The Faerie Queene, Book VI, Canto 10

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Calidore sees the Graces daunce, To Colins melody:The whiles his Pastorell is led, Into captivity.

iWhilest Calidore does follow that faire Mayd,Unmyndfull of his vow and high beheast,Which by the Faery Queene was on him layd,That he should never leave, nor be delaydFrom chacing him, till he had it attchieved?But now entrapt of love, which him betrayd,He mindeth more, how he may be relievedWith grace from her, whose love his heart hath sore engrieved.

iiHis former quest, so full of toile and paine;Another quest, another game in vewHe hath, the guerdon of his love to gaine:With whom he myndes for ever to remaine,And set his rest amongst the rusticke sort,Rather then hunt still after shadowes vaineOf courtly favour, fed with light reportOf every blaste, and sayling alwaies on the port.

iiiFrom so high step to stoupe unto so low.For who had tasted once (as oft did he)The happy peace, which there doth overthow,And prov'd the perfect pleasures, which doe growAmongst poore hyndes, in hils, in woods, in dales,Would never more delight in painted showOf such false blisse, as there is set for stales,T'entrap unwary fooles in their eternall bales.

ivLike to one sight, which Calidore did vew?The glaunce whereof their dimmed eies would daze,That never more they should endure the shewOf that sunne-shine, that makes them looke askew.Ne ought in all that world of beauties rare,(Save onely Glorianaes heavenly hewTo which what can compare?) can it compare;The which as commeth now, by course I will declare.

vWhilest his faire Pastorella was elsewhere,He chaunst to come, far from all peoples troad,Unto a place, whose pleasaunce did appereTo passe all others, on the earth which were:For all that ever was by natures skillDevized to worke delight, was gathered there,And there by her were poured forth at fill,As if this to adorne, she all the rest did pill.

viThat round about was bordered with a woodOf matchlesse hight, that seem'd th'earth to disdaine,In which all trees of honour stately stood,And did all winter as in sommer bud,Spredding pavilions for the birds to bowre,Which in their lower braunches sung aloud;And in their tops the soring hauke did towre,Sitting like King of fowles in majesty and powre.

viiHis silver waves did softly tumble downe,Unmard with ragged mosse or filthy mud,Ne mote wylde beastes, ne mote the ruder clowneThereto approch, ne filth mote therein drowne:But Nymphes and Faeries bythe bancks did sit,In the woods shade, which did the waters crowne,Keeping all noysome things away from it,And to the waters fall tuning their accents fit.

viiiDid spred it selfe, to serve to all delight,Either to daunce, when they to daunce would faine,Or else to course about their bases light;Ne ought there wanted, which for pleasure mightDesired be, or thence to banish bale:So pleasauntly the hill with equall hight,Did seeme to overlooke the lowly vale;Therefore it rightly cleeped was mount Acidale.

ixHer selfe to pleasaunce, used to resortUnto this place, and therein to reposeAnd rest her selfe, as in a gladsome port,

Or with the Graces there to play and sport;That even her owne Cytheron, though in itShe used most to keepe her royall court,And in her soveraine Majesty to sit,She in regard thereof refusde and thought unfit.

xApprocht, him seemed that the merry soundOf a shrill pipe he playing heard on hight,And many feete fast thumping th'hollow ground,That through the woods their Eccho did rebound.He nigher drew, to weete what mote it be;There he a troupe of Ladies dauncing foundFull merrily, and making gladfull glee,And in the midst a Shepheard piping he did see.

xiFor dread of them unwares to be descryde,For breaking of their daunce, if he were seene;But in the covert of the wood did byde,Beholding all, yet of them unespyde.There he did see, that pleased much his sight,That even he him selfe his eyes envyde,An hundred naked maidens lilly white,All raunged in a ring, and dauncing in delight.

xiiAnd daunced round; but in the midst of themThree other Ladies did both daunce and sing,The whilest the rest them round about did hemme,And like a girlond did in compasse stemme:And in the middest of those same three, was placedAnother Damzell, as a precious gemme,Amidst a ring most richly well enchaced,That with her goodly presence all the rest much graced.

xiiiUpon her yvory forehead that same day,That Theseus her unto his bridale bore,When the bold Centaures made that bloudy frayWith the fierce Lapithes, which did them dismay;Being now placed in the firmament,Through the bright heaven doth her beams display,And is unto the starres an ornament,Which round about her move in order excellent.

xivWhose sundry parts were here too long to tell:But she that in the midst of them did stand,Seem'd all the rest in beauty to excell,Crownd with a rosie girlond, that right wellDid her beseeme. And ever, as the crewAbout her daunst, sweet flowres, that far did smell,And fragrant odours they uppon her threw;But most of all, those three did her with gifts endew.

