Page images

It rertue had to shew in perfect sight

The damzell well did vew his personage, Whatever thing was in the world contaynd,

Aud liked well; ne further fastned not, Betwixt the lowest Earth and Hevens bight, But went her way; ne her unguilty age So that it to the looker appertaynd:

Did weene, unwares, that her unlucky lot Whatever foe had wrought, or frend had faynd, Lay hidden in the bottome of the pot: Therein discovered was, ne ought mote pas, Of burt unwist most daunger doth redound: Ne oaght in secret from the same remayad ; But the false archer, which that arrow shot Forthy it round and hollow shaped was,

So slyly that she did not feele the wound, (stound. Like to the world itselfe, and seemd a world of glas. Did smyle full smoothly at her weetlesse wofull Who fonders not, that reades so wonderous worke? Thenceforth the fether in her lofty crest, But who docs wonder, that has red the towre Rufied of Love, gan lowly to araile; Wherein th’ Aegyptian Phao long did lurke And her prowd portaunce and her princely gest, From all mens vew, that none might her discoure, With which she earst tryúmphed, now did quaile : Yet she might all inen vew out of her bowre? Sad, solemne, sowre, and full of fancies fraile, Great Ptolomcee it for his lemans sake

She woxe; yet wist she nether how, nor why; Ybuilded all of glasse, by magicke powre,

She wist not, silly mayd, what she did aile, And also it impregnable did make;

Yet wist she was not well at ease perdy;" Yet, when bis love was false, be with a peazc it brake. Yet thought it was not love, but some melancholy. Such was the glassy globe that Merlin made, So soone as Night had with her pallid hew And gave unto kiog Ryence for his gard,

Defaste the beautie of the shyning skye, That never foes his kingdome might invade, And refte from men the worldes desired sew, Bat be it knew at home before be hard

She with her nourse adowne to sleepe did lye; Tydings thereof, and so them still debard: But sleepe full far away from her did Ay: It was a famous present for a prince,

Instead thereof sad sigbes and sorrowes deepe And worthy worke of infinite reward,

Kept watch and ward about her warily; That treasons could bewray, and foes convince: That nought she did but wayle, and often steepe Happy this realme, had it remayned ever since ! Her dainty couch with teares which closely she did

weepe. One day it fortuned fayre Britomart loto her fathers closet to repayre;

And if that any drop of slombring rest For nothing he from her reserv'd apart,

Did chaunce to still into her weary spright, Being his onely daughter and his bayre;

When feeble nature felt herselfe opprest, Where when she had espyde that mirrour fayre, Streightway with dreames, and with fantasticke sight Herselfe awhile therein she vewd in vaine :

Of dreadfall things, the same was put to flight; Tho, her aviziog of the vertues rare

'That oft out of her bed she did astart, Which thereof spoken were, she gan againe

As one with vew of ghastly feends affright: Her to bethinke of that mote to herselfe pertaine.

Tho gan she to renew her former smart,

And thinke of that fayre visage written in her hart. But as it falleth, in the gentlest harts

One night, when she was tost with such unrest, Imperious Love hath highest set his throne, And tyrannizeth in the bitter smarts

Her aged nourse, whose name was Glaucè hight, Of them, that to him buxome are and prove :

Feeling her leape out of her loatbed nest, So thought this mayd (as maydens use to done)

Betwixt her feeble armes her quickly keight, Whom fortune for her husband would allot;

And downe againe in her warme bed her dight: Not that sbe lasted after any one,

“ Ah! my deare daughter, ah! my dearest dread, Por she was pare from blame of sinfull blott;

What uncouth fit,” says she, “what evill plight Yet wist her life at last must lincke in that same Chaunged thy lively cheare, and living made thee

Hath thee opprest, and with sad drearyhead (dead? knot.

« For not of nought these suddein ghastly feares Eftsoones there was presented to her eye

All night amict thy naturall repose; A comely knight, all arm'd in complete wize, And all the day, whenas thine equall peares Through whose bright ventayle lifted up on hye Their fit disports with faire delight doe chose, His manly face, that did his foes agrize

Thou in dull corners doest thyselfe inclose; Add frends to termes of gentle truce entize, Ne tastest princes pleasures, ne doest spred Lookt foorth, as Phæbus face out of the east

Abroad thy fresh youths fayrest flowre, but lose Betwixt two shady mountaynes doth arize: Both leafe and fruite, both too untimely shed, Portly bis person was, and much increast

As one in wilfull bale for ever buried. Through his heroicke grace and honorable gest.

