Verse > Edmund Spenser > Complete Poetical Works
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
The Faerie Queene
Book V. The Legend of Artegall
Canto V
        Artegall fights with Radigund,
  And is subdewd by guile:
He is by her emprisoned,
  But wrought by Clarins wile.

SO soone as day forth dawning from the East,
Nights humid curtaine from the heavens withdrew,
And earely calling forth both man and beast,
Comaunded them their daily workes renew,
These noble warriors, mindefull to pursew        5
The last daies purpose of their vowed fight,
Them selves thereto preparde in order dew;
The knight, as best was seeming for a knight,
And th’ Amazon, as best it likt her selfe to dight:
All in a camis light of purple silke
Woven uppon with silver, subtly wrought,
And quilted uppon sattin white as milke,
Trayled with ribbands diversly distraught,
Like as the workeman had their courses taught;
Which was short tucked for light motion        15
Up to her ham, but, when she list, it raught
Downe to her lowest heele, and thereuppon
She wore for her defence a mayled habergeon.
And on her legs she painted buskins wore,
Basted with bends of gold on every side,        20
And mailes betweene, and laced close afore:
Uppon her thigh her cemitare was tide,
With an embrodered belt of mickell pride;
And on her shoulder hung her shield, bedeckt
Uppon the bosse with stones, that shined wide        25
As the faire moone in her most full aspect,
That to the moone it mote be like in each respect.
So forth she came out of the citty gate,
With stately port and proud magnificence,
Guarded with many damzels, that did waite        30
Uppon her person for her sure defence,
Playing on shaumes and trumpets, that from hence
Their sound did reach unto the heavens hight.
So forth into the field she marched thence,
Where was a rich pavilion ready pight,        35
Her to receive, till time they should begin the fight.
Then forth came Artegall out of his tent,
All arm’d to point, and first the lists did enter:
Soone after eke came she, with fell intent,
And countenaunce fierce, as having fully bent her,        40
That battels utmost triall to adventer.
The lists were closed fast, to barre the rout
From rudely pressing to the middle center;
Which in great heapes them circled all about,
Wayting how fortune would resolve that daungerous dout.        45
The trumpets sounded, and the field began;
With bitter strokes it both began and ended.
She at the first encounter on him ran
With furious rage, as if she had intended
Out of his breast the very heart have rended:        50
But he, that had like tempests often tride,
From that first flaw him selfe right well defended.
The more she rag’d, the more he did abide;
She hewd, she foynd, she lasht, she laid on every side.
Yet still her blowes he bore, and her forbore,
Weening at last to win advantage new;
Yet still her crueltie increased more,
And though powre faild, her courage did accrew;
Which fayling, he gan fiercely her pursew.
Like as a smith that to his cunning feat        60
The stubborne mettall seeketh to subdew,
Soone as he feeles it mollifide with heat,
With his great yron sledge doth strongly on it beat.
So did Sir Artegall upon her lay,
As if she had an yron andvile beene,        65
That flakes of fire, bright as the sunny ray,
Out of her steely armes were flashing seene,
That all on fire ye would her surely weene.
But with her shield so well her selfe she warded
From the dread daunger of his weapon keene,        70
That all that while her life she safely garded:
But he that helpe from her against her will discarded.
For with his trenchant blade at the next blow
Halfe of her shield he shared quite away,
That halfe her side it selfe did naked show,        75
And thenceforth unto daunger opened way.
Much was she moved with the mightie sway
Of that sad stroke, that halfe enrag’d she grew,
And like a greedie beare unto her pray,
With her sharpe cemitare at him she flew,        80
That glauncing downe his thigh, the purple bloud forth drew.
Thereat she gan to triumph with great boast,
And to upbrayd that chaunce which him misfell,
As if the prize she gotten had almost,
With spightfull speaches, fitting with her well;        85
That his great hart gan inwardly to swell
With indignation at her vaunting vaine,
And at her strooke with puissance fearefull fell;
Yet with her shield she warded it againe,
That shattered all to peeces round about the plaine.        90
Having her thus disarmed of her shield,
Upon her helmet he againe her strooke,
That downe she fell upon the grassie field,
In sencelesse swoune, as if her life forsooke,
And pangs of death her spirit overtooke.        95
Whom when he saw before his foote prostrated,
He to her lept with deadly dreadfull looke,
And her sunshynie helmet soone unlaced,
Thinking at once both head and helmet to have raced.
