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But if that careless heavens (quoch fhe') despise
The doom of just revenge, and take delight
To see fad pageants of mens miseries,
As bound by them to live in lives despight;
Yer can they not warn death from wretched wight.
Come then, come foon, come sweetest death to me,
And take away this long lent loathed light:
Sharp be thy wounds, but sweer the medcines be, That long captived souls from weary thraldome free.
But thou, sweet babe, whom frowning froward fate
Hath made sad witness of thy fathers fall,
Sith heaven thee deigns to hold in living state,
Long mayst thou live, and better thrive withall,
Than to thy luckless parents did befall :
Live thou, and to thy mother dead atcest,
That clear she dy'd from blemish criminal ;
Thy little hands embrewd in bleading breaft,
Lo I for pledges leave. So give me leave to rest.
With that, a deadly shriek she forth did throw,
That through the wood re-ecchoed again:
And after, gave a grone so deep and low,
That seem'd her tender heart was rent in twain,
Or thrild with point of thorough piercing pain ;
As gentle hind, whose sides with cruel steel
Through launced, forth her bleeding life does rain,
Whiles the sad pang approching she does feel,
Brayes out her latest breath, and up her eyes doth feel.
Which when that warriour heard, dismounting straict
From his tall steed, he rusht into the chick,
And foon arrived, where that fad pourtraict
Of death and dolour lay, half dead, half quick,
In whose white alablaster breast did stick
A cruel knife that made a griefly wound,
From which forth gusht a stream of gore-blood chick
That all her goodly garments staind around,
And into a deep fanguine dide the grasly ground.
Pitiful spectacle of deadly smart,
Beside a bubling fountain low she lay,
Which she increased with her bleeding heart,
And the clean waves with purple gore did
Als in her Jap a lovely babe did play
His cruel sport, instead of sorrow dew;
For in her streaming blood he did embay
His little hands, and tender joynts embrew;
Pitiful spectacle, as ever eye did view.
Beside them both upon the soiled grass,
The dead corse of an armed Knight was spred,
Whose armour all with blood besprinkled was;
His ruddy lips did smile, and rosie red
Did paint his chearful cheeks, yet being dead :
Seem'd to have been a goodly personage,
Now in his freshest flowre of lusty head,
Fit to enfiame fair Lady with loves rage,
But that fierce fate did crop the blossom of his age.
Whom when the good Sir Guyon did behold,
His heart 'gan wex as stark as marble stone,
And his freih blood did frieze with fearful cold,
That all his senses seem'd bereft attone:
At last his mighty Ghost gan deep to grone,
As Lyon (grudging in his deep disdain)
Mourns inwardly, and makes to himself mone;
Till ruth and frail affection did constrain
His courage stout to stoop, and shew his inward pain.
Out of her gored wound the cruel steel,
He lightly snatcht, and did the flood-gate stop
With his fair garment: then 'gan softly feel
Her feeble pulie, to prove if any drop
Of living blood yet in her veins did hop;
Which when he fele to move, he hoped fair
To call back life to her forsaken shop;
So well he did her deadly wounds repair,
That at the last she 'gan to breathe out living air.
Which he perceiving, greatly 'gan rejoice,
And goodly counsel (that for wounded heart
Is meetest med'cine) tempred with sweet voice ;
Ay me! dear Lady, which the image art
of rueful pity, and impatient smart,
What diretul chance, arm’d with avenging fate,
Or cursed hand hath plaid this cruel part,
Thus foul to hasten your untimely date?
Speak, O dear Lady speak: help never comes too late.
Therewith her dim eye-lids fhe up ʼgan rear,
On which the drery death did sit, as fad
As lump of lead, and made dark clouds appear;
But whenas him (all in bright armour clad)
Before her standing she efpied had,
As one out of a deadly dream affright,
She weakly started, yet she nothing drad:
Streight down again her self in great despight,
She groveling threw to ground, as hating life and light.