« The time that mortall men their weary cares His crest was covered with a concbant hownd, Do lay away, and all wilde beastes do rest, And all his armour seemd of antique mould, And every river eke his course forbeares, But wondrous massy and assured sownd,

Then doth this wicked evill thee infest, And round about yfretted all with gold,

And rive with thousand throbs thy thrilled brest : In which there written was, with cyphers old, Like an huge Aetn' of deepe engulfed gryefe, Achilles armes echich Arthegall did win:

Sorrow is heaped in thy hollow chest, And on his shield enveloped sevenfold

Whence fourth it breakes in sighes and anguish rife, He bore a crowned little ermilin,

(skin. As smoke and sulphure mingled with confused That deckt the azure field with her fayre pouldred


“ Ay me! how much I feare least love it bee! “ Daughter," said she, “what need ye be dismayd? But if that love it be, as sure I read

Or why make ye such monster of your minde? By knowen signes and passions which I see, Of much more uncouth thing I was affrayd; Be it worthy of thy race and royall sead,

Of filthy lust, contráry unto kinde: Then I avow, by this most sacred head

But this affection nothing straunge I finde; Of my dear foster childe, to ease thy griefe For who with reason can you aye reprove And win thy will: therefore away doe dread; To love the semblaunt pleasing most your minde, For death nor daunger from thy dew reliefe And yield your heart whence ye cannot remove? Shall me debarre: tell me therefore, my liefest liefe!" No guilt in you, but in the tyranny of Love. So having sayd, her twixt her armës twaine “ Not so th’ Arabian Myrrhe did sett her mynd; Shee streightly straynd, and colled tenderly; Nor so did Biblis spend her pining hart; And every trembling ioynt and every vaine But lov'd their native flesh against al kynd, Shee softly felt, and rubbed busily,

And to their purpose used wicked art; To doe the frosen cold away to fly;

Yet playd Pasiphaë a more monstrous part, And her faire deawy eies with kisses deare That lov'd a bull, and learnd a beast to bee: Shee ofte did bathe, and ofte againe did dry; Such sharpefull lustes who loaths not, which depart And ever her importund not to feare

From course of nature and of modestee? (panee.
To let the secret of her bart to her appeare. Swete Love such lewdnes bands from his faire com-
The damzell pauzd; and then thus fearfully; “But thine, my deare, (welfare thy heart, my deare!)
“ Ah! nurse, what needeth thee to eke my payne? Though straunge beginning had, yet fixed is
Is not enough that I alone doe dye,

On one that worthy may perhaps appeare;
But it must doubled bee with death of twaine? And certes seemes bestowed not amis:
For nought for me but death there doth remaine!” loy thereof have thou and eternall blis!"
O daughter deare,” said she, “ despeire no whit; With that, upleaniug on her elbow weake,
For never sore but might a salve obtaine:

Her alablaster brest she soft did kis,
That blinded god, which hath ye blindly smit, Which all that while shee felt to pant and quake,
Another arrow hath your lovers hart to hit.” As it an earth-quake were : at last she thus bespake;
“But mine is not,” quoth she, “like other wownd; “ Beldame, your words doe worke me litle ease;
For which no reason can finde remedy.”

For though my love be not so lewdly bent “ Was never such, but mote the like be fownd,"

As those ye blame, yet may it nought appease Said she; “ and though no reason may apply

My raging smart, ne ought my flame relent, Salve to your sore, yet Love can higher stye

But rather doth my helpelesse griefe augment. Then Reasons reach, and oft hath wonders donne.” For they, however shamefull and unkinde, “ But neither god of love nor god of skye

Yet did possesse their horrible intent: Can doe,” said she," that which cannot be donne." Short end of sorrowes they therby did finde; “ Things oft impossible, quoth she, “seeme ere

So was their fortune good, though wicked were their begonne."

minde. “ These idle wordes," said she, “doe nought aswage My stubborne smart, but more annoiaunce breed :

“ But wicked fortune mine, though minde be good, For no, no usuall fire, no usuall rage

Can have no end nor hope of my desire,

But feed on shadowes whiles I die for food,
Yt is, O nourse, which on my life doth feed,
And sucks the blood which from my hart doth bleed. And like a shadow wexe, whiles with entire
But since thy faithfull zele lets me not hyde

Affection I doe languish and expire.
My crime, (if crime it be) I will it reed.

