George L. Craik: "Canto IX. (50 stanzas). — Adicia, as has been said, has fled to the woods, and been metamorphosed into a tiger; but 'What tiger, or what other salvage wight, | Is so exceeding furious and fell | As Wrong, when it hath armed itself with Might?'...
"Meanwhile Prince Arthur and Sir Artegal, after having solaced themselves for a space in the Soldan's palace, resolve to leave both it and the wealth therein contained in charge of the damsel Samient for her mistress Queen Mercilla, and to proceed on their way; but Samient induces them first to accompany her to that renowned princess, whose abode is not far distant. On their road thither she informs them that the neighbourhood is infested by 'a wicked villain bold and stout,' who lives not far off in a rocky cavern, whither he brings home all his pillage, and there stows it away beyond the possibility of recapture. 'So light of hand, and nimble of his pace, | So smooth of tongue, and subtile in his tale, | That could deceive one looking in his face; | Therefore by name Malengin they him call, | Well knowen by his feats, and famous over all'....
"He is called Guile in the argument at the head of the Canto. When the knights have heard this account, they eagerly request Samient to conduct them at once to the villain's dwelling-place; they will not, they declare, move one footstep farther on their road to the court of Queen Mercilla till they have abated that nuisance. She accordingly brings them within sight of the rock, and then they arrange that the maid shall first advance alone to near the mouth of the den, and there sit down, 'Wailing, and raising pitiful uproar, | As if she did some great calamity deplore;' that the noise may bring out the caitiff. This device has the expected effect: Malengin soon shows himself, and an uncouth sight he is, with his deep-set hollow eyes, his long shaggy locks rolling down over his shoulders, his garments of the strangest cut and material, and all worn and in tatters; 'And in his hand a huge long staff he held, | Whose top was armed with many an iron hook, | Fit to catch hold of all that he could weld, | Or in the compass of his clutches took'....
"The damsel is considerably alarmed when she finds the monster at her side, and calls aloud for help; 'But, when the villain saw her so afraid, | He gan with guileful words her to persuade | To banish fear; and with Sardonian smile | Laughing on her, his false intent to shade, | Gan forth to lay his bait her to beguile'.... But when he comes to the entrance of the cave, and there sees the two knights, he throws down his burthen and takes to flight. 'But Artegal him after did pursue; | The whiles the prince there kept the entrance still'.... In this emergency the never-failing Talus is called in, and, pursuing him with steps as adventurous as his own, and still more agile, soon forces him to come down again to the plain. Nor does he do more than protract his fate for a very brief space by a series of expedients to which he now has recourse, ingenious enough to have puzzled and baffled any other than the iron man: — 'Into a fox himself he first did turn; | But he him hunted like a fox full fast: | Then to a bush himself he did transform; | But he the bush did beat, till that at last | Into a bird it changed, and from him passed.... | But, whenas he would to a snake again | Have turned himself; he with his iron flail | Gan drive at him with so huge might and main, | That all his bones as small as sandy grail | He broke, and did his bowels disentrail'....
"The two knights now proceed 'with that gentle maid' on their road to the court of her royal mistress; — 'To which when she approached, thus she said; | Lo now, right noble knights, arrived ye be | Nigh to the place which ye desired to see'.... Arriving at the palace, they find it to be 'Of pompous show, much more than she had told, | With many towers and tarras mounted high, | And all their tops bright glistering with gold'.... A magnificent porch stands 'open wide to all men day and night,' yet guarded by a gigantic figure, to keep out Guile and Malice and other such mischief-makers too apt to intrude into princes' courts: — 'His name was Awe; by whom they passing in | Went up the hail, that was a large wide room, | All full of people making troublous din | And wondrous noise'.... As they enter they see, at the screen in the hall, one with his tongue nailed to a post, having been adjudged by law to suffer that punishment for foul blasphemy committed by him against the queen, 'Both with bold speeches which he blazed had, | And with lewd poems which he did compile; | For the bold title of a poet bad | He on himself had ta'en, and railing rhymes had sprad.' Over his head is written 'the purport of his sin in cyphers strange:' Bonfont (or Fountain of Good) the name had originally been, but it has been altered into Malfont (Fountain of Evil).
