Faerie Queene. Book IV. Canto VIII.

The Faerie Queene. Disposed into Twelve Bookes, fashioning XII. morall Vertues. The Second Part of the Faerie Queene. Containing the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Bookes.

Edmund Spenser

George L. Craik: "Canto VIII. (64 stanzas). — It is well said by the wise man that the displeasure of the mighty is more dread and desperate than death itself; 'Like as it fell to this unhappy boy, | Whose tender heart the fair Belphoebe had | With one stern look so daunted, that no joy | In all his life'.... The first thing that awakens him from his settled melancholy is the song of a turtle dove, who, having herself lately lost her love, takes pity on him, and tunes her notes to a lamentable lay, 'So sensibly compiled that in the same | Him seemed oft he heard his own right name.' The gentle bird daily repairs without fear to his dwelling, to comfort him with her sympathizing melody; 'And every day, for guerdon of her song, | He part of his small feast to her would share; | That, at the last, of all his woe and wrong | Companion she became, and so continued long.'

"One day as she is sitting by his side he brings forth some memorials, or relics, he still retains of Belphoebe's former kindness — among the rest a ruby shaped like a bleeding heart, with a gold chain attached to it; and this he takes, and with a riband, in which are his lady's colours, hangs it about the turtle's neck; when lo! 'All unawares the bird, when she did find | Herself so decked, her nimble wings displayed, | And flew away as lightly as the wind.' Timias grieves that he should so lightly have lost both his jewel and 'the dear companion of his care;' but 'that sweet bird' has only gone off to carry the token to where wons his fair Belphoebe. She finds the lady resting herself after the fatigues of the chase in a shady arbour, and, alighting on the ground before her, begins to sing her customary mournful song. At length Belphoebe perceives the well-known jewel, and instantly puts forward her hand to seize it; — 'But the swift bird obeyed not her behest, | But swerved aside, and there again did stay | She followed her'....

"The dove flies to the hand of Timias; Belphoebe does not recognize him; but he, as soon as he beholds her, falls down at her feet and kisses the ground on which she treads, and washes it with his gushing tears. Wondering at his behaviour, she addresses him, exhorting him to rouse himself from the grief and lethargy that seem to oppress him. Then for the first time he breaks his long silence, and tells her that it is she herself that has reduced him to the state in which he is, and that she alone can restore him to the light. His words of sorrow move her mighty heart to pity and mild regard; and the end is that he is restored to his former favour, and long leads a happy life as before, fearless of chance or change, and mindless even of his own dear lord the noble prince, who hears nothing of what has become of him, but wanders through the endless world seeking him evermore in vain.

"At last one day, riding through that wood, the prince there finds Aemilia and Amoret, who are represented as being still both 'in full sad and sorrowful estate,' the one from the effects of her ill-treatment in the cave, the other from the wound she had received at the hand of Timias while effecting her rescue. Arthur, however, soon restores the latter by a few drops of the precious medicinal liquor he always carries about with him; and Aemilia also recovers her health. They then tell him their story upon hearing which a strong desire seizes him to discover the warlike virgin by whom they had been delivered. He can, however, learn nothing more of her from the ladies; and therefore he lifts them from the ground ('no service loathsome to a gentle kind'), and, placing them both together on his horse, sets out with them, walking himself on foot by their side.

"It will be observed that nothing has been said of how Aemelia and Amoret have disposed of themselves since Belphoebe and Timias left them, which must have been a goodly while since, seeing how much had happened to Timias in the interval; and the expression used here — 'he them from ground did rear' — might almost seem to imply that they had remained ever since sitting on the ground. This must he admitted to be carrying the shadowy and mysterious, or the complexity and perplexity which with Spenser seems to be part and parcel of his poetical system, sufficiently far. The matter, however, does not give any trouble to his dozing editors.

"The prince and the two ladies, after getting out of the forest, come at nightfall to a little cottage; entering which, they find only an old woman, raggedly attired, sitting upon the ground; her hair is all in disorder, and she gnaws her nails 'for fellness and for ire,' sucking venom thence for her heart and mind... 'It forth would break and gush in great excess, | Pouring out streams of poison and of gall | Gainst all that truth or virtue do profess; | Whom she with leasings lewdly did miscall | And wickedly backbite; her name men Slander call'.... Little meet to host such guests is a hag like this — albeit one 'whom,' says the poet, as if with a bitterness inspired by some personal injury, 'greatest princes' courts would welcome fain;' — but necessity leaves no choice and, besides, that age despised vain luxury, and was enured to hardness and to homely fare. They therefore do not complain of having to spend the evening in cold and hunger, but only that the hag scolds and rails at them for so taking up their lodging without her consent.

