Page images
[ocr errors]

One day, as he was searching of their wounds, « Of that commixtion they did then beget
He found that they had festred privily;

This hellish dog, that bight the Blatant Beast ; And, ranckling inward with unruly stounds, A wicked monster, that his tongue doth whet The inner parts now gan to putrify,

Gainst all, both good and bad, both most and least, That quite they seem'd past helpe of surgery ; And pours his poysnous gall forth to infest And rather needed to be disciplinde

The noblest wights with notable defame: With bolesome reede of sad sobriety,

Ne ever knight that bore so lofty creast, To rule the stubborne rage of passion blinde: Ne ever ladie of so honest name, Give salves to every sore, but counsell to the minde. But he them spotted with reproch, or secrete sbame. So, taking them apart into his cell,

« In vaine therefore it were with medicine He to that point fit speaches gan to frame, To goe about to salve such kind of sore, As he the art of words knew wondrous well, That rather needes wise read and discipline And eke could doe as well as say the same; Then outward salves that may augment it more." And thus be to them sayd; “ Faire daughter dame, “ Aye me!" sayd then Serena, sighing sore, And you, faire sonne, which here thus long now lie “ What hope of helpe doth then for us remaine, In piteous languor since ye hither came;

If that no salves may us to health restore !” In vaine of me ye hope for remedie,

“But sith we need good counsell,” sayd the swaine, And I likewise in vaine doe salves to you applie: “ Aread, good sire, some counsell that may us sus

taine." " For in yourselfe your onely helpe doth lie To heale yourselves, and must proceed alone “ The best,” sayd he, “ that I can you advize, From your owne will to cure your maladie. Is, to avoide th' occasion of the ill : Who can him cure that will be cur'd of none? For when the cause, whence evill doth arize, If therefore health ye seeke, observe this one: Removed is, th' effect surceaseth still. First learne your outward senses to refraine Abstaine from pleasure, and restraine your will; From things that stirre up fraile affection ; Subdue desire, and bridle loose delight; Your eies, your eares, your tongue, your talk re- Use scanted diet, and forbeare your fill; straine

(taine. Shun secresie, and talke in open sight : From that they most affect, and in due termes con- So shall you soone repaire your present evill plight." “ For from those outward sences, ill affected, Thus having sayd, his sickely patients The seede of all this evill first doth spring, Did gladly hearken to his grave beheast, Which at the first, before it had infected,

And kept so well his wise commaundëments, Mote easie be supprest with little thing:

That in short space their malady was ceast, But, being growen strong, it forth doth bring And eke the biting of that harmefull beast (ceave Sorrow, and anguish, and impatient paine, Was throughly beald, Tho when they did perIn th' inner parts; and lastly, scattering

Their wounds recur'd, and forces reincreast, Contagious poyson close through every vaine, Of that good hermite both they tooke their leave, It nerer rests till it have wrought his finall bane. And went both on their way, ne ech would other

leave: " For that beastes teeth, which wounded you tofore, Are so exceeding venemous and keene,

But each the other vow'd † accompany :
Made all of rusty yron ranckling sore,

The lady, for that she was much in dred,
That, where they bite, it booteth not to weene Now left alone in great extremity;
With salve, or antidote, or other mene,

The squire, for that he courteous was indeed, It ever to amend: ne marvaile ought;

Would not her leave alone in her great need. For that same beast was bred of hellish strene, So both together traveld, till they met And long in darksome Stygian den upbrought, With a faire mayden clad in mourning weed, Begot of foule Echidna, as in bookes is taught. Upon a mangy iade unmeetly set,

And a lewd foole her leading thorough dry and wet. * Echidna is a monster direfull dred, Whom gods doe hate, and Heavens abhor to see; But by what meanes that shame to her befell, So hideous is her shape, so huge her hed,

And how thereof herselfe she did acquite,
That even the hellish fiends affrighted bee

I must a while forbeare to you to tell ;
At sight thereof, and from her presence flee: Till that, as comes by course, I doe recite
Yet did her face and former parts professe

What fortune to the Briton prince did lite,
A faire young mayden, full of comely glee; Pursuing that proud knight, the which whileare
But all her hinder parts did plaine expresse Wrought to sir Calepine so foule despight;
A monstrous dragon, full of fearfull uglinesse. And eke his lady, though she sickly were,

