« PreviousContinue »
Through that late vision which th’enchanter wrought, One would have thought (so cunningly the rude Had her abandoned ; she of nought afraid
And scorned parts were mingled with the fine) Through woods and wasteness wide him daily sought; | That nature had for wantonness ensued Yet wished tidings none of him unto her brought. Art, and that art at nature did repine ;
So striving each th' other to undermine, One day, nigh weary of the irksome way,
Each did the other's work more beautify; From her unhasty beast she did alight;
So differing both in wills, agreed in fine: And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay,
So all agreed through sweet diversity, In secret shadow, far from all men's sight;
This garden to adorn with all variety.
And in the midst of all a fountain stood
Of richest substance that on carth might be,
| So pure and shiny, that the silver flood Did never mortal eye behold such heavenly grace.
Through every channel running one might see;
Most goodly it with curious imagery It fortuned, out of the thickest wood
Was overwrought, and shapes of naked boys, A ramping lion rushed suddenly,
Of which some seem'd with lively jollity Hunting full greedy after savage blood :
To fly about, playing their wanton toys, Soon as the royal virgin he did spy,
While others did embaye themselves in liquid joys. With gaping mouth at her ran greedily,
And over all, of purest gold, was spread To have at once devour'd her tender corse :
A trail of ivy in his native hue : But to the prey when as he drew more nigh,
For the rich metal was so coloured. His bloody rage assuaged with remorse,
That wight, who did not well advis'd it view, And with the sight amazed forgat his furious
Would surely deem it to be ivy true:
Low his lascivious arms adown did creep, Instead thereof he kiss'd her weary feet,
That themselves dipping in the silver dew, And lick'd her lily hands with fawning tongue ;
Their fleecy flowers they fearfully did steen, As he her wronged innocence did weet.
Which drops of crystal seem'd for wantonness to meer. O how can beauty master the most strong,
Infinite streams continually did well And simple truth subdue avenging wrong!
Out of this fountain, sweet and fair to see, Whose yielded pride and proud submission,
The which into an ample laver fell, Still dreading death, when she had marked long,
And shortly grew to so great quantity, Her heart gan melt in great compassion,
That like a little lake it seem'd to be ; And drizzling tears did shed for pure affection. Whose depth exceeded not three cubits height, • The lion, lord of every beast in field,'
That through the waves one might the bottom see,
All pav'd beneath with jasper shining bright, Quoth she, ‘his princely puissance doth abate,
That seem'd the fountain in that sea did sail upright. And mighty proud to humble weak does yield, Forgetful of the hungry rage, which late
And all the margin round about was set Him prick’d, in pity of my sad estate:
With shady laurel trees, thence to defend But he, my lion, and my noble lord,
The sunny beams, which on the billows beat, How does he find in cruel heart to hate
And those which therein bathed might offend. Her that him loved, and ever most adored, As the God of my life? why hath he me abhorred! Eftsoons they heard a most melodious sound,
Of all that might delight a dainty ear, Redounding tears did choke th’ end of her plaint,
Such as at once might not on living ground, Which softly echoed from the neighbour wood;
Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere : And, sad to see her sorrowful constraint,
Right hard it was for wight which did it hear, The kingly beast upon her gazing stood :
To read what manner music that might be : With pity calm'd down fell his angry mood.
For all that pleasing is to living ear, At last, in close heart shutting up her pain,
Was there consorted in one harmony; Arose the virgin born of heav'nly brood,
Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree. And to her snowy palfrey got again, To seek her strayed champion if she might attain.
The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade,
Their notes unto the voice attemper'd sweet; The lion would not leave her desolate,
Th' angelical soft trembling voices made But with her went along, as a strong guard
To th’ instruments divine respondence meet; Of her chaste person, and a faithful mate
The silver sounding instruments did meet Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard :
With the base murmur of the water's fall: Still when she slept, he kept both watch and ward ; The water's fall with difference discreet, And when she waked, he waited diligent,
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call : With humble service to her will prepared ;
The gentle warbling wind low answered to all. From her fair eyes he took commandément,
The while, some one did chaunt this lovely lay; And ever by her looks conceived her intent.
