The Faerie Queene. Book VI. Canto VIII.

The Faerie Queene. Disposed into Twelve Bookes, Fashioning XII. Morall Vertues. The Second Part of the Faerie Queene. Containing the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Bookes. 2 vols.

Edmund Spenser

George L. Craik: "Canto VIII. (51 stanzas). — Pursuing the story of Mirabella, the poet thus re-commences: — 'Ye gentle ladies, in whose sovereign power | Love hath the glory of his kingdom left, | Ensample take of Mirabella's case'.... Proud and hard-hearted as she was, or had formerly been, she is touched with compassion by the 'thraldom of the gentle squire,' fallen into such misery for her sake; but it is to no purpose that she entreats her merciless attendants to cease tormenting him; they only misuse and beat him the more. But unexpected deliverance is at hand: as the reader will feel assured when he is informed that they have met Prince Arthur accompanied by the young knight to whom he had lately given his life, and whose name we are now told is Sir Enias.

"It appears that Disdain and Scorn know who the prince is; for when they see him and his companion, it is stated, they begin to scourge and drag away at Timias with increased vehemence, 'as if it should them grieve to see his punishment.' The squire, at sight of his lord, hangs his head for shame that he should be thus led along with an hempen cord like a dog. Sir Enias immediately proposes to attack the two villains, and, the prince consenting, he dismounts and going up to Disdain bids him defiance. His answer is a blow of the villain's iron club, which only his agility in stepping aside as it descends prevents from annihilating him; by a dexterous stroke of his sword in requital he succeeds in drawing blood from his powerful adversary; but when he attempts to repeat the blow the latter beats back the weapon with his club, and the next moment has his foot upon Sir Enias's neck. The fool upon this also comes running up, and helps to keep down the prostrate knight.

"But now the prince strikes in; and, leaving Sir Enias to the fool, Disdain addresses himself to this new opponent. He sends strokes about him in all directions with his iron club with incredible velocity and fury; but the prince manages to avoid them all. At last the caitiff collects all his strength in one mighty effort, resolved to make an end of him at once 'without ruth or remorse:' — 'The noble child, preventing his desire, | Under his club with wary boldness went, | And smote him on the knee that never yet was bent'.... When the prince, however, is about to cut off his head, Mirabella calls aloud to him to stay his hand for the love of God, for if the villain shall be slain her own life will perish with his.

"Staying his hand as she desires, but taking care not to let Disdain rise from the ground, he asks her to explain what her strange words may mean. Bursting forth into tears, it is some time before her passionate grief will allow her to speak she then exclaims in her agony that neither heavens nor men can deliver her from her deserved doom, laid on her by the God of Love for punishment of her pride and hard-heartedness. In the prime of her youth, 'when first the flower of beauty gan to bud,' she had been sued and sought of many a gentle knight; and many had been brought to the door of death for sorrow that she 'would not on them rue.' 'But let them love that list, or live or die; | Me list not die for any lover's dool: | Ne list me leave my loved liberty | To pity him that list to play the fool'....

"But why, the prince asks her, does she bear the bottle which she carries with so much toil before her, and the wallet on her back? 'Here in this bottle, said the sorry maid, | I put the tears of my contrition, | Till to the brim I have it full defrayed: | And in this bag, which I behind me don, | I put repentance for things past and gone'.... The prince, hearing all this, wonders much at the wise judgment of Cupid, that can make proud hearts so meekly bend, and so avenge himself on those who despise his godhead. He then suffers Disdain to get again upon his legs, helped up by the fool his comrade.

"After all this, turning round to Timias with the intention of unbinding him, he perceives to his amazement that the captive youth is his own gentle squire, and thereupon folds him to his bosom in repeated embraces. 'Meanwhile the Salvage Man, when he beheld | That huge great fool oppressing the other knight, | Whom with his weight unwieldy down he held, | He flew upon him like a greedy kite'.... He is only prevented from whipping him to death by the prince, at the cry of Mirabella, staying his hand; on which he instantly stops and allows him to rise.

