George L. Craik: "Canto II. (48 stanzas). — The story of the adventures of Sir Calidore is now resumed with this exordium: — 'What virtue is so fitting for a knight, | Or for a lady whom a knight should love, | As Courtesy to bear themselves aright | To all of each degree as doth behove?'... He is now again set forth on his quest after the Blatant Beast, when, as he pursues his way, he perceives, not far off, a tall young man fighting on foot against an armed and mounted knight, while a fair lady in foul array stands by herself looking on. Before he can make up to them, the knight has been slain by the youth, and lies low on ground, much to the amazement of Calidore, when he scans the figure of the other combatant.... 'Buskins he wore of costliest cordwain, | Pinckt upon gold, and paled part per part, | As then the guise was for each gentle swain: | In his right hand he held a trembling dart, | Whose fellow he before had sent apart; | And in his left he held a sharp boar-spear'....
"To Calidore's question wherefore he, no knight, has his 'hand too bold embrued in blood of knight,' in violation of the law of arms, 'Certes, said he, loth were I to have broken | The law of arms; yet break it should again, | Rather than let myself of wight be stroken, | So long as these two arms were able to be wroken.' And he appeals to the slain knight's lady, standing before them, to say whether it was not the knight who had been the assailant. He is himself, he goes on to relate, wont to spend his time carelessly, while his years are yet unripe, hunting in the forest, where this same day he had met the knight and the lady passing along.... 'Whenso she lagged, as she needs mote so, | He with his spear (that was to him great blame) | Would thump her forward and enforce to go, | Weeping to him in vain and making piteous woe.'
"Moved with indignation at this sight, he had blamed the knight for his cruelty 'Towards a lady, whom, with usage kind, | He rather should have taken up behind.' The knight thereupon, in rage and scorn, had threatened to chastise him, 'as doth to a child pertain;' he, with no less disdain, 'back returned his scornful taunts unto his teeth again;' the knight then struck him once or twice with his spear, on which he, taking a slender dart, the fellow of the one he now has in his hand, threw it 'not in vain,' and struck the knight, as it appeared, underneath the heart. Sir Calidore much admires his well-tempered speech, but more the well-aimed stroke that had so cunningly made its way through the strong mail, and so sternly chastised the wrong-doer; and, when the lady confirms all that the youth has stated, he not only absolves him from blame, but applauds him for what he has done; 'for,' as he observes, 'knights and all men this by nature have, | Towards all women-kind them kindly to behave.'
"He now asks the lady to inform them what cause could have made her late lover do so strange and dishonourable an act as to drive her so on foot — 'unfit to tread | And lackey by him, gainst all womanhead.' The lady, though unwilling to cast blame upon the dead, will not conceal the truth. This day, as he and she were riding along together, they chanced — 'to come foreby a covert glade | Within a wood, whereas a lady gent | Sat with a knight in joyous jolliment | Of their frank loves, free from all jealous spies'.... As soon as her knight saw this new lady, he began to wish her his own; and, finding the presence of his old love to be a let, or hindrance, he first desired her to alight, and then, when she hesitated or refused — loth, as she says, to leave him so suddenly — threw her down with violence from the saddle. At the same time, rushing at him, he called upon the other knight, all unarmed as he was, either to yield up the lady or instantly to defend his claim to her in fight. The other requested him to allow him time to get his arms, which were near at hand; but to no purpose; he struck his spear into him, and he fell severely wounded. Meanwhile, however, the lady had made her escape into the thick of the grove; and as soon as the armed knight missed her, mad with disappointment, he left the other, and ran ranging through all the wood after the fugitive. At last, obliged to give up the hope of finding her, he returned to the place where he had left his own love, and 'there,' says she, — 'gan he me to curse and ban, for lack | Of that fair booty, and with bitter wrack | To wreak on me the guilt of his own wrong: | Of all which I yet glad to bear the pack'....
"Sir Calidore replies in a few gentle words; and 'Then turning back unto that gentle boy, | Which had himself so stoutly well acquit | Seeing his face so lovely stern and coy, | And bearing the answers of his pregnant wit, | He praised it much, and much admired it'.... To his request that he will reveal who and what he is — 'for,' says Sir Calidore, — 'since the day that arms I first did rear, | I never saw in any greater hope appear,' — the noble youth answers that he is a Briton born, and is the son of a king; 'however,' says he, 'through fate | Or fortune I my country have forlorn, | And lost the crown which should my head by right adorn.'
