Verse > Edmund Spenser > Complete Poetical Works
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
The Faerie Queene
Book III. The Legend of Britomartis
Canto X
        Paridell rapeth Hellenore:
  Malbecco her poursewes:
Fynds emongst Satyres, whence with him
  To turne she doth refuse.

THE MOROW next, so soone as Phœbus lamp
Bewrayed had the world with early light,
And fresh Aurora had the shady damp
Out of the goodly heven amoved quight,
Faire Britomart and that same Faery knight        5
Uprose, forth on their journey for to wend:
But Paridell complaynd, that his late fight
With Britomart so sore did him offend,
That ryde he could not, till his hurts he did amend.
So foorth they far’d, but he behind them stayd,
Maulgre his host, who grudged grivously
To house a guest that would be needes obayd,
And of his owne him left not liberty:
Might wanting measure moveth surquedry.
Two things he feared, but the third was death:        15
That fiers youngmans unruly maystery;
His money, which he lov’d as living breath;
And his faire wife, whom honest long he kept uneath.
But patience perforce, he must abie
What fortune and his fate on him will lay;        20
Fond is the feare that findes no remedie;
Yet warily he watcheth every way,
By which he feareth evill happen may:
So th’ evill thinkes by watching to prevent;
Ne doth he suffer her, nor night nor day,        25
Out of his sight her selfe once to absent.
So doth he punish her and eke himselfe torment.
But Paridell kept better watch then hee,
A fit occasion for his turne to finde.
False Love, why do men say thou canst not see,        30
And in their foolish fancy feigne thee blinde,
That with thy charmes the sharpest sight doest binde,
And to thy will abuse? Thou walkest free,
And seest every secret of the minde;
Thou seest all, yet none at all sees thee;        35
All that is by the working of thy deitee.
So perfect in that art was Paridell,
That he Malbeccoes halfen eye did wyle;
His halfen eye he wiled wondrous well,
And Hellenors both eyes did eke beguyle,        40
Both eyes and hart attonce, during the whyle
That he there sojourned his woundes to heale;
That Cupid selfe, it seeing, close did smyle,
To weet how he her love away did steale,
And bad that none their joyous treason should reveale.        45
The learned lover lost no time nor tyde,
That least avantage mote to him afford,
Yet bore so faire a sayle, that none espyde
His secret drift, till he her layd abord.
When so in open place and commune bord        50
He fortun’d her to meet, with commune speach
He courted her, yet bayted every word,
That his ungentle hoste n’ote him appeach
Of vile ungentlenesse, or hospitages breach.
But when apart (if ever her apart)
He found, then his false engins fast he plyde,
And all the sleights unbosomd in his hart;
He sigh’d, he sobd, he swownd, he perdy dyde,
And cast himselfe on ground her fast besyde:
Tho, when againe he him bethought to live,        60
He wept, and wayld, and false laments belyde,
Saying, but if she mercie would him give,
That he mote algates dye, yet did his death forgive.
And otherwhyles with amorous delights
And pleasing toyes he would her entertaine,        65
Now singing sweetly, to surprize her sprights,
Now making layes of love and lovers paine,
Bransles, ballads, vierlayes, and verses vaine;
Oft purposes, oft riddles he devysd,
And thousands like, which flowed in his braine,        70
With which he fed her fancy, and entysd
To take to his new love, and leave her old despysd.
And every where he might, and everie while,
He did her service dewtifull, and sewd
At hand with humble pride and pleasing guile,        75
So closely yet, that none but she it vewd,
Who well perceived all, and all indewd.
Thus finely did he his false nets dispred,
With which he many weake harts had subdewd
Of yore, and many had ylike misled:        80
What wonder then, if she were likewise carried?