So lewdly had abusde, as ye did lately heare, " To her the gods, for her so dreadfull face, In fearefull darknesse, furthest from the skie The prince, according to the former token, And from the Earth, appointed have her place Which faire Serene to him delivered had, Mongst rocks and caves, where she earold doth lie Pursu'd him streight; in mynd to bene ywroken In hideous hortour and obscurity,

Of all the vile demeane and usage bad, Wasting tbe strength of her immortall age : With which he had those two so ill bestad: There did Typhaon with her company ;

Ne wight with him on that adventure went, Cruell Typhaon, whose tempestuous rage

But that wyld man; whom though he oft forbad, Makes th' Heavens tremble oft, and him with vowes Yet for no bidding, nor for being shent, asswage.

Would be restrained be from his attendëment.

Arriving there, as did by chaunce befall,

With dreadfull force they all did him assaile, He found the gate wyde ope, and in he rode, And round about with boystrous strokes oppresse, Ne stayd, till that he came into the hall;

That on his shield did rattle like to haile Where soft dismounting, like a weary lode, In a great tempest; that in such distresse Upon the ground with feeble feete he trode, He wist not to which side him to addresse: As he unable were for very neede

And evermore that craveu cowherd knight To move one foote, but there must make abode; Was at bis backe with heartlesse heedinesse, The whiles the salvage man did take his steede, Wayting if he unwares him murther might: And in some stable neare did set him up to feede. For cowardize doth still in villany delight. Ere long to him a homely groome there came, Whereof whenas the prince was well aware, That in rude wise him asked what he was,

He to him turnd with furious intent,
That durst so boldly, without let or shame, And hiin against his powre gan to prepare;
Into his lords forbidden hall to passe:

Like a fierce bull, that being busie bent
To whom the prince, him fayning to embase, To fight with many foes about him ment,
Mylde answer made, he was an errant knight, Feeling some curre behinde his heeles to bite,
The which was fall'n into this feeble case

Turnes bim about with fell avengëment: Through inany wounds, which lately he in fight So likewise turnde the prince upon the knight, Received had, and prayd to pitty his ill plight. And layd at him amaine with all his will and might. But he, the more outrageous and bold,

Who, when he once his dreadfull strokes had tasted, Sternely did bid him quickely thence avaunt, Durst not the furie of his force abyde, Or deare aby; for why? his lord of old

But turn'd abacke, and to retyre him hasted Did hate all errant knights which there did haunt, Through the thick prease, there thinking him to Ne lodging would to any of them graunt;

hyde: And therefore lightly bad him packe away, But, when the prince had once him plainely eyde, Not sparing bim with bitter words to taunt; He font by foot himn followed alway, And therewithall rude hand on him did lay, Ne would him suffer once to shriuke asyde; To thrust him out of dore doing his worst assay. But, joyning close, huge lode at bim did lay;

Who flying still did ward, and warding fly away. Which when the salvage comming now in place Beheld, eftsooves he all enraged grew,

But, when his foe he still so eger saw, And, running streight upon that villaine base, Unto his heeles himselfe he did betake, Like a fell lion at him fiercely flew,

Hoping unto some refuge to withdraw: And with his teeth and nailes, in present vew, Ne would the prince him ever foot forsake Him rudely rent and all to peeces tore;

Whereso he went, but after him did make. So miserably him all helpelesse slew,

He fled from roome to roome, from place to place, That with the noise, whilest he did loudly rore, Whylest every joynt for dread of death did quake, The people of the house rose forth in great uprore. Still looking after him that did him chace;

That made him evermore increase his speedie pace, Who when on ground they saw their fellow slaine, And that same knight and salvage standing by, At last he up into the chamber came Upon them two they fell with might and maine, Whereas bis love was sitting all alone, And on them layd so huge and horribly,

Wayting what tydings of her folke became. As if they would have slaine them presently: There did the prince bim overtake anone But the bold prince defended him so well,

Crying in vaine to her him to bemone; And their assault withstood so mightily,

And with his sword him on the head did smyte, That, maugre all their might, he did repell (fell. That to the ground he fell in senselesse swone : And beat them back, whilst many underneath him Yet, whether thwart or flatly it did lyte,