"His name, he continues, is Tristram, and he had been born the only heir of good King Meliogras of Cornwall; but his father had died while he was yet in his boyhood, upon which his uncle, the brother of Meliogras, had seized the crown. Fair Emeline, the widowed queen, his mother, then becoming alarmed for his safety, and following the advice of a sage counsellor, had had him conveyed away from his native land, the fertile Lioness, into this Land of Fairy; 'where,' says he, 'I have woned thus long | Since I was ten years old, now grown to stature strong.' He concludes by requesting Sir Calidore to make him a squire on the spot; which the courteous knight readily consents to do.
"Child Tristram now prays Sir Calidore to take him for his own squire; but for the present, greatly delighted as he is that it should have been made, the knight is obliged to decline this offer, having bound himself by vow to his sovereign, when he set out upon his present adventure, that he would achieve it unattended and alone. He proposes therefore that Tristram should remain to aid and guard the lady; and, 'the noble imp' having gladly accepted that service, they part, and Calidore pursues his journey....
"Calidore has not ridden many miles when he comes to where the knight since slain by Tristram had left the other knight whom he had so unhandsomely attacked and so sorely wounded. 'There he that knight found lying on the floor | With many wounds full perilous and wide, | That all his garments and the grass in vermeil dyed.' And beside him on the ground sits his woeful lady, wiping his wounds and trying to ease his pain as she laments aloud. When Sir Calidore comes up, and, scarcely refraining from tears, entreats to know what cruel hand has wrought such pitiable wrong, she describes the strange knight as having been — 'of stature large, | Clad all in gilden arms, with azure band | Quartered athwart, and bearing in his targe | A lady on rough waves rowed in a summer barge.' By this Sir Calidore knows that it is the same knight whom he has since seen dead; and he endeavours to comfort the lady with this intelligence. She thanks him for his good news; but is still much perplexed what to do with her wounded love. She does not like to trouble a stranger to assist her in removing him; and she also thinks it 'a thing too base' to take him up and bear him herself. 'Which whenas he perceived he thus bespake; | Fair lady, let it not you seem disgrace | To bear this burden on your dainty back; | Myself will bear a part, coportion of your pack'" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 3:13-20.
Calidore sees young Tristram slay
A proud discourteous Knight:
He makes him Squire, and of him learns
His State and present Plight.
What Vertue is so fitting for a Knight,
Or for a Lady, whom a Knight should love,
As Courtesy to bear themselves aright
To all of each degree, as doth behove?
For whether they be placed high above,
Or low beneath; yet ought they well to know
Their Good, that none them rightly may reprove
Of Rudeness, for not yielding what they owe;
Great Skill it is such Duties timely to bestow.
Thereto great Help Dame Nature's self doth lend;
For some so goodly gracious are by kind,
That every Action doth them much commend,
And in the Eyes of Men great Liking find;
Which others, that have greater Skill in Mind,
Though they enforce themselves, cannot attain.
For every thing to which one is inclin'd,
Doth best become, and greatest Grace doth gain:
Yet Praise likewise deserve good Thewes, enforc'd with Pain.
That well in courteous Calidore appears;
Whose eyes, Deed, and Word that he did say,
Was like Enchauntment, that through both the Eyes,
And both the Ears did steal the Heart away.
He now again is on his former way,
To follow his first Quest, whenas he spy'd
A tall young Man from thence not far away,
Fighting on foot, as well he him descry'd,
Against an armed Knight, that did on horseback ride.
And them betide, a Lady fair he saw,
Standing alone on foot, in foul Array:
To whom himself he hastily did draw,
To weet the Cause of so uncomely Fray,
And to depart them, if so be he may.
But e'er he came in Place, that Youth had kill'd
That armed Knight, that low on Ground he lay;
Which when he saw, his Heart was inly chill'd
With great Amazement, and his Thought with Wonder fill'd.
Him stedfastly he mark'd, and saw to be
A goodly Youth of amiable Grace,
Yet but a slender Slip, that scarce did see
Yet seventeen Years, but tall and fair of Face,
That sure he deem'd him born of Noble Race.
