1615
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Penardo and Laissa. Caput. X.

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 sleeps and Laissa appears in a vision, begging him to come to her in a burning cave at the foot of Mount Parnassus. Entering the flaming cave he encounters a giant who knocking Penardo senseless, bears him to the realms of Pluto. Recovering, he slays the giant and is met by a maid who leads him "Where he does heir a dreidfull sounding voyce | Lyik to the skritching of the nights blak Houle | Hissing of serpents, and the greislie noyes | Of ghostly spreits in Plutoes court so foule" Sig H7v. Proceeding on, Penardo meets a dying knight, who tells him of an enchanted virgin and warns of the hopeless situation of those who have attempted to free the lady — for to see her is to love her, and to love her is to fail in the quest.



ARGUMENT.
Penardo by a visione warn'd
Does pas trough Pluto's Port
He kild a Gyant, when to him
A Virgine does resort
Who leids him throw a dreidfall cave
Wheir fearfull ghosts abyde
He finds a deing Knight that shous
What thair should him betyde.

The mightie mynd that harbours hautie deid's
And is conceav'd with, child of glorious gaine
Can rest no wheir but to the birth proceids
Of glorious act's brought furth with endles paine
Such restles thought's Penardo did torment
Still longing whil the night were over spent.

At last Aurora shews wheir she was layd
In aiged Tithons arm's and up did spring
Blushing for shame that she so long had stayde
Her goldin loks for haist did lously hing
Her crimsone chariot made no longer stay
From criestal heavn's to chace dark night away.

As Pilot one the seas has stay'd his sight
Upone the fixed Pole his course to guyde
Whill foggie smook and tempests cloudie night
The burnisht light of that bright lamp doeth hyde
Then to his compas has recourse, wheirby
He guyds his hollow veshell stedfastly.

Ev'ne so Penardo that was all alone
Who hade no servand nor no trustie guyde
One hope he setts his stayd opinione
And with that compas constant does abyde
And furthe upone his waye he still proceids
Fed with desyre of heighe and glorious deids.

Three dayes he traveld finding nought, at last
With wearie bones he layde him doune to sleip
Whill as with sudden fear he was agast
A visione in his restles braine did creip
The Lady whiche he saw before tormented
Was with those pains agane opprest, presented.

This was the ghost of the enchaunted fair
Laissa whom Penardo must releeve
Evne that fair Mayde who to him did repair
Before the battells, to prevent mischeive
So much her wrong and her desyre so just
That pitie bad him ayde, and ayde he must

And now for to performe his promeis past
She comes agane for to emploir his ayde.
Requesting him that he wold come at last
To end the ceasles torments of a Mayde
Whom he within the burning cave shall fynd
Evne at the foote of proud Parnassus pynd.

The Prince awaking from his sleip arose
From of the grasse wheiron he softly lay
And wheir his horse was feidding their he goes
While as Aurora gane, to light the day
He travel'd still till that the Cave he seis
Led with revenge, hope, valour, victories.

Whose sulphur flams would fearfull hairts have stayd
The mounting smook such trembling terrour shows
But he who was not borne to be effrayde
Still in the greattest dangers did rejoyse
And since he saw no entrie but by fyre
Valour bred hope, and courage bred desyre.

Resolving thus his murdring blade he drawes
And thrusts him self withe furie throgh ye same
His swords sharpe point directing fordwart shawes
His brave assault against the sulphur flamme
Which geveing place divyds it selfe in tuo
As if it feird his valour for to know.

Now on he goes till he has past the light
Throgh caves wheir glomie darknes still abyds
Which seem'd the pallace of eternall Night
Wheir she her store of sable treasure hyds
And eeke from whence her mantles black she brings.
Whoes dreidfull terrour tams all leiving things.

Yet this our Prince Penardo nothing letts
But on he goes, at last he heirs a noyis
Lyik to the opning up of brasin gatts
Wheirfro their came this dreidfull sounding voyce
Who past throgh Plotos' port without paynes,
His due in fyrie Phlegiton remains.

Then ishew'd from a deip and hollow Cave
Tuo Dwarfs that held in evrie hand a torche
By whoes great light the Prince might weel perceave
A monstrous Gyant mounting from a porche
Great lyk a tour that braithd furthe smooke and ire
His eyes no eyes but tuo great flamm's of fyre.

