Verse > Edmund Spenser > Complete Poetical Works
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
The Faerie Queene
Book VI. The Legend of Sir Calidore
Canto X
        Calidore sees the Graces daunce
  To Colins melody:
The whiles his Pastorell is led
  Into captivity.

WHO now does follow the foule Blatant Beast,
Whilest Calidore does follow that faire mayd,
Unmyndfull of his vow, and high beheast
Which by the Faery Queene was on him layd,
That he should never leave, nor be delayd        5
From chacing him, till he had it attchieved?
But now entrapt of Love, which him betrayd,
He mindeth more how he may be relieved
With grace from her whose love his heart hath sore engrieved.
That from henceforth he meanes no more to sew
His former quest, so full of toile and paine;
Another quest, another game in vew
He hath, the guerdon of his love to gaine:
With whom he myndes for ever to remaine,
And set his rest amongst the rusticke sort,        15
Rather then hunt still after shadowes vaine
Of courtly favour, fed with light report
Of every blaste, and sayling alwaies in the port.
Ne certes mote he greatly blamed be,
From so high step to stoupe unto so low.        20
For who had tasted once (as oft did he)
The happy peace which there doth overflow,
And prov’d the perfect pleasures which doe grow
Amongst poore hyndes, in hils, in woods, in dales,
Would never more delight in painted show        25
Of such false blisse, as there is set for stales,
T’ entrap unwary fooles in their eternall bales.
For what hath all that goodly glorious gaze
Like to one sight which Calidore did vew?
The glaunce whereof their dimmed eies would daze,        30
That never more they should endure the shew
Of that sunne-shine, that makes them looke askew.
Ne ought in all that world of beauties rare,
(Save onely Glorianaes heavenly hew,
To which what can compare?) can it compare;        35
The which, as commeth now by course, I will declare.
One day as he did raunge the fields abroad,
Whilest his faire Pastorella was elsewhere,
He chaunst to come, far from all peoples troad,
Unto a place, whose pleasaunce did appere        40
To passe all others on the earth which were:
For all that ever was by Natures skill
Devized to worke delight was gathered there,
And there by her were poured forth at fill,
As if, this to adorne, she all the rest did pill.        45
It was an hill plaste in an open plaine,
That round about was bordered with a wood
Of matchlesse hight, that seem’d th’ earth to disdaine;
In which all trees of honour stately stood,
And did all winter as in sommer bud,        50
Spredding pavilions for the birds to bowre,
Which in their lower braunches sung aloud;
And in their tops the soring hauke did towre,
Sitting like king of fowles in majesty and powre.
And at the foote thereof, a gentle flud
His silver waves did softly tumble downe,
Unmard with ragged mosse or filthy mud;
Ne mote wylde beastes, ne mote the ruder clowne
Thereto approch, ne filth mote therein drowne:
But nymphes and faeries by the bancks did sit,        60
In the woods shade, which did the waters crowne,
Keeping all noysome things away from it,
And to the waters fall tuning their accents fit.
And on the top thereof a spacious plaine
Did spred it selfe, to serve to all delight,        65
Either to daunce, when they to daunce would faine,
Or else to course about their bases light;
Ne ought there wanted, which for pleasure might
Desired be, or thence to banish bale:
So pleasauntly the hill with equall hight        70
Did seeme to overlooke the lowly vale;
Therefore it rightly cleeped was Mount Acidale.
They say that Venus, when she did dispose
Her selfe to pleasaunce, used to resort
Unto this place, and therein to repose        75
And rest her selfe, as in a gladsome port,
Or with the Graces there to play and sport;
That even her owne Cytheron, though in it
She used most to keepe her royall court,
And in her soveraine majesty to sit,        80
She in regard hereof refusde and thought unfit.
Unto this place when as the Elfin knight
Approcht, him seemed that the merry sound
Of a shrill pipe he playing heard on hight,
And many feete fast thumping th’ hollow ground,        85
That through the woods their eccho did rebound.