"The prince now proposes to the lady that he should rid her for good and all of her villainous attendants; but this, she tells him, may not be; she must fulfill the penance enjoined her lest a worse thing befall her. They therefore part company; she setting out again in one direction attended, or driven, as before by Disdain and Scorn, though both, it is to be hoped, somewhat mitigated by the chastisement they have just received; the prince, with Timias, Sir Enias, and the Salvage Man in another, following still his great first quest, in which, however, we are told, he soon meets with an adventure that again separates him from all these friends.

"Meanwhile the course of the story turns to take up the adventures of the fair Serena, who long continued her flight over hill and dale before she ventured to think herself out of danger. At last dismounting from her palfrey she sate down on the ground, and fell to lamenting her luckless case: 'And evermore she blamed Calepine, | The good Sir Calepine, her own true knight'.... For he, in truth, all this while is in peril of his life, and in incessant trouble, all for her. At last, she lays herself adown on the grass, and, tired with travel arid oppressed with sorrow, falls asleep.

"Now, in this wild desert, to which she has chanced to find her way, there dwells a salvage nation, living only by theft and robbery, and moreover indulging in the accursed practice of eating human flesh, and devouring all strangers whom either shipwreck or other chance may bring into their country. 'They towards evening, wandering every way | To seek for booty, came by fortune blind | Whereas this lady, like a sheep astray, | Now drowned in the depth of sleep all fearless lay.' Delighted with her fresh and healthy appearance, the only question with the cannibals is 'Whether to slay her there upon the place, | Or suffer her out of her sleep to wake, | And then her eat at once, or many meals to make.' It is determined to let her sleep out her fill, simply on the consideration that a good sleep will improve her condition, or make her the fatter and tenderer: and they agree that, when she awakes, as she has been sent them by the grace of God, to their God they will present her blood, and reserve her dainty flesh to feast on themselves.... 'The damsel wakes; then all at once upstart, | And round about her flock, like many flies'....

"Poor Serena is of course in distraction and despair; she cries aloud, and tears her golden locks and her snowy breasts; 'but all boots not;' they strip her first of her jewels, then of all her attire. Other emotions now inflame them as they feed their eyes on 'her ivory neck, her alabaster breast,' and all the rest of her discovered loveliness; but the priest warns them to respect what is devoted to the gods: 'So, being stayed, they her from thence directed | Unto a little grove not far aside, | In which an altar shortly they erected | To slay her on'.... The victim, already as it were dead with fright, stands before the altar; the priest has muttered his charm and gone through the other forms of his devilish ceremonial, and is in the act of raising his bared arm with the murderous knife; amid the shouts of the surrounding multitude, the bagpipes and horns begin 'to shrill and shriek aloud,' and, mingling with the voices of the people, fill the air with terror and make the very wood tremble.

"But sudden deliverance, as usual, is at hand. Calepine, after travelling long and far in search of his lost love — 'on foot in heavy arms,' it is said, although he had, it may be recollected, left his arms behind him and they had been taken possession of by the Salvage Man — had at last lain down and fallen asleep this same evening in the close neighbourhood of the very grove where all this is going on. Awakened by the noise he starts up, and, catching hold of his arms, makes straight for the place whence it seems to proceed..... 'He spied lamenting her unlucky strife, | And groaning sore from grieved heart entire.... | He him preventing lays on earth along, | And sacrificeth to the infernal fiends: | Then to the rest his wrathful hand he bends'.... Returning from this truly marvellous exertion of valour to the lady, he unbinds her hands; but it is to no purpose that he questions her, and endeavours to cheer her with kind speeches; she will not answer him, or utter a word, for all that he can say or do; shame will not allow her to discover herself. 'So,' concludes the Canto, — 'all that night to him unknown she past: | But day, that doth discover bad and good, | Ensuing, made her known to him at last: The end whereof I'll keep until another cast'" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 3:57-64.

Prince Arthur overcomes Disdain,
Quits Mirabel from Dreed:
Serena, found of Salvages
By Calepine is freed.