"Passing on they are brought at length into the presence of that gracious queen; 'Who sate on high, that she might all men see | And might of all men royally be seen, | Upon a throne of gold full bright and sheen | Adorned all with gems of endless price'.... | She, angel-like, the heir of ancient kings | And mighty conquerors, in royal state; | Whilst kings and kesars at her feet did them prostrate.' In her hand she holds a sceptre, pledge or the peace and clemency 'with which high God had blessed her happy land;' at her feet lies her sword, the steel rusted from long rest; 'Yet when as foes enforced, or friends sought aid, | She could it sternly draw that all the world dismayed. | And round about before her feet there sate | A bevy of fair virgins clad in white, | That goodly seemed to adorn her royal state.' These are the Litae (or Prayers), the lovely daughters of high Jove by the righteous Themis: — 'Those, they say, | Upon Love's judgment-seat wait day and night; | And, when in wrath he threats the world's decay, | They do his anger calm and cruel vengeance stay.'
"Underneath the queen's feet lies a huge lion, so tightly bound with a strong iron chain that he cannot move; all he can do when his savage choler rises is to utter a rebellious murmur or slight growl. On the two knights approaching her with lowly reverence, Mercilla also, inclining her head, 'A cheerful countenance on them let fall, | Yet tempered with some majesty imperial.'
"It chances that at the moment she is engaged in the administration of justice; and the commencement of the trial of a great and weighty case has been suspended by their entrance. After they have been presented the hearing of this important cause is resumed; and, that they may the better understand the proceedings, she places them on the throne beside her, the one on her right hand and the other on her left. 'Then was there brought, as prisoner to the bar, | A lady of great countenance and place, | But that she it with foul abuse did mar; | Yet did appear rare beauty in her face, | But blotted with condition vile and base'.... This proves to be no other than our old acquaintance, the witch Duessa; but the charges brought against her, and all the other circumstances, clearly point at Mary of Scotland.
"First there rises up 'a person of deep reach and rare insight,' named Zeal, who, with powerful eloquence, begins to accuse the lady of many heinous crimes, and with sharp reasons rings her such a peal that even many who had been allured to pity her have their compassion changed to abhorrence and loathing while they listen to his oration. She is not now, he states, brought into question on account of the many knights she has in former times beguiled and abused, but for treason more recently wrought by her against the dread Mercilla: 'For she whilome (as ye mote yet right well | Remember) had her counsels false conspired | With faithless Blandamour and Paridel'....
"Paridel, it has been already stated, represents the Earl of Westmoreland; his friend Blandamour — designated in the First Canto of the Fourth Book 'the hotspur youth,' as if in allusion to the well-known surname of young Harry Percy in the time of Henry the Fourth — is clearly from this passage to be taken to stand for the Earl of Northumberland, the other leader of the northern insurrection of 1569. But through the grace of heaven, Zeal goes on to say, that wicked plot had failed, and its contrivers had met with the reward meet for their crimes; and here was the false Duessa, 'now untitled Queen' (this expression is very remarkable and conclusive), brought also to receive the judgment she deserved. After Zeal has enforced his argument with much more reasoning to the same effect, many other grave persons also appear to plead and give evidence against the prisoner: — 'First was a sage old sire, that had to name | The Kingdom's Care, with a white silver head, | That many high regards and reasons gainst her read.' This, no doubt, is Burghley.
"Here we are told that the Briton prince was for a moment touched with compassion for the fallen queen,' And wox inclined much unto her part, | Through the sad terror of so dreadful fate, | And wretched ruin of so high estate.' It has been supposed that Spenser designed Prince Arthur, in part at least, for a representation of his patron the Earl of Leicester; and Leicester was at one time thought to be inclined to support the party of the Queen of Scots. When Zeal, however, perceives the prince thus relenting in the prisoner's favour, he brings forward new evidence and new charges. First he calls Duessa's old accomplice Ate, who, 'glad of spoil and ruinous decay,' readily makes a full statement of 'all her trains and all her treasons:' — 'Then brought he forth with grisly grim aspect | Abhorred Murder, who with bloody knife | Yet dropping fresh in hand did her detect, | And there with guilty bloodshed charged rife: | Then brought he forth Sedition, breeding strife'....
