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On th' other side they see that perilous Poole,
That called was the Whirlepoole of Decay;
In which full many had with haplesse doole
Beene suncke, of whom no memorie did stay:
Whose circled waters rapt with whirling sway,
Like to a restlesse wheele, still ronning round,
Did covet, as they passed by that way,
To draw their bote within the utmost bound
Of his wide Labyrinth, and then to have them dround.
But th' heedful Boteman strongly forth did stretch
His brawnie armes, and all his bodie straine,
That th' utmost sandy breach they shortly fetch,
Whiles the dredd daunger does behind remaine.
Suddeine they see from midst of all the Maine
The surging waters like a Mountaine rise,
And the great sea, puft up with proud disdaine,
To swell above the measure of his guise,
As threatning to devoure all that his powre despise.
The waves come rolling, and the billowes rore
Outragiously, as they enraged were,
Or wrathfull Neptune did them drive before
His whirling charet for exceeding feare;
For not one puffe of winde there did appeare;
That all the three thereat woxe much afrayd,
Unweeting what such horrour straunge did reare.
Eftsoones they saw an hideous hoast arrayd
Of huge Sea-monsters, such as living sence dismayd:
Most ugly shapes and horrible aspécts,
Such as Dame Nature selfe mote feare to see, Or shame, that ever should so fowle defects From her most cunning hand escaped bee; All dreadfull pourtraicts of deformitee: Spring-headed Hydres; and sea-shouldring Whales Great whirlpooles, which all fishes make to flee; Bright Scolopendraes arm'd with silver scales; Mighty Monoceros with immeasured tayles;
The dreadful Fish, that hath deserv'd the name
Of Death, and like him lookes in dreadfull hew;
The griesly Wasserman, that makes his game
The flying ships with swiftnes to pursew;
The horrible Sea-satyre, that doth shew
His fearefull face in time of greatest storme;
Huge Ziffius, whom Mariners eschew
No lesse then rockes, as travellers informe;
And greedy Rosmarines with visages deforme:
All these, and thousand thousands many more,
And more deformed Monsters thousand fold,
With dreadfull noise and hollow rombling rore
Came rushing, in the fomy waves enrold,
Which seem'd to fly for feare them to behold:
Ne wonder, if these did the Knight appall;
For all that here on earth we dreadfull hold,
Be but as bugs to fearen babes withall,
Compared to the Creatures in the seas entráll.
"Feare nought," then saide the Palmer well aviz'd, 26
"For these same Monsters are not these in deed,
But are into these fearefull shapes disguiz'd
By that same wicked Witch, to worke us dreed,
And draw from on this journey to proceed."
Tho, lifting up his vertuous staffe on hye,
He smote the sea, which calmed was with speed,
And all that dreadfull Armie fast gan flye
Into great Tethys bosome, where they hidden lye.
Quit from that danger forth their course they kept; 27
And as they went they heard a ruefull cry
Of one that wayld and pittifully wept,
That through the sea th' resounding plaints did fly :
At last they in an Island did espy
A seemely Maiden, sitting by the shore, That with great sorrow and sad agony Seemed some great misfortune to deplore, And lowd to them for succour called evermore.
Which Guyon hearing, streight his Palmer bad
To stere the bote towards that dolefull Mayd,
That he might know and ease her sorrow sad:
Who, him avizing better, to him sayd;
"Faire Sir, be not displeasd if disobayd:
For ill it were to hearken to her cry;
For she is inly nothing ill apayd;
But onely womanish fine forgery,
Your stubborne hart t' affect with fraile infirmity:
"To which when she your courage hath inclind Through foolish pitty, then her guilefull bayt She will embosome deeper in your mind, your ruine at the last awayt."
The Knight was ruled, and the Boteman strayt
Held on his course with stayed stedfastnesse,
Ne ever shroncke, ne ever sought to bayt
His tyred armes for toylesome wearinesse ;
But with his oares did sweepe the watry wildernesse.
