Page images


The Witches sonne loves Florimell:
She flyes; he faines to dy.
Satyrane saves the Squyre of Dames
From Gyaunts tyranny.

LIKE as an Hynd forth singled from the heard,
That hath escaped from a ravenous beast,
Yet flyes away of her owne feete afeard;
And every leafe, that shaketh with the least
Murmure of winde, her terror hath encreast:
So fledd fayre Florimell from her vaine feare,
Long after she from perill was releast:

Each shade she saw, and each noyse she did heare, Did seeme to be the same which she escapt whileare.

All that same evening she in flying spent,
And all that night her course continewed:
Ne did she let dull sleepe once to relent
Nor wearinesse to slack her hast, but fied
Ever alike, as if her former dred
Were hard behind, her ready to arrest :
And her white Palfrey, having conquered
The maistring raines out of her weary wrest,
Perforce her carried where ever he thought best.

So long as breath and hable puissaunce
Did native corage unto him supply,
pace he freshly forward did advaunce,
And carried her beyond all jeopardy;
But nought that wanteth rest can long aby :
He, having through incessant traveill spent
His force, at last perforce adowne did ly,
Ne foot could further move: The Lady gent
Thereat was suddein strook with great astonishment;




And, forst t'alight, on foot mote algates fare
A traveiler unwonted to such way;

Need teacheth her this lesson hard and rare,
"That Fortune all in equall launce doth sway,
And mortall miseries doth make her play."
So long she traveild, till at length she came
To an hilles side, which did to her bewray
A litle valley subject to the same,

All coverd with thick woodes that quite it overcame.

Through th' tops of the high trees she did descry
A litle smoke, whose vapour thin and light
Reeking aloft uprolled to the sky :

Which chearefull signe did send unto her sight
That in the same did wonne some living wight.
Eftsoones her steps she thereunto applyd,
And came at last in weary wretched plight
Unto the place, to which her hope did guyde
To finde some refuge there, and rest her wearie syde.

There in a gloomy hollow glen she found

A little cottage, built of stickes and reedes
In homely wize, and wald with sods around;
In which a Witch did dwell, in loathly weedes
And wilfull want, all carelesse of her needes;
So choosing solitarie to abide

Far from all neighbours, that her divelish deedes
And hellish arts from people she might hide,
And hurt far off unknowne whomever she envíde.

The Damzell there arriving entred in ;

Where sitting on the flore the Hag she found
Busie (as seem'd) about some wicked gin:
Who, soone as she beheld that suddein stound,
Lightly upstarted from the dustie ground,
And with fell looke and hollow deadly gaze
Stared on her awhile, as one astound,

Ne had one word to speake for great amaze;



But shewd by outward signes that dread her sence did daze.

At last, turning her feare to foolish wrath,
She askt, What devill had her thether brought,
And who she was, and what unwonted path
Had guided her, unwelcomed, unsought?
To which the Damzell full of doubtfull thought
Her mildly answer'd; " Beldame, be not wroth
With silly Virgin, by adventure brought
Unto your dwelling, ignorant and loth,

That crave but rowme to rest while tempest overblo’th.”

With that adowne out of her Christall eyne

Few trickling teares she softly forth let fall,
That like two orient perles did purely shyne
Upon her snowy cheeke; and therewithall
She sighed soft, that none so bestiall

Nor salvage hart but ruth of her sad plight
Would make to melt, or pitteously appall;
And that vile Hag, all were her whole delight
In mischiefe, was much moved at so pitteous sight;

And gan recomfort her, in her rude wyse,

With womanish compassion of her plaint,
Wiping the teares from her suffused eyes,
And bidding her sit downe to rest her faint
And wearie limbs awhile: She nothing quaint
Nor 'sdeignfull of so homely fashion,

Sith brought she was now to so hard constraint,
Sate downe upon the dusty ground anon ;
As glad of that small rest, as Bird of tempest gon.

Tho gan she gather up her garments rent,

And her loose lockes to dight in order dew
With golden wreath and gorgeous ornament;
Whom such whenas the wicked Hag did vew,
She was astonisht at her heavenly hew,
And doubted her to deeme an earthly wight,
But or some goddesse, or of Dianes crew,
And thought her to adore with humble spright:
T'adore thing so divine as beauty were but right.




This wicked woman had a wicked sonne,
The comfort of her age and weary dayes,
A laesy loord, for nothing good to donne,
But stretched forth in ydlenesse alwayes,
Ne ever cast his mind to covet prayse,
Or ply himselfe to any honest trade;
But all the day before the sunny rayes

He us'd to slug, or sleepe in slothfull shade:


Such laesinesse both lewd and poore attonce him made.

He, comming home at undertime, there found

The fayrest creature that he ever saw
Sitting beside his mother on the ground;
The sight whereof did greatly him adaw,

And his base thought with terrour and with aw
So inly smot, that as one, which hath gaz'd
On the bright Sunne unwares, doth soone withdraw
His feeble eyne with too much brightnes daz'd;
So stared he on her, and stood long while amaz'd.

Softly at last he gan his mother aske,

What mister wight that was, and whence deriv'd,
That in so straunge disguizement there did maske,
And by what accident she there arriv'd?
But she, as one nigh of her wits depriv'd,
With nought but ghastly lookes him answered;
Like to a ghost, that lately is reviv'd

From Stygian shores where late it wandered:

So both at her, and each at other wondered.

But the fayre Virgin was so meeke and myld,
That she to them vouchsafed to embace
Her goodly port, and to their senses vyld
Her gentle speach applyde, that in short space
grew familiare in that desert place.


During which time the Chorle, through her so kind And courteise use, conceiv'd affection bace,

And cast to love her in his brutish mind;

No love, but brutish lust, that was so beastly tind.




Closely the wicked flame his bowels brent,
And shortly grew into outrageous fire;
Yet had he not the hart, nor hardiment,
As unto her to utter his desire;

His caytive thought durst not so high aspire :.
But with soft sighes and lovely semblaunces
He ween'd that his affection entire

She should aread; many resemblaunces
To her he made, and many kinde remembraunces.

Oft from the forrest wildings he did bring,

Whose sides empurpled were with smyling red;
And oft young birds, which he had taught to sing
His maistresse praises sweetly caroled :
Girlonds of flowres sometimes for her faire hed
He fine would dight; sometimes the squirrel wild
He brought to her in bands, as conquered

To be her thrall, his fellow-servant vild :




All which she of him tooke with countenance meeke and

But, past a while, when she fit season saw

To leave that desert mansion, she cast

In secret wize herselfe thence to withdraw,
For feare of mischiefe, which she did forecast
Might by the witch or by her sonne compast:
Her wearie Palfrey, closely as she might,
Now well recovered after long repast,
In his proud furnitures she freshly dight,

His late miswandred wayes now to remeasure right.

And earely, ere the dawning day appear'd,

She forth issewed, and on her journey went;
She went in perill, of each noyse affeard
And of each shade that did itselfe present;
For still she feared to be overhent

Of that vile Hag, or her uncivile Sonne;

Who when, too late awaking, well they kent

That their fayre Guest was gone, they both begonne To make exceeding mone as they had beene undonne.



« PreviousContinue »