Page images
PDF
EPUB

So fariously each other did assayle,

Thereat sir Blandamour, with countenance sterne As if their soales they would attonce have rent All full of wrath, thus fiercely him bespake; Out of their brests, that streames of bloud did rayle “ Aread, thou squire, that I the man may learne, Adowne, as if their springs of life were spent; That date fro me thinke Florimell to take !" That all the ground with purple bloud was sprent, “ Not one," quoth he, “but many doe partake And all their armours staynd with bloudie gorc; Herein; as thus : it lately so befell, Yet scarcely once to breath would they relent, That Satyran a girdle did uptake So mortall was their malice and so sore

Well knowne to appertaine to Florimell, Become, of fayned friendship which they vow'dafore. Which for her sake he wore, as him beseemed well. And that which is for ladies most befitting, But, whenas she herselfe was lost and gone, To stint all strife, and foster friendly peace, Full many knights, that loved her like deare, Was from those dames so farre and so unfitting, Thereat did greatly grudge, that he alone As that, instead of praying them surcease,

That lost faire ladies ornament should weare, They did much more their cruelty encrease; Ard gan therefore close spight to him to beare; Bidding them fight for bonour of their love, Which he to shun, and stop vile envies sting, And rather die then ladies cause release: [move, Hath lately caus’d to be proclaim'd each where With which vaine termes so much they did them A solemne feast, with publike turneying, [bring : That both resolr'd the last extremities to prove. To which all knights with them their ladies are to There they, I weene, would fight untill this day, " And of them all she, that is fayrest found, Had not a squire, even be the Squire of Dames, Shall have that golden girdle for reward ; By great adventure travelled that way ;

And of those knights, who is most stout on ground, Who seeing both bent to so bloudy games,

Shall to that fairest ladie be prefard. And both of old well knowing by their names, Since therefore she herselfe is now your ward, Drew nigh, to weete the cause of their debate: To you that ornament of hers pertaines, And first laide on those ladies thousand blames, Against all those that chalenge it, to gard, That did not seeke t'appease their deadly hate, And save her honour with your ventrous paines; Bat gazed on their harmes, not pittying their estate: That shall you win more glory than ye here find

gaines." And then those knights he humbly did beseech To stay their hands, till he awhile bad spoken: When they the reason of his words had hard, Who luokt a little up at that his speech,

They gan abate the rancour of their rage, Yet would not let their battell so be broken, And with their honours and their loves regard Both greedie fiers on other to be wroken.

The furious flames of malice to asswage. Yet he to them so earnestly did call,

Tho each to other did his faith 'engage, And them conjur'd by some well knowen token, Like faithfull friends thenceforth to ioyne in one That they at last their wrothfull hands let fall, (all

. With all their force, and battell strong to wage Content to heare him speake, and glad to rest with Gainst all those knights, as their professed fone,

That chalengd ought in Florimell, save they alone. First he desir'd their cause of strife to see : They said, it was for love of Florimell.

So, well accorded, forth they rode together * Ah! gentle knights," quoth he, “ how may that In friendly sort, that lasted but a while; And she so farre astray, as none can tell ?” [bee, And of all old dislikes they made faire weather: “ Fond squire,” full angry then sayd Paridell, Yet all was forg'd and spred with golden foyle, " Seest not the ladie there before thy face?" That under it hidde hate and hollow guyle. He looked backe, and, her avising well,

Ne certes can that friendship long endure,
Weend, as he said, by that her outward grace However gay and goodly be the style,
That fayrest Florimell was present there in place. That doth ill cause or evill end enure:

For vertue is the band that bindeth harts most sure.
Glad man was he to see that ioyous sight,
Por none alive but ioy'd in Florimell,

Thus as they marched all in close disguise And lowly to her lowting thus behight;

Of fayned love, they chaunst to overtake " Fayrest of faire, that fairenesse doest excell, Two knights, that lincked rode in lovely wise, This happie day I have to greete you well,, As if they secret counsels did partake; In which you safe I see, whom thousand late And each not farre behinde him had his make, Misdoubted lost through mischiefe that befell; To weete, two ladies of most goodly hew, Long may you live in health and happie state!” That twixt themselves did gentle purpose make, She litle answer'd him, but lightly did aggrate.

