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 VII
        Turpine is baffuld; his two knights
  Doe gaine their treasons meed.
Fayre Mirabellaes punishment
  For loves disdaine decreed.

LIKE as the gentle hart it selfe bewrayes
In doing gentle deedes with franke delight,
Even so the baser mind it selfe displayes
In cancred malice and revengefull spight.
For to maligne, t’ envie, t’ use shifting slight,        5
Be arguments of a vile donghill mind,
Which what it dare not doe by open might,
To worke by wicked treason wayes doth find,
By such discourteous deeds discovering his base kind.
That well appeares in this discourteous knight,
The coward Turpine, whereof now I treat;
Who notwithstanding that in former fight
He of the Prince his life received late,
Yet in his mind malitious and ingrate
He gan devize to be aveng’d anew        15
For all that shame, which kindled inward hate.
Therefore, so soone as he was out of vew,
Himselfe in hast he arm’d, and did him fast pursew.
Well did he tract his steps, as he did ryde,
Yet would not neare approch in daungers eye,        20
But kept aloofe for dread to be descryde,
Untill fit time and place he mote espy,
Where he mote worke him scath and villeny.
At last he met two knights to him unknowne,
The which were armed both agreeably,        25
And both combynd, what ever chaunce were blowne,
Betwixt them to divide, and each to make his owne.
To whom false Turpine comming courteously,
To cloke the mischiefe which he inly ment,
Gan to complaine of great discourtesie,        30
Which a straunge knight, that neare afore him went,
Had doen to him, and his deare ladie shent:
Which if they would afford him ayde at need
For to avenge, in time convenient,
They should accomplish both a knightly deed,        35
And for their paines obtaine of him a goodly meed.
The knights beleev’d that all he sayd was trew,
And being fresh and full of youthly spright,
Were glad to heare of that adventure new,
In which they mote make triall of their might,        40
Which never yet they had approv’d in fight;
And eke desirous of the offred meed.
Said then the one of them: ‘Where is that wight,
The which hath doen to thee this wrongfull deed,
That we may it avenge, and punish him with speed?’        45
‘He rides,’ said Turpine, ‘there not farre afore,
With a wyld man soft footing by his syde,
That if ye list to haste a litle more,
Ye may him overtake in timely tyde.’
Eftsoones they pricked forth with forward pryde,        50
And ere that litle while they ridden had,
The gentle Prince not farre away they spyde,
Ryding a softly pace with portance sad,
Devizing of his love more then of daunger drad.
Then one of them aloud unto him cryde,
Bidding him turne againe, false traytour knight,
Foule womanwronger, for he him defyde.
With that they both at once with equall spight
Did bend their speares, and both with equall might
Against him ran; but th’ one did misse his marke,        60
And being carried with his force forthright,
Glaunst swiftly by; like to that heavenly sparke,
Which, glyding through the ayre, lights all the heavens darke.
But th’ other, ayming better, did him smite
Full in the shield, with so impetuous powre,        65
That all his launce in peeces shivered quite,
And scattered all about, fell on the flowre.
But the stout Prince, with much more steddy stowre,
Full on his bever did him strike so sore,
That the cold steele, through piercing, did devowre        70
His vitall breath, and to the ground him bore,
Where still he bathed lay in his owne bloody gore.
As when a cast of faulcons make their flight
At an herneshaw, that lyes aloft on wing,
The whyles they strike at him with heedlesse might,        75
The warie foule his bill doth backward wring;
On which the first, whose force her first doth bring,
Her selfe quite through the bodie doth engore,
And falleth downe to ground like senselesse thing,
But th’ other, not so swift as she before,        80
Fayles of her souse, and passing by doth hurt no more.