' Ah see, whoso fair thing thou dost fain to see, In springing flower the image of thy day;
Ah see the virgin rose, how sweetly she [The Bower of Bliss.]
Doth first peep forth with bashful modesty, There the most dainty paradise on ground
That fairer seems, the less ye see her may ;
Lo, see soon after, how more bold and free
Her bared bosom she doth broad display;
Lo, see soon after, how she fades and falls away! The painted flowers, the trees upshooting high, So passeth, in the passing of a day, The dales for shade, the hills for breathing space, Of mortal life, the leaf, the bud, the flower, The trembling groves, the crystal running by ;
Nor more doth flourish after first decay, And that which all fair works doth most aggrace, That erst was sought to deck both bed and bower The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place. T of many a lady, and many a paramour ;
Gather therefore the rose, while yet is prime,
But, when as long he looked had in vain,
His weary eye return'd to him again,
That both his jewel he had lost so light,
And eke his dear companion of his care. [The Squire and the Dove.]
But that sweet bird departing, flew forth right Well said the wise man, now prov'd true by this,
Through the wide region of the wasteful air, Which to this gentle squire did happen late;
Until she came where wonned his Belphebe fair. That the displeasure of the mighty is
There found she her (as then it did betide) Than death itself more dread and desperate :
Sitting in covert shade of arbors sweet, For nought the same may calm, nor mitigate, After late weary toil, which she had tried Till time the tempest do thereof allay
In savage chace, to rest as seein'd her meet. With sufferance soft, which rigour can abate,
There she alighting, fell before her feet, And have the stern remembrance wip'd away
And gan to her, her mournful plaint to make, Of bitter thoughts, which deep therein infixed lay.
As was her wont : thinking to let her weet Like as it fell to this unhappy boy,
The great tormenting grief, that for her sake Whose tender heart the fair Belphoebe had
Her gentle squire through her displeasure did partake. With one stern look so daunted, that no joy
She, her beholding with attentive eye, In all his life, which afterwards he lad,
At length did mark about her purple breast He ever tasted; but with penance sad,
That precious jewel, which she formerly And pensive sorrow, pind and wore away,
| Had known right well, with colour'd ribbon drest; Nor ever laugh'd, nor once show'd countenance glad ; | Therewith she rose in haste, and her addrest But always wept and wailed night and day,
With ready hand it to have reft away. As blasted blossom, through heat, doth languish and But the swift bird obey'd not her bchest, decay ;
But swery'd aside, and there again did stay; Till on a day (as in his wonted wise
She follow'd her, and thought again it to assay. His dole he made) there chanc'd a turtle-dove
And ever when she nigh approach'd, the dove To come, where he his dolours did devise,
Would fit a little forward, and then stay That likewise late had lost her dearest love;
Till she drew near, and then again remove; Which loss her made like passion also prove.
So tempting her still to pursue the prey, Who seeing his sad plight, her tender heart
And still from her escaping soft away: With dear compassion deeply did emmove,
Till that at length, into that forest wide That she gan moan his underserved smart,
She drew her far, and led with slow delay.
Whereas that woful man in languor did abide.
He her beholding, at her feet down fell,
And kiss'd the ground on which her sole did tread, So sensibly compiled, that in the same
And wash'd the same with water, which did well Him seemed oft he heard his own right name.
From his moist eyes, and like two streams proceed ;
What mister wight he was, or what he meant;
As messengers of his true meaning and intent.
Yet nathemore his meaning she ared,
But wondered much at his so uncouth casc;
Well ween'd, that he had been some man of place.
