Abbildungen der Seite

For that same vile enchauntour Busyran,

Amongst the rest there was a jolly knight, The very selfe same day that she was wedded, Who, being asked for his love, avow'd Amidst the bridale feast, whilest every man That fairest Amoret was his by right, Surcharg'd with wine were heedlesse and ill-hedded, And offred that to justifie alowd. All bent to mirth before the bride was bedded, The warlike virgine, seeing bis so prowd Brought in that mask of love which late was showen; And boastfull chalenge, wexed inlie wroth, And there the ladie ill of friends bestedded, But for the present did her anger shrowd ; By way of sport, as oft in maskes is knowen, And sayd, her love to lose she was full loth, Conveyed quite away to living wight unknowen. But either he should neither of them have, or both. Seven moneths he so her kept in bitter smart, So foorth they went, and both together giusted; Because his sinfull lust she would not serve, But that same younker soone was overthrowne, Untill such time as noble Britomart

And made repent that he had rashly lusted Released her, that else was like to sterre

For thing unlawfull that was not his owne: Through cruell knife that her deare heart did kerve: Yet since he seemed valiant, though unknowne, And now she is with her upon the way

She, that no lesse was courteous then stout, Marching in lovely wise, that could deserve Cast how to salve, that both the custome showne No spot of blame, though spite did oft assay Were kept, and yet that knight not locked out; To blot her with dishonor of so faire a prey.

That seem'd full hard t'accord two things so far in

dout. Yet should it be a pleasant tale, to tell

The seneschall was cal'd to deeme the right; The diverse usage, and demeapure daint,

Whom she requir'd, that first fayre Amoret That each to other made, as oft befell:

Might be to her allow'd, as to a knight For Amoret right fearefull was and faint

That did her win and free from chalenge set: Lest she with blame her honor should attaint,

Which straight to her was yeelded without let : That everie word did tremble as she spake, And everie looke was coy and wondrous quaint,

Then, since that strange knights love frorn him was And everie limbe that touched her did quake;


She claim'd that to herselfe, as ladies det, Yet could she not but curteous countenance to her

He as a knight might iustly be admitted; (fitted. make.

So none should be out shut, sith all of loves wero For well she wist, as true it was indeed,

With that, her glistring helmet she unlaced; That her live's lord and patrone of her health

Which doft, her golden lockes, that were upbound Right well deserved, as his duefull meed,

Still in a knot, unto her heeles downe traced, Her love, her service, and her utmost wealth:

And like a silken veile in compasse round All is his iustly that all freely deal'th.

About her backe and all her bodie wound: Nathlesse her bonor dearer then her life

Like as the shining skie in summers night, She sought to save, as thing reserv'd from stealth ; What time the dayes with scorching heat abound, Die had she lever with enchanters knife

Is creasted all with lines of firie light, Then to be false in love, profest a virgine wife.

That it prodigious seemes in common peoples sight, Thereto her feare was made so much the greater

Such when those knights and ladies all about Through fine abusion of that Briton mayd; Beheld her, all were with amazement smit, Who, for to hide her fained sex the better

And every one gan grow in secret dout And maske her wounded mind, both did and sayd

Of this and that, according to each wit: Full many things so doubtfull to be wayd,

Some thought that some enchantment faygned it; That well she wist not what by them to gesse: Some, that Bellona in that warlike wise For otherwiles to her she purpos made

To them appear'd, with shield and armour fit; Of love, and otherwhiles of lustfulnesse, [excesse. Some, that it was a maske of strange disguise: That much she feard his mind would grow to some So diversely each one did sundrie doubts devise. His will she feard; for him she surely thought But that young knight, which through her gentle To be a man, such as indeed he seemed;

Was to that goodly fellowship restor'd, [deed And much the more, by that he lately wrought, Ten thousand thankes did yeeld her for her meed, When her from deadly thraldome he redeemed, And, doubly orercommen, her ador'd: For which no service she too much esteemed : So did they all their former strife accord; Yet dread of shame and doubt of fowle dishonor And eke fayre Amoret, now freed from feare, Made her nci yeeld so much as due she deemed. More franke affection did to her afford; Yet Britomart attended duly on her,

