« PreviousContinue »
With which she for the present was appeased,
And yeelded leave, how ever malcontent
She inly were and in her mind displeased.
So, early in the morrow next, he went
Forth on his way to which he was ybent;
Ne wight him to attend, or way to guide,
As whylome was the custome ancient
Mongst Knights when on adventures they did ride, Save that she algates him a while accompanide.
And by the way she sundry purpose found
Of this or that, the time for to delay,
And of the perils whereto he was bound,
The feare whereof seem'd much her to affray;
But all she did was but to weare out day.
Full oftentimes she leave of him did take;
And eft againe deviz'd some what to say,
Which she forgot, whereby excuse to make;
So loth she was his companie for to forsake.
At last, when all her speeches she had spent,
And new occasion fayld her more to find,
She left him to his fortunes government,
And backe returned with right heavie mind
To Scudamour, whom she had left behind:
With whom she went to seeke faire Amoret,
Her second care, though in another kind:
For vertues onely sake, which doth beget
True love and faithfull friendship, she by her did set.
Backe to that desert forrest they retyred,
Where sorie Britomart had lost her late.
There they her sought, and every where inquired
Where they might tydings get of her estate;
Yet found they none. But by what haplesse fate
Or hard misfortune she was thence convayd,
And stolne away from her beloved mate,
Were long to tell therefore, I here will stay,
Untill another tyde that I it finish may
Amoret rapt by greedie lust
Belphe be saves from dread:
The Squire her loves; and, being blam'd,
his dayes in dole doth lead.
REAT God of love, that with thy cruell darts Doest conquer greatest conquerors on ground, And setst thy kingdome in the captive harts Of Kings and Keasars to thy service bound; What glorie, or what guerdon hast thou found In feeble Ladies tyranning so sore,
And adding anguish to the bitter wound
With which their lives thou lanchedst long afore, By heaping stormes of trouble on them daily more?
So whylome didst thou to faire Florimell;
And so and so to noble Britomart;
So doest thou now to her of whom I tell,
The lovely Amoret, whose gentle hart
Thou martyrest with sorow and with smart,
In salvage forrests and in deserts wide
With Beares and Tygers taking heavie part,
Withouten comfort and withouten guide,
That pittie is to heare the perils which she tride.
So soone as she with that brave Britonesse
Had left that Turneyment for beauties prise,
They travel'd long; that now for wearinesse,
Both of the way and warlike exercise,
Both through a forest ryding did devise
T' alight, and rest their wearie limbs awhile.
There heavie sleepe the eye-lids did surprise
Of Britomart, after long tedious toyle,
That did her passed paines in quiet rest assoyle.
The whiles faire Amoret, of nought affeard,
Walkt through the wood, for pleasure or for need;
When suddenly behind her backe she heard
One rushing forth out of the thickest weed,
That, ere she backe could turne to taken heed,
Had unawares her snatched up from ground:
Feebly she shriekt, but so feebly indeed
That Britomart heard not the shrilling sound, There where through weary travel she lay sleeping sound.
It was to weet a wilde and salvage man;
Yet was no man, but onely like in shape,
And eke in stature higher by a span ;
All overgrowne with haire, that could awhape
An hardy hart; and his wide mouth did gape
With huge great teeth, like to a tusked Bore:
For he liv'd all on ravin and on rape
Of men and beasts; and fed on fleshly gore,
The signe whereof yet stain'd his bloudy lips afore.
His neather lip was not like man nor beast,
But like a wide deep poke, downe hanging low,
In which he wont the relickes of his feast
And cruell spoyle, which he had spard, to stow :
And over it his huge great nose did grow,
Full dreadfully empurpled all with bloud;
And downe both sides two wide long eares did glow,
And raught downe to his waste when up he stood,
More great then th' eares of Elephants by Indus flood.
His wast was with a wreath of yvie greene
Engirt about, ne other garment wore,
For all his haire was like a garment seene;
And in his hand a tall young oake he bore,
Whose knottie snags were sharpned all afore,
And beath'd in fire for steele to be in sted.
But whence he was, or of what wombe ybore,
Of beasts, or of the earth, I have not red,
But certes was with milke of Wolves and Tygres fed.
This ugly creature in his armes her snatcht,
And through the forrest bore her quite away,
With briers and bushes all to rent and scratcht;
Ne care he had, ne pittie of the pray,
Which many a knight had sought so many a day:
He stayed not, but in his armes her bearing
Ran till he came to th' end of all his way,
Unto his cave farre from all peoples hearing, And there he threw her in, nought feeling, ne nought fearing.
For she, deare Ladie, all the way was dead,
Whilest he in armes her bore; but, when she felt
Her selfe downe soust, she waked out of dread
Streight into griefe, that her deare hart nigh swelt,
And eft gan into tender teares to melt.
Then, when she lookt about, and nothing found
But darknesse and dread horrour where she dwelt,
She almost fell againe into a swound;
Ne wist whether above she were or under ground.
With that she heard some one close by her side ΙΟ
Sighing and sobbing sore, as if the paine
Her tender hart in peeces would divide :
Which she long listning, softly askt againe
What mister wight it was that so did plaine?
To whom thus aunswer'd was: "Ah, wretched wight!
That seekes to know anothers griefe in vaine,
Unweeting of thine owne like haplesse plight:
Selfe to forget to mind another is ore-sight."
"Aye me!" (said she) "where am I, or with whom?
Emong the living, or emong the dead?
What shall of me, unhappy maid, become?
Shall death be th' end, or ought else worse, aread?"
"Unhappy mayd," then answer'd she, "whose dread
Untride is lesse then when thou shalt it try:
Death is to him, that wretched life doth lead,
Both grace and gaine; but he in hell doth lie,
That lives a loathed life, and wishing cannot die.
“This dismall day hath thee a captive made, And vassall to the vilest wretch alive, Whose cursed usage and ungodly trade
The heavens abhorre, and into darkenesse drive; For on the spoile of women he doth live, Whose bodies chast, when ever in his powre He may them catch unable to gainestrive, He with his shamefull lust doth first deflowre, And afterwardes themselves doth cruelly devoure.
"Now twenty daies, by which the sonnes of men 13
Divide their works, have past through heven sheene,
Since I was brought into this dolefull den;
During which space these sory eies have seen
Seaven women by him slaine, and eaten clene:
And now no more for him but I alone,
And this old woman, here remaining beene,
Till thou cam'st hither to augment our mone;
And of us three to morrow he will sure eate one."
“Ah, dreadfull tidings which thou doest declare," 14 (Quoth she) "of all that ever hath bene knowen! Full many great calamities and rare
This feeble brest endured hath, but none
Equall to this, where ever I have gone.
But what are you, whom like unlucky lot
Hath linckt with me in the same chaine attone ?" "To tell" (quoth she) "that which ye see, needs not; A wofull wretched maid, of God and man forgot!
"But what I was it irkes me to reherse;
Daughter unto a Lord of high degree;
That joyd in happy peace, till fates perverse
With guilefull love did secretly agree
To overthrow my state and dignitie.
It was my lot to love a gentle swaine,
Yet was he but a Squire of low degree
Yet was he meet, unless mine eye did faine,
By any Ladies side for Leman to have laine.