1615
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Penardo and Laissa. Caput. VII.

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


Penardo arrives at Boetia only to find that Phelaston has destroyed the city with the assistance of a treacherous citizen. For three days he pursues Phelaston, who fearing that Penardo's troops are but the vanguard of a larger force, calls reinforcements from Athens and Thebes. Meanwhile, Penardo dreams of a hard-beset maiden whose "body seem'd all dyed in crimsone blood | Her garment skoarch'd in flamm's of hellish brood" Sig. E4v. She advises him to obtain a set of armor "of vertue rare" lest he be overcome by the legions of fiends Pluto has sent for his destruction. Penardo follows the instructions and find the enchanted armor, forged in Hell at the behest of the priestess Cassandra.



ARGUMENT.
Penardo's ayde is cum to lat
The toun is set on fyre
He followes on the Enemie
Revenge is his desyre
A visione in his sleip appeirs
The whiche he does declear
Beneth Apollo's altar, He
Hes found an armour fair

Ambitioune is a passioune woundrous strong
Of noble courage and of mightie force
Whiche captive leads all galant spreits along
And even the strongest passions does enforce
Yea love it self whiche seemeth to contend
Yet oft ambitione victor proves in end.

Ambitione is an flamme that burns the mynd
With endles drouth still thristing efter glorye
A blind excessive gredine (of kynd)
To be imbost in tym's eternall storie
Still hunting after greatnes that we sie
Ambitione never satisfied to be.

Ambition heigh is not a Passione feat
For baseborne brain's, or wordlie small attemp's
Renoune and glorie stoups not to such bait
Those ar not capable but ar contemp's
For proud ambitioune beats and casts them doune
Whill as they seik praise, glory, and renoune.

Ambitione after gaine does not persue
Nor actions reapping profeit does it cair
But ay wheir dreidfull danger does ensu
Difficult strainge unusuall and rare
Ev'ne there, ambitione hunts for glorie ever
For base and wordlie gaine it caireth never.

This passione Prince Penardo did bereave
Of whom we write this following historie
Who thirsting after honor seem'd to leave
A famous name in Glorious memorie
In him ambitione, crewell warre susteind
Gainst love, and famous victorie obtaind

Who as we said recei'd that armie small
Wheir with he should releive Beotias neid
But Sigismundi (the citie for to thral)
Haid send the Transilvaniane Prince with speid
Whoes valarous renoune to heavne did munt
Wheir for Penardo with ambitione brunt,

He freat's, he froun's, he longs to reave the croune
Of fame and glory from Phelastons head
And set it on his owne, whith great renoune
To beir it through the world unconquered
More greif he fynds when one goes him before
Then joy in conquing of a thousand skore.

Now he right glade in gaining of this chairge
Tuo dayes led furth his army one the way
At last drew neir and on a plaine right large
Wold neids refresh his wearie men a day
And then he sends, to learne, to vew to kno
Th' estate, the place, the number of his foe.

When Phebus drinsh't his sylver shyning hair
In Thetis lape they saw a cloud aspyre
Whoes smook send suddane darknes throw the aer
Wherin appeird reid flashing flamm's of fyre
As if the earthe out of her bowells wyde
Had send to choak the loftie heavens for pryde.

While as the armie vewing stoode amaiz'd
Whoes hautie hearts no fear could harbor in
Yeit vew's with fear and fearing still they gaz'd
Their quyet murmur made a fearfull dine
At last the skoutts returning told ye treuth
Which mov'd them all to woe, to care, to reuth.

Know mightie Prince your enemies ar gone
Becaus they have fulfild their fearce desyre
For they have raysd the walls of yonder toun
And set it all with skoarching flamm's a fyre
Touns tours and walls in crewell fyre doth burne
Men, women, babs, by bloodie swords ar torne.

This was the caus of their destructione loe
They feard the Prince his ayde should come too lait
And laiking souldiours on their wall's to show
For their defence agains their crewell fate
Within a forrest full of lack's and fenn's
Thre hundreth robers lay in caves and denns.