And to her bed, which she was wont, As well became a knight, and did to her all honor. Now freely drew, and found right safe assurance

theare: It so befell one evening that they came Unto a castell, lodged there to bee,

Where all that night they of their loves did treat, Where many a knight, and many a lovely dame, And hard adventures, twixt themselves alone, Was then assembled deeds of armes to see: That each the other gan with passion great Amongst all which was none more faire then shee, And griefull pittie privately bemone. That many of them mov'd to eye her sore. The morow next, so soone as Titan shone, The custome of that place was such, that hee, They both, uprose and to their waies them dight: 'Which had no love nor lemman there in store, Long wandred they, yet never met with none Should either winne him one, or lye without the Tbat to their willes could them direct aright, dore.

Orto them tydings tell that mote their barts delight.

Lo thus they rode, till at the last they spide And eke of private persons many moe,
Two armed knights that toward them did pace, That were too long a worke to count them all;
And ech of them had ryding by his side

Some, of sworne friends that did their faith forgoe; A ladie, seeming in so farre a space;

Some, of borne brethren prov'd unnaturall; But ladies none they were, albee in face

Some, of deare lovers foes perpetuall; And outward shew faire semblance they did beare; Witnesse their broken bandes there to be seene, For under maske of beautie and good grace Their girlonds rent, their bowres despoyled all; Vile treason and fowle falshood hidden were, The moniments whereof there byding beene, That mote to none but to the warie wise appeare. As plaine as at the first when they were fresh and

greene. The one of them the false Duessa hight,

Such was her house within ; but all without,
That now had chang'd her former wonted hew;
Por she could d'on so manie shapes ir sight,

The barren ground was full of wicked weedes, As ever could cameleon colours new;

Which she herselfe had sowen all about, So could she forge all colours, save the trew:

Now growen great, at first of little seedes, The other no wbit better was then shee,

The seedes of evill wordes and factious deedes; But that, such as she was, she plaine did shew;

Which, when to ripenesse due they growen arre, Yet otherwise much worse, if worse might bee,

Bring forth an infinite increase that breedes

Tumultuous trouble, and contentious iarre, And dayly more offensive unto each degree:

The which most often end in bloudshed and in warre, Her name was Atè, mother of debate

And those same cursed seedes doe also serve
And all dissention which doth dayly grow

To her for bread, and yeeld her living food :
Amongst fraile men, that many a publike state For life it is to her, when others sterve
And many a private oft doth overthrow.

Through mischievous debate and deadly feood, Her false Duessa, who full well did know

That she may sucke their life and drinke their blood, To be most fit to trouble noble knights

With which she from her childhood had bene fed; Which hunt for honor, raised from below

For she at first was borne of hellish brood, Ont of the dwellings of the damned sprights, And by infernall furies nourished; Where she in darknes wastes her cursed daies and That by her monstrous shape might easily be red. nights.

Her face most fowle and filthy was to see, Hard by the gates of Hell her dwelling is;

With squinted eyes contrárie wayes intended, There, whereas all the plagues and harmes abound And loathly mouth, unmeete a mouth to bee, Which punish wicked men that walke amisse:

That nought but gall and venim comprehended, It is a darksome delve farre under ground,

And wicked wordes that God and man offended : With thorpes and barren brakes environd round,

Her lying tongue was in two parts divided, That none the same may easily out wiu;

And both the parts did speake, and both contended; Yet many waies to enter may be found,

And as her tongue so was her hart discided, Bat none to issue forth when one is in:

That never thoght one thing, but doubly stil was For discord harder is to end then to begin.

guided. And all within, the riven walls were hung

Als as she double spake, so heard she double, With ragged monuments of times forepast, With matchlesse eares deformed and distort, All which the sad effects of discord sung:

Fild with false rumors and seditious trouble,
There were rent robes and broken scepters plast; Bred in assemblies of the vulgar sort,
Altars defyld, and holy things defast;