All in a Woodman's Jacket he was clad
Of Lincoln Green, belaid with Silver Lace;
And on his Head an Hood with Aglets sprad,
And by his Side his Hunter's Horn he hanging had.
Buskins he wore of costliest Cordwain,
Pinkt upon Gold, and paled part per part,
As then the guize was for each gentle Swain;
In his right Hand he held a trembling Dart,
Whose Fellow he before had sent apart;
And in his left he held a sharp Boar-Spear,
With which he wont to launce the salvage Heart
Of many a Lion, and of many a Bear,
That first unto his Hand in Chase did happen near.
Whom Calidore awhile well having view'd,
At length bespake; What means this, gentle Swain?
Why hath thy Hand too bold it self embru'd
In Blood of Knight, the which by thee is slain,
By thee, no Knight? which Arms impugneth plain.
Certes, said he, loth were I to have broken
The Law of Arms; yet break it should again,
Rather than let my self of Wight be stroken,
So long as these two Arms were able to be wroken.
For, not I him, as this his Lady here
May witness well, did offer first to wrong,
Ne surely thus unarm'd I likely were;
But he me first, through Pride and Puissance strong
Assail'd, not knowing what to Arms doth long.
Perdy, great blame, then said Sir Calidore,
For armed Knight a Wight unarm'd to wrong.
But then aread, thou gentle Child, wherefore
Betwixt you two began this Strife and stern Uproar.
That shall I sooth, said he, to you declare,
I, whose unriper Years are yet unfit
For thing of Weight, or work of greater Care,
Do spend my Days, and bend my careless Wit,
To salvage Chase, where I thereon may hit
In all this Forest, and wild woody Rain:
Where, as this day I was inranging it,
I chaunc'd to meet this Knight who here lies slain,
Together with this Lady, passing on the Plain.
The Knight, as ye did see, on Horseback was,
And this his Lady (that him ill became)
On her fair Feet by his Horse-side did pass
Through thick and thin, unfit for any Dame.
Yet not content, more to encrease his Shame,
Whenso she lagged, as she needs mote so,
He with his Spear (that was to him great blame)
Would thump her forward, and inforce to go,
Weeping to him in vain, and making piteous Woe.
Which when I saw, as they me passed by,
Much was I moved in indignant Mind,
And 'gan to blame him for such Cruelty
Towards a Lady, whom with usage kind
He rather should have taken up behind.
Wherewith he wroth, and full of proud Disdain,
Took in foul Scorn that I such fault did find,
And me in lieu thereof revil'd again,
Threatning to chastize me, as doth t' a Child pertain.
Which I no less disdaining, back return'd
His scornful Taunts unto his Teeth again,
That he straightway with haughty Choler burn'd,
And with his Spear strook me one Stroke or twain;
Which I, enforc'd to bear, though to my Pain,
Cast to requite; and with a slender Dart,
Fellow of this I bear, thrown not in vain,
Strook him, as seemeth, underneath the Heart,
That through the Wound his Spirit shortly did depart.
Much did Sir Calidore admire his Speech
Tempred so well, but more admir'd the Stroke
That through the Mails had made so strong a Breach
Into his Heart, and had so sternly wroke
His Wrath on him, that first occasion broke.
Yet rested not, but further 'gan inquire
Of that same Lady, whether what he spoke,
Were soothly so, and that th' unrighteous Ire
Of her own Knight, had given him his own due Hire.
Of all which, when as she could nought deny,
But clear'd that Stripling of th' imputed Blame,
Said then Sir Calidore; neither will I
Him charge with Guilt, but rather do quite Claim:
For, what he spake, for you he spake it, Dame;
And what he did, he did himself to save:
Against both which, that Knight wrought knightless Shame.
For, Knights and all Men this by Nature have,
Towards all Women-kind them kindly to behave.
But, sith that he is gone irrevocable,
Please it you, Lady, to us to aread,
What cause could make him so dishonourable,
To drive you so on foot, unfit to tread
And lackey by him, 'gainst all Womanhead?
Certes, Sir Knight, said she, full loth I were
To raise a living Blame against the Dead;
But sith it me concerns my self to clear,
I will the Truth discover, as it chanc'd whylere.
