1596
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Faerie Queene. Book V. Canto II.

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 II. (54 stanzas). — Proceeding along Sir Artegal now meets a dwarf hastening in the opposite direction; whom, having compelled him, much against his will, to stop and tell his news, he finds to be Dony, Florimel's dwarf, whom the reader may remember to have already encountered in the Fifth Canto of the Third Book, but of whom we have heard nothing since Arthur there promised never to forsake him till they should have found his mistress, whom the Prince had seen the day before making her escape from the foul foster, and had so long unsuccessfully attempted to overtake in her flight. When Arthur re-appears in the Eighth Canto of the Fourth Book the dwarf is not with him, and how they have been separated we are not informed.

"The account that Dony now gives of himself, or that is given of him by the poet, is, that, having found in his way her 'scattered scarf' (of the loss of which we now hear for the first time), he had long feared that his mistress was dead; but he has now learned, and informs Artegal, much to that noble knight's gratification, that she has been found again, and is about to be espoused to Marinel, he himself being on his way to the bridal, although he doubts if he will be in time, for it is to take place at the Castle of the Strond (Marinel's precious strand, or shore) three days hence. In his way, besides, there is a bridge a little farther on, which is kept by a cruel Saracen, a man expert in arms, and made still bolder by the diabolical aid which he receives from his daughter, who is an enchantress. He has appropriated by force and oppression many great lordships and goodly farms; and he allows no one to pass over his bridge, be he rich or poor, but he him makes his passage-penny pay.' 'His name is bight Pollente, rightly so, | For that he is so puissant and strong, | That with his power he all doth overgo, | And makes them subject to his mighty wrong.'

"Some too he entraps by stratagem; his custom being to fight upon the bridge, which is very narrow, but of exceeding length, and pierced by many trap-falls, through which horse and rider drop into the swift river that flows underneath, upon which he instantly leaps into the water after them and easily overpowers and dispatches both. All their spoils he brings to his daughter, who has thus heaped up her wicked treasury to such a height that her wealth exceeds that of many princes, and she has purchased all the country lying round. Her name is Munera (in allusion to the gifts of her father, upon which she subsists). 'Thereto she is full fair, and rich attired, | With golden hands and silver feet beside, | That many lords have her to wife desired: | But she them all despiseth for great pride.'

"On hearing this relation Artegal swears by his life that, with God to guide him, he will take no other road this day but by that bridge; and commands the dwarf to lead him thither. Having come to the place they see the Saracen waiting on the bridge, all ready armed; and, when they proceed to pass over, a villain comes up to them 'with skull all raw' — the same groom, or slave, already described as testifying his bondage by his bald scalp — and demands their passage-money. Artegal's indignant answer is merely 'Lo, there thy hire,' and a blow of his sword which deprives the villain of life. The Pagan now rushes at him; but he is prepared: a trap-door opens at the moment when they are about to meet breast to breast; Pollente leaps down, counting upon finding his adversary, as usual, fallen and struggling in the water; but Artegal preserves his seat and his presence of mind. 'There being both together in the flood, | They each at other tyrannously flew; | Ne ought the water cooled their hot blood, | But rather in them kindled choler new'....

"Perceiving the advantage that the Pagan in this way has, Artegal suddenly closes with him, and gripes him so fast by his iron collar, that he nearly bursts his windpipe. The struggle is fierce and long. As, when a dolphin and a seal engage with one another in battle in the wide champian of the ocean plain — 'They snuff, they snort, they bounce, they rage, they roar, | That all the sea, disturbed with their train, | Both fry with foam above the surges boar: | Such was betwixt these two the troublesome uproar.'

"Artegal at length compels him to dismount; and now they are upon a par: — 'For Artegal in swimming skilful was, | And durst the depth of any water sound. | So ought each knight, that use of peril has, | In swimming be expert, through waters' force to pass.' Yet the event is still for a time doubtful. Artegal, however, being better breathed, retains his strength the longest, and the other is forced to leave the water; — 'But Artegal pursued him still so near | With bright Chrysaor in his cruel hand | That, as his head he gan a little rear | Above the brink to tread upon the land, | He smote it off; that tumbling on the strand | It bit the earth for very fell despite'.... The corpse is carried down the blood-stained stream but the blasphemous head the victor fixes high upon a pole, 'Where many years it afterwards remained, | To be a mirror to all mighty men, | In whose right hands great power is contained, | That none of them the feeble over-ren, | But always do their power within just compass pen.'

