Verse > Edmund Spenser > Complete Poetical Works
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
The Faerie Queene
Book IV. The Legend of Cambel and Triamond
Canto XI
        Marinells former wound is heald;
  He comes to Proteus hall,
Where Thames doth the Medway wedd,
  And feasts the sea-gods all.

BUT ah for pittie that I have thus long
Left a fayre ladie languishing in payne!
Now well away! that I have doen such wrong,
To let faire Florimell in bands remayne,
In bands of love, and in sad thraldomes chayne!        5
From which unlesse some heavenly powre her free
By miracle, not yet appearing playne,
She lenger yet is like captiv’d to bee:
That even to thinke thereof it inly pitties mee.
Here neede you to remember, how erewhile
Unlovely Proteus, missing to his mind
That virgins love to win by wit or wile,
Her threw into a dongeon deepe and blind,
And there in chaynes her cruelly did bind,
In hope thereby her to his bent to draw:        15
For when as neither gifts nor graces kind
Her constant mind could move at all, he saw,
He thought her to compell by crueltie and awe.
Deepe in the bottome of an huge great rocke
The dongeon was, in which her bound he left,        20
That neither yron barres, nor brasen locke,
Did neede to gard from force or secret theft
Of all her lovers, which would her have reft.
For wall’d it was with waves, which rag’d and ror’d
As they the cliffe in peeces would have cleft;        25
Besides, ten thousand monsters foule abhor’d
Did waite about it, gaping griesly, all begor’d.
And in the midst thereof did horror dwell,
And darkenesse dredd, that never viewed day,
Like to the balefull house of lowest hell,        30
In which old Styx her aged bones alway,
Old Styx the grandame of the gods, doth lay.
There did this lucklesse mayd seven months abide,
Ne ever evening saw, ne mornings ray,
Ne ever from the day the night descride,        35
But thought it all one night, that did no houres divide.
And all this was for love of Marinell,
Who her despysd (ah! who would her despyse?)
And wemens love did from his hart expell,
And all those joyes that weake mankind entyse.        40
Nathlesse his pride full dearely he did pryse;
For of a womans hand it was ywroke,
That of the wound he yet in languor lyes,
Ne can be cured of that cruell stroke
Which Britomart him gave, when he did her provoke.        45
Yet farre and neare the nymph, his mother, sought,
And many salves did to his sore applie,
And many herbes did use. But when as nought
She saw could ease his rankling maladie,
At last to Tryphon she for helpe did hie,        50
(This Tryphon is the seagods surgeon hight)
Whom she besought to find some remedie:
And for his paines a whistle him behight,
That of a fishes shell was wrought with rare delight.
So well that leach did hearke to her request,
And did so well employ his carefull paine,
That in short space his hurts he had redrest,
And him restor’d to healthfull state againe:
In which he long time after did remaine
There with the nymph his mother, like her thrall;        60
Who sore against his will did him retaine,
For feare of perill, which to him mote fall,
Through his too ventrous prowesse proved over all.
It fortun’d then, a solemne feast was there
To all the sea-gods and their fruitfull seede,        65
In honour of the spousalls which then were
Betwixt the Medway and the Thames agreed.
Long had the Thames (as we in records reed)
Before that day her wooed to his bed;
But the proud nymph would for no worldly meed,        70
Nor no entreatie to his love be led;
Till now at last relenting, she to him was wed.
So both agreed that this their bridale feast
Should for the gods in Proteus house be made;
To which they all repayr’d, both most and least,        75
Aswell which in the mightie ocean trade,
As that in rivers swim, or brookes doe wade.
All which not if an hundred tongues to tell,
And hundred mouthes, and voice of brasse I had,
And endlesse memorie, that mote excell,        80
In order as they came, could I recount them well.
Helpe therefore, O thou sacred imp of Jove,
The noursling of Dame Memorie his deare,
To whom those rolles, layd up in heaven above,
And records of antiquitie appeare,        85
To which no wit of man may comen neare;
Helpe me to tell the names of all those floods,
And all those nymphes, which then assembled were
To that great banquet of the watry gods,
And all their sundry kinds, and all their hid abodes.        90
First came great Neptune with his three-forkt mace,
That rules the seas, and makes them rise or fall;
His dewy lockes did drop with brine apace,
Under his diademe imperiall:
And by his side his queene with coronall,        95
Faire Amphitrite, most divinely faire,
Whose yvorie shoulders weren covered all,
As with a robe, with her owne silver haire,
And deckt with pearles, which th’ Indian seas for her prepaire.
