Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 5, CANTOS 10-12, by EDMUND SPENSER



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THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 5, CANTOS 10-12, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Prince arthur takes the enterprize
Last Line: To faery court, where what him fell shall else be told.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clout, Colin


CANTO X

Prince Arthur takes the enterprize
For Belgee for to fight:
Gerioneos seneschall
He slayes in Belges right.

I

SOME clarkes doe doubt in their devicefull art,
Whether this heavenly thing whereof I treat,
To weeten Mercie, be of Justice part,
Or drawne forth from her by divine extreate.
This well I wote, that sure she is as great,
And meriteth to have as high a place,
Sith in th' Almighties everlasting seat
She first was bred, and borne of heavenly race;
From thence pour'd down on men, by influence of grace.

II

For if that vertue be of so great might,
Which from just verdict will for nothing start,
But, to preserve inviolated right,
Oft spilles the principall, to save the part;
So much more then is that of powre and art,
That seekes to save the subject of her skill,
Yet never doth from doome of right depart:
As it is greater prayse to save then spill,
And better to reforme then to cut off the ill.

III

Who then can thee, Mercilla, throughly prayse,
That herein doest all earthly princes pas?
What heavenly muse shall thy great honour rayse
Up to the skies, whence first deriv'd it was,
And now on earth it selfe enlarged has
From th' utmost brinke of the Americke shore
Unto the margent of the Molucas?
Those nations farre thy justice doe adore:
But thine owne people do thy mercy prayse much more.

IV

Much more it praysed was of those two knights,
The noble Prince and righteous Artegall,
When they had seene and heard her doome a rights
Against Duessa, damned by them all;
But by her tempred without griefe or gall,
Till strong constraint did her thereto enforce:
And yet even then ruing her wilfull fall
With more then needfull naturall remorse,
And yeelding the last honour to her wretched corse.

V

During all which, those knights continu'd there,
Both doing and receiving curtesies
Of that great ladie, who with goodly chere
Them entertayn'd, fit for their dignities,
Approving dayly to their noble eyes
Royall examples of her mercies rare,
And worthie paterns of her clemencies;
Which till this day mongst many living are,
Who them to their posterities doe still declare.

VI

Amongst the rest, which in that space befell,
There came two springals of full tender yeares,
Farre thence from forrein land, where they did dwell,
To seeke for succour of her and of her peares,
With humble prayers and intreatfull teares;
Sent by their mother, who a widow was,
Wrapt in great dolours and in deadly feares
By a strong tyrant, who invaded has
Her land, and slaine her children ruefully, alas!

VII

Her name was Belgae, who in former age
A ladie of great worth and wealth had beene,
And mother of a frutefull heritage,
Even seventeene goodly sonnes; which who had seene
In their first flowre, before this fatall teene
Them overtooke, and their faire blossomes blasted,
More happie mother would her surely weene
Then famous Niobe, before she tasted
Latonaes childrens wrath, that all her issue wasted.

VIII

But this fell tyrant, through his tortious powre,
Had left her now but five of all that brood:
For twelve of them he did by times devoure,
And to his idole sacrifice their blood,
Whylest he of none was stopped, nor withstood.
For soothly he was one of matchlesse might,
Of horrible aspect and dreadfull mood,
And had three bodies in one wast empight,
And th' armes and legs of three, to succour him in fight.

IX

And sooth they say that he was borne and bred
Of gyants race, the sonne of Geryon,
He that whylome in Spaine so sore was dred
For his huge powre and great oppression,
Which brought that land to his subjection
Through his three bodies powre, in one combynd;
And eke all strangers, in that region
Arryving, to his kyne for food assynd;
The fayrest kyne alive, but of the fiercest kynd.

X

For they were all, they say, of purple hew,
Kept by a cowheard, hight Eurytion,
A cruell carle, the which all strangers slew,
Ne day nor night did sleepe, t' attend them on,
But walkt about them ever and anone,
With his two headed dogge, that Orthrus hight;
Orthrus begotten by great Typhaon
And foule Echidna, in the house of Night;
But Hercules them all did overcome in fight.

XI

His sonne was this, Geryoneo hight;
Who, after that his monstrous father fell
Under Alcides club, streight tooke his flight
From that sad land, where he his syre did quell,
And came to this, where Belge then did dwell
And flourish in all wealth and happinesse,
Being then new made widow (as befell)
After her noble husbands late decesse;
Which gave beginning to her woe and wretchednesse.

XII

Then this bold tyrant, of her widowhed
Taking advantage, and her yet fresh woes,
Himselfe and service to her offered,
Her to defend against all forrein foes,
That should their powre against her right oppose.
Whereof she glad, now needing strong defence,
Him entertayn'd, and did her champion chose:
Which long he usd with carefull diligence,
The better to confirme her fearelesse confidence.

XIII

By meanes whereof, she did at last commit
All to his hands, and gave him soveraine powre
To doe what ever he thought good or fit.
Which having got, he gan forth from that howre
To stirre up strife, and many a tragicke stowre,
Giving her dearest children one by one
Unto a dreadfull monster to devoure,
And setting up an idole of his owne,
The image of his monstrous parent Geryone.

XIV

So tyrannizing, and oppressing all,
The woefull widow had no meanes now left,
But unto gratious great Mercilla call
For ayde against that cruell tyrants theft,
Ere all her children he from her had reft.
Therefore these two, her eldest sonnes, she sent,
To seeke for succour of this ladies gieft:
To whom their sute they humbly did present,
In th' hearing of full many knights and ladies gent.

XV

Amongst the which then fortuned to bee
The noble Briton Prince, with his brave peare;
Who when he none of all those knights did see
Hastily bent that enterprise to heare,
Nor undertake the same, for cowheard feare,
He stepped forth with courage bold and great,
Admyr'd of all the rest in presence there,
And humbly gan that mightie queene entreat
To graunt him that adventure for his former feat.

XVI

She gladly graunted it: then he straight way
Himselfe unto his journey gan prepare,
And all his armours readie dight that day,
That nought the morrow next mote stay his fare.
The morrow next appear'd, with purple hayre
Yet dropping fresh out of the Indian fount,
And bringing light into the heavens fayre,
When he was readie to his steede to mount,
Unto his way, which now was all his care and count.

XVII

Then taking humble leave of that great queene,
Who gave him roiall giftes and riches rare,
As tokens of her thankefull mind beseene,
And leaving Artegall to his owne care,
Upon his voyage forth he gan to fare,
With those two gentle youthes, which him did guide,
And all his way before him still prepare.
Ne after him did Artigall abide,
But on his first adventure forward forth did ride.

XVIII

It was not long till that the Prince arrived
Within the land where dwelt that ladie sad,
Whereof that tyrant had her now deprived,
And into moores and marshes banisht had,
Out of the pleasant soyle and citties glad,
In which she wont to harbour happily:
But now his cruelty so sore she drad,
That to those fennes for fastnesse she did fly,
And there her selfe did hyde from his hard tyranny.

