1596
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Sixte Booke of the Faerie Queene. Contayning the Legend of Sir Calidore, or of Courtesie.

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. 2 vols.

Edmund Spenser


George L. Craik: "We now enter upon the last completed Book of the Fairy Queen, containing the legend of Sir Calidore, or of Courtesy. It is preceded by an introductory address of seven stanzas, of which the first five are as follow: — 'The ways through which my weary steps I guide | In this delightful land of Fairy, | Are so exceeding spacious and wide, | And sprinkled with such sweet variety | Of all that pleasant is to ear or eye, | That I, nigh ravished with rare thought's delight, | My tedious travel do forget thereby'.... The two remaining stanzas are employed in complimenting Elizabeth as the greatest patron and mirror of the virtue about to be celebrated — as, indeed, of all other virtues — that has been known either in the modern or the ancient world.

"Canto I. (47 stanzas). — Courtesy, the poet sets out by observing, is especially the virtue of courts, whence it has its name, and in Fairy Court it abounded most of all, both among knights and ladies; but among them all was no more courteous knight than Calidore, the all-beloved. The name may he translated the beautifully gifted; and the character is supposed to be designed for Sir Philip Sidney, whom we shall find to have been also previously pictured by our author, in his Mother Hubbard's Tale, as — 'the brave courtier, in whose beauteous thought | Regard of honour harbours more than ought.' He is here described as one in whom it seemed that — 'gentleness of sprite | And manners mild were planted natural; | To which he adding comely guise withal | And gracious speech, did steal men's hearts away'....

"Every knight and every lady in Fairy Court loved him dearly, and with the greatest he had greatest grace, which he ever used well and wisely to favour good and repress evil: 'For he loathed leasing and base flattery, | And loved simple truth and steadfast honesty.' Travelling on a hard adventure in which he is engaged, this Knight of Courtesy chances to meet Sir Artegal returning from the land of Trena; they are old acquaintances, and, after Artegal has related his late conquest of Grantorto, Sir Calidore informs him that he himself, beginning where his friend has happily ended, is now in quest of a monster called the Blatant Beast, which is incessantly roaming through the world; yet how or where to find him he does not know, and can therefore only still go forward in the hope that he may at last chance upon him. 'What is that Blatant Beast then? he replied. | It is a monster bred of hellish race, | Then answered he, which often hath annoyed | Good knights and ladies true, and many else destroyed... | Into this wicked world he forth was sent | To be the plague and scourge of wretched men: | Whom with vile tongue and venomous intent | He sore doth wound, and bite, and cruelly torment.' Such a beast, Artegal replies, he had himself encountered since leaving 'the Salvage Island' (this is the first time that any name is given to Irena's kingdom); and he describes how it had bayed and barked at him. They agree that this must be the object of Calidore's pursuit; and that knight, after they have taken leave of each other, and Sir Artegal has bidden him good speed, now proceeds on his way with some hope of finding what he seeks.

"He has not travelled long when his cars are assailed by shrill cries for help; they proceed from a comely youth bound hand and foot to a tree; the knight stops to ask no questions till he has released him; and then the squire recounts how he had fallen into such mishap.... 'For may no knight nor lady pass along | That way, (and yet they needs must pass that way, | By reason of the strait, and rocks among,) | But they that lady's locks do shave away, | And that knight's beard, for toll which they for passage pay.... | His name is Cruder; who, through high disdain | And proud despite of his self-pleasing mind, | Refused hath to yield her love again, | Until a mantle she for him do find, | With beards of knights and locks of ladies lined'.... While they are still conversing, a loud and rueful shriek is heard, and, looking up, they see at a little distance the strong seneschal, 'with hand unblest,' dragging the lady by her yellow hair, 'That all her garments from her snowy breast, | And from her head her locks he nigh did tear, | Ne would he spare for pity, nor refrain for fear.'