These marched farre afore the other crew;
And all the way before them as they went,
Triton his trompet shrill before them blew,
For goodly triumph and great jollyment,
That made the rockes to roare, as they were rent.
And after them the royall issue came,        105
Which of them sprung by lineall descent:
First the sea-gods, which to themselves doe clame
The powre to rule the billowes, and the waves to tame:
Phorcys, the father of that fatall brood,
By whom those old heroes wonne such fame;        110
And Glaucus, that wise southsayes understood;
And tragicke Inoes sonne, the which became
A god of seas through his mad mothers blame,
Now hight Palemon, and is saylers frend;
Great Brontes, and Astræus, that did shame        115
Himselfe with incest of his kin unkend;
And huge Orion, that doth tempests still portend;
The rich Cteatus, and Eurytus long;
Neleus and Pelias, lovely brethren both;
Mightie Chrysaor, and Caïcus strong;        120
Eurypulus, that calmes the waters wroth;
And faire Euphœmus, that upon them goth
As on the ground, without dismay or dread;
Fierce Eryx, and Alebius that know’th
The waters depth, and doth their bottome tread;        125
And sad Asopus, comely with his hoarie head.
There also some most famous founders were
Of puissant nations, which the world possest;
Yet sonnes of Neptune, now assembled here:
Ancient Ogyges, even th’ auncientest,        130
And Inachus renowmd above the rest;
Phœnix, and Aon, and Pelasgus old,
Great Belus, Phœax, and Agenor best;
And mightie Albion, father of the bold
And warlike people which the Britaine Islands hold.        135
For Albion the sonne of Neptune was,
Who, for the proofe of his great puissance,
Out of his Albion did on dry-foot pas
Into old Gall, that now is cleeped France,
To fight with Hercules, that did advance        140
To vanquish all the world with matchlesse might,
And there his mortall part by great mischance
Was slaine: but that which is th’ immortall spright
Lives still, and to this feast with Neptunes seed was dight.
But what doe I their names seeke to reherse,
Which all the world have with their issue fild?
How can they all in this so narrow verse
Contayned be, and in small compasse hild?
Let them record them, that are better skild,
And know the moniments of passed age:        150
Onely what needeth shall be here fulfild,
T’ expresse some part of that great equipage,
Which from great Neptune do derive their parentage.
Next came the aged Ocean, and his dame,
Old Tethys, th’ oldest two of all the rest,        155
For all the rest of those two parents came,
Which afterward both sea and land possest:
Of all which Nereus, th’ eldest and the best,
Did first proceed, then which none more upright,
Ne more sincere in word and deed profest;        160
Most voide of guile, most free from fowle despight,
Doing him selfe, and teaching others to doe right.
Thereto he was expert in prophecies,
And could the ledden of the gods unfold,
Through which, when Paris brought his famous prise,        165
The faire Tindarid lasse, he him fortold,
That her all Greece with many a champion bold
Should fetch againe, and finally destroy
Proud Priams towne. So wise is Nereus old,
And so well skild; nathlesse he takes great joy        170
Oft-times amongst the wanton nymphs to sport and toy.
And after him the famous rivers came,
Which doe the earth enrich and beautifie:
The fertile Nile, which creatures new doth frame;
Long Rhodanus, whose sourse springs from the skie;        175
Faire Ister, flowing from the mountaines hie;
Divine Scamander, purpled yet with blood
Of Greekes and Trojans, which therein did die;
Pactolus glistring with his golden flood,
And Tygris fierce, whose streames of none may be withstood;        180
Great Ganges, and immortall Euphrates,
Deepe Indus, and Mæander intricate,
Slow Peneus, and tempestuous Phasides,
Swift Rhene, and Alpheus still immaculate;
Ooraxes, feared for great Cyrus fate;        185
Tybris, renowmed for the Romaines fame;
Rich Oranochy, though but knowen late;
And that huge river, which doth beare his name
Of warlike Amazons, which doe possesse the same.
