The Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto 6 (1596)

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Canto 6

From lawlesse lust by wondrous gracefayre Vna is releast:Whom saluage nation does adore,and learnes her wise beheast.

iAn hidden rocke escaped hath vnwares,That lay in waite her wrack for to bewaile,The Marriner yet halfe amazed staresAt perill past, and yet in doubt ne daresTo ioy at his foole-happie ouersight:So doubly is distrest twixt ioy and caresThe dreadlesse courage of this Elfin knight,Hauing escapt so sad ensamples in his sight.

iiThe faire Duess had forst him leaue behind;And yet more sad, that Vna his deare dreedHer truth had staind with treason so vnkind;Yet crime in her could neuer creature find,But for his loue, and for her owne selfe sake,She wandred had from one to other Ynd,Him for to seeke, ne euer woyld forsake,Till her vnwares the fierce Sansloy did ouertake.

iiiLed her away into a forrest wilde,And turning wrathfull fire to lustfull heat,With beastly sin thought her to haue defilde,And made the vassall of his pleasures vilde.Yet first he cast by treatie, and by traynes,Her to perswade, that stubborne fort to yilde:For greater conquest of hard loue he gaynes,That workes it to his will, then he that it constraines.

ivAnd looking louely, and oft sighing sore,Her constant hart did tempt with diuerse guile:But wordes and lookes, and sighes she did abhore,As rocke of Diamond stedfast euermore.Yet for to feed his fyrie lustfull eye,He snatcht the vele, that hong her face before;Then gan her beautie shine, as brightest skye,And burnt his beastly hart t'efforce her chastitye.

vAnd subtile engines bet from batteree,With greedy force he gan the fort assayle,Whereof he weend possessed soone to bee,[Fol. E8r; p. 77] And win rich spoile of ransackt chastetee.Ah heauens, that do this hideous act behold,And heauenly virgin thus outraged see,How can ye vengeance iust so long withhold,And hurle not flashing flames vpon that Paynim bold?

viDoes throw out thrilling shriekes, & shrieking cryes,The last vaine helpe of womens great distresse,And with loud plaints importuneth the skyes,That molten starres do drop like weeping eyes;And Phœbus flying so most shamefull sight,His blushing face in foggy cloud implyes,And hides for shame. What wit of mortall wightCan now deuise to quit a thrall from such a plight?

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

viiiIn hast forsooke their rurall meriment,And ran towards the far rebownded noyce,To weet, what wight so loudly did lament.Vnto the place they come incontinent:Whom when the raging Sarazin espide,A rude, misshapen, monstrous rablement,Whose like he neuer saw, he durst not bide,But got his ready steed, and fast away gan ride.

ixThere find the virgin dolefull desolate,With ruffled rayments, and faire blubbred face,As her outrageous foe had left her late,And trembling yet through feare of former hate;All stand amazed at so vncouth sight,And gin to pittie her vnhappie state,All stand astonied at her beautie bright,In their rude eyes vnworthie of so wofull plight.

xAnd euery tender part for feare does shake:As when a greedie Wolfe through hunger fellA seely Lambe farre from the flocke does take,Of whom he meanes his bloudie feast to make,A Lyon spyes fast running towards him,The innocent pray in hast he does forsake,Which quit from death yet quakes in euery limWith chaunge of feare, to see the Lyon looke so grim.

xiNe word to speake, ne ioynt to moue she had:The saluage nation feele her secret smart,And read her sorrow in her count'nance sad;Their frowning forheads with rough hornes yclad,And rusticke horror all a side doe lay,And gently grenning, shew a semblance gladTo comfort her, and feare to put away,Their backward bent knees teach her humbly to obay.

xiiHer single person to their barbarous truth,But still twixt feare and hope amazd does sit,Late learnd what harme to hastie trust ensu'th,[Fol. F1r; p. 79] They in compassion of her tender youth,And wonder of her beautie soueraine,Are wonne with pitty and vnwonted ruth,And all prostrate vpon the lowly plaine,Do kisse her feete, and fawne on her with count'nance faine.