"Nor do the two ladies take any harm or run any danger in thus spending the hours with this noble knight; that antique age, yet in the infancy of time, lived in simplicity and in blameless innocence; 'The lion there did with the lamb consort, | And eke the dove sate by the falcon's side; | Ne each of other feared fraud or tort, | But did in safe security abide:' but when the world grew old, it grew worse — whence, says our poet (adopting or proposing a very whimsical etymology), it has its name, quasi war-old (or worse-old). Then fair grew foul, and foul grew fair; then beauty, originally designed to represent a bright resemblance of the great Creator, became only the bait or provocative of passion: — 'And that, which wont to vanquish God and man, | Was made the vassal of the victor's might; | Then did her glorious flower wex dead and wan, | Despised and trodden down of all that overran'....

"As soon as it is day the 'gentle crew' — that is the prince and the two ladies — set out again as before, he on foot, they mounted together on his horse; but when they leave the hag follows them, reviling them with the worst names and imputations, so that his noble heart is stung with vexation, and the two ladies are covered with shame. Even when they are out of sight, and when there are none to hear her hateful words, she continues to send her barkings and backbitings after them: — 'Like as a cur doth felly bite and tear | The stone, which passed stranger at him threw; | So she, them seeing past the reach of ear, | Against the stones and trees did rail anew, | Till she had dulled the sting which in her tongue's end grew.'

"They meanwhile pass on, though rather slowly, till they perceive galloping towards them a squire hearing before him on his steed a dwarf, who all the way cries aloud for help, 'That seemed his shrieks would rend the brazen sky;' while after them rides in hot pursuit on a dromedary, venting a torrent of threats and curses, a man of huge stature, and of the most astounding aspect; for from his eyes proceed two fiery beams, sharper than points of needles, that, like the glance of the basilisk, are deadly poison to all who incautiously, look upon him, and slay his enemies before they are aware. At the loud call of the squire, the prince, lifting the ladies down, quickly mounts his steed; but their foe is upon them, and has struck both squire and dwarf to the earth, by a blow aimed at Arthur, which he wards off with his shield, almost before 'the royal child' has had time to draw his sword. A dreadful battle ensues: the Pagan, swearing by Mahound that he will have his adversary's life, smiles at him with his murderous mace so as 'that seemed nought the souse thereof could bear;' but, with his usual activity and dexterity in such cases, the prince so manages that, notwithstanding, 'ere he wist, he found | His head before him tumbling on the ground; | The whiles his babbling tongue did yet blaspheme | And curse his god that did him so confound; | The whiles his life ran forth in bloody stream, | His soul descended down into the Stygian ream.'

"At this issue, however, although the squire rejoices, the dwarf manifests only sorrow and distress, howling aloud at seeing his lord lie slain, and rending his hair and scratching his face in his misery. 'Then gan the prince at leisure to inquire | Of all the accident there happened plain, | And what he was whose eyes did flame with fire: | All which was thus to him declared by that squire.' He informs him that the mighty man he has slain was the son of a giantess, and had conquered many great kingdoms and nations, not, however, in war, or by 'hosts of men with banners broad displayed;' But by the power of his infectious sight, | With which he killed all that came within his might.' Never had he found man so strong but he had thus borne him down, nor woman so fair that he did not bring her to bay; for his chief desire was to make spoil of strength and beauty, and waste them away to nought, by casting secretly into their hearts and inward parts flakes of the fire of licentious passion from those false eyes. 'Therefore,' continues the squire, 'Corflambo was he called aright, | Though nameless there his body now doth lie; | Yet hath he left one daughter that is hight | The fair Paeana: who seems outwardly | So fair as ever yet saw living eye'....

"He then proceeds to relate that he had a friend, a gentle squire of inferior degree, named Amias, who loved and was beloved by a lady of high parentage, the fair Aemilia. They had agreed to meet (as we have already heard from Aemilia herself) at a certain spot; but on his way (as she had fallen into the hands of the brutal savage of the cavern) the squire was caught by Corflambo, and carried away to his dungeon, where he still remains 'of all unsuccoured and unsought.' There however, he was one day seen by Paeana, and no sooner seen than loved. In the hope of thereby regaining his liberty, notwithstanding his engagement and firm attachment to Aemilia, he granted a cold profession of affection to the giant's daughter; yet she still detains him. She allows him, however, so much liberty as to walk about her gardens of delight with a keeper, who is the dwarf now present, 'her darling base,' and the trusted minister to whom she has consigned the whole custody and control of all her captives.