The tempred steele did not into his braynepan byte. Yet he them still so sharpely did pursew, That few of them he left alive, which fied,

Which when the ladie saw, with great affright Those evill tydings to their lord to shew :

She starting up began to shrieke aloud; Who, hearing how his people badly sped,

And, with her garment covering him from sight, Came forth in hast; where whenas with the dead Seem'd under her protection him to shroud; He saw the ground all strow'd, and that same knight And, falling lowly at his feet, her bowd And salvage with their bloud fresh steeming red, Upon her knee, intreating him for grace, He woxe nigh mad with wrath and fell despight, And often him besought, and prayd, and rowd; And with reprochfull words him thus bespake on That, with the ruth of her so wretched case, hight;

He stayd his second strooke, and did his hand abase. “ Art thou he, traytor, that with treason vile Her weed she then withdrawing did him discover ; Hast slaine my men in this unmanly maner, Who now come to himselfe yet would not rize, And now triúmphest in the piteous spoile [nor But still did lie as dead, and quake, and quiver, Of these poore folk, whose soules with black disho- That even the prince his basenesse did despize; And foule defame doe decke thy bloudy baner ? And eke his dame, him seeing in such guize, The meede whereof shall shortly be thy shame, Gan bim recomfort and from ground to reare: And wretched end which still attendeth on her." Who rising up at last in ghastly wize, With that himselfe to battell he did frame; (came. Like troubled ghost, did dreadfully appeare, So did his forty yeomen, which there with him As one that had no life him left through former feare.

Whom when the prince so deadly saw dismayd, Whom when the salvage saw from daunger free,
He for such basenesse shamefully him shent, Sitting beside his ladie there at ease,
And with sharpe words did bitterly upbrayd ; He well remembred that the same was hee,
“ Vile cowbeard dogge, now doe I much repent, Which lately sought his lord for to displease:
That ever I this life unto thee lent,

Tho all in rage be on him streight did seaze, Whereof thou caytive so unworthie art,

As if he would in peeces him have rent; That both thy love, for lacke of hardiment, And, were not that the prince did him appeaze, And eke thyselfe, for want of manly hart,

He had not left one limbe of him unrent: (ment. And eke all knights hast shamed with this knight. But streight he held his hand at his commaundëlesse part.

Thus having all things well in peace ordayned, “ Yet further hast thou heaped shame to shame, The prince himselfe there all that night did rest; And crime to crime, by this thy cowheard feare: Where him Blandina fayrely entertayned For first it was to thee reprochfull blame,

With all the courteous glee and goodiy feast T erect this wicked custome, which I heare The which for him she could imagine best: Gainst errant knights and ladies thou dost reare; For well she knew the wayes to win good will Whom when thou mayst thou dost of arms despoile, Of every wight, that were not too infest; Or of their upper garment which they weare: And how to please the minds of good and ill, Yet doest thou not with manhood, but with guile, Through tempering of her words and lookes by Maintaine this evil use, thy foes thereby to foile.

wondrous skill. “ And lastly, in approvance of thy wrong, Yet were her words and lookes but false and fayned, To shew such faintnesse and foule cowardize To some hid end to make more easie way, Is greatest shame; for oft it falles, that strong Or to allure such fondlings whom she trayned And valiant knights doe rasbly enterprize

Into her trap unto their owne decay: Either for fame, or else for exercize,

Thereto, when needed, she could weepe and pray, A wrongfull quarrell to maintaine by fight; And when her listed she could fawne and flatter; Yet have through prowesse and their brave emprize Now smyling smoothly like to sommers day, Gotten great worship in this worldës sight: Now glooming sadly, so to cloke her matter; For greater force there needs to maintaine wrong | Yet were her words but wynd, and all her tears but then right.

water. " Yet, since thy life unto this ladie fayre Whether such grace were given her by kynd, I given have, live in reproch and scorne !

As women wont their guilefull wits to guyde; Ne ever armes ne ever knighthood dare

Or learnd the art to please, I doe not fynd : Hence to professe; for shame is to adorne

This well I wote, that she so well applyde With so brave badges one so basely borne;

Her pleasing tongue, that soon she pacifyde But onely breath, sith that I did forgive !"