Ye gentle Ladies, in whose sovereign Pow'r
Love hath the Glory of his Kingdom left,
And th' Hearts of Men, as your eternal Dow'r,
In iron Chains, of Liberty bereft,
Deliver'd hath into your hands by Gift;
Be well aware how ye the same do use,
That Pride do not to Tyranny you lift;
Lest if Men you of Cruelty accuse,
He from you take that Chiefdom, which ye do abuse,

And as ye soft and tender are by kind,
Adorn'd with goodly Gifts of Beauty's Grace,
So be ye soft and tender eke in Mind;
But Cruelty and Hardness from you chace,
That all your other Praises will deface,
And from you turn the Love of Men to Hate.
Ensample take of Mirabella's Case,
Who from the high Degree of happy State,
Fell into wretched Woes, which she repented late.

Who after Thraldom of the gentle Squire,
Which she beheld with lamentable Eye,
Was touched with Compassion entire,
And much lamented his Calamity,
That for her sake fell into Misery:
Which booted nought for Prayers, nor for Threat,
To hope for to release or mollify;
For ay the more that she did them intreat,
The more they him misus'd, and cruelly did beat.

So as they forward on their way did pass,
Him still reviling, and afflicting sore,
They met Prince Arthur with Sir Enias
(That was that courteous Knight, whom he before
Having subdu'd, yet did to Life restore)
To whom as they approach'd, they 'gan augment
Their Cruelty, and him to punish more,
Scourging and haling him more vehement;
As if it them should grieve to see his Punishment.

The Squire himself, whenas he saw his Lord,
The Witness of his Wretchedness, in place,
Was much asham'd, that with an hempen Cord
He like a Dog was led in captive Case;
And did his Head for Bashfulness abase,
As loth to see, or to be seen at all:
Shame would be hid. But whenas Enias
Beheld two such, of two such Villains thrall,
His manly Mind was much emmoved therewithall:

And to the Prince thus said; See you, Sir Knight,
The greatest Shame that ever Eye yet saw?
Yond Lady and her Squire with foul Despight
Abus'd, against all Reason and all Law,
Without regard of Pity or of Awe.
See how they do that Squire beat and revile;
See how they do the Lady hale and draw:
But if ye please to lend me leave awhile,
I will them soon acquit, and both of Blame assoil.

The Prince assented and then he straightway
Dismounting light, his Shield about him threw,
With which approaching, thus he 'gan to say;
Abide ye caitive Trechetours untrue,
That have with Treason thralled unto you
These two, unworthy of your wretched Bands;
And now your Crime with Cruelty pursue,
Abide, and from them lay your loathly Hands;
Or else abide the Death that hard before you stands.

The Villain staid not Answer to invent,
But with his iron Club preparing way,
His Mind's sad Message back unto him sent;
The which descended with such dreadful Sway,
That seemed nought the Course thereof could stay:
No more than Lightning from the lofty Sky.
Ne list the Knight the Pow'r thereof assay,
Whose Doom was Death; but lightly slipping by,
Unwares defrauded his intended Destiny.

And to requite him with the like again,
With his sharp Sword he fiercely at him flew,
And strook so strongly, that the Carle with Pain
Saved himself, but that he there him flew
Yet sav'd not so, but that the Blood it drew,
And gave his Foe good hope of Victory.
Who therewith flesh'd, upon him set anew,
And with the second Stroke, thought certainly
To have supply'd the first, and paid the Usury.

But Fortune aunswer'd not unto his Call;
For as his Hand was heaved up on hight,
The Villain met him in the middle Fall,
And with his Club bet back his Brondiron bright
So forcibly, that with his own Hand's Might
Rebeaten back upon himself again,
He driven was to ground in self-despight;
From whence e'er he Recovery could gain,
He in his Neck had set his Foot with fell Disdain.

