Page images

And, with greene braunches strowing all the ground, Do worship her as queene with olive girlond cround.


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 weet1 the cause, his weake steps governing
And aged limbs on cypresse stadle stout;
And with an yvie twyne his waste is girt about.


Far off he wonders what them makes so glad,
Or Bacchus merry fruit they did invent,3
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 Pholoë fowle, when her to this he doth compaire.


The wood-borne people fall before her flat,
And worship her as goddesse of the wood;
And old Sylvanus selfe bethinkes not, what
To thinke of wight so fayre; but gazing stood
In doubt to deeme her borne of earthly brood:

1 Weet, learn. 2 Stadle, staff.

3 Invent, discover.

XV. 7.— Burnt in his intent.] Glowed with admiration as he gazed upon her.

Sometimes dame Venus selfe he seemes to see;

But Venus never had so sober mood:

Sometimes Diana he her takes to be;

But misseth bow and shaftes, and buskins to her knee.


By vew of her he ginneth' to revive
His ancient love, and dearest Cyparisse ;
And calles to mind his pourtraiture alive,
How fayre he was, and yet not fayre to this;
And how he slew with glauncing dart amisse
A gentle hynd, the which the lovely boy
Did love as life, above all worldly blisse:
For griefe whereof the lad n'ould after ioy;
But pynd away in anguish and selfewild annoy.3


The wooddy nymphes, faire Hamadryades,
Her to behold do thether runne apace;
And all the troupe of light-foot Naiades
Flocke all about to see her lovely face:
But, when they vewed have her heavenly grace,
They envy her in their malitious mind,

And fly away for feare of fowle disgrace:

But all the Satyres scorne their woody kind. And henceforth nothing faire, but her, on earth they find.


Glad of such lucke, the luckelesse lucky Mayd
Did her content to please their feeble eyes;
And long time with that salvage people stayd,

1 Ginneth, beginneth.

3 2 Nould, would not. Annoy, grief.

XVII. 2. · Dearest Cyparisse.] Cyparissus is said to have been a beautiful youth, who, having accidentally killed a favorite stag of Apollo, pined away with grief, and was changed into a cypress-tree.

To gather breath in many miseryes.

During which time her gentle wit she plyes,1

To teach them truth, which worshipt her in vaine,
And made her th' Image of Idolatryes :
But, when their bootlesse zeale she did restrayne

From her own worship, they her asse would worship fayn.


It fortuned, a noble warlike Knight

By just occasion to that forrest came

To seeke his kindred, and the lignage right,

From whence he tooke his wel-deserved name :
He had in armes abroad wonne muchell 2 fame,
And fild far landes with glorie of his might;
Plaine, faithfull, true, and enimy of shame,
And ever lov'd to fight for Ladies right:
But in vaine glorious frayes he litle did delight.


A Satyres sonne yborne in forrest wyld,
By straunge adventure as it did betyde,
And there begotten of a Lady myld,
Fayre Thyamis the daughter of Labryde;
That was in sacred bandes of wedlocke tyde
To Therion, a loose unruly swayne,

Who had more joy to raunge the forrest wyde,

And chase the salvage beast with busie payne,

Then serve his Ladies love, and waste in pleasures vayne.

1 Plyes, exerts.

2 Muchell, much.

XIX. 9. They her asse would worship fayn.] Todd supposes that Spenser here alludes to a charge brought against the early Christians of worshipping an ass, and censures him for the allusion. It is very doubtful, to say the least, whether any such matter was in the poet's thoughts.


The forlorne mayd did with loves longing burne,
And could not lacke her lovers company;
But to the wood she goes, to serve her turne,
And seeke her spouse, that from her still does fly
And followes other game and venery 1:

A Satyre chaunst her wandring for to finde;
And kindling coles of lust in brutish eye,
The loyall linkes of wedlocke did unbinde,
And made her person thrall unto his beastly kind.


So long in secret cabin there he held
Her captive to his sensuall desyre;
Till that with timely fruit her belly sweld,
And bore a boy unto that salvage syre:
Then home he suffred her for to retyre;
For ransome leaving him the late-borne childe:
Whom, till to ryper years he gan aspyre,
He nousled 2 up in life and maners wilde,

Emongst wild beastes and woods, from lawes of men exilde.


For all he taught the tender ymp,3 was but
To banish cowardize and bastard 4 feare:

His trembling hand he would him force to put
Upon the lyon and the rugged beare;

And from the she-beares teats her whelps to teare;
And eke wyld roring buls he would him make
To tame, and ryde their backes not made to beare;

1 Venery, hunting.
2 Nousled, nursed.

3 Ymp, child.

4 Bastard, base.

XXII. 3. — To serve her turne.] To accomplish her object, which was, to be with her husband.

And the robuckes in flight to overtake:

That everie beast for feare of him did fly and quake.


Thereby so fearelesse and so fell he grew,
That his owne syre and maister of his guise
Did often tremble at his horrid vew ;

And oft, for dread of hurt, would him advise
The angry beastes not rashly to despise,
Nor too much to provoke; for he would learne1
The lyon stoup to him in lowly wise,

(A lesson hard,) and make the libbard 2 sterne Leave roaring, when in rage he for revenge did earne.3


And, for to make his powre approved more,
Wyld beastes in yron yokes he would compell;
The spotted panther, and the tusked bore,
The pardale swift, and the tigré cruéll,
The antelope and wolfe, both fiers and fell;
And them constraine in equall teme to draw.
Such ioy he had their stubborne harts to quell,
And sturdie courage tame with dreadfull aw;
That his beheast they feared, as a tyrans law.


His loving mother came upon a day

Unto the woodes, to see her little sonne;
And chaunst unwares to meet him in the way,
After his sportes and cruell pastime donne ;
When after him a lyonesse did runne,
That roaring all with rage did lowd requere

Learne, teach.

3 Earne, yearn.

2 Libbard, leopard.

▲ Pardale, a kind of leopard.

XXV. 2. — Maister of his guise,] i. e. who trained him to such deeds.

« PreviousContinue »