"The result is that the Prince's compassion is quite extinguished; Artegal, for his part, with his strong instinct of justice, has been firmly set against her from the first; so that she is unanimously held to be guilty. Zeal then urges her punishment, and loudly calls upon the mild Mercilla for judgment. But she, although she cannot conceal from herself that the prisoner deserves to die, is too much affected with pity to let just vengeance light on her; she rather, we are informed, 'let, instead thereof; to fall | Few pearling drops from her fair lamps of light; | The which she covering with her purple pall Would have the passion hid, and up arose withal'" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 2:234-44.
Arthur and Arthegal catch Guile,
Whom Talus doth dismay:
They to Mercilla's Palace come,
And see her rich Array.
What Tyger, or what other salvage Wight
Is so exceeding furious and fell,
As Wrong, when it hath arm'd it self with Might?
Not fit 'mongst Men, that do with Reason mell,
But 'mongst wild Beasts and salvage Woods to dwell;
Where still the Stronger doth the Weak devour,
And they that most in Boldness do excel,
Are dradded most, and feared for their Pow'r:
Fit for Adicia, there to build her wicked Bow'r.
There let her wonne far from Resort of Men,
Where righteous Arthegal her late exil'd;
There let her ever keep her damned Den,
Where none may be with her leud Parts defil'd,
Nor none but Beasts may be of her despoil'd;
And turn we to the noble Prince, where late
We did him leave, after that he had foil'd
The cruel Souldan, and with dreadful Fate
Had utterly subverted his unrighteous State.
Where, having with Sir Arthegal a space
Well solac'd in that Souldan's late Delight,
They both resolving now to leave the Place,
Both it and all the wealth therein behight
Unto that Damsel in her Lady's Right,
And so would have departed on their way.
But she them woo'd by all the means she might,
And earnestly besought to wend that Day
With her, to see her Lady thence not far away.
By whose Entreaty both they, overcomen,
Agree to go with her, and by the way
(As often falls) of sundry things did commen:
'Mongst which that Damsel did to them bewray
A strange Adventure, which not far thence lay,
To weet, a wicked Villain, bold and stout,
Which wonned in a Rock not far away,
That robbed all the Country thereabout,
And brought the Pillage home, whence none could get it out.
Thereto both his own wily Wit, she said,
And eke the Fastness of his Dwelling-place,
Both unassailable, gave him great aid:
For he so crafty was to forge and face,
So light of Hand, and nimble of his Pace,
So smooth of Tongue, and subtle in his Tale,
That could deceive one looking in his Face.
Therefore by Name Malengin they him call,
Well knowen by his Feats, and famous over all.
Through these his Slights he many doth confound,
And eke the Rock, in which he wonts to dwell,
Is wondrous strong, and hewn far under ground
A dreadful Depth, how deep no Man can tell;
But some do say, it goeth down to Hell;
And all within, it full of Windings is,
And hidden ways, that scarce an Hound by Smell
Can follow out those false Footsteps of his,
Ne none can back return, that once are gone amiss.
Which when those Knights had heard, their Hearts 'gan yearn,
To understand that Villain's Dwelling-place,
And greatly it desir'd of her to learn,
And by which way they towards it should trace.
Were not, said she, that it should lett your Pace
Towards my Lady's Presence by you meant,
I would you guide directly to the Place.
Then let not that, said they, stay your Intent:
For neither will one foot, till we that Carle have hent.
So, forth they past, till they approached nigh
Unto the Rock where was the Villain's Wonne.
Which when the Damsel near at hand did spy,
She warn'd the Knights thereof: who thereupon
'Gan to advise, what best were to be done.
So both agreed to send that Maid afore,
Where she might sit nigh to the Den alone,
Wailing, and raising pitiful Uproar,
As if she did some great Calamity deplore.