The Prince was not amaized at the sight
But rather was desyrous of renoune
With sword and sheild him self he bravelie dight
With courage brave to him descending doune
Whose mass, lyke to ane irone Bolt on hight
He rair'd, with wraith, powre, furie, strength and might.

And beatts with force the Prince his sheild aback.
Upone his face till with that mightie bloe
He forcd him tumbling doune the steps, to mack
Homage upone his face unto his foe
Then with ane other bloe upon his creist
He made his lyvevish breath forsaik his breist.

Thus being sensles layd upon the ground
His mightie hand his murdring blade forsook
The Gyant (that perceavd him in that stound)
Up under his left arme him lightlie took,
So go shalks doe who ceasing on their pray
Mounts in the aer and lightlie flies away.

He caries him throw many fearfull wayes
Till he arryv'd unto a pleasant plaine
Wheir stoode a pallace poynting at the skyes
Whoes loftie turretts seem'd for to disdaine
The basest earthe and beautifie'd the aer,
With brightest Alabastre tours so fair.

Then drawing neir unto the castell gett
The Gyant wearie of this burthen strong
Threw him to ground and doun him self he sees
To breathe a whyle who had not rested long
When by the fall the Prince agane reveiv'd
Aer brought him breath, breath lyfe from death relev'd

And being weel awaked frome his dreame
He wounde that these wounderfull events
When memorie returnd he blusht for shame
All his confused thoughts bred discontents
And when he soght up from the ground to cleir him
The gyant with his masse agane drew neir him.

Which lighted one his shoulder with such force
That one his hands agane he stoupt to ground
Who by this rude intreatment raiging worse
Raige brought him strength and strength his courage found
His armed fist aloft he stronglie rears
And beats the Gyants brains about his ears.

The gyant fell with such a fearfull noyes
As when a thunderbolt from heavne does fall
Whoes lightning seems to rent the azure skyes
And shaks the powr's of heavne and earth withall
Or lyk a wind whoes furious devastatione
Doune throw the aer does shak the earth fundatione.

Evne with such noyes the Gyant fell to ground
While presentlie the earth did him devour
Receaveing him within her hollow wound
Then clos'd agane lyke as she was before
Wheir at great Jasons Nevoy was amazd
And deim'd he was sum feind by magick rais'd.

While he in this amazed moode did stand
Hard at his feitt his sworde he did espy
The which how some he gotte into his hand
He marrched forwart most couragiouslye
But neirer to the pallace when he came
He thought him ay the farther from the same.

So thinks the courious man that wold attaine
By travell to heavne threatning Atlas tope
Mounting as far as first his eyes hade sein
It seems ane other Atlas ryseth upe
Whoes tope did aeirs thrid regione proudlie threat
Compast with clouds and skoartch'd with Phoebus heate

Then is his hope accompanied with doubt
Such hope such doubt dwelt in Penardos thought
He staid him self and looking round about
His gaizing eyes unto his vew sune brought
A Mayd who towards him directs her pase
And first saluts him with a modest grace.

Then ax'd him whither he was mynd'tt to goe
He sayd that galant fortres for to sie
Quod she thow finds no entres their but loo
If thow would enter thow must goe with me
Content was he to goe, to know, to prove,
To end the pains of death of lyfe, of love.

At last she came unto a vault or groat
Whoes greislienes was fearfull to behold
But he who onlie had unto his lott
A brave undanted Spreit with courage bold
Straight followed her from light of day to darknes
And lost her in that unaquanted marknes.

Where he does heir a dreidfull sounding voyce
Lyik to the skritching of the nights blak Houle
Hissing of serpents, and the greislie noyes
Of ghostly spreits in Plutoes court so foule
Who if his armours vertue had not saift him
Of lyfe, of fame, of glorie, wold had reft him.

Whom they begin to buffet heir and their
Him beat thay oft unto the ground agane
Yet could he nothing find but filthie aer
Whoes smook might weell consume a world of men
Such filthie smook it was such uglie blasts
As Aetna from his dreidfull mouth forth casts.

