The Patron of true Holinesse,
Foule Errour doth defeate:
Hypocrisie him to entrape,
Doth to his home entreate.
A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
Y cladd in mightie armes and siluersilver shielde,
Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
The cruell markes of many’ a bloudy fielde;
Yet armes till that time did he neuernever wield:
His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
As much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
Full iollyjolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.
But on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore,
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore,
And dead as liuingliving euerever him ador’d:
VponUpon his shield the like was also scor’d,
For souerainesoveraine hope, which in his helpe he had:
Right faithfull true he was in deede and word,
But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad,
Yet nothing did he dread, but euerever was ydrad.
VponUpon a great aduentureadventure he was bond,
That greatest Gloriana to him gauegave,
That greatest Glorious Queene of Faerie lond,
To winne him worship, and her grace to hauehave,
Which of all earthly things he most did crauecrave;
And euerever as he rode, his hart did earne
To proueprove his puissance in battell brauebrave
VponUpon his foe, and his new force to learne;
VponUpon his foe, a Dragon horrible and stearne.
A louelylovely Ladie rode him faire beside,
VponUpon a lowly Asse more white 4.2. then: thanthenthan snow,
Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide
VnderUnder a vele, that wimpled was full low,
And ouerover all a blacke stole she did throw,
As one that inly mournd: so was she sad,
And heauieheavie sat vponupon her palfrey slow;
Seemed in heart some hidden care she had,
And by her in a line a milke white lambe she lad.
So pure an innocent, as that same lambe,
She was in life and eueryevery vertuous lore,
And by descent from Royall lynage came
Of ancient Kings and Queenes, that had of yore
Their scepters stretcht from East to Westerne shore,
And all the world in their subiectionsubjection held;
Till that infernall feend with foule vproreuprore
Forwasted all their land, and them expeld:
Whom to auengeavenge, she had this Knight from far co[m]peld.
Behind her farre away a Dwarfe did lag,
That lasie seemd in being euerever last,
Or wearied with bearing of her bag
Of needments at his backe. Thus as they past,
The day with cloudes was suddeine ouercastovercast,
And angry IoueJove an hideous storme of raine
Did poure into his Lemans lap so fast,
That eueryevery wight to shrowd it did constrain,
And this faire couple eke to shroud the[m]selues were fain.
Enforst to seeke some couertcovert nigh at hand,
A shadie grouegrove not far away they spide,
That promist ayde the tempest to withstand:
Whose loftie trees yclad with sommers pride,
Did spred so broad, that heauensheavens light did hide,
Not perceable with power of any starre:
And all within were pathes and alleies wide,
With footing worne, and leading inward farre:
Faire harbour that them seemes; so in they entred arre.
And foorth they passe, with pleasure forward led,
IoyingJoying to heare the birdes sweete harmony,
Which therein shrouded from the tempest dred,
Seemd in their song to scorne the cruell sky.
Much can they prayse the trees so straight and hy,
The sayling Pine, the Cedar proud and tall,
The vine-prop Elme, the Poplar neuernever dry,
The builder Oake, sole king of forrests all,
The Aspine good for stauesstaves, the Cypresse funerall.
The Laurell, meed of mightie Conquerours
And Poets sage, the Firre that weepeth still,
The Willow worne of forlorne Paramours,
The Eugh obedient to the benders will,
The Birch for shaftes, the Sallow for the mill,
The Mirrhe sweete bleeding in the bitter wound,
The warlike Beech, the Ash for nothing ill,
The fruitfull OliueOlive, and the Platane round,
The caruercarver Holme, the Maple seeldom inward sound.
Led with delight, they thus beguile the way,
VntillUntill the blustring storme is ouerblowne;
When weening to returne, whence they did stray,
TheyThe cannot finde that path, which first was showne,
But wander too and fro in wayes vnknowneunknowne,
Furthest from end 10.6. then: thanthenthan, when they neerest weene,
That makes them doubt, their wits be not their owne:
So many pathes, so many turnings seene,
That which of them to take, in diuersediverse doubt they been.
