Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 5, CANTOS 4-6, by EDMUND SPENSER



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
THE FAERIE QUEENE: BOOK 5, CANTOS 4-6, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Artegall dealeth right betwixt
Last Line: And to their sire their carcasses left to bestow.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clout, Colin


CANTO IV

Artegall dealeth right betwixt
Two brethren that doe strive;
Saves Terpine from the gallow tree,
And doth from death reprive.

I

WHO so upon him selfe will take the skill
True justice unto people to divide,
Had neede have mightie hands, for to fulfill
That which he doth with righteous doome decide,
And for to maister wrong and puissant pride.
For vaine it is to deeme of things aright,
And makes wrong doers justice to deride,
Unlesse it be perform'd with dreadlesse might:
For powre is the right hand of Justice truely hight.

II

Therefore whylome to knights of great emprise
The charge of Justice given was in trust,
That they might execute her judgements wise,
And with their might beat downe licentious lust,
Which proudly did impugne her sentence just.
Whereof no braver president this day
Remaines on earth, preserv'd from yron rust
Of rude oblivion, and long times decay,
Then this of Artegall, which here we have to say.

III

Who, having lately left that lovely payre,
Enlincked fast in wedlockes loyall bond,
Bold Marinell with Florimell the fayre,
With whom great feast and goodly glee he fond,
Departed from the Castle of the Strond,
To follow his adventures first intent,
Which long agoe he taken had in hond:
Ne wight with him for his assistance went,
But that great yron groome, his gard and government.

IV

With whom as he did passe by the sea shore,
He chaunst to come whereas two comely squires,
Both brethren, whom one wombe together bore,
But stirred up with different desires,
Together strove, and kindled wrathfull fires:
And them beside two seemely damzels stood,
By all meanes seeking to asswage their ires,
Now with faire words; but words did little good,
Now with sharpe threats; but threats the more increast their mood.

V

And there before them stood a coffer strong,
Fast bound on every side with iron bands,
But seeming to have suffred mickle wrong,
Either by being wreckt uppon the sands,
Or being carried farre from forraine lands.
Seem'd that for it these squires at ods did fall,
And bent against them selves their cruell hands.
But evermore, those damzels did forestall
Their furious encounter, and their fiercenesse pall.

VI

But firmely fixt they were, with dint of sword
And battailes doubtfull proofe their rights to try,
Ne other end their fury would afford,
But what to them fortune would justify.
So stood they both in readinesse, thereby
To joyne the combate with cruell intent;
When Artegall arriving happily,
Did stay a while their greedy bickerment,
Till he had questioned the cause of their dissent.

VII

To whom the elder did this aunswere frame:
'Then weete ye, sir, that we two brethren be,
To whom our sire, Milesio by name,
Did equally bequeath his lands in fee,
Two ilands, which ye there before you see
Not farre in sea; of which the one appeares
But like a little mount of small degree;
Yet was as great and wide ere many yeares,
As that same other isle, that greater bredth now beares.

VIII

'But tract of time, that all things doth decay,
And this devouring sea, that naught doth spare,
The most part of my land hath washt away,
And throwne it up unto my brothers share:
So his encreased, but mine did empaire.
Before which time I lov'd, as was my lot,
That further mayd, hight Philtera the faire,
With whom a goodly doure I should have got,
And should have joyned bene to her in wedlocks knot.

IX

'Then did my younger brother Amidas
Love that same other damzell, Lucy bright,
To whom but little dowre allotted was;
Her vertue was the dowre that did delight.
What better dowre can to a dame be hight?
But now when Philtra saw my lands decay,
And former livelod fayle, she left me quight,
And to my brother did ellope streight way:
Who, taking her from me, his owne love left astray.

X

'She seeing then her selfe forsaken so,
Through dolorous despaire, which she conceyved,
Into the sea her selfe did headlong throw,
Thinking to have her griefe by death bereaved.
But see how much her purpose was deceaved.
Whilest thus amidst the billowes beating of her
Twixt life and death, long to and fro she weaved,
She chaunst unwares to light uppon this coffer,
Which to her in that daunger hope of life did offer.

XI

'The wretched mayd, that earst desir'd to die,
When as the paine of death she tasted had,
And but halfe seene his ugly visnomie,
Gan to repent that she had beene so mad,
For any death to chaunge life, though most bad:
And catching hold of this sea-beaten chest,
The lucky pylot of her passage sad,
After long tossing in the seas distrest,
Her weary barke at last uppon mine isle did rest.

XII

'Where I, by chaunce then wandring on the shore,
Did her espy, and through my good endevour
From dreadfull mouth of death, which threatned sore
Her to have swallow'd up, did helpe to save her.
She then, in recompence of that great favour
Which I on her bestowed, bestowed on me
The portion of that good which fortune gave her,
Together with her selfe in dowry free;
Both goodly portions, but of both the better she.

XIII

'Yet in this coffer, which she with her brought,
Great threasure sithence we did finde contained;
Which as our owne we tooke, and so it thought.
But this same other damzell since hath fained,
That to her selfe that threasure appertained;
And that she did transport the same by sea,
To bring it to her husband new ordained,
But suffred cruell shipwracke by the way.
But whether it be so or no, I can not say.

XIV

'But whether it indeede be so or no,
This doe I say, that what so good or ill
Or God or Fortune unto me did throw,
Not wronging any other by my will,
I hold mine owne, and so will hold it still.
And though my land he first did winne away,
And then my love (though now it little skill)
Yet my good lucke he shall not likewise pray;
But I will it defend, whilst ever that I may.'

XV

So having sayd, the younger did ensew:
'Full true it is, what so about our land
My brother here declared hath to you:
But not for it this ods twixt us doth stand,
But for this threasure throwne uppon his strand;
Which well I prove, as shall appeare by triall,
To be this maides with whom I fastned hand,
Known by good markes and perfect good espiall,
Therefore it ought be rendred her without deniall.'

XVI

When they thus ended had, the knight began:
'Certes your strife were easie to accord,
Would ye remit it to some righteous man.'
'Unto your selfe,' said they, 'we give our word,
To bide what judgment ye shall us afford.'
'Then for assuraunce to my doome to stand,
Under my foote let each lay downe his sword,
And then you shall my sentence understand.'
So each of them layd downe his sword out of his hand.

XVII

Then Artegall thus to the younger sayd:
'Now tell me, Amidas, if that ye may,
Your brothers land, the which the sea hath layd
Unto your part, and pluckt from his away,
By what good right doe you withhold this day?'
'What other right,' quoth he, 'should you esteeme,
But that the sea it to my share did lay?'
'Your right is good,' sayd he, 'and so I deeme,
That what the sea unto you sent your own should seeme.'

XVIII

Then turning to the elder thus he sayd:
'Now, Bracidas, let this likewise be showne:
Your brothers threasure, which from him is strayd,
Being the dowry of his wife well knowne,
By what right doe you claime to be your owne?'
'What other right,' quoth he, 'should you esteeme,
But that the sea hath it unto me throwne?'
'Your right is good,' sayd he, 'and so I deeme,
That what the sea unto you sent your own should seeme.