The cheif of these was once a citizene
Who playing bancker out, his goods hade lost
Whairfore he hyed him to the Robers dene
Who chus'd him chiftane of their theevishe host
Him hyr'd they straight with soum's of Indiane gold
To guarde their walls and to defend their Hold

But he who had no pitie nor regaird
Unto their lywes but only to their gold
Agreid by privie letter's for reward
And to Phelaston has the citie sold
Ah haples wretch that canst destroy and kill
Men at thy mercie, thy command, and will.

Evne as the mightie marlion mounts the sky
And soares one loftie wing's with gaizing eyes
At last the chirming larke she does espy
Cheif chanter in the queir of all that flies
Whose hollow throat, sends furth a thousand sounds
To pearce the azure vaults that back redounds,

Her shrill sweit notts, with silent blowing breath
Now seing her fearce enemie aspyre
Pearcing the emptie aer to flie from death
Whil to prolong she mounteth, still the hyer
Bot with sad looks, whill thus she bids adue
Their she a wearie traveler does vew.

Whoes hart she oft had cheird with chirming cleir
Awaking him frome drousie sleip to ryse
And warnd him that Apollos light drew neir
And in his long'sum jorney did devyse
New not's wheiron she curious descant founds
Filling his ears with diapason sounds

And thinking now that he wold thankfull be
She hyes fast doune and seiks his ayde to beild her
With feirfull shreiks does in his besome flie
Glad that she song to him who now does sheild her
But he whoes hairt no pitie harbours loe
Delivers her unto her mortall foe.

So did this fructe of ill this welth of woe
This curse of havene in whoe unnaturall hart
No pitie could have place but to her foe
The citie yelds (for this her good desert)
That oft had song sweit not's of educatione
To draw him from his haples constellatione

Ev'ne so the ravening wolfe by simple goat
Broght up, with love, with travell, care, and, paine
And feid upon her teat (such is her loat)
Till strength and force and vigour he retaine
Then he whome she brought up so cairfullie
Her deith, her grave, her sepulchre must be

The Prince that pitied suche a sore mischance
Admiring much this monstrous crueltie
Swoor in a rage his armie to advance
Till he reveng'd Boeotias miserie
Which did inrol his praise above the skyes
His fame, woorth, valour, woundrous victories.

When Phebus harbinger in crimsone cled
Chaic'd donne to Hell nights hated hew abhorde
The flower that murn's for Phebus absence spred
Her beautie furthe and smyl's upone her Lord
Whoes birning beams and lyfe infusing rayes
Conforts the Earth and beautifieis ye skyes

Then through the campe a murmur gane to ryse
All cryes for armes the trumpets sounds aloud
Ther sturdie coursars courage loudly brayes
And seemd to cry for loftie sydars proud
They forward march't whith joy and great delight
Their willing mynds made heavie armour light

And martching thus with suche a restles pace
Thre dayes three nights, at last they com in sight
Of their proud foes who heiring of their chaice
Had lyk desyre lyrk will to prove their might
Shouts, clamours, cryes, on evrye syd descry
Their will, desyre, and hope of victory.

And yit Phelaston lyk ane champioune wyse
Forecasting perrells in his throught alone
Feard that Penardo's hardie enterpryse
Was but a craftie traine to draw him on
And that the armie in some corner lay
His campe upone a suddane to betreay

Yet being of a mightie galant mynd
He sham'd to flie at his imaginatione
Wheir fore in hast to Athens did he send
Wheir Brando lay at seige to show the fashione
Brando, the reull ov'r Servia did hold
Stout, hardy wight adventorous and bold

Which when he hard his seige he rais'd in hast
And to the Prince Phelaston martch'd along
Now know that in his camp their was at least
One horse and fute sum tuentie thousand strong
To Sigismund those newes he shortlie sends
Who rais'd his seige frome Thebs and thither wends.

Now Primum mobile hade drawen the light
With his swift course out of our Hemispere
And spred the jeatblack mantle of the night
That summonds all the creatures with fear
Unto their rest then for to be thair sheild
They built a canves citie on the feild

Whil thus he had incamped in their sight
Set furth his watch his campe intrinshit strong
This Campioune caus'd disarme them all that night
For their refreshment after jorney long
After repast the Prince to sleip is gone
And in his sleip appeird this visione.