Joy on those warlike women, which so long
Can from all men so rich a kingdome hold!
And shame on you, O men, which boast your strong
And valiant hearts, in thoughts lesse hard and bold,
Yet quaile in conquest of that land of gold!
But this to you, O Britons, most pertaines,        195
To whom the right hereof it selfe hath sold;
The which, for sparing litle cost or paines,
Loose so immortall glory, and so endlesse gaines.
Then was there heard a most celestiall sound
Of dainty musicke, which did next ensew        200
Before the spouse: that was Arion crownd;
Who, playing on his harpe, unto him drew
The eares and hearts of all that goodly crew,
That even yet the dolphin, which him bore
Through the Agæan seas from pirates vew,        205
Stood still by him astonisht at his lore,
And all the raging seas for joy forgot to rore.
So went he playing on the watery plaine.
Soone after whom the lovely bridegroome came,
The noble Thamis, with all his goodly traine;        210
But him before there went, as best became,
His auncient parents, namely th’ auncient Thame:
But much more aged was his wife then he,
The Ouze, whom men doe Isis rightly name;
Full weake and crooked creature seemed shee,        215
And almost blind through eld, that scarce her way could see.
Therefore on either side she was sustained
Of two smal grooms, which by their names were hight
The Churne and Charwell, two small streames, which pained
Them selves her footing to direct aright,        220
Which fayled oft through faint and feeble plight:
But Thame was stronger, and of better stay;
Yet seem’d full aged by his outward sight,
With head all hoary, and his beard all gray,
Deawed with silver drops, that trickled downe alway.        225
And eke he somewhat seem’d to stoupe afore
With bowed backe, by reason of the lode
And auncient heavy burden which he bore
Of that faire city, wherein make abode
So many learned impes, that shoote abrode,        230
And with their braunches spred all Britany,
No lesse then do her elder sisters broode.
Joy to you both, ye double noursery
Of arts! but, Oxford, thine doth Thame most glorify.
But he their sonne full fresh and jolly was,
All decked in a robe of watchet hew,
On which the waves, glittering like christall glas,
So cunningly enwoven were, that few
Could weenen whether they were false or trew.
And on his head like to a coronet        240
He wore, that seemed strange to common vew,
In which were many towres and castels set,
That it encompast round as with a golden fret.
Like as the mother of the gods, they say,
In her great iron charet wonts to ride,        245
When to Joves pallace she doth take her way,
Old Cybele, arayd with pompous pride,
Wearing a diademe embattild wide
With hundred turrets, like a turribant.
With such an one was Thamis beautifide;        250
That was to weet the famous Troynovant,
In which her kingdomes throne is chiefly resiant.
And round about him many a pretty page
Attended duely, ready to obay;
All little rivers, which owe vassallage        255
To him, as to their lord, and tribute pay:
The chaulky Kenet, and the Thetis gray,
The morish Cole, and the soft sliding Breane,
The wanton Lee, that oft doth loose his way,
And the still Darent, in whose waters cleane        260
Ten thousand fishes play, and decke his pleasant streame.
Then came his neighbour flouds, which nigh him dwell,
And water all the English soile throughout;
They all on him this day attended well,
And with meet service waited him about;        265
Ne none disdained low to him to lout:
No, not the stately Severne grudg’d at all,
Ne storming Humber, though he looked stout;
But both him honor’d as their principall,
And let their swelling waters low before him fall.        270
There was the speedy Tamar, which devides
The Cornish and the Devonish confines;
Through both whose borders swiftly downe it glides,
And meeting Plim, to Plimmouth thence declines:
And Dart, nigh chockt with sands of tinny mines.        275
But Avon marched in more stately path,
Proud of his adamants, with which he shines
And glisters wide, as als’ of wondrous Bath,
And Bristow faire, which on his waves he builded hath.
And there came Stoure with terrible aspect,
Bearing his sixe deformed heads on hye,
That doth his course through Blandford plains direct,
And washeth Winborne meades in season drye.
Next him went Wylibourne with passage slye,
That of his wylinesse his name doth take,        285
And of him selfe doth name the shire thereby:
And Mole, that like a nousling mole doth make
His way still under ground, till Thamis he overtake.