By this the other, which was passed by,
Himselfe recovering, was return’d to fight;
Where when he saw his fellow lifelesse ly,
He much was daunted with so dismall sight;        85
Yet nought abating of his former spight,
Let drive at him with so malitious mynd,
As if he would have passed through him quight:
But the steele-head no stedfast hold could fynd,
But glauncing by, deceiv’d him of that he desynd.        90
Not so the Prince: for his well learned speare
Tooke surer hould, and from his horses backe
Above a launces length him forth did beare,
And gainst the cold hard earth so sore him strake,
That all his bones in peeces nigh he brake.        95
Where seeing him so lie, he left his steed,
And to him leaping, vengeance thought to take
Of him, for all his former follies meed,
With flaming sword in hand his terror more to breed.
The fearefull swayne, beholding death so nie,
Cryde out aloud, for mercie, him to save;
In lieu whereof he would to him descrie
Great treason to him meant, his life to reave.
The Prince soone hearkned, and his life forgave.
Then thus said he: ‘There is a straunger knight,        105
The which, for promise of great meed, us drave
To this attempt, to wreake his hid despight,
For that himselfe thereto did want sufficient might.’
The Prince much mused at such villenie,
And sayd: ‘Now sure ye well have earn’d your meed,        110
For th’ one is dead, and th’ other soone shall die,
Unlesse to me thou hether bring with speed
The wretch that hyr’d you to this wicked deed.’
He glad of life, and willing eke to wreake
The guilt on him which did this mischiefe breed,        115
Swore by his sword, that neither day nor weeke
He would surceasse, but him, where so he were, would seeke.
So up he rose, and forth streight way he went
Backe to the place where Turpine late he lore:
There he him found in great astonishment,        120
To see him so bedight with bloodie gore
And griesly wounds that him appalled sore.
Yet thus at length he said: ‘How now, sir knight?
What meaneth this which here I see before?
How fortuneth this foule uncomely plight,        125
So different from that which earst ye seem’d in sight?’
‘Perdie,’ said he, ‘in evill houre it fell,
That ever I for meed did undertake
So hard a taske as life for hyre to sell;
The which I earst adventur’d for your sake.        130
Witnesse the wounds, and this wyde bloudie lake,
Which ye may see yet all about me steeme.
Therefore now yeeld, as ye did promise make,
My due reward, the which right well I deeme
I yearned have, that life so dearely did redeeme.’        135
‘But where then is,’ quoth he halfe wrothfully,
‘Where is the bootie, which therefore I bought,
That cursed caytive, my strong enemy,
That recreant knight, whose hated life I sought?
And where is eke your friend, which halfe it ought?’        140
‘He lyes,’ said he, ‘upon the cold bare ground,
Slayne of that errant knight, with whom he fought;
Whom afterwards my selfe with many a wound
Did slay againe, as ye may see there in the stound.’
Thereof false Turpin was full glad and faine,
And needs with him streight to the place would ryde,
Where he himselfe might see his foeman slaine;
For else his feare could not be satisfyde.
So as they rode, he saw the way all dyde
With streames of bloud; which tracting by the traile,        150
Ere long they came whereas in evill tyde
That other swayne, like ashes deadly pale,
Lay in the lap of death, rewing his wretched bale.
Much did the craven seeme to mone his case,
That for his sake his deare life had forgone;        155
And him bewayling with affection base,
Did counterfeit kind pittie, where was none:
For wheres no courage, theres no ruth nor mone.
Thence passing forth, not farre away he found
Whereas the Prince himselfe lay all alone,        160
Loosely displayd upon the grassie ground,
Possessed of sweete sleepe, that luld him soft in swound.
Wearie of travell in his former fight,
He there in shade himselfe had layd to rest
Having his armes and warlike things undight,        165
Fearelesse of foes that mote his peace molest;
The whyles his salvage page, that wont be prest,
Was wandred in the wood another way,
To doe some thing, that seemed to him best,
The whyles his lord in silver slomber lay,        170
Like to the evening starre adorn’d with deawy ray.