I, fonder then Cephisus foolish chyld,

Who, having vewed in a fountainé shere Nor prince nor pere it is, whose love hath gryde My feeble brest of late, and launched this wound His face, was with the love thereof beguyid; wyde:

I, fonder, love a shade, the body far exyld." “ Nor man it is, nor other living wight;

“Nought like,”quoth shee; "for that same wretchfor then some hope I might unto me draw;

Was of himselfe the ydle paramoure,

[ed boy But th' only shade and semblant of a knight, Both love and lover, without hope of joy ; Whose shape or person yet I never saw,

For which he faded to a watry flowre. Hath me subiected to Loves cruell law:

But better fortune thine, and better howre, The same one day, as me misfortune led,

Which lov'st the shadow of a warlike kuight; I in my fathers wondrous mirrhour saw,

No shadow, but a body hath in powre: And, pleased with that seeming goodlyhed, That body, wheresoever that it light, Unwares the hidden hooke with baite I swallowed : May learned be by cyphers, or by magicke might. “ Sithens it hath infixed faster hold

“ But if thou may with reason yet represse Within my bleeding bowells, and so sore

The growing evill, ere it strength have gott, Now ranckleth in this same fraile fleshly mould) And thee abandond wholy do possesse; That all mine entrailes flow with poisnous gore, Against it strongly strive, and yield thee nott And th' ulcer groweth daily more and more; Til thou in open fielde adowne be smott: Ne can my ronning sore finde remedee,

But if the passion mayster thy fraile might, Other than my hard fortune to deplore,

So that needs love or death must be thy lott, And languish as the leafe faln from the tree, Then I avow to thee, by wrong or right Till death make one end of my daies and miseree!" | To compas thy desire, and find that loved knight." spill.

Her chearefull words much cheard the feeble spright
Of the sicke virgin, that her downe she layd
In her warme bed to sleepe, if that she might;

And the old-woman carefully displayd
The clothes about her round with busy ayd;

Merlin bewrayes to Britomart
So that at last a litle creeping sleepe

The state of Arthegall: Surprizd ber sence: shee, therewith well apayd, And shews the famous progeny, The dronken lamp down in the oyl did steepe,

Which from them springen shall.
And sett her by to watch, and sett her by to weepe.

Most sacred fyre, that burnest mightily
Earely, the morrow next, before that Day In living brests, ykindled first above
His ioyous face did to the world revele,

Emongst th' eternall spheres and lamping sky, They both uprose and tooke their ready way And thence pourd into men, which men cail Love; l'nto the church, their praiers to appele,

Not that same, which doth base affections move With great devotion, and with litle zele :

In brutish mindes, and filthy lust inflame; For the faire damzell froin the holy herse

But that sweete fit that doth true beautie love, Her love-sicke hart to other thoughts did steale; And choseth Vertue for his dearest dame, (fame: And that old dame said many an idle verse, Whence spring all noble deeds and never-dying Out of her daughters hart fond fancies to reverse.

Well did Antiquity a god thee deeme, Retourned home, the royall infant fell

That over mortall mindes hast so great might, Into her former fitt; for why? no powre

To order them as best to thee doth seeme, Nor guidaunce of herselfe in her did dwell.

And all their actions to direct aright : But th' aged pourse, her calling to her bowre, The fatall purpose of divine foresight Had gathered rew, and savine, and the flowre Thou doest effect in destined descents, Of camphora, and calamint, and dill;

Through deepe impression of thy secret might, All which she in a earthen pot did poure,

And stirredst up th' heroës high intents, [ments. And to the brim with coltwood did it fill,

Which the late world admyres for wondrous moni. And many drops of milk and blood through it did

But thy dredd dartes in none doe triumph more,

Ne braver proofe in any of thy powre Then, taking thrise three heares from off her head, Shewd’st thou, then in this royall maid of yore, Them trebly breaded in a threefold lace,

Making her seeke an unknowne paramoure, And round about the pots mouth bound the thread; From the worlds end, through many a bitter stowre: And, after having whispered a space

