Edmund Spenser.

The works of Edmund Spenser. With observations on his life and writings online

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Seeing his honor, which she teadred chiefe.
Consisted much in that adventures priefe :
The care whereof, and ho])e of his successe,
Ciave unto her great comfort and reliefe :
That womanish complaints she did rejiresse,
And teinpred for tlie time her present heavinesse.




There she continu'd for a certaine space,
Till through liis want her woe did more increase :
Then, hoping that the change of aire and place
Would change her paine and sorrow somewhat ease
She parted thence, her anguish to appease.
Meane while her noble lord Sir Artegall
Went on his way ; ne ever howre did cease,
Till he redeemed had that lady thrall :
That for another canto will more fitly fall.


Prince Arthure and Sir Artegall

Free Samient from feare :
They slay the soudan ; drive his wife,

Adicia to despaire.

Nought under heaven so strongly doth allure
The sence of man, and all his minde possesse,
As beauties lovely baite, that doth procure
Great warriours oft their rigour to represse,
And mighty hands forget their manlinesse ;
Drawne with the powre of an heart-robbing eye.
And wrapt in fetters of a golden tresse,
That can with melting pleasaunce mollifye
Their hardned hearts enur'd to bloud and crueltv.

So wliylome learnd tliat mighty Tewish swaine,

Each of whose lockes did match a man in might.

To lay his spoiles befort bis lemans traine :

So also did that great Oetean knight

For his loves sake bis lions skin undiglit ;

And so did warlike Antony neglect

The worlds whole rule for Cleojiatras sight.

.Sucli wondrous powre hath wemens faire aspect

To captive men, and make them all the world reiect.

Yet could it not sterne Artegall retaine,

Nor hold from suite of his avowed quest,

\Vhich he had undertane to Gloriane ;

But left his love (albe her strong request)

Faire Britomart in languor and unrest.

And rode himselfe uppon his first intent :

Ne day nor night did ever idly rest ;

Ne wight but onelv Talus with him went,

rise true guide of his way and vertuous government

So travelling, he chaunst far off to heed

A damzell living on a palfrey fast

I>f-fore two knights that after her did speed

With all-their powre, and her full fiercely chast

III hope to have her overhent at last:

Vet fled she fast, and both them fnrre outwent,

(Juried with wings of feare, like fowle aghast,

Witi) locks all loose, and rayment all to rent ;

And ever as she rode her eye was backeward bent.

Soone after these he saw another knight.

That after those two former rode apace

\Vith speare in rest, and prickt with all his might:

So ran they all, as they had bene at bace,

They being chased that did others chace.

At length he saw the hindmost overtake

One of those two, and force him turne his face ;

However lotli he were his way to slake.

Yet mote he algates now abide, and answere make.

But th' other still pursu'd the fearefull mayd ;
Who still from him as fast away did flie,
Ne once for ought her speedy passage stayd.
Till that at length she did before her spie'
Sir Artegall, to whom she streight did hie
With gladfull hast, in hope of him to get
Succour against her greedy enimy :
Who seeing her approch gan forward set
To save her from her feare, and him from force to

But he, like hound full greedy of his pray.
Being impatient of impediment,
Continu'd still his course, and by the way
Thought with his speare him quight have overwent.
So both together, ylike ftlly bent,
Like fiercely met : but Artegall was stronger.
And bf^tter skild in tilt and turnament,
And bore him quite out of his saddle, longer
Then two speares length : so mischiefe over-matciit
the wronger:

And in his fall misfortune him mistooke ;

For on his head unhappily he pight.

That his owne waight his necke asunder broke.

And left there dead. IMeane while the other knight

Defeated had the other favtour (juight.

And all his bowels in his body brast :

Whom leaving there in that dispiteous plight.

He ran still on, thinking to follow fast

His other fellow pagan which before him past.