This Day, as he and I together rode
Upon our way, to which we weren bent,
We chaunc'd to come fore-by a covert Glade
Within a Wood, whereas a Lady gent
Sate with a Knight in joyous Jolliment
Of their frank Loves, free from all jealous Spys:
Fair was the Lady sure, that mote content
An Heart not carry'd with too curious Eyes,
And unto him did shew all lovely Courtesies.
Whom, when my Knight did see so lovely fair;
He inly 'gan her Lover to envy,
And wish that he part of his Spoil might share.
Where-to when as my Presence he did spy
To be a lett, he bade me by and by
For to alight: but when as I was loth,
My Love's own part to leave so suddenly,
He with strong Hand down from his Steed me throw'th,
And with presumptuous Power against that Knight straight go'th.
Unarm'd all was the Knight; as then more meet
For Ladies Service, and for Love's Delight,
Than fearing any Foe-man there to meet:
Whereof he taking odds, straight bids him dight
Himself to yield his Love, or else to fight.
Whereat, the other starting up dismay'd,
Yet boldly answer'd, as he rightly might;
To leave his Love he should be ill apay'd,
In which he had good right 'gainst all, that it gain-said.
Yet, sith he was not presently in plight
Her to defend, or his to justify,
He him requested, as he was a Knight,
To lend him Day his better Right to try,
Or stay till he his Arms (which were there by)
Might lightly fetch. But he was fierce and hot,
Ne Time would give, nor any Terms aby,
But at him flew, and with his Spear him smote;
From which to think to save himself, it booted not.
Mean-while, his Lady, which this Outrage saw,
Whilst they together for the Quarry strove,
Into the Covert did her self withdraw,
And closely hid her self within the Grove.
My Knight hers soon (as seems) to danger drove,
And left sore wounded: but, when her he mist,
He wox half mad, and in that Rage 'gan rove
And range through all the Wood, where so he wist
She hidden was, and sought her so long as him list.
But, when as her he by no means could find,
After long search and chauf, he turned back
Unto the Place where me he left behind:
There 'gan he me to curse and ban, for lack
Of that fair Booty, and with bitter Wrack
To wreak on me the Guilt of his own Wrong.
Of all which, I yet glad to bear the Pack,
Strove to appease him, and persuaded long:
But still his Passion grew more violent and strong.
Then, as it were t' avenge his Wrath on me,
When forward we should fare, he flat refus'd
To take me up (as this young Man did see)
Upon his Steed, for no just Cause accus'd,
But forc'd to trot on Foot, and foul misus'd;
Punching me with the Butt-end of his Spear,
In vain complaining to be so abus'd.
For, he regarded neither Plaint nor Tear,
But more enforc'd my Pain, the more my Plaints to hear.
So passed we, till this young Man us met;
And being mov'd with pity of my Plight,
Spake, as was meet, for ease of my Regret:
Whereof befell, what now is in your sight.
Now sure, then said Sir Calidore, and right
Me seems, that him befell by his own fault:
Whoever thinks through Confidence of Might,
Or through support of Countenance proud and hault,
To wrong the Weaker, oft falls in his own Assault.
Then, turning back unto that gentle Boy,
Which had himself so stoutly well acquit;
Seeing his Face so lovely stern and coy,
And hearing th' answers of his pregnant Wit,
He prais'd it much, and much admired it;
That sure he ween'd him born of noble Blood,
With whom those Graces did so goodly fit:
And when he long had him beholding stood,
He burst into these Words, as to him seemed good:
Fair gentle Swain, and yet as stout as fair,
That in these Woods amongst the Nymphs doost wonne,
Which daily may to thy sweet Looks repair,
As they are wont unto Latona's Son,
After his Chace on woody Cynthus done:
Well may I, certes, such an one thee read,
As by thy Worth thou worthily hast won,
Or surely born of some Heroick Seed,
That in thy Face appears, and gracious Goodly-head.
But should it not displease thee it to tell
(Unless thou in these Woods thy self conceal,
For love amongst the woody Gods to dwell;)
I would thy self require thee to reveal,
For dear Affection and unfeigned Zeal
Which to thy noble Personage I bear,
And wish thee grow in Worship and great Weal,
For, since the day that Arms I first did rear,
I never saw in any, greater Hope appear.
