1615
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Penardo and Laissa. Caput. IV.

The First booke of the famous Historye of Penardo and Laissa other ways callid the Warres, of Love and Ambitione. Doone in Heroik Verse, by Patrik Gordon.

Patrick Gordon


Alecto sends the Dacian prince Tropelince to Parnassus, where he encounters Laissa fleeing Phelarnon. A fierce fight ensues, in which both warriors are mortally wounded. The magician Mansay bears them, with Laissa, to his cave. At the news that his son was killed in the defense of a lady, King Sigismound of Dacia vows revenge on Achaia with a passion "Most vitious and detestable deceat | Most filthie barbarous and yet more strange | A fear, a beastlines, a brutishe passione, | And evill of evills, past all imaginatione" Sig. C7. The pagan amasses a great army and defeats King Phedro, who, besieged, sends an ambassador to obtain assistance from Thessaly.



ARGUMENT
Feirce Tropalance of Datia
And Prince Phelarnon feght
Laissa and they both enchanted
Ar by Mansay's might
Great Sigismund ane armie brings
Achaias to invade
He vanquisht them and causd them seik
To Thessaly for ayde

That griesly chyld of darknes and of Hell
Who had so well accomplisht her desyre
Her poyson in Phelarnons breist did swell
And quyt for to consume him with that fyre
An other Prince at this same time she brought
Who for the lyke desyre of glory sought.

This other Prince whome she had brought apace
Was walking throuw these groves and did espy
Laissa who manteind her fearfull chace
While as he thought her beautie dim'd the sky
This Knight was Sone unto the Datian Prince
And height to name the mightie Tropelince

Who come the fontane Helicon to vew
Whose name so much throghout the world was known
But seing this fair Lady to eschew
A Knight, that to him now his eyes had shown
Or him to mak a conquest then with speid
He breath'd furth warr with terrour and with dreid,

The Prince was loath to pairt from such a pray
And preast to shune this Knight but all in vaine
He lighted doune and stoutlye bad him stay
Furth drawes the blad, had many thousand slaine
Wheirwith lyke lightning dints, and blasts of thunder
His stroaks bred paine, paine raige, and raige bred wonder.

For lo his arme this brand hade raizd on hie
And gave the Prince upone the armed creist
So hudge and heavie blowes that now weel nie
He maid his braith forsake his panting breist
The Prince almost now braithles fearclie cryitt
Fals miscreant thow deirlie shall abyitt.

And then his murdring blade did fearcely draw
And gains the Paganes breist a thrust he sent
Which made him reill that it appeird (in shew)
His cursed lyfe out of her lodge was rent
His shoulder blade receav'd so deip a wound
He groveling fell with bloodie goir to ground.

The Prince past by and followed one his love
His love, his Sister, and his unknowne freind
The Pagaine cursed all the Gods above
And sweir he was sum feirce infernall feind
And yit in this his raige he followed fast
Till of the Prince he got a sight at last.

Who now hade gote Laissa in his armes
And with myld words hade pacified her fear
The which to Tropolance bred greatter harmes
Then when he did his fleshe and armour tear,
Her looks he thinks unto his love consents
Wheirby his courage tuentie fold augments.

Now wraith in him began to raige and swell
And thus be said fy turne thy feble face
Leave that fair Lady and defend thy self
Lo dreidfull death abyds the to embrace
Wheirwith he strak and peared the Princes syd
With strength, the blaid for bloode maid entres wyd,

Then from Phelarnon stream'd a luk-warme flood
With purple goir that dyed the grassie ground
Whill as the Pagane spy'd the streaming blood
The victorie he thought he surelie found
But as a Lyone movd to raige and wraith.
That teirs his prey with bloodie pawes to deith.

So now the Prince delt deildlie dints and blowes
That nether armes nor sheild might them withhold
Like haill and thundre thousand stroakes he throwes
At last a stroak he gave with courage bold
This Pagaines breist with this his mightie hand
Gave way unto the lyff revenging brand

Evne as a mightie Cedar (cutt be-low
By sharpned aix falls trembling to the ground
So fell the mightie Tropolance althow
Revenge, raige, furie, strove with fats last wound
And as dry woode when fyre has spent the same
At his last death sends furth the brightest flame.