"Calidore instantly sets out in pursuit of the villain, and, having come up to him, calls on him to turn and answer his defiance; 'Who, harkening to that voice, himself upreared, | And, seeing him so fiercely towards make, | Against him stoutly ran, as nought afeared'.... Calidore, as is the usual mode of civilized and well-disciplined knights, allows his adversary to spend his first fury without attempting much more than to elude or ward off his blows; and then, when he finds him beginning to lose breath, rises and comes down upon him with all his reserved might, like a mill-stream which has been confined by a dam, when it is let out to drive the mill. Maleffort is at last forced to take to his heels, and, flying to the castle, he calls aloud to the warder to open to him instantly....

"The other occupants of the castle now gather, and fall upon him from all sides; 'But he them all from him full lightly swept, | As doth a steer, in heat of summer's day, | With his long tail the brizes brush away.' But now, having passed onward into the hall, he finds himself confronted by the Lady Briana herself, who shamelessly charges him with having come upon her like no knight, but rather a lawless robber and man of blood, and, after having slain her seneschal, and murdered her men, proceeding to plunder her defenceless house, and make his spoil of herself; who has no means of resisting him. She is not to be appeased or brought to reason by anything he can say; but, throwing at him her scornful defiance (which he tells her he holds to be no indignity from a lady), she declares that if she did not know that, coward as he is, he would fly before her champion could arrive, she would soon have one to measure swords with him who might perhaps make him pay dear for what he had done.

"Calidore entreats that she will instantly send for him to come, upon which, calling to her a dwarf, she takes from her hand a gold ring (a token agreed upon between them), and orders him to fly with it with all the speed he can to Crudor, and inform him in what plight she stands. All the night, nevertheless, while Calidore there abides with her, she never ceases her discourteous treatment and womanish disdain; but on the morrow, before the sun has risen, the dwarf is back with an assurance from Crudor that ere he has tasted bread he will be with her, and that she need fear nothing. As a pledge of his fidelity, he sends her his basenet, or helmet. On this she gets into high spirits, and becomes more insolent and venomous than ever; 'Yet no whit more appalled for the same, | Ne ought dismayed was Sir Calidore; | But rather did more cheerful seem therefore: | And, having soon his arms about him dight, | Did issue forth to meet his foe afore; | Where long he stayed not, whenas a knight | He spied come pricking on with all his power and might.'

"Instantly running at each other, they are both at the first shock 'rudely rolled to ground, both horse and man.' 'But Calidore uprose again full light, | Whiles yet his foe lay fast in senseless sound, | Yet would he not him hurt although he might: | For shame he weened a sleeping wight to wound'.... After a time, however, Crudor begins to stretch his limbs and at last he gets upon his legs, and the fight is renewed by the two on foot with undiminished fury. They long hew at each other's helmets, breaking asunder the metal plates as if they were potshares, till a purple lake stands congealed about them of the blood that has gushed from their riven sides. At length Calidore, by a nimble blow on the head, forces his adversary to stoop, and, following up that advantage, soon has him on the ground and at his mercy; but Cruder now, to his surprise, as he is about to unlace his helmet, in order to cut off his head, cries out entreating him to spare his life; and, after his conqueror has earnestly but mildly pointed out to him the culpability of the conduct he has, in his arrogance and vain confidence of his matchless strength and good fortune, hitherto pursued, he is suffered to rise on condition of his promising hereafter to behave himself better to all strangers and errant knights, and to aid ladies 'in every stead and stound.'

"Then, when he has got up, Calidore further makes him swear 'by his own sword, and by the cross thereon,' to release Briana from the barbarous conditions he had imposed, and to take her 'for his loving fere,' without either dower or compact. Crudor agrees to everything, and also swears to the restorer of his life 'true fealty for aye;' and Briana too, who now comes forth, after having been cheered and comforted by the courteous knight, and informed by him how all has been arranged, is so affected that she throws herself at his feet, and, with outpoured thanks and acknowledgments, adores him 'as her life's dear lord'" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 3:5-12.



The ways, through which my weary Steps I guide,
In this delightful Land of Fairy,
Are so exceeding spacious and wide,
And sprinkled with such sweet Variety
Of all that pleasant is to Ear or Eye,
That I, nigh ravish'd with rare Thought's Delight,
My tedious Travail do forget thereby;
And when I 'gin to feel Decay of Might,
It Strength to me supplies, and chears my dulled Spright.