To whom, then thus the noble Youth; May be,
Sir Knight, that by discovering my Estate,
Harm may arise unweeting unto me;
Nath'less, sith ye so courteous seemed late,
To you I will not fear it to relate.
Then wote ye, that I am a Briton born,
Son of a King, however thorough Fate
Or Fortune I my Country have forlorn,
And lost the Crown, which should my Head by right adorn.
And Tristram is my Name, the only Heir
Of good King Meliogras, which did reign
In Cornwal, till that he through Life's despair
Untimely dy'd, before I did attain
Ripe Years of Reason, my Right to maintain.
After whose Death, his Brother seeing me
An Infant, weak a Kingdom to sustain,
Upon him took the royal high Degree,
And sent me, where him list, instructed for to be.
The widow Queen, my Mother, which then hight
Fair Emiline, conceiving then great fear
Of my frail Safety, resting in the Might
Of him, that did the kingly Scepter bear,
Whose jealous Dread induring not a Peer,
Is wont to cut off all that doubt may breed;
Thought best away me to remove somewhere
Into some foreign Land, whereas no need
Of dreaded Danger might his doubtful Humour feed.
So, taking Counsel of a wise Man read,
She was by him advis'd, to send me quite
Out of the Country wherein I was bred,
The which the fertile Lioness is hight,
Into the Land of Fairy, where no Wight
Should weet of me, nor work me any wrong.
To whose wise Read she hearkning, sent me straight
Into this Land, where I have wonn'd thus long,
Since I was Ten Years old, now grown to Stature strong.
All which my Days I have not leudly spent,
Nor spilt the Blossom of my tender Years
In Idless; but as was convenient,
Have trained been with many noble Feres
In gentle Thews, and such like seemly Leers.
'Mongst which, my most delight hath always been
To hunt the Salvage Chase amongst my Peers,
Of all that rangeth in the Forest green;
Of which, none is to me unknown, that e'er was seen.
Ne is there Hawk which mantleth her on Pearch,
Whether high towring, or accoasting low,
But I the measure of her Flight to search,
And all her Prey, and all her Diet know:
Such be our Joys, which in these Forests grow.
Only the use of Arms, which most I joy,
And fitteth most for noble Swain to know,
I have not tasted yet, yet past a Boy,
And being now high time these strong Joints to imploy.
Therefore, good Sir, sith now occasion fit
Doth fall, whose like hereafter seldom may;
Let me this crave, unworthy though of it,
That ye will make me Squire without delay,
That from henceforth in battailous Array
I may bear Arms, and learn to use them right;
The rather, sith that Fortune hath this Day
Given to me the Spoil of this dead Knight,
These goodly gilden Arms, which I have won in Fight.
All which, when well Sir Calidore had heard,
Him much more now, than earst he 'gan admire,
For the rare Hope which in his Years appear'd,
And thus reply'd; Fair Child, the high Desire
To love of Arms, which in you doth aspire,
I may not certes without blame deny;
But rather wish, that some more noble Hire
(Though none more noble than is Chevalry)
I had, you to reward with greater Dignity.
There, him he caus'd to kneel, and made to swear
Faith to his Knight, and Truth to Ladies all;
And never to be recreant, for fear
Of Peril, or of ought that might befall:
So he him dubbed, and his Squire did call.
Full glad and joyous: then young Tristram grew,
Like as a Flow'r, whose silken Leaves small,
Long shut up in the Bud from Heaven's view,
At length breaks forth, and broad displays his smiling hue.
Thus, when they long had treated to and fro,
And Calidore betook him to depart,
Child Tristram pray'd, that he with him might go
On his Adventure; vowing not to start,
But wait on him in every place and part;
Whereat Sir Calidore did much delight,
And greatly joy'd at his so noble Heart,
In hope he sure would prove a doughty Knight:
Yet for the time this answer he to him behight.
Glad would I surely be, thou courteous Squire,
To have thy Presence in my present Quest,
That mote thy kindled Courage set on fire,
And flame forth Honour in thy noble Breast:
But I am bound by Vow, which I profest
To my dread Sovereign, when I it assay'd,
That in Atchivement of her high Behest,
I should no Creature join unto mine Aid,
For-thy I may not grant that ye so greatly pray'd.