That still are led with every light report:
Disshivered speares, and shields ytorne in twaine; And as her eares, so eke her feet were odde,
Great cities ransackt, and strong castles rast; And much unlike; th' one long, the other short,
Nations captíved, and hage armies slaine: And both misplast; that, when th' one forward yode,
Of all which ruines there some relicks did remaine. The other backe retired and contrárie trode.
There was the signe of antique Babylon; Likewise unequall were her handës twaine;
Of fatall Thebes; of Rome that raigned long; That one did reach, the other pusht away;
Of sacred Salem; and sad Ilion,

That one did make, the other mard againe, For memorie of which on high there hong

And sought to bring all things unto decay; The golden apple, cause of all their wrong, Whereby great riches, gathered manie a day, For which the three faire goddesses did strive: She in short space did often bring to nought, There also was the name of Nimrod strong; And their possessours often did dismay: Of Alexander, and his princes fire (alive: For all her studie was and all her thought Which shar'd to them the spoiles that he had got How she might overthrow the things that Concord

wrought. And there the relicks of the drunken fray, The which amongst the Lapithees befell;

So much her malice did her might surpas, And of the bloodie feast, which sent away

That even th' Almightie selfe she did maligne,
So many Centaures drunken soules to Hell, Because to man so mercifull he was,
That under great Alcides furie fell:

And unto all his creatures so benigne,
And of the dreadfull discord, which did drive Sith she herselfe was of his grace indigne:
The poble Argonauts to outrage fell,

For all this worlds faire workmanship she tride
That each of life sought others to deprive, Unto his last confusion to bring,
All mindlesse of the golden fleece, which made them and that great golden chaine quite to divide,

With which it blessed Concord bath together tide.

Such was that hag, which with Duessa roade; Nathlesse he forth did march, well as he might,
And, serving her in her malitious use

And made good semblance to his companie,
To hurt good knights, was, as it were, her baude Dissembling his disease and evill plight;
To sell her borrowed beautie to abuse:

Till that ere long they chaunced to espie
For though, like withered tree that wanteth iuyce, Two other knights, that towards them did ply
She old and crooked were, yet now of late With speedie course, as bent to charge them new :
As fresh and fragrant as the foure-deluce

Whom whenas Blandamour approching nie
She was become, by chaunge of her estate, [mate: Perceiv'd to be such as they seemd in vew,
And made full goodly ioyance to her new-found He was full wo, and gan his former griefe renew.
Her mate, he was a iollie youthfull knight For th' one of them he perfectly descride
That bore great sway in armes and chivalrie, To be sir Scudamour, (by that he bore
And was indeed a man of mickle might;

The god of love with wings displayed wide)
His name was Blandamour, that did descrie Whom mortally he hated evermore,
His fickle mind full of inconstancie :

Both for his worth, that all men did adore,
And now himselfe he fitted had right well

And eke because his love he wonne by right: With two companions of like qualitie,

Which when he thought, it grieved him full sore, Faithlesse Duessa, and false Paridell,

That, through the bruses of his former fight, That whether were more false, full hard it is to tell. He now unable was to wreake his old despight, Now when this gallant with his goodly crew

Forthy he thus to Paridel bespake; From farre espide the famous Britomart,

“ Faire sir, of friendship let me now you pray, Like knight adyenturous in outward vew,

That as I late adventured for your sake, With his faire paragon, his conquests part, The hurts whereof me now froin battell stay, Approching nigh; eftsoones his wauton hart Ye will me now with like good turne repay, Was tickled with delight, and iesting sayd ;

And iustifie my cause on yonder knight.” “ Lo! there, sir Paridel, for your desart,

“ Ah! sir," said Paridel, “ do not dismay Good lucke presents you with yond lovely mayd,

Yourselfe for this; myselfe will for you fight, For pitie that ye want a fellow for your ayd.”

