1596
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Faerie Queene. Book VI. Canto X.

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 X. (44 stanzas.) — This Canto commences as follows: — 'Who now does follow the foul Blatant Beast, | Whilst Calidore does follow that fair maid, | Unmindful of his vow, and high beheast | Which by the Fairy Queen was on him laid'.... Nor, proceeds the narrative, was Calidore to be greatly blamed for thus stooping to so lowly a life; for whoso had once tasted, as he had done, 'The happy peace which there doth overflow, | And proved the perfect pleasures which do grow | Amongst poor hinds, in hills, in woods, in dales,' would never more delight in the painted show and false bliss by which men are befouled in courts. For what is the best of their glory to one sight that Calidore here beheld? a sight, the glance of which would daze the dimmed eyes of the admirers of mere courtly splendour, so that they should never be able again to endure that sunshine — a sight to which nothing in that world of beauty can for a moment be compared — 'Save only Gloriana's heavenly hue, | To which what can compare?'

"And then comes another brilliant burst: — 'One day, as he did range the fields abroad, | Whilst his fair Pastorella was elsewhere, | He chanced to come, far from all people's trode, | Unto a place, whose pleasance did appear | To pass all others on the earth which were.... | He nigher drew, to weet what mote it be: | There he a troop of ladies dancing found | Full merrily, and making gladful glee, | And in the midst a shepherd piping he did see'.... As Colin Clout is Spenser, so of course this pre-eminently beautiful shepherdess, advanced to be a fourth grace, as Elisa, or Queen Elizabeth, is made to be in the Shepherd's Calendar, written many years before, is the Irish beauty who had at last supplanted Rosalind in the possession of his heart, and who was now his wife. Surely never was woman crowned by Love and Poetry with a garland comparable to this.

"Much, we are told, did Calidore wonder at the strange sight that has been described, 'whose like before his eye had never seen,' and long he stood astonished, and, wrapt in delight, wist not what to think.... 'But, soon as he appeared to their view | They vanished all away out of his sight, | And clean were gone, which way he never knew, | All save the shepherd, who, for fell despite | Of that displeasure, broke his bag-pipe quite'.... He himself, the shepherd answers, is not so happy, or fortunate, as his questioner is the reverse; for those whom he has chased away he never will be able by any art to recall they will come to none except to such as 'they of themselves list so to grace.' Calidore is sorry that he should have been so unlucky, but requests to know who or what the ladies are. 'Tho gan that shepherd thus for to dilate: | Then wot, thou shepherd, whatsoe'er thou be, | That all those ladies, which thou sawest late, | Are Venus' damsels'....

"The shepherd's speech ended, Calidore again expresses his regret, and asks pardon that he should have rashly sought that which he might not see. In such discourse the two pass many an hour, as chance brings them together; and the knight becomes so attached both to the shepherd, for the delight with which his talk feeds his greedy fancy, and to the place, that he is inclined to remain there. But soon the envenomed sting that has fixed itself in his heart begins to rankle afresh; and nothing will avail him but 'to return again to his wound's worker.' So, 'like as the wounded whale to shore flies from the main,' he repairs again to the 'rustic won,' where his Pastorella is and renews his dutiful service, sparing neither pains nor peril 'By which he might her to his love allure, | And liking ill her yet untamed heart procure.' The jealousy of Corydon also reawakens, and he resumes his contentious rivalry and emulation.

"One day, as they are all three together in the greenwood gathering strawberries, a tiger suddenly makes his appearance, and rushes with open month at Pastorella. Corydon, being the first to hear her cries, runs in haste to her rescue, but, when he sees the monster, flies for fear. Calidore, though armed only with his shepherd's hook, strikes the tiger to the ground, and then, cutting off its head, presents it to the still trembling maid, who showers on him a thousand thanks. And from this day she begins to show him daily more favour, and to feel for him a stronger liking, regarding Corydon at the same time as fit only to keep sheep. Calidore, however, still abstains from treating his rival with anything of contempt....

"It chances one day, when Calidore is absent hunting in the woods, that the place where these shepherds dwell is invaded by a band of lawless people, called Brigants, that live neither by plough nor spade, but only by plundering their neighbours; they despoil the cottages, murder the inmates, and drive away, their flocks. Among the rest old Melibee is stript of all he has in the world, and all his people are led away captive: Pastorella, too, is carried off.... Corydon, too, is among the captives; all of which are conveyed by the thieves under cover of night to where they have their dwelling.... 'For underneath the ground their way was made | Through hollow caves, that no man mote discover'.... Here the Brigants keep all their prisoners with continual watch and ward till they can sell them for slaves. Pastorella thinks herself in hell" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 3:74-83.



