battell so be broken,
Both greedie fiers on other to be wroken.
Yet he to them so earnestly did call,
And them conjur'd by some well knowen token,
That they at last their wrothfull hands let fall,
Content to heare him speake, and glad to rest withall.

XXII

First he desir'd their cause of strife to see:
They said, it was for love of Florimell.
'Ah! gentle knights,' quoth he, 'how may that bee,
And she so farre astray, as none can tell?'
'Fond squire,' full angry then sayd Paridell,
'Seest not the ladie there before thy face?'
He looked backe, and her advizing well,
Weend, as he said, by that her outward grace,
That fayrest Florimell was present there in place.

XXIII

Glad man was he to see that joyous sight,
For none alive but joy'd in Florimell,
And lowly to her lowting, thus behight:
'Fayrest of faire, that fairenesse doest excell,
This happie day I have to greete you well,
In which you safe I see, whom thousand late
Misdoubted lost through mischiefe that befell;
Long may you live in health and happie state.'
She litle answer'd him, but lightly did aggrate.

XXIV

Then turning to those knights, he gan a new:
'And you, Sir Blandamour and Paridell,
That for this ladie present in your vew
Have rays'd this cruell warre and outrage fell,
Certes, me seemes, bene not advised well,
But rather ought in friendship for her sake
To joyne your force, their forces to repell
That seeke perforce her from you both to take,
And of your gotten spoyle their owne triumph to make.'

XXV

Thereat Sir Blandamour, with countenance sterne,
All full of wrath, thus fiercely him bespake:
'A read, thou squire, that I the man may learne,
That dare fro me thinke Florimell to take.'
'Not one,' quoth he, 'but many doe partake
Herein, as thus: It lately so befell,
That Satyran a girdle did uptake
Well knowne to appertaine to Florimell,
Which for her sake he wore, as him be-seemed well.

XXVI

'But when as she her selfe was lost and gone,
Full many knights, that loved her like deare,
Thereat did greatly grudge, that he alone
That lost faire ladies ornament should weare,
And gan therefore close spight to him to beare:
Which he to shun, and stop vile envies sting,
Hath lately caus'd to be proclaim'd each where
A solemne feast, with publike turneying,
To which all knights with them their ladies are to bring.

XXVII

'And of them all she that is fayrest found
Shall have that golden girdle for reward,
And of those knights who is most stout on ground
Shall to that fairest ladie be prefard.
Since therefore she her selfe is now your ward,
To you that ornament of hers pertaines
Against all those that chalenge it to gard,
And save her honour with your ventrous paines;
That shall you win more glory then ye here find gaines.'

XXVIII

When they the reason of his words had hard,
They gan abate the rancour of their rage,
And with their honours and their loves regard
The furious flames of malice to asswage.
Tho each to other did his faith engage,
Like faithfull friends thenceforth to joyne in one
With all their force, and battell strong to wage
Gainst all those knights, as their professed fone,
That chaleng'd ought in Florimell, save they alone.

XXIX

So well accorded forth they rode together
In friendly sort, that lasted but a while,
And of all old dislikes they made faire weather;
Yet all was forg'd and spred with golden foyle,
That under it hidde hate and hollow guyle.
Ne certes can that friendship long endure,
How ever gay and goodly be the style,
That doth ill cause or evill end enure:
For vertue is the band that bindeth harts most sure.

XXX

Thus as they marched all in close disguise
Of fayned love, they chaunst to overtake
Two knights, that lincked rode in lovely wise,
As if they secret counsels did partake;
And each not farre behinde him had his make,
To weete, two ladies of most goodly hew,
That twixt themselves did gentle purpose make,
Unmindfull both of that discordfull crew,
The which with speedie pace did after them pursew.

XXXI

Who, as they now approched nigh at hand,
Deeming them doughtie as they did appeare,
They sent that squire afore, to understand
What mote they be: who, viewing them more neare,
Returned readie newes, that those same weare
Two of the prowest knights in Faery Lond,
And those two ladies their two lovers deare;
Couragious Cambell, and stout Triamond,
With Canacee and Cambine linckt in lovely bond.