From whose two loynies thou afterwardes did rayse Cettein sad words with bollow voice and bace, Most famous fruites of matrimoniall bowre, Shee to the virgin sayd, thrise sayd she itt; Which through the Earth have spredd their living " Come, daughter, come; come, spit upon my

prayse, face:

That Fame in tromp of gold eternally displayes. Spitt thrise upon me, thrise upon me spitt; Th' aneren nomber for this busines is most fitt." Begin then, O my dearest sacred dame,

Daughter of Phæbus and of Memorye,
That sayd, her rownd about she from her turnd, That doest ennoble with immortall name
She turned her contrary to the Sunne;

The warlike worthies, from antiquitye,
Turise she her turnd contráry, and returnd In thy great volume of Eternitye;
All contrary; for she the right did shunne; Begin, O Clio, and recount from hence
And ever what she did was streight undonne. My glorious soveraines goodly anncestrye,
So thought she to undoe her daughter's love: Till that by dew degrees, and long protense,
But love, that is in gentle brest begonne,

Thou have it lastly brought unto her excellence.
No ydle charmes so lightly may remove;
That well can witnesse, wbu by tryall it does prove. Full many wayes within her troubled mind

Old Glaucè cast to cure this ladies griefe; Ne ought it mote the noble mayd avayle,

Full many wayes she sought, but none could find, Ne slake tbe fury of her cruell Name,

Nor herbes, nor charines, nor counsel that is chiefe But tbat shee still did waste, and still did wayle, And choicest med'cine for sick harts reliefe: That, through long languour and hart-burning Forthy great care she tooke, and greater feare, brame,

Least that it should her turne to fowle repriefe She shortly like a pyned ghost became

And sore reproch, wbenso her father deare Which long hath waited by the Stygian strond: Should of his dearest daughters hard misfortune That when old Glaucé saw, for feare least blame

Of her miscarriage should in her be fond,
She wist not how i' amend, nor how it to withstond. At last she her avisde, that he which made

That mirrhour, wherein the sicke damosell
So straungely vewed her straunge lovers shade,
To weet, the learned Merlin, well could tell
Under what coast of Heaven the man did dwell,
And by what means his love might best be wrought :
For, though beyond the Africk Ismaël
Or th’ Indian Peru he were, she thought
Him forth through infinite endevour to have sought.
Forthwith themselves disguising both in straunge They, here arriving, staid awhile without,
And base attyre, that none might them bewray, Ne durst adventure rashly in to wend,
To Maridunum, that is now by chaunge

But of their first intent gan make new dout
Of name Cayr-Merdin cald, they tooke their way: For dread of daunger, which it might portend:
There the wise Merlin whylome wont (they say) Untill the hardy mayd (with Love to frend)
To make his wonne, low underneath the ground, First entering, the dreadfuli mage there fownd
In a deepe delve, far from the vew of day,

Dcepe busied 'bout worke of wondrous end, That of no living wight he mote be found, [round. And writing straunge characters in the grownd, Whenso he counseld with his sprights encompast With which the stubborne fcendes he to his service

bownd. And, if thou ever happen that same way To traveill, go to see that dreadful place:

He nought was moved at their entraunce bold, It is an hideous hollow cave (they say)

For of their comming well he wist afore; Under a rock that lyes a litle space

Yet list them bid their businesse to unfold, From the swift Barry, tombling downe apace As if ought in this world in secrete store Emongst the woody hilles of Dyneuowre :

Were from him hidden, or unknowne of yore. But dare thou not, I charge, in any cace

Then Glaucè thus; “Let not it thee offend, To enter into that same balefull bowre, (vowre: That we thus rashly through thy darksom dore For fear the cruell feendes should thee unwares de- Unwares have prest; for either fatall end,

Or other mightie cause, us two did hether send." But standing high aloft low lay thine eare, And there such ghastly noyse of yroo chaines He bad tell on: and then she thus began; (light And brasen caudrons thou shalt rombling heare, “ Now have three Moones with borrowd brutbers Which thousand sprights with long enduring paines Thrise shined faire, and thrise seemd dim and wan, Doe tosse, that it will stonn thy feeble braines; Sith a sore evill, which this virgin bright And oftentimes great grones, and grievous stownds, Tormenteth and doth plonge in dolefull plight, When too huge toile and labour them constraines ; | First rooting tooke; but what thing it mute bee, And oftentimes loud strokes and ringing sowndes Or whence it sprong, I cannot read aright: From under that deepe rock most horriblyrebowndes. But this I read, that, but if remedee