Instead of whom finding there ready prest
Sir Arten;all, without discretion
He at him ran with ready speare in rest:
AVho, seeing- him come still so fiercely on,
Against him made againe : so both anon
Together met, and strongly either strooke
And broke their speares ; yet neither has forgon
His horses backe, vet to and fro long shooke
And tottred, like two towres which through a
tempest quooke.

But, when againe they had recovered sence.

They drew tiieir swords, in mind to make amends

For what their speares had foyld of their pretence:

W'liicli when the damzell, who those deadly ends

Of both her foes had seene, and now her frends

For her beginning a more fearefuU fray ;

She to them runnes in hast, and her haire rends

Crying to them their cruell hands to stay,

Untill they both do heare what she to them will say.

They stayd their hands ; when she thus ganto speake;
" Ah ! gentle knights, what meane ye thus unwise
U])Oii yourselves anothers wrong to wreake?
I am the wrong'd, whom ye did enterprise
Both to redresse, and both redrest likewise:
Witnesse the paynims both, whom ye may see
There dead on ground : what doe ye then devise
Of more revenge? if more, then I am shee
Which was the roote of all ; end your revenge on

Whom when they heard so say, they lookt about

To weete if it were true as she had told ;

Where when they saw their foes dead out of doubt,

Eftsoones they gan their wrothfull hands to hold,

And ventailes reare each other to behold.

Tho, whenas Artegall did Arthure vew,

So faire a creature and so wondrous bold.

He much admired both his heart and hew.

And touched with intire affection nigh him drew ;

Saying, " sir knight, of pardon I you pray.
That ail unweeting have you wrong'd thus sore,
Sutfring my hand against my heart to stray:
Which if ye pleuse forgive, I will therefore
\'eeid for amends .myselfe yours evermore,
Or whutso penaunce shall by you be red."
'Jo wliorn the prince; " certes me needeth more
'I o crave the same; whom errour so misled,
As that I did mistake the living for the ded.

" But, sith ye please that bith our blames shall die.

Amends m:iy for the trespasse soone be made,

Since neither is endamadg'd much thereby."

So can they both themselves full eath perswade

To faire accordaunce, and both faults to shade,

Either embracing other lovingly,

And swearing faith to either on his blade.

Never thenceforth to nourish enmity,

I'lUt either others cause to maintaine mutually.

Then Artegall gan of the prince enquire, [layd,

What were those knights which there on ground were
And had receiv'd their follies worthy hire.
And for what cause they chased so that raay-d.
" Certes I wote not well," the prince then sayd,
" But by adventure found them faring so.
As by the way unweetingly I strayd.
And lo ! the damzell selfe, whence all did grow.
Of whom we may at will the whole occasion know."

Then they that damzell called to them nie,

And asked her, what were those two her fone.

From whom she earst so fast away did flie ;

And what was she herselfe so woe-begone,

And for what cause pursu'd of them attone.

To whom she thus ; " Then wote ye well, that I

Doe serve a queene that not far hence doth wone,

A princesse of great powre and maiestie,

Famous through all the world, and honor'd far and

" Her name Mercilla most men use to call

That is a mayden queene of high renowne.

For her great bounty knovven over all

And soveraine grace, with which her rovall crowne

She doth sujiport, and strongly beateth downe

The malice of her foes, which her envy

And at her happinesse do fret and frowne ;

Yet she herselfe the more doth magnify.

And even to her foes her mercies multiply.

" Mongst many which maligne her happy state.
There is a mighty man, which wonnes here by.
That with most fell despight and deadly hate
Seekes to subvert her crowne and dignity^
And all his powre doth thereunto apply:
And her good knights, (of which so brave a band
Serves her as any princesse under sky,)
He either spoiles, if they against him siand,
Or to his part allures, and bribeth under hand.

" Ne him sufficefh all the wrong and ill,

Which he unto her people does each day;

But that he seekes by trayierous traines to spill

Her i)erson, and her sacred selfe to slay :

That, O ye heavens, defend ! and turne away

From her vjnto 'lie miscreant himselfe;

That neither hath reliion nor fay,

15ut makes his god of his ungodly pelfe,

And idoles serves : so let his idols serve the elfe!