Such secret Comfort, and such heavenly Pleasures,
Ye sacred Imps, that on Parnasso dwell,
And there the keeping have of Learning's Treasures,
Which do all worldly Riches far excel,
Into the Minds of mortal Men do well,
And goodly Fury into them infuse;
Guide ye my Footing, and conduct me well
In these strange Ways, where never Foot did use,
Ne none can find, but who was taught them by the Muse.

Reveal to me the sacred Noursery
Of Vertue, which with you doth there remain,
Where it in silver Bow'r does hidden lie
From View of Men, and wicked World's Disdain.
Sith it at first was by the Gods with pain
Planted in Earth, being deriv'd at first
From heavenly Seeds of Bounty sovereign,
And by them long with careful Labour nurst,
Till it to Ripeness grew, and forth to Honour burst.

Amongst them all grows not a fairer Flow'r,
Than is the Bloosm of comely Courtesy;
Which, though it on a lowly Stalk do bow'r,
Yet brancheth forth in brave Nobility,
And spreads it self through all Civility:
Of which, though present Age do plenteous seem,
Yet being match'd with plain Antiquity,
Ye will them all but feigned Shows esteem,
Which carry Colours fair, that feeble Eyes misdeem.

But in the Trial of true Courtesy,
It's now so far from that which then it was,
That it indeed is nought but Forgery,
Fashion'd to please the Eyes of them that pass,
Which see not perfect things but in a Glass:
Yet is that Glass so gay, that it can blind
The wisest Sight, to think Gold that is Brass.
But Vertue's Seat is deep within the Mind,
And not in outward Shows, but inward Thoughts defin'd.

But where shall I in all Antiquity
So fair a Pattern find, where may be seen
The goodly Praise of Princely Courtesy,
As in your self, O sovereign Lady Queen!
In whose pure Mind, as in a Mirror sheen,
It shows, and with her Brightness doth inflame
The Eyes of all, which thereon fixed been;
But meriteth indeed an higher Name:
Yet so from low to high up-lifted is your Name.

Then pardon me, most dreaded Sovereign,
That from your self I do this Vertue bring,
And to your self do it return again:
So from the Ocean all Rivers spring,
And Tribute back repay, as to their King.
Right so from you all goodly Vertues well
Into the rest, which round about You ring,
Fair Lords and Ladies, which about you dwell,
And do adorn your Court, where Courtesies excel.

CANTO I.
Calidore saves from Maleffort
A Damesel used vild;
Doth vanquish Crudor, and doth make
Briana wex more mild.

Of Court, it seems, Men Courtesy do call,
For that it there most useth to abound;
And well beseemeth, that in Princes Hall
That Vertue should be plentifully found,
Which of all goodly Manners is the Ground,
And Root of civil Conversation.
Right so in Fairy Court it did redound,
Where courteous Knights and Ladies most did wonne
Of all on Earth, and made a matchless Paragon.

But 'mongst them all was none more courteous Knight,
Than Calidore, beloved over all:
In whom, it seems, that Gentleness of Spright
And Manners mild were planted natural;
To which he adding comely Guize withal,
And gracious Speech, did steal Mens Hearts away.
Nath'less, thereto he was full stout and tall,
And well approv'd in battailous Affray,
That him did much renown, and far his Fame display.

Ne was there Knight, ne was there Lady found
In Fairy Court, but him did dear embrace,
For his fair Usage and Conditions sound,
The which in all Mens Liking gained place,
And with the greatest, purchas'd greatest Grace:
Which he could wisely use, and well apply,
To please the Best, and th' evil to embase;
For he loath'd Leasing, and base Flattery,
And loved simple Truth, and stedfast Honesty.

And now he was in Travel on his way,
Upon an hard Adventure sore bestad,
Whenas by chaunce he met upon a day
With Arthegal, returning yet half sad
From his late Conquest which he gotten had.
Who, whenas each of other had a sight,
They knew themselves, and both their Persons red:
When Calidore thus first; Hail noblest Knight
Of all this Day on ground that breathen living Spright!

Now tell, if please you, of the good Success
Which ye have had in your late Enterprise.
To whom Sir Arthegal gan to express
His whole Exploit, and valorous Emprise,
In order as it did to him arise.
Now happy Man said then Sir Calidore,
Which have so goodly, as ye can devise,
Atchiev'd so hard a Quest, as few before;
That shall you most renowned make for evermore.