But when as he discovered had her face,
He saw, his senses straunge astonishment,
A miracle of Natures goodly grace
In her faire visage voide of ornament,
But bath’d in bloud and sweat together ment;
Which, in the rudenesse of that evill plight,        105
Bewrayd the signes of feature excellent:
Like as the moone, in foggie winters night,
Doth seeme to be her selfe, though darkned be her light.
At sight thereof his cruell minded hart
Empierced was with pittifull regard,        110
That his sharpe sword he threw from him apart,
Cursing his hand that had that visage mard:
No hand so cruell, nor no hart so hard,
But ruth of beautie will it mollifie.
By this upstarting from her swoune, she star’d        115
A while about her with confused eye;
Like one that from his dreame is waked suddenlye.
Soone as the knight she there by her did spy,
Standing with emptie hands all weaponlesse,
With fresh assault upon him she did fly,        120
And gan renew her former cruelnesse:
And though he still retyr’d, yet nathelesse
With huge redoubled strokes she on him layd;
And more increast her outrage mercilesse,
The more that he with meeke intreatie prayd,        125
Her wrathful hand from greedy vengeance to have stayd.
Like as a puttocke having spyde in sight
A gentle faulcon sitting on an hill,
Whose other wing, now made unmeete for flight,
Was lately broken by some fortune ill;        130
The foolish kyte, led with licentious will,
Doth beat upon the gentle bird in vaine,
With many idle stoups her troubling still:
Even so did Radigund with bootlesse paine
Annoy this noble knight, and sorely him constraine.        135
Nought could he do, but shun the dred despight
Of her fierce wrath, and backward still retyre,
And with his single shield, well as he might,
Beare off the burden of her raging yre;
And evermore he gently did desyre        140
To stay her stroks, and he himselfe would yield:
Yet nould she hearke, ne let him once respyre,
Till he to her delivered had his shield,
And to her mercie him submitted in plaine field.
So was he overcome, not overcome,
But to her yeelded of his owne accord;
Yet was he justly damned by the doome
Of his owne mouth, that spake so warelesse word,
To be her thrall, and service her afford.
For though that he first victorie obtayned        150
Yet after, by abandoning his sword,
He wilfull lost that he before attayned.
No fayrer conquest then that with goodwill is gayned.
Tho with her sword on him she flatling strooke,
In signe of true subjection to her powre,        155
And as her vassall him to thraldome tooke.
But Terpine, borne to’ a more unhappy howre,
As he on whom the lucklesse starres did lowre,
She causd to be attacht, and forthwith led
Unto the crooke, t’ abide the balefull stowre        160
From which he lately had through reskew fled:
Where he full shamefully was hanged by the hed.
But when they thought on Talus hands to lay,
He with his yron flaile amongst them thondred,
That they were fayne to let him scape away,        165
Glad from his companie to be so sondred;
Whose presence all their troups so much encombred,
That th’ heapes of those which he did wound and slay,
Besides the rest dismayd, might not be nombred:
Yet all that while he would not once assay        170
To reskew his owne lord, but thought it just t’ obay.
Then tooke the Amazon this noble knight,
Left to her will by his owne wilfull blame,
And caused him to be disarmed quight
Of all the ornaments of knightly name,        175
With which whylome he gotten had great fame:
In stead whereof she made him to be dight
In womans weedes, that is to manhood shame,
And put before his lap a napron white,
In stead of curiets and bases fit for fight.        180
So being clad, she brought him from the field,
In which he had bene trayned many a day,
Into along large chamber, which was sield
With moniments of many knights decay,
By her subdewed in victorious fray:        185
Amongst the which she causd his warlike armes
Be hang’d on high, that mote his shame bewray;
And broke his sword, for feare of further harmes,
With which he wont to stirre up battailous alarmes.
There entred in, he round about him saw
Many brave knights, whose names right well he knew,
There bound t’ obay that Amazons proud law,
Spinning and carding all in comely rew,
That his bigge hart loth’d so uncomely vew.
But they were forst, through penurie and pyne,        195
To doe those workes to them appointed dew:
For nought was given them to sup or dyne,
But what their hands could earne by twisting linnen twyne.
Amongst them all she placed him most low,
And in his hand a distaffe to him gave,        200
That he thereon should spin both flax and tow;
A sordid office for a mind so brave:
So hard it is to be a womans slave.
Yet he it tooke in his owne selfes despight,
And thereto did himselfe right well behave,        205
Her to obay, sith he his faith had plight,
Her vassall to become, if she him wonne in fight.