No fort so fensible, no wals so strong,
But that continuall battery will rive,
Or daily siege, through dispurvayaunce long
And lacke of reskewes, will to parley drive;        85
And peece, that unto parley eare will give,
Will shortly yield it selfe, and will be made
The vassall of the victors will bylive:
That stratageme had oftentimes assayd
This crafty paramoure, and now it plaine displayd.        90
For through his traines he her intrapped hath,
That she her love and hart hath wholy sold
To him, without regard of gaine or scath,
Or care of credite, or of husband old,
Whom she hath vow’d to dub a fayre cucquold.        95
Nought wants but time and place, which shortly shee
Devized hath, and to her lover told.
It pleased well: so well they both agree;
So readie rype to ill, ill wemens counsels bee.
Darke was the evening, fit for lovers stealth,
When chaunst Malbecco busie be elsewhere,
She to his closet went, where all his wealth
Lay hid: thereof she countlesse summes did reare,
The which she meant away with her to beare;
The rest she fyr’d for sport, or for despight;        105
As Hellene, when she saw aloft appeare
The Trojane flames, and reach to hevens hight,
Did clap her hands, and joyed at that dolefull sight.
This second Helene, fayre Dame Hellenore,
The whiles her husband ran with sory haste,        110
To quench the flames which she had tyn’d before,
Laught at his foolish labour spent in waste,
And ran into her lovers armes right fast;
Where streight embraced, she to him did cry
And call alowd for helpe, ere helpe were past,        115
For lo! that guest did beare her forcibly,
And meant to ravish her, that rather had to dy.
The wretched man, hearing her call for ayd,
And ready seeing him with her to fly,
In his disquiet mind was much dismayd:        120
But when againe he backeward cast his eye,
And saw the wicked fire so furiously
Consume his hart, and scorch his idoles face,
He was therewith distressed diversely,
Ne wist he how to turne, nor to what place:        125
Was never wretched man in such a wofull cace.
Ay when to him she cryde, to her he turnd,
And left the fire; love money overcame:
But when he marked how his money burnd,
He left his wife; money did love disclame:        130
Both was he loth to loose his loved dame,
And loth to leave his liefest pelfe behinde,
Yet sith he n’ote save both, he sav’d that same
Which was the dearest to his dounghill minde,
The god of his desire, the joy of misers blinde.        135
Thus whilest all things in troublous uprore were,
And all men busie to suppresse the flame,
The loving couple neede no reskew feare,
But leasure had and liberty to frame
Their purpost flight, free from all mens reclame;        140
And Night, the patronesse of love-stealth fayre,
Gave them safeconduct, till to end they came:
So beene they gone yfere, a wanton payre
Of lovers loosely knit, where list them to repayre.
Soone as the cruell flames yslaked were,
Malbecco, seeing how his losse did lye,
Out of the flames, which he had quencht whylere,
Into huge waves of griefe and gealosye
Full deepe emplonged was, and drowned nye
Twixt inward doole and felonous despight:        150
He rav’d, he wept, he stampt, he lowd did cry,
And all the passions that in man may light
Did him attonce oppresse, and vex his caytive spright.
Long thus he chawd the cud of inward griefe,
And did consume his gall with anguish sore:        155
Still when he mused on his late mischiefe,
Then still the smart thereof increased more,
And seemd more grievous then it was before:
At last, when sorrow he saw booted nought,
Ne griefe might not his love to him restore,        160
He gan devise how her he reskew mought;
Ten thousand wayes he cast in his confused thought.
At last resolving, like a pilgrim pore,
To search her forth, where so she might be fond,
And bearing with him treasure in close store,        165
The rest he leaves in ground: so takes in hond
To seeke her endlong both by sea and lond.
Long he her sought, he sought her far and nere,
And every where that he mote understond
Of knights and ladies any meetings were,        170
And of eachone he mett he tidings did inquere.