Whom when as Turpin saw so loosely layd,
He weened well that he in deed was dead,
Like as that other knight to him had sayd:
But when he nigh approcht, he mote aread        175
Plaine signes in him of life and livelihead.
Whereat much griev’d against that straunger knight,
That him too light of credence did mislead,
He would have backe retyred from that sight,
That was to him on earth the deadliest despight.        180
But that same knight would not once let him start,
But plainely gan to him declare the case
Of all his mischiefe and late lucklesse smart;
How both he and his fellow there in place
Were vanquished, and put to foule disgrace,        185
And how that he, in lieu of life him lent,
Had vow’d unto the victor, him to trace
And follow through the world, where so he went,
Till that he him delivered to his punishment.
He, therewith much abashed and affrayd,
Began to tremble every limbe and vaine;
And softly whispering him, entyrely prayd
T’ advize him better then by such a traine
Him to betray unto a straunger swaine:
Yet rather counseld him contrarywize,        195
Sith he likewise did wrong by him sustaine,
To joyne with him and vengeance to devize,
Whylest time did offer meanes him sleeping to surprize.
Nathelesse, for all his speach, the gentle knight
Would not be tempted to such villenie,        200
Regarding more his faith which he did plight,
All were it to his mortall enemie,
Then to entrap him by false treacherie:
Great shame in lieges blood to be embrew’d.
Thus whylest they were debating diverslie,        205
The salvage forth out of the wood issew’d
Backe to the place whereas his lord he sleeping vew’d.
There when he saw those two so neare him stand,
He doubted much what mote their meaning bee,
And throwing downe his load out of his hand,        210
To weet great store of forrest frute, which hee
Had for his food late gathered from the tree,
Himselfe unto his weapon he betooke,
That was an oaken plant, which lately hee
Rent by the root; which he so sternely shooke,        215
That like an hazell wand it quivered and quooke.
Whereat the Prince awaking, when he spyde
The traytour Turpin with that other knight,
He started up, and snatching neare his syde
His trustie sword, the servant of his might,        220
Like a fell lyon leaped to him light,
And his left hand upon his collar layd.
Therewith the cowheard, deaded with affright,
Fell flat to ground, ne word unto him sayd,
But holding up his hands, with silence mercie prayd.        225
But he so full of indignation was,
That to his prayer nought he would incline,
But as he lay upon the humbled gras,
His foot he set on his vile necke, in signe
Of servile yoke, that nobler harts repine.        230
Then, letting him arise like abject thrall,
He gan to him object his haynous crime,
And to revile, and rate, and recreant call,
And lastly to despoyle of knightly bannerall.
And after all, for greater infamie,
He by the heeles him hung upon a tree,
And baffuld so, that all which passed by
The picture of his punishment might see,
And by the like ensample warned bee,
How ever they through treason doe trespasse.        240
But turn we now backe to that ladie free,
Whom late we left ryding upon an asse,
Led by a carle and foole, which by her side did passe
She was a ladie of great dignitie,
And lifted up to honorable place,        245
Famous through all the land of Faerie,
Though of meane parentage and kindred base,
Yet deckt with wondrous giftes of Natures grace,
That all men did her person much admire,
And praise the feature of her goodly face,        250
The beames whereof did kindle lovely fire
In th’ harts of many a knight, and many a gentle squire.
But she thereof grew proud and insolent,
That none she worthie thought to be her fere,
But scornd them all, that love unto her ment:        255
Yet was she lov’d of many a worthy pere;
Unworthy she to be belov’d so dere,
That could not weigh of worthinesse aright:
For beautie is more glorious bright and clere,
The more it is admir’d of many a wight,        260
And noblest she that served is of noblest knight.
But this coy damzell thought contrariwize,
That such proud looks would make her praysed more;
And that the more she did all love despize,
The more would wretched lovers her adore.        265
What cared she, who sighed for her sore,
Or who did wayle or watch the wearie night?
