Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

SPENSER-A.D. 1553-1598.

UNA AND THE REDCROSS KNIGHT. And angry Jove an hideous storm of rain A gentle knight was pricking on the plain,

Did pour into his leman's lap so fast, Yclad in mighty arms and silver shield,

That every wight to shroud it did constrain, (fain. Wherein old dints of deep wounds did remain,

And this fair couple eke to shroud themselves were The cruel marks of many a bloody field; Yet arms till that time did he never wield:

Enforc'd to seek some covert nigh at hand, His angry steed did chide his foaming bit,

A shady grove not far away they spied, As much disdaining to the curb to yield:

That promis'd aid the tempest to withstand; Full jolly knight he seem'd, and fair did sit,

Whose lofty trees, yclad with summer's pride, As one for knightly jousts and fierce encounters fit.

Did spread so broad, they heaven's light did hide,

Not pierceable with power of any star: But on his breast a bloody cross he bore,

And all within were paths and alleys wide, The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,

With footing worn,

and leading inward far: For whose sweet sake that glorious badge he wore,

Fair harbour, that them seems ; so in they entred are. And dead (as living) ever him ador’d: Upon his shield the like was also scord,

And forth they pass, with pleasure forward led, For sovereign hope, which in his help he had:

Joying to hear the bird's sweet harmony, Right faithful true he was in deed and word;

Which therein shrouded from the tempest's dread, But of his cheer did seem too solemn sad:

Seem'd in their song to scorn the cruel sky. Yet nothing did he dread; but ever was ydrad.

Much can they praise the trees so strait and high,

The sailing Pine, the Cedar proud and tall, Upon a great adventure he was bound,

The vine-prop Elm, the Poplar never dry, That greatest Gloriana to him gave,

The builder Oak, sole king of forests all, That greatest glorious queen of fairy lond,

The Aspin good for staves, the Cypress funeral, To win him worship, and her grace to have,

The Laurel, meed of mighty conquerors
Which of all earthly things he most did crave;
And ever as he rode, his heart did yearn

And poets sage, the Fir that weepeth still,

The Willow, worn of forlorn paramours, To prove his puissance in battle brave

The Yew, obedient to the bender's will, Upon his foe, and his new force to learn;

The Birch for shafts, the Sallow for the mill, Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stern.

The Myrrh sweet bleeding in the bitter wound,

The warlike Beech, the Ash for nothing ill, A lovely lady rode him fair beside,

The fruitful Olive, and the Plantain round, Upon a lowly ass more white than snow;

The carver Holme, the Maple seldom inward sound: Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide Under a veil, that wimpled was full low,

Led with delight, they thus beguile the way, And over all a black stole she did throw,

Untill the blustering storm is overblown, As one that inly mouro'd: so was she sad,

When, weening to return, whence they did stray, And heavy sat upon her palfrey slow;

They cannot find that path which first was shown, Seemed in heart some hidden care she had, But wander to and fro in ways unknown, And by her in a line a milk white lamb she led. Furthest from end then, when they nearest ween,

That makes them doubt their wits be not their own: So pure an innocent, as that same lamb,

So many paths, so many turnings seen, [been. She was in life and every virtuous lore,

That which of them to take, in divers doubt they And by descent from royal lineage came Of ancient kings and queens, that had of yore Their sceptres stretcht from east to western shore,

THE CHARIOT OF PRIDE DRAWN BY And all the world in their subjection held;

THE PASSIONS. Till that infernal fiend with foul uproar

Sudden upriseth from her stately place Forewasted all their land and them expellid: The royal dame, and for her coach doth call: Whom to avenge, she had this knight from far All hurlen forth, and she with princely pace,

[compellid. (As fair Aurora in her purple pall, Behind her far away a dwarf did lag,

Out of the East the dawning day doth call) That lazy seem'd in being ever last,

So forth she comes: her brightness broad doth blaze. Or wearied with bearing of her bag

The heaps of people, thronging in the hall, Of needments at his back. Thus as they past Doride each other, upon her to gaze : [amaze. The day with clouds was sudden overcast,

ller glorious glittering light doth all men's eyes D 2

So forth she comes, and to her coach does climb, Whose mind in meat and drink was drowned so, Adorned all with gold, and garlands gay,

That from his friend he seldom knew his foe : That seem'd as fresh as Flora in her prime,