As ye have done for me; the left hand rubs the right.* By that the lovely paire drew nigh to hond: Whom whenas Paridel more plaine beheld,

With that he put his spurres unto his steed, Albee in heart he like affection fond,

With speare in rest, and toward bim did fare, Yet mindfull how he late by one was feld

Like siiaft out of a bow preventing speed, That did those armes and that same scutchion weld, of his approch, and gan himselfe prepare

But Scudamour was shortly well aware
He had small lust to buy his love so deare,

Him to receive with entertainment meete.
But answered ; “Sir, him wise I never held,
That, having once escaped perill neare,

So furiously they met, that either bare
Would afterwards afresh the sleeping evill reare.

The other downe under their horses feete, [weete.

That what of them became themselves did scarsly “ This ķnight too late his mạnhood and his might I did assay, that me right dearely cost;

As when two billowes in the Irish sowpdes, Ne list I for revenge provoke new fight,

Forcibly driven with contrárie tydes, Ne for light ladies love, that soone is lost.”

Do mcete together, each abacke rebowndes The hot-spurre youth so scorning to be crost,

With roaring rage; and dashing on all sides, “ Take then to you this dame of mine,"quoth hee, That filleth all the sea with fome, divydes “ And I, without your perill or your cost,

The doubtfull current into divers wayes : Will chalenge yond same other for my fee.” (see. So fell those two in spight of both their prydes; So forth he fiercely prickt, that one him scarce could But Scudamour himselfe did soone uprayse,

And, mounting light, his foe for lying long upbrayes : The warlike Britonesse her soone addrest, And with such uncouth welcome did receave Who, rolled on an heape, lay still in swound Her fayned paramour, her forced guest,

All carelesse of his taunt and bitter rayle ; That, being forst his saddle soone to leave, Till that the rest him seeing lie on ground Himselfe he did of his new love deceave;

Ran hastily, to weete wbat did him ayle: And made himselfe th’ ensample of his follie. Where finding that the breath gan him to fayle, Which done, she passed forth, not taking leave, With busie care they strove him to awake, And left him now as sad as whilome iollie,

And doft his helmet, and undid bis mayle: Well warned to beware with whom he dard to So much they did, that at the last they brake dallie.

His slomber, yet so mazed that he nothing spake.

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

this eye

He little answer'd, but in manly heart

But Scudamour, for passing great despight, His mightie indignation did forbeare;

Staid not to answer; scarcely did refraine Which was not yet so secret, but some part But that in all those knights and ladies sight Thereof did in his frouning face appeare:

He for revenge had guiltlesse Glaucè slaine: Like as a gloomie cloud, the which doth beare But, being past, he thus began amaine ; An hideous storme, is by the northerne blast “ False traitour squire, false squire of falsest knight, Quite overblowne, yet doth not passe so cleare Who doth mine hand from thine avenge abstaine, But that it all the skie doth overcast (wast. Whose lord hath done my love this foule despight, With darknes dred, and threatens all the world to Why do I not it wreake on thee now in my might? " Ah! gentle knight,” then false Duessa sayd, " Discourteous, disloyall Britomart, " Why do ye strive for ladies love so sore, l'ntrue to God, and unto man uniust! Whose chiefe desire is love and friendly aid What vengeance due can equall thy desart, Mongst gentie knights to nourish evermore? That hast with shamefull spot of sinfull lust Ne be ye wroth, sir Scudamour, therefore, Defild the pledge committed to thy trust! That she your love list love another knight, Let ugly shame and endlesse infamy Ne do yourselfe dislike a whit the more;

Colour thy name with foule reproaches rust! For love is free, and led with selfe-delight, Yet thou, false squire, his fault shall deare aby, Ne will enforced be with maisterdome or might.” And with thy punishment his penance shalt supply." So false Duessa : but vile Atè thus;

The aged dame bim seeing so enraged " Both foolish knights, I can but laugh at both, Was dead with feare; nathlesse as neede required That strive and storme with stirre outrageous His flaming furie sought to have assuaged For her, that each of you alike doth loth,

With sober words, that sufferance desired And loves another, with whom now she go'th Till time the tryall of her truth expyred; In lovely wise, and sleepes, and sports, and playes; And evermore sought Britomart to cleare : Whilest both you here with many a cursed oth But he the more with furious rage was fyred, Sweare she is yours, and stirre up blondie frayes, And thrise his hand to kill her did upreare, Towin a willow bough, whilest other weares the bayes. And thrise he drew it backe: so did at last forbeare. “ Vile hag," sayd Scudamour, “why dost thou lye, And falsly seekst a virtuous wight to shame?” “ Fond knight," says she, “ the thing that with