XXXII

Whylome, as antique stories tellen us,
Those two were foes the fellonest on ground,
And battell made the dreddest daungerous
That ever shrilling trumpet did resound;
Though now their acts be no where to be found,
As that renowmed poet them comyled
With warlike numbers and heroicke sound,
Dan Chaucer, well of English undefyled,
On Fames eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled.

XXXIII

But wicked Time, that all good thoughts doth waste,
And workes of noblest wits to nought out weare,
That famous moniment hath quite defaste,
And robd the world of threasure endlesse deare,
The which mote have enriched all us heare.
O cursed Eld, the cankerworme of writs!
How may these rimes, so rude as doth appeare,
Hope to endure, sith workes of heavenly wits
Are quite devourd, and brought to nought by little bits?

XXXIV

Then pardon, O most sacred happie spirit,
That I thy labours lost may thus revive,
And steale from thee the meede of thy due merit,
That none durst ever whilest thou wast alive,
And, being dead, in vaine yet many strive:
Ne dare I like, but through infusion sweete
Of thine owne spirit, which doth in me survive,
I follow here the footing of thy feete,
That with thy meaning so I may the rather meete.

XXXV

Cambelloes sister was fayre Canacee,
That was the learnedst ladie in her dayes,
Well seene in everie science that mote bee,
And every secret worke of Natures wayes,
In wittie riddles, and in wise soothsayes,
In power of herbes, and tunes of beasts and burds;
And, that augmented all her other prayse,
She modest was in all her deedes and words,
And wondrous chast of life, yet lov'd of knights and lords.

XXXVI

Full many lords and many knights her loved,
Yet she to none of them her liking lent,
Ne ever was with fond affection moved,
But rul'd her thoughts with goodly governement,
For dread of blame and honours blemishment;
And eke unto her lookes a law she made,
That none of them once out of order went,
But, like to warie centonels well stayd,
Still watcht on every side, of secret foes affrayd.

XXXVII

So much the more as she refusd to love,
So much the more she loved was and sought,
That oftentimes unquiet strife did move
Amongst her lovers, and great quarrels wrought,
That oft for her in bloudie armes they fought.
Which whenas Cambell, that was stout and wise,
Perceiv'd would breede great mischiefe, he bethought
How to prevent the perill that mote rise,
And turne both him and her to honour in this wise.

XXXVIII

One day, when all that troupe of warlike wooers
Assembled were, to weet whose she should bee,
All mightie men and dreadfull derring dooers,
(The harder it to make them well agree)
Amongst them all this end he did decree;
That of them all, which love to her did make,
They by consent should chose the stoutest three,
That with himselfe should combat for her sake,
And of them all the victour should his sister take.

XXXIX

Bold was the chalenge, as himselfe was bold,
And courage full of haughtie hardiment,
Approved oft in perils manifold,
Which he atchiev'd to his great ornament:
But yet his sisters skill unto him lent
Most confidence and hope of happie speed,
Conceived by a ring which she him sent,
That, mongst the manie vertues which we reed,
Had power to staunch al wounds that mortally did bleed.

XL

Well was that rings great vertue knowen to all,
That dread thereof, and his redoubted might,
Did all that youthly rout so much appall,
That none of them durst undertake the fight;
More wise they weend to make of love delight,
Then life to hazard for faire ladies looke,
And yet uncertaine by such outward sight,
Though for her sake they all that perill tooke,
Whether she would them love, or in her liking brooke.

XLI

Amongst those knights there were three brethren bold,
Three bolder brethren never were yborne,
Borne of one mother in one happie mold,
Borne at one burden in one happie morne;
Thrise happie mother, and thrise happie morne,
That bore three such, three such not to be fond!
Her name was Agape, whose children werne
All three as one; the first hight Priamond,
The second Dyamond, the youngest Triamond.

XLII

Stout Priamond, but not so strong to strike,
Strong Diamond, but not so stout a knight,
But Triamond was stout and strong alike:
On horsebacke used Triamond to fight,
And Priamond on foote had more delight,
But horse and foote knew Diamond to wield:
With curtaxe used Diamond to smite,
And Triamond to handle speare and shield,
But speare and curtaxe both usd Priamond in field.