XIX

'For equall right in equall things doth stand;
For what the mighty sea hath once possest,
And plucked quite from all possessors hand,
Whether by rage of waves, that never rest,
Or else by wracke, that wretches hath distrest,
He may dispose by his imperiall might,
As thing at randon left, to whom he list.
So, Amidas, the land was yours first hight,
And so the threasure yours is, Bracidas, by right.'

XX

When he his sentence thus pronounced had,
Both Amidas and Philtra were displeased:
But Bracidas and Lucy were right glad,
And on the threasure by that judgement seased.
So was their discord by this doome appeased,
And each one had his right. Then Artegall,
When as their sharpe contention he had ceased,
Departed on his way, as did befall,
To follow his old quest, the which him forth did call.

XXI

So as he travelled uppon the way,
He chaunst to come, where happily he spide
A rout of many people farre away;
To whom his course he hastily applide,
To weete the cause of their assemblaunce wide.
To whom when he approched neare in sight,
(An uncouth sight) he plainely then descride
To be a troupe of women warlike dight,
With weapons in their hands, as ready for to fight.

XXII

And in the midst of them he saw a knight,
With both his hands behinde him pinnoed hard,
And round about his necke an halter tight,
As ready for the gallow tree prepard:
His face was covered, and his head was bar'd,
That who he was uneath was to descry;
And with full heavy heart with them he far'd,
Griev'd to the soule, and groning inwardly,
That he of womens hands so base a death should dy.

XXIII

But they like tyrants, mercilesse the more,
Rejoyced at his miserable case,
And him reviled, and reproched sore
With bitter taunts, and termes of vile disgrace.
Now when as Artegall, arriv'd in place,
Did aske what cause brought that man to decay,
They round about him gan to swarme apace,
Meaning on him their cruell hands to lay,
And to have wrought unwares some villanous assay.

XXIV

But he was soone aware of their ill minde,
And drawing backe deceived their intent;
Yet though him selfe did shame on womankinde
His mighty hand to shend, he Talus sent
To wrecke on them their follies hardyment:
Who with few sowces of his yron flale
Dispersed all their troupe incontinent,
And sent them home to tell a piteous tale
Of their vaine prowesse turned to their proper bale.

XXV

But that same wretched man, ordaynd to die,
They left behind them, glad to be so quit:
Him Talus tooke out of perplexitie,
And horrour of fowle death for knight unfit,
Who more then losse of life ydreaded it;
And him restoring unto living light,
So brought unto his lord, where he did sit,
Beholding all that womanish weake fight;
Whom soone as he beheld, he knew, and thus behight:

XXVI

'Sir Turpine, haplesse man, what make you here?
Or have you lost your selfe and your discretion,
That ever in this wretched case ye were?
Or have ye yeelded you to proude oppression
Of womens powre, that boast of mens subjection?
Or else what other deadly dismall day
Is falne on you, by heavens hard direction,
That ye were runne so fondly far astray,
As for to lead your selfe unto your owne decay?'

XXVII

Much was the man confounded in his mind,
Partly with shame, and partly with dismay,
That all astonisht he him selfe did find,
And little had for his excuse to say,
But onely thus: 'Most haplesse well ye may
Me justly terme, that to this shame am brought,
And made the scorne of knighthod this same day.
But who can scape what his owne fate hath wrought?
The worke of heavens will surpasseth humaine thought.'

XXVIII

'Right true: but faulty men use oftentimes
To attribute their folly unto fate,
And lay on heaven the guilt of their owne crimes.
But tell, Sir Terpin, ne let you amate
Your misery, how fell ye in this state?'
'Then sith ye needs,' quoth he, 'will know my shame,
And all the ill which chaunst to me of late,
I shortly will to you rehearse the same,
In hope ye will not turne misfortune to my blame.

XXIX

'Being desirous (as all knights are woont)
Through hard adventures deedes of armes to try,
And after fame and honour for to hunt,
I heard report that farre abrode did fly,
That a proud Amazon did late defy
All the brave knights that hold of Maidenhead,
And unto them wrought all the villany
That she could forge in her malicious head,
Which some hath put to shame, and many done be dead.

XXX

'The cause, they say, of this her cruell hate,
Is for the sake of Bellodant the bold,
To whom she bore most fervent love of late,
And wooed him by all the waies she could:
But when she saw at last, that he ne would
For ought or nought be wonne unto her will,
She turn'd her love to hatred manifold,
And for his sake vow'd to doe all the ill
Which she could doe to knights; which now she doth fulfill.

XXXI

'For all those knights, the which by force or guile
She doth subdue, she fowly doth entreate.
First she doth them of warlike armes despoile,
And cloth in womens weedes: and then with threat
Doth them compell to worke, to earne their meat,
To spin, to card, to sew, to wash, to wring;
Ne doth she give them other thing to eat,
But bread and water, or like feeble thing,
Them to disable from revenge adventuring.

XXXII

'But if through stout disdaine of manly mind,
Any her proud observaunce will withstand,
Uppon that gibbet, which is there behind,
She causeth them be hang'd up out of hand;
In which condition I right now did stand.
For being overcome by her in fight,
And put to that base service of her band,
I rather chose to die in lives despight,
Then lead that shamefull life, unworthy of a knight.'

XXXIII

'How hight that Amazon,' sayd Artegall,
'And where and how far hence does she abide?'
'Her name,' quoth he, 'they Radigund doe call,
A princesse of great powre and greater pride,
And queene of Amazons, in armes well tride
And sundry battels, which she hath atchieved
With great successe, that her hath glorifide,
And made her famous, more then is believed;
Ne would I it have ween'd, had I not late it prieved.'

XXXIV

'Now sure,' said he, 'and by the faith that I
To Maydenhead and noble knighthood owe,
I will not rest, till I her might doe trie,
And venge the shame that she to knights doth show.
Therefore, Sir Terpin, from you lightly throw
This squalid weede, the patterne of dispaire,
And wend with me, that ye may see and know,
How fortune will your ruin'd name repaire,
And knights of Maidenhead, whose praise she would empaire.'

XXXV

With that, like one that hopelesse was repryv'd
From deathes dore, at which he lately lay,
Those yron fetters wherewith he was gyv'd,
The badges of reproch, he threw away,
And nimbly did him dight to guide the way
Unto the dwelling of that Amazone,
Which was from thence not past a mile or tway:
A goodly citty and a mighty one,
The which of her owne name she called Radegone.

XXXVI

Where they arriving, by the watchman were
Descried streight, who all the citty warned,
How that three warlike persons did appeare,
Of which the one him seem'd a knight all armed,
And th' other two well likely to have harmed.
Eftsoones the people all to harnesse ran,
And like a sort of bees in clusters swarmed:
Ere long their queene her selfe, halfe like a man,
Came forth into the rout, and them t' array began.

XXXVII

And now the knights, being arrived neare,
Did beat uppon the gates to enter in,
And at the porter, skorning them so few,
Threw many threats, if they the towne did win,
To teare his flesh in peeces for his sin.
Which when as Radigund there comming heard,
Her heart for rage did grate, and teeth did grin:
She bad that streight the gates should be unbard,
And to them way to make, with weapons well prepard.