xiiiAnd yieldes her to extremitie of time;So from the ground she fearlesse doth arise,And walketh forth without suspect of crime:They all as glad, as birdes of ioyous Prime,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 oliue girlond cround.

xivThat all the woods with doubled Eccho ring,And with their horned feet do weare the ground,Leaping like wanton kids in pleasant Spring.So towards old Syluanus they her bring;Who with the noyse awaked, commeth out,To weet the cause, his weake steps gouerning,And aged limbs on Cypresse stadle stout,And with an yuie twyne his wast is girt about.

xvOr Bacchus merry fruit they did inuent,Or Cybeles franticke rites haue made them mad;They drawing nigh, vnto their God presentThat flowre of faith and beautie excellent.The God himselfe vewing that mirrhour rare,Stood long amazd, and burnt in his intent;His owne faire Dryope now he thinkes not faire,And Pholoe fowle, when her to this he doth compaire.

xviAnd worship her as Goddesse of the wood;And old Syluanus selfe bethinkes not, whatTo thinke of wight so faire, but gazing stood,In doubt to deeme her borne of earthly brood;Sometimes Dame Venus selfe he seemes to see,But Venus neuer had so sober mood;Sometimes Diana he her takes to bee,But misseth bow, and shaftes, and buskins to her knee.

xviiHis ancient loue, and dearest Cyparisse,And calles to mind his pourtraiture aliue,How faire he was, and yet not faire to this,And how he slew with glauncing dart amisseA gentle Hynd, the which the louely boyDid loue as life, aboue all worldly blisse;For griefe whereof the lad n'ould after ioy,But pynd away in anguish and selfe-wild annoy.

xviiiHer to behold do thither runne apace,And all the troupe of light-foot Naiades,Flocke all about to see her louely face:But when they vewed haue her heauenly grace,They enuie 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.

xixDid her content to please their feeble eyes,And long time with that saluage people staid,To gather breath in many miseries.[Fol. F2r; p. 81] During which time her gentle wit she plyes,To teach them truth, which worshipt her in vaine,And made her th'Image of Idolatryes;But when their bootlesse zeale she did restraineFrom her own worship, they her Asse would worship fayn.

xxBy iust occasion to that forrest came,To seeke his kindred, and the lignage right,From whence he tooke his well deserued name:He had in armes abroad wonne muchell fame,And fild far landes with glorie of his might,Plaine, faithfull, true, and enimy of shame,And euer lou'd to fight for Ladies right,But in vaine glorious frayes he litle did delight.

xxiBy straunge aduenture as it did betyde,And there begotten of a Lady myld,Faire Thyamis the daughter of Labryde,That was in sacred bands of wedlocke tydeTo Therion, a loose vnruly swayne;Who had more ioy to raunge the forrest wyde,And chase the saluage beast with busie payne,Then serue his Ladies loue, and wast in pleasures vayne.

xxiiAnd could not lacke her louers company,But to the wood she goes, to serue her turne,And seeke her spouse, that from her still does fly,And followes other game and venery:A Satyre chaunst her wandring for to find,And kindling coles of lust in brutish eye,The loyall links of wedlocke did vnbind,And made her person thrall vnto his beastly kind.

xxiiiHer captiue to his sensuall desire,Till that with timely fruit her belly sweld,And bore a boy vnto that saluage sire:Then home he suffred her for to retire,For ransome leauing him the late borne childe;Whom till to ryper yeares he gan aspire,He noursled vp in life and manners wilde,Emongst wild beasts and woods, from lawes of men exilde.

xxivTo banish cowardize and bastard feare;His trembling hand he would him force to putVpon the Lyon and the rugged Beare,And from the she Beares teats her whelps to teare;And eke wyld roring Buls he would him makeTo tame, and ryde their backes not made to beare;And the Robuckes in flight to ouertake,That euery beast for feare of him did fly and quake.