With noise whereof, when as the caitive Carle
Should issue forth, in hope to find some Spoil,
They in await would closely him ensnarle,
E'er to his Den he backward could recoil,
And so would hope him easily to foil.
The Damsel straight went, as she was directed,
Unto the Rock; and there, upon the Soil
Having her self in wretched wise abjected,
'Gan weep and wail, as if great Grief had her affected.
The cry whereof, entring the hollow Cave,
Eftsoons brought forth the Villain, as they ment,
With hope of her some wishful boot to have:
Full dreadful Wight he was, as ever went
Upon the Earth, with hollow Eyes deep pent,
And long curl'd Locks, that down his Shoulders shagged,
And on tis Back an uncouth Vestiment,
Made of strange Stuff, but all to worn and ragged;
And underneath, his Breech was all to torn and jagged.
And in his Hand an huge long Staff he held,
Whose top was arm'd with many an iron Hook,
Fit to catch hold of all that he could weld,
Or in the compass of his Clouches took;
And ever round about he cast his Look.
Als at his Back a great wide Net he bore,
With which he seldom fished at the Brook,
But us'd to fish for Fools on the dry Shore,
Of which he in fair Weather wont to take great store.
Him when the Damsel saw fast by her side,
So ugly Creature, she was nigh dismay'd;
And now for help aloud in earnest cry'd.
But when the Villain saw her so affraid,
He 'gan with guileful Words her to persuade
To banish Fear: and with Sardonian Smile
Laughing on her, his false intent to shade,
'Gan forth to lay his Bait her to beguile,
That from her self unwares he might her steal the while.
Like as the Fowler on his guileful Pipe
Charms to the Birds full many a pleasant Lay,
That they the whiles may take less heedy keep,
How he his Nets doth for their Ruin lay:
So did the Villain to her prate and play,
And many pleasant Tricks before her show,
To turn her Eyes from his Intent away:
For, he in Sleights and juggling Feats did flow,
And of Legier-de-main the Mysteries did know.
To which, whilst she lent her intensive Mind,
He suddenly his Net upon her threw ,
That over-spread her like a puff of Wind;
And snatching her soon up, e'er well she knew,
Ran with her fast away unto his Mew,
Crying for help aloud. But when as nigh
He came unto his Cave, and there did view
The armed Knights, stopping his passage by,
He threw his Burden down, and fast away did fly.
But Arthegal him after did pursue,
The whiles the Prince there kept the Entrance still;
Up to the Rock he ran, and thereon flew
Like a wild Goat, leaping from Hill to Hill,
And dancing on the craggy Cliffs at will;
That deadly Danger seem'd in all Mens sight,
To tempt such steps, where footing was so ill:
Ne ought availed for the armed Knight,
To think to follow him, that was so swift and light.
Which when he saw, his iron Man he sent
To follow him; for, he was swift in Chace.
He him pursu'd wherever that he went,
Both over Rocks, and Hills, and every Place,
Where-so he fled, he follow'd him apace:
So that he shortly forc'd him to forsake
The Height, and down descend unto the Base.
There he him cours'd afresh, and soon did make
To leave his proper Form, and other Shape to take.
Into a Fox himself he first did turn;
But he him hunted like a Fox full fast:
Then to a Bush himself he did transform;
But he the Bush did beat, till that at last
Into a Bird it chang'd, and from him past,
Flying from Tree to Tree, from Wand to Wand:
But he then Stones at it so long did cast,
That like a Stone it self upon the Land,
But he then took it up, and held fast in his Hand.
So he it brought with him unto the Knights,
And to his Lord Sir Arthegal it lent,
Warning him hold it fast, for fear of slights.
Who whilst in Hand it griping hard he hent,
Into a Hedghog all unwares it went,
And prick'd him so, that he away it threw.
Then 'gan it run away incontinent,
Being returned to his former Hue;
But Talus soon him over-took, and backward drew.
But, when as he would to a Snake again
Have turn'd himself, he with his iron Flail
'Gan drive at him, with so huge Might and Main,
That all his Bones, as small as sandy Grail,
He broke, and did his Bowels disentrail;
Crying in vain for help, when help was past,
So did Deceit the Self-deceiver fail:
There they him left a Carrion out-cast,
For Beasts and Fowls to feed upon for their Repast.