At last resoluingresolving forward still to fare,
Till that some end they finde or in or out,
That path they take, that beaten seemd most bare,
And like to lead the labyrinth about;
Which when by tract they hunted had throughout,
At length it brought them to a hollow cauecave,
Amid the thickest woods. The Champion stout
Eftsoones dismounted from his courser brauebrave,
And to the Dwarfe awhile his needlesse spere he gauegave.
Be well aware, quoth 12.1. then: thanthenthan that Ladie milde,
Least suddaine mischiefe ye too rash prouokeprovoke:
The danger hid, the place vnknowneunknowne and wilde,
Breedes dreadfull doubts: Oft fire is without smoke,
And perill without show: therefore your hardy stroke
Sir knight with-hold, till further triall made.
Ah Ladie (said he) shame were to reuokerevoke
The forward footing for an hidden shade:
Vertue giuesgives her selfe light, through darkenesse for to wade.
Yea but (quoth she) the perill of this place
I better wot 13.2. then: thanthenthan you, though now too late,
To wish you backe returne with foule disgrace,
Yet wisedome warnes, whilest foot is in the gate,
To stay the steppe, ere forced to retrate.
This is the wandring wood, this Errours den,
A monster vile, whom God and man does hate:
Therefore I read beware. Fly fly (quoth 13.8. then: thanthenthan
The fearefull Dwarfe:) this is no place for liuingliving men.
But full of fire and greedy hardiment,
The youthfull knight could not for ought be staide,
But forth vntounto the darksome hole he went,
And looked in: his glistring armor made
A litle glooming light, much like a shade,
By which he saw the vglyugly monster plaine,
Halfe like a serpent horribly displaide,
But th’other halfe did womans shape retaine,
Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile disdaine.
And as she lay vponupon the durtie ground,
Her huge long taile her den all ouerspredoverspred,
Yet was in knots and many boughtes vpwoundupwound,
Pointed with mortall sting. Of her there bred
A thousand yong ones, which she dayly fed,
Sucking vponupon her poisonous dugs, eachone
Of sundry shapes, yet all ill fauoredfavored:
Soone as that vncouthuncouth light vponupon them shone,
Into her mouth they crept, and suddain all were gone.
Their dam vpstartupstart, out of her den effraide,
And rushed forth, hurling her hideous taile
About her cursed head, whose folds displaid
Were stretcht now forth at length without entraile.
She lookt about, and seeing one in mayle
Armed to point, sought backe to turne againe;
For light she hated as the deadly bale,
Ay wont in desert darknesse to remaine,
Where plaine none might her see, nor she see any plaine.
Which when the valiant Elfe perceiu’ed, he lept
As Lyon fierce vponupon the flying pray,
And with his trenchand blade her boldly kept
From turning backe, and forced her to stay:
Therewith enrag’d she loudly gan to bray,
And turning fierce, her speckled taile aduaunstadvaunst,
Threatning her angry sting, him to dismay:
Who nought aghast, his mightie hand enhaunst:
The stroke down fro[m]; her head vntounto her shoulder glaunst.
Much daunted with that dint, her sence was dazd,
Yet kindling rage, her selfe she gathered round,
And all attonce her beastly body raizd
With doubled forces high aboueabove the ground:
Tho wrapping vpup her wrethed sterne arownd,
Lept fierce vponupon his shield, and her huge traine
All suddenly about his body wound,
That hand or foot to stirre he strouestrove in vaine:
God helpe the man so wrapt in Errours endlesse traine.
His Lady sad to see his sore constraint,
Cride out, Now now Sir knight, shew what ye bee,
Add faith vntounto your force, and be not faint:
Strangle her, else she sure will strangle thee.
That when he heard, in great perplexitie,
His gall did grate for griefe and high disdaine,
And knitting all his force got one hand free,
Wherewith he grypt her gorge with so great paine,
That soone to loose her wicked bands did her constraine.
Therewith she spewd out of her filthy maw
A floud of poyson horrible and blacke,
Full of great lumpes of flesh and gobbets raw,
Which stunck so vildly, that it forst him slacke
His grasping hold, and from her turne him backe:
Her vomit full of bookes and papers was,
With loathly frogs and toades, which eyes did lacke,
And creeping sought way in the weedy gras:
Her filthy parbreake all the place defiled has.
