Page images
PDF
EPUB

Charm'd those wild beasts that rag'd with furie mad;
Which, now awaking, fierce at them gan fly,
As in their Mistresse reskew, whom they lad?;
But them the Palmer soone did pacify.

[did ly. Then Guyon askt, what meant those beastes which there

LXXXV.
Sayd he; “ These seeming beasts are men in deed,
Whom this Enchauntresse hath transformed thus ;
Whylome? her lovers, which her lustes did feed,
Now turned into figures hideous,
According to their mindes like monstruous."
“ Sad end,” quoth he, "of life intemperate,
And mournefull meed of joyes delicious!

But, Palmer, if it mote thee so aggrate, 3
Let them returned be unto their former state.”

LXXXVI.
Streightway he with his vertuous staffe them strooke,
And streight of beastes they comely men became ;
Yet being men they did unmanly looke,
And stared ghastly; some for inward shame,
And some for wrath to see their captive Dame:
But one above the rest in speciall 4
That had an hog beene late, hight 5 Grylle by name,

Repyned greatly, and did him miscall 6
That had from hoggish forme him brought to naturall.

5

1

Lad, led.
2 Whylome, formerly.

Aggrate, please.

4 In speciall, especially.
5 Hight, called.
6 Miscall, abuse.

3

LXXXVI. 7. Hight Grylle.] In a dialogue by Plutarch, Gryllus, a companion of Ulysses, who had been changed into a swine by Circe, holds a conversation with him, and refuses to be restored to his human shape.

LXXXVII.
Saide Guyon; “See the mind of beastly man,
That liath so soone forgot the excellence
Of his creation, when he life began,
That now he chooseth with vile difference
To be a beast, and lacke intelligence!”
To whom the Palmer thus; “ The donghill kinde
Delightes in filth and fowle incontinence:

Let Gryll be Gryll, and have his hoggish minde;
But let us hence depart whilest wether serves and winde."

THE THIRDE BOOKE

OF

THE FAERIE QUEENE

CONTAYNING

THE LEGEND OF BRITOMARTIS, OR OF CHASTITY.

I.
IT falls me here to write of Chastity,
That fayrest vertue, far above the rest :
For which what needes me fetch from Faëry
Forreine ensamples it to have exprest?
Sith it is shrined in my Soveraines brest,
And formd so lively in each perfect part,
That to all Ladies, which have it profest,

Need but behold the pourtraict of her hart;
If pourtrayd it might bee by any living art:

II. But living art may not least part expresse, Nor life-resembling pencill it can paynt: All ? were it Zeuxis or Praxiteles, His dædale 3 hand would faile and greatly faynt,

| Sith, since.

2 All, although

3 Dadale, skilful.

1.1. - It falls me here to write of Chastity.] The subject of this book enables the poet, in his introduction, to pay some delicate com. pliments to the “ Virgin Queen,” to whom it is addressed.

And her perfections with his error taynt:
Ne poets witt, that passeth painter farre
In picturing the parts of beauty daynt,

So hard a workemanship adventure darre,
For fear through want of words her excellence to marre.

III.
How then shall I, apprentice of the skill
That whilome? in divinest wits did rayne,
Presume so high to stretch mine humble quill?
Yet now my luckelesse lott doth me constrayne
Hereto perforce: But, О dredd Soverayne,
Thus far forth pardon, sith 3 that choicest witt
Cannot your glorious pourtraict figure playne,

That I in colourd showes may shadow itt,
And antique praises unto present persons fitt.

IV.
But if in living colours, and right hew,
Thyselfe thou covet to see pictured,
Who can it doe more lively, or more trew,
Then 4 that sweete verse, with nectar sprinckeled,
In which a gracious servaunt pictured
His Cynthia, his heavens fayrest light?
That with his melting sweetnes ravished,

And with the wonder of her beamës bright,
My sences lulled are in slomber of delight.

a

3

Daynt, dainty.
2 Whilome, formerly.

Sith, since. 4 Then, than.

III. 4. — Luckelesse lot.] Luckless, because he apprehends he shall not do justice to the subject.

IV.5. A gracious servaunt.] This was Sir Walter Raleigh, who wrote a poem eulogizing Queen Elizabeth, called “ Cynthia.”

V. But let that same delitious poet lend A little leave unto a rusticke Muse To sing his Mistresse prayse; and let him mend, If ought amis her liking may abuse : Ne let his fayrest Cynthia refuse In mirrours more then one herselfe to see; But either Gloriana let her chuse,

Or in Belphebe fashioned to bee; In th' one her rule, in th’ other her rare chastitee.

1

· Then, than.

« PreviousContinue »