That being moved with ruth she thus bespake. He part of his small feast to her would share ; Ah! woful man, what heaven's hard disgrace, That, at the last, of all his woe and wrong,
Or wrath of cruel wight on thee ywrake, Companion she became, and so continued long. Or self-disliked life, doth thee thus wretched make? Upon a day, as she him sate beside,
If heaven, then none may it redress or blame, By chance he certain miniments forth drew,
Since to his power we all are subject born : Which yet with him as relics did abide
If wrathful wight, then foul rebuke and shame Of all the bounty which Belphoebe threw
Be theirs, that have so cruel thee forlorn ; On him, while goodly grace she did him shew : But if through inward grief, or wilful scorn Amongst the rest, a jewel rich he found,
Of life it be, then better do avise. That was a ruby of right perfect hue,
For, he whose days in wilful woe are worn, Shap'd like a heart, yet bleeding of the wound,
The grace of his Creator doth despise, And with a little golden chain about it bound. That will not use his gifts for thankless niggardise. The same he took, and with a ribbon new
When so he heard her say, eftsoons he brake (In which his lady's colours were) did bind
His sudden silence, which he long had pent, About the turtle's neck, that with the view
And sighing inly deep, her thus bespake; Did greatly solace his engrieved mind.
Then have they all themselves against me bent: All unawares the bird, when she did find
For heaven (first author of my languishment)
Did closely with a cruel one consent,
To cloud my days in doleful misery, And looking after long, did mark which way she stray'd. / And make me loath this life, still longing for to die. Nor any but yourself, O dearest dread,
And after him the famous rivers came Hath done this wrong ; to wreak on worthless wight Which do the earth enrich and beautify; Your high displeasure, through misdeeming bred : The fertile Nile, which creatures now doth frame; That when your pleasure is to deem aright,
| Long Rhodanus, whose course springs from the sky; Ye may redress, and me restore to light.
Fair Ister, flowing from the mountains high; Which sorry words, her mighty heart did mate Divine Scamander, purpled yet with blood With mild regard, to see his rueful plight,
Of Greeks and Trojans, which therein did die; That her in-burning wrath she gan abate,
Pactolus, glistering with his golden flood, And him received again to former favour's state. And Tigris fierce, whose streams of none may be with :
Great Ganges, and immortal Euphrates ; [Wedding of the Medway and the Thames.] Deep Indus, and Meander intricate ;
Slow Peneus, and tempestuous Phasides ; (This piece is a remarkable specimen of the allegorical man
Swift Rhine and Alpheus still immaculate ; ner of the poet. Natural objects are here personified in an abun.
Ooraxes, feared for great Cyrus' fate ; dance, and with a facility which almost bewilders the reader.]
Tybris, renowned for the Roman's fame ; It fortun'd then a solemn feast was there,
Rich Oranochy, though but knowen late ; To all the sea-gods and their fruitful seed,
And that huge river which doth bear his name In honour of the spousals which then were
Of warlike Amazons, which do possess the same. Betwixt the Medway and the Thames agreed.
Then was there heard a most celestial sound Long had the Thames (as we in records read)
Of dainty music, which did next ensue Before that day her wooed to his bed,
Before the spouse, that was Arion crown'd, But the proud nymph would for no wordly meed, Who playing on his harp, unto him drew Nor no entreaty, to his love be led,
The ears and hearts of all that godly crew : Till now at last relenting, she to him was wed. That even yet the dolphin which him bore
Through the Egean seas from pirate's view, So both agreed that this, their bridal feast,
Stood still by him, astonish'd at his lore,
And all the raging seas for joy forgot to roar.
So went he playing on the watery plain;
Soon after whom the lovely bridegroom came, All which not if an hundred tongues to tell,
The noble Thames, with all his goodly train ; And hundred mouths, and voice of brass, I had.
But him before there went, as best became, And endless memory, that mote excell,
His ancient parents, namely th' ancient Thame;
But much more aged was his wife than he, In order as they came could I recount them well.
The Ouse, whom men do Isis rightly name; Help, therefore, O thou sacred imp of Jove !
Full weak, and crooked creature seemed she, The nursling of dame memory, his dear,
And almost blind through eld, that scarce her way To whom those rolls, laid up in heaven above,
could see. And records of antiquity appear, To which no wit of man may comen near ;
| Therefore on either side she was sustain'd Help me to tell the names of all those floods,
Of two small grooms, which by their names were hight And all those nymphs, which then assembled were
The Churn and Charwell, two sinall streams which To that great banquet of the watery gods,
Themselves her footing to direct aright, (pain'd And alĩ their sundry kinds, and all their hid
Which failed oft through faint and feeble plight;
But Thame was stronger, and of better stay, abodes.