CANTO II. I saw, why shonld I doubt to tell the saine?" * Then tell," quoth Blandamour, " and feare no Blandamour winnes false Florimell; blame;

Paridell for her strives: Tell what thou saw'st, maulgre whoso it heares.” They are accorded : Agape “I saw, "quoth she," a straunger knight, whose name Doth lengthen her sonnes lives. I wote not well, but in his shield he beares (That well I wote) the heads of many broken speares; | Firebrand of Hell first tynd in Phlegeton

By thousand furies, and from thence outthrowen " I saw him have your Amoret at will;

Into this world to worke confusion I saw him kisse; I saw him her embrace;

And set it all on fire by force unknowen, I saw him sleepe with her all night bis fill;

Is wicked Discord; whose small sparkes once blowen All, manie nights; and manie by in place

None but a god or godlike man can slake: That present were to testifie the case."

Such as was Orpheus, that, when strife was growen Which whenas Scudamour did heare, his heart

Amongst those famous ympes of Greece, did take Was thrild with inward griefe: as when in chace

His silver harpe in hand and shortly friends then The Parthian strikes a stag with shivering dart,

make: The beast astonisht stands in middest of his smart; So stood sir Scudamour when this he beard,

Or such as that celestial psalmist was, Ne word he had to speake for great dismay,

That, when the wicked feend his lord tormented, But lookt on Glaucè grim, who woxe afeard

With heavenly notes, that did all other pas, Of outrage for the words which she heard say,

The outrage of his furious fit relented. Albee untrue she wist them by assay.

Such musicke is wise words with time concented, But Blandamour, whenas he did espie

To moderate stiffe mindes dispusd to strive: His chaunge of cheere that anguish did bewray,

Such as that prudent Romane well invented; He voxe full blithe, aş he had got thereby,

What time his people into partes did rive, [drive. And gan thereat to triumph without victorie. Them reconcyld againe, and to their homes did “Lo ! recreant,” sayd be, " the fruitlesse end Such us'd wise Glauce to that wrathfull knight, Of thy vaine boast, and spoile of love misgotten, To calme the tempest of his troubled thought: Whereby the name of knight-hood thou dost shend, Yet Blandamour, with termes of foule despight, And all true lovers with dishonor blotten:

And Paridell her scornd, and set at nought, All things not rooted well will soone be rotten.” As old and crooked and not good for ought. * Fy, fy, false knight,” then false Duessa cryde, Both they unwise, and warelesse of the evill “ Unworthy life, that love with guile hast gotten; That by themselves unto themselves is wrought, Be thou, whereever thou do go or ryde,

Through that false witch, and that foule aged drevill, Loathed of ladies all, and of all knights defyde!” The one a feend, the other an incarnate devill,

With whom as they thus rode accompanide, Yet he to her did dayly service more,
They were encountred of a lustie knight

And dayly more deceived was thereby;
That had a goodly ladie by his side,

Yet Paridell him envied therefore, To whom he made great dalliance and delight : As seeming plast in sole felicity: It was to weet the bold sir Ferraugh hight,

So blind is lust false colours to descry. He that from Braggadochio whilome reft

But Atè soone discovering his desire, The snowy Florimell, whose bcautie bright And finding now fit opportunity Made him seeme happie for so glorious theft; To stirre up strife twixt love and spight and ire, Yet was it in due triall but a wandring weft. Did privily put coles unto his secret fire. Which whenas Blandamour, whose fancie light By sundry meanes thereto she prickt him forth; Was alwaies Aitting as the wavering wind

Now with remembrance of those sprightfull speaches, After each beautie that appeard in sight,

Now with opinion of his owne more worth, Beheld; eftsoones it prickt his wanton mind Now with recounting of like former breaches With sting of lust that reasons cye did blind, Made in their friendship, as that hag him teaches : That to sir Paridell these words he sent;