He nigher drew, to weete what mote it be;
There he a troupe of ladies dauncing found
Full merrily, and making gladfull glee,
And in the midst a shepheard piping he did see.        90
He durst not enter into th’ open greene,
For dread of them unwares to be descryde,
For breaking of their daunce, if he were seene;
But in the covert of the wood did byde,
Beholding all, yet of them unespyde.        95
There he did see, that pleased much his sight,
That even he him selfe his eyes envyde,
An hundred naked maidens lilly white,
All raunged in a ring, and dauncing in delight.
All they without were raunged in a ring,
And daunced round; but in the midst of them
Three other ladies did both daunce and sing,
The whilest the rest them round about did hemme,
And like a girlond did in compasse stemme:
And in the middest of those same three was placed        105
Another damzell, as a precious gemme
Amidst a ring most richly well enchaced,
That with her goodly presence all the rest much graced.
Looke how the crowne, which Ariadne wore
Upon her yvory forehead that same day        110
That Theseus her unto his bridale bore,
When the bold Centaures made that bloudy fray
With the fierce Lapithes, which did them dismay,
Being now placed in the firmament,
Through the bright heaven doth her beams display,        115
And is unto the starres 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        120
Seem’d all the rest in beauty to excell,
Crownd with a rosie girlond, that right well
Did her beseeme. And ever, as the crew
About her daunst, sweet flowres, that far did smell,
And fragrant odours they uppon her threw;        125
But most of all, those three did her with gifts endew.
Those were the Graces, daughters of delight,
Handmaides of Venus, which are wont to haunt
Uppon this hill, and daunce there day and night:
Those three to men all gifts of grace do graunt,        130
And all that Venus in her selfe doth vaunt
Is borrowed of them. But that faire one,
That in the midst was placed paravaunt,
Was she to whom that shepheard pypt alone,
That made him pipe so merrily, as never none.        135
She was, to weete, that jolly shepheards lasse,
Which piped there unto that merry rout;
That jolly shepheard which there piped was
Poore Colin Clout (who knowes not Colin Clout?)
He pypt apace, whilest they him daunst about.        140
Pype, jolly shepheard, pype 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 advaunst to be another Grace.
Much wondred Calidore at this straunge sight,
Whose like before his eye had never seene
And standing long astonished in spright,
And rapt with pleasaunce, wist not what to weene;
Whether it were the traine of Beauties Queene,
Or nymphes, or faeries, or enchaunted show,        150
With which his eyes mote have deluded beene.
Therefore resolving, what it was, to know,
Out of the wood he rose, and toward them did go.
But soone as he appeared to their vew,
They vanisht all away out of his sight,        155
And cleane were gone, which way he never knew;
All save the shepheard, who, for fell despight
Of that displeasure, broke his bag-pipe quight,
And made great mone for that unhappy turne.
But Calidore, though no lesse sory wight        160
For that mishap, yet seeing him to mourne,
Drew neare, that he the truth of all by him mote learne:
And first him greeting, thus unto him spake:
‘Haile, jolly shepheard, which thy joyous dayes
Here leadest in this goodly merry make,        165
Frequented of these gentle nymphes alwayes,
Which to thee flocke, to heare thy lovely layes!
Tell me, what mote these dainty damzels be,
Which here with thee doe make their pleasant playes?
Right happy thou, that mayst them freely see:        170
But why, when I them saw, fled they away from me?’
‘Not I so happy,’ answerd then that swaine,
‘As thou unhappy, which them thence didst chace,
Whom by no meanes thou canst recall againe;
For being gone, none can them bring in place,        175
But whom they of them selves list so to grace.’
‘Right sory I,’ saide 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 lacke thee grieves so sore.’        180
Tho gan that shepheard thus for to dilate:
‘Then wote thou shepheard, whatsoever thou bee,
That all those ladies which thou sawest late
Are Venus damzels, all within her fee,
But differing in honour and degree:        185
They all are Graces, which on her depend,
Besides a thousand more, which ready bee
Her to adorne, when so she forth doth wend:
But those three in the midst doe chiefe on her attend.
‘They are the daughters of sky-ruling Jove,
By him begot of faire Eurynome,
The Oceans daughter, in this pleasant grove,
As he, this way comming from feastfull glee
Of Thetis wedding with Æacidee,
In sommers shade him selfe here rested weary.        195
The first of them hight mylde Euphrosyne,
Next faire Aglaia, last Thalia merry:
Sweete goddesses all three, which me in mirth do cherry.