Yet seem'd full aged by his outward sight, First came great Neptune, with his threeforkt mace,
With head all hoary and his beard all gray, That rules the seas, and makes them rise or fall; | Dewed with silver drops that trickled down alway: His dewy locks did drop with brine apace Under his diadem imperial;
And eke somewhat seemed to stoop afore
With bowed back, by reason of the load
And ancient heavy burden which he bore
Of that fair city, wherein make abode
So many learned imps, that shoot abroad,
And with their branches spread all Britany,
No less than do her elder sister's brood : prepare.
Joy to you both, ye double nursery These marched far afore the other crew,
Of arts, but Oxford ! thine doth 'l'hame most glorify.' And all the way before them, as they went,
But he their son full fresh and jolly was, Triton his trumpet shrill before them blew,
All decked in a robe of watchet hue. For goodly triumph and great jollyment,
On which the waves, glittering like crystal glass, That made the rocks to roar as they were rent ;
So cunningly inwoven were, that few And after them the royal issue came,
Could weenen whether they were false or true ; Which of them sprung by lineal descent ;
And on his head like to a coronet First the sea-gods, which to themselves do claim
He wore, that seemed strange to common view, The power to rule the billows, and the wares to
| In which were many towers and castles set, tame.
That it encompass’à round as with a golden fret. Next came the aged ocean and his dame,
Like as the mother of the gods they say, Old Tethys, th' oldest two of all the rest,
In her great iron chariot wonts to ride, For all the rest of those two parents came,
When to love's palace she doth take her way, Which afterward both sea and land possest.
Old Cybele, array'd with pompous pride,
Wearing a diadem embattled wide
With such an one was Thamis beautified,
And round about him many a pretty page
In the above extracts from the Faery Queen, we Attended duly, ready to obey ;
have, for the sake of perspicuity, modernised the All little rivers which owe vassalage
spelling, without changing a word of the original. To him, as to their lord, and tribute pay;
The following two highly poetical descriptions are The chalky Kennet, and the Thetis gray ;
given in the poet's own orthography The moorish Cole, and the soft-sliding Breane ; The wanton Lee, that oft doth lose his way,
[The House of Sleep.] And the still Darent in whose waters clean, Ten thousand fishes play, and deck his pleasant streain. He making speedy way through spersed ayre,
And through the world of waters wide and deepe, Then came his neighbour floods which nigh him dwell, And water all the English soil throughout;
ell, | To Morpheus' house doth hastily repaire.
| Amid the bowels of the earth full steepe, · They all on him this day attended well,
| And low, where dawning day doth never peepe, And with meet service waited him about,
His dwelling is, there Tethys his wet bed Ne none disdained low to him to lout ;
Doth ever wash, and Cynthia still doth steepe, No, not the stately Severn grudg'd at all,
In silver deaw, his ever drouping hed, Ne storining Humber, though he looked stout,
Whiles sad Night over him her mantle black doth But both him honor'd as their principal, And let their swelling waters low before him fall.
Whose double gates he findeth locked fast, There was the speedy Tamar, which divides
The one fayre fram'd of burnisht yvory, The Cornish and the Devonish confines,
The other all with silver overcast; Through both whose borders swiftly down it glides,
| And wakeful dogges before them farre doe lye, And meeting Plim, to Plymouth thence declines ;
Watching to banish Care their eniny, And Dart, nigh chok'd with sands of tinny mines;
Who oft is wont to trouble gentle sleepe.
By them the sprite doth passe in quietly,
And unto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deepe
In drowsie fit he findes; of nothing he takes keepe. And Bristow fair, which on his waves he builded hath.
And more to lulle him in his slumber soft, Next there came Tyne, along whose stony bank
A trickling streame from high rock tumbling downe, That Roman monarch built a brazen wall,
And ever-drizling raine upon the loft, Which mote the feebled Britons strongly flank
Mixt with a murmuring winde, much like the sowne Against the Picts, that swarmed over all,
Of swarming bees, did cast him in a swowne. Which yet thereof Gualsever they do call;
No other noyse, nor peoples troublous cryes, And Tweed, the limit betwixt Logris' land
As still are wont t'annoy the walled towne, And Albany ; and Eden, though but small,
Might there be heard ; but careless Quiet lyes
Wrapt in eternal silence farre from enimyes.
