Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Extracts from The Faerie Queene: The Quelling of the Blatant Beast
By Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)
 
[From Bk. vi.]

  THROUGH all estates he found that he had past,
In which he many massacres had left,
And to the Clergy now was come at last;
In which such spoile, such havocke, and such theft
He wrought, that thence all goodnesse he bereft,        5
That endlesse were to tell. The Elfin Knight,
Who now no place besides unsought had left,
At length into a Monastere did light,
Where he him found despoyling all with maine and might.
 
  Into their cloysters now he broken had,        10
Through which the Monckes he chaced here and there,
And them pursu’d into their dortours 1 sad,
And searched all their cels and secrets neare:
In which what filth and ordure did appeare,
Were yrkesome to report; yet that foule Beast,        15
Nought sparing them, the more did tosse and teare,
And ransacke all their dennes from most to least,
Regarding nought religion, nor their holy heast. 2
 
  From thence into the sacred Church he broke,
And robd the Chancell, and the deskes downe threw,        20
And Altars fouled, and blasphemy spoke,
And th’ Images, for all their goodly hew,
Did cast to ground, whilest none was them to rew;
So all confounded and disordered there:
But, seeing Calidore, away he flew,        25
Knowing his fatall hand by former feare;
But he him fast pursuing soone approched neare.
 
  Him in a narrow place he overtooke,
And fierce assailing forst him turne againe:
Sternely he turnd againe, when he him strooke        30
With his sharpe steele, and ran at him amaine
With open mouth, that seemed to containe
A full good pecke within the utmost brim,
All set with yron teeth in raunges twaine,
That terrifide his foes, and armed him,        35
Appearing like the mouth of Orcus griesly grim:
 
  And therein were a thousand tongs empight
Of sundry kindes and sundry quality;
Some were of dogs, that barked day and night;
And some of cats, that wrawling still did cry;        40
And some of Beares, that groynd continually;
And some of Tygres, that did seeme to gren
And snar at all that ever passed by:
But most of them were tongues of mortall men,
Which spake reprochfully, not caring where nor when.        45
 
  And them amongst were mingled here and there
The tongues of Serpents, with three forked stings,
That spat out poyson, and gore-bloudy gere,
At all that came within his ravenings;
And spake licentious words and hatefull things        50
Of good and bad alike, of low and hie,
Ne Kesars spared he a whit, nor Kings;
But either blotted them with infamie,
Or bit them with his banefull teeth of injury.
*        *        *        *        *
  Full cruelly the Beast did rage and rore        55
To be downe held, and maystred so with might,
That he gan fret and fome out bloudy gore,
Striving in vaine to rere him selfe upright:
For still, the more he strove, the more the Knight
Did him suppresse, and forcibly subdew,        60
That made him almost mad for fell despight:
He grind, hee bit, he scratcht, he venim threw,
And fared like a feend right horrible in hew:
 
  Or like the hell-borne Hydra, which they faine
That great Alcides whilome overthrew,        65
After that he had labourd long in vaine
To crop his thousand heads, the which still new
Forth budded, and in greater number grew.
Such was the fury of this hellish Beast,
Whilest Calidore him under him downe threw;        70
Who nathemore his heavy load releast,
But aye, the more he rag’d, the more his powre increast.
 
  Tho, when the Beast saw he mote nought availe
By force, he gan his hundred tongues apply,
And sharpely at him to revile and raile        75
With bitter termes of shamefull infamy;
Oft interlacing many a forged lie,
Whose like he never once did speake, nor heare,
Nor ever thought thing so unworthily:
Yet did he nought, for all that, him forbeare,        80
But strained him so streightly that he chokt him neare.
 
  At last, when as he found his force to shrincke
And rage to quaile, he tooke a muzzel strong
Of surest yron, made with many a lincke:
Therewith he mured up his mouth along,        85
And therein shut up his blasphemous tong,
For never more defaming gentle Knight,
Or unto lovely Lady doing wrong;
And thereunto a great long chaine he tight,
With which he drew him forth, even in his own despight.        90
 
  Like as whylome that strong Tirynthian swaine
Brought forth with him the dreadfull dog of hell,
Against his will fast bound in yron chaine,
And, roring horribly, did him compell
To see the hatefull sunne, that he might tell        95
To griesly Pluto what on earth was donne,
And to the other damned ghosts which dwell
For aye in darkenesse, which day-light doth shonne:
So led this Knight his captyve with like conquest wonne.
 
  Yet greatly did the Beast repine at those        100
Straunge bands, whose like till then he never bore,
Ne ever any durst till then impose;
And chauffed inly, seeing now no more
Him liberty was left aloud to rore:
Yet durst he not draw backe, nor once withstand        105
The proved powre of noble Calidore,
But trembled underneath his mighty hand,
And like a fearefull dog him followed through the land.
 
  Him through all Faery land he follow’d so,
As if he learned had obedience long,        110
That all the people, where so he did go,
Out of their townes did round about him throng,
To see him leade that Beast in bondage strong;
And seeing it much wondred at the sight:
And all such persons as he earst did wrong        115
Rejoyced much to see his captive plight,
And much admyr’d the Beast, but more admyr’d the Knight.
 
  Thus was this Monster, by the maystring might
Of doughty Calidore, supprest and tamed,
That never more he mote endammadge wight        120
With his vile tongue, which many had defamed,
And many causelesse caused to be blamed.
So did he eeke long after this remaine,
Until that, (whether wicked fate so framed
Or fault of men,) he broke his yron chaine,        125
And got into the world at liberty againe.
*        *        *        *        *
  So now he raungeth through the world againe,
And rageth sore in each degree and state;
Ne any is that may him now restraine,
He growen is so great and strong of late,        130
Barking and biting all that him doe bate
Albe they worthy blame, or cleare of crime:
Ne spareth he most learned wits to rate,
Ne spareth he the gentle Poets rime;
But rends without regard of person or of time.        135
 
  Ne may this homely verse, of many meanest,
Hope to escape his venemous despite,
More then my former writs, all were they cleanest
From blamefull blot, and free from all that wite
With which some wicked tongues did it backebite,        140
And bring into a mighty Peres displeasure,
That never so deserved to endite.
Therefore do you, my rimes, keep better measure,
And seeke to please; that now is counted wise mens threasure.
 
Note 1. dormitories. [back]
Note 2. behest. [back]
 
 
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