‘These three on men all gracious gifts bestow,
Which decke the body or adorne the mynde,        200
To make them lovely or well favoured show,
As comely carriage, entertainement kynde,
Sweete semblaunt, friendly offices that bynde,
And all the complements of curtesie:
They teach us, how to each degree and kynde        205
We should our selves demeane, to low, to hie,
To friends, to foes; which skill men call civility.
‘Therefore they alwaies smoothly seeme to smile,
That we likewise should mylde and gentle be,
And also naked are, that without guile        210
Or false dissemblaunce all them plaine may see,
Simple and true, from covert malice free:
And eeke them selves so in their daunce they bore,
That two of them still froward seem’d to bee,
But one still towards shew’d her selfe afore;        215
That good should from us goe, then come, in greater store.
‘Such were those goddesses which ye did see;
But that fourth mayd, which there amidst them traced,
Who can aread what creature mote she bee,
Whether a creature, or a goddesse graced        220
With heavenly gifts from heven first enraced?
But what so sure she was, she worthy was
To be the fourth with those three other placed:
Yet was she certes but a countrey lasse,
Yet she all other countrey lasses farre did passe.        225
‘So farre as doth the daughter of the day
All other lesser lights in light excell,
So farre doth she in beautyfull array
Above all other lasses beare the bell:
Ne lesse in vertue, that beseemes her well,        230
Doth she exceede the rest of all her race;
For which the Graces, that here wont to dwell,
Have for more honor 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 gathered are,
Excelling much the meane of her degree;
Divine resemblaunce, beauty soveraine rare,
Firme chastity, that spight ne blemish dare;
All which she with such courtesie doth grace,        240
That all her peres cannot with her compare,
But quite are dimmed when she is in place.
She made me often pipe, and now to pipe apace.
‘Sunne of the world, great glory of the sky,
That all the earth doest lighten with thy rayes,        245
Great Gloriana, greatest Majesty,
Pardon thy shepheard, mongst so many layes
As he hath sung of thee in all his dayes,
To make one minime of thy poore handmayd,
And underneath thy feete to place her prayse,        250
That, when thy glory shall be farre displayd
To future age, of her this mention may be made.’
When thus that shepherd ended had his speach,
Sayd Calidore: ‘Now sure it yrketh mee,
That to thy blisse I made this luckelesse breach,        255
As now the author of thy bale to be,
Thus to bereave thy loves deare sight from thee:
But, gentle shepheard, pardon thou my shame,
Who rashly sought that which I mote not see.’
Thus did the courteous knight excuse his blame,        260
And to recomfort him all comely meanes did frame.
In such discourses they together spent
Long time, as fit occasion forth them led;
With which the knight him selfe did much content,
And with delight his greedy fancy fed,        265
Both of his words, which he with reason red,
And also of the place, whose pleasures rare
With such regard his sences ravished,
That thence he had no will away to fare,
But wisht that with that shepheard he mote dwelling share.        270
But that envenimd sting, the which of yore
His poysnous point deepe fixed in his hart
Had left, now gan afresh to rancle sore,
And to renue the rigour of his smart:
Which to recure, no skill of leaches art        275
Mote him availe, but to returne againe
To his wounds worker, that with lovely dart
Dinting his brest, had bred his restlesse paine,
Like as the wounded whale to shore flies from the maine.
So taking leave of that same gentle swaine,
He backe returned to his rusticke wonne,
Where his faire Pastorella did remaine:
To whome, in sort as he at first begonne,
He daily did apply him selfe to donne
All dewfull service, voide of thoughts impure:        285
Ne any paines ne perill did he shonne,
By which he might her to his love allure,
And liking in her yet untamed heart procure.
And evermore the shepheard Coridon,
What ever thing he did her to aggrate,        290
Did strive to match with strong contention,
And all his paines did closely emulate;
Whether it were to caroll, as they sate
Keeping their sheepe, or games to exercize,
Or to present her with their labours late;        295
Through which if any grace chaunst to arize
To him, the shepheard streight with jealousie did frize.