Calidore sees the Graces dance
To Colin's Melody:
The whiles his Pastorel is led
Into Captivity.

Who now does follow the foul Blatant Beast,
Whilst Calidore does follow that fair Maid,
Unmindful of his Vow and high Beheast,
Which by the Fairy-Queen was on him laid,
That he should never leave, nor be delay'd
From chacing him, till he had it atchiev'd?
But now, entrapt of Love, which him betray'd,
He mindeth more how he may be reliev'd
With Grace from her, whose Love his Heart hath sore engriev'd.

That from henceforth he means no more to sue
His former Quest, so full of Toil and Pain;
Another Quest, another Game in view
He hath, the Guerdon of his Love to gain;
With whom he minds for ever to remain,
And set his Rest amongst the rustick sort,
Rather than hunt still after Shadows vain
Of courtly Favour, fed with light Report
Of every Blast, and sailing always in the Port.

Ne certes mote he greatly blamed be,
From so high Step to stoop unto so low;
For who hath tasted once (as oft did he)
The happy Peace, which there doth overflow,
And prov'd the perfect Pleasures which do grow
Amongst poor Hinds, in Hills, in Woods, in Dales,
Would never more delight in painted Show
Of such false Bliss, as there is set for Stales,
T' entrap unweary Fools in their eternal Bales.

For what hath all that goodly glorious Gaze
Like to one sight, which Calidore did view?
The Glaunce whereof their dimmed Eyes would daze,
That never more they should endure the Shew
Of that Sun-shine, that makes them look askew:
Ne ought in all that World of Beauties rare
(Save only Gloriana's heavenly Hue;
To which what can compare?) can it compare;
The which, as cometh now by course, I will declare.

One day as he did raunge the Fields abroad,
Whilst his fair Pastorella was elsewhere,
He chaunc'd to come, far from all People's Troad,
Unto a Place, whose Pleasance did appear
To pass all others, on the Earth which were:
For all that ever was by Nature's Skill
Devis'd to work Delight, was gather'd there,
And there by her were poured forth at fill,
As if this to adorn, she all the rest did pill.

It was an Hill, plac'd in an open Plain,
That round about was border'd with a Wood,
Of matchless Height, that seem'd th' earth to disdain;
In which all Trees of Honour stately stood,
And did all Winter as in Summer bud,
Spreading Pavilions for the Birds to bow'r,
Which in their lower Branches sung aloud,
And in their Tops the soaring Hawk did tow'r,
Sitting like King of Fowls, in Majesty and Pow'r.

And at the foot thereof, a gentle Flood
His silver Waves did softly tumble down,
Unmarr'd with ragged Moss or filthy Mud;
Ne mote wild Beasts, ne mote the ruder Clown
Thereto approach, ne Filth mote therein drown:
But Nymphs and Fairies by the Banks did sit,
In the Wood's Shade, which did the Waters crown,
Keeping all noisom things away from it,
And to the Water's Fall tuning their Accents fit.

And on the Top thereof a spacious Plain
Did spread it self, to serve to all Delight,
Either to dance, when they to dance would fain,
Or else to course about their Bases light;
Ne ought there wanted, which for Pleasure might
Desired be, or thence to banish Bale:
So pleasantly the Hill, with equal Height,
Did seem to over-look the lowly Vale;
Therefore it rightly cleeped was Mount Acidale.

They say that Venus, when she did dispose
Her self to Pleasance, used to resort
Unto this Place, and therein to repose
And rest her self as in a gladsom Port,
Or with the Graces there to play and sport;
That even her own Cytheron, though in it
She used most to keep her royal Court,
And in her sovereign Majesty to sit,
She in regard hereof refus'd and thought unfit.

Unto this Place whenas the Elfin Knight
Approach'd, him seemed that the merry Sound
Of a shrill Pipe be playing heard on hight,
And many Feet fast thumping th' hollow Ground,
That through the Woods their Eccho did rebound.
He nigher drew, to weet what mote it be;
There he a Troop of Ladies dancing found
Full merrily, and making gladful Glee,
And in the midst a Shepherd piping he did see.