"Artegal now proceeds to the castle and demands entrance; but he is assailed by its numerous defenders, both with furious invectives and with stones thrown down upon him from the battlements; so that he is compelled to withdraw, and to desire Talus to interpose with his supernatural might.... 'With noise whereof the lady forth appeared | Upon the castle wall; and, when she saw | The dangerous state in which she stood, she feared | The sad effect of her near overthrow'.... It is thought at first that she has made her escape; but Talus, whose scent is no more to be eluded than his arm is to be resisted, finds her at length hidden under a heap of gold; whence he drags her forth by her beautiful locks so roughly, and with so little 'pity of her goodly hue,' that Artegal himself is touched with her unseemly plight. He will not, however, interfere with the proceedings of the stern iron man who, while the fair lady kneels at his feet and holds up her hands in supplication, chops off those hands of gold and those feet of silver, that sold justice and sought unrighteousness, and nails them on high to be a spectacle and a warning to all. He then takes her up by the slender waist, and, heedless of her loud cries for mercy, casts her over the castle wall into the muddy flood below; and after that he takes all her vast treasure, the spoil which her father had scraped together by hook and crook, and, burning all to ashes, pours it down the stream. Lastly, he razes the castle to the foundation and Artegal, having then abolished the evil customs of that bridge, proceeds on his journey.

"The remainder of the Canto is very remarkable. After travelling a long way, Artegal and Talus come to the sea-shore, and there see before them a vast assembly of people, towards whom they advance to learn what such a gathering may mean. The sequel we give without curtailment: — 'There they beheld a mighty giant stand | Upon a rock, and holding forth on high | An huge great pair of balance in his hand, | With which he boasted in his surquedry'....

"If this had been published in the end of the eighteenth instead of in the end of the sixteenth century — in the year 1796 instead of in the year 1596 — the allegory could not have been more perfect, taken as a poetical representation or reflection of recent events, and or a passage in the political and social history of the world generally held to be not more memorable than entirely novel and unexampled. Here is the Liberty and Equality system of philosophy and government — the portentous birth of the French Revolution — described to the life two hundred years before the French Revolution broke out; described both in its magnificent but hollow show, and its sudden explosion or evaporation. This is probably one of the instances in which we overrate the advance of modern speculation; the system in question was never indeed before attempted to be carried into practice on so large a scale, or so conspicuous a platform, as in the end of the last century in France; but its spirit, though not perhaps its distinct shape, had appeared before in many popular outbreaks, and as an idea it must long have been familiar to thinking men. The principles not only of political philosophy but even of what is called political economy, generally assumed to be almost wholly a modern science, were the subject of much more attention, and were much more profoundly investigated, in Spenser's age than is commonly supposed.

"Our attention has been directed by a correspondent to a close resemblance between part of Artegal's refutation of the giant's pretensions and the discourse of the angel Uriel in the Fourth Chapter of the Second Book of Esdras in exposure of the ignorance of that prophet. Our correspondent remarks that the present passage may furnish a notion of what Spenser's lost version of the Book of Ecclesiastes may have been.

"It is remarkable that no notice is taken in the summary at the head of the Canto of this exploit of Artegal's, with which it is principally occupied, nor, it will be observed, is the name of the vaunting giant any where mentioned. In the case of an ancient author the circumstances would be thought by the critics almost sufficient to condemn the whole episode as an interpolation by another hand" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 2:184-95.



Arthegal hears of Florimel,
Does with the Pagan fight,
Him slays, drowns Lady Munera,
Does rase her Castle quite.

Nought is more honourable to a Knight,
Ne better doth beseem brave Chevalry,
Than to defend the Feeble in their Right,
And Wrong redress in such as wend awry.
Whilom those great Heroes got thereby
Their greatest Glory for their rightful Deeds,
And Place deserved with the Gods on high.
Herein the Nobless of this Knight exceeds,
Who now to Perils great for Justice sake proceeds.