Unmindfull both of that discordfull crew,

The which with speedie pace did after them pursew. Then, tuming to those knights, he gan anew; "And you, sir Blandamour, and Paridel,

Who, as they now approched nigh at hand, That for this ladie present in your vew

Deeming them doughtie as they did appeare, Have rays'd this cruell warre and outrage fell, They sent that squire afore, to understand Certes, me seemes, bene not advised well ; What mote they be: who, viewing them more neare, But rather ought in friendship for her sake Retumed readie newes, that those same weare To ioyne your force, their forces to repell Two of the prowest knights iu Faery lond; That seeke perforce ber from you both to take, And those two ladies their two lovers deare; And of your gotten spoyle their owne triumph to Couragious Cambell, and stont Triamond, make."

With Canacee and Cambine linckt in lovely bond.

Whylome, as antique stories tellen us,

Bold was the chalenge, as himselfe was bold,
Those two were foes the fellonest on ground, And courage full of haughtie hardiment,
And battell made the dreddest daungerous Approved oft in perils manifold,
That ever shrilling trumpet did resound;

Which he atchiev'd to his great ornament :
Though now their acts be no where to be found, But yet his sisters skill unto him lent
As that renowmed poet them compyled

Most confidence and hope of happie speed,
With warlike numbers and heroicke sound, Conceived by a ring which she him sent,
Dan Chaucer, Well of English undefyled,

That, mongst the manie vertues which we reed, On Fames eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled. Had power to staunch al wounds that mortally did

bleed. But wicked Time, that all good thoughts doth waste, And workes of noblest wits to nought outweare, Well was that rings great vertue knowen to all; That famous moniment hath quite defaste, That dread thereof, and his redoubted might, And robd the world of threasure endlesse deare, Did all that youthly rout so much appall, The which mote have enriched all us heare. That none of them durst undertake the fight: O cursed eld, the canker-worme of writs !

More wise they weend to make of love delight How may these rimes, so rude as doth appeare, Then life to hazard for faire ladies looke; Hope to endure, sith workes of heavenly wits [bits! And yet uncertaine by such outward sight, Are quite devourd, and brought to nought by little Though for her sake they all that perill tooke,

Whether she would them love, or in her liking brooke. Then pardon, O most sacred happie spirit, That I thy labours lost may thus revive,

Amongst those knights there were three brethren And steale from thee the meede of thy due merit, Three bolder brethren never were yborne, [bold, That none durst ever whilest thou wast alive, Borne of one mother in one happie mold, And, being dead, in vaine yet many strive: Borne at one burden in one happie morne ; Ne dare I like; but, through infusion sweete Thrise happie mother, and thrise happie morne, Of thine owne spirit which doth in me survive, That bore three such, three such not to be fond ! I follow here the footing of thy feete,

Her name was Agape, whose children werne That with thy meaning so I may the rather meete. All three as one; the first hight Priamond,

The second Dyamond, the youngest Triamond. Cambelloes sister was fayre Canacee, That was the learnedst ladie in her dayes,

Stout Priamond, but not so strong to strike; Well seene in everie science that mote bee,

Strong Diamond, but not so stout a knight;
And every secret worke of Nature's wayes; But Triamond was stout and strong alike:
In wittie riddles; and in wise soothsayes;

On horsebacke used Triamond to fight,
In power of herbes; and tunes of beasts and burds; And Priamond on foote had more delight;
And, that augmented all her other prayse,

But horse and foote knew Diamond to wield:
She modest was in all her deedes and words, With curtaxe used Diamond to smite,
And wondrous chast of life, yet lov'd of knights and And Triamond to handle speare and shield,
lords.

But speare and curtaxe both usd Priamond in field.