He durst not enter into th' open Green,
For Dread of them unwares to be descry'd,
For breaking of their Dance, if he were seen;
But in the Covert of the Wood did bide,
Beholding all, yet of them unespy'd:
There he did see, that pleased much his Sight,
That even he himself his Eyes envy'd,
An hundred naked Maidens lilly white,
All ranged in a Ring, and dancing in Delight.

All they without were raunged in a Ring,
And danced round; but in the midst of them
Three other Ladies did both daunce and sing,
The whilst the rest them round about did hem,
And like a Girlond did in Compass stem:
And in the midst of those same three was placed
Another Damsel, as a precious Gem
Amidst a Ring most richly well enchaced,
That with her goodly Presence all the rest much graced.

Look how the Crown, which Ariadne wore
Upon her Ivory Forehead that same day
That Theseus her unto his Bridale bore
(When the bold Centaurs made that bloody Fray
With the fierce Lapithes, which did them dismay)
Being now placed in the Firmament,
Thro the bright Heaven doth her Beams display,
And is unto the Stars an Ornament,
Which round about her move in Order excellent.

Such was the Beauty of this goodly Band,
Whose sundry Parts were here too long to tell:
But she, that in the midst of them did stand,
Seem'd all the rest in Beauty to excel,
Crown'd with a rosy Girlond, that right well
Did her beseem. And ever, as the Crew
About her daunc'd, sweet Flow'rs, that far did smell,
And fragrant Odours they upon her threw;
But most of all, those three did her with Gifts endue.

Those were the Graces, Daughters of Delight,
Handmaids of Venus, which are wont to haunt
Upon this Hill, and dance there day and night;
Those three to Men all Gifts of Grace do graunt,
And all, that Venus in her self doth vaunt,
Is borrowed of them. But that fair one,
That in the midst was placed paravaunt,
Was she to whom that Shepherd pip'd alone,
That made him pipe so merrily, as never none.

She was to weet that jolly Shepherd's Lass,
Which piped there unto that merry Rout:
That jolly Shepherd, which there piped, was
Poor Colin Clout (who knows not Colin Clout?)
He pip'd apace, whilst they him daunc'd about,
Pipe, jolly Shepherd, pipe thou now apace
Unto thy Love, that made thee low to lout;
Thy Love is present there with thee in place,
Thy Love is there advaunc'd to be another Grace.

Much wonder'd Calidore at this strange Sight,
Whose like before his Eye had never seen:
And standing long astonished in Spright,
And rapt with Pleasance, wist not what to ween;
Whether it were the Train of Beauty's Queen,
Or Nymphs, or Fairies, or enchaunted Show,
With which his Eyes mote have deluded been.
Therefore resolving what it was to know,
Out of the Wood he rose, and toward them did go.

But soon as he appeared to their View,
They vanish'd all away out of his Sight,
And clean were gone, which way he never knew;
All save the Shepherd, who for fell Despight
Of that Displeasure, broke his Bagpipe quite,
And made great moan for that unhappy Turn.
But Calidore, though no less sorry Wight
For that Mishap, yet seeing him to mourn,
Drew near, that he the Truth of all by him mote learn.

And first him greeting, thus unto him spake;
Hail, jolly Shepherd, which thy joyous Days
Here leadest in this goodly Merry-make,
Frequented of these gentle Nymphs always,
Which to thee flock, to hear thy lovely Lays;
Tell me, what mote these dainty Damsels be,
Which here with thee do make their pleasant Plays?
Right happy thou, that mayst them freely see:
But why, when I them saw, fled they away from me?

Not I so happy, answer'd then that Swain,
As thou unhappy, which them thence didst chace,
Whom by no means thou canst recall again:
For being gone, none can them bring in place,
But whom they of themselves list so to grace.
Right sorry I, said then Sir Calidore,
That my ill Fortune did them hence displace;
But since things passed none may now restore,
Tell me what were they all, whose lack thee grieves so sore.

Tho 'gan that Shepherd thus for to dilate:
Then wote thou Shepherd, whatsoe'er thou be,
That all those Ladies, which thou sawest late,
Are Venus' Damsels, all within her Fee,
But differing in Honour and Degree:
They all are Graces which on her depend;
Besides a thousand more, which ready be
Her to adorn, whenso she forth doth wend:
But those three in the midst do chief on her attend.