To which as he now was upon the way,
He chaunc'd to meet a Dwarf in hasty Course;
Whom he requir'd his forward Haste to stay,
Till he of Tidings mote with him discourse.
Loth was the Dwarf, yet did he stay perforce,
And 'gan of sundry News his Store to tell,
As to his Memory they had recourse:
But chiefly of the fairest Florimel,
How she was found again, and spous'd to Marinel.

For this was Dony, Florimel's own Dwarf;
Whom having lost (as ye have heard whileare)
And finding in the way the scatter'd Scarf,
The Fortune of her Life long time did fear.
But of her Health when Arthegal did hear,
And safe Return, he was full inly glad;
And ask'd him where, and when her bridal Chear
Should be solemniz'd: for if time he had,
He would be there and Honour to her Spousal add.

Within three Days, quoth he, as I do hear,
It will be at the Castle of the Strond;
What time, if nought me let, I will be there
To do her Service, so as I am bond.
But in my way a little here beyond,
A cursed cruel Sarazin doth wonne,
That keeps a Bridge's Passage by strong Hond,
And many errant Knights hath there fordone;
That makes all Men for fear that Passage for to shun.

What mister Wight, quoth he, and how far hence
Is he, that doth to Travellers such Harms?
He is, said he, a Man of great Defence;
Expert in Battel and in Deeds of Arms;
And more embolden'd by the wicked Charms,
With which his Daughter doth him still support;
Having great Lordships got and goodly Farms,
Through strong Oppression of his Power extort;
Which he still them holds, and keeps with strong Effort.

And daily he his Wrongs encreaseth more;
For never Wight he lets to pass that way
Over his Bridge, albe he rich or poor,
But he him makes his Passage-penny pay:
Else he doth hold him back, or beat away.
Thereto he hath a Groom of evil Guise,
Whose Scalp is bare, that Bondage doth bewray,
Which polls and pills the Poor in piteous wise;
But he himself upon the Rich doth tyrannize.

His Name is hight Pollente, rightly so,
For that he is so puissant and strong,
That with his Pow'r he all doth over-go,
And makes them subject to his mighty Wrong;
And some by Slight he eke doth underfong.
For on a Bridge he custometh to fight,
Which is but narrow, but exceeding long;
And in the same are many Trap-falls pight,
Through which the Rider down doth fall through Over-sight.

And underneath the same a River flows,
That is both swift and dangerous deep withall;
Into the which whom-so he overthrows,
All destitute of Help, doth headlong fall:
But he himself, through Practice usual,
Leaps forth into the Flood, and there assays
His Foe, confused through his sudden Fall,
That Horse and Man he equally dismays,
And either both them drowns, or traiterously slays.

Then doth he take the Spoil of them at will,
And to his Daughter brings, that dwells thereby:
Who all that comes doth take, and therewith fill
The Coffers of her wicked Treasury;
Which she with Wrongs hath heaped up so high,
That many Princes she in Wealth exceeds,
And purchas'd all the Country lying nigh
With the Revenue of her plenteous Meeds;
Her Name is Munera, agreeing with her Deeds.

There-to she is full fair, and rich attir'd,
With golden Hands and silver Feet beside,
That many Lords have her to Wife desir'd:
But she them all despiseth for great Pride.
Now by my Life, said he, and God to Guide,
None other way will I this day betake,
But by that Bridge, whereas he doth abide:
Therefore me thither lead. No more he spake
But thitherward forth-right his ready way did make.

Unto the Place he came within a-while,
Where on the Bridge he ready armed saw
The Sarazin, awaiting for some Spoil.
Who as they to the Passage 'gan to draw,
A Villain to them came with Skull all raw,
That Passage-money did of them require,
According to the Custom of their Law.
To whom he answer'd wroth, Lo! there thy Hire!
And with that Word him strook, that straight he did expire.