Who had him seene, imagine mote thereby
That whylome hath of Hercules bene told,
How for Iolas sake he did apply        210
His mightie hands the distaffe vile to hold,
For his huge club, which had subdew’d of old
So many monsters which the world annoyed;
His lyons skin chaungd to a pall of gold,
In which, forgetting warres, he onely joyed        215
In combats of sweet love, and with his mistresse toyed.
Such is the crueltie of women kynd,
When they have shaken off the shamefast band,
With which wise Nature did them strongly bynd,
T’ obay the heasts of mans well ruling hand,        220
That then all rule and reason they withstand,
To purchase a licentious libertie.
But vertuous women wisely understand,
That they were borne to base humilitie,
Unlesse the heavens them lift to lawfull soveraintie.        225
Thus there long while continu’d Artegall,
Serving proud Radigund with true subjection;
How ever it his noble heart did gall
T’ obay a womans tyrannous direction,
That might have had of life or death election:        230
But having chosen, now he might not chaunge.
During which time, the warlike Amazon,
Whose wandring fancie after lust did raunge,
Gan cast a secret liking to this captive straunge.
Which long concealing in her covert brest,
She chaw’d the cud of lovers carefull plight;
Yet could it not so thoroughly digest,
Being fast fixed in her wounded spright,
But it tormented her both day and night:
Yet would she not thereto yeeld free accord,        240
To serve the lowly vassall of her might,
And of her servant make her soverayne lord:
So great her pride, that she such basenesse much abhord.
So much the greater still her anguish grew,
Through stubborne handling of her love-sicke hart;        245
And still the more she strove it to subdew,
The more she still augmented her owne smart,
And wyder made the wound of th’ hidden dart.
At last, when long she struggled had in vaine,
She gan to stoupe, and her proud mind convert        250
To meeke obeysance of Loves mightie raine,
And him entreat for grace, that had procur’d her paine.
Unto her selfe in secret she did call
Her nearest handmayd, whom she most did trust,
And to her said: ‘Clarinda, whom of all        255
I trust a live, sith I thee fostred first;
Now is the time that I untimely must
Thereof make tryall, in my greatest need:
It is so hapned that the heavens unjust,
Spighting my happie freedome, have agreed        260
To thrall my looser life, or my last bale to breed.’
With that she turn’d her head, as halfe abashed,
To hide the blush which in her visage rose,
And through her eyes like sudden lightning flashed,
Decking her cheeke with a vermilion rose:        265
But soone she did her countenance compose,
And to her turning, thus began againe:
‘This griefes deepe wound I would to thee disclose,
Thereto compelled through hart-murdring paine,
But dread of shame my doubtfull lips doth still restraine.’        270
‘Ah! my deare dread,’ said then the faithfull mayd,
‘Can dread of ought your dreadlesse hart withhold,
That many hath with dread of death dismayd,
And dare even deathes most dreadfull face behold?
Say on, my soverayne ladie, and be bold:        275
Doth not your handmayds life at your foot lie?’
Therewith much comforted, she gan unfold
The cause of her conceived maladie,
As one that would confesse, yet faine would it denie.
‘Clarin,’ sayd she, ‘thou seest yond Fayry knight,
Whom not my valour, but his owne brave mind
Subjected hath to my unequall might:
What right is it, that he should thraldome find,
For lending life to me, a wretch unkind,
That for such good him recompence with ill?        285
Therefore I cast how I may him unbind,
And by his freedome get his free goodwill;
Yet so, as bound to me he may continue still:
‘Bound unto me, but not with such hard bands
Of strong compulsion and streight violence,        290
As now in miserable state he stands;
But with sweet love and sure benevolence,
Voide of malitious mind or foule offence.
To which if thou canst win him any way,
Without discoverie of my thoughts pretence,        295
Both goodly meede of him it purchase may,
And eke with gratefull service me right well apay.
‘Which that thou mayst the better bring to pas,
Loe here this ring, which shall thy warrant bee,
And token true to old Eumenias,        300
From time to time, when thou it best shalt see,
That in and out thou mayst have passage free.
Goe now, Clarinda; well thy wits advise,
And all thy forces gather unto thee,
Armies of lovely lookes, and speeches wise,        305
With which thou canst even Jove himselfe to love entise.’
The trustie mayd, conceiving her intent,
Did with sure promise of her good indevour
Give her great comfort and some harts content.
