Page images

To whom the elder did this aunswere frame;
"Then weet ye, sir, that we two brethren be,
To whom our sire, Milesio by name,

Did equally bequeath his lands in fee,
Two islands, which ye there before you see
Not farre in sea; of which the one appeares
But like a little mount of small de
Yet was as great and wide ere many years,
As that same other isle, that greater bredth now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So having sayd, the younger did ensew; "Full true it is whatso about our land My brother here declared hath to you: But not for it this ods twixt us doth stand, But for this threasure throwne uppon his strand; Which well I prove, as shall appeare by triall, To be this maides with whom I fastned hand, Known by good markes and perfect good espiall: Therefore it ought be rendred her without deniall." When they thus ended had, the knight began; "Certes your strife were easie to accord, Would ye remit it to some righteous man." "Unto yourselfe," said they, "we give our word, To bide that iudgement ye shall us afford." "Then for assurance to my doome to stand, Under my foote let each lay downe his sword; And then you shall my sentence understand." So each of them layd downe his sword out of his hand.

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


Then turning to the elder thus he sayd;
"Now, Bracidas, let this likewise be showne;
Your brothers threasure, which from him is strayd,
Being the dowry of his wife well knowne,

By what right doe you claime to be your owne ?"
"What other right," quoth he, should you esteeme,
But that the sea hath it unto me throwne?"
"Your right is good," sayd he, " and so I deeme,
That what the sea unto you sent your own should


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

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

To follow his old quest, the which him forth did call.

So, as he travelled uppon the way,
He chaunst to come, where happily he spide
A rout of many people farre away;

To whom his course he hastily applide,

"Right true: but faulty men use oftentimes
To attribute their folly unto fate,

And lay on Heaven the guilt of their owne crimes.
But tell, sir Terpin, ne let you amate

To weete the cause of their assemblaunce wide:
To whom when he approched neare in sight,
(An uncouth sight) he plainely then descride
To be a troupe of women, warlike dight,

Your misery, how fell ye in this state?" [shame,
"Then sith ye needs," quoth he, "will know my
And all the ill which chaunst to me of late,
I shortly will to you rehearse the same,

With weapons in their hands, as ready for to fight: In hope ye will not turne misfortune to my blame.

And in the midst of them he saw a knight,
With both his hands behinde him pinnoed hard,
And round about his necke an halter tight,
And ready for the gallow tree prepard :
His face was covered, and his head was bar'd,
That who he was uneath was to descry;

But they, like tyrants mercilesse, the more
Reioyced at his miserable case,
And him reviled, aud reproched sore

With bitter taunts and termes of vile disgrace.
Now whenas Artegall, arriv'd in place,
Did aske what cause brought that man to decay,
They round about him gan to swarm apace,
Meaning on him their cruell hands to lay,
And to have wrought unwares some villanous assay.

And with full heavy heart with them he far'd,
Griev'd to the soule, and groning inwardly,
That he of womens hands so base a death should dy. Which some hath put to shame, and many done be

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

"Sir Turpine, haplesse man, what make you here?
Or have you lost yourselfe and your discretion,
That ever in this wretched case ye were?
Or have ye yeelded you to proude oppression
Of womens powre, that boast of mens subiection?
Or else what other deadly dismall day,

"Being desirous (as all knights are woont) Through hard adventures deedes of armes to try, And after fame and honour for to hunt,

Is falne on you by Heavens hard direction,
That ye were runne so fondly far astray
As for to lead yourselfe unto your owne decay?"

I heard report that farre abrode did fly,
That a proud Amazon did late defy

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

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

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

All the brave knights that hold of Maidenhead,
And unto them wrought all the villany
That she could forge in her malicious head, [dead.

"The cause, they say, of this her cruell hate,
Is for the sake of Bellodant the bold,

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

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

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

"Now sure," said he," and by the faith that I
To maydenhead and noble knighthood owe,
I will not rest till I her might doe trie,

And venge the shame that she to knights doth show.
Therefore, sir Terpin, from you lightly throw
This squalid weede, the patterne of dispaire,
And wend with me, that ye may see and know
How fortune will your ruin'd name repaire
And knights of Maidenhead, whose praise she would

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Whom whenas Artegall in that distresse
By chaunce beheld, he left the bloudy slaughter
In which he swam, and ranne to his redresse:
There her assayling fiercely fresh he raught her
Such an huge stroke, that it of sence distraught her;
And, had she not it warded warily,

It had depriv'd her mother of a daughter:
Nathlesse for all the powre she did apply

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

And from her griping pounce the greedy prey doth

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

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

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

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

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

She called forth to her a trusty mayd,
Whom she thought fittest for that businesse;
Her name was Clarin, and thus to her sayd;
"Goe, damzell, quickly, doe thyselfe addresse
To doe the message which I shall expresse :
Goe thou unto that stranger Faery knight,
Who yesterday drove us to such distresse;
Tell, that to morrow I with him will fight,

It made her stagger oft, and stare with ghastly eye. And try in equall field whether hath greater might

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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

Unto the crooke, t' abide the balefull stowre
From which he lately had through reskew fled:


But, whenas he discovered had her face,
He saw, his senses straunge astonishment,

A miracle of Natures goodly grace

In her faire visage voide of ornament,

But bath'd in bloud and sweat together ment;
Which, in the rudenesse of that evill plight,
Bewrayd the signes of feature excellent :
Like as the Moone, in foggie winters night, [light.
Doth seeme to be herselfe, though darkned be her

At sight thereof his cruell minded hart
Empierced was with pittifull regard,

That his sharpe sword he threw from him apart,
Cursing his hand that had that visage mard:
No hand so cruell, nor no hart so hard,

But ruth of beautie will it mollifie.

By this, upstarting from her swoune she star'd
A while about her with confused eye;
Like one that from his dreame is waked suddenlye.

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

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

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

Tho with her sword on him she flatling strooke,
In signe of true subiection to her powre,
And as her vassall him to thraldome tooke:
But Terpine, borne to' a more unhappy howre,
As he on whom the lucklesse starres did lowre,
She causd to be attacht and forthwith led

So was he overcome, not overcome;

But to her yeelded of his owne accord;
Yet was he justly damned by the doome

Of his owne mouth, that spake so warelesse word,
To be her thrall and service her afford:

But, when they thought on Talus hands to lay,
He with his yron flaile amongst them thondred,
That they were fayne to let him scape away,
Glad from his companie to be so sondred;
Whose presence all their troups so much encombred,
That th' heapes of those which he did wound and

Besides the rest dismayd, might not be nombred:
Yet all that while he would not once assay
To reskew his owpe lord, but thought it iust t' obay.

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

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

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

Amongst them all she placed him most low,
And in his hand a distaffe to him gave, 1
That he thereon should spin both flax and tow;
A sordid office for a mind so brave:
So hard it is to be a womans slave!
Yet he it tooke in his owne selfes despight,
And thereto did himselfe right well behave
Her to obay, sith he his faith had plight
Her vassall to become, if she him wonne in fight.

Who had him seene, imagine mote thereby
That whylome hath of Hercules bene told,
How for Iolas sake he did apply

For though that he first victorie obtayned,

His mightie hands the distaffe vile to hold
For his huge club, which had subdew'd of old
So many monsters which the world annoyed;
His lyons skin chaungd to a pall of gold,
In which, forgetting warres, he onely ioyed

Yet after, by abandoning his sword,

He wilfull lost that he before attayned:


No fayrer conquest then that with goodwill is gayned. In combats of sweet love, and with his mistresse toy



« PreviousContinue »