xvHandmaides of Venus, which are wont to hauntUppon this hill, and daunce there day and night:Those three to men all gifts of grace do graunt,And all, that Venus in her selfe doth vaunt,Is borrowed of them. But that faire one,That in the midst was placed paravaunt,Was she to whom that shepheard pypt alone,That made him pipe so merrily, as never none.

xviWhich piped there unto that merry rout,That jolly shepheard, which there piped, wasPoore Colin Clout (who knowes not Colin Clout?)He pypt apace, whilest they him daunst about.Pype jolly shepheard, pype thou now apaceUnto thy love, that made thee low to lout;Thy love is present there with thee in place,Thy love is there advaunst to be another Grace.

xviiWhose like before his eye had never seene,And standing long astonished in spright,And rapt with pleasaunce, wist not what to weene;Whether it were the traine of beauties Queene,Or Nymphes, or Faeries, or enchaunted show,With which his eyes mote have deluded beene.Therefore resolving, what it was, to know,Out of the wood he rose, and toward them did go.

xviiiThey vanisht all away out of his sight,And cleane were gone, which way he never knew;All save the shepheard, who for fell despightOf that displeasure, broke his bagpipe quight,And made great mone for that unhappy turne.But Calidore, though no lesse sory wight,For that mishap, yet seeing him to mourne,Drew neare, that he the truth of all by him mote learne.

xixHaile jolly shepheard, which thy joyous dayesHere leadest in this goodly merry make,Frequented of these gentle Nymphes alwayes,Which to thee flocke, to heare thy lovely layes;Tell me, what mote these dainty Damzels be,Which here with thee doe make their pleasant playes?Right happy thou, that mayst them freely see:But why when I them saw, fled they away from me?

xxAs thou unhappy, which them thence didst chace,Whom by no meanes thou canst recall againe,For being gone, none can them bring in place,But whom they of them selves list so to grace.Right sory I, (said then Sir Calidore,)That my ill fortune did them hence displace.But since all things passed none may now restore,Tell me, what were they all, whose lacke thee grieves so sore.

xxiThen wote thou shepheard, whatsoever thou bee,That all those Ladies, which thou sawest late,Are Venus Damzels, all within her fee,But differing in honour and degree:They all are Graces, which on her depend,Besides a thousand more, which ready beeHer to adorne, when so she forth doth wend:But those three in the midst, doe chiefe on her attend.

xxiiBy him begot of faire Eurynome,The Oceans daughter, in this pleasant grove,As he this way comming from feastfull glee,Of Thetis wedding with Æacidee,In sommers shade him selfe here rested weary.The first of them hight mylde Euphrosyne,Next faire Aglaia, last Thalia merry:Sweete Goddesses all three which me in mirth do cherry.

xxiiiWhich decke the body or adorne the mynde,To make them lovely or well favourd show,As comely carriage, entertainment kynde,Sweete semblaunt. friendly offices that bynde,And all the complements of curtesie:They teach us, how to each degree and kyndeWe should our selves demeane, to low, to hie;To friends, to foes, which skill men call Civility.

xxivThat we likewise should mylde and gentle be,And also naked are, that without guileOr false dissemblaunce all them plaine may see,Simple and true from covert malice free:And eeke them selves so in their daunce they bore,That two of them still froward seem'd to bee,But one still towards shew'd her selfe afore;That good should from us goe, then come in greater store.

xxvBut that fourth Mayd, which there amidst them traced,Who can aread, what creature mote she bee,Whether a creature, or a goddesse gracedWith heavenly gifts from heven first enraced?But what so sure she was, she worthy wasTo be the fourth with those three other placed:Yet was she certes but a countrey lasse,Yet she all other countrey lasses farre did passe.

xxviAll other lesser lights in light excell,So farre doth she in beautyfull array,Above all other lasses beare the bell,Ne lesse in vertue that beseemes her well,Doth she exceede the rest of all her race,For which the Graces that here wont to dwell,Have for more honor brought her to this place,And graced her so much to be another Grace.

xxviiIn whom so many Graces gathered are,Excelling much the meane of her degree;Divine resemblaunce, beauty soveraine rare,Firme Chastity, that spight ne blemish dare;All which she with such courtesie doth grace,That all her peres cannot with her compare,But quite are dimmed, when she is in place.She made me often pipe and now to pipe apace.

xxviiiThat all the earth doest lighten with thy rayes,Great Gloriana, greatest Majesty,Pardon thy shepheard, mongst so many layes,As he hath sung of thee in all his dayes,To make one minime of thy poore handmayd,And underneath thy feete to place her prayse,That when thy glory shall be farre displaydTo future age of her this mention may be made.

xxixSayd Calidore: Now sure it yrketh mee,That to thy blisse I made this luckelesse breach,As now the author of thy bale to be,Thus to bereave thy loves deare sight from thee:But gentle Shepheard pardon thou my shame,Who rashly sought that, which I mote not see.Thus did the courteous Knight excuse his blame,And to recomfort him, all comely meanes did frame.

© Edmund Spenser