So from her parting, she thenceforth did labour        310
By all the meanes she might, to curry favour
With th’ Elfin knight, her ladies best beloved:
With daily shew of courteous kind behaviour,
Even at the markewhite of his hart she roved,
And with wide glauncing words, one day she thus him proved:        315
‘Unhappie knight, upon whose hopelesse state
Fortune, envying good, hath felly frowned,
And cruell heavens have heapt an heavy fate;
I rew that thus thy better dayes are drowned
In sad despaire, and all thy senses swowned        320
In stupid sorow, sith thy juster merit
Might else have with felicitie bene crowned:
Looke up at last, and wake thy dulled spirit,
To thinke how this long death thou mightest disinherit.’
Much did he marvell at her uncouth speach,
Whose hidden drift he could not well perceive;
And gan to doubt, least she him sought t’ appeach
Of treason, or some guilefull traine did weave,
Through which she might his wretched life bereave.
Both which to barre, he with this answere met her:        330
‘Faire damzell, that with ruth (as I perceave)
Of my mishaps, art mov’d to wish me better,
For such your kind regard I can but rest your detter.
‘Yet weet ye well, that to a courage great
It is no lesse beseeming well, to beare        335
The storme of Fortunes frowne, or Heavens threat,
Then in the sunshine of her countenance cleare
Timely to joy and carrie comely cheare.
For though this cloud have now me overcast,
Yet doe I not of better times despeyre;        340
And, though unlike, they should for ever last,
Yet in my truthes assurance I rest fixed fast.’
‘But what so stonie mind,’ she then replyde,
‘But, if in his owne powre occasion lay,
Would to his hope a windowe open wyde,        345
And to his fortunes helpe make readie way?’
‘Unworthy sure,’ quoth he, ‘of better day,
That will not take the offer of good hope,
And eke pursew, if he attaine it may.’
Which speaches she applying to the scope        350
Of her intent, this further purpose to him shope:
‘Then why doest not, thou ill advized man,
Make meanes to win thy libertie forlorne,
And try if thou by faire entreatie can
Move Radigund? who, though she still have worne        355
Her dayes in warre, yet (weet thou) was not borne
Of beares and tygres, nor so salvage mynded,
As that, albe all love of men she scorne,
She yet forgets that she of men was kynded:
And sooth oft seene, that proudest harts base love hath blynded.’        360
‘Certes, Clarinda, not of cancred will,’
Sayd he, ‘nor obstinate disdainefull mind,
I have forbore this duetie to fulfill:
For well I may this weene, by that I fynd,
That she, a queene, and come of princely kynd,        365
Both worthie is for to be sewd unto,
Chiefely by him whose life her law doth bynd,
And eke of powre her owne doome to undo,
And als’ of princely grace to be inclyn’d thereto.
‘But want of meanes hath bene mine onely let
From seeking favour, where it doth abound;
Which if I might by your good office get,
I to your selfe should rest for ever bound,
And readie to deserve what grace I found.’
She feeling him thus bite upon the bayt,        375
Yet doubting least his hold was but unsound,
And not well fastened, would not strike him strayt,
But drew him on with hope, fit leasure to awayt.
But foolish mayd! whyles, heedlesse of the hooke,
She thus oft times was beating off and on,        380
Through slipperie footing fell into the brooke,
And there was caught to her confusion.
For seeking thus to salve the Amazon,
She wounded was with her deceipts owne dart,
And gan thenceforth to cast affection,        385
Conceived close in her beguiled hart,
To Artegall, through pittie of his causelesse smart.
Yet durst she not disclose her fancies wound,
Ne to himselfe, for doubt of being sdayned,
Ne yet to any other wight on ground,        390
For feare her mistresse shold have knowledge gayned,
But to her selfe it secretly retayned,
Within the closet of her covert brest:
The more thereby her tender hart was payned.
Yet to awayt fit time she weened best,        395
And fairely did dissemble her sad thoughts unrest.
One day her ladie, calling her apart,
Gan to demaund of her some tydings good,
Touching her loves successe, her lingring smart.
Therewith she gan at first to change her mood,        400
As one adaw’d, and halfe confused stood;
But quickly she it overpast, so soone
As she her face had wypt, to fresh her blood:
Tho gan she tell her all that she had donne,
And all the wayes she sought, his love for to have wonne:        405
But sayd, that he was obstinate and sterne,
Scorning her offers and conditions vaine;
Ne would be taught with any termes to lerne
So fond a lesson as to love againe.