As when old father Nilus gins to swell
With timely pride aboueabove the Aegyptian vale,
His fattie waueswaves do fertile slime outwell,
And ouerflowoverflow each plaine and lowly dale:
But when his later ebbe gins to auale,
Huge heapes of mudd he leauesleaves, wherein there breed
Ten thousand kindes of creatures, partly male
And partly female of his fruitfull seed;
Such vglyugly monstrous shapes elswhere may no man reed.
The same so sore annoyed has the knight,
That welnigh choked with the deadly stinke,
His forces faile, ne can no longer fight.
Whose corage when the feend perceiu’dperceiv’d to shrinke,
She poured forth out of her hellish sinke
Her fruitfull cursed spawne of serpents small,
Deformed monsters, fowle, and blacke as inke,
Which swarming all about his legs did crall,
And him encombred sore, but could not hurt at all.
As gentle Shepheard in sweete euen-tide,
When ruddy Phoebus gins to welke in west,
High on an hill, his flocke to vewen wide,
Markes which do byte their hasty supper best;
A cloud of combrous gnattes do him molest,
All striuingstriving to infixe their feeble stings,
That from their noyance he no where can rest,
But with his clownish hands their tender wings
He brusheth oft, and oft doth mar their murmurings.
Thus ill bestedd, and fearefull more of shame,
Then of the certaine perill he stood in,
Halfe furious vntounto his foe he came,
Resolv’d in minde all suddenly to win,
Or soone to lose, before he once would lin;
And strooke at her with more 24.6. then: thanthenthan manly force,
That from her body full of filthie sin
He raft her hatefull head without remorse;
A streame of cole black bloud forth gushed fro[m]; her corse.
Her scattred brood, soone as their Parent deare
They saw so rudely falling to the ground,
Groning full deadly, all with troublous feare,
Gathred themseluesthemselves about her body round,
Weening their wonted entrance to hauehave found
At her wide mouth: but being there withstood
They flocked all about her bleeding wound.
And sucked vpup their dying mothers blood,
Making her death their life, and eke her hurt their good.
That detestable sight him much amazde,
To see th’vnkindly Impes of heauenheaven accurst,
DeuoureDevoure their dam; on whom while so he gazd,
HauingHaving all satisfide their bloudy thurst,
Their bellies swolne he saw with fulnesse burst,
And bowels gushing forth: well worthy end
Of such as drunke her life, the which them nurst;
Now needeth him no lenger labour spend,
His foes hauehave slaine themseluesthemselves, with whom he should contend.
His Ladie seeing all, that chaunst, from farre
Approcht in hast to greet his victorie,
And said, Faire knight, borne vnderunder happy starre,
Who see your vanquisht foes before you lye:
Well worthy be you of that Armorie,
Wherein ye hauehave great glory wonne this day,
And proou’dproov’d your strength on a strong enimie,
Your first aduentureadventure: many such I pray,
And henceforth euerever wish, that like succeed it may.
Then mounted he vponupon his Steede againe,
And with the Lady backward sought to wend;
That path he kept, which beaten was most plaine,
Ne euerever would to any by-way bend,
But still did follow one vntounto the end,
The which at last out of the wood them brought.
So forward on his way (with God to frend)
He passeth forth, and new aduentureadventure sought;
Long way he trauelled, before he heard of ought.
At length they chaunst to meet vponupon the way
An aged Sire, in long blacke weedes yclad,
His feete all bare, his beard all hoarie gray,
And by his belt his booke he hanging had;
Sober he seemde, and very sagely sad,
And to the ground his eyes were lowly bent,
Simple in shew, and voyde of malice bad,
And all the way he prayed, as he went,
And often knockt his brest, as one that did repent.
He faire the knight saluted, louting low,
Who faire him quited, as that courteous was:
And after asked him, if he did know
Of straunge aduenturesadventures, which abroad did pas.