" To all which cruell tyranny, they say.

He is provokt, and stird up day and night

By his bad wife that hight Adicia;

Who counsels him, through c iifidence of might,

'i'o brcake all bonds of law and rules of right:

For she herselfe professeth mortall foe

'I o Justice, and against her still doth fight,

Working, to all that love her, deadly woe,

And maiihig all her knights and peojde to doe so




" WliR-li niv liege lady seeing, thought it best

Witli tliat liis wife in friendly wise to deale

For stint of strife and stablishment of rest

Jioiii to herselfe and to her common-weale,

And all forepast displeasures to repeale.

So nie in message unto her she sent,

To treat with her, by way of enterdeale,

Of finall peace and faire attonement

Which might concluded be by mutuall consent.

" All times have wont safe passage to afford

To messengers that come for causes iust :

J)Ut tliis ])roude dame, disdayning all accord,

Not onelv into bitter termes forth brust.

Reviling me and rayling as she lust,

15ut lastly, to miiice proofe of utmost shame,

JNIe like a dog she out of dores did thrust.

Miscalling me by man}- a bitter name,

That never did her ill, ne once deserved blame.

" And lastly, that no shame might wanting be,
^Vllen I was gone, soone after me she sent
These two false knights, whom there ye lying see,
'l"o be by them dishonoured and shent :
But, thankt be God, and your good hardiment !
'1 hey have the price of their owne folly payd."
So said tliis damzell, that higiit Samient ;
And to those knights for their so noble ayd
Herselfe most gratefull shew'd, and heaped thanks


But they now having throughly heard and seene
All those great wrongs, the which that mayd com-
To have bene done against her lady queene
By that proud dame, which her so much disdained,
\\ ere moved much thereat, and twixt them fained
VVitli all tbeir force to worke avengement strong,
U]ipon the souldan seife, which it mayntained.
And on his lady, th' author of that wrong.
And uppon all those knights that did to her belong.


But, thinking best by counterfet disguise

To tlieir deseigne to make the easier way,

They did this complot twixt themselves devise :

First, that Sir Artegall should him array

Like one of those two knights which dead there lay;

And tiiea that damzell, the sad Samient,

Should as his purchast prize with him convay

Unto the souldans court, her to present

Unto his scornefull lady that for her had sent.


50 as they had deviz'd. Sir Artegall
Him clad in th' armour of a pagan knight,

He could advance, he farre was gone and past :

Yet still he him did follow every where,

And followed was of liiia likewi-se full fust,

So Ions as in his steedes the fiamin"; breath did last.

Againe the pagan threw another dart,

Of wliicli he had with him abundant store

On every side of his enibatteld cart,

And of all other weapons lesse or more.

Which warlike uses had deviz'd of yoi'e :

The v.-icked shaft, guyded through ih' ayrie wyde

By some bad spirit that it to mischiefe bore,

Slayd not, till through his curat it did glyde.

And made a griesly wound in his enrivea side.

Much was he grieved with that haplesse throe,
'I hat opened had the welspring of his blood ;
But much the more that to his hatefull foe
He mote not come to wreake his wrathful! mood :
That made him rave, like to a lyon wood,
Whicli being wounded of the liuntsmans hand
Cannot come neare him in the covert wood.
Where he with boughes hath built his shady stand.
And fenst himselfe about with many a flaming brand.

Still when he sought t'approch unto him ny
His charret wl)eeles about him whirled round,
And made him backe againe as fast to fly ;
And eke his steedes, like to an hungry hound
That hunting after game hath carrion found,
So cruelly did him pursew and thace.
That his good steed, all were he much renound
For noble courage and for hardie race,
Durst not endure their sight, hut fled from place to


Thus long they trast and traverst to and fro,

Seeking by every w^y to make some breach ;

Yet could the prince not nigh unto him goe.

That one sure stroke he might unto him reach,

Wherebv his strengthes assay he might him teach:

At last, from his victorious shield he drew

The vaile, which did liis powrefull light empeach j

And comming full before his horses vew,

As they upoii him prest, it plaine to tliem did shew.