XLIII

These three did love each other dearely well,
And with so firme affection were allyde,
As if but one soule in them all did dwell,
Which did her powre into three parts divyde;
Like three faire branches budding farre and wide,
That from one roote deriv'd their vitall sap:
And like that roote that doth her life divide
Their mother was, and had full blessed hap,
These three so noble babes to bring forth at one clap.

XLIV

Their mother was a Fay, and had the skill
Of secret things, and all the powres of nature,
Which she by art could use unto her will,
And to her service bind each living creature,
Through secret understanding of their feature.
Thereto she was right faire, when so her face
She list discover, and of goodly stature;
But she, as Fayes are wont, in privie place
Did spend her dayes, and lov'd in forests wyld to space.

XLV

There on a day a noble youthly knight,
Seeking adventures in the salvage wood,
Did by great fortune get of her the sight,
As she sate carelesse by a cristall flood,
Combing her golden lockes, as seemd her good;
And unawares upon her laying hold,
That strove in vaine him long to have withstood,
Oppressed her, and there (as it is told)
Got these three lovely babes, that prov'd three champions bold.

XLVI

Which she with her long fostred in that wood,
Till that to ripenesse of mans state they grew:
Then, shewing forth signes of their fathers blood,
They loved armes, and knighthood did ensew,
Seeking adventures, where they anie knew.
Which when their mother saw, she gan to dout
Their safetie, least by searching daungers new,
And rash provoking perils all about,
Their days mote be abridged through their corage stout.

XLVII

Therefore desirous th' end of all their dayes
To know, and them t' enlarge with long extent,
By wondrous skill and many hidden wayes
To the three Fatall Sisters house she went.
Farre under ground from tract of living went,
Downe in the bottome of the deepe Abysse,
Where Demogorgon, in dull darknesse pent,
Farre from the view of gods and heavens blis,
The hideous Chaos keepes, their dreadfull dwelling is.

XLVIII

There she them found, all sitting round about
The direfull distaffe standing in the mid,
And with unwearied fingers drawing out
The lines of life, from living knowledge hid.
Sad Clotho held the rocke, the whiles the thrid
By griesly Lachesis was spun with paine,
That cruell Atropos eftsoones undid,
With cursed knife cutting the twist in twaine:
Most wretched men, whose dayes depend on thrids so vaine!

XLIX

She them saluting, there by them sate still,
Beholding how the thrids of life they span:
And when at last she had beheld her fill,
Trembling in heart, and looking pale and wan,
Her cause of comming she to tell began.
To whom fierce Atropos: 'Bold Fay, that durst
Come see the secret of the life of man,
Well worthie thou to be of Jove accurst,
And eke thy childrens thrids to be a sunder burst.'

L

Whereat she sore affrayd, yet her besought
To graunt her boone, and rigour to abate,
That she might see her childrens thrids forth brought,
And know the measure of their utmost date,
To them ordained by eternall Fate:
Which Clotho graunting, shewed her the same:
That when she saw, it did her much amate
To see their thrids so thin as spiders frame,
And eke so short, that seemd their ends out shortly came.

LI

She then began them humbly to intreate
To draw them longer out, and better twine,
That so their lives might be prolonged late.
But Lachesis thereat gan to repine,
And sayd: 'Fond dame! that deem'st of things divine
As of humane, that they may altred bee,
And chaung'd at pleasure for those impes of thine:
Not so; for what the Fates do once decree,
Not all the gods can chaunge, nor Jove him self can free.'

LII

'Then since,' quoth she, 'the terme of each mans life
For nought may lessened nor enlarged bee,
Graunt this, that when ye shred with fatall knife
His line which is the eldest of the three,
Which is of them the shortest, as I see,
Eftsoones his life may passe into the next;
And when the next shall likewise ended bee,
That both their lives may likewise be annext
Unto the third, that his may so be trebly wext.'

LIII

They graunted it; and then that carefull Fay
Departed thence with full contented mynd;
And comming home, in warlike fresh aray
Them found all three, according to their kynd:
But unto them what destinie was assynd,
Or how their lives were eekt, she did not tell;
But evermore, when she fit time could fynd,
She warned them to tend their safeties well,
And love each other deare, what ever them befell.