Let them that list their lucklesse lot deplore;
She was borne free, not bound to any wight,
And so would ever live, and love her owne delight.        270
Through such her stubborne stifnesse and hard hart,
Many a wretch, for want of remedie,
Did languish long in lifeconsuming smart,
And at the last through dreary dolour die:
Whylest she, the ladie of her libertie,        275
Did boast her beautie had such soveraine might,
That with the onely twinckle of her eye,
She could or save or spill whom she would hight.
What could the gods doe more, but doe it more aright?
But loe! the gods, that mortall follies vew,
Did worthily revenge this maydens pride;
And nought regarding her so goodly hew,
Did laugh at her, that many did deride,
Whilest she did weepe, of no man mercifide.
For on a day, when Cupid kept his court,        285
As he is wont at each Saint Valentide,
Unto the which all lovers doe resort,
That of their loves successe they there may make report;
It fortun’d then, that when the roules were red,
In which the names of all Loves folke were fyled,        290
That many there were missing, which were ded,
Or kept in bands, or from their loves exyled,
Or by some other violence despoyled.
Which when as Cupid heard, he wexed wroth,
And doubting to be wronged, or beguyled,        295
He bad his eyes to be unblindfold both,
That he might see his men, and muster them by oth.
Then found he many missing of his crew,
Which wont doe suit and service to his might;
Of whom what was becomen no man knew.        300
Therefore a jurie was impaneld streight,
T’ enquire of them, whether by force, or sleight,
Or their owne guilt, they were away convayd.
To whom foule Infamie and fell Despight
Gave evidence, that they were all betrayd,        305
And murdred cruelly by a rebellious mayd.
Fayre Mirabella was her name, whereby
Of all those crymes she there indited was:
All which when Cupid heard, he by and by,
In great displeasure, wild a capias        310
Should issue forth, t’ attach that scornefull lasse.
The warrant straight was made, and therewithall
A baylieffe errant forth in post did passe,
Whom they by name there Portamore did call;
He which doth summon lovers to Loves judgement hall.        315
The damzell was attacht, and shortly brought
Unto the barre, whereas she was arrayned:
But she thereto nould plead, nor answere ought,
Even for stubborne pride, which her restrayned.
So judgement past, as is by law ordayned        320
In cases like; which when at last she saw,
Her stubborne hart, which love before disdayned,
Gan stoupe, and falling downe with humble awe,
Cryde mercie, to abate the extremitie of law.
The sonne of Venus, who is myld by kynd,
But where he is provokt with peevishnesse,
Unto her prayers piteously enclynd,
And did the rigour of his doome represse;
Yet not so freely, but that nathelesse
He unto her a penance did impose,        330
Which was, that through this worlds wyde wildernes
She wander should in companie of those,
Till she had sav’d so many loves as she did lose.
So now she had bene wandring two whole yeares
Throughout the world, in this uncomely case,        335
Wasting her goodly hew in heavie teares,
And her good dayes in dolorous disgrace:
Yet had she not in all these two yeares space
Saved but two, yet in two yeares before,
Throgh her dispiteous pride, whilest love lackt place,        340
She had destroyed two and twenty more.
Aie me! how could her love make half amends therefore?
And now she was uppon the weary way,
When as the gentle squire, with faire Serene,
Met her in such misseeming foule array;        345
The whiles that mighty man did her demeane
With all the evill termes and cruell meane,
That he could make; and eeke that angry foole
Which follow’d her, with cursed hands uncleane
Whipping her horse, did with his smarting toole        350
Oft whip her dainty selfe, and much augment her doole.
Ne ought it mote availe her to entreat
The one or th’ other, better her to use:
For both so wilfull were and obstinate,
That all her piteous plaint they did refuse,        355
And rather did the more her beate and bruse.