With that the Fool, which did that End await,
Came running in; and whilst on ground he lay,
Laid heavy Hands on him, and held so straight,
That down he kept him with his scornful Sway,
So as he could not wield him any way.
The whiles, that other Villain went about
Him to have bound, and thrall'd without delay;
The whiles, the Fool did him revile and flout,
Threatning to yoke them two, and tame their Courage stout.

As when a sturdy Ploughman with his Hind
By Strength have overthrown a stubborn Stear,
They down him hold, and fast with Cords do bind,
Till they him force the buxom Yoke to bear:
So did these two this Knight oft tug and tear.
Which when the Prince beheld, there standing by
He left his lofty Steed to aid him near;
And buckling soon himself, 'gan fiercely fly
Upon that Carle, to save his Friend from Jeopardy.

The Villain, leaving him unto his Mate
To be captiv'd, and handled as he list,
Himself address'd unto this new Debate,
And with his Club him all about so blist,
That he which way to turn him scarcely wist:
Sometimes aloft he laid, sometimes along;
Now here, now there, and oft him near he mist;
So doubtfully, that hardly one could know,
Whether more wary were to give or ward the Blow.

But yet the Prince so well enured was
With such huge Strokes, approved oft in Fight,
That way to them he gave forth-right to pass;
Ne would endure the Danger of their Might,
But wait Advantage when they down did light.
At last the Caitive, after long Discourse,
When all his Strokes he saw avoided quite,
Resolv'd in one t' assemble all his Force,
And make one end of him without Ruth or Remorse.

His dreadful Hand he heaved up aloft;
And with his dreadful Instrument of Ire,
Thought sure have powned him to Pouder soft,
Or deep embowel'd in the Earth entire:
But Fortune did not with his Will conspire.
For e'er his Stroke attained his Intent,
The noble Child preventing his Desire,
Under his Club with wary Boldness went,
And smote him on the Knee, that never yet was bent.

It never yet was bent, ne bent it now,
Albe the Stroke so strong and puissant were,
That seem'd a marble Pillour it could bow:
But all that Leg, which did his Body bear,
It crack'd throughout, yet did no Blood appear;
So as it was unable to support
So huge a Burden on such broken Gear,
But fell to ground, like to a Lump of Dirt:
Whence he assay'd to rise, but could not for his Hurt.

Eftsoons the Prince to him full nimbly stept;
And lest he should recover foot again,
His Head meant from his Shoulders to have swept.
Which when the Lady saw, she cry'd amain;
Stay, stay, Sir Knight, for Love of God abstain,
From that unwares ye weetless do intend;
Slay not that Carle, though worthy to be slain:
For more on him doth than himself depend;
My Life will by his Death have lamentable End.

He staid his Hand according her Desire,
Yet nathemore him suffer'd to arise;
But still suppressing, 'gan of her enquire,
What Meaning mote those uncouth Words comprize,
That in that Villain's Health her Safety lies:
That were no Might in Man, nor Heart in Knights,
Which durst her dreaded Rescue enterprize,
Yet Heavens themselves, that favour feeble Rights,
Would for it self redress, and punish such Despights.

Then bursting forth in Tears, which gushed fast
Like many Water-Streams, awhile she staid;
Till the sharp Passion being over-past,
Her Tongue to her restor'd, then thus she said;
Nor Heavens, nor Men, can me most wretched Maid
Deliver from the Doom of my Desert;
The which the God of Love hath on me laid,
And damned to endure this direful Smart,
For Penaunce of my proud and hard rebellious Heart.

In prime of youthly Years, when first the Flow'r
Of Beauty 'gan to bud, and Bloosm delight,
And Nature me endow'd with plenteous Dow'r
Of all her Gifts that pleas'd each living Sight,
I was belov'd of many a gentle Knight,
And su'd and sought with all the Service due:
Full many a one for me deep groan'd and sigh't,
And to the Door of Death for Sorrow drew
Complaining out on me, that would not on them rue.

But let them love that list, or live or die;
Me list not die for any Lover's Dool:
Ne list me leave my loved Liberty,
To pity him that list to play the fool:
To love my self I learned had in School.
Thus I triumphed long in Lover's Pain,
And sitting careless on the Scorner's Stool,
Did laugh at those that did lament and 'plain
But all is now repaid with Interest again.