[Description of Belphæbe.] That to old Loncaster his name doth lend,
In her faire eyes two living lamps did flanie, And following Dee, which Britons long ygone,
Kindled above at th' heavenly Maker's light, Did call divine, that doth by Chester tend;
| And darted fyrie beames out of the same, And Conway, which out of his stream doth send
So passing persant, and so wondrous bright, Plenty of pearls to deck his dames withal;
That quite bereav'd the rash beholders sight: And Lindas, that his pikes doth most commend,
In them the blinded god his lustfull fyre Of which the ancient Lincoln men do call :
To kindle oft assayd, but had no might; All these together marched toward Proteus' hall.
For, with dredd majestie and awfull yre, Then came the bride, the lovely Medua came, She broke his wanton darts, and quenched base desyre. Clad in a vesture of unknowen gear,
Her yvorie forhead, full of bountie brave, And uncouth fashion, yet her well became,
Like a broad table did itselfe dispred, That seem'd like silver sprinkled here and there,
For Love his loftie triumphes to engrave, With glittering spangs that did like stars appear,
And write the battailes of his great godhed :
All good and honour might therein be red ;
For there their dwelling was. And, when she spake,
Sweete wordes, like dropping honey, she did shed; It was no mortal work, that seem’d and yet was not.
And 'twixt the perles and rubins softly brake Her goodly locks adown her back did flow
A silver sound, that heavenly musicke seemd to make. C'nto her waist, with flowers bescattered, The which ambrosial odours forth did throw
Upon her eyelids many Graces sate, To all about, and all her shoulders spread,
Under the shadow of her even browcs, As a new spring; and likewise on her head
Working belgardes and amorous retrate ; A chapelet of sundry flowers she wore,
And everie one her with a grace endowes, From under which the dewy humour shed
And everie one with meekenesse to her bowes : Did trickle down her hair, like to the hoar
So glorious mirrhour of celestiall grace, Congealed little drops, which do the morn adore.
And soveraine moniment of mortall vowes,
How shall frayle pen descrive her heavenly face, On her two pretty handmaids did attend,
For feare, through want of skill, her beauty to disgrace ! One call’d the Theise, the other call’d the Crane, Which on her waited, things amiss to iend,
So faire, and thousand thousand times more faire, And both behind upheld her spreading train,
She seemd, when she presented was to sight; L’nder the which her feet appeared plain,
And was yclad, for heat of scorching aire, Her silver feet, fair wash'd against this day:
All in a silken Camus lily white, And her before there paced pages twain,
Purfled upon with many a folded plight, Both clad in colours like, and like array
Which all above besprinckled was throughout The Doun and eke the Frith, both which prepared her With golden aygulets. way.
And in her hand a sharpe bore-speare she held,
Greatly aghast with this piteous plen, And at her backe a bow, and quiver gay
Him rested the good man on the lea, Stuft with steel-headed dartes, wherewith she queld And bade the Briere in his plaint proceed. The salvage beastes in her victorious play,
With painted words then gan this proud weed Knit with a golden bauldricke which forelay
(As most usen ambitious folk) Athwart her snowy brest, and did divide
His colour'd crime with craft to cloke. Her daintie paps; which, like young fruit in May, Ah, my Sovereign ! lord of creatures all, Now little gan to swell, and being tide
Thou placer of plants both humble and tall, Through her thin weed their places only signifide. Was not I planted of thine own hand, Her yellow lockes, crisped like golden wyre,
To be the primrose of all thy land, About her shoulders weren loosely shed,
With flow'ring blossoms to furnish the prime, And, when the winde emongst them did inspyre,
And scarlet berries in sommer-time? They waved like a penon wyde despred,
How falls it then that this faded Oak, And low behinde her backe were scattered :
Whose body is sere, whose branches broke, And, whether art it were or heedlesse hap,
Whose naked arms stretch unto the fire, As through the flouring forrest rash she fied,
Unto such tyranny doth aspire, In her rude heares sweet flowres themselves did lap,
Hindring with his shade my lovely light, And flourishing fresh leaves and blossomes did enwrap.