XXXVIII

Soone as the gates were open to them set,
They pressed forward, entraunce to have made.
But in the middle way they were ymet
With a sharpe showre of arrowes, which them staid,
And better bad advise, ere they assaid
Unknowen perill of bold womens pride.
Then all that rout uppon them rudely laid,
And heaped strokes so fast on every side,
And arrowes haild so thicke, that they could not abide.

XXXIX

But Radigund her selfe, when she espide
Sir Terpin, from her direfull doome acquit,
So cruell doale amongst her maides divide,
T' avenge that shame they did on him commit,
All sodainely enflam'd with furious fit,
Like a fell lionesse at him she flew,
And on his head-peece him so fiercely smit,
That to the ground him quite she overthrew,
Dismayd so with the stroke that he no colours knew.

XL

Soone as she saw him on the ground to grovell,
She lightly to him leapt, and in his necke
Her proud foote setting, at his head did levell,
Weening at once her wrath on him to wreake,
And his contempt, that did her judg'ment breake.
As when a beare hath seiz'd her cruell clawes
Uppon the carkasse of some beast too weake,
Proudly stands over, and a while doth pause,
To heare the piteous beast pleading her plaintiffe cause.

XLI

Whom when as Artegall in that distresse
By chaunce beheld, he left the bloudy slaughter
In which he swam, and ranne to his redresse.
There her assayling fiercely fresh, he raught her
Such an huge stroke, that it of sence distraught her:
And had she not it warded warily,
It had depriv'd her mother of a daughter.
Nathlesse for all the powre she did apply,
It made her stagger oft, and stare with ghastly eye.

XLII

Like to an eagle in his kingly pride,
Soring through his wide empire of the aire,
To weather his brode sailes, by chaunce hath spide
A goshauke, which hath seized for her share
Uppon some fowle, that should her feast prepare;
With dreadfull force he flies at her bylive,
That with his souce, which none enduren dare,
Her from the quarrey he away doth drive,
And from her griping pounce the greedy prey doth rive.

XLIII

But soone as she her sence recover'd had,
She fiercely towards him her selfe gan dight,
Through vengeful wrath and sdeignfull pride half mad:
For never had she suffred such despight.
But ere she could joyne hand with him to fight,
Her warlike maides about her flockt so fast,
That they disparted them, maugre their might,
And with their troupes did far a sunder cast:
But mongst the rest the fight did untill evening last.

XLIV

And every while that mighty yron man,
With his strange weapon, never wont in warre,
Them sorely vext, and courst, and overran,
And broke their bowes, and did their shooting marre,
That none of all the many once did darre
Him to assault, nor once approach him nie,
But like a sort of sheepe dispersed farre
For dread of their devouring enemie,
Through all the fields and vallies did before him flie.

XLV

But when as daies faire shinie-beame, yclowded
With fearefull shadowes of deformed night,
Warn'd man and beast in quiet rest be shrowded,
Bold Radigund, with sound of trumpe on hight,
Causd all her people to surcease from fight,
And gathering them unto her citties gate,
Made them all enter in before her sight,
And all the wounded, and the weake in state,
To be convayed in, ere she would once retrate.

XLVI

When thus the field was voided all away,
And all things quieted, the Elfin knight,
Weary of toile and travell of that day,
Causd his pavilion to be richly pight
Before the city gate, in open sight;
Where he him selfe did rest in safety,
Together with Sir Terpin, all that night:
But Talus usde in times of jeopardy
To keepe a nightly watch, for dread of treachery.

XLVII

But Radigund full of heart-gnawing griefe,
For the rebuke which she sustain'd that day,
Could take no rest, ne would receive reliefe,
But tossed in her troublous minde, what way
She mote revenge that blot which on her lay.
There she resolv'd her selfe in single fight
To try her fortune, and his force assay,
Rather then see her people spoiled quight,
As she had seene that day, a disaventerous sight.

XLVIII

She called forth to her a trusty mayd,
Whom she thought fittest for that businesse,
(Her name was Clarin,) and thus to her sayd:
'Goe, damzell, quickly, doe thy selfe addresse,
To doe the message which I shall expresse
Goe thou unto that stranger Faery knight,
Who yeester day drove us to such distresse;
Tell, that to morrow I with him wil fight,
And try in equall field, whether hath greater might.

XLIX

'But these conditions doe to him propound:
That if I vanquishe him, he shall obay
My law, and ever to my lore be bound;
And so will I, if me he vanquish may,
What ever he shall like to doe or say.
Goe streight, and take with thee, to witnesse it,
Sixe of thy fellowes of the best array,
And beare with you both wine and juncates fit,
And bid him eate; henceforth he oft shall hungry sit.'

L

The damzell streight obayd, and putting all
In readinesse, forth to the towne-gate went,
Where sounding loud a trumpet from the wall,
Unto those warlike knights she warning sent.
Then Talus, forth issuing from the tent,
Unto the wall his way did fearelesse take,
To weeten what that trumpets sounding ment:
Where that same damzell lowdly him bespake,
And shew'd that with his lord she would emparlaunce make.

LI

So he them streight conducted to his lord,
Who, as he could, them goodly well did greete,
Till they had told their message word by word:
Which he accepting well, as he could weete,
Them fairely entertaynd with curt'sies meete,
And gave them gifts and things of deare delight.
So backe againe they homeward turnd their feete.
But Artegall him selfe to rest did dight,
That he mote fresher be against the next daies fight.

CANTO V

Artegall fights with Radigund,
And is subdewd by guile:
He is by her emprisoned,
But wrought by Clarins wile.

I

So soone as day forth dawning from the East,
Nights humid curtaine from the heavens withdrew,
And earely calling forth both man and beast,
Comaunded them their daily workes renew,
These noble warriors, mindefull to pursew
The last daies purpose of their vowed fight,
Them selves thereto preparde in order dew;
The knight, as best was seeming for a knight,
And th' Amazon, as best it likt her selfe to dight:

II

All in a camis light of purple silke
Woven uppon with silver, subtly wrought,
And quilted uppon sattin white as milke,
Trayled with ribbands diversly distraught,
Like as the workeman had their courses taught;
Which was short tucked for light motion
Up to her ham, but, when she list, it raught
Downe to her lowest heele, and thereuppon
She wore for her defence a mayled habergeon.

III

And on her legs she painted buskins wore,
Basted with bends of gold on every side,
And mailes betweene, and laced close afore:
Uppon her thigh her cemitare was tide,
With an embrodered belt of mickell pride;
And on her shoulder hung her shield, bedeckt
Uppon the bosse with stones, that shined wide
As the faire moone in her most full aspect,
That to the moone it mote be like in each respect.

IV

So forth she came out of the citty gate,
With stately port and proud magnificence,
Guarded with many damzels, that did waite
Uppon her person for her sure defence,
Playing on shaumes and trumpets, that from hence
Their sound did reach unto the heavens hight.
So forth into the field she marched thence,
Where was a rich pavilion ready pight,
Her to receive, till time they should begin the fight.