But all in vaine; his woman was too wise,
Ever to come into his clouch againe,
And hee too simple ever to surprise
The jolly Paridell, for all his paine.        175
One day, as hee forpassed by the plaine
With weary pace, he far away espide
A couple, seeming well to be his twaine,
Which hoved close under a forest side,
As if they lay in wait, or els them selves did hide.        180
Well weened hee that those the same mote bee,
And as he better did their shape avize,
Him seemed more their maner did agree;
For th’ one was armed all in warlike wize,
Whom to be Paridell he did devize;        185
And th’ other, al yclad in garments light,
Discolourd like to womanish disguise,
He did resemble to his lady bright,
And ever his faint hart much earned at the sight.
And ever faine he towards them would goe,
But yet durst not for dread approchen nie,
But stood aloofe, unweeting what to doe,
Till that prickt forth with loves extremity,
That is the father of fowle gealosy,
He closely nearer crept, the truth to weet:        195
But, as he nigher drew, he easily
Might scerne that it was not his sweetest sweet,
Ne yet her belamour, the partner of his sheet.
But it was scornefull Braggadochio,
That with his servant Trompart hoverd there,        200
Sith late he fled from his too earnest foe:
Whom such whenas Malbecco spyed clere,
He turned backe, and would have fled arere;
Till Trompart ronning hastely, him did stay,
And bad before his soveraine lord appere:        205
That was him loth, yet durst he not gainesay,
And comming him before, low louted on the lay.
The boaster at him sternely bent his browe,
As if he could have kild him with his looke,
That to the ground him meekely made to bowe,        210
And awfull terror deepe into him strooke,
That every member of his body quooke.
Said he, ‘Thou man of nought, what doest thou here,
Unfitly furnisht with thy bag and booke,
Where I expected one with shield and spere,        215
To prove some deeds of armes upon an equall pere?’
The wretched man at his imperious speach
Was all abasht, and low prostrating, said:
‘Good sir, let not my rudenes be no breach
Unto your patience, ne be ill ypaid;        220
For I unwares this way by fortune straid,
A silly pilgrim driven to distresse,
That seeke a lady—’ There he suddein staid,
And did the rest with grievous sighes suppresse,
While teares stood in his eies, few drops of bitternesse.        225
‘What lady, man?’ said Trompart. ‘Take good hart,
And tell thy griefe, if any hidden lye:
Was never better time to shew thy smart
Then now that noble succor is thee by,
That is the whole worlds commune remedy.’        230
That chearful word his weak heart much did cheare,
And with vaine hope his spirits faint supply,
That bold he sayd: ‘O most redoubted pere,
Vouchsafe with mild regard a wretches cace to heare.’
Then sighing sore, ‘It is not long,’ saide hee,
‘Sith I enjoyd the gentlest dame alive;
Of whom a knight, no knight at all perdee,
But shame of all that doe for honor strive,
By treacherous deceipt did me deprive;
Through open outrage he her bore away,        240
And with fowle force unto his will did drive,
Which al good knights, that armes do bear this day,
Are bownd for to revenge and punish if they may.
‘And you, most noble lord, that can and dare
Redresse the wrong of miserable wight,        245
Cannot employ your most victorious speare
In better quarell then defence of right,
And for a lady gainst a faithlesse knight:
So shall your glory bee advaunced much,
And all faire ladies magnify your might,        250
And eke my selfe, albee I simple such,
Your worthy paine shall wel reward with guerdon rich.’
With that out of his bouget forth he drew
Great store of treasure, therewith him to tempt;
But he on it lookt scornefully askew,        255
As much disdeigning to be so misdempt,
Or a war-monger to be basely nempt;
And sayd: ‘Thy offers base I greatly loth,
And eke thy words uncourteous and unkempt:
I tread in dust thee and thy money both,        260
That, were it not for shame—’ So turned from him wroth.