Full many lords and many kuights her loved, These three did love each other dearely well, Yet she to none of them her liking lent,

And with so firme affection were allyde, Ne ever was with fond affection moved,

As if but one soule in them all did dwell, But ruld ber thoughts with goodly governement, Which did her powre into three parts divyde; For dread of blame and honours blemishment; Like three faire branches budding farre and wide, And eke unto her lookes a law she made,

That from one roote deriv'd their vitall sap : That none of them once out of order went,

And, like that roote that doth her life divide, But, like to warie centonels well stayd,

Their mother was; and had full blessed hap Still watcht on every side, of secret foes afrayd. These three so noble babes to bring forth at one clap. So much the more as she refusd to love,

Their mother was a Fay, and had the skill So much the more she loved was and sought, Of secret things, and all the powres of Nature, That oftentimes unquiet strife did move

Which she by art could use unto her will, Amongst her lovers, and great quarrels wrought; And to her service bind each living creature, That oft for her in bloudie armes they fought. Through secret understanding of their feature. Which whenas Cambell, that was stout and wise, Thereto she was right faire, whenso her face Perceiv'd would breede great mischiefe, he be- She list discover, and of goodly stature; How to prevent the perill that mote rise, (thought But she, as Fayes are wont, in privie place (space. And turne both him and her to honour in this wise. Did spend her dayes, and lovd in forests wyld to One day, when all that troupe of warlike wooers There on a day a noble youthly knight, Assembled were, to weet whose she should bee, Seeking adventures in the salvage wood, All mightie men and dreadfull derring dooers, Did by great fortune get of her the sight, (The harder it to make them well agree)

As she sate carelesse by a cristall food Amongst them all this end he did decree;

Combing her golden lockes, as seemd her good; That, of them all which love to her did make, And unawares upon her laying hold, They by consent should chose the stoutest three That strove in vaine him long to have withstood, That with himselfe should combat for her sake, Oppressed her, and there (as it is told) (pions bold: And of them all the victour should his sister take. Got these three lovely babes, that pror'd three cham. Which she with her long fostred in that wood, They graunted it ; and then that carefall Fay Till that to ripenesse of mans state they grew : Departed thence with full contented mynd; Then, shewing forth signes of their fathers blood, And, comming home, in warlike fresh aray They loved armes, and knighthood did ensew, Them found all three according to their kynd; Seeking adventures where they anie knew.

But unto them what destivie was assynd, Which when their mother saw, she gan to dout Or how their lives were eekt, she did not tell; Their safetie ; least by searching daungers new, But evermore, when she fit time could fynd, And rash provoking perils all about, [stout. She warned them to tend their safeties well, Their days mote be abridged through their corage And love each other deare, whatever them befell. Therefore desirous th' end of all their dayes So did they surely during all their dayes, To know, and them t'enlarge with long extent, And never discord did amongst them fall; By wondrous skill and many hidden wayes

Which much augmented all their other praise : To the three fatall Sisters house she went.

And now, t increase affection naturall, Farre under ground from tract of living went, In love of Canacee they ioyned all: Downe in the bottome of the deepe abysse,

Upon which ground this same great battell grew,
Where Demogorgon in dull darknesse pent (Great matter growing of beginning small)
Farre from the view of gods and Heavens bliss [is. The which, for length, I will not here pursew,
The hideous Chaos keepes, their dreadfull dwelling But rather will reserve it for a canto new.
There she them found all sitting round about
The direfull distaffe standing in the mid,
And with unwearied fingers drawing out

CANTO III.
The lines of life, from living knowledge hid.
Sad Clotho held the rocke, the whiles the thrid

The battell twixt three brethren with
By griesly Lachesis was span with paine,

Cambell for Canacee: Tbat cruell Atropos eftsoones undid,

Cambina with true friendships bond With cursed knife cutting the twist in twaine:

Doth their long strife agree. Most wretched men, whose dayes depend on thrids so vaine !

O! why doe wretched men so much desire

To draw their dayes unto the utmost dato, She, them saluting there, by them sate still

And doe not rather wish them soone expire; Beholding how the thrids of life they span :

Knowing the miserie of their estate, And when at last she had beheld ber fill,

And thousand perills which them still awate,
Trembling in heart, and looking pale and wan,

Tossing them like a boate amid the mayne,
Her cause of comming she to tell began.
To whom fierce Atropos; “ Bold Pay, that durst

That every houre they knocke at Deathës gate!