Ah my deare Sonne (quoth he) how should, alas,
Silly old man, that liueslives in hidden cell,
Bidding his beades all day for his trespas,
Tydings of warre and worldly trouble tell?
With holy father sits not with such things to mell.
But if of daunger which hereby doth dwell,
And homebred euillevill ye desire to heare,
Of a straunge man I can you tidings tell,
That wasteth all this countrey farre and neare.
Of such (said he) I chiefly do inquere,
And shall you well reward to shew the place,
In which that wicked wight his dayes doth weare:
For to all knighthood it is foule disgrace,
That such a cursed creature liueslives so long a space.
Far hence (quoth he) in wastfull wildernesse
His dwelling is, by which no liuingliving wight
May euerever passe, but thorough great distresse.
Now (sayd the Lady) draweth toward night,
And well I wote, that of your later fight
Ye all for wearied be: for what so strong,
But wanting rest will also want of might?
The Sunne that measures heauenheaven all day long,
At night doth baite his steedes the Ocean waueswaves emong.
Then with the Sunne take Sir, your timely rest,
And with new day new worke at once begin:
VntroubledUntroubled night they say giuesgives counsell best.
Right well Sir knight ye hauehave aduisedadvised bin,
(Quoth 33.5. then: thanthenthan that aged man;) the way to win
Is wisely to aduiseadvise: now day is spent;
Therefore with me ye may take vpup your In
For this same night. The knight was well content:
So with that godly father to his home they went.
A little lowly Hermitage it was,
Downe in a dale, hard by a forests side,
Far from resort of people, that did pas
In trauelltravell to and froe: a little wyde
There was an holy Chappell edifyde,
Wherein the Hermite dewly wont to say
His holy things each morne and euentydeeventyde:
Thereby a Christall streame did genlty play,
Which from a sacred fountaine welled forth alway.
ArriuedArrived there, the little house they fill,
Ne looke for entertainement, where none was:
Rest is their feast, and all things at their will;
The noblest mind the best contentment has.
With faire discourse the eueningevening so they pas:
For that old man of pleasing wordes had store,
And well could file his tongue as smooth as glas;
He told of Saintes and Popes, and euermoreevermore
He strowd an Aue-MaryAve-Mary after and before.
The drouping Night thus creepeth on them fast,
And the sad humour loading their eye liddes,
As messenger of Morpheus on them cast
Sweet slo[m]bring deaw, the which to sleepe them biddes.
VntoUnto their lodgings 36.5. then: thanthenthan his guestes he riddes:
Where when all drownd in deadly sleepe he findes,
He to his study goes, and there amiddes
His Magick bookes and artes of sundry kindes,
He seekes out mighty charmes, to trouble sleepy mindes.
Then choosing out few wordes most horrible,
(Let none them read) thereof did verses frame,
With which and other spelles like terrible,
He bad awake blacke Plutoes griesly Dame,
And cursed heauenheaven, and spake reprochfull shame
Of highest God, the Lord of life and light;
A bold bad man, that dar’d to call by name
Great Gorgon, Prince of darknesse and dead night,
At which Cocytus quakes, and Styx is put to flight.
And forth he cald out of deepe darknesse dred
Legions of Sprights, the which like little flyes
Fluttring about his euerever damned hed,
A-waite whereto their seruiceservice he applyes,
To aide his friends, or fray his enimies:
Of those he chose out two, the falsest twoo,
And fittest for to forge true-seeming lyes;
The one of them he gauegave a message too,
The other by him selfe staide other worke to doo.
He making speedy way through spersed ayre,
And through the world of waters wide and deepe,
To Morpheus house doth hastily repaire.
Amid the bowels of the earth full steepe,
And low, where dawning day dothneuer peepe,
His dwelling is; there Tethys his wet bed
Doth euerever wash, and Cynthia still doth steepe
In siluersilver deaw his euer-droupingever-drouping hed,
Whiles sad Night ouerover him her ma[n]tle black doth spred.
Whose double gates he findeth locked fast,
The one faire fram’d of burnisht YuoryYvory,
The other all with siluersilver ouercastovercast;
And wakefull dogges before them farre do lye,
Watching to banish Care their enimy,
Who oft is wont to trouble gentle sleepe.