But where ye ended have, now I begin
To tread an endless Trace withouten Guide
Or good Direction, how to enter in,
Or how to issue forth in Ways untry'd,
In Perils strange, in Labours long and wide;
In which, altho Good-Fortune me befal,
Yet shall it not by none be testify'd.
What is that Quest, quoth then Sir Arthegal,
That you into such Perils presently doth call?

The Blatant Beast, quoth he, I do pursue,
And through the World incessantly do chace,
Till I him overtake, or else subdue:
Yet know I not, or how, or in what Place,
To find him out, yet still I forward trace.
What is that Blatant Beast, then he reply'd?
It is a Monster bred of hellish Race,
Then answer'd he, which often hath annoy'd
Good Knights and Ladies true, and many else destroy'd.

Of Cerberus whilom he was begot,
And fell Chimaera in her darksome Den,
Through foul Commixture of his filthy Blot;
Where he was foster'd; long in Stygian Fen,
Till he to perfect Ripeness grew, and then
Into this wicked World he forth was sent,
To be the Plague and Scourge of wretched Men:
Whom with vile Tongue and venomous Intent
He sore doth wound, and bite, and cruelly torment.

Then since the salvage Island I did leave,
Said Arthegal, I such a Beast did see,
The which did seem a thousand Tongues to have,
That all in Spight and Malice did agree,
With which he bay'd, and loudly bark'd at me,
As if that he attonce would me devour.
But I, that knew my self from Peril free,
Did nought regard his Malice nor his Pow'r;
But he the more his wicked Poison forth did pour.

That surely is that Beast, said Calidore,
Which I pursue, of whom I am right glad
To hear these Tidings, which of none afore
Through all my weary Travel I have had:
Yet now some Hope your Words unto me add.
Now God you speed, quoth then Sir Arthegal,
And keep your Body from the Danger drad;
For ye have much ado to deal withall:
So both took goodly Leave, and parted several.

Sir Calidore thence travelled not long,
Whenas by chaunce a comely Squire he found,
That thorough some more mighty Enemies Wrong,
Both Hand and Foot unto a Tree was bound;
Who seeing him from far, with piteous Sound
Of his shrill Cries, him called to his Aid:
To whom approaching, in that painful Stound
When he him saw, for no Demaunds he staid,
But first him loos'd, and afterwards thus to him said.

Unhappy Squire, what hard Mishap thee brought
Into this Bay of Peril and Disgrace?
What cruel Hand thy wretched Thraldom wrought,
And thee captived in this shameful Place?
To whom he answer'd thus; My hapless Case
Is not occasion'd through my Mis-desert,
But through Misfortune, which did me abase
Unto this Shame, and my young Hope subvert,
E'er that I in her guileful Trains was well expert.

Not far from hence, upon yond rocky Hill,
Hard by a Straight there stands a Castle strong,
Which doth observe a Custom leud and ill,
And it hath long maintain'd with mighty Wrong:
For may no Knight nor Lady pass along
That way (and yet they needs must pass that way)
By reason of the Straight, and Rocks among,
But they that Lady's Locks do shave away,
And that Knight's Beard for Toll, which they for Passage pay.

A shameful Use as ever I did hear,
Said Calidore, and to be overthrown.
But by what means did they at first it rear,
And for what cause? tell if thou have it known.
Said then that Squire: The Lady which doth own
This Castle, is by Name Briana hight,
Than which a prouder Lady liveth none;
She long time hath dear lov'd a doughty Knight,
And sought to win his Love by all the means she might.

His Name is Crudor, who through high Disdain
And proud Despight of his self pleasing Mind,
Refused hath to yield her Love again,
Until a Mantle she for him do find,
With Beards of Knights, and Locks of Ladies lin'd:
Which to provide, she hath this Castle dight,
And therein hath a Seneschal assign'd,
Call'd Maleffort, a Man of mickle Might,
Who executes her wicked will, with worse Despight.