The wrathfull prince, and wrought her husbands So having from his craven bodie torne

Who nathëlesse, not therewith satisfyde, (peace: Those goodly armes, he them away did give,

His rancorous despight did not releasse, And onely suffred him this wretched life to live.

Ne secretly from thought of fell revenge surceasse : There whilest he thus was setling things above, Atwene that ladie myld and recreant knight,

For all that night, the whiles the prince did rest To whom his life he graunted for her lovc,

In carelesse couch not weeting what was ment, He gan bethinke him in what perilous plight

He watcht in close awayt with weapons prest, He had bebynd him left that salvage wight

Willing to worke his villenous intent Amongst so many foes, whom sure he thought

On him, that had so shamefully him shent: By this quite slaine in so unequall fight:

Yet durst he not for very cowardize

Effect the same, whylest all the night was spent. Therefore descending backe in haste he sought If yet he were alive, or to destruction brought.

The morrow next the prince did early rize,

And passed forth to follow his first enterprize.
There he him found environed about
With slaughtred bodies, which his hand had slaine ;
And laying yet afresh with courage stout
Upon the rest that did alive remaine;

Whom he likewise right sorely did constraine,
Like scattred sheepe, to seeke for safëtie,

Turpine is baffuld; his two knights
After he gotten had with busie paine

Doe gaine their treasons meed. Some of their weapons which thereby did lie,

Fayre Mirabellaes punishment With which he layd about, and made them fast to flie.

For Loves disdaine decreed. Whom when the prince so felly saw to rage,

Like as the gentle hart itselfe bewrayes Approaching to him neare, his hand he stayd, In doing gentle deedes with franke delight, And sought, by making signes, him to asswage: Even so the baser mind itselfe displayes Who them perceiving, streight to him obayd, In cancred malice and revengefull spight: As to his lord, and downe his weapons layd, For to maligne, t'envie, t' use shifting slight, As if he long had to his heasts bene trayned. Be arguments of a vile donghill mind; Thence he him brought away, and up convayd

Which, what it dare not doe by open might, Into the chamber, where that dame remayned To worke by wicked treason wayes doth find, With her unworthy knight, who ill him entertayned. By such discourteous deeds discovering his base kind. VOL. III.


That well appears in this discourteous knight, As when a cast of faulcons make their fight
The coward Turpine, whereof now I treat; At an herneshaw, that Iyes aloft on wing,
Who notwithstanding that in foriner fight

The whyles they strike at him with heedlesse might He of the prince his life received late,

The warie foule bis bill doth backward wring ; Yet in his mind malitious and ingrate

On which the first, whose force her first doth bring, He gan devize to be aveng'd anew

Herselfe quite through the hodie doth engore, For all that shame, which kindled inward hate : And falleth downe to ground like senselesse thing ; Therefore, so soone as he was out of vew,

But th' other, not so swift as she before, (more. Hemselfe in hast he armn'd, and did him fast pursew. Fayles of her souse, and passing by doth hurt no Well did he tract bis steps as he did ryde, By this the other, which was passed by, Yet would not neare approch in daungers eye, Himselfe recovering, was return'd to fight; But kept aloofe for dread to be descryde,

Where when he saw his fellow lifelesse ly,
Untill fit time and place he mote espy,

He much was daunted with so dismal sight;
Where he mote worke hiin scath and villeny. Yet, nought abating of bis former spight,
At last he met two knights to him wuknou ne, Let drive at him with so malitious mynd,
The which were armed both agreeably,

As if he would have passed through him qnight: And both combynd, whatever chaunce were blowne, But the steele-head no stedfast hold could fynd, Betwixt them to divide and each to make his owne. But glauncing by deceiv'd him of that he desynd. 'To whom false Turpine comming courteously, Not so the prince; for his well-learned speare To cloke the mischiefe which he inly ment, Tooke surer hould, and from his horses backe Gan to complaine of grcat discourtesie,