Thence forth they passed with that gentle Maid,
To see her Lady, as they did agree.
To which when she approached, thus she said;
Lo now, right noble Knights, arriv'd ye be
Nigh to the Place which ye desir'd to see:
There shall ye see my sovereign Lady Queen,
Most sacred Wight, most debonair and free,
That ever yet upon this Earth was seen,
Or that with Diadem hath ever crowned been.
The gentle Knights rejoiced much to hear
The Praises of that Prince so manifold;
And passing little further, comen were,
Where they a stately Palace did behold,
Of pompous Show, much more than she had told;
With many Towers, and Tarras mounted high,
And all their Tops bright glistering with Gold,
That seemed to out-shine the dimmed Sky,
And with their Brightness daz'd the strange Beholder's Eye.
There they alighting, by that Damsel were
Directed in, and shewed all the Sight:
Whose Porch, that most magnifick did appear,
Stood open wide to all Men Day and Night;
Yet warded well by one of mickle Might,
That sate thereby, with Giant-like Resemblance,
To keep out Guile, and Malice, and Despight,
That under shew oft-times of feigned Semblance,
Are wont in Princes Courts to work great Scath and Hindrance.
His Name was Awe; by whom they passing in,
Went up the Hall, that was a large wide Room,
All full of People, making troublous Din,
And wondrous Noise, as if that there were some
Which unto them were dealing righteous Doom.
By whom they passing through the thickest Preace,
The Marshal of the Hall to them did come;
His Name hight Order, who commanding Peace,
Them guided through the Throng, that did their Clamours cease.
They ceast their Clamours, upon them to gaze;
Whom seeing all in Armour bright as Day,
Strange there to see, it did them much amaze,
And with unwonted Terror half affray:
For, never saw they there the like Array,
Ne ever was the Name of War there spoken,
But joyous Peace and Quietness alway,
Dealing just Judgments, that mote not be broken
For any Bribes, or Threats of any to be wroken.
There as they entred at the Skriene, they saw
Some one, whose Tongue was for his Trespass vile
Nail'd to a Post, adjudged so by Law:
For that therewith he falsely did revile,
And foul blaspheme that Queen for forged Guile,
Both with bold Speeches, which he blazed had,
And with leud Poems, which he did compile;
For, the bold Title of a Poet bad
He on himself had ta'en, and railing Rimes had spred.
Thus, there he stood, whilst high over his Head,
There written was the Purport of his Sin,
In Cyphers strange, that few could rightly read,
BON FONS: but Bon that once had written bin,
Was rased out, and Mal was now put in.
So now Malfons was plainly to be read;
Either for th' evil, which he did therein,
Or that he likened was to a Well-head
Of evil Words, and wicked Slanders by him shed.
They, passing by, were guided by degree
Unto the Presence of that gracious Queen;
Who sate on high, that the might all Men see,
And might of all Men royally be seen,
Upon a Throne of Gold full bright and sheen,
Adorned all with Gems of endless Price,
As either might for Wealth have gotten been,
Or could be fram'd by Workmans rare Device;
And all emboss'd with Lions, and with Flower-de-lice.
All over her a Cloth of State was spred,
Not of rich Tissew, nor of Cloth of Gold,
Nor of ought else, that may be richest red,
But like a Cloud, as likest may be told,
That her broad spreading Wings did wide unfold;
Whose Skirts were bordred with bright sunny Beams,
Glistring like Gold, amongst the Plights enrol'd,
And here and there shooting forth silver Streams,
'Mongst which crept little Angels thro the glittering Gleams.
Seemed those little Angels did uphold
The Cloth of State, and on their purpled Wings
Did bear the Pendants, through their Nimbless bold:
Besides a thousand more of such as sings
Hymns to high God, and carols heavenly Things,
Encompassed the Throne on which she sate:
She Angel-like, the Heir of antient Kings
And mighty Conquerors, in royal State,
Whilst Kings and Cesars at her Feet did them prostrate.