V

Then forth came Artegall out of his tent,
All arm'd to point, and first the lists did enter:
Soone after eke came she, with fell intent,
And countenaunce fierce, as having fullY bent her,
That battels utmost triall to adventer.
The lists were closed fast, to barre the rout
From rudely pressing to the middle center;
Which in great heapes them circled all about,
Wayting how fortune would resolve that daungerous dout.

VI

The trumpets sounded, and the field began;
With bitter strokes it both began and ended.
She at the first encounter on him ran
With furious rage, as if she had intended
Out of his breast the very heart have rended:
But he, that had like tempests often tride,
From that first flaw him selfe right well defended.
The more she rag'd, the more he did abide;
She hewd, she foynd, she lasht, she laid on every side.

VII

Yet still her blowes he bore, and her forbore,
Weening at last to win advantage new;
Yet still her crueltie increased more,
And though powre faild, her courage did accrew;
Which fayling, he gan fiercely her pursew.
Like as a smith that to his cunning feat
The stubborne mettall seeketh to subdew,
Soone as he feeles it mollifide with heat,
With his great yron sledge doth strongly on it beat.

VIII

So did Sir Artegall upon her lay,
As if she had an yron andvile beene,
That flakes of fire, bright as the sunny ray,
Out of her steely armes were flashing seene,
That all on fire ye would her surely weene.
But with her shield so well her selfe she warded
From the dread daunger of his weapon keene,
That all that while her life she safely garded:
But he that helpe from her against her will discarded.

IX

For with his trenchant blade at the next blow
Halfe of her shield he shared quite away,
That halfe her side it selfe did naked show,
And thenceforth unto daunger opened way.
Much was she moved with the mightie sway
Of that sad stroke, that halfe enrag'd she grew,
And like a greedie beare unto her pray,
With her sharpe cemitare at him she flew,
That glauncing downe his thigh, the purple bloud forth drew.

X

Thereat she gan to triumph with great boast,
And to upbrayd that chaunce which him misfell,
As if the prize she gotten had almost,
With spightfull speaches, fitting with her well;
That his great hart gan inwardly to swell
With indignation at her vaunting vaine,
And at her strooke with puissance fearefull fell;
Yet with her shield she warded it againe,
That shattered all to peeces round about the plaine.

XI

Having her thus disarmed of her shield,
Upon her helmet he againe her strooke,
That downe she fell upon the grassie field,
In sencelesse swoune, as if her life forsooke,
And pangs of death her spirit overtooke.
Whom when he saw before his foote prostrated,
He to her lept with deadly dreadfull looke,
And her sunshynie helmet soone unlaced,
Thinking at once both head and helmet to have raced.

XII

But when as he discovered had her face,
He saw, his senses straunge astonishment,
A miracle of Natures goodly grace
In her faire visage voide of ornament,
But bath'd in bloud and sweat together ment;
Which, in the rudenesse of that evill plight,
Bewrayd the signes of feature excellent:
Like as the moone, in foggie winters night,
Doth seeme to be her selfe, though darkned be her light.

XIII

At sight thereof his cruell minded hart
Empierced was with pittifull regard,
That his sharpe sword he threw from him apart,
Cursing his hand that had that visage mard:
No band so cruell, nor no hart so hard,
But ruth of beautie will it mollifie.
By this upstarting from her swoune, she star'd
A while about her with confused eye;
Like one that from his dreame is waked suddenlye.

XIV

Soone as the knight she there by her did spy,
Standing with emptie hands all weaponlesse,
With fresh assault upon him she did fly,
And gan renew her former cruelnesse:
And though he still retyr'd, yet nathelesse
With huge redoubled strokes she on him layd;
And more increast her outrage mercilesse,
The more that he with meeke intreatie prayd,
Her wrathful hand from greedy vengeance to have stayd.

XV

Like as a puttocke having spyde in sight
A gentle faulcon sitting on an hill,
Whose other wing, now made unmeete for flight,
Was lately broken by some fortune ill;
The foolish kyte, led with licentious will,
Doth beat upon the gentle bird in vaine,
With many idle stoups her troubling still:
Even so did Radigund with bootlesse paine
Annoy this noble knight, and sorely him constraine.

XVI

Nought could he do, but shun the dred despight
Of her fierce wrath, and backward still retyre,
And with his single shield, well as he might,
Beare off the burden of her raging yre;
And evermore he gently did desyre
To stay her stroks, and he himselfe would yield:
Yet nould she hearke, ne let him once respyre,
Till he to her delivered had his shield,
And to her mercie him submitted in plaine field.

XVII

So was he overcome, not overcome,
But to her yeelded of his owne accord;
Yet was he justly damned by the doome
Of his owne mouth, that spake so warelesse word,
To be her thrall, and service her afford.
For though that he first victorie obtayned
Yet after, by abandoning his sword,
He wilfull lost that he before attayned.
No fayrer conquest then that with goodwill is gayned.

XVIII

Tho with her sword on him she flatling strooke,
In signe of true subjection to her powre,
And as her vassall him to thraldome tooke.
But Terpine, borne to' a more unhappy howre,
As he on whom the lucklesse starres did lowre,
She caused to be attacht, and forthwith led
Unto the crooke, t' abide the balefull stowre
From which he lately had through reskew fled:
Where he full shamefully was hanged by the hed.

XIX

But when they thought on Talus hands to lay,
He with his yron flaile amongst them thondred,
That they were fayne to let him scape away,
Glad from his companie to be so sondred;
Whose presence all their troups so much encombred,
That th' heapes of those which he did wound and slay,
Besides the rest dismayd, might not be nombred:
Yet all that while he would not once assay
To reskew his owne lord, but thought it just t' obay.

XX

Then tooke the Amazon this noble knight,
Left to her will by his owne wilfull blame,
And caused him to be disarmed quight
Of all the ornaments of knightly name,
With which whylome he gotten had great fame:
In stead whereof she made him to be dight
In womans weedes, that is to manhood shame,
And put before his lap a napron white,
In stead of curiets and bases fit for fight.

XXI

So being clad, she brought him from the field,
In which he had bene trayned many a day,
Into a long large chamber, which was sield
With moniments of many knights decay,
By her subdewed in victorious fray:
Amongst the which she caused his warlike armes
Be hang'd on high, that mote his shame bewray;
And broke his sword, for feare of further harmes,
With which he wont to stirre up battailous alarmes.

XXII

There entred in, he round about him saw
Many brave knights, whose names right well he knew,
There bound t' obay that Amazons proud law,
Spinning and carding all in comely rew,
That his bigge hart loth'd so uncomely vew.
But they were forst, through penurie and pyne,
To doe those workes to them appointed dew:
For nought was given them to sup or dyne,
But what their hands could earne by twisting linnen twyne.

XXIII

Amongst them all she placed him most low,
And in his hand a distaffe to him gave,
That he thereon should spin both flax and tow;
A sordid office for a mind so brave:
So hard it is to be a womans slave.
Yet he it tooke in his owne selfes despight,
And thereto did himselfe right well behave,
Her to obay, sith he his faith had plight,
Her vassall to become, if she him wonne in fight.