Which, when the Pagan saw, he wexed wroth,
And straight himself unto the Fight address'd;
Ne was Sir Arthegal behind: so both
Together ran with ready Spears in Rest.
Right in the midst, whereas they Breast to Breast
Should meet, a Trap was letten down to fall
Into the Flood: straight lept the Carle unblest,
Well weening that his Foe was fal'n withall;
But he was well aware, and leap'd before his Fall,

There being both together in the Flood,
They each at other tyrannously slew;
Ne ought the Water cooled their hot Blood,
But rather in them kindled Choler new.
But there the Paynim, who that Use well knew
To fight in Water, great Advantage had,
That oftentimes him nigh he over-threw:
And eke the Courser, whereupon he rad,
Could swim like to a Fish, whiles he his Back bestrad.

Which Odds when-as Sir Arthegal espy'd,
He saw no way, but close with him in haste;
And to him driving strongly down the Tide,
Upon his iron Collar griped fast,
That with the Straint, his Wesand nigh he brast.
There they together strove and struggled long,
Either the other from his Steed to cast;
Ne ever Arthegal his Griple strong
For any thing would slack, but still upon him hong.

As when a Dolphin and a Sele are met,
In the wide Champian of the Ocean Plain,
With cruel Chauf their Courages they whet,
The Maisterdom of each by force to gain,
And dreadful Battel 'twixt them do darrain:
They snuff, they snort, they bounce, they rage, they roar,
That all the Sea (disturbed with their Train)
Doth fry with Foam above the Surges hore:
Such was betwixt these two the troublesome Uproar.

So Arthegal, at length, him forc'd forsake
His Horse's Back, for dread of being drown'd,
And to his handy Swimming him betake;
Eftsoons himself he from his Hold unbound
And then no odds at all in him he found:
For Arthegal in swimming skilful was,
And durst the Depth of any Water sound.
So ought each Knight, that Use of Peril has,
In swimming be expert, through Water's Force to pass.

Then very doubtful was the War's Event,
Uncertain whether had the better side:
For both were skill'd in that Experiment,
And both in Arms well train'd and throughly try'd.
But Arthegal was better breath'd beside,
And towards th' end grew greater in his Might,
That his faint Foe no longer could abide
His Puissance, ne bear himself upright,
But from the Water to the Land betook his Flight.

But Arthegal pursu'd him still so near,
With bright Chrysaor in his cruel Hand,
That as his Head he 'gan a little rear,
Above the Brink, to tread upon the Land,
He smote it off, that tumbling on the Strand,
It bit the Earth for very fell despight,
And gnashed with his Teeth, as if he band
High God, whose Goodness he despaired quite,
Or curs'd the Hand, which did that Vengeance on him dight.

His Corps was carry'd down along the Lea,
Whose Waters with his filthy Blood it stain'd:
But his blasphemous Head, that all might see,
He pitch'd upon a Pole on high ordain'd;
Where many Years it afterwards remain'd,
To be a Mirror to all mighty Men,
In whose right Hands great Power is contain'd,
That none of them the Feeble over-ren,
But always do their Pow'r within just Compass pen.

That done, unto the Castle he did wend,
In which the Paynim's Daughter did abide,
Guarded of many which did her defend:
Of whom he Entrance sought, but was deny'd,
And with reproachful Blasphemy defy'd,
Beaten with Stones down from the Battlement,
That he was forced to withdraw aside;
And bade his Servant Talus to invent
Which way he enter might, without Endangerment.

Eftsoons his Page drew to the Castle-gate,
And with his iron Flail at it let fly,
That all the Warders it did sore amate,
The which e'er-while spake so reproachfully,
And made them stoup, that looked earst so high.
Yet still he bet and bounc'd upon the Door,
And thundred Strokes thereon so hideously,
That all the Piece he shaked from the Floor,
And filled all the House with Fear and great Uproar.

With noise thereof, the Lady forth appear'd
Upon the Castle-wall; and when she saw
The dangerous State in which she stood, she fear'd
The sad Effect of her near Overthrow;
And 'gan intreat that iron Man below,
To cease his Outrage, and him fair besought,
Sith neither Force of Stones, which they did throw,
Nor Pow'r of Charms, which she against him wrought,
Might otherwise prevail, or make him cease for ought.