So he (thogh dead in strength) with angrie pryd
And curs'd revenge renew'd his deing force
The courteus Prince Phelarnon step'd a syd
No hurt he profer'd but with myld remorce
Requird him yeild, who in his dying smart
Sheathed his poinyeard in the Prince his hairt.

This was the sorow of Achaians all
This was the wrak and ruine of their croune
This was the ground and causer of their fall
This was the deith that dang their Phedro doune
This brought great Sigismund from out his foyle
With many thousand Datians to their spoyle.

But lo the grave magiciane Mansay knew
The fatall end of those tuo princelie Knights
Thus in a dark blak cloud of fearfull hew
He brought them to his cave with hellishe sprights
Wheir yeat as then they gaspe their lattest breath
And dies in paine yet leives in endles death.

The fair Laissa he has their also
Enchanted still in her amaized moode
Becaus she was the ground of all this woe
Whylls brint in flamm's and whyls shes dround in bloode
That Hell it self no greater burthene beirs
Paine, raige, and greif, her hairt in peices teirs

Now Fame began her fether footed race
By manie lands and seas she tooke her flight
At last (to rest her swift and speedie pace)
In Datia land at court she doune did light
And in the ears of mightie Sigismound
Those wofull newes she wofullie did sound.

How that his deirest Sone deir Tropolance
Achaians Prince hade now bereft of lyfe
And that into a Ladyes fair defence
He bravelie died in that couragions stryfe
Then plague on plague the Tyrans ear's confound it
Pryd, angre, raige, reveng, blood, murther, sound it.

Revenge proceids of injurie by right
A Passione that fraile man tormenteth much
It gnawe the hart with torments of despight
By day and eake by night molesting such
As ar offendit thus injust it proves.
For the offendar nought at all it moves.

Sum in revenge does alwayes use to kill
But that is crewell rage and meir despight
For he that would revenge must have the skill
To have a kynd of pleasur and delyht
That the reveng'd may feill with shame and paine
The weyght of the Revengers wrath and gaine.

But Sigismund (of whom we now shall treat)
Us'd only crewell rage and not revenge
Most vitious and detestable deceat
Most filthie barbarous and yet more strange
A fear, a beastlines, a brutishe passione,
And evill of evills, past all imaginatione.

A passione which with wemen doeth endure
And oftentym's has by that Sex bene us'd
And also by the Vulgare being sure
Of stronger backs, or cowards that has chus'd
The weaker contrare partie for their fo
And therupon theire courage most they show.

But lo the brave and mightie mynds (we sie)
(Wheir valour dueells) their strength does exerceize
Against the strong resisting enemie
And those whose deids their fame does eterneize
Whome they no soonner to their mercie gett
But pitie does their crueltie abett.

Such pitie us'd not Sigismund who sweir
To mak the Earth with Graecians blood so drunck
That all the world yea heavne it self should heir
The just revenge of his deir Sunnes deid trunck
Thus soone he rais'd ane armie void of fear
Whoes stomacks stout breath'd surth revenge and wear.

This Sigismund a mightie Pagane strong
The scepter held of many mightie land
Which he by right of warre or rather wrong
Most Tyranelyk did keip into his hand
Who with this armie great to Greece did goe
And tour's, and strengths, and touns, did ov'erthroe.

And comeing to Achaia at the last
King Phedro old his furie to with stand
An armie did convein wheir whith he past
And mett him on the bordours of the land
But this proud Pagan (with his multitude)
Gott victorie with too much Christiane blood.

Twyce efter this the Paganes furious wrath
Revengd too well his ding sones deir blood
Whole feftie thousand he did bring to death
With fyftiene Princes of the royall brood
Their King at last him self in Thebs inclos'd
When Princes, lords, and commons all wer los'd.

Whom Sigismund incompast round about
With wrath, with pryd, with injurie and wrong
He swoor that citie sould not hold him out
Tho't wer as Troy as great a fair as strong
But he wold mack irt equall with the plaine
And theirof should no memorie remaine.

But Phedro old his threatninges to prevent
(Fearing his wrack his ruine and his fall)
And romadan Embassadour he sent
In Thessalie, releif help, ayde, to call
Andromodan a great Achaian lord
Whome valour, woorthe, and vertue much decoird.

[sigs C4v-C8]

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