They are the Daughters of Sky-ruling Jove,
By him begot of fair Eurinome,
The Ocean's Daughter, in this pleasant Grove,
As he this way coming from feastful Glee
Of Thetis' Wedding with Aecidee,
In Summer's Shade himself here rested weary.
The first of them hight mild Euphrosyne,
Next fair Aglaia, last Thalia merry;
Sweet Goddess all three, which me in Mirth do cherry.

These three on Men all gracious Gifts bestow,
Which deck the Body, or adorn the Mind,
To make them lovely, or well-favour'd show;
As comely Carriage, Entertainment kind,
Sweet Semblant, friendly Offices that bind,
And all the Compliments of Courtesy:
They teach us, how to each degree and kind
We should our selves demean, to low, to high;
To Friends, to Foes: which Skill Men call Civility.

Therefore they always smoothly seem to smile,
That we likewise should mild and gentle be;
And also naked are, that without Guile
Or false Dissemblance all them plain may see,
Simple and true from covert Malice free:
And eke themselves so in their Dance they bore,
That two of them still forward seem'd to be,
But one still towards shew'd her self afore;
That Good should from us go, then come in greater store.

Such were those Goddesses, which ye did see;
But that fourth Maid, which there amidst them trac'd,
Who can aread what Creature mote she be,
Whether a Creature or a Goddess grac'd
With heavenly Gifts from Heaven first enrac'd?
But what-so sure she was, she worthy was
To be the fourth, with those three other plac'd:
Yet was she certes but a Country Lass,
Yet she all other Country Lasses far did pass.

So far as doth the Daughter of the Day
All other lesser Lights in Light excel,
So far doth she in beautiful Array,
Above all other Lasses bear the Bell:
Ne less in Vertue that beseems her well,
Doth she exceed the rest of all her Race;
For which, the Graces that here wont to dwell,
Have for more Honour brought her to this place,
And graced her so much to be another Grace.

Another Grace she well deserves to be,
In whom so many Graces gather'd are,
Excelling much the Mean of her Degree;
Divine Resemblance, Beauty sovereign rare,
Firm Chastity, that Spight ne blemish dare;
All which she with such Courtesy doth grace,
That all her Peers cannot with her compare,
But quite are dimmed, when she is in place:
She made me often pipe, and now to pipe apace.

Sun of the World, great Glory of the Sky,
That all the Earth dost lighten with thy Rays,
Great Gloriana, greatest Majesty,
Pardon thy Shepherd 'mongst so many Lays
As he hath sung of thee in all his Days,
To make one Minime of thy poor Handmaid,
And underneath thy Feet to place her Praise;
That when thy Glory shall be far display'd
To future Age, of her this mention may be made.

When thus that Shepherd ended had his Speech,
Said Calidore; Now sure it irketh me,
That to thy Bliss I made this luckless Breach,
As now the Author of thy Bale to be,
Thus to bereave thy Love's dear Sight from thee:
But, gentle Shepherd, pardon thou my Shame,
Who rashly sought that, which I mote not see.
Thus did the courteous Knight excuse his Blame,
And to recomfort him, all comely Means did frame.

In such Discourses they together spent
Long time, as fit Occasion forth them led;
With which, the Knight himself did much content,
And with Delight his greedy Fancy fed,
Both of his Words, which he with Reason read;
And also of the Place, whose Pleasures rare
With such Regard his Senses ravished,
That thence he had no Will away to fare,
But wish'd, that with that Shepherd he mote Dwelling share.

But that envenom'd Sting, the which of yore
His poisnous Point deep fixed in his Heart
Had left, now 'gan afresh to rankle sore,
And to renew the Rigour of his Smart:
Which to recure, no Skill of Leeches Art
Mote him avail, but to return again
To his Wound's Worker, that with lovely Dart
Dinting his Breast, had bred his restless Pain,
Like as the wounded Whale to shore flies from the Main.

So taking leave of that same gentle Swain,
He back returned to his rustick Wonne,
Where his fair Pastorella did remain:
To whom in sort, as he at first begun,
He daily did apply himself to done
All dueful Service, void of Thoughts impure;
Ne any Pains, ne Peril did he shun,
By which he might her to his Love allure,
And Liking in her yet untamed Heart procure.

And evermore the Shepherd Coridon,
Whatever thing he did her to aggrate,
Did strive to match, with strong Contention,
And all his Pains did closely emulate;
Whether it were to carol, as they sate
Keeping their Sheep, or Games to exercise,
Or to present her with their Labours late;
Through which if any Grace chaunc'd to arise
To him, the Shepherd straight with Jealousy did frize.