Above a launces length him forth did beare, Which a straunge knight, that neare afore him went, And gainst the cold hard earth so sore him strake, Had doen to him, and his deare ladie shent; That all his bones in peeces nigh he brake. Which if they would afford him ayde at need Where seeing him so lie, he left his steed, For to avenge in time convenient,

And, to him leaping, vengeance thought to take They should accomplish both a knightly deed, Of him, for all his former follies meed, And for their paines obtaine of him a goodly meed. With flaming sword in hand his terror more to breed. The knights beleev'd that all he sayd was trew; The fearfull swayne beholding death so nie And, being fresh and full of youthly spright, Cryde out aloud, for mercie, him to save; Were glad to heare of that adventure new,

In lieu whereof he would to him descrie In which they mote make triall of their might Great treason to him meant, his life to reave. Which never yet they had approv'd in fight, The prince soone hearkned, and his life forgave, And eke desirous of the offred meed :

Then thus said he; “ There is a straunger knight, Said then the one of them ; “ Where is that wight, The which, for promise of great meed, us drave The which hath doen to thee this wrongfull deed, To this attempt, to wreake his hid despight, That we may it avenge, and punish him with speed ?" For that himselfe theretodid want sufficient might." “ He rides,” said Turpine, “there not farre afore, The prince much mused at such villenie, [meed; With a wyld man soft footing by his syde; And sayd ; “ Now sure ye well have earn'd your That, if ye list to haste a litle more,

For th one is dead, and th' other soone shall.die, Ye may him overtake in timely tyde.”

Unlesse to me thou hither bring with speed Eftsoones they pricked forth with forward pryde; The wretch that hyrd you to this wicked deed." And, ere that litle while they ridden had,

He glad of life, and willing eke to wreake The gentle prince not farre away they spyde, The guilt on him which did this mischiefe breed, Ryding a softly pace with portance sad,

Swore by his sword, that neither day nor weeke Devizing of his love more then of daunger drad. He would sarceasse, but him whereso he were would

seeke. Then one of them alond unto him cryde, Bidding him turne againe; “False traytour knight, So up he rose, and forth streightway he went Foule woman-wronger!"--for he him defyde. Backe to the place where Turpine late he lore; With that they both at once with equall spight There he him found in great astonishment, Did bend their speares, and both with equall might | To see him so bedight with bloodie gore against him ran; but th’ one did misse his marke, And griesly wounds, that him appalled sore. And being carried with his force forthright Yet thus at length he said ; " How now, sir Knight, Glaunst swiftly by; like to that heavenly sparke, What meaneth this which here I see before? Which glyding through the ayre lights all the Hea- How fortuneth this foule uncomely plight, (sight?" vens darke.

So different from that which earst ye seem'd in But th’ other, ayming better, did him smite “ Perdie," said he, “ in evill bonre it fell, Foll in the shield with so impetuous powre, That ever I for meed did undertake That all his launce in peeces shivered quite, So hard a taske as life for hyre to sell ; And scattered all about fell on the flowre:

The which I earst adventur d for your sake: But the stout prince with much more steddy stowre, Witnesse the wounds, and this wide blondie lake, Full on his bever did him strike so sore,

Which ye may see yet all about me steeme. That the cold steele through piercing did devowre Therefore now yeeld, as ye did promise make, His vitall breath, and to the ground him bore, My due reward, the which right well I deeme Where still he bathed lay in bis own bloody gure. I'yearued have, that life so dearely did redeeme." “ But where then is," quoth he halfe wrothfully, Natblesse, for all his speach, the gentle knight # Where is the bootie, which therefore I bought, Would not be tempted to such villenie, That cursed caytive, my strong enemy,

Regarding more his faith which he did plight, That recreant knight, whose hated life I sought? All were it to bis mortall enemie, And where is eke your friend which halfe it ought?” | Then to entrap him by false treacherie: “ He lyes,” said he, “ upon the cold bare ground, Great shame in lieges blood to be embrew'd ! Slayne of that errant knight with whom he fought; | Thus whylest they were debating diverslie, Whom afterwards myselfe with many a wound The salvage forth out of the wood issew'd (vew'd. Did slay againe, as ye may see there in the stound.” | Backe to the lace, whereas his lord he sleeping Thereof false Turpin was full glad and faine, There when he saw those two so neare bim stand, And needs with him streight to the place would ryde, He doubted much what mote their meaning bee; Where be himselfe might see his focman slaine ; And, throwing downe his load out of his hand, For else his feare could not be satisfyde.

