« AnteriorContinuar »
What worlds delight, or joy of living speech
Can heart, fo plung'd in sea of forrows deep,
And heaped with so huge misfortunes, reach?
The careful cold beginneth for to creep,
And in my heart his iron arrow steep,
Soon as I think upon my bitter bale :
Such helpless harms it's better hidden keep,
Than rip up grief, where it may not avail,
My last left comfort is, my woes to weep and wail.
Ah Lady dear, quoth then the gentle Knight,
Well may 1 ween, your grief is wondrous great;
For wondrous great grief groneth in my spright,
Whiles thus I hear you of
your forrows treat.
But woeful Lady, let me you intreat,
For to unfold the anguish of your heart :
Mishaps are maftred by advice discreet,
And counsel mitigates the greatest smart ;
Found never help, who never would his hurts impart.
O! but (quoth she) great grief will not be told,
And can more easily be thought, than said.
Right fo (quoth he) but he, that never would,
Could never: will to might gives greatest aid.
But grief (quoth she) dues greater grow displaid
If then it find not help, and breeds despair.
Despair breeds not (quoth he) where faith is ftaid.
No faith so fast (quoth she) but flesh does pair.
Flesh may impair (quoth he) but reason can repair.
His goodly reason, and well guided speech,
So deep did settle in her gracious thought,
That her persuaded to disclose the breach,
Which love and fortune in her heart had wrought,
And said ; fair Sir, I hope good hap hath broughe
You to inquire the secrets of my grief,
Or that your wisdom will direct my thought,
Or that your prowess can me yield relief :
Then hear the story sad, which I shall tell you brief.
The forlorn maiden, whom your eyes have seen
The laughing stock of fortunes mockeries,
Am th' only daughter of a King and Queen,
Whose parents dear, whilft equal destinies
Did run about, and their felicities
The favourable heavens did not envy,
Did spred their rule through all the territories
Which Pbifon and Euphrates floweth by,
And Gebons golden waves do wash continually ;
Till that their cruel cursed enemy,
An huge great dragon horrible in sight,
Bred in the loathly lakes of Tartary,
W murdrous ravine, and devouring might
Their Kingdom spoil'd, and countrey wasted quight:
Themselves, for fear into his jaws to fall,
He forct to castle strong to take their figlıt,
Where fast embar'd in mighty brazen wall,
He has them now four years besieg'd to make them thrall.
Full many Knights adventurous and stout,
Have enterpriz'd that monster to subdew V;
From every coaft that heaven walks about,
Have thither come the noble martial crew,
That famous hard atchievements ftill pursew,
Yet never any could that girlond win,
But all still shrunk, and still he greater grew :
All they for want of faith, or guilt of lin,
The pitious prey of his fierce cruelty have bin.
And last, yled with far reported praise,
Which dying fame throughout the world had spread,
Of doughty Knights, whom Fairy land did raile,
That noble order hight of maidenhead,
Forthwith to court of Gloriane I sped ;
Of Gloriane, great Queen of glory bright,
Whose Kingdoms feat Cleopolis is read,
There to obtain some such redoubted Knight, That parents dear from tyrants powre deliver might.
It was my chance (my chance was fair and good)
There for to find a fresh unproved Knight,
Whose manly hands imbrew'd in guilty blood
Had never been, ne ever by his might
Had thrown to ground the unregarded right:
Yet of his prowess, proof he fince hath made
(I witness am) in many a cruel fight;
The groning ghosts of many one dismaid
Have felt the bitter dint of his avenging blade.
And ye the forlorn reliques of his powre,
His biting sword and his devouring spear,
Which have endured many a dreadful stowre,
Can speak his prowess, that did earst you bear,
And well could rule : now he hath left you here,
To be the record of his rueful loss,
And of my doleful disadventurous dreare;
O! heavy record of the good Redcross,
Where have you left your Lord, that could so well you toss?
Well hoped I, and fair beginnings had,
That he my captive langour should redeem,
Till all unweeting, an Enchanter bad
His sense abus'd, and made him to misdeem
My loyalty, not such as it did seem;
That rather death desire, than such despight.
Be judge ye heavens, that all things right esteem,
How I him lov'd, and love with all my might,
So thought I eke of him, and think I chought aright.
Thenceforth me desolate he quite forsook,
To wander where wild fortune would me lead,
And other by-ways he himself betook,
Where never foot of living wight did tread,
That brought not back the baleful body dead;
In which him chanced false Duessa meet,
Mine only foe, mine only deadly dread,
Who with her witchcraft and misseeming sweet,
Inveigled him to follow her defires unmect.
At last, by subtil Neights The him betraid
Unto his foe, a Giant huge and tall,
Who hin, disarmed, diffolute, dismaid,
Unwares surprised, and with mighty mall
The monster merciless him made to fall,
Whose fall did never foe before behold;
And now in darkesom dungeon, wretched thrall,
Remediless, for aye he doth him hold;
This is my cause of grief, more great than may be told.
Ere she had ended all, she 'gan to faint :
But he her comforted and fair bespake,
Certes, Madam, ye have great cause of plaint,
That stoutest heart, I ween, could cause to quake.
But be of chear, and comfort to you take :
For, till I have acquit your captive Knight,
Affure your self, I will you not forsake.
His chearful words reviv'd her chearless spright:
So forth they went, the Dwarf them guiding ever right.
Fair Virgin, to redeem ber dear,
Brings Arthur to the fight:
Wbo Nayes the Giant, wounds the beast,
And strips Duessa quight.
Y me! how many perils do enfold
The righteous man, to make him daily fall ?
Were not that heavenly grace doth him uphold,
And stedfast truth acquit him out of all.
Her love is firm, her care continual,
So oft as he, through his own foolish pride,
Or weakness, is to sinful bands made thrall :
Else should this Redcross Knight in bands have dide. For whofe deliverance the this Prince doth thither guide.
They fadly traveld thus, until they came,
Nigh to a castle builded strong and high :
Then cry'd the Dwarf, lo, yonder is the same,
In which my Lord my liege doth luckless lie,
Thrall to that Giants hateful tyranny:
Therefore, dear Sir, your mighty powres assay,
The noble Knight alighted by and by
From lofty steed, and bade the Lady stay,
To see what end of fight should him befall that day.
So with the Squire, th' admirer of his might,
He marched forth towards that castle wall;
Whose gates he found fast shut, ne living wight
To warde the fame, nor answer commers call.
Then took that Squire an horn of bugle small,
Which hung adown his side in twisted gold,
And taffels gay. Wide wonders over all
Of that same horns great vertues weren told,
Which had approved been in uses manifold.
Was never wight that heard that shrilling sound,
But trembling fear did feel in every vein;
Three miles it might be easie heard around,
And Ecchoes three answerd it self again :
No false enchantment, nor deceitful train
Might once abide the terror of that blaft,
But presently was void and wholly vain í
gate so strong, no lock so firm and fast, But with that piercing noise few open quite, or brast.
The same before the Giants gate he blew,
That all the castle quaked from the ground,
And every door of free-will
few. The Giant self dismayed with that found (Where he with his Duesja dalliance found) In haste came rushing forth from inner bowre, With staring count'nance stern, as one astound, And staggering steps, to weet what suddain ftowre Had wrought that horror strange, and dar'd his dreaded