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 XII
        Marin, for love of Florimell,
  In languor wastes his life:
The nymph his mother getteth her,
  And gives to him for wife.

O WHAT an endlesse worke have I in hand,
To count the seas abundant progeny,
Whose fruitfull seede farre passeth those in land,
And also those which wonne in th’ azure sky!
For much more eath to tell the starres on hy,        5
Albe they endlesse seeme in estimation,
Then to recount the seas posterity:
So fertile be the flouds in generation,
So huge their numbers, and so numberlesse their nation.
Therefore the antique wisards well invented,
That Venus of the fomy sea was bred;
For that the seas by her are most augmented.
Witnesse th’ exceeding fry which there are fed,
And wondrous sholes, which may of none be red.
Then blame me not, if I have err’d in count        15
Of gods, of nymphs, of rivers yet unred:
For though their numbers do much more surmount,
Yet all those same were there, which erst I did recount.
All those were there, and many other more,
Whose names and nations were too long to tell,        20
That Proteus house they fild even to the dore;
Yet were they all in order, as befell,
According their degrees disposed well.
Amongst the rest was faire Cymodoce,
The mother of unlucky Marinell,        25
Who thither with her came, to learne and see
The manner of the gods when they at banquet be.
But for he was halfe mortall, being bred
Of mortall sire, though of immortall wombe,
He might not with immortall food be fed,        30
Ne with th’ eternall gods to bancket come;
But walkt abrode, and round about did rome,
To view the building of that uncouth place,
That seem’d unlike unto his earthly home:
Where, as he to and fro by chaunce did trace,        35
There unto him betid a disaventrous case.
Under the hanging of an hideous clieffe
He heard the lamentable voice of one
That piteously complaind her carefull grieffe,
Which never she before disclosd to none,        40
But to her selfe her sorrow did bemone.
So feelingly her case she did complaine,
That ruth it moved in the rocky stone,
And made it seeme to feele her grievous paine,
And oft to grone with billowes beating from the maine.        45
‘Though vaine I see my sorrowes to unfold,
And count my cares, when none is nigh to heare,
Yet, hoping griefe may lessen being told,
I will them tell though unto no man neare:
For Heaven, that unto all lends equall eare,        50
Is farre from hearing of my heavy plight;
And lowest Hell, to which I lie most neare,
Cares not what evils hap to wretched wight;
And greedy seas doe in the spoile of life delight.
‘Yet loe! the seas I see by often beating
Doe pearce the rockes, and hardest marble weares;
But his hard rocky hart for no entreating
Will yeeld, but when my piteous plaints he heares,
Is hardned more with my aboundant teares.
Yet though he never list to me relent,        60
But let me waste in woe my wretched yeares,
Yet will I never of my love repent,
But joy that for his sake I suffer prisonment.
‘And when my weary ghost, with griefe outworne,
By timely death shall winne her wished rest,        65
Let then this plaint unto his eares be borne,
That blame it is to him, that armes profest,
To let her die, whom he might have redrest.’
There did she pause, inforced to give place
Unto the passion that her heart opprest;        70
And after she had wept and wail’d a space,
She gan afresh thus to renew her wretched case:
‘Ye gods of seas, if any gods at all
Have care of right, or ruth of wretches wrong,
By one or other way me, woefull thrall,        75
Deliver hence out of this dungeon strong,
In which I daily dying am too long.
And if ye deeme me death for loving one
That loves not me, then doe it not prolong,
But let me die and end my daies attone,        80
And let him live unlov’d, or love him selfe alone.
‘But if that life ye unto me decree,
Then let mee live as lovers ought to do,
And of my lifes deare love beloved be:
And if he shall through pride your doome undo,        85
Do you by duresse him compell thereto,
And in this prison put him here with me:
One prison fittest is to hold us two:
So had I rather to be thrall then free;
Such thraldome or such freedome let it surely be.        90
‘But O vaine judgement, and conditions vaine,
The which the prisoner points unto the free!
The whiles I him condemne, and deeme his paine,
He where he list goes loose, and laughes at me.
So ever loose, so ever happy be.        95
But where so loose or happy that thou art,
Know, Marinell, that all this is for thee.’
With that she wept and wail’d, as if her hart
Would quite have burst through great abundance of her smart.
All which complaint when Marinell had heard,
And understood the cause of all her care
To come of him, for using her so hard,
His stubborne heart, that never felt misfare,
Was toucht with soft remorse and pitty rare;
That even for griefe of minde he oft did grone,        105
And inly wish that in his powre it weare
Her to redresse: but since he meanes found none,
He could no more but her great misery bemone.
