Page images
PDF
EPUB

20 Guyon was loath to leave his guide behind,
Yet being entred might not backe retyre;
For the flitt1 barke, obaying to her mind,
Forth launched quickly as she did desire,
Ne gave him leave to bid that aged sire
Adieu, but nimbly ran her wonted course
Through the dull billowes thicke as troubled mire
Whom nether wind out of their seat could forse,
Nor timely tides did drive out of their sluggish

sourse.

21 And by the way, as was her wonted guize, Her mery fitt she freshly gan to reare,2 And did of ioy and iollity devize,

Herselfe to cherish, and her guest to cheare. The Knight was courteous, and did not forbeare Her honest merth and pleasaunce to partake; But when he saw her toy, and gibe, and geare,3 And passe the bonds of modest merimake, Her dalliaunce he despisd and follies did forsake.

22 Yet she still followed her former style,

And said, and did, all that mote him delight,
Till they arrived in that pleasaunt ile,

Where sleeping late she lefte her other knight.
But whenas Guyon of that land had sight,
He wist himselfe amisse, and angry said:
“Ah! Dame, perdy ye have not doen me right,

4

1 Flitt, fleet.

2 Reare, take up.

3 Geare, jeer.

4 Wist himselfe amisse, knew that he was out of his proper course.

Thus to mislead mee, whiles I you obaid: Me litle needed from my right way to have straid.”

23

"Faire Sir," quoth she, "be not displeasd at all; Who fares on sea may not commaund his way, Ne wind and weather at his pleasure call: The sea is wide, and easy for to stray; The wind unstable, and doth never stay. But here a while ye may in safety rest, Till season serve new passage to assay: Better safe port then be in seas distrest.” Therewith she laught, and did her earnest end in iest.

24 But he, halfe discontent, mote nathëlesse
Himselfe appease, and issewd forth on shore:
The ioyes whereof and happy fruitfulnesse,
Such as he saw, she gan him lay before,

And all, though pleasaunt, yet she made much more.
The fields did laugh, the flowres did freshly spring,
The trees did bud, and early blossomes bore ;
And all the quire of birds did sweetly sing,
And told that gardins pleasures in their caroling.

25 And she, more sweete then any bird on bough,
Would oftentimes emongst them beare a part,
And strive to passe (as she could well enough)
Their native musicke by her skilful art:
So did she all, that might his constant hart
Withdraw from thought of warlike enterprize,
And drowne in dissolute delights apart,

Where noise of armes, or vew of martiall guize, Might not revive desire of knightly exercize :

26 But he was wise, and wary of her will,
And ever held his hand upon his hart;
Yet would not seeme so rude, and thewed1 ill,
As to despise so curteous seeming part

2

That gentle lady did to him impart :
But, fairly tempring, fond desire subdewd,
And ever her desired to depart.

She list not heare, but her disports poursewd,
And ever bad him stay till time the tide renewd.

27 And now by this Cymochles howre was spent,
That he awoke out of his ydle dreme;
And, shaking off his drowsy dreriment,3
Gan him avize, howe ill did him beseme
In slouthfull sleepe his molten hart to steme,5
And quench the brond of his conceived yre.

4

6

Tho up he started, stird with shame extreme,

Ne staied for his damsell to inquire,

But marched to the strond, there passage to require.

28 And in the way he with Sir Guyon mett,
Accompanyde with Phædria the faire:
Eftsoones he gan to rage, and inly frett,
Crying: "Let be that lady debonaire,7
Thou recreaunt knight, and soone thyselfe prepaire
To batteile, if thou meane her love to gayn.

Loe! loe already how the fowles in aire

1 Thewed, bred, or mannered.

2 Tempring, moderating.

3 Dreriment, by license, for heaviness.

4 Avize, bethink.

5 Steme, steep.

6 Tho, then.

7 Debonaire, gracious, gentle.

Doe flocke, awaiting shortly to obtayn Thy carcas for their pray, the guerdon of thy payn.1”

29 And therewithall he fiersly at him flew,

And with impórtune 2 outrage him assayld;

3

4

Who, soone prepard to field, his sword forth drew
And him with equall valew countervayld *;
Their mightie strokes their haberieons dismayld,
And naked made each others manly spalles";
The mortall steele despiteously entayld 3

8

Deepe in their flesh, quite through the yron walles, That a large purple streame adown their giambeux9 falles.

5

30 Cymocles, that had never mett before
So puissant foe, with envious despight
His prowd presumed force increased more,
Disdeigning to bee held so long in fight.
Sir Guyon, grudging 10 not so much his might
As those unknightly raylinges which he spoke,
With wrathfull fire his corage kindled bright,
Thereof devising shortly to be wroke,"
And, doubling all his powres, redoubled every stroke.

11

1 Payn, pains.

2 Importune, unrelenting.

3 Valew, valor.

4 Countervayld, opposed.

5 Haberieons, coats of mail.

31 Both of them high attonce their hands enhaunst,1 And both attonce their huge blowes down did sway:

8 Entayld, cut.

9 Giambeux, boots.

6 Dismayld, cut away the mails or meshes.

7 Spalles, shoulders.

12

10 Grudging, indignant at.

11 Wroke, avenged.,

12 Enhaunst, raised.

Cymochles sword on Guyons shield yglaunst,1 And thereof nigh one quarter sheard away : But Guyons angry blade so fiers did play On th' others helmett, which as Titan shone, That quite it clove his plumed crest in tway, And bared all his head unto the bone; Wherewith astonisht still he stood as sencelesse stone.

1

/

32 Still as he stood, fayre Phædria, that beheld
That deadly daunger, soone atweene them ran;
And at their feet herselfe most humbly feld,2
Crying with pitteous voyce, and count'nance wan,
Ah, well away! most noble Lords, how can
Your cruell eyes endure so pitteous sight,
To shed your lives on ground? Wo worth the man,
That first did teach the cursed steele to bight

In his owne3 flesh, and make way to the living

spright!

33 “If ever love of lady did empierce

Your yron brestes, or pittie could find place, Withhold your bloody handes from battaill fierce, And, sith 5 for me ye fight, to me this grace Both yield, to stay your deadly stryfe a space." They stayd a while; and forth she gan proceed. "Most wretched woman and of wicked race, That am the authour of this hainous deed, And cause of death betweene two doughtie knights

do breed!

1 Yglaunst, glanced. 2 Feld, threw.

3 Owne, i. e. human.

4 Sith, since.

« PreviousContinue »