He drawes his sword and forward still he goes
Vowing to sie the end of these events
The further in, the thicker grow the bloes
At last a fearfull noyes to him presents
A thundring sound a fearfull trembling shak
Whoes dreidfull voice made all the earth to quak.

Yet he procids and thinks them all but toyes
And stumbling doune at last to ground he fell
While as he hard a piteous groneing voice
Lyk to the sore tormented soulls in hell
That in this greislie cave, this darksum shade
A houling and a yowling sound still made.

The deing grones of sum tormented wight
He seemd to heir amongs these fearfull sounds
Their Sorow dwelt, and their eternall Night
Of everlasting horror still resounds
But he no terrour fear's nor daunger dreids
But forward goes and throw the dark proceids.

As does the blind in desert forrests wyde
Ow'r hazards roks caves, craiges and montanes wander
While fear of death has chast his faithfull guyde
Evne feir of tempests lightning storme and thunder
When as he heirs a noyes, a sound a cry
Hope throw the danger guyds him hastilye,

So wanders he stout hardy fearles bold
Att last upone a deing Knight he fell
Skarce could he speik bott zett this much he told
Ah tho thou seiks for death Dispair and Hell
Heir duells sad death plagues, torments, heir remains
Hell brings from this her everlasting Pains.

Ah crewell death, ah blak dispair alace
Wo wo and with the word wo chokd his breath
The Prince that pitied such a wofull cace
Heav'd up his heid and said relent from Death
Perhaps some hope sum hap, sum help remain
He answerd, (nocht but this one word) In vane.

Why (quod the Prence) is thy releife in vaine
If God so pleas his grace and mercie lend
But to this house and to this hell of paine
How cams't thow in, or wast thow heir in send
Faine would I know wheir with the deing Knight
Breathd furth these words thoght weakly as he might:

Within this cave their is a virgin Mayde
Love dairteth lightning from her glorious eyes
Her beautie bright does all their hairts invade
(With death, love, furie, passione) that her seis
Muche is the force, the strength, the vigour much
Who seis her, deis for love, th' enchantments such,

Many attempt's this adventure to end
But still they end themselfs and it remains
Which I poore I has too too suirlie kend,
And now must pay my lyf for these my pains
My bosume keips her beauties burning fyre
That tears my hairt in peeces with desyre.

Ah pitie (said the Prence) is their remeid
To save thy lyfe and quensh youths loveing flamme
No no (sayd he) theirs naine till I be deid
Heir many mo lies buried for the same
Wheirfore go back, leave of, returne againe
Heir is no heyre bot death for all thy paine

Then sai'd the Prince I surelie wer to blame
Not seing danger, for to leave it soe
Quod he then since thow cairs so muche for shame
I pray the tak my counsall or thow goe
Above this dreidfull Cave their stands a laik
Whoes restles waves this thundring noyes does mak.

The Mayde is on ane altar sacrafeizd
With sulpher flamms of fyre to Pluto's Deitie
Tuelf hours within that fyre sho's, martyrizd
And tuelf houres dround in blood with out all pitie
Before her burnes a Taper will not slaik
Bot in the water of that thundring laik,

This Taper yow must win with mightie force
Syne drinsh it in the forsaid laik and lo
Her flamm's ar quenshed then with great remorce
But how to quenshe the blood yow their shall kno
Yet if yow be intangled by her beautie
Thy hairt thy eyes thy hands shall leave their duetie.

Now if the burning Tapre thou obtein
To get it back shall many wayes be sought
As soone as it thou wants by any mein
As soone shall she from lyf to death be brought
Bot if thow be intangled with her love
The Tapre frome his place thow can not move.

Thus fair you weell, and with the word the Knight
Sunck doune with sleip of leaddin death opprest
Greif woe, and pitie, did the Prince affright
His valour, courage, hope, they muche distrest
He goes but confort, whill his guyde was cair
His manlie hairt assayld with cold dispair.

Though he was still turmoyld with cair and greif
Though daunger still forbids his interpryse
Tough sad dispair threat's death without releif
And though Dreid, fame and conquest both denyes
Yet fordward still he goes but cair or paine
And hops ane happie succes for to gaine.

[sigs H4-I1v]

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