And ever, when his passion is allayd, “ Sir Knight, why ride ye dumpish thus behind, She it revives, and new occasion reaches : Şince so good fortune doth to you present

That, on a time as they together way'd, So fayre a spoyle, to make you ioyous meriment?" He made him open chalenge, and thus boldly sayd; But Paridell, that had too late a tryall

“ Too boastfull Blandamour! too long I beare Of the bad issue of his counsell vaine,

The open wrongs thou doest me day by day; List not to hearke, but made this fayre denyall; Well know'st thou, when we friendship first did “ Last turne was mine, well proved to my paine; The covenant was, that every spoyle or pray (sweare, This now be yours; God send you better gaine !" Should eoually be shard betwixt us tway: Whose scoffed words he taking balfe in score, Where is my part then of this ladie bright, Fiercely forth prickt his steed as in disdaine Whom to thyselfe thou takest quite away? Against that knight, ere he him well could torne; Render therefore therein to me my right, By meanes whereof he hath him lightly overborne. Or answere for thy wrong as shall fall out in fight." Who, with the sudden stroke astonisbt sore,

Exceeding wrath thereat was Blandamour, Upon the ground awhile in slomber lay;

And gan this bitter answere to him make; The whiles his love away the other bore,

“ Too foolish Paridell! that fayrest foure And, shewing her, did Paridell upbray;

Wouldst gather faine, and yet no paines wouldst “ Lo! sluggish knight, the victors happie pray!

But not so easie will I her forsake; (take: So fortune friends thc bold.” Whom Paridell This hand her wonne, this hand shall her defend." Seeing so faire indeede, as he did say,

With that they gan their shivering speares to shake, His bart with secret envie gan to swell,

And deadly points at eithers breast to bend, And inly grudge at him that he had sped so well. Forgetfull each to have bene ever others frend. Nathlesse proud man himselfe the other deemed,

Their firie steedes with so untamed forse Having so peerlesse paragon ygot:

Did beare them both to fell avenges end, Por sure the fayrest Florimell him seemed

That both their speares with pitilesse remorse To him was fallen for his happie lot,

Through shield and mayle and baberieon did wend, Whose like alive on Earth he weened not:

And in their flesh a griesly passage rend, Therefore he her did court, did serve, did wove,

That with the furie of their owne affret With humblest suit that he imagine mot,

Each other horse and man to ground did send ; And all things did devise, and all things dooe, [too. The periloas present stownd in which their lives

Where, lying still awhile, both did forget That might her love prepare, and liking wia there

were set. She, in regard thereof, him recompenst

As when two warlike brigandines at sea, With golden words and goodly countenance, With murdrous weapons arm'd to cruell fight, And such fond favours sparingly dispenst : Do meete together on the watry lea, Sometimes bim blessing with a light eyeglance, They stemme ech other with so fell despight, And coy lookes tempring with loose dalliance ; That with the shocke of their owne heedlesse might Soinetimes estranging him in sterner wise; Their wooden ribs are shaken nigh asonder; That, having cast him in a foolish trance,

They which from shore behold the dreadfullsight He seemed brought to bed in Paradise,

Of flashing fire, and heare the ordnance thonder, And prov'd himselfe most foole in what he seem'd Do greatly stand amaz'd at such unwonted wonder. most wise.

At length they both upstarted in amaze, So great a mistresse of her art she was,

As men awaked rashlý out of dreme, And perfectly practiz'd in womans craft,

And round about themselves a while did gaze; That though therein himselfe he thought to pas, Till seeing her, that Florimell did seme, And by his false allurements wylie draft

In doubt to whom she victorie should deeme, Had thousand women of their love beraft,

Therewith their dulled sprights they edgd anew, Yet now he was surpriz'd: for that false spright, And, drawing both their swords with rage extreme, Which that same witch bad in this forme engraft, Like two mad mastiffes each on other flew, Was so expert in every subtile slight,

And shields did share, and mailes did rasb, and That it could overreach the wisest eartbly wight.

helmės did hew.

« ZurückWeiter »