LIV

So did they surely during all their dayes,
And never discord did amongst them fall;
Which much augmented all their other praise.
And now, t' increase affection naturall,
In love of Canacee they joyned all:
Upon which ground this same great battell grew,
Great matter growing of beginning small;
The which, for length, I will not here pursew,
But rather will reserve it for a canto new.

CANTO III

The battell twixt three brethren with
Cambell for Canacee:
Cambina with true friendships bond
Doth their long strife agree.

I

O WHY doe wretched men so much desire
To draw their dayes unto the utmost date,
And doe not rather wish them soone expire,
Knowing the miserie of their estate,
And thousand perills which them still awate,
Tossing them like a boate amid the mayne,
That every houre they knocke at Deathes gate?
And he that happie seemes and least in payne,
Yet is as nigh his end as he that most doth playne.

II

Therefore this Fay I hold but fond and vaine,
The which, in seeking for her children three
Long life, thereby did more prolong their paine.
Yet whilest they lived none did ever see
More happie creatures then they seem'd to bee,
Nor more ennobled for their courtesie,
That made them dearely lov'd of each degree,
Ne more renowmed for their chevalrie,
That made them dreaded much of all men farre and nie.

III

These three that hardie chalenge tooke in hand,
For Canacee with Cambell for to fight:
The day was set, that all might understand,
And pledges pawnd the same to keeps a right:
That day, the dreddest day that living wight
Did ever see upon this world to shine,
So soone as heavens window shewed light,
These warlike champions, all in armour shine,
Assembled were in field, the chalenge to define.

IV

The field with listes was all about enclos'd,
To barre the prease of people farre away;
And at th' one side sixe judges were dispos'd,
To view and deeme the deedes of armes that day;
And on the other side, in fresh aray,
Fayre Canacee upon a stately stage
Was set, to see the fortune of that fray,
And to be seene, as his most worthie wage
That could her purchase with his lives adventur'd gage.

V

Then entred Cambell first into the list,
With stately steps and fearelesse countenance,
As if the conquest his he surely wist.
Soone after did the brethren three advance,
In brave aray and goodly amenance,
With scutchins gilt and banners broad displayd;
And marching thrise in warlike ordinance,
Thrise lowted lowly to the noble mayd,
The whiles shril trompets and loud clarions sweetly playd.

VI

Which doen, the doughty chalenger came forth,
All arm'd to point, his chalenge to abet:
Gainst whom Sir Priamond, with equall worth
And equall armes, himselfe did forward set.
A trompet blew; they both together met
With dreadfull force and furious intent,
Carelesse of perill in their fiers affret,
As if that life to losse they had forelent,
And cared not to spare that should be shortly spent.

VII

Right practicke was Sir Priamond in fight,
And throughly skild in use of shield and speare;
Ne lesse approved was Cambelloes might,
Ne lesse his skill in weapons did appeare,
That hard it was to weene which harder were.
Full many mightie strokes on either side
Were sent, that seemed death in them to beare,
But they were both so watchfull and well eyde,
That they avoyded were, and vainely by did slyde.

VIII

Yet one of many was so strongly bent
By Priamond, that with unluckie glaunce
Through Cambels shoulder it unwarely went,
That forced him his shield to disadvaunce:
Much was he grieved with that gracelesse chaunce,
Yet from the wound no drop of bloud there fell,
But wondrous paine, that did the more enhaunce
His haughtie courage to advengement fell:
Smart daunts not mighty harts, but makes them more to swell.

IX

With that, his poynant speare he fierce aventred,
With doubled force, close underneath his shield,
That through the mayles into his thigh it entred,
And there arresting, readie way did yield
For bloud to gush forth on the grassie field;
That he for paine himselfe not right upreare,
But too and fro in great amazement reel'd,
Like an old oke, whose pith and sap is seare,
At puffe of every storme doth stagger here and theare.

