« PreviousContinue »
So as they travelled, the drouping night,
Covered with cloudie storme and bitter showre,
That dreadfull seem'd to every living wight,
Upon them fell, before her timely howre;
That forced them to seeke some covert bowre,
Where they might hide their heads in quiet rest,
And shrowd their persons from that stormie stowre.
Not farre away, not meete for any guest,
They spide a little cottage, like some poore mans nest.
Under a steepe hilles side it placed was,
There where the mouldred earth had cav'd the banke; And fast beside a little brooke did pas
Of muddie water, that like puddle stanke,
By which few crooked sallowes grew in ranke: Whereto approaching nigh, they heard the sound Of many yron hammers beating ranke,
And answering their wearie turnes around,
That seemed some blacksmith dwelt in that desert ground.
There entring in, they found the goodman selfe 34
Full busily unto his worke ybent;
Who was to weet a wretched wearish elfe,
With hollow eyes and rawbone cheekes forspent,
As if he had in prison long bene pent:
Full blacke and griesly did his face appeare,
Besmeard with smoke that nigh his eye-sight blent;
With rugged beard, and hoarie shagged heare,
The which he never wont to combe, or comely sheare.
Rude was his garment, and to rags all rent,
Ne better had he, ne for better cared :
With blistred hands emongst the cinders brent,
And fingers filthie with long nayles unpared,
Right fit to rend the food on which he fared.
His name was Care; a blacksmith by his trade,
That neither day nor night from working spared,
But to small purpose yron wedges made:
Those be unquiet thoughts that carefull minds invade.
In which his worke he had sixe servants prest,
About the Andvile standing evermore
With huge great hammers, that did never rest
From heaping stroakes which thereon soused sore:
All sixe strong groomes, but one then other more;
For by degrees they all were disagreed;
So likewise did the hammers which they bore,
Like belles, in greatnesse orderly succeed,
That he which was the last the first did farre exceede.
He like a monstrous Gyant seem'd in sight,
Farre passing Bronteus or Pyracmon great,
The which in Lipari doe day and night
Frame thunderbolts for Joves avengefull threate.
So dreadfully he did the andvile beat,
That seem'd to dust he shortly would it drive:
So huge his hammer, and so fierce his heat,
That seem'd a rocke of Diamond it could rive
And rend a sunder quite, if he thereto list strive.
Sir Scudamour there entring much admired
The manner of their worke and wearie paine ; And having long beheld at last enquired The cause and end thereof, but all in vaine; For they for nought would from their worke refraine, Ne let his speeches come unto their eare: And eke the breathfull bellowes blew amaine, Like to the Northren winde, that none could heare: Those Pensifenesse did move; and Sighes the bellows
Which when that warriour saw, he said no more, 39
But in his armour layd him downe to rest :
To rest he layd him downe upon the flore,
(Whylome for ventrous Knights the bedding best)
And thought his wearie limbs to have redrest.
And that old aged Dame, his faithfull Squire,
Her feeble joynts layd eke a downe to rest;
That needed much her weake age to desire,
After so long a travell which them both did tire.
There lay Sir Scudamour long while expecting
When gentle sleepe his heavie eyes would close;
Oft chaunging sides, and oft new place electing,
Where better seem'd he mote himselfe repose;
And oft in wrath he thence againe uprose,
And oft in wrath he layd him downe againe.
But wheresoever he did himselfe dispose,
He by no meanes could wished ease obtaine:
So every place seem'd painefull, and ech changing vaine.
And evermore, when he to sleepe did thinke,
The hammers sound his senses did molest;
And evermore, when he began to winke,
The bellowes noyse disturb'd his quiet rest,
Ne suffred sleepe to settle in his brest:
And all the night the dogs did barke and howle
About the house, at sent of stranger guest;
And now the crowing Cocke, and now the Owle
Lowde shriking, him afflicted to the very sowle.
And, if by fortune any litle nap
Upon his heavie eye-lids chaunst to fall,
Eftsoones one of those villeins him did rap
Upon his headpeece with his yron mall;
That he was soone awaked therewithall,
And lightly started up as one affrayd,
Or as if one him suddenly did call :
So oftentimes he out of sleepe abrayd,
And then lay musing long on that him ill apayd.
So long he muzed, and so long he lay,
That at the last his wearie sprite, opprest
With fleshly weaknesse, which no creature may
Long time resist, gave place to kindly rest,
That all his senses did full soone arrest:
Yet in his soundest sleepe his dayly feare
His ydle braine gan busily molest,
And made him dreame those two disloyall were. The things, that day most minds, at night doe most
With that the wicked carle, the maister Smith,
A paire of redwhot yron tongs did take
Out of the burning cinders, and therewith
Under his side him nipt; that, forst to wake,
He felt his hart for very paine to quake,
And started up avenged for to be
On him the which his quiet slomber brake: Yet, looking round about him, none could see; Yet did the smart remaine, though he himselfe did flee.
In such disquiet and hartfretting payne
He all that night, that too long night, did
And now the day out of the Ocean mayne
Began to peepe above this earthly masse,
With pearly dew sprinkling the morning grasse:
Then up he rose, like heavie lumpe of lead,
That in his face, as in a looking glasse,
The signes of anguish one mote plainely read, And ghesse the man to be dismayd with gealous dread
Unto his loftie steede he clombe anone,
And forth upon his former voiage fared,
And with him eke that aged Squire attone;
Who, whatsoever perill was prepared,
Both equall paines and equall perill shared.
The end whereof and daungerous event
Shall for another canticle be spared;
But here my wearie teeme, nigh over spent,
Shall breath it selfe awhile after so long a went.
Both Scudamour and Arthegall
Doe fight with Britomart:
He sees her face; doth fall in love,
and soone from her depart.
HAT equall torment to the griefe of mind And pyning anguish hid in gentle hart, That inly feeds it selfe with thoughts unkind, And nourisheth her owne consuming smart? What medicine can any Leaches art
Yeeld such a sore, that doth her grievance hide, And will to none her maladie impart ?
Such was the wound that Scudamour did gride, For which Dan Phebus selfe cannot a salve provide.
Who having left that restlesse house of Care,
The next day, as he on his
way did ride,
Full of melancholie and sad misfare
Through misconceipt, all unawares espide
An armed Knight under a forrest side
Sitting in shade beside his grazing steede ;
Who, soone as them approaching he descride,
Gan towards them to pricke with eger speede,
That seem'd he was full bent to some mischievous deede.
Which Scudamour perceiving forth issewed
To have rencountred him in equall race;
But soone as th' other nigh approaching vewed
The armes he bore, his speare he gan abase
And voide his course: at which so suddain case
He wondred much. But th' other thus can say:
"Ah, gentle Scudamour! unto your grace
I me submit, and you of pardon pray,
That almost had against you trespassed this day."