XIX

There he her found in sorrow and dismay,
All solitarie without living wight;
For all her other children, through affray,
Had hid themselves, or taken further flight:
And eke her selfe through sudden strange affright,
When one in armes she saw, began to fly;
But when her owne two sonnes she had in sight,
She gan take hart, and looke up joyfully:
For well she wist this knight came succour to supply:

XX

And running unto them with greedy joyes,
Fell straight about their neckes, as they did kneele,
And bursting forth in teares, 'Ah! my sweet boyes,'
Sayd she, 'yet now I gin new life to feele,
And feeble spirits, that gan faint and reele,
Now rise againe at this your joyous sight.
Alreadie seemes that Fortunes headlong wheele
Begins to turne, and sunne to shine more bright
Then it was wont, through comfort of this noble knight.'

XXI

Then turning unto him, 'And you, sir knight,'
Said she, 'that taken have this toylesome paine
For wretched woman, miserable wight,
May you in heaven immortall guerdon gaine
For so great travell as you doe sustaine:
For other meede may hope for none of mee,
To whom nought else but bare life doth remaine;
And that so wretched one, as ye do see,
Is liker lingring death then loathed life to bee.'

XXII

Much was he moved with her piteous plight,
And low dismounting from his loftie steede,
Gan to recomfort her all that he might,
Seeking to drive away deepe rooted dreede,
With hope of helpe in that her greatest neede.
So thence he wished her with him to wend,
Unto some place where they mote rest and feede,
And she take comfort, which God now did send:
Good hart in evils doth the evils much amend.

XXIII

'Ay me!' sayd she, 'and whether shall I goe?
Are not all places full of forraine powres?
My pallaces possessed of my foe,
My cities sackt, and their sky-threating towres
Raced, and made smooth fields now full of flowres?
Onely these marishes and myrie bogs,
In which the fearefull ewftes do build their bowres,
Yeeld me an hostry mongst the croking frogs,
And harbour here in safety from those ravenous dogs.'

XXIV

'Nathlesse,' said he, 'deare ladie, with me goe;
Some place shall us receive, and harbour yield;
If not, we will it force, maugre your foe,
And purchase it to us with speare and shield:
And if all fayle, yet farewell open field:
The Earth to all her creatures lodging lends.'
With such his chearefull speaches he doth wield
Her mind so well, that to his will she bends,
And bynding up her locks and weeds, forth with him wends.

XXV

They came unto a citie farre up land,
The which whylome that ladies owne had bene;
But now by force extort out of her hand
By her strong foe, who had defaced cleene
Her stately towres and buildings sunny sheene,
Shut up her haven, mard her marchants trade,
Robbed her people, that full rich had beene,
And in her necke a castle huge had made,
The which did her commaund, without needing perswade.

XXVI

That castle was the strength of all that state,
Untill that state by strength was pulled downe,
And that same citie, so now ruinate,
Had bene the keye of all that kingdomes crowne;
Both goodly castle, and both goodly towne,
Till that th' offended Heavens list to lowre
Upon their blisse, and balefull Fortune frowne.
When those gainst states and kingdomes do conjure,
Who then can thinke their hedlong ruine to recure?

XXVII

But he had brought it now in servile bond,
And made it beare the yoke of Inquisition,
Stryving long time in vaine it to withstond;
Yet glad at last to make most base submission,
And life enjoy for any composition.
So now he hath new lawes and orders new
Imposd on it, with may a hard condition,
And forced it the honour that is dew
To God to doe unto his idole most untrew.

XXVIII

To him he hath, before this castle greene,
Built a faire chappell, and an altar framed
Of costly ivory, full rich beseene,
On which that cursed idole, farre proclamed,
He hath set up, and him his god hath named,
Offring to him in sinfull sacrifice
The flesh of men, to Gods owne likenesse framed,
And powring forth their bloud in brutishe wize,
That any yron eyes to see it would agrize.

XXIX

And for more horror and more crueltie,
Under that cursed idols altar stone
An hideous monster doth in darknesse lie,
Whose dreadfull shape was never seene of none
That lives on earth, but unto those alone
The which unto him sacrificed bee.
Those he devoures, they say, both flesh and bone:
What else they have is all the tyrants fee;
So that no whit of them remayning one may see.

XXX

There eke he placed a strong garrisone,
And set a seneschall of dreaded might,
That by his powre oppressed every one,
And vanquished all ventrous knights in fight;
To whom he wont shew all the shame he might,
After that them in battell he had wonne.
To which when now they gan approch in sight,
The ladie counseld him the place to shonne,
Whereas so many knights had fouly bene fordonne.

XXXI

Her fearefull speaches nought he did regard,
But ryding streight under the castle wall,
Called aloud unto the watchfull ward,
Which there did wayte, willing them forth to call
Into the field their tyrants seneschall.
To whom when tydings thereof came, he streight
Cals for his armes, and arming him withall,
Eftsoones forth pricked proudly in his might,
And gan with courage fierce addresse him to the fight.

XXXII

They both encounter in the middle plaine,
And their sharpe speares doe both together smite
Amid their shields, with so huge might and maine,
That seem'd their soules they wold have ryven quight
Out of their breasts, with furious despight.
Yet could the seneschals no entrance find
Into the Princes shield, where it empight,
So pure the mettall was, and well refynd,
But shivered all about, and scattered in the wynd.

XXXIII

Not so the Princes, but with restlesse force
Into his shield it readie passage found,
Both through his haberjeon and eke his corse:
Which tombling downe upon the senselesse ground,
Gave leave unto his ghost from thraldome bound,
To wander in the griesly shades of night.
There did the Prince him leave in deadly swound,
And thence unto the castle marched right,
To see if entrance there as yet obtaine he might.

XXXIV

But as he nigher drew, three knights he spyde,
All arm'd to point, issuing forth a pace,
Which towards him with all their powre did ryde,
And meeting him right in the middle race,
Did all their speares attonce on him enchace.
As three great culverings for battrie bent,
And leveld all against one certaine place,
Doe all attonce their thunders rage forth rent,
That makes the wals to stagger with astonishment.

XXXV

So all attonce they on the Prince did thonder;
Who from his saddle swarved nought asyde,
Ne to their force gave way, that was great wonder,
But like a bulwarke firmely did abyde,
Rebutting him which in the midst did ryde,
With so huge rigour, that his mortall speare
Past through his shield, and pierst through either syde,
That downe he fell uppon his mother deare,
And powred forth his wretched life in deadly dreare.

XXXVI

Whom when his other fellowes saw, they fled
As fast as feete could carry them away;
And after them the Prince as swiftly sped,
To be aveng'd of their unknightly play.
There whilest they, entring, th' one did th' other stay,
The hindmost in the gate he overhent,
And as he pressed in, him there did slay:
His carkasse, tumbling on the threshold, sent
His groning soule unto her place of punishment.

XXXVII

The other, which was entred, laboured fast
To sperre the gate; but that same lumpe of clay,
Whose grudging ghost was thereout fled and past,
Right in the middest of the threshold lay,
That it the posterne did from closing stay:
The whiles the Prince hard preased in betweene,
And entraunce wonne. Streight th' other fled away,
And ran into the hall, where he did weene
Him selfe to save: but he there slew him at the skreene.