For lo the winged God, that woundeth Hearts,
Caus'd me be called to account therefore;
And for Revengement of those wrongful Smarts,
Which I to others did inflict afore,
Addeem'd me to endure this Penaunce sore;
That in this wise, and this unmeet Array,
With these two leud Companions, and no more,
Disdain and Scorn, I thro the World should stray,
Till I have sav'd so many as I earst did slay.

Certes, said then the Prince, the God is just,
That taketh Vengeaunce of his People's Spoil:
For were no Law in Love, but all that lust
Might them oppress, and painfully turmoil,
His Kingdom would continue but awhile.
But tell me Lady, wherefore do you bear
This Bottle thus before you with such Toil,
And eke this Wallet at your Back arear,
That for these Carles to carry much more comely were?

Here, in this Bottle, said the sorry Maid,
I put the Tears of my Contrition,
Till to the Brim I have it full defray'd:
And in this Bag which I behind me don,
I put Repentance for things past and gon.
Yet is the Bottle leak, and Bag so torn,
That all which I put in, falls out anon;
And is behind me trodden down of Scorn,
Who mocketh all my Pain, and laughs the more I mourn.

The Infant harkned wisely to her Tale,
And wonder'd much at Cupid's Judgment wise,
That could so meekly make proud Hearts avail,
And wreak himself on them that him despise.
Then suffer'd he Disdain up to arise,
Who was not able up himself to rear,
By means his Leg, through his late luckless Prize,
Was crack'd in twain; but by his foolish Fear
Was holpen up, who him supported standing near.

But being up, he look'd again aloft,
As if he never had received Fall;
And with stern Eye-brows stared at him oft,
As if he would have daunted him withall:
And standing on his Tip-toes to seem tall,
Down on his golden Feet he often gaz'd,
As if such Pride the other could appall;
Who was so far from being ought amaz'd,
That he his Looks despised, and his Boasts disprais'd.

Then, turning back unto that Captive Thrall,
Who all this while stood there beside them bound,
Unwilling to be known, or seen at all,
He from those Bands ween'd him to have unwound.
But when approaching near, he plainly found,
It was his own true Groom, the gentle Squire;
He thereat wex'd exceedingly astound,
And him did oft embrace, and oft admire;
Ne could, with seeing, satisfy his great Desire.

Mean while, the salvage Man, when he beheld
That huge great fool oppressing that other knight,
Whom with his Weight unwieldy down he held,
He flew upon him, like a greedy Kite
Unto some Carrion offer'd to his sight:
And down him plucking, with his Nails and Teeth
'Gan him to hale and tear, and scratch, and bite;
And from him taking his own Whip, therewith
So sore him scourgeth, that the Blood down followeth.

And sure I ween, had not the Lady's Cry
Procur'd the Prince his cruel Hand to stay,
He would with whipping him have done to die:
But being check'd, he did abstain straightway,
And let him rise. Then thus the Prince 'gan say,
Now Lady, sith your Fortunes thus dispose,
That if ye list have Liberty, ye may,
Unto your self I freely leave to chose,
Whether I shall you leave, or from these Villains lose.

Ah! nay, Sir Knight, said she, it may not be,
But that I needs must by all means fulfil
This Penaunce, which enjoined is to me,
Lest unto me betide a greater Ill;
Yet no less Thanks to you for your Good-will.
So humbly taking leave, she turn'd aside;
But Arthur, with the rest, went onward still
On his first Quest: in which did him betide
A great Adventure, which did him from them divide.

But first, it falleth me by course to tell
Of fair Serena: who, as earst you heard,
When first the gentle Squire at variance fell
With those two Carles, fled fast away, afeard
Of Villany to be to her infer'd:
So fresh the Image of her former Dread,
Yet dwelling in her Eye, to her appear'd,
That every Foot did tremble, which did tread,
And every body two, and two she four did read.