A virgine Nymphe (whoes beautie dimd the sky)
With saddest looks with sobs with sighs with tears
So sorowfull the seem'd with weipping ey
Led by tuo feinds of Pluto's griesly fears
Her body seem'd all dyed in crimsone blood
Her garment skoarch'd in flamm's of hellish brood.

Thus leading her hard by him (as he thought)
She cryd o sweitt Penardo lend thy ayde
Whoes only strength the fates decree has wrought
To end the ceasles torments of a Mayde
Wheirat him thought he start with suddane fear
Drawing his brand those hellishe feinds to tear.

But then with myldest speeche she sayd no more
Thy willingnes suffeizeth at this tyme
A greatter danger thow must pas before
Thy happie ayde geve end unto my cryme
But mightie Jove in danger, warre, and stryfe
Preserve thy fame, thy honor, and thy lyfe.

Not farr their stands within a pleasant vaill
Ane altar built at Agamemnons cost
In honor of fair Pallas sacred Cell
When he was captain of the Graetiane host
Their, lyes a sword, a sheild, ane armour fair
Of woorth, of wounder, and of vertue rare.

Feight not before yow have this armour on
Whose woorth shall much advance thy wondrous fame
For know this much before tuo dayes by gone
That Pluto has conspyrt to spoyle thy name.
For he has send the Feinds in legions foorth
To seik to shame, to wrack, to staine, thy woorth.

And thus she vanisht quyt out of his sight
He wakeing one a suddane from his sleip
Thought this to be a fantasie too light
That from his humor'd braine did fondlie creip
Yet warlie did his thoughts one witt attend
Weying if good or ill theron depend.

Aurora in her purple robe arose
Warning proud Titan for to light the day
And drew, the courtens that did him disclose
In Thetis lovelie armes that dalleing lay
Who stole away and in the gloomie East
Reard up above the Earth his flamming crest.

How soone the Prince espyit his goldine light
He cald for Mandadorus Prince of Mesone
This Mandadorus was of greattest might
Of all his subjects save the Duik of Thesone
To him he told his dreame who said your grace
May try't and trying lett the trueth have place.

Wheirfore he send and from his antient roume
Causd raise the altar wheir they fand a stone
Of Alabastre builded lyk a Toumbe
In greik sum letters wer ingraft theron
Those we ethe words (ingraph't in gold so fyne
That now as first their lustre seem'd to shyne.

This pretious stone ane armour does retain
Whose woundrous woorth as yit shal no man know
Untill the Spreit of them that lives in pain
Evne to a mightie stranger shaell them show
Who with the same recalls relents, releifs,
Thrie Souls from paine, from death, from Hells mischeifs

Hid was the meaning darck the sentence seemd
Of all the trueth they could not type the ground
But this fair costlie armour as they deemd
Had at the famous wars of Troy beine found
Which grave and wyse Cassandra had invented
For Paris, Troys feirce fall to have prevented.

Lo thus it was she knowing by her art
The ruine of heavn threatning Troy drew neir
And that proud Paris his uniust desert
Should be the caus of such an endles weir
To him by art she had this armour wrought
That all the Gods decree might turne to nought,

For she discending to the lowest Hells
Her mightie powre in magick force she shew
The greislie Ghosts stood trembling whill she tells
Her will in frameing of this armour new
Loath to provyd remorce, remeid, releif
Who joy'd in blood, warre, murther, and mischeif.

Yitt fear them forc't they durst not disobey
Her mightie art and all-commanding will
For she with strainge characters could a lay
The pains of Hell from punishment of ill
Yea she the Suns diurnall course culd stay
And turne to darkest night the brightest day.

And whill these feinds this armour fyne did make
They forgd the metall first in Aetnas flame
And temperd it into the Stygiane lake
With herbs of woundrous force amongs't the same
That mightie strong inchantments can with stand
Yea sword, and fyre, and water, can command.

Joves douchter brought king Agamemnon furth
When she with them returning was to Troy
Who seing them of such a woundrous woorth
Bereft the grave Cassandra of her joy
Who had with herbs and flams of Flegitone
Composd a strange and admirable stone.

Which secreitlie she in this armour sett
Whose vertue was his owner for to stay
From love, and amorous desyr's to lett
Arming the hart gainst all venereall play
For princelie Paris she devys'd this traine
That he might render Helene back againe.

[sigs E-E6v]

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