XXXVIII

Then all the rest which in that castle were,
Seeing that sad ensample them before,
Durst not abide, but fled away for feare,
And them convayd out at a posterne dore.
Long sought the Prince, but when he found no more
T' oppose against his powre, he forth issued
Unto that lady, where he her had lore,
And her gan cheare with what she there had vewed,
And what she had not seene within unto her shewed.

XXXIX

Who with right humble thankes him goodly greeting,
For so great prowesse as he there had proved,
Much greater then was ever in her weeting,
With great admiraunce inwardly was moved,
And honourd him with all that her behoved.
Thenceforth into that castle he her led,
With her two sonnes, right deare of her beloved,
Where all that night them selves they cherished,
And from her balefull minde all care he banished.

CANTO XI

Prince Arthure overcomes the great
Gerioneo in fight:
Doth slay the monster, and restore
Belge unto her right.

I

IT often fals in course of common life,
That right long time is overborne of wrong,
Through avarice, or powre, or guile, or strife,
That weakens her, and makes her party strong:
But Justice, though her dome she doe prolong,
Yet at the last she will her owne cause right:
As by sad Belge seemes, whose wrongs though long
She suffred, yet at length she did requight,
And sent redresse thereof by this brave Briton knight.

II

Whereof when newes was to that tyrant brought,
How that the Lady Belge now had found
A champion, that had with his champion fought,
And laid his seneschall low on the ground,
And eke him selfe did threaten to confound,
He gan to burne in rage, and friese in feare,
Doubting sad end of principle unsound:
Yet sith he heard but one that did appeare,
He did him selfe encourage, and take better cheare.

III

Nathelesse him selfe he armed all in hast,
And forth he far'd with all his many bad,
Ne stayed step, till that he came at last
Unto the castle which they conquerd had.
There with huge terrour, to be more ydrad,
He sternely marcht before the castle gate,
And with bold vaunts and ydle threatning bad
Deliver him his owne, ere yet too late,
To which they had no right, nor any wrongfull state.

IV

The Prince staid not his aunswere to devize,
But opening streight the sparre, forth to him came,
Full nobly mounted in right warlike wize;
And asked him, if that he were the same,
Who all that wrong unto that wofull dame
So long had done, and from her native land
Exiled her, that all the world spake shame.
He boldly aunswerd him, he there did stand
That would his doings justifie with his owne hand.

V

With that so furiously at him he flew,
As if he would have overrun him streight,
And with his huge great yron axe gan hew
So hideously uppon his armour bright,
As he to peeces would have chopt it quight:
That the bold Prince was forced foote to give
To his first rage, and yeeld to his despight;
The whilest at him so dreadfully he drive,
That seem'd a marble rocke asunder could have rive.

VI

Thereto a great advauntage eke he has
Through his three double hands thrise multiplyde,
Besides the double strength which in them was:
For stil when fit occasion did betyde,
He could his weapon shift from side to syde,
From hand to hand, and with such nimblesse sly
Could wield about, that ere it were espide,
The wicked stroke did wound his enemy,
Behinde, beside, before, as he it list apply.

VII

Which uncouth use when as the Prince perceived,
He gan to watch the wielding of his hand,
Least by such slight he were unwares deceived;
And ever ere he saw the stroke to land,
He would it meete and warily withstand.
One time, when he his weapon faynd to shift,
As he was wont, and chang'd from hand to hand,
He met him with a counterstroke so swift,
That quite smit off his arme, as he it up did lift.

VIII

Therewith, all fraught with fury and disdaine,
He brayd aloud for very fell despight,
And sodainely t' avenge him selfe againe,
Gan into one assemble all the might
Of all his hands, and heaved them on hight,
Thinking to pay him with that one for all:
But the sad steele seizd not, where it was hight,
Uppon the childe, but somewhat short did fall,
And lighting on his horses head, him quite did mall.

IX

Downe streight to ground fell his astonisht steed,
And eke to th' earth his burden with him bare:
But he him selfe full lightly from him freed,
And gan him selfe to fight on foote prepare.
Whereof when as the gyant was aware,
He wox right blyth, as he had got thereby,
And laught so loud, that all his teeth wide bare
One might have seene enraung'd disorderly,
Like to a rancke of piles, that pitched are awry.

X

Eftsoones againe his axe he raught on hie,
Ere he were throughly buckled to his geare,
And can let drive at him so dreadfullie,
That had he chaunced not his shield to reare,
Ere that huge stroke arrived on him neare,
He had him surely cloven quite in twaine.
But th' adamantine shield which he did beare
So well was tempred, that, for all his maine,
It would no passage yeeld unto his purpose vaine.

XI

Yet was the stroke so forcibly applide,
That made him stagger with uncertaine sway,
As if he would have tottered to one side.
Wherewith full wroth, he fiercely gan assay
That curt'sie with like kindnesse to repay;
And smote at him with so importune might,
That two more of his armes did fall away,
Like fruitlesse braunches, which the hatchets slight
Hath pruned from the native tree, and cropped quight.
XII

With that all mad and furious he grew,
Like a fell mastiffe through enraging heat,
And curst, and band, and blasphemies forth threw
Against his gods, and fire to them did threat,
And hell unto him selfe with horrour great.
Thenceforth he car'd no more which way he strooke,
Nor where it light, but gan to chaufe and sweat,
And gnasht his teeth, and his head at him shooke,
And sternely him beheld with grim and ghastly looke.

XIII

Nought fear'd the childe his lookes, ne yet his threats,
but onely wexed now the more aware,
To save him selfe from those his furious heats,
And watch advauntage, how to worke his care;
The which good fortune to him offred faire.
For as he in his rage him overstrooke,
He, ere he could his weapon backe repaire,
His side all bare and naked overtooke,
And with his mortal steel quite throgh the body strooke.

XIV

Through all three bodies he him strooke attonce,
That all the three attonce fell on the plaine:
Else should he thrise have needed for the nonce
Them to have stricken, and thrise to have slaine.
So now all three one sencelesse lumpe remaine,
Enwallow'd in his owne blacke bloudy gore,
And byting th' earth for very deaths disdaine;
Who, with a cloud of night him covering, bore
Downe to the house of dole, his daies there to deplore.

XV

Which when the lady from the castle saw,
Where she with her two sonnes did looking stand,
She towards him in hast her selfe did draw,
To greet him the good fortune of his hand:
And all the people both of towne and land,
Which there stood gazing from the citties wall
Uppon these warriours, greedy t' understand
To whether should the victory befall,
Now when they saw it falne, they eke him greeted all.

XVI

But Belge with her sonnes prostrated low
Before his feete, in all that peoples sight,
Mongst joyes mixing some tears, mongst wele some wo,
Him thus bespake: 'O most redoubted knight,
The which hast me, of all most wretched wight,
That earst was dead, restor'd to life againe,
And these weake impes replanted by thy might;
What guerdon can I give thee for thy paine,
But even that which thou savedst, thine still to remaine?'