One day as they all three together went
To the greene wood, to gather strawberies,
There chaunst to them a dangerous accident:        300
A tigre forth out of the wood did rise,
That with fell clawes full of fierce gourmandize,
And greedy mouth, wide gaping like hell gate,
Did runne at Pastorell her to surprize;
Whom she beholding, now all desolate        305
Gan cry to them aloud, to helpe her all too late.
Which Coridon first hearing, ran in hast
To reskue her, but when he saw the feend,
Through cowherd feare he fled away as fast,
Ne durst abide the daunger of the end;        310
His life he steemed dearer then his frend.
But Calidore soone comming to her ayde,
When he the beast saw ready now to rend
His loves deare spoile, in which his heart was prayde,
He ran at him enraged, in stead of being frayde.        315
He had no weapon, but his shepheards hooke,
To serve the vengeaunce of his wrathfull will;
With which so sternely he the monster strooke,
That to the ground astonished he fell;
Whence ere he could recov’r, he did him quell,        320
And hewing off his head, it presented
Before the feete of the faire Pastorell;
Who scarcely yet from former feare exempted,
A thousand times him thankt, that had her death prevented.
From that day forth she gan him to affect,
And daily more her favour to augment;
But Coridon for cowherdize reject,
Fit to keepe sheepe, unfit for loves content:
The gentle heart scornes base disparagement.
Yet Calidore did not despise him quight,        330
But usde 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 wood her, and so well he wrought her,
With humble service, and with daily sute,        335
That at the last unto his will he brought her;
Which he so wisely well did prosecute,
That of his love he reapt the timely frute,
And joyed long in close felicity:
Till Fortune, fraught with malice, blinde and brute,        340
That envies lovers long prosperity,
Blew up a bitter storme of foule adversity.
It fortuned one day, when Calidore
Was hunting in the woods (as was his trade)
A lawlesse people, Brigants hight of yore,        345
That never usde to live by plough nor spade,
But fed on spoile and booty, which they made
Upon their neighbours which did nigh them border,
The dwelling of these shepheards did invade,
And spoyld their houses, and them selves did murder,        350
And drove away their flocks, with other much disorder.
Amongst the rest, the which they then did pray,
They spoyld old Melibee of all he had,
And all his people captive led away;
Mongst which this lucklesse mayd away was lad,        355
Faire Pastorella, sorrowfull and sad,
Most sorrowfull, most sad, that ever sight,
Now made the spoile of theeves and Brigants bad,
Which was the conquest of the gentlest knight
That ever liv’d, and th’ onely glory of his might.        360
With them also was taken Coridon,
And carried captive by those theeves away;
Who in the covert of the night, that none
Mote them descry, nor reskue from their pray,
Unto their dwelling did them close convay.        365
Their dwelling in a little island was,
Covered with shrubby woods, in which no way
Appeard for people in nor out to pas,
Nor any footing fynde for overgrowen gras.
For underneath the ground their way was made,
Through hollow caves, that no man mote discover
For the thicke shrubs, which did them alwaies shade
From view of living wight, and covered over:
But darkenesse dred and daily night did hover
Through all the inner parts, wherein they dwelt;        375
Ne lightned was with window, nor with lover,
But with continuall candlelight, which delt
A doubtfull sense of things, not so well seene as felt.
Hither those Brigants brought their present pray,
And kept them with continuall watch and ward,        380
Meaning, so soone as they convenient may,
For slaves to sell them, for no small reward,
To merchants, which them kept in bondage hard,
Or sold againe. Now when faire Pastorell
Into this place was brought, and kept with gard        385
Of griesly theeves, she thought her self in hell,
Where with such damned fiends she should in darknesse dwell.
But for to tell the dolefull dreriment,
And pittifull complaints, which there she made,
Where day and night she nought did but lament        390
Her wretched life, shut up in deadly shade,
And waste her goodly beauty, which did fade
Like to a flowre that feeles no heate of sunne,
Which may her feeble leaves with comfort glade—
But what befell her in that theevish wonne        395
Will in an other canto better be begonne.

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