"Meanwhile tidings of the captivity of Amias came to the ears of his friend, whose name is Placidas; upon which the latter contrived to find his way to him, and for some time concealed himself in the gardens, till he was one day seen by the dwarf, who, however, mistook him for Amias, to whom he bore the closest resemblance, and thereupon informed his mistress that her captive was in the habit of stealing secretly out of his prison. The consequence was that Placidas, who, being brought before Paeana, was by her too taken for Amias, was committed to the same dungeon in which his friend lay. But Amias professed to be only made more miserable by the circumstance of his friend having lost his liberty as well as himself; 'for,' says Placidas, — 'all his joy, he said, in that distress | Was mine and his Aemilia's liberty. | Aemilia well he loved, as I mote guess; | Yet greater love to me than her he did profess.'

"At length, however, he agreed to allow Placidas to follow out his scheme. So the following day, when Amias was sent for by Paeana, Placidas went to her in his stead, and was very well received. Excusing his former rudeness, and promising a different behaviour in future, he soon induced her to let him have more liberty, and to command the dwarf to allow him a larger range in the gardens. 'So,' said he, 'on a day, as by the flowery marge | Of a fresh stream I with that elf did play, | Finding no means how I might us enlarge, | But if that dwarf I could with me convey, | I lightly snatched him up and with me bore away.' And thus Placidas finishes his narrative, merely adding that the shrieks of the dwarf brought out Corflambo; but he was not for that to be disseised of his 'gotten prey.'

"The ladies now come up, and Aemilia immediately recognizes her lover's friend. Having first ascertained from him that Amias lives, she afterwards listens with deep emotion to a repetition of all that he has just told Prince Arthur: — 'Then, after many tears and sorrows spent, | She dear besought the prince of remedy: | Who thereto did with ready will consent | And well performed; as shall appear by his event'" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 2:131-38.

The gentle Squire recovers Grace;
Slaunder her Guests doth stain:
Corflambo chaseth Placidas,
And is by Arthur slain.

Well said the Wiseman, now prov'd true by this,
Which to this gentle Squire did happen late;
That the Displeasure of the Mighty is
Than Death it self more drad and desperate:
For nought the same may calm, ne mitigate,
Till Time the Tempest do thereof delay
With Suff'rance soft, which Rigour can abate,
And have the stern Remembrance wip'd away
Of bitter Thoughts, which deep therein infixed lay.

Like as it fell to this unhappy Boy,
Whose tender Heart the fair Belphoebe had
With one stern Look so daunted, that no Joy
In all his Life, which afterwards he lad,
He ever tasted; but with Penaunce sad,
And pensive Sorrow, pin'd and wore away,
Ne ever laugh'd, ne once shew'd Countenance glad,
But always wept and wailed night and day;
As blasted Blosom thro Heat doth languish and decay.

Till on a day (as in his wonted wise
His Doole he made) there chaunc'd a Turtle-Dove
To come, where he his Dolours did devise,
That likewise late had lost her dearest Love;
Which Loss her made like Passion also prove.
Who seeing his sad Plight, her tender Heart
With dear Compassion deeply did emmove,
That she 'gan mone his undeserved Smart,
And with her doleful Accent bear with him a part.

She sitting by him, as on ground he lay,
Her mournful Notes full piteously did frame,
And thereof made a lamentable Lay,
So sensibly compil'd, that in the same
Him seemed oft he heard his own right Name.
With that, he forth would pour so plenteous Tears,
And beat his Breast unworthy of such Blame,
And knock his Head, and rend his rugged Hairs,
That could have pierc'd the Hearts of Tygers and of Bears.

Thus long this gentle Bird to him did use,
Withouten Dread of Peril to repair
Unto his Wonne; and with her mournful Muse
Him to recomfort in his greatest Care,
That much did ease his Mourning and Misfare:
And every day, for Guerdon of her Song,
He part of his small Feast to her would share;
That at the last, of all his Woe and Wrong
Companion she became, and so continu'd long.

Upon a day, as she him sate beside,
By chance he certain Miniments forth drew,
Which yet with him as Reliques did abide
Of all the Bounty, which Belphoebe threw
On him, whilst goodly Grace she did him shew;
Amongst the rest, a Jewel rich he found,
That was a Ruby of right perfect Hue,
Shap'd like a Heart, yet bleeding of the Wound,
And with a little golden Chain about it bound.