But Trompart, that his maistres humor knew,
In lofty looks to hide an humble minde,
Was inly tickled with that golden vew,
And in his eare him rownded close behinde:        265
Yet stoupt he not, but lay still in the winde,
Waiting advauntage on the pray to sease;
Till Trompart, lowly to the grownd inclinde,
Besought him his great corage to appease,
And pardon simple man, that rash did him displease.        270
Big looking like a doughty doucepere,
At last he thus: ‘Thou clod of vilest clay,
I pardon yield, and with thy rudenes beare;
But weete henceforth, that all that golden pray,
And all that els the vaine world vaunten may,        275
I loath as doung, ne deeme my dew reward:
Fame is my meed, and glory vertues pay:
But minds of mortal men are muchell mard
And mov’d amisse with massy mucks unmeet regard.
‘And more, I graunt to thy great misery
Gratious respect; thy wife shall backe be sent,
And that vile knight, who ever that he bee,
Which hath thy lady reft, and knighthood shent,
By Sanglamort my sword, whose deadly dent
The blood hath of so many thousands shedd,        285
I sweare, ere long shall dearly it repent;
Ne he twixt heven and earth shall hide his hedd,
But soone he shalbe fownd, and shortly doen be dedd.’
The foolish man thereat woxe wondrous blith,
As if the word so spoken were halfe donne,        290
And humbly thanked him a thousand sith,
That had from death to life him newly wonne.
Tho forth the boaster marching, brave begonne
His stolen steed to thunder furiously,
As if he heaven and hell would overonne,        295
And all the world confound with cruelty,
That much Malbecco joyed in his jollity.
Thus long they three together traveiled,
Through many a wood and many an uncouth way,
To seeke his wife, that was far wandered:        300
But those two sought nought but the present pray,
To weete, the treasure which he did bewray,
On which their eies and harts were wholly sett,
With purpose how they might it best betray;
For sith the howre that first he did them lett        305
The same behold, therwith their keene desires were whett.
It fortuned, as they together far’d,
They spide, where Paridell came pricking fast
Upon the plaine, the which him selfe prepar’d
To giust with that brave straunger knight a cast,        310
As on adventure by the way he past:
Alone he rode without his paragone;
For having filcht her bells, her up he cast
To the wide world, and let her fly alone;
He nould be clogd. So had he served many one.        315
The gentle lady, loose at randon lefte,
The greene-wood long did walke, and wander wide
At wilde adventure, like a forlorne wefte,
Till on a day the Satyres her espide
Straying alone withouten groome or guide:        320
Her up they tooke, and with them home her ledd,
With them as housewife ever to abide,
To milk their gotes, and make them cheese and bredd,
And every one as commune good her handeled:
That shortly she Malbecco has forgott,
And eke Sir Paridell, all were he deare;
Who from her went to seeke another lott,
And now by fortune was arrived here,
Where those two guilers with Malbecco were.
Soone as the oldman saw Sir Paridell,        330
He fainted, and was almost dead with feare,
Ne word he had to speake, his griefe to tell,
But to him louted low, and greeted goodly well;
And after asked him for Hellenore.
‘I take no keepe of her,’ sayd Paridell,        335
‘She wonneth in the forrest there before.’
So forth he rode, as his adventure fell;
The whiles the boaster from his loftie sell
Faynd to alight, something amisse to mend;
But the fresh swayne would not his leasure dwell,        340
But went his way; whom when he passed kend,
He up remounted light, and after faind to wend.
‘Perdy nay,’ said Malbecco, ‘shall ye not:
But let him passe as lightly as he came:
For litle good of him is to be got,        345
And mickle perill to bee put to shame.
But let us goe to seeke my dearest dame,
Whom he hath left in yonder forest wyld:
For of her safety in great doubt I ame,
Least salvage beastes her person have despoyld:        350
Then all the world is lost, and we in vaine have toyld.’
They all agree, and forward them addrest:
‘Ah! but,’ said crafty Trompart, ‘weete ye well,
That yonder in that wastefull wildernesse
Huge monsters haunt, and many dangers dwell;        355
Dragons, and minotaures, and feendes of hell,
And many wilde woodmen, which robbe and rend
All traveilers; therefore advise ye well,
Before ye enterprise that way to wend:
One may his journey bring too soone to evill end.’        360
Malbecco stopt in great astonishment,
And with pale eyes fast fixed on the rest,
Their counsell crav’d, in daunger imminent.