X

Whom so dismayd when Cambell had espide,
Againe he drove at him with double might,
That nought mote stay the steele, till in his side
The mortall point most cruelly empight:
Where fast infixed, whilest he sought by slight
It forth to wrest, the staffe a sunder brake,
And left the head behind: with which despight
He all enrag'd, his shivering speare did shake,
And charging him a fresh, thus felly him bespake:

XI

'Lo! faitour, there thy meede unto thee take,
The meede of thy mischalenge and abet:
Not for thine owne, but for thy sisters sake,
Have I thus long thy life unto thee let:
But to forbeare doth not forgive the det.'
The wicked weapon heard his wrathfull vow,
And passing forth with furious affret,
Pierst through his bever quite into his brow,
That with the force it backward forced him to bow.

XII

Therewith a sunder in the midst it brast,
And in his hand nought but the troncheon left;
The other halfe behind yet sticking fast
Out of his headpeece Cambell fiercely reft,
And with such furie backe at him it heft,
That, making way unto his dearest life,
His weasand pipe it through his gorget cleft:
Thence streames of purple bloud issuing rife
Let forth his wearie ghost, and made an end of strife.

XIII

His wearie ghost, assoyld from fleshly band,
Did not, as others wont, directly fly
Unto her rest in Plutoes griesly land,
Ne into ayre did vanish presently,
Ne chaunged was into a starre in sky:
But through traduction was eftsoones derived,
Like as his mother prayd the Destinie,
Into his other brethren that survived,
In whom he liv'd a new, of former life deprived.

XIV

Whom when on ground his brother next beheld,
Though sad and sorie for so heavy sight,
Yet leave unto his sorrow did not yeeld;
But rather stird to vengeance and despight,
Through secret feeling of his generous spright,
Rusht fiercely forth, the battell to renew,
As in reversion of his brothers right;
And chalenging the virgin as his dew.
His foe was soone addrest: the trompets freshly blew.

XV

With that they both together fiercely met,
As if that each ment other to devoure;
And with their axes both so sorely bet,
That neither plate nor mayle, whereas their powre
They felt, could once sustaine the hideous stowre,
But rived were like rotten wood a sunder,
Whilest through their rifts the ruddie bloud did showre,
And fire did flash, like lightning after thunder,
That fild the lookers on attonce with ruth and wonder.

XVI

As when two tygers, prickt with hungers rage,
Have by good fortune found some beasts fresh spoyle,
On which they weene their famine to asswage,
And gaine a feastfull guerdon of their toyle;
Both falling out doe stirre up strifefull broyle,
And cruell battell twixt themselves doe make,
Whiles neither lets the other touch the soyle,
But either sdeignes with other to partake:
So cruelly these knights strove for that ladies sake.

XVII

Full many strokes, that mortally were ment,
The whiles were enterchaunged twixt them two;
Yet they were all with so good wariment
Or warded, or avoyded and let goe,
That still the life stood fearelesse of her foe:
Till Diamond, disdeigning long delay
Of doubtfull fortune wavering to and fro,
Resolv'd to end it one or other way;
And heav'd his murdrous axe at him with mighty sway.

XVIII

The dreadfull stroke, in case it had arrived
Where it was ment, (so deadly it was ment)
The soule had sure out of his bodie rived,
And stinted all the strife incontinent.
But Cambels fate that fortune did prevent:
For seeing it at hand, he swarv'd asyde,
And so gave way unto his fell intent:
Who, missing of the marke which he had eyde,
Was with the force nigh feld whilst his right foot did slyde.

XIX

As when a vulture greedie of his pray,
Through hunger long, that hart to him doth lend,
Strikes at an heron with all his bodies sway,
That from his force seemes nought may it defend;
The warie fowle, that spies him toward bend
His dreadfull souse, avoydes it, shunning light,
And maketh him his wing in vaine to spend;
That with the weight of his owne weeldlesse might,
He falleth nigh to ground, and scarse recovereth flight.

XX

Which faire adventure when Cambello spide,
Full lightly, ere himselfe he could recower,
From daungers dread to ward his naked side,
He can let drive at him with all his power,
And with his axe him smote in evill hower,
That from his shoulders quite his head he reft:
The headlesse tronke, as heedlesse of that stower,
Stood still a while, and his fast footing kept,
Till, feeling life to fayle, it fell, and deadly slept.