The same he took, and with a Ribband new
(In which his Lady's Colours were) did bind
About the Turtle's Neck, that with the View
Did greatly solace his engrieved Mind.
All unawares the Bird, when she did find
Her self so deck'd, her nimble Wings display'd,
And flew away as lightly as the Wind:
Which sudden Accident him much dismay'd,
And looking after long, did mark which way she stray'd.

But when as long he looked had in vain,
Yet saw her forward still to make her flight,
His weary Eye return'd to him again,
Full of Discomfort and disquiet Plight,
That both his Jewel he had lost so light,
And eke his dear Companion of his Care.
But that sweet Bird departing, flew forth right
Thro the wide Region of the wasteful Air
Until she came where wonned his Belphoebe fair.

There found she her (as then it did betide)
Sitting in covert Shade of Arbours sweet,
After late weary Toil, which she had try'd
In salvage Chace, to rest as seem'd her meet.
There she alighting, fell before her feet,
And 'gan to her, her mournful Plaint to make,
As was her wont: thinking to let her weet
The great tormenting Grief, that for her sake
Her gentle Squire thro her Displeasure did partake.

She her beholding with attentive Eye,
At length did mark about her purple Breast
That precious Jewel, which she formerly
Had known right well, with colour'd Ribband dress'd:
There-with she rose in haste, and her address'd
With ready hand it to have reft away.
But the swift Bird obey'd not her behest,
But swarv'd aside, and there again did stay;
She follow'd her, and thought again it to assay.

And ever when she nigh approach'd, the Dove
Would flit a little forward, and then stay
Till she drew near, and then again remove;
So tempting her still to pursue the Prey,
And still from her escaping soft away:
Till that at length into that Forest wide
She drew her far, and led with slow Delay.
In th' end, she her unto that place did guide,
Where-as that woeful Man in Languor did abide.

Eftsoons she flew unto his fearless Hand,
And there a piteous Ditty new deviz'd,
As if she would have made him understand,
His Sorrow's Cause to be of her despis'd.
Whom when she saw in wretched Weeds disguis'd,
With heary Glib deform'd, and meager Face,
Like Ghost late risen from his Grave aggriz'd,
She knew him not, but pitied much his Case,
And wish'd it were in her to do him any Grace.

He her beholding, at her feet down fell,
And kiss'd the Ground on which her Sole did tread,
And wash'd the same with Water, which did well
From his moist Eyes, and like two Streams proceed;
Yet spake no word, whereby she might aread
What mister Wight he was, or what he meant:
But as one daunted with her Presence dread,
Only few rueful Looks unto her sent,
As Messengers of his true Meaning and Intent.

Yet nathemore, his Meaning she ared,
But wonder'd much at his so selcouth Case;
And by his Person's secret Seemlihed
Well ween'd, that he had been some Man of Place,
Before Misfortune did his Hue deface:
That being mov'd with Ruth, she thus bespake;
Ah! woeful Man, what Heaven's hard Disgrace,
Or Wrath of cruel Wight on thee ywrake,
Or self-disliked Life, doth thee thus wretched make?

if Heaven, then none may it redress or blame,
Sith to his Power we all are subject born:
If wrathful Wight, then foul Rebuke and Shame
Be theirs, that have so cruel thee forlorn:
But if thro inward Grief, or wilful Scorn
Of Life it be, then better do avise.
For he whose Days in wilful Woe are worn,
The Grace of his Creator doth despise,
That will not use his Gifts for thankless Nigardise.

When-so he heard her say, eftsoons he brake
His sudden Silence, which he long had pent,
And sighing inly deep, her thus bespake;
Then have they all themselves against me bent:
For Heav'n (first Author of my Languishment)
Envying my too great Felicity,
Did closely with a cruel one consent,
To cloud my Days in dooleful Misery,
And make me loath this Life, still longing for to die.

Ne any but your self, O dearest Dred!
Hath done this Wrong; to wreak on worthless Wight
Your high Displeasure, thro misdeeming bred;
That when your Pleasure is to deem aright,
Ye may redress, and me restore to Light.
Which sorry Words, her mighty Heart did mate
With mild Regard, to see his rueful Plight,
That her in-burning Wrath she 'gan abate,
And him receiv'd again to former Favour's state.

In which he long time afterwards did lead
An happy Life, with Grace and good Accord,
Fearless of Fortune's Change, or Envy's Dread,
And eke all mindless of his own dear Lord
The noble Prince, who never heard one word
Of Tidings, what did unto him betide,
Or what good Fortune did to him afford;
But thro the endless World did wander wide,
Him seeking evermore, yet no where him descry'd.