Thus whilst his stony heart with tender ruth
Was toucht, and mighty courage mollifide,        110
Dame Venus sonne, that tameth stubborne youth
With iron bit, and maketh him abide,
Till like a victor on his backe he ride,
Into his mouth his maystring bridle threw,
That made him stoupe, till he did him bestride:        115
Then gan he make him tread his steps anew,
And learne to love, by learning lovers paines to rew.
Now gan he in his grieved minde devise,
How from that dungeon he might her enlarge:
Some while he thought, by faire and humble wise        120
To Proteus selfe to sue for her discharge;
But then he fear’d his mothers former charge
Gainst womens love, long given him in vaine:
Then gan he thinke, perforce with sword and targe
Her forth to fetch, and Proteus to constraine;        125
But soone he gan such folly to forthinke againe.
Then did he cast to steale her thence away,
And with him beare, where none of her might know.
But all in vaine: forwhy he found no way
To enter in, or issue forth below:        130
For all about that rocke the sea did flow.
And though unto his will she given were,
Yet without ship or bote her thence to row,
He wist not how her thence away to bere;
And daunger well he wist long to continue there.        135
At last when as no meanes he could invent,
Backe to him selfe he gan returne the blame,
That was the author of her punishment;
And with vile curses and reprochfull shame
To damne him selfe by every evill name;        140
And deeme unworthy or of love or life,
That had despisde so chast and faire a dame,
Which him had sought through trouble and long strife,
Yet had refusde a god that her had sought to wife.
In this sad plight he walked here and there,
And romed round about the rocke in vaine,
As he had lost him selfe, he wist not where;
Oft listening if he mote her heare againe,
And still bemoning her unworthy paine:
Like as an hynde whose calfe is falne unwares        150
Into some pit, where she him heares complaine,
An hundred times about the pit side fares,
Right sorrowfully mourning her bereaved cares.
And now by this the feast was throughly ended,
And every one gan homeward to resort.        155
Which seeing, Marinell was sore offended,
That his departure thence should be so short,
And leave his love in that sea-walled fort.
Yet durst he not his mother disobay;
But her attending in full seemly sort,        160
Did march amongst the many all the way:
And all the way did inly mourne, like one astray.
Being returned to his mothers bowre,
In solitary silence far from wight,
He gan record the lamentable stowre        165
In which his wretched love lay day and night,
For his deare sake, that ill deserv’d that plight:
The thought whereof empierst his hart so deepe,
That of no worldly thing he tooke delight;
Ne dayly food did take, ne nightly sleepe,        170
But pyn’d, and mourn’d, and languisht, and alone did weepe;
That in short space his wonted chearefull hew
Gan fade, and lively spirits deaded quight:
His cheeke bones raw, and eie-pits hollow grew,
And brawney armes had lost their knowen might,        175
That nothing like himselfe he seem’d in sight.
Ere long so weake of limbe, and sicke of love
He woxe, that lenger he note stand upright,
But to his bed was brought, and layd above,
Like ruefull ghost, unable once to stirre or move.        180
Which when his mother saw, she in her mind
Was troubled sore, ne wist well what to weene,
Ne could by search nor any meanes out find
The secret cause and nature of his teene,
Whereby she might apply some medicine;        185
But weeping day and night, did him attend,
And mourn’d to see her losse before her eyne,
Which griev’d her more that she it could not mend:
To see an helpelesse evill double griefe doth lend.
Nought could she read the roote of his disease,
Ne weene what mister maladie it is,
Whereby to seeke some meanes it to appease.
Most did she thinke, but most she thought amis,
That that same former fatall wound of his
Whyleare by Tryphon was not throughly healed,        195
But closely rankled under th’ orifis:
Least did she thinke, that which he most concealed,
That love it was, which in his hart lay unrevealed.
Therefore to Tryphon she againe doth hast,
And him doth chyde as false and fraudulent,        200
That fayld the trust which she in him bad plast,
To cure her sonne, as he his faith had lent:
Who now was falne into new languishment
Of his old hurt, which was not throughly cured.
So backe he came unto her patient:        205
Where searching every part, her well assured,
That it was no old sore which his new paine procured;
But that it was some other maladie,
Or griefe unknowne, which he could not discerne:
So left he her withouten remedie.        210
Then gan her heart to faint, and quake, and earne,
And inly troubled was, the truth to learne.