And now they nigh approched to the sted
Whereas those Mermayds dwelt: It was a still
And calmy bay, on th' one side sheltered
With the brode shadow of an hoarie hill;
On th' other side an high rocke toured still,
That twixt them both a pleasaunt port they made,
And did like an halfe Theatre fulfill:
There those five Sisters had continuall trade,
And usd to bath themselves in that deceiptfull shade.
They were faire Ladies, till they fondly striv'd
With th' Heliconian Maides for maystery;
Of whom they over-comen were depriv'd
Of their proud beautie, and th' one moyity
Transform'd to fish for their bold surquedry ;
But th' upper halfe their hew retayned still,
And their sweet skill in wonted melody;
Which ever after they abusd to ill,
T'allure weake Traveillers, whom gotten they did kill.
So now to Guyon, as he passed by,
Their pleasaunt tunes they sweetly thus applyde;
"O thou fayre sonne of gentle Faery,
That art in mightie armes most magnifyde
Above all Knights that ever batteill tryde,
O turne thy rudder hetherward awhile :
Here may thy storme-bett vessell safely ryde;
This is the Port of rest from troublous toyle,
The worldes sweet In from paine and wearisome turmoyle."
With that the rolling sea, resounding soft,
In his big base them fitly answered;
And on the rocke the waves breaking aloft
A solemne Meane unto them measured;
The whiles sweet Zephyrus lowd whisteled
His treble, a straunge kinde of harmony;
Which Guyons senses softly tickeled,
That he the Boteman bad row easily,
And let him heare some part of their rare melody.
But him the Palmer from that vanity
With temperate advice discounselled,
That they it past, and shortly gan descry
The land to which their course they levelled;
When suddeinly a grosse fog over spred
With his dull vapour all that desert has,
And heavens chearefull face enveloped,
That all things one, and one as nothing was,
And this great Universe seemd one confused mas.
Thereat they greatly were dismayd, ne wist
How to direct theyr way in darkenes wide,
But feard to wander in that wastefull mist,
For tombling into mischiefe unespyde:
Worse is the daunger hidden then descride.
Suddeinly an innumerable flight
Of harmefull fowles about them fluttering cride,
And with their wicked wings them ofte did smight,
And sore annoyed, groping in that griesly night.
Even all the nation of unfortunate
And fatall birds about them flocked were,
Such as by nature men abhorre and hate;
The ill-faste Owle, deaths dreadfull messengere;
The hoars Night-raven, trump of dolefull drere ;
The lether-winged Batt, dayes enimy;
The ruefull Strich, still waiting on the bere;
The Whistler shrill, that whoso heares doth dy;
The hellish Harpyes, Prophets of sad destiny:
All those, and all that els does horror breed,
About them flew, and fild their sayles with feare:
Yet stayd they not, but forward did proceed,
Whiles th' one did row, and th' other stifly steare;
Till that at last the weather gan to cleare,
And the faire land itselfe did playnly show.
Said then the Palmer; "Lo! where does appeare
The sacred soile where all our perills grow!
Therefore, Sir Knight, your ready arms about you throw."
He hearkned, and his armes about him tooke,
The whiles the nimble bote so well her sped,
That with her crooked keele the land she strooke:
Then forth the noble Guyon sallied,
And his sage Palmer that him governed;
But th' other by his bote behind did stay.
They marched fayrly forth, of nought ydred,
Both firmely armd for every hard assay,
With constancy and care, gainst daunger and dismay.
Ere long they heard an hideous bellowing
Of many beasts, that roard outrageously,
As if that hungers poynt or Venus sting
Had them enraged with fell surquedry;
Yet nought they feard, but past on hardily,
Untill they came in vew of those wilde beasts,
Who all attonce, gaping full greedily,
And rearing fercely their upstaring crests,
Ran towards to devoure those unexpected guests.