Till on a day, as thro that Wood he rode,
He chaunc'd to come where those two Ladies late,
Aemylia and Amoret abode,
Both in full sad and sorrowful Estate;
The one right feeble, thro the evil Rate
Of Food, which in her Duress she had found:
The other, almost dead and desperate
Thro her late Hurts, and thro that hapless Wound,
With which the Squire, in her Defence, her sore astound.

Whom when the Prince beheld, he 'gan to rue
The evil Case in which those Ladies lay;
But most was moved at the piteous View
Of Amoret, so near unto decay,
That her great Danger did him much dismay.
Eftsoons that precious Liquor forth he drew,
Which he in store about him kept alway,
And with few Drops thereof did softly dew
Her Wounds, that unto Strength restor'd her soon anew.

Tho when they both recover'd were right well,
He 'gan of them enquire, what evil Guide
Them thither brought; and how their Harms befel.
To whom they told all that did them betide,
And how from Thraldom vile they were untide
Of that same wicked Carle, by Virgin's Hond;
Whose bloody Corse they shew'd him there beside,
And eke his Cave, in which they both were bond:
At which he wonder'd much, when all those Signs he fond.

And evermore he greatly did desire
To know, what Virgin did them thence unbind;
And oft of them did earnestly enquire,
Where was her Wonne, and how he mote her find.
But when-as nought according to his Mind
He could out-learn, he them from Ground did rear
(No Service loathsom to a gentle Kind)
And on his warlike Beast them both did bear,
Himself by them on foot, to succour them from Fear.

So when that Forest they had passed well,
A little Cottage far away they spy'd,
To which they drew, e'er Night upon them fell;
And entring in, found none therein abide,
But one old Woman sitting there beside,
Upon the Ground in ragged rude Attire,
With filthy Locks about her scatter'd wide,
Gnawing her Nails for Felness, and for Ire,
And there-out sucking Venom to her Parts entire.

A foul and loathly Creature sure in Sight,
And in Conditions to be loath'd no less:
For she was stuft with Rancour and Despight
Up to the Throat; that oft with Bitterness
It forth would break, and gush in great Excess,
Pouring out Streams of Poison and of Gall,
'Gainst all that Truth or Vertue do profess;
Whom she with Leasings leudly did miscall,
And wickedly back-bite; Her Name Men Slaunder call.

Her Nature is, all Goodness to abuse,
And causeless Crimes continually to frame;
With which the guiltless Persons may accuse,
And steal away the Crown of their good Name:
Ne ever Knight so bold, ne ever Dame
So chaste and loyal liv'd, but she would strive
With forged Cause them falsly to defame;
Ne ever thing so well was doen alive,
But she with Blame would blot, and of due Praise deprive.

Her Words were not as common Words are meant,
T' express the Meaning of the inward Mind;
But noisom Breath, and poisonous Spirit sent
From inward Parts, with canker'd Malice lin'd,
And breathed forth with Blast of bitter Wind;
Which, passing thro the Ears, would pierce the Heart,
And wound the Soul it self with Grief unkind:
For like the Stings of Asps, that kill with Smart,
Her spiteful Words did prick, and wound the inner Part.

Such was that Hag, unmeet to host such Guests,
Whom greatest Prince's Court would welcome fain,
But Need (that answers not to all Requests)
Bade them not look for better Entertain;
And eke that Age despised Niceness vain,
Enur'd to Hardness and to homely Fare,
Which them to warlike Discipline did train,
And manly Limbs endur'd with little Care,
Against all hard Mishaps, and fortuneless Misfare.

Then all that Evening (welcomed with cold
And cheerless Hunger) they together spent:
Yet found no fault, but that the Hag did scold
And rail at them with grudgful Discontent,
For lodging there without her own Consent:
Yet they endured all with Patience mild,
And unto rest themselves all only lent,
Regardless of that Quean so base and vild,
To be unjustly blam'd, and bitterly revil'd.

Here well I ween, when-as these Rimes be read
With Mis-regard, that some rash-witted Wight,
Whose looser Thought will lightly be misled,
These gentle Ladies will misdeem too light,
For thus conversing with this noble Knight;
Sith now-a-days such Temperance is rare
And hard to find, that Heat of youthful Spright
For ought will from his greedy Pleasure spare,
More hard for hungry Steed t' abstain from pleasant Lare.

But antique Age, yet in the Infancy
Of Time, did live then like an Innocent,
In simple Truth and blameless Chastity,
Ne then of Guile had made experiment;
But void of vile and treacherous Intent,
Held Vertue for it self in sovereign Awe:
Then loyal Love had royal Regiment,
And each unto his Lust did make a Law,
From all forbidden things his Liking to withdraw.