The gentle Knight, her soon with careful pain
Uplifted light, and softly did uphold:
Thrice he her reard, and thrice she sunk again,
Till he his arms about her sides 'gan fold,
And to her said; yet if the stony cold
Have not all seized on your frozen heart,
Let one word fall that may your grief unfold,
And tell the secret of your mortal smart ;
He oft finds present help, who does his grief impart.
Then casting up a deadly look, full low
She sigh’t from bottom of her wounded breast;
And after many bitter throbs did throw,
With lips full pale, and foltring tongue opprest,
These words the breathed forth from riven cheft;
Leave, ah leave off, 'what ever wight thou be,
To let a weary wretch from her due reit,
And trouble dying fouls tranquillitee.
Take not away now got, which none would give to mo.
Ah! far be it (faid he) dear Dame from me,
To hinder foul from her desired rest,
Or hold fad life in long captivitee :
For all I seek, is but to have redrest
The bitter pangs, that doth your heart infest.
Tell then (O Lady) tell what fatal prief
Hath with so huge misfortune you opprest?
That I may cast to compass your relief,
Or dye with you in forrow, and partake your grief.
With feeble hands then stretched forth on high,
As heaven accusing guilty of her death,
And with dry drops congealed in her eye,
In these sad words she spent her utmost breath:
Hear then (O man) the sorrows that uneach
My tongue can tell, so far all sense they pass :
Lo this dead corpse, that lyes here underneath,
The gentlest Knight, that ever on green grass
Gay fteed with spurs did prick, the good Sir Moredant was.
Was (ay the while, that he is not so now!)
My Lord, my love: my dear Lord, my dear love,
So long as heavens just with equal brow
Vouchsafed to behold us from above,
One day when him high courage did emmove
(As wont ye Knights to seek adventures wild)
He prieked forth his puissant force to prove,
Me then he left enwombed of this child,
This luckless child, whom thus ye see with blood defil'd.
Him fortuned (hard fortune ye may guess)
To come where vile Acrafia does wonne,
Acrasia, a false Enchanteress,
That many errant Knights hath foul fordon:
Within a wandring Inand, that doth run,
And stray in perilous gulf, her dwelling is;
Fair Sir, if ever there ye travel, shun
The cursed land where many wend amiss,
And know it by the name ; it hight the Bowre of bliss.
Her bliss is all in pleasure and delight,
Wherewith she makes her lovers drunken mad;
And then with words and weeds of wondrous might,
On them she works her will to uses bad :
My liefest Lord she thus beguiled had ;
For he was Aesh : (all Aesh doth frailty breed.)
Whom when I heard to been so ill bestad,
(Weak wretch) I wrapt myself in Palmers weed, And cast to seek him forth through danger and greatdreed.
Now had fair Cynthia by even turns
Full measured three quarters of her year,
And thrice three times had fill'd her crooked horns,
Whenas my womb her burden would forbear,
And bade me call Lucina to me near.
Lucino came : a man-child forth I brought :
The woods, the nymphs, my bowres, my midwives were;
Hard help at need. So dear thee babe I bought ; Yet nought too dear I deem’d, while so my dear I lought.
Him so I fought, and so at last I found,
Where him that Witch had thralled to her will,
In chains of luft, and lewd desires y bound,
And fo transformed from his former skill,
That nie he knew not, neither his own ill;
Till through wise handling, and fair governance,
I him recured to a better will,
Purged froin drugs of foul intemperance :
Then means l'gan devise for his deliverance,
Which when the vile Enchanteress perceiv’d,
How that my Lord from her I would reprieve,
With cup thus charm’d, him parting she deceiv*d;
Sad verse, give death to him thai death does given
And lofs of Love, to her that loves to live,
So soon as Bacchus with the Nymph does link:
So parted we, and on our Journey drive,
Till coming to this Well, he stoopt to drink,
The charm fulfill’d, dead suddainly he down did fink.