Thus she did sit in Sovereign Majesty,
Holding a Scepter in her royal Hand,
The sacred Pledg of Peace and Clemency,
With which high God had blest her happy Land,
Maugre so many Foes, which did withstand.
But at her Feet her Sword was likewise laid,
Whose long Rest rusted the bright steely Brand;
Yet when as Foes enforc'd, or Friends sought Aid,
She could it sternly draw, that all the World dismay'd.
And round about before her Feet there sate
A Beavy of fair Virgins clad in white,
That goodly seem'd t' adorn her royal State,
All lovely Daughters of high Jove, that hight
Litae, by him begot in Love's delight,
Upon the righteous Themis: those they say,
Upon Jove's Judgment-Seat wait Day and Night;
And when in Wrath he threats the World's Decay,
They do his Anger calm, and cruel Vengeance stay.
They also do by his divine Permission
Upon the Thrones of mortal Princes tend,
And often treat for Pardon and Remission
To Suppliants, through Frailty which offend
Those did upon Mercilla's Throne attend:
Just Dice, wise Eunomy, mild Eirene;
And them emongst, her Glory to commend,
Sate goodly Temperance in Garments clean,
And sacred Reverence, yborn of heavenly Strene.
Thus did she sit in royal rich Estate,
Admir'd of many, honoured of all;
Whilst underneath her Feet, there as she sate,
A huge great Lion lay, that mote appall
An hardy Courage, like captived Thrall,
With a strong iron Chain and Collar bound,
That once he could not move, nor quich at all;
Yet did he murmur with rebellious Sound,
And softly royne, when salvage Choler 'gan redound.
So, sitting high in dradded Sovereignty,
Those two strange Knights were to her Presence brought;
Who, bowing low before her Majesty,
Did to her mild Obeysance, as they ought,
And meekest Boon, that they imagine mought.
To whom she eke inclining her withal,
As a fair Stoop of her high-soaring Thought,
A chearful Countenance on them let fall,
Yet tempred with some Majesty Imperial.
As the bright Sun, what time his fiery Team
Towards the western Brim begins to draw,
'Gins to abate the Brightness of his Beam,
And Fervour of his Flames somewhat adaw:
So did this mighty Lady, when she saw
Those two strange Knights such Homage to her make,
Bate somewhat of that Majesty and Awe,
That whylom wont to do so many quake,
And with more mild Aspect those two to entertake.
Now, at that Instant, as occasion fell,
When these two stranger Knights arriv'd in place,
She was about Affairs of Common-weal,
Dealing of Justice with indifferent Grace,
And hearing Pleas of People mean and base.
'Mongst which as then, there was for to be heard
The Trial of a great and weighty Case,
Which on both sides was then debating hard:
But at the sight of these, those were awhile debar'd.
But, after all her princely Entertain,
To th' hearing of that former Cause in hand,
Her self eftsoons she 'gan convert again;
Which, that those Knights likewise mote understand,
And witness forth aright in foreign Land,
Taking them up unto her stately Throne,
Where they more hear the Matter throughly scan'd
On either part, she placed th' one on th' one,
The other on the other side, and near them none.
Then was there brought, as Prisoner to the Bar,
A Lady of great Countenance and Place,
But that she it with foul Abuse did mar;
Yet did appear rare Beauty in her Face,
But blotted with Condition vile and base,
That all her other Honour did obscure,
And Titles of Nobility deface:
Yet, in that wretched Semblant, she did sure
The Peoples great Compassion unto her allure.
Then up arose a Person of deep Reach,
And rare In-sight, hard Matters to reveal;
That well could charm his Tongue, and time his Speech
To all Assaies; his Name was called Zeal:
He 'gan that Lady strongly to appeal
Of many heinous Climes, to her enur'd;
And with sharp Reasons rang her such a peal,
That those, whom she to Pity had allur'd,
He now t' abhor and loath her Person had procur'd.
First, 'gan he tell, how this that seem'd so fair
And royally array'd, Duessa hight,
That false Duessa, which had wrought great Care,
And mickle Mischief unto many a Knight,
By her beguiled, and confounded quite:
But not for those she now in question came,
Though also those mote question'd be aright,
But for vile Treasons, and outrageous Shame,
Which she against the drad Mercilla oft did frame.