The Lion there did with the Lamb consort,
And eke the Dove sate by the Faulcon's side;
Ne each of other feared Fraud or Tort,
But did in safe Security abide,
Withouten Peril of the stronger Pride:
But when the World woxe old, it woxe warre old
(Whereof it hight) and having shortly try'd
The Trains of Wit, in Wickedness woxe bold,
And dared of all Sins the Secrets to unfold.

Then Beauty, which was made to represent
The great Creator's own Resemblance bright,
Unto Abuse of lawless Lust was lent,
And made the Bait of bestial Delight:
Then fair grew foul, and foul grew fair in sight;
And that which wont to vanquish God and Man,
Was made the Vassal of the Victor's Might;
Then did her glorious Flower wex dead and wan,
Despis'd and trodden down of all that over-ran.

And now it is so utterly decay'd,
That any Bud thereof doth scarce remain;
But if few Plants (preserv'd through heavenly Aid)
In Prince's Court do hap to sprout again,
Dew'd with her Drops of Bounty sovereign,
Which from that goodly glorious Flower proceed,
Sprung of the auntient Stock of Prince's Strain,
Now th' only Remnant of that royal Breed,
Whose noble Kind at first was sure of heavenly Seed.

Tho soon as Day discover'd Heaven's Face,
To sinful Men with Darkness over-dight,
This gentle Crew 'gan from their Eye-lids chace
The drousy Humour of the dampish Night,
And did themselves unto their Journey dight.
So forth they yode, and forward softly pac'd,
That them to view had been an uncouth Sight;
How all the way the Prince on Foot-pace trac'd,
The Ladies both on Horse, together fast embrac'd.

Soon as they thence departed were afore,
That shameful Hag (the Slaunder of her Sex)
Them follow'd fast, and them reviled sore,
Him calling Thief, them Whores; that much did vex
His noble Heart: thereto the did annex
False Crimes and Facts, such as they never meant,
That those two Ladies much asham'd did wex:
The more did she pursue her leud Intent,
And rail'd and rag'd, till she had all her Poison spent.

At last, when they were passed out of sight,
Yet she did not her spiteful Speech forbear,
But after them did bark, and still back-bite,
Tho there were none her hateful Words to hear:
Like as a Cur doth felly bite and tear
The Stone, which passed Stranger at him threw;
So she them seeing past the reach of Ear,
Against the Stones and Trees did rail anew,
Till she had dull'd the Sting, which in her Tongue's end grew.

They, passing forth, kept on their ready way,
With easy Steps so soft as Foot could stride,
Both for great Feebless, which did oft assay
Fair Amoret, that scarcely she could ride;
And eke thro heavy Arms, which sore annoy'd
The Prince on foot, not wonted so to fare:
Whose steddy Hand was fain his Steed to guide,
And all the way from trotting hard to spare,
So was his Toil the more, the more that was his Care.

At length they spy'd, where towards them with speed
A Squire came galloping, as he would fly;
Bearing a little Dwarf before his Steed,
That all the way full loud for Aid did cry,
That seem'd his Shrieks would rend the brazen Sky:
Whom after did a mighty Man pursue,
Riding upon a Dromedare on high,
Of Stature huge, and horrible of Hue,
That would have maz'd a Man his dreadful Face to view.

For from his fearful Eyes two fiery Beams,
More sharp than Points of Needles did proceed,
Shooting forth far away two flaming Streams,
Full of sad Power, that poisonous Bale did breed
To all, that on him look'd without good heed,
And secretly his Enemies did slay:
Like as the Basilisk, of Serpent's Seed,
From powerful Eyes close Venom doth convey
Into the Looker's Heart, and killeth far away.

He all the way did rage at that same Squire,
And after him full many Threatnings threw,
With Curses vain in his avengeful Ire:
But none of them (so fast away he flew)
Him over took, before he came in view.
Where, when he saw the Prince in Armour bright,
He call'd to him aloud, his Case to rue,
And rescue him thro Succour of his Might,
From that his cruel Foe, that him pursu'd in sight.

Eftsoons the Prince took down those Ladies twain
From lofty Steed, and mounting in their stead,
Came to that Squire, yet trembling every Vein;
Of whom he 'gan enquire his Cause of Dread;
Who, as he 'gan the same to him aread,
Lo! hard behind his back his Foe was press'd:
With dreadful Weapon aimed at his Head;
That unto Death had doen him unredress'd,
Had not the noble Prince his ready Stroke repress'd.