Thro Hills and Dales, thro Bushes, and thro Breres
Long thus she fled, till that at last she thought
Her self now past the Peril of her Fears.
Then looking round about, and seeing nought,
Which Doubt of Danger to her offer mought,
She from her Palfrey lighted on the Plain;
And sitting down, her self awhile bethought
Of her long Travel and turmoiling Pain;
And often did of Love, and oft of Luck complain.

And evermore, she blamed Calepine,
The good Sir Calepine, her own true Knight,
As th' only Author of her woeful Tine;
For being of his Love to her so light,
As her to leave in such a piteous Plight.
Yet never Turtle truer to his Make,
Than he was try'd unto his Lady bright:
Who all this while endured, for her sake,
Great Peril of his Life, and restless Pains did take.

Tho, whenas all her Plaints she had display'd,
And well disburden'd her engrieved Breast,
Upon the Grass her self adown she laid;
Where being tir'd with Travel, and opprest
With Sorrow, she betook her self to rest.
There, whilst in Morpheus' Bosom safe she lay,
Fearless of ought that mote her Peace molest,
False Fortune did her Safety betray
Unto a strange Mischaunce, that menac'd her Decay.

In these wild Desarts, where she now abode,
There dwelt a salvage Nation, which did live
Of Stealth and Spoil, and making nightly Road
Into their Neighbours Borders; ne did give
Themselves to any Trade (as for to drive
The painful Plough, or Cattel for to breed,
Or by adventrous Merchandize to thrive)
But on the Labours of poor Men to feed,
And serve their own Necessities with others Need.

Thereto they us'd one most accursed Order,
To eat the flesh of Men, whom they mote find,
And Strangers to devour, which on their Border
Were brought by Error, or by wreckful Wind;
A monstrous Cruelty 'gainst Course of kind.
They towards Evening wandring every way,
To seek for booty, came (by Fortune blind)
Whereas this Lady, like a Sheep astray,
How drowned in the Depth of Sleep all fearless lay.

Soon as they spy'd her, Lord! what gladful Glee
They made amongst themselves; but when her Face
Like the fair Ivory shining they did see,
Each 'gan his Fellow solace and embrace,
For Joy of such good Hap by heavenly Grace.
Then 'gan they to devise what Course to take;
Whether to slay her there upon the Place,
Or suffer her out of her Sleep to wake,
And then her eat attonce; or many Meals to make.

The best Advisement was of bad, to let her
Sleep out her fill, without Encumberment:
For Sleep (they said) would make her battil better
Then when she wak'd, they all gave one Consent,
That sith by Grace of God she there was sent,
Unto their God they would her sacrifice;
Whose Share her guiltless Blood they would present:
But of her dainty Flesh they did devise
To make a common Feast, and feed with Gurmandize.

So round about her they themselves did place
Upon the Grass, and diversly dispose,
As each thought best to spend the lingring Space.
Some with their Eves the daintiest Morsels chose;
Some praise her Paps, some praise her Lips and Nose;
Some whet their Knives, and strip their Elbows bare;
The Priest himself a Garland doth compose
Of finest Flow'rs, and with full busy Care
His bloody Vessels wash, and holy Fire prepare.

The Damsel wakes: then all attonce up-start,
And round about her flock, like many Flies,
Whooping, and hollowing on every part,
As if they would have rent the brazen Skies:
Which when she sees with ghastly griefful Eyes,
Her Heart does quake, and deadly pallid Hue
Benumbs her Cheeks: Then out aloud she cries,
Where none is nigh to hear, that will her rue,
And rends her golden Locks, and snowy Breasts embrue.

But all boots not: they hands upon her lay;
And first they spoil her of her Jewels dear,
And afterwards of all her rich Array;
The which amongst them they in pieces tear,
And of the Prey each one a Part doth bear.
Now being naked to their sordid Eyes,
The goodly Treasures of Nature appear;
Which as they view with lustful Fantasies,
Each wisheth to himself, and to the rest envies.