XXIV

Who had him seene, imagine mote thereby
That whylome hath of Hercules bene told,
How for Iolas sake he did apply
His mightie hands the distaffe vile to hold,
For his huge club, which had subdew'd of old
So many monsters which the world annoyed;
His lyons skin chaungd to a pall of gold,
In which, forgetting warres, he onely joyed
In combats of sweet love, and with his mistresse toyed.

XXV

Such is the crueltie of women kynd,
When they have shaken off the shamefast band,
With which wise Nature did them strongly bynd,
T' obay the heasts of mans well ruling hand,
That then all rule and reason they withstand,
To purchase a licentious libertie.
But vertuous women wisely understand,
That they were borne to base humilitie,
Unlesse the heavens them lift to lawfull soveraintie.

XXVI

Thus there long while continu'd Artegall,
Serving proud Radigund with true subjection;
How ever it his noble heart did gall
T' obay a womans tyrannous direction,
That might have had of life or death election:
But having chosen, now he might not chaunge.
During which time, the warlike Amazon,
Whose wandring fancie after lust did raunge,
Gan cast a secret liking to this captive straunge.

XXVII

Which long concealing in her covert brest,
She chaw'd the cud of lovers carefull plight;
Yet could it not so thoroughly digest,
Being fast fixed in her wounded spright,
But it tormented her both day and night:
Yet would she not thereto yeeld free accord,
To serve the lowly vassall of her might,
And of her servant make her soverayne lord:
So great her pride, that she such basenesse much abhord.

XXVIII

So much the greater still her anguish grew,
Through stubborne handling of her lovesicke hart;
And still the more she strove it to subdew,
The more she still augmented her owne smart,
And wyder made the wound of th' hidden dart.
At last, when long she struggled had in vaine,
She gan to stoupe, and her proud mind convert
To meeke obeysance of Loves mightie raine,
And him entreat for grace, that had procur'd her paine.

XXIX

Unto her selfe in secret she did call
Her nearest handmayd, whom she most did trust,
And to her said: 'Clarinda, whom of all
I trust a live, sith I thee fostred first;
Now is the time that I untimely must
Thereof make tryall, in my greatest need:
It is so hapned that the heavens unjust,
Spighting my happie freedome, have agreed
To thrall my looser life, or my last bale to breed.'

XXX

With that she turn'd her head, as halfe abashed,
To hide the blush which in her visage rose,
And through her eyes like sudden lightning flashed,
Decking her cheeke with a vermilion rose:
But soone she did her countenance compose,
And to her turning, thus began againe:
'This griefes deepe wound I would to thee disclose,
Thereto compelled through hart-murdring paine,
But dread of shame my doubtfull lips doth still restraine.'

XXXI

'Ah! my deare dread,' said then the faithfull mayd,
'Can dread of ought your dreadlesse hart withhold,
That many hath with dread of death dismayd,
And dare even deathes most dreadfull face behold?
Say on, my soverayne ladie, and be bold:
Doth not your handmayds life at your foot lie?'
Therewith much comforted, she gan unfold
The cause of her conceived maladie,
As one that would confesse, yet faine would it denie.

XXXII

'Clarin,' sayd she, 'thou seest yond Fayry knight,
Whom not my valour, but his owne brave mind
Subjected hath to my unequall might:
What right is it, that he should thraldome find,
For lending life to me, a wretch unkind,
That for such good him recompence with ill?
Therefore I cast how I may him unbind,
And by his freedome get his free goodwill;
Yet so, as bound to me he may continue still:

XXXIII

'Bound unto me, but not with such hard bands
Of strong compulsion and streight violence,
As now in miserable state he stands;
But with sweet love and sure benevolence,
Voide of malitious mind or foule offence.
To which if thou canst win him any way,
Without discoverie of my thoughts pretence,
Both goodly meede of him it purchase may,
And eke with gratefull service me right well apay.

XXXIV

'Which that thou mayst the better bring to pas,
Loe here this ring, which shall thy warrant bee,
And token true to old Eumenias,
From time to time, when thou it best shalt see,
That in and out thou mayst have passage free.
Goe now, Clarinda; well thy wits advise,
And all thy forces gather unto thee,
Armies of lovely lookes, and speeches wise,
With which thou canst even Jove himselfe to love entise.'

XXXV

The trustie mayd, conceiving her intent,
Did with sure promise of her good indevour
Give her great comfort and some harts content.
So from her parting, she thenceforth did labour
By all the meanes she might, to curry favour
With th' Elfin knight, her ladies best beloved:
With daily shew of courteous kind behaviour,
Even at the markewhite of his hart she roved,
And with wide glauncing words, one day she thus him proved:

XXXVI

'Unhappie knight, upon whose hopelesse state
Fortune, envying good, hath felly frowned,
And cruell heavens have heapt an heavy fate;
I rew that thus thy better dayes are drowned
In sad despaire, and all thy senses swowned
In stupid sorow, sith thy juster merit
Might else have with felicitie bene crowned:
Looke up at last, and wake thy dulled spirit,
To thinke how this long death thou mightest disinherit.'

XXXVII

Much did he marvell at her uncouth speach,
Whose hidden drift he could not well perceive;
And gan to doubt, least she him sought t' appeach
Of treason, or some guilefull traine did weave,
Through which she might his wretched life bereave.
Both which to barre, he with this answere met her:
'Faire damzell, that with ruth (as I perceave)
Of my mishaps, art mov'd to wish me better,
For such your kind regard I can but rest your detter.

XXXVIII

'Yet weet ye well, that to a courage great
It is no lesse beseeming well, to beare
The storme of Fortunes frowne, or Heavens threat,
Then in the sunshine of her countenance cleare
Timely to joy and carrie comely cheare.
For though this cloud have now me overcast,
Yet doe I not of better times despeyre;
And, though unlike, they should for ever last,
Yet in my truthes assurance I rest fixed fast.'

XXXIX

'But what so stonie mind,' she then replyde,
'But, if in his owne powre occasion lay,
Would to his hope a windowe open wyde,
And to his fortunes helpe make readie way?'
'Unworthy sure,' quoth he, 'of better day,
That will not take the offer of good hope,
And eke pursew, if he attaine it may.'
Which speaches she applying to the scope
Of her intent, this further purpose to him shope:

XL

'Then why doest not, thou ill advized man,
Make meanes to win thy libertie forlorne,
And try if thou by faire entreatie can
Move Radigund? who, though she still have worne
Her dayes in warre, yet (weet thou) was not borne
Of beares and tygres, nor so salvage mynded,
As that, albe all love of men she scorne,
She yet forgets that she of men was kynded:
And sooth oft seene, that proudest harts base love hath blynded.'

XLI

'Certes, Clarinda, not of cancred will,'
Sayd he, 'nor obstinate disdainefull mind,
I have forbore this duetie to fulfill:
For well I may this weene, by that I fynd,
That she, a queene, and come of princely kynd,
Both worthie is for to be sewd unto,
Chiefely by him whose life her law doth bynd,
And eke of powre her owne doome to undo,
And als' of princely grace to be inclyn'd thereto.