He, this same Day, as I that way did come
With a fair Damsel, my beloved Dear,
In Execution of her lawless Doom,
Did see upon us flying both for fear:
For little boots against him Hand to rear.
Me first he took, unable to withstond;
And whiles he her pursued every where,
Till his Return unto this Tree he bond:
Ne wote I surely, whether her he yet have fond.

Thus whiles they spake, they heard a rueful Shriek
Of one loud crying, which they straightway guest,
That it was she, the which for Help did seek.
Tho, looking up unto the Cry to lest,
They saw the Carle from far, with Hand unblest
Haling that Maiden by the yellow Hair,
That all her Garments from her snowy Breast,
And from her Head her Locks he nigh did tear,
Ne would he spare for Pity, nor refrain for Fear.

Which heinous Sight when Calidore beheld,
Eftsoons he loos'd that Squire, and so him left,
With Heart's dismay, and inward Dolour quell'd,
For to pursue that Villain, which had reft
That piteous Spoil by so injurious Theft.
Whom overtaking, loud to him he cry'd;
Leave, Faytour, quickly that mis-gotten Weft,
To him that hath it better justify'd,
And turn thee soon to him, of whom thou art defy'd.

Who hearkning to that Voice, himself up-rear'd,
And seeing him so fiercely towards make,
Against him stoutly ran, as nought afeard,
But rather more enrag'd for those Words sake;
And with stern Count'naunce thus unto him spake:
Art thou the Caitive that defiest me,
And for this Maid, whose Party thou dost take,
Wilt give thy Beard, though it but little be?
Yet shall it not her Locks for Ransom from me free.

With that, he fiercely at him flew, and laid
On hideous Strokes with most importune Might,
That oft he made him stagger as unstaid,
And oft recuile to shun his sharp Despight.
But Calidore, that was well skill'd in Fight,
Him long forbore, and still his Spirit spar'd,
Lying in wait how him he damage might.
But when he felt him shrink, and come to ward,
He greater grew, and 'gan to drive at him more hard.

Like as a Water-Stream, whose swelling Source
Shall drive a Mill, within strong Banks is pent,
And long restrained of his ready Course;
So soon as Passage is unto him lent,
Breaks forth, and makes his way more violent:
Such was the Fury of Sir Calidore,
When once he felt his Foe-man to relent;
He fiercely him pursu'd, and pressed sore,
Who as he still decay'd, so he encreased more.

The heavy Burden of whose dreadful Might
Whenas the Carle no longer could sustain,
His Heart 'gan faint, and straight he took his Flight
Toward the Castle, where if Need constrain,
His Hope of Refuge used to remain.
Whom Calidore perceiving fast to fly,
He him pursu'd and chaced through the Plain,
That he for Dread of Death 'gan loud to cry
Unto the Ward, to open to him hastily.

They from the Wall him seeing so aghast,
The Gate soon open'd to receive him in;
But Calidore did follow him so fast,
That even in the Porch he him did win,
And cleft his Head asunder to his Chin.
The Carcase tumbling down within the Door,
Did choke the Entrance with a Lump of Sin,
That it could not be shut, whilst Calidore
Did enter in, and slew the Porter on the Floor.

With that the rest, the which the Castle kept,
About him flock'd, and hard at him did lay;
But he them all from him full lightly swept,
As doth a Steer, in Heat of Summer's Day
With his long Tail the Bryzes brush away.
Thence passing forth, into the Hall he came,
Where, of the Lady's self in sad Dismay,
He was ymet; who with uncomely Shame
Gan him salute, and foul upbraid with faulty Blame.

False Traitor Knight, said she; no Knight at all,
But Scorn of Arms, that hast with guilty Hand
Murder'd my Men, and slain my Seneschal;
Now comest thou to rob my House unmann'd,
And spoil my self, that cannot thee withstand?
Yet doubt thou not, but that some better Knight
Than thou, that shall thy Treason understand,
Will it avenge, and pay thee with thy Right:
And if none do, yet Shame shall thee with Shame requite.

Much was the Knight abashed at that Word,
Yet answer'd thus; Not unto me the Shame,
But to the shameful Doer it afford.
Blood is no Blemish; for it is no Blame
To punish those that do deserve the same;
But they that break Bands of Civility,
And wicked Customs make, those do defame
Both noble Arms and gentle Courtesy:
No greater Shame to Man than Inhumanity.