XXI

They which that piteous spectacle beheld
Were much amaz'd the headlesse tronke to see
Stand up so long, and weapon vaine to weld,
Unweeting of the Fates divine decree
For lifes succession in those brethren three.
For notwithstanding that one soule was reft,
Yet, had the bodie not dismembred bee,
It would have lived, and revived eft;
But finding no fit seat, the lifelesse corse it left.

XXII

It left; but that same soule which therein dwelt,
Streight entring into Triamond, him fild
With double life and griefe; which when he felt,
As one whose inner parts had bene ythrild
With point of steele, that close his hartbloud spild,
He lightly lept out of his place of rest,
And rushing forth into the emptie field,
Against Cambello fiercely him addrest;
Who him affronting soone to fight was readie prest.

XXIII

Well mote ye wonder how that noble knight,
After he had so often wounded beene,
Could stand on foot now to renew the fight.
But had ye then him forth advauncing seene,
Some newborne wight ye would him surely weene,
So fresh he seemed and so fierce in sight;
Like as a snake, whom wearie winters teene
Hath worne to nought, now feeling sommers might,
Casts off his ragged skin and freshly doth him dight.

XXIV

All was through vertue of the ring he wore,
The which not onely did not from him let
One drop of bloud to fall, but did restore
His weakned powers, and dulled spirits whet,
Through working of the stone therein yset.
Else how could one of equall might with most,
Against so many no lesse mightie met,
Once thinke to match three such on equall cost,
Three such as able were to match a puissant host?
XXV

Yet nought thereof was Triamond adredde,
Ne desperate of glorious victorie,
But sharpely him assayld, and sore bestedde,
With heapes of strokes, which he at him let flie
As thicke as hayle forth poured from the skie:
He stroke, he soust, he foynd, he hewd, he lasht,
And did his yron brond so fast applie,
That from the same the fierie sparkles flasht,
As fast as water-sprinkles gainst a rocke are dasht.

XXVI

Much was Cambello daunted with his blowes,
So thicke they fell, and forcibly were sent,
That he was forst from daunger of the throwes
Backe to retire, and somewhat to relent,
Till th'heat of his fierce furie he had spent:
Which when for want of breath gan to abate,
He then afresh with new encouragement
Did him assayle, and mightily amate,
As fast as forward erst, now backward to retrate.

XXVII

Like as the tide, that comes fro th' ocean mayne,
Flowes up the Shenan with contrarie forse,
And overruling him in his owne rayne,
Drives backe the current of his kindly course,
And makes it seeme to have some other sourse:
But when the floud is spent, then backe againe,
His borrowed waters forst to redisbourse,
He sends the sea his owne with double gaine,
And tribute eke withall, as to his soveraine.

XXVIII

Thus did the battell varie to and fro,
With diverse fortune doubtfull to be deemed:
Now this the better had, now had his fo;
Then he halfe vanquisht, then the other seemed;
Yet victors both them selves alwayes esteemed.
And all the while the disentrayled blood
Adowne their sides like litle rivers stremed,
That with the wasting of his vitall flood
Sir Triamond at last full faint and feeble stood.

XXIX

But Cambell still more strong and greater grew,
Ne felt his blood to wast, ne powres emperisht,
Through that rings vertue, that with vigour new,
Still when as he enfeebled was, him cherisht,
And all his wounds and all his bruses guarisht:
Like as a withered tree, through husbands toyle,
Is often seene full freshly to have florisht,
And fruitfull apples to have borne awhile,
As fresh as when it first was planted in the soyle.

XXX

Through which advantage, in his strength he rose,
And smote the other with so wondrous might,
That through the seame which did his hauberk close
Into his throate and life it pierced quight,
That downe he fell as dead in all mens sight:
Yet dead he was not, yet he sure did die,
As all men do that lose the living spright:
So did one soule out of his bodie flie
Unto her native home from mortall miserie.

XXXI

But nathelesse whilst all the lookers on
Him dead behight, as he to all appeard,
All unawares he started up anon,
As one that had out of a dreame bene reard,
And fresh assayld his foe; who halfe affeard
Of th' uncouth sight, as he some ghost had seene,
Stood still amaz'd, holding his idle sweard;
Till, having often by him stricken beene,
He forced was to strike, and save him selfe from teene.