XLII

'But want of meanes hath bene mine onely let
From seeking favour, where it doth abound;
Which if I might by your good office get,
I to your selfe should rest for ever bound,
And readie to deserve what grace I found.'
She feeling him thus bite upon the bayt,
Yet doubting least his hold was but unsound,
And not well fastened, would not strike him strayt,
But drew him on with hope, fit leasure to awayt.

XLIII

But foolish mayd! whyles, heedlesse of the hooke,
She thus oft times was beating off and on,
Through slipperie footing fell into the brooke,
And there was caught to her confusion.
For seeking thus to salve the Amazon,
She wounded was with her deceipts owne dart,
And gan thenceforth to cast affection,
Conceived close in her beguiled hart,
To Artegall, through pittie of his causelesse smart.

XLIV

Yet durst she not disclose her fancies wound,
Ne to himselfe, for doubt of being sdayned,
Ne yet to any other wight on ground,
For feare her mistresse shold have knowledge gayned,
But to her selfe it secretly retayned,
Within the closet of her covert brest:
The more thereby her tender hart was payned.
Yet to awayt fit time she weened best,
And fairely did dissemble her sad thoughts unrest.

XLV

One day her ladie, calling her apart,
Gan to demaund of her some tydings good,
Touching her loves successe, her lingring smart.
Therewith she gan at first to change her mood,
As one adaw'd, and halfe confused stood;
But quickly she it overpast, so soone
As she her face had wypt, to fresh her blood:
Tho gan she tell her all that she had donne,
And all the wayes she sought, his love for to have wonne:

XLVI

But sayd, that he was obstinate and sterne,
Scorning her offers and conditions vaine;
Ne would be taught with any termes to lerne
So fond a lesson as to love againe.
Die rather would he in penurious paine,
And his abridged dayes in dolour wast,
Then his foes love or liking entertaine:
His resolution was, both first and last,
His bodie was her thrall, his hart was freely plast.

XLVII

Which when the cruell Amazon perceived,
She gan to storme, and rage, and rend her gall,
For very fell despight, which she conceived,
To be so scorned of a base borne thrall,
Whose life did lie in her least eye-lids fall;
Of which she vow'd with many a cursed threat,
That she therefore would him ere long forstall.
Nathlesse, when calmed was her furious heat,
She chang'd that threatfull mood, and mildly gan entreat:

XLVIII

'What now is left, Clarinda? what remaines,
That we may compasse this our enterprize?
Great shame to lose so long employed paines,
And greater shame t' abide so great misprize,
With which he dares our offers thus despize.
Yet that his guilt the greater may appeare,
And more my gratious mercie by this wize,
I will a while with his first folly beare,
Till thou have tride againe, and tempted him more neare.

XLIX

'Say and do all that may thereto prevaile;
Leave nought unpromist that may him perswade,
Life, freedome, grace, and gifts of great availe,
With which the gods themselves are mylder made:
Thereto adde art, even womens witty trade,
The art of mightie words, that men can charme;
With which in case thou canst him not invade,
Let him feele hardnesse of thy heavie arme:
Who will not stoupe with good shall be made stoupe with harme.

L

'Some of his diet doe from him withdraw;
For I him find to be too proudly fed:
Give him more labour, and with streighter law,
That he with worke may be forwearied:
Let him lodge hard, and lie in strawen bed,
That may pull downe the courage of his pride;
And lay upon him, for his greater dread,
Cold yron chaines, with which let him be tide;
And let what ever he desires be him denide.

LI

'When thou hast all this doen, then bring me newes
Of his demeane: thenceforth not like a lover,
But like a rebell stout I will him use.
For I resolve this siege not to give over,
Till I the conquest of my will recover.'
So she departed, full of griefe and sdaine,
Which inly did to great impatience move her.
But the false mayden shortly turn'd againe
Unto the prison, where her hart did thrall remaine.

LII

There all her subtill nets she did unfold,
And all the engins of her wit display;
In which she meant him warelesse to enfold,
And of his innocence to make her pray.
So cunningly she wrought her crafts assay,
That both her ladie, and her selfe withall,
And eke the knight attonce she did betray:
But most the knight, whom she with guilefull call
Did cast for to allure, into her trap to fall.

LIII

As a bad nurse, which, fayning to receive
In her owne mouth the food ment for her chyld,
Withholdes it to her selfe, and doeth deceive
The infant, so for want of nourture spoyld:
Even so Clarinda her owne dame beguyld,
And turn'd the trust which was in her affyde
To feeding of her private fire, which boyld
Her inward brest, and in her entrayles fryde,
The more that she it sought to cover and to hyde.

LIV

For comming to this knight, she purpose fayned,
How earnest suit she earst for him had made
Unto her queene, his freedome to have gayned;
But by no meanes could her thereto perswade:
But that, in stead thereof, she sternely bade
His miserie to be augmented more,
And many yron bands on him to lade;
All which nathlesse she for his love forbore:
So praying him t' accept her service evermore.

LV

And more then that, she promist that she would,
In case she might finde favour in his eye,
Devize how to enlarge him out of hould.
The Fayrie, glad to gaine his libertie,
Can yeeld great thankes for such her curtesie;
And with faire words, fit for the time and place,
To feede the humour of her maladie,
Promist, if she would free him from that case,
He wold, by all good means he might, deserve such grace.

LVI

So daily he faire semblant did her shew,
Yet never meant he in his noble mind,
To his owne absent love to be untrew:
Ne ever did deceiptfull Clarin find
In her false hart, his bondage to unbind;
But rather how she mote him faster tye.
Therefore unto her mistresse most unkind
She daily told, her love he did defye,
And him she told, her dame his freedome did denye.

LVII

Yet thus much friendship she to him did show,
That his scarse diet somewhat was amended,
And his worke lessened, that his love mote grow:
Yet to her dame him still she discommended,
That she with him mote be the more offended.
Thus he long while in thraldome there remayned,
Of both beloved well, but litle frended;
Untill his owne true love his freedome gayned,
Which in an other canto will be best contayned.

CANTO VI

Talus brings newes to Britomart
Of Artegals mishap:
She goes to seeke him, Dolon meetes,
Who seekes her to entrap.

I

SOME men, I wote, will deeme in Artegall
Great weaknesse, and report of him much ill,
For yeelding so himselfe a wretched thrall
To th' insolent commaund of womens will;
That all his former praise doth fowly spill.
But he the man, that say or doe so dare,
Be well adviz'd that he stand stedfast still:
For never yet was wight so well aware,
But he at first or last was trapt in womens snare.

II

Yet in the streightnesse of that captive state,
This gentle knight himselfe so well behaved,
That notwithstanding all the subtill bait,
With which those Amazons his love still craved,
To his owne love his loialtie he saved:
Whose character in th' adamantine mould
Of his true hart so firmely was engraved,
That no new loves impression ever could
Bereave it thence: such blot his honour blemish should.

III

Yet his owne love, the noble Britomart,
Scarse so conceived in her jealous thought,
What time sad tydings of his balefull smart
In womans bondage Talus to her brought
Brought in untimely houre, ere it was sought.
For after that the utmost date, assynde
For his returne, she waited had for nought,
She gan to cast in her misdoubtfull mynde
A thousand feares, that love-sicke fancies faine to fynde.