For, she whylome (as ye mote yet right well
Remember) had her Counsels false conspir'd,
With faithless Blandamour and Paridel
(Both two her Paramours, both by her hir'd,
And both with hope of Shadows vain inspir'd)
And with them practis'd, how for to deprive
Mercilla of her Crown, by her aspir'd,
That she might it unto her self derive,
And triumph in their Blood, whom she to Death did drive.
But through high Heaven's Grace (which favours not
The wicked Drifts of traiterous Designs
'Gainst loyal Princes) all this cursed Plot,
E'er Proof it took, discover'd was betimes,
And th' Actors won the Meed meet for their Crimes.
Such be the Meed of all, that by such Mean
Unto the Type of Kingdoms Title climes.
But false Duessa, now untitled Queen,
Was brought to her sad Doom, as here was to be seen.
Strongly did Zeal her heinous Fact enforce,
And many other Crimes of foul Defame
Against her brought, to banish all Remorse,
And aggravate the Horror of her Blame.
And with him to make part against her, came
Many grave Persons, that against her plead;
First, was a sage old Sire, that had to Name
The Kingdom's Care, with a white silver Head,
That many high Regards and Reasons 'gainst her read.
Then, 'gan Authority her to oppose
With peremptory Power, that made all mute;
And then the Law of Nations 'gainst her rose,
And Reasons brought, that no Man could refuse;
Next, 'gan Religion 'gainst her to impute
High God's Beheast, and Power of holy Laws;
Then 'gan the Peoples Cry, and Commons Sute,
Importune care of their own publick Cause;
And lastly, Justice charged her with breach of Laws.
But then for her, on the contrary part.
Rose many Advocates for her to plead:
First there came Pity, with full tender Heart,
And with her join'd Regard of Woman head;
And then came Danger threatning hidden Dread,
And high Alliance unto foreign Power;
Then came Nobility of Birth, that bred
Great Ruth through her Misfortunes tragick Stower;
And lastly Grief did plead, and many Tears forth pour.
With the near Touch whereof in tender Heart
The Briton Prince was sore empassionate,
And wox inclined much unto her Part;
Through the sad Terror of so dreadful Fate,
And wretched Ruin of so high Estate;
That for great Ruth his Courage 'gan relent.
Which whenas Zeal perceived to abate,
He 'gan his earnest Fervour to augment,
And many fearful Objects to them to present.
He 'gan t' efforce the Evidence anew,
And new Accusements to produce in place:
He brought forth that old Hag of hellish Hue,
The cursed Ate, brought her Face to Face,
Who privy was, and party in the Case:
She, glad of Spoil and ruinous Decay,
Did her appeach, and to her more Disgrace,
The Plot of all her Practice did display,
And all her Trains, and all her Treasons forth did lay.
Then brought he forth, with griesly grim Aspect,
Abhorred Murder, who with bloody Knife
Yet dropping fresh in hand did her detect,
And there with guilty Blood-shed charged rife:
Then brought he forth Sedition, breeding Strife
In troublous Wits and mutinous Uproar:
Then brought he forth incontinence of Life,
Even foul Adultery her Face before,
And leud Impiety, that her accused sore.
All which when as the Prince had heard and seen,
His former Fancy's Ruth he 'gan repent,
And from her Party eftsoons was drawn clean:
But Arthegal with constant firm Intent,
For Zeal of Justice was against her bent.
So was she guilty deemed of them all.
Then Zeal began to urge her Punishment,
And to their Queen for Judgment loudly call,
Unto Mercilla mild for Justice gainst the Thrall.
But she, whose Princely Breast was touched near
With piteous Ruth of her so wretched Plight,
Though plain she saw by all that she did hear,
That she of Death was guilty found by Right,
Yet would not let just Vengeance on her light;
But rather let in stead thereof to fall
Few perling Drops from her fair Lamps of Light;
The which she covering with her purple Pall,
Would have the passion hid, and up arose withal.
[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 3:804-16]