But most the former villaine, which did lead
Her tyreling jade, was bent her to abuse;
Who, though she were with wearinesse nigh dead,
Yet would not let her lite, nor rest a little stead.        360
For he was sterne and terrible by nature,
And eeke of person huge and hideous,
Exceeding much the measure of mans stature,
And rather like a gyant monstruous.
For sooth he was descended of the hous        365
Of those old gyants, which did warres darraine
Against the heaven in order battailous,
And sib to great Orgolio, which was slaine
By Arthure, when as Unas knight he did maintaine.
His lookes were dreadfull, and his fiery eies,
Like two great beacons, glared bright and wyde,
Glauncing askew, as if his enemies
He scorned in his overweening pryde;
And stalking stately like a crane, did stryde
At every step uppon the tiptoes hie;        375
And all the way he went, on every syde
He gaz’d about, and stared horriblie,
As if he with his lookes would all men terrifie.
He wore no armour, ne for none did care,
As no whit dreading any living wight;        380
But in a jacket, quilted richly rare
Upon checklaton, he was straungely dight;
And on his head a roll of linnen plight,
Like to the Mores of Malaber, he wore,
With which his locks, as blacke as pitchy night,        385
Were bound about, and voyded from before;
And in his hand a mighty yron club he bore.
This was Disdaine, who led that ladies horse
Through thick and thin, through mountains and through plains,
Compelling her, wher she would not, by force,        390
Haling her palfrey by the hempen raines.
But that same foole, which most increast her paines,
Was Scorne, who, having in his hand a whip,
Her therewith yirks, and still when she complaines,
The more he laughes, and does her closely quip,        395
To see her sore lament, and bite her tender lip.
Whose cruell handling when that squire beheld,
And saw those villaines her so vildely use,
His gentle heart with indignation sweld,
And could no lenger beare so great abuse,        400
As such a lady so to beate and bruse;
But to him stepping, such a stroke him lent,
That forst him th’ halter from his hand to loose,
And maugre all his might, backe to relent:
Else had he surely there bene slaine, or fowly shent.        405
The villaine, wroth for greeting him so sore,
Gathered him selfe together soone againe,
And with his yron batton which he bore
Let drive at him so dreadfully amaine,
That for his safety he did him constraine        410
To give him ground, and shift to every side,
Rather then once his burden to sustaine:
For bootelesse thing him seemed, to abide
So mighty blowes, or prove the puissaunce of his pride.
Like as a mastiffe, having at a bay
A salvage bull, whose cruell hornes doe threat
Desperate daunger, if he them assay,
Traceth his ground, and round about doth beat,
To spy where he may some advauntage get,
The whiles the beast doth rage and loudly rore;        420
So did the squire, the whiles the carle did fret
And fume in his disdainefull mynd the more,
And oftentimes by Turmagant and Mahound swore.
Nathelesse so sharpely still he him pursewd,
That at advantage him at last he tooke,        425
When his foote slipt (that slip he dearely rewd,)
And with his yron club to ground him strooke;
Where still he lay, ne out of swoune awooke,
Till heavy hand the carle upon him layd,
And bound him fast: tho, when he up did looke,        430
And saw him selfe captiv’d, he was dismayd,
Ne powre had to withstand, ne hope of any ayd.
Then up he made him rise, and forward fare,
Led in a rope, which both his hands did bynd;
Ne ought that foole for pitty did him spare,        435
But with his whip him following behynd,
Him often scourg’d, and forst his feete to fynd:
And other whiles with bitter mockes and mowes
He would him scorne, that to his gentle mynd
Was much more grievous then the others blowes:        440
Words sharpely wound, but greatest griefe of scorning growes.
The faire Serena, when she saw him fall
Under that villaines club, then surely thought
That slaine he was, or made a wretched thrall,
And fled away with all the speede she mought,        445
To seeke for safety; which long time she sought,
And past through many perils by the way,
Ere she againe to Calepine was brought;
The which discourse as now I must delay,
Till Mirabellaes fortunes I doe further say.        450

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