Her Ivory Neck, her Alablaster Breast,
Her Paps, which like white Silken Pillows were,
For Love in soft Delight thereon to rest;
Her tender Sides, her Belly white and dear,
Which like an Altar did it self up-rear,
To offer Sacrifice Divine thereon;
Her goodly Thighs, whose Glory did appear
Like a Triumphal Arch, and thereupon
The Spoils of Princes hang'd, which were in Battel won.

Those dainty Parts, the Dearlings of Delight,
Which mote not be profan'd of common Eyes,
Those Villains view'd with loose lascivious Sight,
And closely tempted with their crafty Spies;
And some of them 'gan 'mongst themselves devise,
Thereof by force to take their beastly Pleasure.
But them the Priest rebuking, did advise
To dare not to pollute so sacred Treasure,
Vow'd to the Gods: Religion held ev'n Thieves in measure.

So being stay'd, they her from thence directed
Unto a little Grove not far aside,
In which an Altar shortly they erected,
To slay her on. And now the Eventide
His broad black Wings had through the Heavens wide
By this disspred, that was the time ordain'd
For such a dismal Deed, their Guilt to hide
Of few green Turfs an Altar soon they fain'd,
And deck'd it all with Flow'rs, which they nigh hand obtain'd.

Tho, whenas all things ready were aright,
The Damsel was before the Altar set,
Being already dead with fearful Fright.
To whom the Priest with naked Arms full net
Approaching nigh, and murdrous Knife well whet,
'Gan mutter close a certain secret Charm,
With other devilish Ceremonies met:
Which doen, he 'gan aloft t' advaunce his Arm,
Whereat they shouted all, and made a loud Alarm.

Then 'gan the Bag-pipes and the Horns to shrill,
And shriek aloud, that with the Peoples Voice
Confused, did the Air with Terrour fill
And made the Wood to tremble at the Noise:
The whiles she wail'd, the more they did rejoice.
Now mote ye understand that to this Grove
Sir Calepine by chance, more than by choice,
The self-same Evening Fortune hither drove,
As he to seek Serena through the Woods did rove.

Long had he sought her, and through many a Soil
Had travel'd still on foot in heavy Arms,
Ne ought was tired with his endless Toil,
Ne ought was feared of his certain Harms:
And now all weetless of the wretched Storms,
In which his Love was lost, he slept full fast,
Till being waked with these loud Alarms,
He lightly started up like one aghast,
And catching up his Arms, straight to the Noise forth past.

There by th' uncertain Glimpse of starry Night,
And by the twinkling of their sacred Fire,
He mote perceive a little dawning Sight
Of all which there was doing in that Quire:
'Mongst whom, a Woman spoil'd of all Attire
He spy'd lamenting her unlucky Strife,
And groaning sore from grieved Heart entire;
Eftsoons he saw one with a naked Knife
Ready to launce her Breast, and let out loved Life.

With that he thrusts into the thickest Throng,
And ev'n as his right Hand adown descends,
He him preventing, lays on Earth along,
And sacrificeth to th' infernal Fiends.
Then to the rest his wrathful Hand he bends;
Of whom he makes such Havock and such Hue,
That Swarms of damned Souls to Hell he sends:
The rest, that scape his Sword, and Death eschew,
Fly like a Flock of Doves before a Faulcon's View.

From them returning to that Lady back,
Whom by the Altar he doth sitting find,
Yet fearing Death, and next to Death the lack
Of Clothes to cover what she ought by kind,
He first her Hands beginneth to unbind;
And then to question of her present Woe;
And afterwards to cheer with speeches kind.
But she, for nought that he could say or do,
One word durst speak, or answer him awhit thereto.

So inward Shame of her uncomely Case
She did conceive, through Care of Womanhood,
That though the Night did cover her Disgrace,
Yet she in so unwomanly a Mood,
Would not bewray the State in which she stood.
So all that Night to him unknown she past:
But Day that doth discover bad and good,
Ensuing, made her known to him at last;
The End whereof I'll keep until another Cast.

[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 4:947-59]