Then do your self, for Dread of Shame, forgo
This evil Manner, which ye here maintain,
And do instead thereof mild Court'sy show
To all that pass: That shall you Glory gain
More than his Love, which thus ye seek t' obtain.
Wherewith, all full of Wrath, she thus reply'd;
Vile Recreant, know that I much disdain
Thy courteous Lore, that dost my Love deride,
Who scorns thy idle Scoff, and bids thee be defy'd.

To take Defiance at a Lady's Word,
Quoth he, I hold it no Indignity;
But were he here, that would it with his Sword
Abet, perhaps ye mote it dear aby.
Coward, quoth she, were not that thou wouldst fly,
E'er he do come, he should be soon in place.
If I do so, said he, then Liberty
I leave to you, for ay me to disgrace
With all those shames that earst ye spake me to deface.

With that, a Dwarf she call'd to her in haste,
And taking from her Hand a Ring of Gold
(A privy Token which between them past)
Bade him to fly with all the Speed he could
To Crudor, and desire him that he would
Vouchsafe to rescue her against a Knight,
Who through strong Pow'r had now herself in hold,
Having late slain her Seneschal in Fight,
And all her People murder'd with outrageous Might.

The Dwarf his way did haste, and went all night;
But Calidore did with her there abide
The coming of that so much threaten'd Knight,
Where that discourteous Dame with scornful Pride,
And foul Intreaty him indignify'd,
That iron Heart it hardly could sustain:
Yet he, that could his Wrath full wisely guide,
Did well endure her womanish Disdain,
And did himself from frail Impatience refrain.

The morrow next, before the Lamp of Light
Above the Earth up-rear'd his flaming Head,
The Dwarf which bore that Message to her Knight,
Brought Aunswer back, that e'er he tasted Bread,
He would her succour; and alive or dead
Her Foe deliver up into her Hand:
Therefore he will'd her do away all Dread;
And that of him she mote assured stand,
He sent to her his Basenet, as a faithful Band.

Thereof full blithe the Lady straight became,
And 'gan t' augment her Bitterness much more:
Yet no whit more appalled for the same,
Ne ought dismayed was Sir Calidore,
But rather did more chearful seem therefore.
And having soon his Arms about him dight,
Did issue forth, to meet his Foe afore;
Where long he stayed not, whenas a Knight
He spy'd come pricking on with all his Pow'r and Might.

Well ween'd he straight, that he should be the same
Which took in hand her Quarrel to maintain;
Ne stay'd to ask if it were he by Name,
But couch'd his Spear, and ran at him amain.
They been ymet in middest of the Plain,
With so fell Fury and despiteous Force,
That neither could the other's Stroke sustain,
But rudely roll'd to ground both Man and Horse,
Neither of other taking Pity nor Remorse.

But Calidore up-rose again full light,
Whiles yet his Foe lay fast in sensless Sound;
Yet would he not him hurt, altho he might:
For Shame he ween'd a sleeping Wight to wound.
But when Briana saw that drery Stound,
There where she stood upon the Castle-wall,
She deem'd him sure to have been dead on ground;
And made such piteous Mourning there-withall,
That from the Battelments she ready seem'd to fall.

Nath'less at length himself he did up-rear
In lustless wise; as if against his will,
E'er he had slept his fill, he wakened were,
And 'gan to stretch his Limbs; which feeling ill
Of his late Fall, awhile he rested still:
But when he saw his Foe before in view,
He shook off Luskishness, and Courage chill
Kindling afresh, 'gan Battel to renew,
To prove if better Foot than Horseback would ensue.

There then began a fearful cruel Fray
Betwixt them two, for Maistery of Might,
For both were wondrous practick in that Play,
And passing well expert in single Fight,
And both inflam'd with furious Despight:
Which as it still increas'd, so still increas'd
Their cruel Strokes and terrible Affright;
Ne once for Ruth their Rigour they releas'd,
Ne once to breathe awhile their Anger's Tempest ceas'd.