Then came the Rother, decked all with woods
Like a wood god, and flowing fast to Rhy:        290
And Sture, that parteth with his pleasant floods
The easterne Saxons from the southerne ny,
And Clare and Harwitch both doth beautify:
Him follow’d Yar, soft washing Norwitch wall,
And with him brought a present joyfully        295
Of his owne fish unto their festivall,
Whose like none else could shew, the which they ruffins call.
Next these the plenteous Ouse came far from land,
By many a city, and by many a towne,
And many rivers taking under hand        300
Into his waters, as he passeth downe,
The Cle, the Were, the Grant, the Sture, the Rowne,
Thence doth by Huntingdon and Cambridge flit,
My mother Cambridge, whom as with a crowne
He doth adorne, and is adorn’d of it        305
With many a gentle muse, and many a learned wit.
And after him the fatall Welland went,
That if old sawes prove true (which God forbid)
Shall drowne all Holland with his excrement,
And shall see Stamford, though now homely hid,        310
Then shine in learning, more then ever did
Cambridge or Oxford, Englands goodly beames.
And next to him the Nene downe softly slid;
And bounteous Trent, that in him selfe enseames
Both thirty sorts of fish and thirty sundry streames.        315
Next these came Tyne, along whose stony bancke
That Romaine monarch built a brasen wall,
Which mote the feebled Britons strongly flancke
Against the Picts, that swarmed over all,
Which yet thereof Gualsever they doe call:        320
And Twede, the limit betwixt Logris land
And Albany: and Eden, though but small,
Yet often stainde with bloud of many a band
Of Scots and English both, that tyned on his strand.
Then came those sixe sad brethren, like forlorne,
That whilome were (as antique fathers tell)
Sixe valiant knights, of one faire nymphe yborne,
Which did in noble deedes of armes excell,
And wonned there where now Yorke people dwell:
Still Ure, swift Werfe, and Oze the most of might,        330
High Swale, unquiet Nide, and troublous Skell;
All whom a Scythian king, that Humber hight,
Slew cruelly, and in the river drowned quight.
But past not long, ere Brutus warlicke sonne,
Locrinus, them aveng’d, and the same date,        335
Which the proud Humber unto them had donne,
By equall dome repayd on his owne pate:
For in the selfe same river, where he late
Had drenched them, he drowned him againe;
And nam’d the river of his wretched fate;        340
Whose bad condition yet it doth retaine,
Oft tossed with his stormes, which therein still remaine.
These after, came the stony shallow Lone,
That to old Loncaster his name doth lend;
And following Dee, which Britons long ygone        345
Did call divine, that doth by Chester tend;
And Conway, which out of his streame doth send
Plenty of pearles to decke his dames withall;
And Lindus, that his pikes doth most commend,
Of which the auncient Lincolne men doe call:        350
All these together marched toward Proteus hall.
Ne thence the Irishe rivers absent were:
Sith no lesse famous then the rest they bee,
And joyne in neighbourhood of kingdome nere,
Why should they not likewise in love agree,        355
And joy likewise this solemne day to see?
They saw it all, and present were in place;
Though I them all, according their degree,
Cannot recount, nor tell their hidden race,
Nor read the salvage cuntreis thorough which they pace.        360
There was the Liffy rolling downe the lea,
The sandy Slane, the stony Aubrian,
The spacious Shenan spreading like a sea,
The pleasant Boyne, the fishy fruitfull Ban,
Swift Awniduff, which of the English man        365
Is cal’de Blackewater, and the Liffar deep,
Sad Trowis, that once his people overran,
Strong Allo tombling from Slewlogher steep,
And Mulla mine, whose waves I whilom taught to weep.
And there the three renowmed brethren were,
Which that great gyant Blomius begot
Of the faire nimph Rheusa wandring there.
One day, as she to shunne the season whot,
Under Slewbloome in shady grove was got,
This gyant found her, and by force deflowr’d;        375
Whereof conceiving, she in time forth brought
These three faire sons, which, being thence forth powrd,
In three great rivers ran, and many countreis scowrd.