Full of diseases was his carcase blue, And strove to match, in royal rich array,

And a dry dropsy through his flesh did flow; Great Juno's golden chair, the which they say

Which by misdiet daily greater grew: The Gods stand gazing on, when she does ride Such one was Gluttony, the second of that crew. To Jove's high house through heaven's brass-pav'd Drawn of fair peacocks, that excel in pride, (way,

And next him rode lustful Lechery, And full of Argus eyes their tails disspreaden wide. Upon a bearded goat, whose rugged hair

And whaly eyes (the sign of jealousy) But this was drawn of six unequal beasts,

Was like the person's self, whom he did bear: On which her six sage counsellors did rice, Who rough, and black, and filthy did appear, Taught to obey their bestial behests,

Unseemly man to please fair Lady's eye;
With like conditions to their kinds applied :

Yet he of Ladies oft was loved dear,
Of which the first, that all the rest did guide, When fairer faces were bid standen by:
Was sluggish Idleness, the nurse of sin;

O! who does know the bent of women's fantasie ?
Upon a slothful ass he chose to ride,
Array'd in habit black, and amice thin,

In a green gown he clothed was full fair, Like to an holy monk, the service to begin.

Which underneath did hide his filthiness,

And in his hand a burning heart he bare, And in his hand his portice still he bare,

Full of vain follies, and new-fangleness: That much was worn, but therein little read: For he was false, and fraught with fickleness, For of devotion he had little care,

And learned had to love with secret looks, Still drown'd in sleep, and most of his days dead; And well could dance and sing with ruefulness, Scarce could he once uphold his heavy head, And fortunes tell, and read in loving books, To looken whether it were night'or day.

And thousand other ways to bait his fleshly hooks, May seem the wain was very evil led, When such an one had guiding of the way,

Inconstant man, that loved all he saw, That knew not, whether right he went, or else astray.

And lusted after all that he did love,

Nor would his looser life be tied to law, From worldly cares he did himself essoine, But joy'd weak women's hearts to tempt and prove, And greatly shunned manly exercise:

If from their loyal loves he might them move; From every work he challenged essojne,

Which lewdness fill'd him with reproachful pain For contemplation-sake: yet otherwise,

Of that foul evil, which all men reprove, Ilis life he led in lawless riotise,

That rots the marrow, and consumes the brain : By which he grew to grievous malady ;

Such one was Lechery, the third of all this train. For in his listless limbs through evil guise A shaking fever reign'd continually:

And greedy Avarice by him did ride, Such one was Idleness, first of this company.

Upon a camel loaden all with gold;

Two iron coffers hung on either side, And by his side rode loathsome Gluttony,

With precious metal full as they might hold, Deformed creature, on a filthy swine ;

And in his lap an heap of coin he told; His belly was up-blown with luxury,

For his wicked pelf his God he made, And eke with fatness swollen were his eyne:

And unto hell himself for money sold;
And like a crane bis neck was long and fine, Accursed usury was all his trade,
With which he swallowed up excessive feast, And right and wrong alike inequal balance weigh’d.
For want whereof poor people oft did pine ;

His life was nigh unto death's door yplacid,
And threadbare coat, and cobbled shoes he ware,

Nor scarce good morsel all his life did taste,
In green vine leaves he was right fitly clad; But both from back and belly still did spare,
For other clothes he could not wear for heat, To fill his bags, and riches to compare ;
And on his head an ivy garland had,

Yet child or kinsman living had he none From under which fast trickled down the sweat. To leave them to; but thorough daily care Still as he rode, he somewhat still did eat,

To get, and nightly fear to lose his own, And in his hand did bear a boozing can,

He led a wretched life unto himself unknown. Of which he supt so aft, that on his seat His drunken corse he scarce upholden can; Most wretched wight, whom nothing might suffice, In shape and life more like a monster, than a man.