But, since this Lady is all desolate,
And needeth Safeguard now upon her way,
Ye may do well in this her needful State
To succour her, from danger of Dismay,
That thankful Guerdon may to you repay.
The noble Impe, of such new Service fain,
It gladly did accept, as he did say.
So taking courteous leaver they parted twain,
And Calidore forth passed to his former Pain.
But Tristram, then despoiling that dead Knight
Of all those goodly Ornaments of Praise,
Long fed his greedy Eyes with the fair Sight
Of the bright Metal, shining like Sun-Rays;
Handling and turning them a thousand ways.
And after, having them upon him dight,
He took that Lady, and her up did raise
Upon the Steed of her own late dead Knight:
So with her marched forth, as she did him behight.
There, to their Fortune, leave we them awhile,
And turn we back to good Sir Calidore;
Who, e'er he thence had travel'd many a Mile,
Came to the place, where, as ye hard afore,
This Knight, whom Tristram slew, had wounded sore
Another Knight in his despiteous Pride;
There he that Knight found lying on the Flore,
With many Wounds full perilous and wide,
That all his Garments, and the Grass in Vermeil dy'd.
And there beside him, sate upon the Ground
His woful Lady, piteously complaining
With loud Laments that most unlucky Stound,
And her sad self with careful hand constraining
To wipe his Wounds, and ease their bitter paining.
Which sorry sight when Calidore did view
With heavy Eyne, from Tears uneath refraining,
His mighty Heart their mournful Case 'gan rue,
And for their better comfort to them nigher drew.
Then speaking to the Lady, thus he said:
Ye doleful Dame, let not your Grief empeach
To tell, what cruel Hand hath thus array'd
This Knight unarm'd, with so unknightly breach
Of Arms, that, if I yet him nigh may reach,
I may avenge him of so foul Despight.
The Lady, hearing his so courteous Speech,
'Gan rear her Eyes as to the chearful Light,
And from her sorry Heart few heavy Words forth sigh't.
In which she shew'd, how that discourteous Knight
(Whom Tristram slew) them in that shadow found,
Joying together in unblam'd Delight,
And him unarm'd, as now he lay on Ground,
Charg'd with his Spear, and mortally did wound
Withouten cause, but only her to reave
From him, to whom she was for ever bound:
Yet when she fled into that covert Greave,
He her not finding, both them thus nigh dead did leave.
When Calidore this rueful Story had
Well understood, he 'gan of her demand,
What manner Wight he was, and how yclad,
Which had this Outrage wrought with wicked Hand.
She then, like as she best could understand,
Him thus describ'd, to be of Stature large,
Clad all in gilden Arms, with azure Band
Quartred athwart, and bearing in his Targe
A Lady on rough Waves, row'd in a summer Barge.
Then 'gan Sir Calidore to guess straightway
By many Signs which she described had,
That this was he, whom Tristram earst did slay,
And to her said; Dame, be no longer sad:
For, he that hath your Knight so ill bestad,
Is now himself in much more wretched Plight;
These Eyes him saw upon the cold Earth spred,
The Meed of his desert for that despight,
Which to your self he wrought, and to your loved Knight.
Therefore, fair Lady, lay aside this Grief,
Which ye have gather'd to your gentle Heart
For that displeasure; and think what relief
Were best devise for this our Lover's Smart,
And how ye may him hence, and to what part
Convey to be recur'd. She thank'd him dear,
Both for that News he did to her impart
And for the courteous Care which he did bear
Both to her Love, and to her self in that sad Drear.
Yet could she not devise by any Wit,
How thence she might convey him to some place:
For, him to trouble she it thought unfit,
That was a Stranger to her wretched Case;
And him to bear, she thought it thing too base.
Which when as he perceiv'd, he thus bespake;
Fair Lady, let it not you seem Disgrace,
To bear this Burden on your dainty Back;
My self will bear a part, Coportion of your Pack.
So, off he did his Shield, and downward laid
Upon the Ground, like to an hollow Bier;
And pouring Balm, which he had long purvaid,
Into his Wounds, him up thereon did rear,
And twixt them both with parted pains did bear,
Twixt Life and Death, not knowing what was done.
Thence they him carry'd to a Castle near,
In which a worthy ancient Knight did wonne:
Where what ensu'd, shall in next Canto be begun.
[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 4:874-86]