But when-as yet she saw him to proceed,
Unmov'd with Prayers, or with piteous Thought,
She meant him to corrupt with goodly Meed;
And caus'd great Sacks, with endless Riches fraught,
Unto the Battlement to be up-brought,
And poured forth over the Castle-wall,
That she might win some time (though dearly bought)
Whilst he to gathering of the Gold did fall.
But he was nothing mov'd, nor tempted there-withall:

But still continu'd his Assault the more,
And laid on Load with his huge iron Flail,
That at the length he has yrent the Door,
And made way for his Maister to assail.
Who being enter'd, nought did then avail
For Wight, against his Pow'r themselves to rear:
Each one did fly; their Hearts began to fail,
And hid themselves in Corners here and there;
And eke their Dame, half dead, did hide her self for fear.

Long they her sought, yet no where could they find her,
That sure they ween'd she was escap'd away:
But Talus, that could like a Lime-hound wind her,
And all things secret wisely could bewray,
At length found out, whereas she hidden lay
Under an Heap of Gold. Thence he her drew
By the fair Locks, and foully did array,
Withouten Pity of her goodly Hue,
That Arthegal himself her seemless Plight did rue.

Yet for no Pity would he change the Course
Of Justice, which in Talus' Hand did lie;
Who rudely hal'd her forth without Remorse,
Still holding up her suppliant Hands on high,
And kneeling at his Feet submissively.
But he her suppliant Hands, those Hands of Gold,
And eke her Feet, those Feet of Silver Dye
(Which sought Unrighteousness, and Justice sold)
Chopt off; and nail'd on high, that all might them behold.

Her self then took he by the slender Waste,
In vain loud crying, and into the Flood
Over the Castle-wall adown her cast,
And there her drowned in the dirty Mud:
But the Stream wash'd away her guilty Blood.
Thereafter all that mucky Pelf he took,
The Spoil of People's evil-gotten Good,
The which her Sire had scrap'd by hook and crook,
And burning all to Ashes, pour'd it down the Brook.

And lastly, all that Castle quite he ras'd,
Even from the Sole of his Foundation,
And all the hewen Stones thereof defac'd,
That there mote be no hope of Reparation,
Nor Memory thereof to any Nation.
All which when Talus throughly had perform'd,
Sir Arthegal undid the evil Fashion,
And wicked Customs of that Bridge reform'd.
Which done, unto his former Journey he return'd.

In which they measur'd mickle weary way,
Till that at length nigh to the Sea they drew;
By which as they did travel on a day,
They saw before them, far as they could view,
Full many People gather'd in a Crew;
Whose great Assembly they did much admire,
For never there the like Resort they knew.
So towards them they coasted, to enquire
What thing so many Nations met, did there desire.

There they beheld a mighty Giant stand
Upon a Rock, and holding forth on high
An huge great Pair of Ballance in his Hand,
With which he boasted in his Surquedry,
That all the World he would weigh equally,
If ought he had the same to counterpoise:
For want whereof he weighed Vanity,
And fill'd his Ballance full of idle Toys;
Yet was admired much of Fools, Women, and Boys.

He said, that he would all the Earth up-take,
And all the Sea, divided each from either:
So would he of the Fire one Ballance make,
And one of th' Air, without or Wind or Weather:
Then would he ballance Heaven and Hell together,
And all that did within them all contain;
Of all whose Weight he would not miss a Feather.
And look what Surplus did of each remain,
He would to his own part restore the same again.

For why, he said, they all unequal were,
And had encroached upon other's Share;
Like as the Sea (which plain he shewed there)
Had worne the Earth: so did the Fire the Air;
So all the rest did other's Parts empair:
And so were Realms and Nations run awry.
All which he undertook for to repair,
In sort as they were formed auntiently;
And all things would reduce unto Equality.