XXXII

Yet from thenceforth more warily he fought,
As one in feare the Stygian gods t' offend,
Ne followd on so fast, but rather sought
Him selfe to save, and daunger to defend,
Then life and labour both in vaine to spend.
Which Triamond perceiving, weened sure
He gan to faint toward the battels end,
And that he should not long on foote endure,
A signe which did to him the victorie assure.

XXXIII

Whereof full blith, eftsoones his mightie hand
He heav'd on high, in mind with that same blow
To make an end of all that did withstand:
Which Cambell seeing come, was nothing slow
Him selfe to save from that so deadly throw;
And at that instant reaching forth his sweard,
Close underneath his shield, that scarce did show,
Stroke him, as he his hand to strike upreard,
In th' arm-pit full, that through both sides the wound appeard.

XXXIV

Yet still that direfull stroke kept on his way,
And falling heavie on Cambelloes crest,
Strooke him so hugely that in swowne he lay,
And in his head an hideous wound imprest:
And sure, had it not happily found rest
Upon the brim of his brode plated shield,
It would have cleft his braine downe to his brest.
So both at once fell dead upon the field,
And each to other seemd the victorie to yield.

XXXV

Which when as all the lookers on beheld,
They weened sure the warre was at an end,
And judges rose, and marshals of the field
Broke up the listes, their armes away to rend;
And Canacee gan wayle her dearest frend.
All suddenly they both upstarted light,
The one out of the swownd which him did blend,
The other breathing now another spright,
And fiercely each assayling, gan afresh to fight.

XXXVI

Long while they then continued in that wize,
As if but then the battell had begonne:
Strokes, wounds, wards, weapons, all they did despise,
Ne either car'd to ward, or perill shonne,
Desirous both to have the battell donne;
Ne either cared life to save or spill,
Ne which of them did winne, ne which were wonne.
So wearie both of fighting had their fill,
That life it selfe seemd loathsome, and long safetie ill.

XXXVII

Whilst thus the case in doubtfull ballance hong,
Unsure to whether side it would incline,
And all mens eyes and hearts, which there among
Stood gazing, filled were with rufull tine,
And secret feare to see their fatall fine,
All suddenly they heard a troublous noyes,
That seemd some perilous tumult to desine,
Confusd with womens cries and shouts of boyes,
Such as the troubled theaters oftimes annoyes.

XXXVIII

Thereat the champions both stood still a space,
To weeten what that sudden clamour ment;
Lo! where they spyde with speedie whirling pace
One in a charet of straunge furniment
Towards them driving like a storme out sent.
The charet decked was in wondrous wize
With gold and many a gorgeous ornament,
After the Persian Monarks antique guize,
Such as the maker selfe could best by art devize.

XXXIX

And drawne it was (that wonder is to tell)
Of two grim lyons, taken from the wood
In which their powre all others did excell;
Now made forget their former cruell mood,
T' obey their riders hest, as seemed good.
And therein sate a ladie passing faire
And bright, that seemed borne of angels brood,
And with her beautie bountie did compare,
Whether of them in her should have the greater share.

XL

Thereto she learned was in magicke leare,
And all the artes that subtill wits discover,
Having therein bene trained many a yeare,
And well instructed by the Fay her mother,
That in the same she farre exceld all other.
Who, understanding by her mightie art
Of th' evill plight in which her dearest brother
Now stood, came forth in hast to take his part,
And pacifie the strife which causd so deadly smart.

XLI

And as she passed through th' unruly preace
Of people thronging thicke her to behold,
Her angrie teame, breaking their bonds of peace,
Great heapes of them, like sheepe in narrow fold,
For hast did over-runne, in dust enrould;
That, thorough rude confusion of the rout,
Some fearing shriekt, some being harmed hould,
Some laught for sport, some did for wonder shout,
And some, that would seeme wise, their wonder turnd to dout.