Thus long they trac'd and travers'd to and fro,
And try'd all ways, how each mote Entrance make
Into the Life of his malignant Foe;
They hew'd their Helms, and Plates asunder brake,
As they had pot-shards been; for nought mote slake
Their greedy Vengeaunces, but gory Blood;
That at the last, like to a purple Lake
Of bloody Gore congeal'd about them stood,
Which from their riven Sides forth gushed like a Flood.

At length it chaunc'd, that both their Hands on high
Attonce did heave, with all their Pow'r and Might,
Thinking the utmost of their Force to try,
And prove the final Fortune of the Fight:
But Calidore, that was more quick of Sight,
And nimbler-handed than his Enemy,
Prevented him before his Stroke could light,
And on the Helmet smote him formerly,
That made him stoop to ground with meek Humility.

And e'er he could recover Foot again,
He following that fair Advantage fast,
His Stroke redoubled with such might and main,
That him upon the Ground he groveling cast;
And leaping to him light, would have unlac'd
His Helme, to make unto his Vengeance way.
Who seeing in what Danger he was plac'd,
Cry'd out, Ah mercy, Sir! do me not slay,
But save my Life, which Lot before your Foot doth lay.

With that, his mortal Hand awhile he staid,
And having somewhat calm'd his wrathful Heat
With goodly Patience, thus he to him said;
And is the Boast of thee proud Lady's Threat,
That menaced me from the Field to beat,
Now brought to this? By this now may ye learn,
Strangers no more so rudely to intreat,
But put away proud Look, and Usage stern
The which shall nought to you but foul Dishonour earn.

For, nothing is more blameful to a Knight,
That Court'sy doth as well as Arms profess,
However strong and fortunate in Fight,
Than the Reproach of Pride and Cruelness,
In vain he seeketh others to suppress,
Who hath not learn'd himself first to subdue:
All Flesh is frail, and full of Fickleness,
Subject to Fortune's Chaunce, still changing new
What haps to-day to me, to-morrow may to you.

Who will not Mercy unto others shew,
How can he Mercy ever hope to have?
To pay each with his own, is right and due.
Yet sith ye Mercy now do need to crave,
I will it graunt, your hopeless Life to save,
With these Conditions, which I will propound:
First, that ye better shall your self behave
Unto all errant Knights, where-so on ground;
Next, that ye Ladies aid in every Stead and Stound.

The wretched Man, that all this while did dwell
In dread of Death, his Heasts did gladly hear,
And promis'd to perform his Precept well,
And whatsoever else he would requere.
So suffring him to rise, he made him swear
By his own Sword, and by the Cross thereon,
To take Briana for his loving Fere,
Withouten Dow'r or Composition;
But to release his former foul Condition.

All which accepting, and with faithful Oath
Binding himself most firmly to obey,
He up arose, however liefe or loth,
And swore to him true Fealty for aye.
Then forth he call'd from sorrowful Dismay
The sad Briana, which all this beheld:
Who coming forth yet full of late Affray,
Sir Calidore up-chear'd, and to her teld
All this Accord, to which he Crudor had compell'd.

Whereof she now more glad, than sorry earst,
All overcome with infinite Affect,
For his exceeding Courtesy, that pierc'd
Her stubborn Heart with inward deep effect,
Before his feet her self she did project;
And him adoring as her Life's dear Lord,
With all due Thanks, and dutiful Respect,
Her self acknowledg'd bound for that Accord,
By which he had to her both Life and Love restor'd.

So all returning to the Castle, glad,
Most joyfully she them did entertain;
Where goodly Glee and Feast to them she made,
To shew her thankful Mind and Meaning fain,
By all the means she mote it best explain:
And after all, unto Sir Calidore
She freely gave that Castle for his pain,
And her self bound to him for evermore;
So wondrously now chang'd from thee she was afore.

But Calidore himself would not retain
Nor Land nor Fee for Hire of his good Deed;
But gave them straight unto that Squire again,
Whom from her Seneschal he lately freed,
And to his Damsel, as their rightful Meed,
For Recompence of all their former Wrong:
There he remain'd with them right well agreed,
Till of his Wounds he wexed whole and strong,
And then to his first Quest he passed forth along.

[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 4:859-73]

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