XVII

He tooke her up forby the lilly hand,
And her recomforted the best he might,
Saying: 'Deare lady, deedes ought not be scand
By th' authors manhood, nor the doers might,
But by their trueth and by the causes right:
That same is it, which fought for you this day.
What other meed then need me to requight,
But that which yeeldeth vertues meed alway?
That is the vertue selfe, which har reward doth pay.'

XVIII

She humbly thankt him for that wondrous grace,
And further sayd: 'Ah! sir, but mote ye please,
Sith ye thus farre have tendred my poore case,
As from my chiefest foe me to release,
That your victorious arme will not yet cease,
Till ye have rooted all the relickes out
Of that vilde race, and stablished my peace.'
'What is there else,' sayd he, 'left of their rout?
Declare it boldly, dame, and doe not stand in dout.'

XIX

'Then wote you, sir, that in this church hereby,
There stands an idole of great note and name,
The which this gyant reared first on hie,
And of his owne vaine fancies thought did frame:
To whom, for endlesse horrour of his shame,
He offred up for daily sacrifize
My children and my people, burnt in flame,
With all the tortures that he could devize,
The more t' aggrate his god with such his blouddy guize.

XX

'And underneath this idoll there doth lie
An hideous monster, that doth it defend,
And feedes on all the carkasses that die
In sacrifize unto that cursed feend:
Whose ugly shape none ever saw, nor kend,
That ever scap'd: for of a man they say
It has the voice, that speaches forth doth send,
Even blasphemous words, which she doth bray
Out of her poysnous entrails, fraught with dire decay.'

XXI

Which when the Prince heard tell, his heart gan earne
For great desire, that monster to assay,
And prayd the place of her abode to learne.
Which being shew'd, he gan him selfe streight way
Thereto addresse, and his bright shield display.
So to the church he came, where it was told
The monster underneath the altar lay;
There he that idoll saw of massy gold
Most richly made, but there no monster did behold.

XXII

Upon the image with his naked blade
Three times, as in defiance, there he strooke;
And the third time, out of an hidden shade,
There forth issewd, from under th' altars smooke,
A dreadfull feend, with fowle deformed looke,
That stretcht it selfe, as it had long lyen still;
And her long taile and fethers strongly shooke,
That all the temple did with terrour fill;
Yet him nought terrifide, that feared nothing ill.

XXIII

An huge great beast it was, when it in length
Was stretched forth, that nigh fild all the place,
And seem'd to be of infinite great strength;
Horrible, hideous, and of hellish race,
Borne of the brooding of Echidna base,
Or other like infernall Furies kinde:
For of a mayd she had the outward face,
To hide the horrour which did lurke behinde,
The better to beguile whom she so fond did finde.

XXIV

Thereto the body of a dog she had,
Full of fell ravin and fierce greedinesse;
A lions clawes, with powre and rigour clad,
To rend and teare what so she can oppresse;
A dragons taile, whose sting without redresse
Full deadly wounds, where so it is empight;
And eagles wings, for scope and speedinesse,
That nothing may escape her reaching might,
Whereto she ever list to make her hardy flight.

XXV

Much like in foulnesse and deformity
Unto that monster whom the Theban knight,
The father of that fatall progeny,
Made kill her selfe for very hearts despight,
That he had red her riddle, which no wight
Could ever loose, but suffred deadly doole.
So also did this monster use like slight
To many a one which came unto her schoole,
Whom she did put to death, deceived like a foole.

XXVI

She comming forth, when as she first beheld
The armed Prince, with shield so blazing bright,
Her ready to assaile, was greatly queld,
And much dismayd with that dismayfull sight,
That backe she would have turnd for great affright.
But he gan her with courage fierce assay,
That forst her turne againe in her despight,
To save her selfe, least that he did her slay:
And sure he had her slaine, had she not turnd her way.

XXVII

Tho, when she saw that she was forst to fight,
She flew at him, like to an hellish feend,
And on his shield tooke hold with all her might,
As if that it she would in peeces rend,
Or reave out of the hand that did it hend.
Strongly he strove out of her greedy gripe
To loose his shield, and long while did contend:
But when he could not quite it, with one stripe
Her lions clawes he from her feete away did wipe.

XXVIII

With that aloude she gan to bray and yell,
And fowle blasphemous speaches forth did cast,
And bitter curses, horrible to tell,
That even the temple, wherein she was plast,
Did quake to heare, and nigh asunder brast.
Tho with her huge long taile she at him strooke,
That made him stagger, and stand halfe agast
With trembling joynts, as he for terrour shooke;
Who nought was terrifide, but greater courage tooke.

XXIX

As when the mast of some well timbred hulke
Is with the blast of some outragious storme
Blowne downe, it shakes the bottome of the bulke,
And makes her ribs to cracke, as they were torne,
Whilest still she stands as stonisht and forlorne:
So was he stound with stroke of her huge taile.
But ere that it she backe againe had borne,
He with his sword it strooke, that without faile
He joynted it, and mard the swinging of her flaile.

XXX

Then gan she cry much louder then afore,
That all the people there without it heard,
And Belge selfe was therewith stonied sore,
As if the onely sound thereof she feard.
But then the feend her selfe more fiercely reard
Uppon her wide great wings, and strongly flew
With all her body at his head and beard,
That had he not foreseene with heedfull vew,
And thrown his shield atween, she had him done to rew.

XXXI

But as she prest on him with heavy sway,
Under her wombe his fatall sword he thrust,
And for her entrailes made an open way
To issue forth; the which, once being brust,
Like to a great mill damb forth fiercely gusht,
And powred out of her infernall sinke
Most ugly filth, and poyson therewith rusht,
That him nigh choked with the deadly stinke:
Such loathly matter were small lust to speake, or thinke.

XXXII

Then downe to ground fell that deformed masse,
Breathing out clouds of sulphure fowle and blacke,
In which a puddle of contagion was,
More loathd then Lerna, or then Stygian lake,
That any man would nigh awhaped make.
Whom when he saw on ground, he was full glad,
And streight went forth his gladnesse to partake
With Belge, who watcht all this while full sad,
Wayting what end would be of that same daunger drad.

XXXIII

Whom when she saw so joyously come forth,
She gan rejoyce, and shew triumphant chere,
Lauding and praysing his renowmed worth
By all the names that honorable were.
Then in he brought her, and her shewed there
The present of his paines, that monsters spoyle,
And eke that idoll deem'd so costly dere;
Whom he did all to peeces breake, and foyle
In filthy durt, and left so in the loathely soyle.

XXXIV

Then all the people, which beheld that day,
Gan shout aloud, that unto heaven it rong;
And all the damzels of that towne in ray
Came dauncing forth, and joyous carrols song:
So him they led through all their streetes along,
Crowned with girlonds of immortall baies,
And all the vulgar did about them throng,
To see the man, whose everlasting praise
They all were bound to all posterities to raise.