The first, the gentle Shure, that, making way
By sweet Clonmell, adornes rich Waterford;        380
The next, the stubborne Newre, whose waters gray
By faire Kilkenny and Rosseponte boord;
The third, the goodly Barow, which doth hoord
Great heapes of salmons in his deepe bosome:
All which long sundred, doe at last accord        385
To joyne in one, ere to the sea they come,
So, flowing all from one, all one at last become.
There also was the wide embayed Mayre,
The pleasaunt Bandon, crownd with many a wood,
The spreading Lee, that like an island fayre        390
Encloseth Corke with his devided flood;
And balefull Oure, late staind with English blood:
With many more, whose names no tongue can tell.
All which that day in order seemly good
Did on the Thamis attend, and waited well        395
To doe their duefull service, as to them befell.
Then came the bride, the lovely Medua came,
Clad in a vesture of unknowen geare,
And uncouth fashion, yet her well became;
That seem’d like silver, sprinckled here and theare        400
With glittering spangs, that did like starres appeare,
And wav’d upon, like water chamelot,
To hide the metall, which yet every where
Bewrayd it selfe, to let men plainely wot,
It was no mortall worke, that seem’d and yet was not.        405
Her goodly lockes adowne her backe did flow
Unto her waste, with flowres bescattered,
The which ambrosiall odours forth did throw
To all about, and all her shoulders spred
As a new spring; and likewise on her hed        410
A chapelet of sundry flowers she wore,
From under which the deawy humour shed
Did tricle downe her haire, like to the hore
Congealed litle drops, which doe the morne adore.
On her two pretty handmaides did attend,
One cald the Theise, the other cald the Crane;
Which on her waited, things amisse to mend,
And both behind upheld her spredding traine;
Under the which her feet appeared plaine,
Her silver feet, faire washt against this day:        420
And her before there paced pages twaine,
Both clad in colours like, and like array,
The Doune and eke the Frith, both which prepard her way.
And after these the sea nymphs marched all,
All goodly damzels, deckt with long greene haire,        425
Whom of their sire Nereides men call,
All which the Oceans daughter to him bare,
The gray eyde Doris: all which fifty are;
All which she there on her attending had:
Swift Proto, milde Eucrate, Thetis faire,        430
Soft Spio, sweete Eudore, Sao sad,
Light Doto, wanton Glauce, and Galene glad,
White hand Eunica, proud Dynamene,
Joyous Thalia, goodly Amphitrite,
Lovely Pasithee, kinde Eulimene,        435
Light foote Cymothoe, and sweete Melite,
Fairest Pherusa, Phao lilly white,
Wondred Agave, Poris, and Nesæa,
With Erato, that doth in love delite,
And Panopæ, and wise Protomedæa,        440
And snowy neckd Doris, and milkewhite Galathæa,
Speedy Hippothoe, and chaste Actea,
Large Lisianassa, and Pronæa sage,
Evagore, and light Pontoporea,
And she that with her least word can asswage        445
The surging seas, when they do sorest rage,
Cymodoce, and stout Autonoe,
And Neso, and Eione well in age,
And seeming still to smile, Glauconome,
And she that hight of many heastes Polynome,        450
Fresh Alimeda, deckt with girlond greene,
Hyponeo, with salt bedewed wrests,
Laomedia, like the christall sheene,
Liagore, much praisd for wise behests,
And Psamathe, for her brode snowy brests,        455
Cymo, Eupompe, and Themiste just,
And she that vertue loves and vice detests,
Evarna, and Menippe true in trust,
And Nemertea, learned well to rule her lust.
All these the daughters of old Nereus were,
Which have the sea in charge to them assinde,
To rule his tides, and surges to uprere,
To bring forth stormes, or fast them to upbinde,
And sailers save from wreckes of wrathfull winde.
And yet besides, three thousand more there were        465
Of th’ Oceans seede, but Joves and Phœbus kinde;
The which in floods and fountaines doe appere,
And all mankinde do nourish with their waters clere.
The which, more eath it were for mortall wight
To tell the sands, or count the starres on hye,        470
Or ought more hard, then thinke to reckon right.
But well I wote that these which I descry
Were present at this great solemnity:
And there, amongst the rest, the mother was
Of luckelesse Marinell, Cymodoce;        475
Which, for my Muse her selfe now tyred has,
Unto an other canto I will overpas.

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