xxvThat his owne sire and maister of his guiseDid often tremble at his horrid vew,And oft for dread of hurt would him aduise,The angry beasts not rashly to despise,Nor too much to prouoke; for he would learneThe Lyon stoup to him in lowly wise,(A lesson hard) and make the Libbard sterneLeaue roaring, when in rage he for reuenge did earne.

xxviWyld beasts in yron yokes he would compell;The spotted Panther, and the tusked Bore,The Pardale swift, and the Tigre cruell;[Fol. F3r; p. 83] The Antelope, and Wolfe both fierce 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 tyrans law.

xxviiVnto the woods, to see her little sonne;And chaunst vnwares 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 requereHer children deare, whom he away had wonne:The Lyon whelpes she saw how he did beare,And lull in rugged armes, withouten childish feare.

xxviiiAnd turning backe, gan fast to fly away,Vntill with loue reuokt from vaine affright,She hardly yet perswaded was to stay,And then to him these womanish words gan say;Ah Satyrane, my dearling, and my ioy,For loue of me leaue off this dreadfull play;To dally thus with death, is no fit toy,Go find some other play-fellowes, mine own sweet boy.

xxixHe trayned was, till ryper yeares he raught,And there abode, whilst any beast of nameWalkt in that forest, whom he had not taughtTo feare his force: and then his courage haughtDesird of forreine foemen to be knowne,And far abroad for straunge aduentures sought:In which his might was neuer ouerthrowne,But through all Faery lond his famous worth was blown.

xxxAfter long labours and aduentures spent,Vnto those natiue woods for to repaire,To see his sire and ofspring auncient.And now he thither came for like intent;Where he vnwares the fairest Vna found,Straunge Lady, in so straunge habiliment,Teaching the Satyres, which her sat around,Trew sacred lore, which from her sweet lips did redound.

xxxiWhose like in womens wit he neuer knew;And when her curteous deeds he did compare,Gan her admire, and her sad sorrowes rew,Blaming of Fortune, which such troubles threw,And ioyd to make proofe of her crueltieOn gentle Dame, so hurtlesse, and so trew:Thenceforth he kept her goodly company,And learnd her discipline of faith and veritie.

xxxiiHis wandring perill closely did lament,Ne in this new acquaintaunce could delight,But her deare heart with anguish did torment,And all her wit in secret counsels spent,How to escape. At last in priuie wiseTo Satyrane she shewed her intent;Who glad to gain such fauour, gan deuise,How with that pensiue Maid he best might thence arise.

xxxiiiTo do their seruice to Syluanus old,The gentle virgin left behind aloneHe led away with courage stout and bold.[Fol. F4r; p. 85] Too late it was, to Satyres to be told,Or euer hope recouer her againe:In vaine he seekes that hauing cannot hold.So fast he carried her with carefull paine,That they the woods are past, & come now to the plaine.

xxxivThey traueild had, when as they farre espideA wearie wight forwandring by the way,And towards him they gan in hast to ride,To weet of newes, that did abroad betide,Or tydings of her knight of the Redcrosse.But he them spying, gan to turne aside,For feare as seemd, or for some feigned losse;More greedy they of newes, fast towards him do crosse.

xxxvAnd soild with dust of the long dried way;His sandales were with toilesome trauell torne,And face all tand with scorching sunny ray,As he had traueild many a sommers day,Through boyling sands of Arabie and Ynde;And in his hand a Iacobs staffe, to stayHis wearie limbes vpon: and eke behind,His scrip did hang, in which his needments he did bind.

xxxviTydings of warre, and of aduentures new;But warres, nor new aduentures none he herd.Then Vna gan to aske, if ought he knew,Or heard abroad of that her champion trew,That in his armour bare a croslet red.Aye me, Deare dame (quoth he) well may I rewTo tell the sad sight, which mine eies haue red:These eyes did see that knight both liuing and eke ded.

xxxviiThat suddein cold did runne through euery vaine,And stony horrour all her sences fildWith dying fit, that downe she fell for paine.The knight her lightly reared vp againe,And comforted with corteous kind reliefe:Then wonne from death, she bad him tellen plaineThe further processe of her hidden griefe;The lesser pangs can beare, who hath endur'd the chiefe.