XXXV

There he with Belgae did a while remaine,
Making great feast and joyous merriment,
Untill he had her settled in her raine,
With safe assuraunce and establishment.
Then to his first emprize his mind he lent,
Full loath to Belgae and to all the rest:
Of whom yet taking leave, thenceforth he went
And to his former journey him addrest,
On which long way he rode, ne ever day did rest.

XXXVI

But turne we now to noble Artegall;
Who, having left Mercilla, streight way went
On his first quest, the which him forth did call,
To weet, to worke Irenaes franchisement,
And eke Grantortoes worthy punishment.
So forth he fared as his manner was,
With onely Talus wayting diligent,
Through many perils and much way did pas,
Till nigh unto the place at length approcht he has.

XXXVII

There as he traveld by the way, he met
An aged wight, wayfaring all alone,
Who through his yeares long since aside had set
The use of armes, and battell quite forgone:
To whom as he approcht, he knew anone
That it was he which whilome did attend
On faire Irene in her affliction,
When first to Faery court he saw her wend,
Unto his Soveraine Queene her suite for to commend.

XXXVIII

Whom by his name saluting, thus he gan:
'Haile, good Sir Sergis, truest knight alive,
Well tride in all thy ladies troubles than
When her that tyrant did of crowne deprive;
What new ocasion doth thee hither drive,
Whiles she alone is left, and thou here found?
Or is she thrall, or doth she not survive?'
To whom he thus: 'She liveth sure and sound;
But by that tyrant is in wretched thraldome bound.

XXXIX

'For she, presuming on th' appointed tyde,
In which ye promist, as ye were a knight,
To meete her at the Salvage Ilands syde,
And then and there for triall of her right
With her unrighteous enemy to fight,
Did thither come, where she, afrayd of nought,
By guilefull treason and by subtill slight
Surprized was, and to Grantorto brought,
Who her imprisond hath, and her life often sought.

XL

'And now he hath to her prefixt a day,
By which if that no champion doe appeare,
Which will her cause in battailous array
Against him justifie, and prove her cleare
Of all those crimes that he gainst her doth reare,
She death shall sure aby.' Those tidings sad
Did much abash Sir Artegall to heare,
And grieved sore, that through his fault she had
Fallen into that tyrants hand and usage bad.

XLI

Then thus replide: 'Now sure and by my life,
Too much am I too blame for that faire maide,
That have her drawne to all this troublous strife,
Through promise to afford her timely aide,
Which by default I have not yet defraide.
But witnesse unto me, ye heavens, that know
How cleare I am from blame of this upbraide:
For ye into like thraldome me did throw,
And kept from complishing the faith which I did owe.

XLII

'But now aread, Sir Sergis, how long space
Hath he her lent, a champion to provide.'
'Ten daies,' quoth he, 'he graunted hath of grace,
For that he weeneth well, before that tide
None can have tidings to assist her side.
For all the shores, which to the sea accoste,
He day and night doth ward both far and wide,
That none can there arrive without an hoste:
So her he deemes already but a damned ghoste.'

XLIII

'Now turne againe,' Sir Artegall then sayd;
'For if I live till those ten daies have end,
Assure your selfe, sir knight, she shall have ayd,
Though I this dearest life for her doe spend.'
So backeward he attone with him did wend.
Tho, as they rode together on their way,
A rout of people they before them kend,
Flocking together in confusde array,
As if that there were some tumultuous affray.

XLIV

To which as they approcht, the cause to know,
They saw a knight in daungerous distresse
Of a rude rout him chasing to and fro,
That sought with lawlesse powre him to oppresse,
And bring in bondage of their brutishnesse:
And farre away, amid their rakehell bands,
They spide a lady left all succourlesse,
Crying, and holding up her wretched hands
To him for aide, who long in vaine their rage withstands.

XLV

Yet still he strives, ne any perill spares,
To reskue her from their rude violence,
And like a lion wood amongst them fares,
Dealing his dreadfull blowes with large dispence,
Gainst which the pallid death findes no defence.
But all in vaine; their numbers are so great,
That naught may boot to banishe them from thence:
For soone as he their outrage backe doth beat,
They turne afresh, and oft renew their former threat.

XLVI

And now they doe so sharpely him assay,
That they his shield in peeces battred have,
And forced him to throw it quite away,
Fro dangers dread his doubtfull life to save;
Albe that it most safety to him gave,
And much did magnifie his noble name:
For from the day that he thus did it leave,
Amongst all knights he blotted was with blame,
And counted but a recreant knight, with endles shame.

XLVII

Whom when they thus distressed did behold.
They drew unto his aide; but that rude rout
Them also gan assaile with outrage bold,
And forced them, how ever strong and stout
They were, as well approv'd in many a doubt,
Backe to recule; untill that yron man
With his huge flaile began to lay about,
From whose sterne presence they diffused ran,
Like scattred chaffe, the which the wind away doth fan.

XLVIII

So when that knight from perill cleare was freed,
He, drawing neare, began to greete them faire,
And yeeld great thankes for their so goodly deed,
In saving him from daungerous despaire
Of those which sought his life for to empaire.
Of whom Sir Artegall gan then enquire
The whole occasion of his late misfare,
And who he was, and what those villaines were,
The which with mortall malice him pursu'd so nere.

XLIX

To whom he thus: 'My name is Burbon hight,
Well knowne, and far renowmed heretofore,
Untill late mischiefe did uppon me light,
That all my former praise hath blemisht sore;
And that faire lady, which in that uprore
Ye with those caytives saw, Flourdelis hight,
Is mine owne love, though me she have forlore,
Whether withheld from me by wrongfull might,
Or with her owne good will, I cannot read aright.

L

'But sure to me her faith she first did plight,
To be my love, and take me for her lord,
Till that a tyrant, which Grandtorto hight,
With golden giftes and many a guilefull word
Entyced her, to him for to accord.
O who may not with gifts and words be tempted?
Sith which she hath me ever since abhord,
And to my foe hath guilefully consented:
Ay me, that ever guyle in wemen was invented!

LI

'And now he hath this troupe of villains sent,
By open force to fetch her quite away:
Gainst whom my selfe I long in vaine have bent
To rescue her, and daily meanes assay,
Yet rescue her thence by no meanes I may:
For they doe me with multitude oppresse,
And with unequall might doe overlay,
That oft I driven am to great distresse,
And forced to forgoe th' attempt remedilesse.'

LII

'But why have ye,' said Artegall, 'forborne
Your owne good shield in daungerous dismay?
That is the greatest shame and foulest scorne,
Which unto any knight behappen may,
To loose the badge that should his deedes display.'
To whom Sir Burbon, blushing halfe for shame,
'That shall I unto you,' quoth he, 'bewray;
Least ye therefore mote happily me blame,
And deeme it doen of will, that through inforcement came.

LIII

'True is, that I at first was dubbed knight
By a good knight, the Knight of the Red-crosse;
Who when he gave me armes, in field to fight,
Gave me a shield, in which he did endosse
His deare Redeemers badge upon the bosse:
The same long while I bore, and therewithall
Fought many battels without wound or losse;
Therewith Grandtorto selfe I did appall,
And made him oftentimes in field before me fall.