Said Trompart: ‘You, that are the most opprest
With burdein of great treasure, I thinke best        365
Here for to stay in safetie behynd;
My lord and I will search the wide forest.’
That counsell pleased not Malbeccoes mynd;
For he was much afraid, him selfe alone to fynd.
‘Then is it best,’ said he, ‘that ye doe leave
Your treasure here in some security,
Either fast closed in some hollow greave,
Or buried in the ground from jeopardy,
Till we returne againe in safety:
As for us two, least doubt of us ye have,        375
Hence farre away we will blyndfolded ly,
Ne privy bee unto your treasures grave.’
It pleased: so he did. Then they march forward brave.
Now when amid the thickest woodes they were,
They heard a noyse of many bagpipes shrill,        380
And shrieking hububs them approching nere,
Which all the forest did with horrour fill:
That dreadfull sound the bosters hart did thrill
With such amazment, that in hast he fledd,
Ne ever looked back for good or ill,        385
And after him eke fearefull Trompart spedd;
The old man could not fly, but fell to ground half dedd.
Yet afterwardes close creeping as he might,
He in a bush did hyde his fearefull hedd.
The jolly Satyres, full of fresh delight,        390
Came dauncing forth, and with them nimbly ledd
Faire Helenore, with girlonds all bespredd,
Whom their May-lady they had newly made:
She, proude of that new honour which they redd,
And of their lovely fellowship full glade,        395
Daunst lively, and her face did with a lawrell shade.
The silly man that in the thickeet lay
Saw all this goodly sport, and grieved sore,
Yet durst he not against it doe or say,
But did his hart with bitter thoughts engore,        400
To see th’ unkindnes of his Hellenore.
All day they daunced with great lustyhedd,
And with their horned feet the greene gras wore,
The whiles their gotes upon the brouzes fedd,
Till drouping Phœbus gan to hyde his golden hedd.        405
Tho up they gan their mery pypes to trusse,
And all their goodly heardes did gather rownd,
But every Satyre first did give a busse
To Hellenore: so busses did abound.
Now gan the humid vapour shed the grownd        410
With perly deaw, and th’ earthes gloomy shade
Did dim the brightnesse of the welkin rownd,
That every bird and beast awarned made
To shrowd themselves, whiles sleepe their sences did invade.
Which when Malbecco saw, out of his bush
Upon his hands and feete he crept full light,
And like a gote emongst the gotes did rush,
That through the helpe of his faire hornes on hight,
And misty dampe of misconceyving night,
And eke through likenesse of his gotish beard,        420
He did the better counterfeite aright:
So home he marcht emongst the horned heard.
That none of all the Satyres him espyde or heard.
At night, when all they went to sleepe, he vewd
Whereas his lovely wife emongst them lay,        425
Embraced of a Satyre rough and rude,
Who all the night did minde his joyous play:
Nine times he heard him come aloft ere day,
That all his hart with gealosy did swell;
But yet that nights ensample did swell;        430
That not for nought his wife them loved so well,
When one so oft a night did ring his matins bell.
So closely as he could, he to them crept,
When wearie of their sport to sleepe they fell,
And to his wife, that now full soundly slept,        435
He whispered in her eare, and did her tell,
That it was he, which by her side did dwell,
And therefore prayd her wake, to heare him plaine.
As one out of a dreame not waked well,
She turnd her, and returned backe againe:        440
Yet her for to awake he did the more constraine.