Like lightening flash that hath the gazer burned,
So did the sight thereof their sense dismay.
That backe againe uj)on themselves they turned,
And with their rvder ranne perforce away :
Ne could the souldan them from flying stay
Witli raynes or wonted rule, as well he knew :
Nought feared flicv what he could do or say,
T?ut th' onclv feare that was bcfun' their vew ;
From which like mazed deere dismayfully they flew.

Fast did they fly as them there feete could beare
High over hilles, and lowly over dales.
As they were follow'd of their former feare :
In value the pagan bannes, and sweares, and rayles,
And backe with both iiis hands unto him hayles
The resty raynes, regarded now no more :
He to them calles and speakes, yet nought avayles ;
They heare him not, they have forgot his lore ;
But go which way they list; their guide ihey have

As when the firie-mouthed steedes, which drew
The sunnes bright wayne to Phaetons decay,
Soone as they did the monstrous scorpion vew
With ugly craples crawling in their way,
The dreadfuU sight did them so sore affray,
That their well-knowen courses they forwent;
And, leading th' ever burning lam])e astray.
This lower world nigh all to ashes brent.
And left their scorched path yet in the jirmameut.

Such was the furie of these head-strong steeds,
Soone as the infants sunlike shield they saw,
That all obedience both to words and deeds
They quite forgot, and scornd all former law
Through woods, and rocks, and mountaines they did
The yron i liaret, and the wheeles did teare, [draw
And tost the paynim vi'ithout feare or awe ;
From side to side they tost him here and there,
Crymg to them in value that nould his crying heare.

Yet still the prince pursew'd him close behind.
Oft making offer him to smite, but found
No easie meanes according to his mind :
At last they have all overthrowne to ground
Quite topside turvey, and the pagan hound
Amongst the yron hookes and gr^iples keene
Torne all to rags, and rent with many a wound;
That no whole peece of him was to be seene.
But scattred all about, and strow'd upon the greene.


Like as the cursed sonne of Thesiius,

That following his chace in dewy morne.

To fly his stepdames love outrageous.

Of his owne steedes was all to peeces torne.

And his faire limbs left in the woods forlorne;

That for his sake Diana did lament.

And all the woody nyniphes did wayle and mourne-:

So was this souldain rapt and all to rent.

That of his shape, appear'd no litle moniment.

Onely his shield and armour, which there lay,

'J hough nothing wiiole, but all to briisd and brok&Oj

He u]) did take, and with him brougiit away.

That mote reinaine for an eternall token

To all, mongst whom this storie should be spoken,

Mow worthily, by Heavens high decree,

luslice that day of wrong herselfe had wroken j

Tliat ail men, which that s[)uctacle did see.

By like ensample mote for ever warned bee.

Canto IX.]




So on a tree, before the tyrants dore,

He caused tliem be hung- in all mens sight,

To be a moniment for evermore.

Which when his ladie from the castles hight

Beheld, it much appald her troubled spright:

Yet not, as women wont, in dolefull lit

She was dismavd, or faynted through affright,

Hut gathered unto her her troubled wit.

And gan eftsoones devize to be aveng'd for it.

Streight downe she ranne, like an enrasjed cow

Tiiat is berobbed of her youngling dere,

With knife in hand, and fatally did vow

To wreake her on that may den messengere,

Whom she liad causd be kejst as prisonere

By Artega-il, misween'd for her owne knight,

That brought her backe: and.comming present there.

She at her ran with all her force and might,

All flaming with revenge and furious despight.

Like raging Ino, when with knife in hand

She threw her husbands murdred infant out ;

Or fell jNIedea, when on Colchicke strand

Her brothers bones she scattered all about;

Or as that madding mother, mongst the rout

Of Bacchus priests, her owne deare flesh did tears :

Yet neither Ino, nor Medea stout,

Nor all the Mcenades so furious were.

As tliis bold woman when she saw that damzell there.