Therefore the Vulgar did about him flock,
And cluster thick unto his Leasings vain;
Like foolish Flies about an Honey-Crock,
In hope by him great Benefit to gain,
And uncontrolled Freedom to obtain.
All which, when Arthegal did see and hear,
How he mis-led the simple People's Train,
In 'sdainful wise he drew unto him near,
And thus unto him spake, without regard or fear;

Thou that presum'st to weigh the World a-new,
And all things to an Equal to restore,
Instead of Right, meseems great Wrong dost shew,
And far above thy Force's Pitch to soar.
For e'er thou limit what is less or more
In every thing, thou oughtest first to know
What was the Poise of every Part of yore:
And look then how much it doth overflow,
Or fail thereof, so much is more than just I trow.

For at the first they all created were
In goodly measure, by their Maker's Might;
And weighed out in Ballances so near,
That not a Dram was missing of their Right.
The Earth was in the middle Centre pight,
In which it doth immoveable abide,
Hem'd in with Waters, like a Wall in sight;
And they with Air, that not a Drop can slide:
All which the Heav'ns contain, and in their Courses guide.

Such heav'nly Justice doth among them reign,
That every one do know their certain Bound,
In which they do these many Years remain;
And 'mongst them all no Change hath yet been found.
But if thou now should'st weigh them new in Pound,
We are not sure they would so long remain:
All Change is perilous, and all Chaunce unsound.
Therefore leave off to weigh them all again,
Till we may be assur'd they shall their Course retain.

Thou foolish Elf, said then the Giant wroth,
Seest not how badly all things present be,
And each Estate quite out of order go'th?
The Sea it self dost thou not plainly see
Encroach upon the Land there under thee;
And th' earth it self how daily it's increas'd,
By all that dying to it turned be?
Were it not good that Wrong were then surceas'd,
And from the most, that some were given to the least?

Therefore I will throw down those Mountains high,
And make them level with the lowly Plain:
These towring Rocks, which reach unto the Sky,
I will thrust down into the deepest Main,
And as they were, them equalize again.
Tyrants, that make Men subject to their Law,
I will suppress, that they no more may reign;
And Lordings curb, that Commons over-awe;
And all the Wealth of rich Men, to the Poor will draw.

Of things unseen how canst thou deem aright,
Then answered the righteous Arthegal,
Sith thou misdeem'st so much of things in sight?
What though the Sea with Waves continual
Do eat the Earth, it is no more at all;
Ne is the Earth the less, or loseth ought:
For whatsoever from one place doth fall,
Is with the Tide unto another brought:
For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought.

Likewise the Earth is not augmented more,
By all that dying into it do fade.
For of the Earth they formed were of yore;
However gay their Blossom or their Blade
Do flourish now, they into Dust shall vade.
What Wrong then is it, if that when they die,
They turn to that whereof they first were made?
All in the Pow'r of their great Maker lie;
All Creatures must obey the Voice of the most High.

They live, they die, like as he doth ordain,
Ne ever any asketh reason why:
The Hills do not the lowly Dales disdain;
The Dales do not the lofty Hills envy.
He maketh Kings to sit in Sovereignty;
He maketh Subjects to their Pow'r obey;
He pulleth down, he setteth up on high;
He gives to this, from that he takes away;
For all we have is his: what he list do, he may.

Whatever thing is done, by him is done,
Ne any may his mighty Will withstand;
Ne any may his sovereign Power shun,
Ne loose that he hath bound with stedfast Band.
In vain therefore dost thou now take in hand,
To call to 'count, or weigh his Works anew,
Whose Counsels Depth thou canst not understand,
With of things subject to thy daily View
Thou dost not know the Causes, nor their Courses due.

For take thy Ballance (if thou be so wise)
And weigh the Wind that under Heav'n doth blow;
Or weigh the Light, that in the East doth rise;
Or weigh the Thought that from Man's Mind doth flow:
But if the Weight of these thou canst not show,
Weigh but one Word which from thy Lips doth fall.
For how canst thou those greater Secrets know,
That dost not know the least thing of them all?
Ill can he rule the Great, that cannot reach the Small.

Therewith the Giant, much abashed, said,
That he of little things made reckoning light;
Yet the least Word that ever could be laid
Within his Ballance, he could weigh aright.
Which is, said he, more heavy then in Weight,
The Right or Wrong, the False or else the True?
He answered, that he would try it straight:
So he the Words into his Ballance threw;
But straight the winged Words out of his Ballance flew.