LIV

'But for that many did that shield envie,
And cruell enemies increased more;
To stint all strife and troublous enmitie,
That bloudie scutchin being battered sore,
I layd aside, and have of late forbore,
Hoping thereby to have my love obtayned:
Yet can I not my love have nathemore;
For she by force is still fro me detayned,
And with corruptfull brybes is to untruth mis-trayned.'

LV

To whom thus Artegall: 'Certes, sir knight,
Hard is the case the which ye doe complaine;
Yet not so hard (for nought so hard may light,
That it to such a streight mote you constraine)
As to abandon that which doth containe
Your honours stile, that is your warlike shield.
All perill ought be lesse, and lesse all paine,
Then losse of fame in disaventrous field:
Dye rather, then doe ought that mote dishonour yield.'

LVI

'Not so,' quoth he; 'for yet, when time doth serve,
My former shield I may resume againe:
To temporize is not from truth to swerve,
Ne for advantage terme to entertaine,
When as necessitie doth it constraine.'
'Fie on such forgerie,' said Artegall,
'Under one hood to shadow faces twaine!
Knights ought be true, and truth is one in all:
Of all things, to dissemble fouly may befall.'

LVII

'Yet let me you of courtesie request,'
Said Burbon, 'to assist me now at need
Against these pesants which have me opprest,
And forced me to so infamous deed,
That yet my love may from their hands be freed.'
Sir Artegall, albe he earst did wyte
His wavering mind, yet to his aide agreed,
And buckling him eftsoones unto the fight,
Did set upon those troupes with all his powre and might.

LVIII

Who flocking round about them, as a swarme
Of flyes upon a birchen bough doth cluster,
Did them assault with terrible allarme,
And over all the fields themselves did muster,
With bils and glayves making a dreadfull luster;
That forst at first those knights backe to retyre:
As when the wrathfull Boreas doth bluster,
Nought may abide the tempest of his yre;
Both man and beast doe fly, and succour doe inquyre.

LIX

But when as overblowen was that brunt,
Those knights began a fresh them to assayle,
And all about the fields like squirrels hunt;
But chiefly Talus with his yron flayle,
Gainst which no flight nor rescue mote avayle,
Made cruell havocke of the baser crew,
And chaced them both over hill and dale:
The raskall manie soone they overthrew,
But the two knights themselves their captains did subdew.

LX

At last they came whereas that ladie bode,
Whom now her keepers had forsaken quight,
To save themselves, and scattered were abrode:
Her halfe dismayd they found in doubtfull plight,
As neither glad nor sorie for their sight;
Yet wondrous faire she was, and richly clad
In roiall robes, and many jewels dight,
But that those villens through their usage bad
Them fouly rent and shamefully defaced had.

LXI

But Burbon, streight dismounting from his steed,
Unto her ran with greedie great desyre,
And catching her fast by her ragged weed,
Would have embraced her with hart entyre.
But she, backstarting with disdainefull yre,
Bad him avaunt, ne would unto his lore
Allured be, for prayer nor for meed.
Whom when those knights so froward and forlore
Beheld, they her rebuked and upbrayded sore.

LXII

Sayd Artegall: 'What foule disgrace is this
To so faire ladie as ye seeme in sight,
To blot your beautie, that unblemisht is,
With so foule blame as breach of faith once plight,
Or change of love for any worlds delight!
Is ought on earth so pretious or deare,
As prayse and honour? Or is ought so bright
And beautifull as glories beames appeare,
Whose goodly light then Phebus lampe doth shine more cleare?

LXIII

'Why then will ye, fond dame, attempted bee
Unto a strangers love, so lightly placed,
For guiftes of gold or any worldly glee,
To leave the love that ye before embraced,
And let your fame with falshood be defaced?
Fie on the pelfe for which good name is sold,
And honour with indignitie debased!
Dearer is love then life, and fame then gold;
But dearer then them both your faith once plighted hold.'

LXIV

Much was the ladie in her gentle mind
Abasht at his rebuke, that bit her neare,
Ne ought to answere thereunto did find;
But hanging downe her head with heavie cheare,
Stood long amaz'd, as she amated weare.
Which Burbon seeing, her againe assayd,
And clasping twixt his armes, her up did reare
Upon his steede, whiles she no whit gaine-sayd;
So bore her quite away, nor well nor ill apayd.

LXV

Nathlesse the yron man did still pursew
That raskall many with unpittied spoyle,
Ne ceassed not, till all their scattred crew
Into the sea he drove quite from that soyle,
The which they troubled had with great turmoyle.
But Artegall, seeing his cruell deed,
Commaunded him from slaughter to recoyle,
And to his voyage gan againe proceed:
For that the terme, approching fast, required speed.

CANTO XII

Artegall doth Sir Burbon aide,
And blames for changing shield:
He with the great Grantorto fights,
And slaieth him in field.

I

O SACRED hunger of ambitious mindes,
And impotent desire of men to raine,
Whom neither dread of God, that devils bindes,
Nor lawes of men, that common weales containe,
Nor bands of nature, that wilde beastes restraine,
Can keepe from outrage and from doing wrong,
Where they may hope a kingdome to obtaine.
No faith so firme, no trust can be so strong,
No love so lasting then, that may enduren long.

II

Witnesse may Burbon be, whom all the bands
Which may a knight assure had surely bound,
Untill the love of lordship and of lands
Made him become most faithlesse and unsound:
And witnesse be Gerioneo found,
Who for like cause faire Belge did oppresse,
And right and wrong most cruelly confound:
And so be now Grantorto, who no lesse
Then all the rest burst out to all outragiousnesse.

III

Gainst whom Sir Artegall, long having since
Taken in hand th' exploit, being theretoo
Appointed by that mightie Faerie prince,
Great Gloriane, that tyrant to fordoo,
Through other great adventures hethertoo
Had it forslackt. But now time drawing ny,
To him assynd, her high beheast to doo,
To the sea shore he gan his way apply,
To weete if shipping readie he mote there descry.

IV

Tho, when they came to the sea coast, they found
A ship all readie (as good fortune fell)
To put to sea, with whom they did compound
To passe them over, where them list to tell:
The winde and weather served them so well,
That in one day they with the coast did fall;
Whereas they readie found, them to repell,
Great hostes of men in order martiall,
Which them forbad to land, and footing did forstall.

V

But nathemore would they from land refraine,
But when as nigh unto the shore they drew,
That foot of man might sound the bottome plaine,
Talus into the sea did forth issew,
Though darts from shore and stones they at him threw;
And wading through the waves with stedfast sway,
Maugre the might of all those troupes in vew,
Did win the shore, whence he them chast away,
And made to fly, like doves whom the eagle doth affray.

VI

The whyles Sir Artegall with that old knight
Did forth descend, there being none them neare,
And forward marched to a towne in sight.
By this came tydings to the tyrants eare,
By those which earst did fly away for feare,
Of their arrivall: wherewith troubled sore,
He all his forces streight to him did reare,
And forth issuing with his scouts afore,
Meant them to have incountred, ere they left the shore.