Unto himselfe she came, and him besought,
Now with faire speches, now with threatnings sterne,
If ought lay hidden in his grieved thought,        215
It to reveale: who still her answered, there was nought.
Nathlesse she rested not so satisfide,
But leaving watry gods, as booting nought,
Unto the shinie heaven in haste she hide,
And thence Apollo, king of leaches, brought.        220
Apollo came; who, soone as he had sought
Through his disease, did by and by out find
That he did languish of some inward thought,
The which afflicted his engrieved mind;
Which love he red to be, that leads each living kind.        225
Which when he had unto his mother told,
She gan thereat to fret and greatly grieve;
And comming to her sonne, gan first to scold
And chyde at him, that made her misbelieve:
But afterwards she gan him soft to shrieve,        230
And wooe with faire intreatie, to disclose
Which of the nymphes his heart so sore did mieve;
For sure she weend it was some one of those
Which he had lately seene, that for his love he chose.
Now lesse she feared that same fatall read,
That warned him of womens love beware:
Which being ment of mortall creatures sead,
For love of nymphes she thought she need not care,
But promist him, what ever wight she weare,
That she her love to him would shortly gaine:        240
So he her told: but soone as she did heare
That Florimell it was, which wrought his paine,
She gan a fresh to chafe, and grieve in every vaine.
Yet since she saw the streight extremitie,
In which his life unluckily was layd,        245
It was no time to scan the prophecie,
Whether old Proteus true or false had sayd,
That his decay should happen by a mayd:
It’s late, in death, of daunger to advize,
Or love forbid him that is life denayd:        250
But rather gan in troubled mind devize
How she that ladies libertie might enterprize.
To Proteus selfe to sew she thought it vaine,
Who was the root and worker of her woe,
Nor unto any meaner to complaine;        255
But unto great King Neptune selfe did goe,
And on her knee before him falling lowe,
Made humble suit unto his Majestie,
To graunt to her her sonnes life, which his foe,
A cruell tyrant, had presumpteouslie        260
By wicked doome condemn’d a wretched death to die.
To whom God Neptune, softly smyling, thus:
‘Daughter, me seemes of double wrong ye plaine,
Gainst one that hath both wronged you and us:
For death t’ adward I ween’d did appertaine        265
To none but to the seas sole soveraine.
Read therefore who it is, which this hath wrought,
And for what cause; the truth discover plaine.
For never wight so evill did or thought,
But would some rightfull cause pretend, though rightly nought.’        270
To whom she answerd: ‘Then it is by name
Proteus, that hath ordayn’d my sonne to die;
For that a waift, the which by fortune came
Upon your seas, he claym’d as propertie:
And yet nor his, nor his in equitie,        275
But yours the waift by high prerogative.
Therefore I humbly crave your Majestie,
It to replevie, and my sonne reprive:
So shall you by one gift save all us three alive.’
He graunted it: and streight his warrant made,
Under the sea-gods seale autenticall,
Commaunding Proteus straight t’ enlarge the mayd
Which, wandring on his seas imperiall,
He lately tooke, and sithence kept as thrall.
Which grieved receiving with meete thankefulnesse,        285
Departed straight to Proteus therewithall:
Who, reading it with inward loathfulnesse,
Was grieved to restore the pledge he did possesse.
Yet durst he not the warrant to withstand,
But unto her delivered Florimell.        290
Whom she receiving by the lilly hand,
Admyr’d her beautie much, as she mote well;
For she all living creatures did excell;
And was right joyous, that she gotten had
So faire a wife for her sonne Marinell.        295
So home with her she streight the virgin lad,
And shewed her to him, then being sore bestad.
Who soone as he beheld that angels face,
Adorn’d with all divine perfection,
His cheared heart eftsoones away gan chace        300
Sad death, revived with her sweet inspection,
And feeble spirit inly felt refection;
As withered weed through cruell winters tine,
That feeles the warmth of sunny beames reflection,
Liftes up his head, that did before decline,        305
And gins to spread his leafe before the faire sunshine.
Right so himselfe did Marinell upreare,
When he in place his dearest love did spy;
And though his limbs could not his bodie beare,
Ne former strength returne so suddenly,        310
Yet chearefull signes he shewed outwardly.
Ne lesse was she in secret hart affected,
But that she masked it with modestie,
For feare she should of lightnesse be detected:
Which to another place I leave to be perfected.        315

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