And robbing me of the sweet sun's sight?
So beat his old boughs my tender side, [Fable of the Oak and the Briar.]
That oft the blood springeth from wounds wide,
Untimely my flowers forced to fall, There grew an aged tree on the green,
That been the honour of your coronal; A goodly Oak sometime had it been,
And oft he lets his canker-worms light With arms full strong and largely display'd,
Upon my branches, to work me more spight; But of their leaves they were disaray'd :
And of his hoary locks down doth cast, The body big and mightily pight,
Wherewith my fresh flowrets been defast : Throughly rooted, and of wondrous height;
For this, and many more such outrage, Whiloin had been the king of the field,
Craving your godlyhead to assuage And mochel mast to the husband did yield,
The rancorous rigour of his might; And with his nuts larded many swine,
Nought ask I but only to hold my right, But now the gray moss marred his rine,
Submitting me to your good sufferance, His bared boughs were beaten with storms,
And praying to be guarded from grievance. His top was bald, and wasted with worms,
To this this Oak cast him to reply His honour decay'd, his branches sere.
Well as he couth; but his enemy Hard by his side grew a bragging Briere,
Had kindled such coals of displeasure, Which proudly thrust into th' element,
That the good man nould stay his leisure, And seemed to threat the firmament :
But home him hasted with furious heat, It was embellisht with blossoms fair,
Encreasing his wrath with many a threat ; And thereto aye wonted to repair
His harmful hatchet he hent in hand, The shepherd's daughters to gather flowres,
(Alas! that it so ready should stand!) To paint their garlands with his colowres,
And to the field alone he speedeth, And in his small bushes used to shroud,
|(Aye little help to harm there needeth) The sweet nightingale singing so loud,
Anger nould let him speak to the tree, Which made this foolish Briere wex so bold,
Enaunter his rage might cooled be, That on a time he cast him to scold,
But to the root bent his sturdy stroke,
And made many wounds in the waste Oak.
As half unwilling to cut the grain,
Seemed the senseless iron did fear, Died in lily white and crimson red,
Or to wrong holy eld did forbear; With leaves engrained in lusty green,
For it had been an ancient tree, Colours meet to cloath a maiden queen ?
Sacred with inany a mystery, Thy waste bigness but cumbers the ground,
And often crost with the priests' crew, And dirks the beauty of my blossoms round :
And often hallowed with holy-water dew; The mouldy moss, which thee accloyeth,
But like fancies weren foolery, My cinnamon smell too much annoyeth :
And broughten this Oak to this misery; Wherefore soon I rede thee hence remove,
For nought might they quitten him from decay, Lest thou the price of my displeasure prove.
For fiercely the good man at him did lay. So spake this bold Briere with great disdain,
The block oft groaned under his blow, Little him answer'd the Oak again,
And sighed to see his near overthrow. But yielded, with shame and grief adaw'd,
In fine, the steel had pierced his pith, That of a weed he was over-craw'd.
Then down to the ground he fell forthwith. It chanced after upon a day,
His wondrous weight made the ground to quake, The husband-man's self to come that way,
Th' earth shrunk under him, and seem'd to shake; Of custom to surview his ground,
There lieth the Oak pitied of none. And his trees of state in compass round:
Now stands the Briere like a lord alone, . Him when the spiteful Briere had espyed,
Putt'd up with pride and vain pleasance; Causeless complained, and loudly cryed
But all this glee had no continuance : Unto his lord, stirring up stern strife :
For eftsoons winter 'gan to approach, O my liege Lord ! the god of my life,
The blustering Boreas did encroach, Please you ponder your suppliant's plaint,
And beat upon the solitary Briere, Caused of wrong and cruel constraint,
For now no succour was seen him near. • Which I your poor vassal daily endure;
Now 'gan he repent his pride too late, And but your goodness the same recure,
For naked left and disconsolate, And like for desperate dole to die,
The biting frost nipt his stalk dead, Through felonous force of mine enemy.
| The watry wet weighed down his head,