VII

But ere he marched farre, he with them met,
And fiercely charged them with all his force;
But Talus sternely did upon them set,
And brusht and battred them without remorse,
That on the ground he left full many a corse;
Ne any able was him to withstand,
But he them overthrew both man and horse,
That they lay scattred over all the land,
As thicke as doth the seede after the sowers hand.

VIII

Till Artegall, him seeing so to rage,
Willd him to stay, and signe of truce did make:
To which all harkning, did a while asswage
Their forces furie, and their terror slake;
Till he an herauld cald, and to him spake,
Willing him wend unto the tyrant streight,
And tell him that not for such slaughters sake
He thether came, but for to trie the right
Of fayre Irenaes cause with him in single fight:

IX

And willed him for to reclayme with speed
His scattred people, ere they all were slaine,
And time and place convenient to areed,
In which they two the combat might darraine.
Which message when Grantorto heard, full fayne
And glad he was the slaughter so to stay,
And pointed for the combat twixt them twayne
The morrow next, ne gave him longer day:
So sounded the retraite, and drew his folke away.

X

That night Sir Artegall did cause his tent
There to be pitched on the open plaine;
For he had given streight commaundement,
That none should dare him once to entertaine:
Which none durst breake, though many would right faine
For fayre Irena, whom they loved deare.
But yet old Sergis did so well him paine,
That from close friends, that dar'd not to appeare,
He all things did purvay, which for them needfull weare.

XI

The morrow next, that was the dismall day
Appointed for Irenas death before,
So soone as it did to the world display
His chearefull face, and light to men restore,
The heavy mayd, to whom none tydings bore
Of Artegals arryvall, her to free,
Lookt up with eyes full sad and hart full sore;
Weening her lifes last howre then neare to bee,
Sith no redemption nigh she did nor heare nor see.

XII

Then up she rose, and on her selfe did dight
Most squalid garments, fit for such a day,
And with dull countenance, and with doleful spright,
She forth was brought in sorrowfull dismay,
For to receive the doome of her decay.
But comming to the place, and finding there
Sir Artegall, in battailous array
Wayting his foe, it did her dead hart cheare,
And new life to her lent, in midst of deadly feare.

XIII

Like as a tender rose in open plaine,
That with untimely drought nigh withered was,
And hung the head, soone as few drops of raine
Thereon distill, and deaw her daintie face,
Gins to looke up, and with fresh wonted grace
Dispreds the glorie of her leaves gay;
Such was Irenas countenance, such her case,
When Artegall she saw in that array,
There wayting for the tyrant, till it was farre day.

XIV

Who came at length, with proud presumpteous gate,
Into the field, as if he fearelesse were,
All armed in a cote of yron plate,
Of great defence to ward the deadly feare,
And on his head a steele cap he did weare
Of colour rustie browne, but sure and strong;
And in his hand an huge polaxe did beare,
Whose steale was yron studded, but not long,
With which he wont to fight, to justifie his wrong.

XV

Of stature huge and hideous he was,
Like to a giant for his monstrous hight,
And did in strength most sorts of men surpas,
Ne ever any found his match in might;
Thereto he had great skill in single fight:
His face was ugly and his countenance sterne,
That could have frayd one with the very sight,
And gaped like a gulfe when he did gerne,
That whether man or monster one could scarse discerne.

XVI

Soone as he did within the listes appeare,
With dreadfull looke he Artegall beheld,
As if he would have daunted him with feare,
And grinning griesly, did against him weld
His deadly weapon, which in hand he held.
But th' Elfin swayne, that oft had seene like sight,
Was with his ghastly count'nance nothing queld,
But gan him streight to buckle to the fight,
And cast his shield about, to be in readie plight.

XVII

The trompets sound, and they together goe,
With dreadfull terror and with fell intent;
And their huge strokes full daungerously bestow,
To doe most dammage where as most they ment.
But with such force and furie violent
The tyrant thundred his thicke blowes so fast,
That through the yron walles their way they rent,
And even to the vitall parts they past,
Ne ought could them endure, but all they cleft or brast.

XVIII

Which cruell outrage when as Artegall
Did well avize, thenceforth with warie heed
He shund his strokes, where ever they did fall,
And way did give unto their gracelesse speed:
As when a skilfull marriner doth reed
A storme approching, that doth perill threat,
He will not bide the daunger of such dread,
But strikes his sayles, and vereth his main-sheat,
And lends unto it leave the emptie ayre to beat.

XIX

So did the Faerie knight himselfe abeare,
And stouped oft, his head from shame to shield;
No shame to stoupe, ones head more high to reare,
And, much to gaine, a litle for to yield;
So stoutest knights doen oftentimes in field.
But still the tyrant sternely at him layd,
And did his yron axe so nimbly wield,
That many wounds into his flesh it made,
And with his burdenous blowes him sore did overlade.

XX

Yet when as fit advantage he did spy,
The whiles the cursed felon high did reare
His cruell hand, to smite him mortally,
Under his stroke he to him stepping neare,
Right in the flanke him strooke with deadly dreare,
That the gore bloud, thence gushing grievously,
Did underneath him like a pond appeare,
And all his armour did with purple dye:
Thereat he brayed loud, and yelled dreadfully.

XXI

Yet the huge stroke, which he before intended,
Kept on his course, as he did it direct,
And with such monstrous poise adowne descended,
That seemed nought could him from death protect:
But he it well did ward with wise respect,
And twixt him and the blow his shield did cast,
Which thereon seizing, tooke no great effect,
But byting deepe therein did sticke so fast,
That by no meanes it backe againe he forth could wrast.

XXII

Long while he tug'd and strove, to get it out,
And all his powre applyed thereunto,
That he therewith the knight drew all about:
Nathlesse, for all that ever he could doe,
His axe he could not from his shield undoe.
Which Artegall perceiving, strooke no more,
But loosing soone his shield, did it forgoe,
And whiles he combred was therewith so sore,
He gan at him let drive more fiercely then afore.

XXIII

So well he him pursew'd, that at the last
He stroke him with Chrysaor on the hed,
That with the souse thereof full sore aghast,
He staggered to and fro in doubtfull sted.
Againe, whiles he him saw so ill bested,
He did him smite with all his might and maine,
That, falling, on his mother earth he fed:
Whom when he saw prostrated on the plaine,
He lightly reft his head, to ease him of his paine.

XXIV

Which when the people round about him saw,
They shouted all for joy of his successe,
Glad to be quit from that proud tyrants awe,
Which with strong powre did them long time oppresse;
And running all with greedie joyfulnesse
To faire Irena, at her feet did fall,
And her adored with due humblenesse,
As their true liege and princesse naturall;
And eke her champions glorie sounded over all.