Thou her afford, full shortly I her dead shall see." The cause, some say, is this: a litle whyle Before that Merlin dyde, he did intend

Therewith th' enchaunter softly gan to smyle A brasen wall in compas to compyle

At her smooth speeches, weeting inly well About Cairmardin, and did it commend

That she to him dissembled womanish guyle, Unto these sprights to bring to perfect end: And to her said; “ Beldame, by that ye tell During which worke the Lady of the Lake, More neede of leach-crafte bath your damozell, Whom long he loy'd, for him in hast did send ; Then of my skill: who helpe may have elsewhere, Who, thereby forst his workemen to forsake, [slake. In vaine seekes wonders out of magick spell.” Them bownd, till his retourne, their labour not to Th’old woman wox halfblanck those wordes to heare;

And yet was loth to let her purpose plaine appeare; In the meane time through that false ladies traine He was surprisd, and buried under beare,

And to him said; “ Yf any leaches skill, Ne ever to his worke returnd againe :

Or other learned meanes, could have redrest Nath'lesse those feends may not their work forbeare, This my deare daughters deepe-engraffed ill, So greatly his commandëment they feare,

Certes I should be loth thee to molest: But there doe toyle and traveile day and night, But this sad evill, which doth her infest, Untill that brasen wall they up doe reare:

Doth course of naturall cause farre exceed, Por Merlin had in magick more insight

And housed is within her hollow brest, Then ever bim before or after living wight: That either seemes some cursed witches deed,

Or evill spright, that in her doth such torment breed." For he by wordes could call out of the sky Both Sunne and Moone, and make them him obay ; | The wisard could no lenger beare her bord, - The land to sea, and sea to maineland dry,

But, bursting forth in laughter, to her sayd; And darksom night he eke conld turne to day; “ Glance, what needes this colourable word Huge hostes of men he could alone dismay, To cloke the cause that hath itselfe bewrayd? And hostes of men of meanest thinges could frame, Ne ye, fayre Britomartis, thus arayd, Whenso b'm list his enimies to fray:

More hidden are then Sunne in cloudy vele; That to this day, for terror of his fame,

Whom thy good fortune, having fate obayd, The feendes do quake when any him to them does Hath hether brought for succour to appele;

The which the powres to thee are pleased to revele.” And, sooth, men say that he was not the sonne The doubtfull mayd, seeing herselfe descryde, Of mortall syre or other living wight,

Was all abasht, and her pure yvory But wondrously begotten, and begonne

Into a cleare carnation suddein dyde ; By false illusion of a guilefull spright

As fayre Aurora, rysing hastily, On a faire lady Nonne, that wbilome higlit

Doth by her blushing tell that she did lye Matilda, daughter to Pubidius,

All night in old Tithonus frozen bed, Who was the lord of Mathtraval by right,

Whereof she seemes ashamed inwardly: And coosen unto king Ambrosius;

But her olde nourse was nought dishiartened, Whence he indued was with skill so marveilous. Bat vauntage made of that which Merlin had ared;


And sayd; “ Sith then thou knowest all our griefe, “ Great ayd thereto his mighty puissaunce (for what doest not thou know ?) of grace I pray, And dreaded name shall give in that sad day; Pitty our playnt, and yield us meet reliefe !" Where also proofe of thy prow valia unce With that the prophet still awhile did stay, Thou then shait make, t' increase thy lover's pray: And then his spirite thus gan foorth display; Long time ye both in armes shall bear e great sway, a Most noble virgin, that by fatall lore

Till thy wombes burden thee from them do call, Hast learn'd to love, let no whit the dismay And his last fate him from thee take away ; The hard beginpe that meetes thee in the dore, Too rathe cut off by practise criminall And with sharpe fits thy tender hart oppresseth sore: Of secrete foes, that him shall make in mischiefe

fall. * For so must all things excellent begin; And eke enrouted deepe must be that tree, “ With thee yet shall he leave, for memory Whose big embodied braunches shall not lin Of his late puissaunce, his ymage dead, Till they to Hevens hight forth stretched bee. That living him in all activity For from thy wombe a famous progenee

To thee shall represent : he, from the head Shall spring out of the auncient Troja blood, Of his coosen Constantius, without dread Which shall revive the sleeping memoree

Shall take the crowne that was his fathers right, Of those same antique peres, the Hevens brood, And therewith crowne himselfe in th' others stead; Which Greeke and Asian rivers stayned with their Then shall he issew forth with dreadfull might blood.