IV

Sometime she feared, least some hard mishap
Had him misfalne in his adventurous quest;
Sometime least his false foe did him entrap
In traytrous traine, or had unwares opprest:
But most she did her troubled mynd molest,
And secretly afflict with jealous feare,
Least some new love had him from her possest;
Yet loth she was, since she no ill did heare,
To thinke of him so ill: yet could she not forbeare.

V

One while she blam'd her selfe; another whyle
She him condemn'd, as trustlesse and untrew:
And then, her griefe with errour to beguyle,
She fayn'd to count the time againe anew,
As if before she had not counted trew.
For houres but dayes; for weekes, that passed were,
She told but moneths, to make them seeme more few:
Yet when she reckned them, still drawing neare,
Each hour did seeme a moneth, and every moneth a yeare.

VI

But when as yet she saw him not returne,
She thought to send some one to seeke him out;
But none she found so fit to serve that turne,
As her owne selfe, to ease her selfe of dout.
Now she deviz'd, amongst the warlike rout
Of errant knights, to seeke her errant knight;
And then againe resolv'd to hunt him out
Amongst loose ladies, lapped in delight:
And then both knights envide, and ladies eke did spight.

VII

One day, when as she long had sought for ease
In every place, and every place thought best,
Yet found no place that could her liking please,
She to a window came, that opened west,
Towards which coast her love his way addrest.
There looking forth, shee in her heart did find
Many vaine fancies, working her unrest;
And sent her winged thoughts, more swift then wind,
To beare unto her love the message of her mind.

VIII

There as she looked long, at last she spide
One comming towards her with hasty speede:
Well weend she then, ere him she plaine descride,
That it was one sent from her love indeede.
Who when he nigh approcht, shee mote arede
That it was Talus, Artegall his groome;
Whereat her heart was fild with hope and drede;
Ne would she stay till he in place could come,
But ran to meete him forth, to know his tidings somme.

IX

Even in the dore him meeting, she begun:
'And where is he thy lord, and how far hence?
Declare at once; and hath he lost or wun?'
The yron man, albe he wanted sence
And sorrowes feeling, yet with conscience
Of his ill newes, did inly chill and quake,
And stood still mute, as one in great suspence,
As if that by his silence he would make
Her rather reade his meaning, then him selfe it spake.

X

Till she againe thus sayd: 'Talus, be bold,
And tell what ever it be, good or bad,
That from thy tongue thy hearts intent doth hold.'
To whom he thus at length: 'The tidings sad,
That I would hide, will needs, I see, be rad.
My lord, your love, by hard mishap doth lie
In wretched bondage, wofully bestad.'
'Ay me,' quoth she, 'what wicked destinie!
And is he vanquisht by his tyrant enemy?'

XI

'Not by that tyrant, his intended foe;
But by a tyrannesse,' he then replide,
'That him captived hath in haplesse woe.'
'Cease, thou bad newes-man; badly doest thou hide
Thy maisters shame, in harlots bondage tide.
The rest my selfe too readily can spell.'
With that in rage she turn'd from him aside,
Forcing in vaine the rest to her to tell,
And to her chamber went like solitary cell.

XII

There she began to make her monefull plaint
Against her knight, for being so untrew;
And him to touch with falshoods fowle attaint,
That all his other honour overthrew.
Oft did she blame her selfe, and often rew,
For yeelding to a straungers love so light,
Whose life and manners straunge she never knew;
And evermore she did him sharpely twight
For breach of faith to her, which he had firmely plight.

XIII

And then she in her wrathfull will did cast,
How to revenge that blot of honour blent;
To fight with him, and goodly die her last:
And then againe she did her selfe torment,
Inflicting on her selfe his punishment.
A while she walkt, and chauft; a while she threw
Her selfe uppon her bed, and did lament:
Yet did she not lament with loude alew,
As women wont, but with deepe sighes, and singulfs few.

XIV

Like as a wayward childe, whose sounder sleepe
Is broken with some fearefull dreames affright,
With froward will doth set him selfe to weepe;
Ne can be stild for all his nurses might,
But kicks, and squals, and shriekes for fell despight;
Now scratching her, and her loose locks misusing;
Now seeking darkenesse, and now seeking light;
Then craving sucke, and then the sucke refusing:
Such was this ladies fit, in her loves fond accusing.

XV

But when she had with such unquiet fits
Her selfe there close afflicted long in vaine,
Yet found no easement in her troubled wits,
She unto Talus forth return'd againe,
By change of place seeking to ease her paine;
And gan enquire of him, with mylder mood,
The certaine cause of Artegals detaine;
And what he did, and in what state he stood,
And whether he did woo, or whether he were woo'd.

XVI

'Ah wellaway!' sayd then the yron man,
'That he is not the while in state to woo;
But lies in wretched thraldome, weake and wan,
Not by strong hand compelled thereunto,
But his owne doome, that none can now undoo.'
'Sayd I not then,' quoth shee, 'erwhile aright,
That this is thinge compacte betwixt you two,
Me to deceive of faith unto me plight,
Since that he was not forst, nor overcome in fight?'

XVII

With that he gan at large to her dilate
The whole discourse of his captivance sad,
In sort as ye have heard the same of late.
All which when she with hard enduraunce had
Heard to the end, she was right sore bestad,
With sodaine stounds of wrath and griefe attone:
Ne would abide, till she had aunswere made,
But streight her selfe did dight, and armor don;
And mounting to her steede, bad Talus guide her on.

XVIII

So forth she rode uppon her ready way,
To seeke her knight, as Talus her did guide:
Sadly she rode, and never word did say,
Nor good nor bad, ne ever lookt aside,
But still right downe, and in her thought did hide
The felnesse of her heart, right fully bent
To fierce avengement of that womans pride,
Which had her lord in her base prison pent,
And so great honour with so fowle reproch had blent.

XIX

So as she thus melancholicke did ride,
Chawing the cud of griefe and inward paine,
She chaunst to meete toward the even-tide
A knight, that softly paced on the plaine,
As if him selfe to solace he were faine.
Well shot in yeares he seem'd, and rather bent
To peace, then needlesse trouble to constraine;
As well by view of that his vestiment,
As by his modest semblant, that no evill ment.

XX

He, comming neare, gan gently her salute
With curteous words, in the most comely wize;
Who though desirous rather to rest mute,
Then termes to entertaine of common guize,
Yet rather then she kindnesse would despize,
She would her selfe displease, so him requite.
Then gan the other further to devize
Of things abrode, as next to hand did light,
And many things demaund, to which she answer'd light.

XXI

For little lust had she to talke of ought,
Or ought to heare, that mote delightfull bee;
Her minde was whole possessed of one thought,
That gave none other place. Which when as hee
By outward signes (as well he might) did see,
He list no lenger to use lothfull speach,
But her besought to take it well in gree,
Sith shady dampe had dimd the heavens reach,
To lodge with him that night, unles good cause empeach.