And he that happie seemes and least in payne, Come see the secret of the life of man,

Yet is as nigh his end as he that most doth playne. Well worthie thou to be of love accurst, And eke thy childrens thrids to be asunder burst!” Therefore this Pay I hold but fond and vaine, Whereat she sore affrayd yet her besought The which, in seeking for her children three To graunt her boone, and rigour to abate,

Long life, thereby did more prolong their paine : That she might see her childrens thrids forth brought, More happie creatures then they seem'd to bee;

Yet whilest they lived none did ever see
And know the measure of their utmost date
To them ordained by eternall Fate:

Nor more ennobled for their courtesie,
Which Clotho graunting shewed her the same.

That made thetn dearely lov'd of each degree; That when she saw, it did her much amate

Ne more renowned for their chevalrie, To see their tbrids so thin, as spiders frame,

That made them dreaded much of all men farre and

nie. And eke so short, that seemd their ends out shortly came.

These three that hardie chalenge tooke in hand, She then began them humbly to intreate

For Canacee with Cambell for to fight :
To draw thein longer out, and better twine, The day was set, that all might understand,
That so their lives might be prolonged late:

And pledges pawnd the same to keepe aright: But Lachesis thereat gan to repine,

That day, (the dreddest day that living wight And sayd; “ Fond dame! that deem'st of things Did ever see upon this world to shine) As of humáne, that they may altred bee, [divine So soone as Heavens window shewed light, And chaung’d at pleasure for those impes of thine: These warlike champions, all in armour shine, Not so; for what the Fates do once decree, (free!" Assembled were in field the chalenge to define. Not all the gods can chaunge, nor love himselfe can

The field with listes was all about enclos'd, « Then since," quoth she, " the term of each mans To barre the prease of people farre away ; For nought may lessened nor enlarged bee; [life And at th' one side sixe judges were dispos'd, Graunt this ; that when ye shred with fatall knife To view and deeme the deedes of armes that day; His line, which is the eldest of the three,

And on the other side in fresh aray Which is of them the shortest, as I see,

Fayre Canacee upon a stately stage Eftsoones his life may passe into the next; Was set, to see the fortune of that fray And, when the next shall likewise ended bee, And to be seene, as his most worthy wage That both their lives may likewise be annext That could her purchase with his live's adventur'd Tato the third, that his may be so trebly wext."

gage.

Then entred Cambell first into the list,

Theret:ith asunder in the midst it brast, With stately steps and fearelesse countenance, And in his hand nought but the troncheon left; As if the conquest his he surely wist.

The other halfe behiud yet sticking fast Soone after did the brethren three advance Out of his head-peece Cambell fiercely reft, In brave aray and goodly amenance,

And with such furie backe at him it heft,
With scutchins gilt and banners broad displayd; That, making way unto his dearest life,
And, marching thrise in warlike ordinance, His weasand-pipe it through his gorget cleft:
Thrise lowted lowly to the noble mayd; [playd | Thence streames of purple bloud issuing rife
The whiles shril trumpets and loud clarions sweetly Let forth his wearie ghost, and made an end of strife.
Which doen, the doughty chalenger came forth, His wearie ghost assoyld from fleshly band
All arm'd to point, his chalenge to abet :

Did not, as others wont, directly fly
Gainst whom sir Priamond, with equall worth Unto her rest in Plutoes griesly land;
And equall armes, himselfe did forward set. Ne into ayre did vanish presently ;
A trompet blew; they both together met

Ne chaunged was into a starre in sky;
With dreadfull force and furious intent,

But through traduction was eftsoones derived, Carelesse of perill in their fiers affret,

Like as his mother prayd the Destinie, As if that life to losse they had forelent,

Into his other brethren that survived, And cared not to spare that should be shortly spent. In whom he livd anew, of former life deprived. Right practicke was sir Priamond in fight, Whom when on ground his brother next beheld, And throughly skild in use of shield and speare ; Though sad and sorrie for so heavy sight, Ne lesse approved was Cambelloes might,

Yet leave unto his sorrow did not yeeid; Ne lesse his skill in weapons did appeare;

But rather stir'd to vengeance and despight, That hard it was to weene which harder were. Through secret feeling of his generous spright, Full many mightie strokes on either side