Against his Saxon foes in bloody field to fight. “ Renowmed kings, and sacred emperours, “ Like as a lyon that in drowsie cave Thy fruitfull offspring, sball from thee descend; Hath long time slept, bimselfe so shall he sbake; Brave captaines, and most mighty warrionirs, And, comming forth, shall spred his banner brave That shall their conquests through all Jands extend, Over the troubled south, that it shall make And their decayed kingdomes shall amend: The warlike Mertians for feare to quake: The feeble Britons, broken with long warre, Thrise shall he fight with them, and twise shall win: They shall upreare, and mightily defend

But the third time shall fayre accordaunce make: Against their forren foe that commes from farre,

And, if he then with victorie can lin,

[in. Till universall peace compound all civill iarre.

He shall his dayes with peace bring to his earthly " It was not, Britomart, thy wandring eye

“ His sonne, hight Vortipore, shall him succeede Glauncing unwares in charming looking-glas,

In kingdome, but not in felicity : But the streight course of hevenly destiny,

Yet shall he long time warre with happy speed, Led with Eternall Providence, that has

And with great honour many batteills try; Guyded thy glaunce, to bring his will to pas:

But at the last to th' importunity Ne is thy fate, ne is thy fortune ill,

Of froward fortune shall be forst to yield: To love the prowest knight that ever was:

But his sonde Malgo shall full mightily Therefore submit thy wayes unto his will,

Avenge bis fathers losse with speare and shield, And doe, by all dew meanes, thy destiny fulfill.”

And his proud foes discomfit in victorious field. “ But read,” saide Glauce, “thou magitian,

“ Behold the man! and tell me, Britomart, What meanesshall she out-seeke, or what waies take? How shall she know, how shall she finde the man?

If ay more goodly creature thou didst see? Or what needes her to toyle, sith fates can make

How like a gyaunt in each manly part

Beares he himselfe with portly maiestee,
Way for themxelves their purpose to pertake?”

That one of th' old heroës seemes to bee !
Theo Merlin thus ; “ Indeede the fates are firme,
And may not shrinck, though all the world do shake: He the six islands, comprovinciall

In auncient times into great Britainee,
Yet ought mens good endevours them confirme,
And guyde the heavenly causes to their constant Shall to the same reduce, and to him call

Their sondry kings to do their homage severall. « The man, whom Heavens have ordaynd to bee

“ All which his sonne Careticus awhile The spouse of Britomart, is Arthegall:

Shall well defend, and Saxons powre suppresse; He conneth in the land of Payëree,

Untill a straunger king, from unknowne soyle Yet is no Fary borne, ne sib at all

Arriving, him with multitude oppresse ; To Elfes, but sprong of seed terrestriall,

Great Gormond, having with huge mightinesse And whylome by false Faries stolne away,

Ireland subdewd, and therein fixt his throne, Whyles yet in infant cradle he did crall;

Like a swift otter, fell through emptinesse, Ne other to himselfe is knowne this day,

Shall overswim the sea with many one But that he by an Elfe was gotten of a Fay.

Of his Norveyses, to assist the Britons fone. " But sooth he is the sonne of Gorloïs,

“ He in his furie shall over-ronne, And brother unto Cador, Cornish king;

And holy church with faithlesse handes deface, And for his warlike feates renowned is,

That thy sad people, utterly fordonne, From where the day out of the sea doth spring, Shall to the utmost mountaines fly apace: Untill the closure of the evening :

Was never so great waste in any place, From thence him, firmely bound with faithfull band, Nor so fowle outrage doen by living men ; To this his native soyle thou backe sbalt bring, For all thy citties they shall sacke and race, Strongly to ayde bis countrey to withstand [land. And the greene grasse that groweth they shall bren, The powre of forreine Paynims which invade thy That even the wilde beast shall dy in starved den.

« PreviousContinue »