At last with irkesom trouble she abrayd;
And then perceiving, that it was indeed
Her old Malbecco, which did her upbrayd
With loosenesse of her love and loathly deed,        445
She was astonisht with exceeding dreed,
And would have wakt the Satyre by her syde;
But he her prayd, for mercy or for meed,
To save his life, ne let him be descryde,
But hearken to his lore, and all his counsell hyde.        450
Tho gan he her perswade to leave that lewd
And loathsom life, of God and man abhord,
And home returne, where all should be renewd
With prefect peace and bandes of fresh accord,
And she received againe to bed and bord,        455
As if no trespas ever had beene donne:
But she it all refused at one word,
And by no meanes would to his will be wonne,
But chose emongst the jolly Satyres still to wonne.
He wooed her till day spring he espyde;
But all in vaine: and then turnd to the heard,
Who butted him with hornes on every syde,
And trode downe in the durst, where his hore beard
Was fowly dight, and he of death afeard.
Early, before the heavens fairest light        465
Out of the ruddy east was fully reard,
The heardes out of their foldes were loosed quight,
And he emongst the rest crept forth in sory plight.
So soone as he the prison dore did pas,
He ran as fast as both his feet could beare,        470
And never looked who behind him was,
Ne scarsely who before: like as a beare,
That creeping close, amongst the hives to reare
An hony combe, the wakefull full dogs espy,
And him assayling, sore his carkas teare,        475
That hardly he with life away does fly,
Ne stayes, till safe him selfe he see from jeopardy.
Ne stayd he, till he came unto the place,
Where late his treasure he entombed had;
Where when he found it not (for Trompart bace        480
Had it purloyned for his maister bad)
With extreme fury he became quite mad,
And ran away, ran with him selfe away:
That who so straungely had him seene bestadd,
With upstart haire and staring eyes dismay,        485
From Limbo lake him late escaped sure would say.
High over hilles and over dales he fledd,
As if the wind him on his winges had borne,
Ne bancke nor bush could stay him, when he spedd
His nimble feet, as treading still on thorne:        490
Griefe, and despight, and gealosy, and scorne
Did all the way him follow hard behynd,
And he himselfe himselfe loath’d so forlorne,
So shamefully forlorne of womankynd;
That, as a snake, still lurked in his wounded mynd.        495
Still fled he forward, looking backward still,
Ne stayd his flight, nor fearefull agony,
Till that he came unto a rocky hill,
Over the sea suspended dreadfully,
That living creature it would terrify        500
To looke adowne, or upward to the hight:
Form thence he threw him selfe dispiteously,
All desperate of his fore-dammed spright,
That seemd no help for him was left in living sight.
But through long anguish and selfe-murdring thought,
He was so wasted and forpined quight,
That all his substance was consum’d to nought,
And nothing left, but like an aery spright,
That on the rockes he fell so flit and light,
That he thereby receiv’d no hurt at all;        510
But chaunced on a craggy cliff to light;
Whence he with crooked clawes so long did crall,
That at the last he found a cave with entrance small.
Into the same he creepes, and thenceforth there
Resolv’d to build his balefull mansion,        515
In drery darkenes, and continuall feare
Of that rocks fall, which ever and anon
Threates with huge ruine him to fall upon,
That he dare never sleepe, but that one eye
Still ope he keepes for that occasion;        520
Ne ever rests he in tranquillity,
The roring billowes beat his bowre so boystrously.
Ne ever is he wont on ought to feed
But todes and frogs, his pasture poysonous,
Which in his cold complexion doe breed        525
A filthy blood, or humour rancorous,
Matter of doubt and dread suspitious,
That doth with curelesse care consume the hart,
Corrupts the stomacke with gall vitious,
Croscuts the liver with internall smart,        530
And doth transfixe the soule with deathes eternall dart.
Yet can he never dye, but dying lives,
And doth himselfe with sorrow new sustaine,
That death and life attonce unto him gives,
And painefull pleasure turnes to pleasing paine.        535
There dwels he ever, miserable swaine,
Hatefull both to him selfe and every wight;
Where he, through privy griefe and horrour vaine,
Is woxen so deform’d, that he has quight
Forgot he was a man, and Gelosy is hight.        540

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