Who, thrusting boldly 'twixt him and the Blow,
The Burden of the deadly Brunt did bear
Upon his Shield; which lightly he did throw
O'er his Head, before the Harm came near.
Nath'less, it fell with so despiteous Drear
And heavy Sway, that hard unto his Crown
The Shield it drove, and did the Covering rear:
Therewith both Squire and Dwarf did tumble down
Unto the Earth, and lay long while in sensless Swoun.

Whereat, the Prince full wroth, his strong right Hand
In full Avengement heaved up on high,
And strook the Pagan with his steely Brand
So sore, that to his Saddle-bow thereby
He bowed low, and so awhile did lie:
And sure, had not his massy Iron Mace
Betwixt him and his Hurt been happily,
It would have cleft him to the girding Place:
Yet as it was, it did astonish him long space.

But when he to himself return'd again,
All full of Rage he 'gan to curse and swear;
And vow by Mahoune that he should be slain.
With that, his murdrous Mace he up did rear,
That seemed nought the Souse thereof could bear,
And therewith smote at him with all his Might.
But e'er that it to him approached near,
The royal Child, with ready quick Fore-sight,
Did shun the Proof thereof, and it avoided light.

But e'er his Hand he could recure again,
To ward his Body from the baleful Stound,
He smote at him with all his might and main
So furiously that e'er he wist, he found
His Head before him tumbling on the ground.
The whiles his babbling Tongue did yet blaspheme
And curse his God, that did him so confound;
The whiles his Life ran forth in bloody Stream,
His Soul descended down into the Stygian Realm.

Which when that Squire beheld, he woxe full glad
To see his Foe breathe out his Spright in vain:
But that same Dwarf right sorry seem'd and sad,
And howl'd aloud to see his Lord there slain,
And rent his Hair, and scratch'd his Face for pain.
Then 'gan the Prince at leisure to enquire
Of all the Accident, there hapned plain,
And what he was, whose Eyes did flame with Fire;
All which was thus to him declared by that Squire.

This mighty Man, quoth he, whom you have slain,
Of an huge Giantess whilom was bred;
And by his Strength, Rule to himself did gain
Of many Nations into Thraldom led,
And mighty Kingdoms of his Force adred;
Whom yet he conquer'd not by, bloody Fight,
Ne Hosts of Men with Dangers brode disspred,
But by the Power of his infectious Sight,
With which he killed all that came within his Might.

Ne was he ever vanquished afore,
But ever vanquish'd all with whom he fought;
Ne was there Man so strong but he down bore,
Ne Woman yet so fair, but he her brought
Unto his Bay, and captived her Thought.
For most of Strength and Beauty his Desire
Was Spoil to make, and waste them unto nought,
By casting secret Flakes of lustful Fire
From his false Eyes, into their Hearts and Parts entire.

Therefore Corflambo was he call'd aright,
Tho nameless there his Body now doth lie,
Yet hath he left one Daughter, that is hight
The fair Poeana; who seems outwardly
So fair, as ever yet saw living Eye:
And were her Vertue like her Beauty bright,
She were as fair as any under Sky.
But (ah!) she given is to vain Delight,
And eke too loose of Life, and eke of Love too light.

So as it fell, there was a gentle Squire,
That lov'd a Lady of high Parentage;
But for his mean Degree might not aspire
To match so high: her Friends with Counsel sage,
Dissuaded her from such a Disparage.
But she, whose Heart to Love was wholly lent,
Out of his Hands could not redeem her Gage,
But firmly following her first Intent,
Resolv'd with him to wend, 'gainst all her Friends Consent.

So 'twixt themselves they 'pointed Time and Place;
To which, when he according did repair,
An hard Mishap and disadventrous Case
Him chaunc'd; instead of his Aemylia fair,
This Giant's Son, that lies there on the Laire
An headless Heap, him unawares there caught;
And all dismay'd thro merciless Despair,
Him wretched Thrall unto his Dungeon brought,
Where he remains, of all unsuccour'd and unsought.

This Giant's Daughter came upon a day
Unto the Prison in her joyous Glee,
To view the Thralls which there in Bondage lay:
Amongst the rest she chaunced there to see
This lovely Swain, the Squire of low degree;
To whom she did her Liking lightly cast,
And wooed him her Paramour to be:
From day to day she woo'd and pray'd him fast,
And for his Love, him promis'd Liberty at last.