Rusht fiercely forth, the battell to renew, Were sent, that seemed death in them to beare; As in reversion of his brothers right; But they were both so watchfull and well eyde, And chalenging the virgin as his dew. That they avoyded were, and vainely by did slyde. His foe was soone addrest: the trompets freshly blew. Yet one, of many, was so strongly bent

With that they both together fiercely met, By Priamond, that with unluckie glaunce

As if that each ment other to devoure; Through Cambels shoulder it unwarely went, And with their axes both so sorely bet, That forced him his shield to disadvaunce:

That nether plate por mayle, whereas their powre Much was he grieved with that gracelesse chaunce; They felt, could once sustaine the hideous stowre, Yet from the wound no drop of bloud there fell, But rived were, like rotten wood, asunder; (showre, But wondrous paine that did the more enhaunce Whilest through their rifts the ruddie bloud did His haughtie courage to avengement fell :

And fire did fash, like lightning after thunder, Smart daunts not mighty harts, but makes them That fild the lookers on attonce with ruth and wonmore to swell.

der. With that, his poynant speare he fierce aventred As when two tygers prickt with hungers rage With doubled force close underneath his shield, Have by good fortune found some beasts fresh spoyle, That through the mayles into his thigh it entred, On which they weene their famine to asswage, And, there arresting, readie way did yield

And gaine a feastfull guerdon of their toyle; For bloud to gush forth on the grassie field; Both falling out doe stirre up strifefull broyle, That he for paine himselfe n'ot right upreare, And cruell battell twixt themselves doe make, But to and fro in great amazemeut reel'd; Whiles neither lets the other touch the soyle, Like an old oke, whose pith and sap is seare, But either sdeigns with other to partake: At puffe of every storme doth stagger here and So cruelly those knights strove for that ladies sake. theare.

Pull many strokes that mortally were ment,
Whom so dismayd when Cambell had espide, The whiles were interchaunged twixt them two;
Againe he drove at him with double might, Yet they were all with so good wariment
That nought mote stay the steele, till in his side Or warded, or avoyded and let goe,
The mortall point most cruelly empight;

That still the life stood fearelesse of her foe;
Where fast infixed, whilest he sought by slight Till Diamond, disdeigning long delay
It forth to wrest, the staffe asunder brake,

Of doubtfull fortune wavering to and fro,
And left the head behinde: with which despight Resolv'd to end it one or other way; (sway.
He all enrag'd his shivering speare did shake, And heav'd his murdrous axe at him with mighty
And chargiug him afresh thus felly him bespake;

The dreadfull stroke, in case it had arrived “ Lo! faitour, there thy meede unto thee take, Where it was ment, (so deadly it was ment) The meede of thy mischalenge and abet:

The soule had sure out of his body rived, Not for thine owne, but for thy sisters sake, And stinted all the strife incontinent; Have I thus long thy life unto thee let:

But (ambels fate that fortune did prevent: But to forbeare doth not forgive the det."

For, seeing it at hand, he swarv'd asyde, The wicked weapon heard his wrathfull vow; And so gave way unto his fell intent; And, passing forth with furious affret,

Who, missing of the marke which he had eyde, Pierst through his bever quite into his brow, Was with toe force nigh feld whilst his right foot did That with the force it backward forced him to bow.

slyde.

As when a vulture greedie of his pray,

Much was Cambello daunted with his blowes ; Through hunger long that hart to him doth lend, So thicke thev foll, and forcibly were sent, Strikes at an heron with all bis bodies sway, That he was forst from daunger of the throwes That from his force secmes nought may it defend; Backe to retire, and somewhat to relent, The Farie fowie, that spies him toward bend Till th' heat of his fierce furie he had spent : His dreadfull souse, aroydes it, shunning light, Which when for want of breath gan to abate, And maketh bim his wing in vaine to spend ; He then afresh with new encouragement That with the weight of his owne weeldlesse might | Did him assayle, and mightily amate, He falleth nigh to ground, and scarse recovereth As fast, as forward erst, now backward to retrate. flight.