One day, as they all three together went
To the green Wood, to gather Strawberries,
There chaunc'd to them a dangerous Accident;
A Tyger forth out of the Wood did rise,
That with fell Claws full of fierce Gourmandize,
And greedy Mouth, wide gaping like Hell-gate,
Did run at Pastorel, her to surprize:
When she beholding, now all desolate
'Gan cry to them aloud, to help her all too late.

Which Coridon first hearing, ran in haste
To rescue her: but when he saw the Fiend,
Through coward Fear he fled away as fast,
Ne durst abide the Danger of the End;
His Life he 'steemed dearer than his Friend.
But Calidore soon coming to her Aid,
When he the Beast saw ready now to rend
His Love's dear Spoil, in which his Heart was praid,
He ran at him enrag'd, instead of being fraid.

He had no Weapon, but his Shepherd's Hook,
To serve the Vengeance of his wrathful Will;
With which so sternly he the Monster strook,
That to the Ground astonished he fell;
Whence e'er he could recov'r, he did him quell.
And hewing off his Head, it presented
Before the Feet of the fair Pastorel;
Who scarcely yet from former Fear exempted,
A thousand times him thank'd, that had her Death prevented.

From that day forth she 'gan him to affect,
And daily more her Favour to augment;
But Coridon for Cowardize reject,
Fit to keep Sheep, unfit for Love's Content:
The gentle Heart scorns base Disparagement.
Yet Calidore did not despise him quite,
But us'd him friendly for further Intent,
That by his Fellowship, he colour might
Both his Estate and Love, from Skill of any Wight.

So well he woo'd her, and so well he wrought her,
With humble Service, and with daily Sute,
That at the last unto his Will he brought her;
Which he so wisely well did prosecute,
That of his Love he reap'd the timely Fruit,
And joyed long in close Felicity;
Till Fortune fraught with Malice, blind and brute,
That envies Lovers long Prosperity,
Blew up a bitter Storm of foul Adversity.

It fortuned one day, when Calidore
Was hunting in the Woods (as was his Trade)
A lawless People, Brigants hight of yore,
That never us'd to live by Plough nor Spade,
But fed on Spoil and Booty, which they mate
Upon their Neighbours, which did nigh them border,
The Dwelling of these Shepherds did invade,
And spoil'd their Houses, and themselves did murder;
And drove away their Flock, with other much Disorder.

Amongst the rest, the which they then did prey,
They spoil'd old Melibee of all he had,
And all his People captive led away;
'Mongst which this luckless Maid away was lad,
Fair Pastorella, sorrowful and sad,
Most sorrowful, most sad, that ever sigh'd,
Now made the Spoil of Thieves and Brigands bad,
Which was the Conquest of the gentlest Knight
That ever liv'd, and th' only Glory of his Might.

With them also was taken Coridon,
And carry'd Captive by those Thieves away;
Who in the Covert of the Night, that none
Mote them descry, nor rescue from their Prey,
Unto their Dwelling did them close convey.
Their Dwelling in a little Island was,
Cover'd with shrubby Woods, in which no way
Appear'd for People in nor out to pass,
Nor any footing find for over-growen Grass.

For underneath the Ground their way was made,
Through hollow Caves, that no Man mote discover
For the thick Shrubs, which did them always shade
From View of living Wight, and cover'd over;
But Darkness drad, and daily Night did hover
Through all the inward Pans, wherein they dwelt
Ne lighten'd was with Window, nor with Lover,
But with continual Candle-light, which dealt
A doubtful Sense of things, not so well seen as felt.

Hither those Brigants brought their present Prey,
And kept them with continual Watch and Ward;
Meaning so soon as they convenient may,
For Slaves to sell them, for no small Reward,
To Merchants, which them kept in Bondage hard,
Or sold again. Now when fair Pastorel
Into this Place was brought, and kept with Guard
Of griesly Thieves, she thought her self in Hell,
Where, with such damned Fiends, she should in Darkness dwell.

But for to tell the doleful Dreriment,
And pitiful Complaints, which there she made
(Where day and night she nought but did lament
Her wretched Life, shut up in deadly Shade,
And waste her goodly Beauty, which did fade
Like to a Flow'r, that feels no Heat of Sun,
Which may her feeble Leaves with Comfort glade)
And what befel her in that thievish Wonne,
Will in another Canto better be begun.

[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 4:972-83]

[Continue]