XLII

In her right hand a rod of peace shee bore,
About the which two serpents weren wound,
Entrayled mutually in lovely lore,
And by the tailes together firmely bound,
And both were with one olive garland crownd,
Like to the rod which Maias sonne doth wield,
Wherewith the hellish fiends he doth confound.
And in her other hand a cup she hild,
The which was with Nepenthe to the brim upfild.

XLIII

Nepenthe is a drinck of soverayne grace,
Devized by the gods, for to asswage
Harts grief, and bitter gall away to chace,
Which stirs up anguish and contentious rage:
In stead thereof sweet peace and quietage
It doth establish in the troubled mynd.
Few men, but such as sober are and sage,
Are by the gods to drinck thereof assynd;
But such as drinck, eternall happinesse do fynd.

XLIV

Such famous men, such worthies of the earth,
As Jove will have advaunced to the skie,
And there made gods, though borne of mortall berth,
For their high merits and great dignitie,
Are wont, before they may to heaven flie,
To drincke hereof, whereby all cares forepast
Are washt away quite from their memorie.
So did those olde heroes hereof taste,
Before that they in blisse amongst the gods were plaste.

XLV

Much more of price and of more gratious powre
Is this, then that same water of Ardenne,
The which Rinaldo drunck in happie howre,
Described by that famous Tuscane penne:
For that had might to change the hearts of men
Fro love to hate, a change of evill choise.
But this doth hatred make in love to brenne,
And heavy heart with comfort doth rejoyce.
Who would not to this vertue rather yeeld his voice?

XLVI

At last arriving by the listes side,
Shee with her rod did softly smite the raile,
Which straight flew ope, and gave her way to ride.
Eftsoones out of her coch she gan availe,
And pacing fairely forth, did bid all haile,
First to her brother, whom she loved deare,
That so to see him made her heart to quaile:
And next to Cambell, whose sad ruefull cheare
Made her to change her hew, and hidden love t' appeare.

XLVII

They lightly her requit (for small delight
They had as then her long to entertaine,)
And eft them turned both againe to fight:
Which when she saw, downe on the bloudy plaine
Her selfe she threw, and teares gan shed amaine;
Amongst her teares immixing prayers meeke,
And with her prayers reasons, to restraine
From blouddy strife; and blessed peace to seeke,
By all that unto them was deare, did them beseeke.

XLVIII

But when as all might nought with them prevaile,
Shee smote them lightly with her powrefull wand.
Then suddenly as if their hearts did faile,
Their wrathfull blades downe fell out of their hand,
And they like men astonisht still did stand.
Thus whilest their minds were doubtfully distraught,
And mighty spirites bound with mightier band,
Her golden cup to them for drinke she raught,
Whereof, full glad for thirst, ech drunk an harty draught.

XLIX

Of which so soone as they once tasted had,
Wonder it is that sudden change to see:
Instead of strokes, each other kissed glad,
And lovely haulst, from feare of treason free,
And plighted hands for ever friends to be.
When all men saw this sudden change of things,
So mortall foes so friendly to agree,
For passing joy, which so great marvaile brings,
They all gan shout aloud, that all the heaven rings.

L

All which when gentle Canacee beheld,
In hast she from her lofty chaire descended,
Too weet what sudden tidings was befeld:
Where when she saw that cruell war so ended,
And deadly foes so faithfully affrended,
In lovely wise she gan that lady greet,
Which had so great dismay so well amended,
And entertaining her with curt'sies meet,
Profest to her true friendship and affection sweet.

LI

Thus when they all accorded goodly were,
The trumpets sounded, and they all arose,
Thence to depart with glee and gladsome chere.

Those warlike champions both together chose
Homeward to march, themselves there to repose,
And wise Cambina, taking by her side
Faire Canacee, as fresh as morning rose,
Unto her coch remounting, home did ride,
Admir'd of all the people and much glorifide.

LII

Where making joyous feast theire daies they spent
In perfect love, devoide of hatefull strife,
Allide with bands of mutuall couplement;
For Triamond had Canacee to wife,
With whom he ledd a long and happie life;
And Cambel tooke Cambina to his fere,
The which as life were each to other liefe,
So all alike did love, and loved were,
That since their days such lovers were not found elswhere.





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