XXV

Who streight her leading with meete majestie
Unto the pallace, where their kings did rayne,
Did her therein establish peaceablie,
And to her kingdomes seat restore agayne;
And all such persons as did late maintayne
That tyrants part, with close or open ayde,
He sorely punished with heavie payne;
That in short space, whiles there with her he stayd,
Not one was left that durst her once have disobayd.

XXVI

During which time that he did there remaine,
His studie was true justice how to deale,
And day and night employ'd his busie paine
How to reforme that ragged common-weale:
And that same yron man, which could reveale
All hidden crimes, through all that realme he sent,
To search out those that usd to rob and steale,
Or did rebell gainst lawfull government;
On whom he did inflict most grievous punishment.

XXVII

But ere he could reforme it thoroughly,
He through occasion called was away
To Faerie court, that of necessity
His course of justice he was forst to stay,
And Talus to revoke from the right way,
In which he was that realme for to redresse.
But envies cloud still dimmeth vertues ray.
So having freed Irena from distresse,
He tooke his leave of her, there left in heavinesse.

XXVIII

Tho, as he backe returned from that land,
And there arriv'd againe, whence forth he set,
He had not passed farre upon the strand,
When as two old ill favour'd hags he met,
By the way side being together set;
Two griesly creatures; and, to that their faces
Most foule and filthie were, their garments yet,
Being all rag'd and tatter'd, their disgraces
Did much the more augment, and made most ugly cases.

XXIX

The one of them, that elder did appeare,
With her dull eyes did seeme to looke askew,
That her mis-shape much helpt; and her foule heare
Hung loose and loathsomely: thereto her hew
Was wan and leane, that all her teeth arew
And all her bones might through her cheekes be red;
Her lips were like raw lether, pale and blew,
And as she spake, therewith she slavered;
Yet spake she seldom, but thought more, the lesse she sed.

XXX

Her hands were foule and durtie, never washt
In all her life, with long nayles over raught,
Like puttocks clawes: with th' one of which she scracht
Her cursed head, although it itched naught;
The other held a snake with venime fraught,
On which she fed and gnawed hungrily,
As if that long she had not eaten ought;
That round about her jawes one might descry
The bloudie gore and poyson dropping lothsomely.

XXXI

Her name was Envie, knowen well thereby;
Whose nature is to grieve and grudge at all
That ever she sees doen prays-worthily,
Whose sight to her is greatest crosse may fall,
And vexeth so, that makes her eat her gall.
For when she wanteth other thing to eat,
She feedes on her owne maw unnaturall,
And of her owne foule entrayles makes her meat;
Meat fit for such a monsters monsterous dyeat.

XXXII

And if she hapt of any good to heare,
That had to any happily betid,
Then would she inly fret, and grieve, and teare
Her flesh for felnesse, which she inward hid:
But if she heard of ill that any did,
Or harme that nay had, then would she make
Great cheare, like one unto a banquet bid;
And in anothers losse great pleasure take,
As she had got thereby, and gayned a great stake.

XXXIII

The other nothing better was then shee;
Agreeing in bad will and cancred kynd,
But in bad maner they did disagree:
For what so Envie good or bad did fynd
She did conceale, and murder her owne mynd;
But this, what ever evill she conceived,
Did spred abroad, and throw in th' oper wynd.
Yet this in all her words might be perceived,
That all she sought was mens good name to have bereaved.

XXXIV

For what soever good by any sayd
Or doen she heard, she would streightwayes invent
How to deprave, or slaunderously upbrayd,
Or to misconstrue of a mans intent,
And turne to ill the thing that well was ment.
Therefore she used often to resort
To common haunts, and companies frequent,
To hearke what any one did good report,
To blot the same with blame, or wrest in wicked sort.

XXXV

And if that any ill she heard of any,
She would it eeke, and make much worse by telling,
And take great joy to publish it to many,
That every matter worse was for her melling.
Her name was hight Detraction, and her dwelling
Was neare to Envie, even her neighbour next;
A wicked hag, and Envy selfe excelling
In mischiefe: for her selfe she onely vext;
But this same both her selfe and others eke perplext.

XXXVI

Her face was ugly, and her mouth distort,
Foming with poyson round about her gils,
In which her cursed tongue full sharpe and short
Appear'd like aspis sting, that closely kils,
Or cruelly does wound, whom so she wils:
A distaffe in her other hand she had,
Upon the which she litle spinnes, but spils,
And faynes to weave false tales and leasings bad,
To throw amongst the good, which others had disprad.

XXXVII

These two now had themselves combynd in one,
And linckt together gainst Sir Artegall,
For whom they wayted as his mortall fone,
How they might make him into mischiefe fall,
For freeing from their snares Irena thrall:
Besides, unto themselves they gotten had
A monster, which the Blatant Beast men call,
A dreadfull feend, of gods and men ydrad,
Whom they by slights allur'd, and to their purpose lad.

XXXVIII

Such were these hags, and so unhandsome drest:
Who when they nigh approching had espyde
Sir Artegall, return'd from his late quest,
They both arose, and at him loudly cryde,
As it had bene two shepheards curres had scryde
A ravenous wolfe amongst the scattered flocks.
And Envie first, as she that first him eyde,
Towardes him runs, and with rude flaring lockes
About her eares, does beat her brest and forhead knockes.

XXXIX

Then from her mouth the gobbet she does take,
The which whyleare she was so greedily
Devouring, even that halfe-gnawen snake,
And at him throwes it most despightfully.
The cursed serpent, though she hungrily
Earst chawd thereon, yet was not all so dead,
But that some life remayned secretly,
And as he past afore withouten dread,
Bit him behind, that long the marke was to be read.

XL

Then th' other comming neare, gan him revile
And fouly rayle, with all she could invent;
Saying that he had with unmanly guile
And foule abusion both his honour blent,
And that bright sword, the sword of Justice lent,
Had stayned with reprochfull crueltie
In guiltlesse blood of many an innocent:
As for Grandtorto, him with treacherie
And traynes having surpriz'd, he fouly did to die.

XLI

Thereto the Blatant Beast, by them set on,
At him began aloud to barke and bay,
With bitter rage and fell contention,
That all the woods and rockes nigh to that way
Began to quake and tremble with dismay,
And all the aire rebellowed againe,
So dreadfully his hundred tongues did bray:
And evermore those hags them selves did paine
To sharpen him, and their owne cursed tongs did straine.

XLII

And still among, most bitter wordes they spake,
Most shamefull, most unrighteous, most untrew,
That they the mildest man alive would make
Forget his patience, and yeeld vengeaunce dew
To her, that so false sclaunders at him threw.
And more to make them pierce and wound more deepe,
She with the sting which in her vile tongue grew
Did sharpen them, and in fresh poyson steepe:
Yet he past on, and seem'd of them to take no keepe.

XLIII

But Talus, hearing her so lewdly raile,
And speake so ill of him that well deserved,
Would her have chastiz'd with his yron flaile,
If her Sir Artegall had not preserved,
And him forbidden, who his heast observed.
So much the more at him still did she scold,
And stones did cast; yet he for nought would swerve
From his right course, but still the way did hold
To Faery court, where what him fell shall else be told.






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