Die rather would he in penurious paine,        410
And his abridged dayes in dolour wast,
Then his foes love or liking entertaine:
His resolution was, both first and last,
His bodie was her thrall, his hart was freely plast.
Which when the cruell Amazon perceived,
She gan to storme, and rage, and rend her gall,
For very fell despight, which she conceived,
To be so scorned of a base borne thrall,
Whose life did lie in her least eye-lids fall;
Of which she vow’d with many a cursed threat,        420
That she therefore would him ere long forstall.
Nathlesse, when calmed was her furious heat,
She chang’d that threatfull mood, and mildly gan entreat:
‘What now is left, Clarinda? what remaines,
That we may compasse this our enterprize?        425
Great shame to lose so long employed paines,
And greater shame t’ abide so great misprize,
With which he dares our offers thus despize.
Yet that his guilt the greater may appeare,
And more my gratious mercie by this wize,        430
I will a while with his first folly beare,
Till thou have tride againe, and tempted him more neare.
‘Say and do all that may thereto prevaile;
Leave nought unpromist that may him perswade,
Life, freedome, grace, and gifts of great availe,        435
With which the gods themselves are mylder made:
Thereto adde art, even womens witty trade,
The art of mightie words, that men can charme;
With which in case thou canst him not invade,
Let him feele hardnesse of thy heavie arme:        440
Who will not stoupe with good shall be made stoupe with harme.
‘Some of his diet doe from him withdraw;
For I him find to be too proudly fed:
Give him more labour, and with streighter law,
That he with worke may be forwearied:        445
Let him lodge hard, and lie in strawen bed,
That may pull downe the courage of his pride;
And lay upon him, for his greater dread,
Cold yron chaines, with which let him be tide;
And let what ever he desires be him denide.        450
‘When thou hast all this doen, then bring me newes
Of his demeane: thenceforth not like a lover,
But like a rebell stout I will him use.
For I resolve this siege not to give over,
Till I the conquest of my will recover.’        455
So she departed, full of griefe and sdaine,
Which inly did to great impatience move her.
But the false mayden shortly turn’d againe
Unto the prison, where her hart did thrall remaine.
There all her subtill nets she did unfold,
And all the engins of her wit display;
In which she meant him warelesse to enfold,
And of his innocence to make her pray.
So cunningly she wrought her crafts assay,
That both her ladie, and her selfe withall,        465
And eke the knight attonce she did betray:
But most the knight, whom she with guilefull call
Did cast for to allure, into her trap to fall.
As a bad nurse, which, fayning to receive
In her owne mouth the food ment for her chyld,        470
Withholdes it to her selfe, and doeth deceive
The infant, so for want of nourture spoyld:
Even so Clarinda her owne dame beguyld,
And turn’d the trust which was in her affyde
To feeding of her private fire, which boyld        475
Her inward brest, and in her entrayles fryde,
The more that she it sought to cover and to hyde.
For comming to this knight, she purpose fayned,
How earnest suit she earst for him had made
Unto her queene, his freedome to have gayned;        480
But by no meanes could her thereto perswade:
But that, in stead thereof, she sternely bade
His miserie to be augmented more,
And many yron bands on him to lade;
All which nathlesse she for his love forbore:        485
So praying him t’ accept her service evermore.
And more then that, she promist that she would,
In case she might finde favour in his eye,
Devize how to enlarge him out of hould.
The Fayrie, glad to gaine his libertie,        490
Can yeeld great thankes for such her curtesie;
And with faire words, fit for the time and place,
To feede the humour of her maladie,
Promist, if she would free him from that case,
He wold, by all good means he might, deserve such grace.        495
So daily he faire semblant did her shew,
Yet never meant he in his noble mind,
To his owne absent love to be untrew:
Ne ever did deceiptfull Clarin find
In her false hart, his bondage to unbind;        500
But rather how she mote him faster tye.
Therefore unto her mistresse most unkind
She daily told, her love he did defye,
And him she told, her dame his freedome did denye.
Yet thus much friendship she to him did show,
That his scarse diet somewhat was amended,
And his worke lessened, that his love mote grow:
Yet to her dame him still she discommended,
That she with him mote be the more offended.
Thus he long while in thraldome there remayned,        510
Of both beloved well, but litle frended;
Untill his owne true love his freedome gayned,
Which in an other canto will be best contayned.

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