xxxviiiThis fatall day, that shall I euer rew,To see two knights in trauell on my way(A sory sight) arraung'd in battell new,Both breathing vengeaunce, both of wrathfull hew:My fearefull flesh did tremble at their strife,To see their blades so greedily imbrew,That drunke with bloud, yet thristed after life:What more? the Redcrosse knight was slaine with Paynim knife.

xxxixAnd he the stoutest knight, that euer wonne?Ah dearest dame (quoth he) how might I seeThe thing, that might not be, and yet was donne?Where is (said Satyrane) that Paynims sonne,That him of life, and vs of ioy hath reft?Not far away (quoth he) he hence doth wonneForeby a fountaine, where I late him leftWashing his bloudy wounds, that through the steele were cleft.

xlWhiles Vna with huge heauinesse opprest,Could not for sorrow follow him so fast;And soone he came, as he the place had ghest,[Fol. F5r; p. 87] Whereas that Pagan proud him selfe did rest,In secret shadow by a fountaine side:Euen he it was, that earst would haue supprestFaire Vna: whom when Satyrane espide,With fowle reprochfull words he boldly him defide.

xliThat hast with knightlesse guile and trecherous trainFaire knighthood fowly shamed, and doest vauntThat good knight of the Redcrosse to haue slain:Arise, and with like treason now maintainThy guilty wrong, or else thee guilty yield.The Sarazin this hearing, rose amain,And catching vp in hast his three square shield,And shining helmet, soone him buckled to the field.

xliiIn euill houre thy foes thee hither sent,Anothers wrongs to wreake vpon thy selfe:Yet ill thou blamest me, for hauing blentMy name with guile and traiterous intent;That Redcrosse knight, perdie, I neuer slew,But had he beene, where earst his armes were lent,Th'enchaunter vaine his errour should not rew:But thou his errour shalt, I hope now prouen trew.

xliiiTo thunder blowes, and fiersly to assaileEach other bent his enimy to quell,That with their force they perst both plate and maile,And made wide furrowes in their fleshes fraile,That it would pitty any liuing eie.Large floods of bloud adowne their sides did raile;But floods of bloud could not them satisfie:Both hungred after death: both chose to win, or die.

xlivThat fainting each, themselues to breathen let,And oft refreshed, battell oft renue:As when two Bores with rancling malice met,Their gory sides fresh bleeding fiercely fret,Til breathlesse both them selues aside retire,Where foming wrath, their cruell tuskes they whet,And trample th'earth, the whiles they may respire;Then backe to fight againe, new breathed and entire.

xlvThey gan to fight returne, increasing moreTheir puissant force, and cruell rage attonce,With heaped strokes more hugely, then before,That with their drerie wounds and bloudy goreThey both deformed, scarsely could be known.By this sad Vna fraught with anguish sore,Led with their noise, which through the aire was thrown,Arriu'd, where they in erth their fruitles bloud had sown.

xlviEspide, he gan reuiue the memoryOf his lewd lusts, and late attempted sin,And left the doubtfull battell hastily,To catch her, newly offred to his eie:But Satyrane with strokes him turning, staid,And sternely bad him other businesse plie,Then hunt the steps of pure vnspotted Maid:Wherewith he all enrag'd, these bitter speaches said.

xlviiHath thee incenst, to hast thy dolefull fete?Were it not better, I that Lady had,Then that thou hadst repented it too late?[Fol. F6r; p. 89] Most sencelesse man he, that himselfe doth hate,To loue another. Lo then for thine aydHere take thy louers token on thy pate.So they to fight; the whiles the royall MaydFled farre away, of that proud Paynim sore afrayd.

xlviiiBeing in deed old Archimage, did stayIn secret shadow, all this to behold,And much reioyced in their bloudy fray:But when he saw the Damsell passe awayHe left his stond, and her pursewd apace,In hope to bring her to her last decay.But for to tell her lamentable cace,And eke this battels end, will need another place.

© Edmund Spenser