Wroth wex'd he then, and said, that Words were light,
Ne would within his Ballance well abide:
But he could justly weigh the Wrong or Right.
Well then, said Arthegal, let it be try'd;
First in one Ballance set the True aside.
He did so first, and then the False he laid
In th' other Scale; but still it down did slide,
And by no mean could in the Weight be staid:
For by no means the False will with the Truth be weigh'd.

Now take the Right likewise, said Arthegale,
And counterpeise the same with so much Wrong.
So first the Right he put into one Scale;
And then the Giant strove with Puissance strong
To fill the other Scale with so much Wrong.
But all the Wrongs that he therein could lay,
Might not it peise; yet did he labour long,
And swat, and chauft, and proved every way:
Yet all the Wrongs could not a little Right down lay.

Which when he saw, he greatly grew in Rage,
And almost would his Ballances have broken:
But Arthegal him fairly 'gan assuage,
And said; Be not upon thy Ballance wroken:
For they do nought but Right or Wrong betoken;
But in the Mind the Doom of Right must be;
And so likewise of Words, the which be spoken,
The Ear must be the Ballance, to decree
And judge, whether with Truth or Falshood they agree.

But set the Truth, and set the Right aside
(For they with Wrong or Falshood will not fare)
And put two Wrongs together to be try'd,
Or else two Falses, of each equal Share;
And then together do them both compare:
For Truth is one, and Right is ever one.
So did he, and then plain it did appear
Whether of them the greater were attone:
But Right sate in the middest of the Beam alone.

But he the Right from thence did thrust away,
For it was not the Right which he did seek;
But rather strove Extremities to weigh,
Th' one to diminish, th' other for to eke:
For of the Mean he greatly did misleek.
Whom whenso leudly-minded Talus found,
Approaching nigh unto him Cheek by Cheek,
He shoulder'd him from off the higher Ground,
And down the Rock him throwing, in the Sea him drown'd.

Like as a Ship, whom cruel Tempest drives
Upon a Rock with horrible Dismay,
Her shatter'd Ribs in thousand Pieces rives.
And spoiling all her Gears and goodly Ray,
Does make her self Misfortune's piteous Prey:
So down the Cliff the wretched Giant tumbled;
His batter'd Ballances in pieces lay,
His timber'd Bones all broken rudely rumbled:
So was the High aspiring with huge Ruin humbled.

That when the People, which had thereabout
Long waited, saw his sudden Desolation,
They 'gan to gather in tumultuous Rout,
And mutining, to stir up civil Faction,
For certain Loss of so great Expectation;
For well they hoped to have got great Good,
And wondrous Riches by his Innovation:
Therefore resolving to revenge his Blood,
They rose in Arms, and all in Battle-order stood.

Which lawless Multitude him coming to
In warlike wise, when Arthegal did view,
He much was troubled, ne wist what to do.
For loth he was his noble Hands t' embrue
In the base Blood of such a rascal Crew;
And otherwise, if that he should retire
He fear'd lest they with Shame would him pursue.
Therefore he Talus to them sent, t' enquire
The Cause of their Array, and Truce for to desire.

But soon as they him nigh approaching spy'd,
They 'gan with all their Weapons him assay,
And rudely strook at him on every side:
Yet nought they could him hurt, ne ought dismay.
But when at them he with his Flail 'gan lay,
He like a Swarm of Flies them overthrew;
Ne any of them durst come in his way,
But here and there before his Presence flew,
And hid themselves in Holes and Bushes from his View.

As when a Faulcon hath with nimble Flight
Flown at a Flush of Ducks, foreby the Brook,
The trembling Fowl dismay'd with dreadful Sight
Of Death, the which them almost overtook,
Do hide themselves from her astonying Look,
Amongst the Flags and Covert round about.
When Talus saw they all the Field forsook,
And none appear'd of all that rascal Rout,
To Arthegal he turn'd, and went with him throughout.

[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 3:717-30]

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