He, tho affide unto a former Love,
To whom his Faith he firmly meant to hold,
Yet seeing not how thence he mote remove,
But by that means, which Fortune did unfold,
Her graunted Love, but with Affection cold,
To win her Grace his Liberty to get.
Yet she him still detains in captive Hold;
Fearing lest if she should him freely set,
He would her shortly leave, and former Love forget.

Yet so much Favour she to him hath hight
Above the rest, that he sometimes may space
And walk about her Gardens of Delight,
Having a Keeper still with him in place;
Which Keeper is this Dwarf, her Dearling base,
To whom the Keys of every Prison-door
By her committed be, of special Grace,
And at his Will may whom he list restore,
And whom he list reserve, to be afflicted more.

Whereof when Tidings came unto mine Ear
(Full inly sorry for the fervent Zeal,
Which I to him as to my Soul did bear)
I thither went; where I did long conceal
My self, till that the Dwarf did me reveal,
And told his Dame, her Squire of low degree
Did secretly out of her Prison steal;
For me he did mistake that Squire to be:
For never two so like did living Creature see.

Then was I taken, and before her brought:
Who, thro the Likeness of my outward Hue,
Being likewise beguiled in her Thought,
'Gan blame me much for being so untrue,
To seek by flight her Fellowship t' eschew,
That lov'd me dear, as dearest thing alive.
Thence she commaunded me to Prison new;
Whereof I glad, did not gain-say nor strive,
But suffer'd that same Dwarf me to her Dungeon drive.

There did I find mine only faithful Friend
In heavy Plight and sad Perplexity;
Whereof I sorry, yet my self did bend,
Him to recomfort with my Company.
But him the more agriev'd I found thereby:
For all his Joy, he said, in that Distress,
Was mine and his Aemylia's Liberty.
Aemylia well he lov'd, as I mote guess;
Yet greater Love to me than her he did profess.

But I with better Reason him aviz'd,
And shew'd him, how thro Error and Misthought
Of our like Persons eath to be disguiz'd,
Or his Exchange, or freedom might be wrought.
Whereto full loth was he, ne would for ought
Consent that I, who stood all fearless free,
Should wilfully be into Thraldom brought,
Till Fortune did perforce it so decree:
Yet over-rul'd at last, he did to me agree.

The morrow next, about the wonted hour,
The Dwarf call'd at the Door of Amyas,
To come forth-with unto his Lady's Bower.
Instead of whom, forth came I Placidas,
And undiscerned, forth with him did pass.
There, with great Joyance, and with gladsom Glee,
Of fair Poeana I received was,
And oft embrac'd, as if that I were he,
And with kind Words accoy'd, vowing great Love to me.

Which I, that was not bent to former Love,
As was my Friend, that had her long refus'd,
Did well accept, as well it did behove,
And to the present Need it wisely us'd.
My former Hardness, first I fair excus'd;
And after promis'd large Amends to make.
With such smooth Tearms her Error I abus'd,
To my Friend's good, more than for my own sake,
For whose sole Liberty I Love and Life did stake.

Thenceforth I found more Favour at her hand;
That to her Dwarf, which had me in his Charge,
She bade to lighten my too heavy Band,
And graunt more Scope to me to walk at large.
So on a day, as by the flowry Marge
Of a fresh Stream I with that Elf did play,
Finding no means how I might us enlarge,
But if that Dwarf I could with me convey,
I lightly snatch'd him up, and with me bore away.

Thereat he shriek'd aloud, that with his Cry
The Tyrant self came forth with yelling Bray,
And me pursu'd; but nathemore would I
Forgo the Purchase of my gotten Prey,
But have perforce him hither brought away.
Thus as they talked, lo! where nigh at hand
Those Ladies two (yet doubtful thro Dismay)
In Presence came, desirous t' understand
Tidings of all which there had hapned on the Land.

Where, soon as sad Aemylia did espy
Her captive Lover's Friend, young Placidas;
All mindless of her wonted Modesty,
She to him ran, and him with strait Embrace
Enfolding said, And lives yet Amyas?
He lives, quoth he, and his Aemylia loves.
Then less, said she, by all the Woe I pass,
With which my weaker Patience Fortune proves.
But what Mishap thus long him from my self removes?

Then 'gan he all this Story to renew.
And tell the Course of his Captivity;
That her dear Heart full deeply made to rue,
And sigh full sore to hear the Misery,
In which so long he merciless did lie.
Then after many Tears and Sorrows spent,
She dear besought the Prince of Remedy:
Who thereto did with ready Will consent,
And well perform'd, as shall appear by his Event.

[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 3:639-55]