XXII

The championesse, now seeing night at dore,
Was glad to yeeld unto his good request:
And with him went without gaine-saying more.
Not farre away, but little wide by west,
His dwelling was, to which he him addrest;
Where soone arriving, they received were
In seemely wise, as them beseemed best:
For he their host them goodly well did cheare,
And talk't of pleasant things, the night away to weare.

XXIII

Thus passing th' evening well, till time of rest,
Then Britomart unto a bowre was brought;
Where groomes awayted her to have undrest.
But she ne would undressed be for ought,
Ne doffe her armes, though he her much besought.
For she had vow'd, she sayd, not to forgo
Those warlike weedes, till she revenge had wrought
Of a late wrong uppon a mortall foe;
Which she would sure performe, betide her wele or wo.

XXIV

Which when their host perceiv'd, right discontent
In minde he grew, for feare least by that art
He should his purpose misse, which close he ment:
Yet taking leave of her, he did depart.
There all that night remained Britomart,
Restlesse, recomfortlesse, with heart deepe grieved,
Not suffering the least twinckling sleepe to start
Into her eye, which th' heart mote have relieved,
But if the least appear'd, her eyes she streight reprieved.

XXV

'Ye guilty eyes,' sayd she, 'the which with guyle
My heart at first betrayd, will ye betray
My life now to, for which a little whyle
Ye will not watch? False watches, wellaway!
I wote when ye did watch both night and day
Unto your losse: and now needes will ye sleepe?
Now ye have made my heart to wake alway,
Now will ye sleepe? ah! wake, and rather weepe,
To thinke of your nights want, that should yee waking keepe.'

XXVI

Thus did she watch, and weare the weary night
In waylfull plaints, that none was to appease;
Now walking soft, now sitting still upright,
As sundry chaunge her seemed best to ease.
Ne lesse did Talus suffer sleepe to seaze
His eye-lids sad, but watcht continually,
Lying without her dore in great disease;
Like to a spaniell wayting carefully,
Least any should betray his lady treacherously.

XXVII

What time the native belman of the night,
The bird that warned Peter of his fall,
First rings his silver bell t' each sleepy wight,
That should their mindes up to devotion call,
She heard a wondrous noise below the hall.
All sodainely the bed, where she should lie,
By a false trap was let adowne to fall
Into a lower roome, and by and by
The loft was raysd againe, that no man could it spie.

XXVIII

With sight whereof she was dismayd right sore,
Perceiving well the treason which was ment:
Yet stirred not at all for doubt of more,
But kept her place with courage confident,
Wayting what would ensue of that event.
It was not long before she heard the sound
Of armed men, comming with close intent
Towards her chamber; at which dreadfull stound
She quickly caught her sword, and shield about her bound.

XXIX

With that there came unto her chamber dore
Two knights, all armed ready for to fight,
And after them full many other more,
A raskall rout, with weapons rudely dight.
Whom soone as Talus spide by glims of night,
He started up, there where on ground he lay,
And in his hand his thresher ready keight.
They seeing that, let drive at him streight way,
And round about him preace in riotous aray.

XXX

But soone as he began to lay about
With his rude yron flaile, they gan to flie,
Both armed knights and eke unarmed rout:
Yet Talus after them apace did plie,
Where ever in the darke he could them spie;
That here and there like scattred sheepe they lay.
Then backe returning, where his dame did lie,
He to her told the story of that fray,
And all that treason there intended did bewray.

XXXI

Wherewith though wondrous wroth, and inly burning
To be avenged for so fowle a deede,
Yet being forst to abide the daies returning,
She there remain'd, but with right wary heede,
Least any more such practise should proceede.
Now mote ye know (that which to Britomart
Unknowen was) whence all this did proceede,
And for what cause so great mischievous smart
Was ment to her, that never evill ment in hart.

XXXII

The goodman of this house was Dolon hight,
A man of subtill wit and wicked minde,
That whilome in his youth had bene a knight,
And armes had borne, but little good could finde,
And much lesse honour by that warlike kinde
Of life: for he was nothing valorous,
But with slie shiftes and wiles did underminde
All noble knights which were adventurous,
And many brought to shame by treason treacherous.

XXXIII

He had three sonnes, all three like fathers sonnes,
Like treacherous, like full of fraud and guile,
Of all that on this earthly compasse wonnes:
The eldest of the which was slaine erewhile
By Artegall, through his owne guilty wile;
His name was Guizor; whose untimely fate
For to avenge, full many treasons vile
His father Dolon had deviz'd of late
With these his wicked sons, and shewd his cankred hate.

XXXIV

For sure he weend that this his present guest
Was Artegall, by many tokens plaine;
But chiefly by that yron page he ghest,
Which still was wont with Artegall remaine;
And therefore ment him surely to have slaine.
But by Gods grace, and her good heedinesse,
She was preserved from their traytrous traine.
Thus she all night wore out in watchfulnesse,
Ne suffred slothfull sleepe her eyelids to oppresse.

XXXV

The morrow next, so soone as dawning houre
Discovered had the light to living eye,
She forth yssew'd out of her loathed bowre,
With full intent t' avenge that villany
On that vilde man and all his family:
And comming down to seeke them where they wond,
Nor sire, nor sonnes, nor any could she spie:
Each rowme she sought, but them all empty fond:
They all were fled for feare, but whether, nether kond.

XXXVI

She saw it vaine to make there lenger stay,
But tooke her steede, and thereon mounting light,
Gan her addresse unto her former way.
She had not rid the mountenance of a flight,
But that she saw there present in her sight
Those two false brethren, on that perillous bridge
On which Pollente with Artegall did fight.
Streight was the passage like a ploughed ridge,
That, if two met, the one mote needes fall over the lidge.

XXXVII

There they did thinke them selves on her to wreake:
Who as she night unto them drew, the one
These vile reproches gan unto her speake:
'Thou recreant false traytor, that with lone
Of armes hast knighthood stolne, yet knight art none,
No more shall now the darkenesse of the night
Defend thee from the vengeance of thy fone,
But with thy bloud thou shalt appease the spright
Of Guizor, by thee slaine, and murdred by thy slight.'

XXXVIII

Strange were the words in Britomartis eare;
Yet stayd she not for them, but forward fared,
Till to the perillous bridge she came, and there
Talus desir'd that he might have prepared
The way to her, and those two losels scared.
But she thereat was wroth, that for despight
The glauncing sparkles through her bever glared,
And from her eies did flash out fiery light,
Like coles that through a silver censer sparkle bright.

XXXIX

She stayd not to advise which way to take;
But putting spurres unto her fiery beast,
Thorough the midst of them she way did make.
The one of them, which most her wrath increast,
Uppon her speare she bore before her breast,
Till to the bridges further end she past,
Where falling downe, his challenge he releast:
The other over side the bridge she cast
Into the river, where he drunke his deadly last.

XL

As when the flashing levin haps to light
Uppon two stubborne oakes, which stand so neare
That way betwixt them none appeares in sight;
The engin fiercely flying forth, doth teare
Th' one from the earth, and through the aire doth beare;
The other it with force doth overthrow
Uppon one side, and from his rootes doth reare:
So did the Championesse those two there strow,
And to their sire their carcasses left to bestow.





Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net