(To weet, great store of forrest frute which hee So, as they code, he saw the way all dyde Had for his food late gathered from the tree) With strearnes of bloud; which tracting by the traile, Himselfe unto his weapon he betooke, Ere long they came, whenas in erill tyde That was an oaken plant, which lately hee That other swayne, like ashes deadly pale, Rent hy the root ; which he so sternly shooke, Lay in the lap of death, rewing his wretched bale. That like an hazell wand it quivered and quooke. Much did the craven seeme to mone his case, Whereat the prince awaking, when he spyde That for his sake his deare life had forgone; The traytour Turpin with that other knight, And, him bewayling with affection base,

He started up; and snatching neare his syde, Did counterfeit kind pittie where was none : His trustie sword, the scrvant of his might, For where's no courage, there's no ruth nor mone. Like a fell lyon leaped to bim light, Thence passing forth, not farre away he found And his left hand upon his collar layd. Whereas the prince himselfe lay all alone,

Therewith the cowheard, deaded with affright, Loosely displayd upon the grassie ground, (swound. Fell fat to ground, ne word unto him sayd, Pussessed of sweete sleepe that luld him soft in But, holding up his hands, with silence mercie prayd. Wearie of travell in his former fight,

But he so full of indignation was,
He there in shade himselfe had layd to rest, That to bis prayer nought he would incline,
Having bis armes and warlike things undight, But, as he lay upon the humbled gras,
Fearelesse of foes that mote his peace molest;

His foot he set on his vile necke, in signe
The whyles his salvage page, that wont be prest, Of servile yoke, that pobler harts repine.
Was wandred in the wood another way,

Then, letting him arise like abiect thrall,
To doe some thing, that seemed to him best; He gan to bim obiect his haynous crime,
The whyles his lord in silver slomber lay,

And to revile, and rate, and recreant call,
Like to the evening starre adorn'd with deawy ray. And lastly to despoyle of knightly bannerall
Whom whenas Turpin saw so loosely layd, And after all, for greater infamie,
He weened well that be indeed was dead,

He by the heeles him hung upon a tree,
Like as that other knight to bim had sayd : And baffuld so, that all which passed by
But, when he nigh approcht, he mote aread The picture of his punishment might see,
Plaine signes in him of life and livelihead.

And by the like ensample warned bee,
Whereat much griev'd against thatstraungerknight, However they through treason doe trespasse.
That him too light of credence did mislead, But turne we now backe to that ladie free,
He would have backe retyred from that sight, Whom late we left ryding upon an asse,
That was to him on Earth the deadliest despight. Led by a carle and foole which by her side did passe.
But that same knight would not once let him start; She was a ladie of great dignitie,
Bat plainely gan to him declare the case

And lifted up to honorable place,
Of all his mischiefe and late lucklesse smart; Famous through all the land of faërie:
How both he and his fellow there in place

Though of meane parentage and kindred base, Were vanquished, and put to foule disgrace; Yet deckt with wondrous giftes of Natures grace, And how that he, in lieu of life him lent,

That all men did her person much admire, Had vow'd unto the victor, him to trace

And praise the feature of her goodly face; And follow through the world whereso he went, The beames whereof did kindle lovely fire Till that he him delivered to his punishment. In th' barts of many a knight, and many a gentle

squire: He, therewith much abashed and affrayd, Began to tremble every limbe and raine;

But she thereof grew proud and insolent, And, softly whispering him, entyrely prayd That none she worthie thought to be her fere, T advize him better then by such a traine But scornd them all that lore unto her ment; Him to betray unto a straunger swaine :

Yet was she lovd of many a worthy pere: Yet rather counseld him contrárywize,

I'nworthy she to be belov'd so dere, Sith he likewise did wrong by bim sustaine, That could not weigh of worthinesse aright: To joyne with him and vengeance to devize, For beautie is more glorious bright and clere, Whylest time did offer meanes him sleeping to sur- The more it is admir'd of many a wight, prize.

And noblest she that served is of noblest knight.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »