Page images
PDF
EPUB

Whose case whenas the careful Dwarfe had tould, 52
And made ensample of their mournfull sight
Unto his Maister, he no lenger would
There dwell in perill of like painefull plight,
But earely rose; and, ere that dawning light
Discovered had the world to heaven wyde,
He by a privy Posterne tooke his flight,
That of no envious eyes he mote be spyde;
For, doubtlesse, death ensewd if any him descryde.

Scarse could he footing find in that fowle

way,

For many corses, like a great Lay-stall,
Of murdred men, which therein strowed lay
Without remorse or decent funerall;

53

Which al through that great Princesse pride did fall, And came to shamefull end. And them besyde, Forth ryding underneath the castell wall,

A Donghill of dead carcases he spyde;

The dreadfull spectacle of that sad house of Pryde

N

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

S when a ship, that flyes fayre under sayle, An hidden rocke escaped hath unwares, That lay in waite her wrack for to bewaile, The Marriner yet halfe amazed stares At perill past, and yet in doubt ne dares To joy at his foolhappie oversight :

So doubly is distrest twixt joy and cares The dreadlesse corage of this Elfin knight, Having escapt so sad ensamples in his sight.

Yet sad he was, that his too hastie speed

The fayre Duess' had forst him leave behind;
And yet more sad, that Una, his deare dreed,
Her truth had staynd with treason so unkind :
Yet cryme in her could never creature find;
But for his love, and for her own selfe sake,
She wandred had from one to other Ynd,
Him for to seeke, ne ever would forsake e;
Till her unwares the fiers Sansloy did overtake:

Who, after Archimagoes fowle defeat,

Led her away into a forest wilde; And, turning wrathfull fyre to lustfull heat, With beastly sin thought her to have defilde, And made the vassall of his pleasures vilde. Yet first he cast by treatie, and by traynes, Her to persuade that stubborne fort to yilde: For greater conquest of hard love he gaynes, That workes it to his will, then he that it constraines.

2

3

With fawning wordes he courted her a while;
And, looking lovely and oft sighing sore,

Her constant hart did tempt with diverse guile : But wordes, and lookes, and sighes she did abhore; As rock of Diamond stedfast evermore.

Yet for to feed his fyrie lustfull eye,

He snatcht the vele that hong her face before:
Then gan her beautie shyne as brightest skye,
And burnt his beastly hart t'efforce her chastitye.
So when he saw his flatt'ring artes to fayle,
And subtile engines bett from batteree;
With greedy force he gan the fort assayle,
Whereof he weend possessed soone to bee,
And win rich spoile of ransackt chastitee.
Ah heavens! that doe this hideous act behold,
And heavenly virgin thus outraged see,
How can ye vengeance just so long withhold,
And hurle not flashing flames upon that Paynim bold?

The pitteous mayden, carefull, comfortlesse, [cryes;
Does throw out thrilling shriekes, and shrieking
The last vaine helpe of wemens greate distresse,
And with loud plaintes importuneth the skyes;
That molten starres doe drop like weeping eyes,
And Phoebus, flying so most shameful sight,
His blushing face in foggy cloud implyes,

And hydes for shame. What witt of mortall wight Can now devise to quitt a thrall from such a plight?

Eternall providence, exceeding thought,

Where none appeares can make her selfe a way. A wondrous way it for this Lady wrought, From Lyons clawes to pluck the gryped pray. Her shrill outcryes and shrieks so loud did bray, That all the woodes and forestes did resownd: A troupe of Faunes and Satyres far a way Within the wood were dauncing in a rownd, Whiles old Sylvanus slept in shady arber sownd.

7

Who, when they heard that pitteous strained voice, 8
In haste forsooke their rurall meriment,
And ran towardes the far rebownded noyce,
To weet what wight so loudly did lament.
Unto the place they come incontinent :
Whom when the raging Sarazin espyde,
A rude, mishapen, monstrous rablement,
Whose like he never saw, he durst not byde,
But got his ready steed, and fast away gan ryde.
The wyld woodgods, arrived in the place,
There find the virgin, doolfull, desolate,
With ruffled rayments, and fayre blubbred face,
As her outrageous foe had left her late;
And trembling yet through feare of former hate.
All stand amazed at so uncouth sight,
And gin to pittie her unhappie state :
All stand astonied at her beautie bright,

In their rude eyes unworthy of so wofull plight.

9

[ocr errors]

She, more amazd, in double dread doth dwell;
And every tender part for feare does shake.
As when a greedy Wolfe, through honger fell,
A seely Lamb far from the flock does take,
Of whom he meanes his bloody feast to make,
A Lyon spyes fast running towards him,
The innocent pray in hast he does forsake;
Which, quitt from death, yet quakes in every lim
With chaunge of feare, to see the lyon looke so grim.
Such fearefull fitt assaid her trembling hart;

[ocr errors]

Ne word to speake, ne joynt to move, she had :
The salvage nation feele her secret smart,
And read her sorrow in her count'nance sad;
Their frowning forheades, with rough hornes yclad,
And rustick horror, all asyde doe lay;

And, gently grenning, shew a semblance glad
To comfort her; and, feare to put away,

Their backward bent knees teach her humbly to obay.

The doubtfull Damzell dare not yet committ
Her single person to their barbarous truth;
But still twixt feare and hope amazd does sitt,
Late learnd what harme to hasty trust ensu'th.
They, in compassion of her tender youth,
And wonder of her beautie soverayne,

12

Are wonne with pity and unwonted ruth; And, all prostrate upon the lowly playne, [fayne. Doe kisse her feete, and fawne on her with count'nance

Their harts she ghesseth by their humble guise, 13 And yieldes her to extremitie of time :

So from the ground she fearelesse doth arise, And walketh forth without suspect of crime. They, all as glad as birdes of joyous Pryme, Thence lead her forth, about her dauncing round, Shouting, and singing all a shepheards ryme; And with greene braunches strowing all the ground, Do worship her as Queene with olive girlond cround.

14

And all the way their merry pipes they sound,
That all the woods with doubled Eccho ring;
And with their horned feet doe weare the ground,
Leaping like wanton kids in pleasant Spring.
So towards old Sylvanus they her bring;
Who, with the noyse awaked, commeth out
To weet the cause, his weake steps governing
And aged limbs on cypresse stadle stout;
And with an yvie twyne his waste is girt about.

15

Far off he wonders what them makes so glad;
Or Bacchus merry fruit they did invent,
Or Cybeles franticke rites have made them mad:
They, drawing nigh, unto their God present
That flowre of fayth and beautie excellent.
The God himselfe, vewing that mirrhour rare,
Stood long amazd, and burnt in his intent:
His owne fayre Dryope now he thinkes not faire,
And Pholoe fowle, when her to this he doth compaire.

« PreviousContinue »