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My friend, hight Philémon, I did partake
of all my love, and all my privity:
Who greatly joyous seemed for my sake,
And gracious to that Lady, as to me:
Ne ever wight that mote so welcome be,
As he to her, withouten blot or blame,
Ne ever thing, that she could think or see,
But unto him she would impart the same;
O wretched man! that would abuse fo gentle Dame.
At last, such grace I found, and means I wrought,
That I that Lady to my spouse had won;
Accord of friends, consent of parents fought,
Affiance made, my happiness begun,
There wanted nought but few rites to be done,
Which marriage make; that day too far did seem:
Most joyous man, on whom the shining fun
Did sew his face, myself I did esteem,
And that my falser friend did no less joyous deem.
But ere that wished day his beam disclos'd,
He, either envying my toward good,
Or of himself to treafon ill disposid,
One day unto me came in friendly mood,
And told (for fecret) how he understood,
That Lady whom I had to me assign'd,
Had both distain'd her honourable blood,
And eke the faith which she to me did bind;
And therefore wisht me stay, till I more truth should find.
The gnawing anguish and sharp jealousie,
Which his sad speech infixed in my breast,
Rankled so fore, and feftred inwardly,
That my engrieved mind could find no rest,
Till that the truth thereof I did outwrest,
And him besought by that same sacred band
Betwixt us both, to counsel me the best.'
He then with folemn oath and plighted hand
'Alfur'd, ere long the truth to let me understand.
Ere long, with like again he boarded me,
Saying he now had boulted all the flour,
And that it was a groom of base degree,
Which of my love was partner paramour :
Who used in a darksome inner bowre
Her oft to meet : which better to approve,
He promised to bring me at that houre,
When I should see that would me nearer move,
And drive me to withdraw my blind abused love.
This graceless man, for furtherance of his guile,
Did court the handmaid of my Lady dear,
Who glad t'emborom his affection vile,
Did all she might more pleasing to appear.
One day to work her to his will more near,
He woo'd her thus: Pryene (so she hight)
What great despight doch fortune to thee bear,
Thus lowly to abase thy beauty bright,
That it should not deface all others lesser light?
But if she had her leaft help to thee lent,
T'adorn thy form according thy desart,
Their blazing pride thou wouldeft foon have blent,
And stain’d their praises with thy least good part ;
Ne should fair Claribell with all her art
(Though she thy Lady be) approach thee near :
For proof thereof, this evening as thou art,
Array thy self in her most gorgeous gear,
That I may more delight in thy embracement dear.
The maiden proud through praise, and mad through love
Him hearkened to, and foon herself arraid,
The whiles to me the treachour did remove
His crafty engin, and as he had said,
Me leading in a secret corner laid,
The sad spectator of my tragedy;
Where left, he went, and his own false part plaid,
Disguised like that groom of base degree,
Whom he had feign'd th’abuser of my love to be,
Eftsoons he came unto th' appointed place,
And with him brought Pryene rich array'd,
In Claribella's clothes. Her proper
I not discerned in that dark some shade,
But ween'd it was my love, with whom he playd.
Ah God! what horrour and tormenting grief,
My heart, my hands, mine eyes, and all assay’d!
Me liefer were ten thousand deathës prief,
Than wound of jealous worm, and shame of such reprief.
I home returning, fraught with foul despight,
And chawing vengeance all the way I went,
Soon as my loathed Love appear’d in light,
With wrathful hand I few her innocent ;
That after soon I dearly did lament :
For when the cause of that outrageous deed
Demanded, I made plain and evident,
Her faulty handmaid, which that bale did breed, Confeft how Philemon her wrought to change her weed.
Which when I heard with horrible affright
And hellish fury all enrag'd, I fought
Upon my self that vengeable despight
To punish: yet it better first I thought
To wreak my wrath on him, that first it wrought.
To Philemon, false faytour Pbilennon,
I cast to pay that I so dearly bought:
Of deadly drugs I gave him drink anon,
And washt away his guilt with guilty potion.
Thus heaping crime on crime, and grief on grief,
To loss of Love adjoyning loss of friend,
I meant to purge both, with a third mischief,
And in my woes beginner it to end:
That was Pryene ; she did first offend,
She last should smart : with which cruel intent,
When I at her my murd'rous blade did bend,
She fled away with ghastly dreriment,
And I pursuing my fell purpose, after wept.
Fear gave her wings, and rage enforct my flight;
Through woods and plains so long I did her chace,
Till this mad-mán (whom your victorious might
Hath now fast bound) me met in middle space;
As I her, 10 he me pursued apace,
And shortly overtook : I breathing ire,
Sore chauffed at my stay in such a case,
And with my heat kindled his cruel fire:
Which kindled once, his mother did more rage inspire.
Betwixt them both, they have me doen to dye,
Through wounds and strokes and stubborn handeling,
That death were better than such agony,
As grief and fury unto me did bring;
Of which in me yet sticks the mortal fting,
That during life will never be appeas’d.
When he thus ended had his forrowing,
Said Guyon, Squire, fore have ye been diseas'd;
But all your hurts may soon through temperance be easide
Then 'gan the Palmer thus, most wretched man,
That to affections does the bridle lend:
In their beginning they are weak and wan,
But foon through suff'rance grow to fearful end;
Whiles they are weak, betimes with them contend à
For when they once to perfect strength do grow,
Strong wars they make, and cruel battry bend
Gainst fort of reason, it to overthrow :
Wrath, jealousie, grief, love, this Squire have laid thuslow?
Wrath, jealousie, grief, love, do thus expel :
Wrath is a fire, and jealousie a weed,
Grief is a food, and love a monster fell;
The fire of sparks, the weed of little seed,
The food of drops, the monster filth did breed :
But sparks, seed, drops, and filth do thus delay;
The sparks soon quench, the springing seed outweed,
The drops dry up, and filth wipe clean away:
So shall wrath, jealousie, grief, love, die and decay.
Unlucky Squire (faid Guyon) fith thou haft
Faln into mischief through intemperance,
Henceforth take heed of that thou now haft past,
And guide thy ways with wary governance,
Left worst becide thee by some later chance.
But read how art thou nam'd, and of what kin.
Phedon I hight (quoth he) and do advance
Mine ancestry from famous Coradin,
Who first to raise our house to honour did begin.
Thus as he spake, lo far away they spide
· A varlet running towards hastily,
Whose flying feet so fast their way applide,
That round about a cloud of dust did fly,
Which mingled all with sweat did dim his eye.
He soon approached, panting, breathless, hot,
And all so soyl'd, that none could him descry;
His countenance was bold, and bashed not
For Guyons looks, but scornful eye-glance at him shot.
Behind his back he bore a brazen shield,
On which was drawen fair, in colours fit;
A faming fire in midst of bloody field,
And round about the wreath these words were writ,
Burnt I do burn. Right well befeemed it,
To be the shield of some redoubted Knight;
And in his hand two darts exceeding fit,
And deadly sharp he held, whose heads were dighe In poyson and in blood of malice and despight.
When he in presence came, to Guyon first
He boldly spake, Sir Knight, if Knight thou be,
Abandon this forestalled place at erst,
For fear of further harm I counsel thee;
Or bide the chance at thine own jeopardy.
The Knight at his great boldness wondered,
And though he scorn'd his idle vanity,
Yet mildly him to purpose answered;
For not to grow of nought he it conjectured