Whose greedy lust did lack in greatest store,

Whose need had end, but no end covetise, Unfit he was for any worldly thing,

Whose wealth was want, whose plenty made bin And eke unable once to stir or go;

Who had enough, yet wished evermore; (poor, Kot meet to be of counsel to a king,

A vile disease, and eke in foot and land

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


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

A grievous gout tormented him full sore,

And after all, upon the wargon beami
That well he could not touch, nor go, nor stand; Rode Satan, with a smarting whip in hand,
Such one was Avarice, the fourth of this fair band. With which he forward lash'd the lazy team,

So oft as Sloth still in the mire did stand;
And next to him malicious Envy rode

Huge routs of people did about them band,
Upon a ravenous wolf, and still did chaw

Shouting for joy, and still before their way
Between his canker'd teeth a venomous toad, A fogyy mist had covered all the land;
That all the poison ran about his jaw;

And underneath their feet all scatter'd lay
But inwardly he chawed his own maw

Dead sculls and bones of men, whose life had gone
At neighbours' wealth, that made him ever sad;

For death it was, when any good he saw,
And wept, that cause of weeping none he liad:
But when he heard of harm, he waxed wondrous UNA ENTERTAINED BY THE WOOD-


All in a kirtle of discolour'd say
He clothed was, ypainted full of eyes;

The wild wood gods, arrived in the place,
And in his bosom secretly there lay

There find the virgin doleful desolate,
An hateful snake, the which his tail upties

As her outrageous foe had left her late;
In many folds, and mortal sting implies.

And trembling yet through fear of former hate;
Still as he rode, he gnash'd his teeth to see

All stand amazed at so uncouth sight,
Those heaps of gold with gripple Covetise,

And ’gin to pity her unhappy state.
And grudged at the great felicity

All stand astonished at her beauty bright,
of proud Lucifera, and his own company.

In their rude eyes unworthy of so woful plight. He hated all good works and virtuous deeds,

She more amaz'd in double dread doth dwell;
And him no less that any like did use:

And every tender part for fear does shake:
And who with gracious bread the hungry feeds,

As when a greedy wolf through hunger fell
His alms for want of faith he doth accuse;

A silly lamb far from the flock does take,
So every good to bad doth abuse:

Of whom he means his bloody feast to make,
And eke the verse of famous poets' wit

A lion spies fast running towards him,
He does backbite, and spiteful poison spews

The innocent prey in haste he does forsake;
From leprous mouth, on all that ever writ:

Which quit from death yet quahes in every limbi
Such one vile Envy was, that fisth in row did sit.

With change of fear, to see the lion look so grim.
And him beside rides fierce revenging Wratlı,

Such fearful fit assail'd her trembling heart,
Upon a lion loth for to be led :

Nor word to speak, nor joint to move she had :
And in his hand a burning brand he hath,

The savage nation feel her secret smart,
The which he brandisheth about his head;

And read her sorrow in her count'nance sad;
His eyes did hurl forth sparhles fiery red,

Their frowning foreheads with rough horns yclad,
And stared steru on all that him beheld,

And rustic horror all aside do lay,
As ashes pale of hue and seeming dead;

And, gently grinning, shew a semblance glad
And on his dagger still his hand he held, (swell'd.

To comfort her; and, fear to put away, [obey. Trembling through hasty rage, when choler in him

Their backward bont knees teachi, her humbly lo
Ilis ruffian raiment all was stain'd with blood

The doubtful damsel dare not yet commit
Which he had spilt, and all to rags yrent,

Her single person to their barbarous truth;
Through unadvised raslıness waxen wood; But still through fear and hope amaz'd does sit,
For of his hands he had no government;

Late learn'd what harm to hasty trust ensu’th :
Nor card for blood in his avengement:

They, in compassion of her tender youth,
But, when the furious fit was overpast,

And wonder of her beauty sovereign,
His cruel acts he often would repent ;

Are won with pity and unwonted ruth,
Yet wilful man he never would forecast, [haste. And all prostrate upon the lowly plain, [fain.
How many mischiefs should ensue his heedless Do kiss her feet, and fawn on her with coumt’nance
Full many mischiefs follow cruel wrath ;

Their hearts she guesseth by their humble guise,
Abhorred bloodshed, and tumultuous strife,

And yields her to extremity of time;
Unmanly murder, and unthrifty scath,

So from the ground she fearless doth arise,
Bitter despight, with rancour's rusty knife,

And walketh forth without suspect of crime :
And fretting grief, the enemy of life;

They all, as glad as birds of joyous prime,
All these, and many evils more, haunt ire,

Thence lead her forth, about her dancing round,
The swelling spleen, and phrenzy raging rise, Shouting and singing all a shepherd's rhime,
The shaking palsy, and Saint Francis' fire;

And with green branches strewing all the ground, Such one was Wrath, the last of this ungodly tire. Do worshipheras queen,with olive garland crown,

And all the way their merry pipes they sound, Fair Thyamis, the daughter of Labride,
That all the woods with double echo ring,

That was in sacred bands of wedlock tied
And with their horned feet do wear the ground, To Therion, a loose unruly swain;
Leaping like wanton kids in pleasant spring. Who had more joy to range the forest wide,
So towards old Sylvanus they her bring ;

And chase the savage beast with busy pain, (vain. Who, with the noise awaked, cometh out,

Than serve his lady's love, and waste in pleasures To weet the cause, his weak steps governing, And aged limbs on cypress stadle stout,

The forlorn maid did with love's longing burn, And with an ivy twine his waist is girt about.