But Artegall being thereof aware

Did stay her cruell hand ere she her raught ;

And, as she did herselfe to strike prepare.

Out of her fist the wicked weapon caught:

With that, like one enfelon'd or distraught,

She forth did rome whether her rai^e lier bore,

^Vith franticke passion and with furie frauglit ;

And, breaking fordi out at a posterne dore.

Unto the wilde wood ranne, her dolours to deplore;


As a mad bytch, wlienas the franticke fit
Her burning tongue with rage mflamed hath,
Doth runne at randon, and with furious bit
Snatching at every thing dolh wreake her wrath
On man and beast that commeth in her path.
¬їThere they doe say that she transformed was
Into a tigre, and tliut tvgres scath
In crueltie and outrage she did pas,
To prove her surname true, that she imposed has.

Then Artegall, himselfe discovering plaine.
Did issue forth gainst all tliat warlike rout
Of knights and armed men, which did maintaine
That ladies part and to the souldan lout :
All which he did assault with courage stout.
All were they nigh an hundred knights of name,
And like wyld goates them chaced all about,
Flying from place to place with cowheard shame;
So that with finall force them all he overcame.

Then caused he the gates be opened wyde ;

And there the prince, as victour of that day.

With tryumph entertayn ) and glorifyde,

Presenting him with all the rich array

And roiall pompe, which there long hidden lay,

Purchast through lawlesse powre and tortious wrong

Of that proud souldan, whom he earst did slay.

So both, for rest, there having stavd not long,

Marcht with that mayd : fit matter for another song. /


Arthur and Artegall catch Guyle,
Whom Talus doth dismay;

They to Mercillaes pallace come,
And see her rich array.

What tygre, or what other salvage wight,
Is so exceeding furious and fell
As wron;^, when it hath arm'd itselfe with might?
Not fit mongst men that doe with reason mell,
"But mongst wyld beasts, and salvage woods, to dwell ;
Where still the stronger doth the weake devoure.
And the}' that most in boldnesse doe exeell
Are dreadded most, and feared for their powre,
Fit for Adicia there to build her wicked bowre.

There let her wonne, farre from resort of men,
Where righteous Artegall her lato exyled;
There let her ever keepe her damned den,
AVhere none may be with her lewd parts defyled.
Nor none but beasts may be of her despoyled :
And turnc we lo the noble prince, where late
We did him leave, after that he had foyled
The cruell souldan, and with dreadfull fate
Had utterly subverted his unrighteous state.

^7 J.



Wiiere having witli Sir Artegall a space

Well solast in that souUluns late delight,

They both, resolving now to leave the place,

Both it and all the wealth therein behight

Unto that danizell in lier ladies right.

And so would have departed on their way : .

But she tliem woo'd, by all the nieanes she might,

And earnestly besought to wend that day

With her, to see her ladie thence not farre away.

By whose entreatie both they overcommen
Agree to goe with lier ; and by the way.
As often falles, of sundry things did commen ;
Mongst which that dainzell did to tliem bewray
A straunge adventure which not farre thence lay ;
To weet, a wicked villaine, bold and stout,
Which wonned in a rocke not farre away.
That robbed all the countiie thereabout.
And brought the pillage home, whence none could
o-et it out.

Thereto both his owne wvlie wit, she sayd.
And eke the fastnesse of his dwelling i>lace.
Both unassaylable, gave him great ayde :
For he so crafty was to forge and face.
So light of hand, and nymble of Lis pace.
So smooth of tongue, and subtile in his tale.
That could deceive one looldng in his face:
Therefore by name Malengin tliey him call.
Well knowen by his feates, and famous over all.

Through these his slights he many doth confound :

And eke the rocke, in which he wonts to dwell,

Is wondrous strong and hewn farre under ground,

A dreadful! depth, how deepe no man can tell j

But some doe say it goeth downe to hell :

Online LibraryEdmund SpenserThe works of Edmund Spenser. With observations on his life and writings → online text (page 54 of 112)