Like as the tide, that comes fro th’ ocean mayne, Which faire adventure when Cambello spide, Flowes up the Shenan with contrárie forse, Full lightly, ere himselfe be could recower Ånd, over-ruling him in his owne rayne, From daungers dread to ward bis naked side, Drives hacke the current of his kindly course, He can let drive at him with all his power,

And makes it seeme to have some other sourse; And with his axe him sinote in evill hower, But when the foud is spert, then backe againe, That from his shoulders quite his head he reft: His borrowed waters forst to re-disbourse, The headlesse tronke, as herdlesse of that stower, He sends the sea his owne with double gaine, Stood still awhile, and his fast footing kept; And tribute eke withall, as to his soveraine. Till, feeling life to fayle, it fell, and deadly slept.

Thus did the battell varie to and fro, They, which that piteous spectacle beheld, With diverse fortune doubtfull to be deemed: Were much amaz'd the beadlesse tronke to see Now this the better bad, now had his fo; Stand up so long and weapon vaine to weld, Then be halfe vanquisht, then the other seemed ; Unweeting of the Fates divine decree

Yet victors both themselves alwayes esteemed: For lifes succession in those brethren three. And all the while the disentrayled blood For notwithstanding that one soule was reft, Adowne their sides like litie rivers stremed, Yet, had the bodie not dismembred bee,

That with the wasting of his vitall flood It would have lived, and revived eft;

Sir Triamond at last full faint and feeble stood. But, finding no fit seat, the lifelesse corso it left.

But Cambell still more strong and greater grew, It left; but that same soule, which therein dwelt,

Ne felt his blood to wast, ne powres emperisht, Streight entring into Triamond, him fild

Through that rings vertue, that with vigour new, With double life and griefe; which when he felt,

Still whenas he enfeebled was, him cherisht, As one wbose inner parts had bene ythrild

And all his wounds and all his bruses guarisht: With point of steele that close his hartbloud spild,

Like as a withered tree, through husbands toyle, He lightly lept out of his place of rest,

Is often seene full freshly to have florisht, And, rushing forth into the emptie field,

And fruitfull apples to have borne awhile, Against Cambello fiercely bim addrest;

As fresh as when it first was planted in the soyle. Who, bim affronting soone, to fight was readie prest. Well mote ye wonder how that nobie knight,

Through which advantage, in his strength he rose After he had so often wounded beene,

And smote the other with so wondrous might, Could stand on foot now to renew the fight:

That through the seame which did his hauberk close But had ye then bim forth advauncing seene,

Into his throate and life it pierced quight, Some newborne wight ye would him surely weene;

That downe he fell as dead in all mens sight: So fresh he seemed and so fierce in sight;

Yet dead he was not; yet he sure did die, Like as a snake, whom wearie winters teene

As all men do that lose the living spright: Hath worne to nought, now feeling sommers might So did one soule

out of his bodie die Casts off his ragged skin and freshly doth him dight. Unto her native home from mortall miserie. All was, through vertue of the ring he wore;

But nathëlesse whilst all the lookers-on The which not onely did not from him let

Him dead behight, as he to all appeard, One drop of bloud to fall, but did restore

All unawares he started up anon, His weakned powers, and dulled spirits whet,

As one that had out of a dreame bene reard, Through working of the stone therein yset.

And fresh assayld his foe; who halfe affeard Else bow could one of equall might with most,

Of th' uncouth sight, as he some ghost had seene, Against so many no lesse mightie met,

Stood still amaz'd, holding bis idle sweard; Once thinke to match three such on equall cost,

Till, having often by bim stricken beene,
Three such as able were to match a puissant host? Heforced was to strike and save himselfe from teene.
Yet nought thereof was Triamond adredde, Yet from thenceforth more warily he fought,
Ne desperate of glorious victorie;

As one in feare the Stygian gods t' offend,
But sharpely him assayld, and sore bestedde Ne followd on so fast, but rather sought
With heapes of strukes, which he at him let flie Himselfe to save, and daunger to defend,
As thicke as hayle forth poured from the skie: Then life and labour both in vaine to spend:
He stroke, he sonst, he foynd, he hewd, he lasht, Which Triamond perceiving, weened sure
And did his yron brond so fast applie,

He gan to faint toward the battels end,
That from the same the fierie sparkles Aasht, And that he should not long on foote endure;
As fast as water-sprinkles gainst a recke are dasht. A sigue which did to him the victorie assure:

« PreviousContinue »