And could not lack her lover's company;

But to the wood she goes, to serve her turn,
Far off he wonders what them makes so glad, And seek her spouse, that from her still does Ay,
If Bacchus' merry fruit they did invent,

And follows other game and venery:
Or Cybele's frantic rites have made them mad; A satyr chanc'd her wandering for to find,
They, drawing nigh, unto their god present And kindling coals of lust in brutish eye,
That flower of faith and beauty excellent,

The loyal links of wedlock did unbind,
The god himself, viewing that mirror rare,

And made her person thrall unto his beastly kind. Stood long amaz'd, and burnt in his intent; llis own fair Driope now he thinks not fair,

So long in secret cabin there he held And Pholoe foul, when her to this he doth compare.

Her captive to his sensual desire,

Till that with timely fruit her belly swellid, The wood-born people fall before her flat,

And bore a boy unto that savage sire: And worship her as goddess of the wood;

Then home he suffer'i her for to retire, And old Sylvanus' self bethinks not what

For ransom leaving him the late born child; To think of wight so fair, but gazing stood,

Whom till to riper years he gan aspire, In doubt to deem her born of earthly brood ; He nursed up in life and manners wild, [exil'd. Sometimes dame Venus' self he seems to see : Amongst wild beasts and woods, from laws of men But Venus never had so sober mood; Sometimes Diana he her takes to be,

For all he taught the tender imp was but But misseth bow, and shafts, and buskins to her knee. To banish cowardice and bastard fear;

His trembling hand he would him force to put By view of her he ginneth to revive

Upon the lion, and the rugged bear, His ancient love, and dearest Cyparies,

And from the she-bear's teats her whelps to tear; And calls to mind his portraiture alive,

And eke wild roaring bulls he would him make llow fair he was, and yet not fair to this,

To tame, and ride their backs not made to bear; And how he slew with glancing dart amiss

And the roebucks in flight to overtake, A gentle hind, the which the lovely boy

That every beast for fear of him did fly and quake. Did love as life, above all worldly bliss ; For grief whereof the lad n'ould after joy

Thereby so fearless, and so fell he grew, But pin'd away in anguish and self-will’d annoy.

That his own sire and master of his guise,

Did often tremble at his horrid view, The woody nymphs, fair Hamadryades,

And oft for dread of hurt would him advise, Her to behold do thither run apace,

The angry beasts not rashly to despise, And all the troop of light foot Naiades

Nor too much to provoke; for he would learn Flock all about to see her lovely face :

The lion stoop to him in lowly wise, But when they viewed have her heavenly grace, (A lesson hard) and make the libbard stern [yearn. They envy her in their malicious mind,

Leave roaring, when in rage he for revenge did And fly away for fear of foul disgrace : But all the Satyrs scorn their woody kind, (find.

And for to make his power approved more, And henceforth nothing fair but her on earth they

Wild beasts in iron yokes he would compel;

The spotted panther, and the tusked boar, It fortuned a noble warlike knight

The pardale swift, and the tiger cruel ; By just occasion to that forest came,

The antelope, and wolf, both tierce and fell; To seek his kindred, and the lineage right,

And them constrain in equal team to draw. From whence he took his well deserved name; Such joy he had, their stubborn hearts to quell, He had in arms abroad won mickle fame,

And sturdy courage tame with dreadful awe, And fill’d far lands with glory of his might, That his behest they feared as proud tyrant's law. Plain, faithful, true, and eneiny of shame, And ever lov'd to fight for ladies' right,

His loving mother came upon a day But in vain-glorious frays he little did delight;

Unto the woods, to see her little son;

And chanc'd unwares to meet him in the way, A satyr's son yborn in forest wild,

After his sports and cruel pastime done, By strange adventure as it did betide,

When after him a lioness did run, And there begotten of a lady mild,

That roaring all with rage, did loud requere

« PreviousContinue »