By them the Sprite doth passe in quietly,
And vntounto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deepe
In drowsie fit he findes: of nothing he takes keepe.
And more, to lulle him in his slumber soft,
A trickling streame from high rocke tumbling downe
And euer-drizlingever-drizling raine vponupon the loft,
Mixt with a murmuring winde, much like the sowne
Of swarming Bees, did cast him in a swowne:
No other noyse, nor peoples troublous cryes,
As still are wont t’annoy the walled towne,
Might there be heard: but carelesse Quiet lyes,
Wrapt in eternall silence farre from enemyes.
The messenger approching to him spake,
But his wast wordes returnd to him in vaine:
So sound he slept, that nought mought him awake.
Then rudely he him trust, and pusht with paine,
Whereat he gan to stretch: but he againe
Shooke him so hard, that forced him to speake.
As one 42.7. then: thanthenthan in a dreame, whose dryer braine
Is tost with troubled sights and fancies weake,
He mumbled soft, but would not all his silence breake.
The Sprite 43.1. then: thanthenthan gan more boldly him to wake,
And threatned vntounto him the dreaded name
Of Hecate: whereat he gan to quake,
And lifting vpup his lumpish head, with blame
Halfe angry asked him, for what he came.
Hither (quoth he) me Archimago sent,
He that the stubborne Sprites can wisely tame,
He bids thee to him send for his intent
A fit false dreame, that can delude the sleepers sent.
The God obayde, and calling forth straight way
A diuersediverse dreame out of his prison darke,
DeliueredDelivered it to him, and downe did lay
His heauieheavie head, deuoidedevoide of carefull carke,
Whose sences all were straight benumbd and starke.
He backe returning by the YuorieYvorie dore,
Remounted vpup as light as chearefull Larke,
And on his litle winges the dreame he bore
In hast vntounto his Lord, where he him left afore.
Who all this while with charmes and hidden artes,
Had made a Lady of that other Spright,
And fram’d of liquid ayre her tender partes
So liuelylively, and so like in all mens sight,
That weaker sence it could hauehave rauishtravisht quight:
The maker selfe for all his wondrous witt,
Was nigh beguiled with so goodly sight:
Her all in white he clad, and ouerover it
Cast a blacke stole, most like to seeme for VnaUna fit.
Now when that ydle dreame was to him brought,
VntoUnto that Elfin knight he bad him fly,
Where he slept soundly void of euillevill thought,
And with false shewes abuse his fantasy,
In sort as he him schooled priuilyprivily:
And that new creature borne without her dew,
Full of the makers guile, with vsageusage sly
He taught to imitate that Lady trew,
Whose semblance she did carrie vnderunder feigned hew.
Thus well instructed, to their worke they hast,
And comming where the knight in slomber lay,
The one vponupon his hardy head him plast,
And made him dreame of louesloves and lustfull play,
That nigh his manly hart did melt away,
Bathed in wanton blis and wicked ioyjoy:
Then seemed him his Lady by him lay,
And to him playnd, how that false winged boy,
Her chast hart had subdewd, to learne Dame pleasures toy.
And she her selfe of beautie soueraignesoveraigne Queene,
Faire Venus seemde vntounto his bed to bring
Her, whom he waking euermoreevermore did weene,
To be the chastest flowre, that ay did spring
On earthly braunch, the daughter of a king,
Now a loose Leman to vile seruiceservice bound:
And eke the Graces seemed all to sing,
Hymen iö́ Hymen, dauncing all around,
Whilst freshest Flora her Yuie girlond crownd.
In this great passion of vnwontedunwonted lust,
Or wonted feare of doing ought amis,
He started vpup, as seeming to mistrust,
Some secret ill, or hidden foe of his:
Lo there before his face his Lady is,
VnderUnder blake stole hyding her bayted hooke,
And as halfe blushing offred him to kis,
With gentle blandishment and louelylovely looke,
Most like that virgin true, which for her knight him took.
All cleane dismayd to see so vncouthuncouth sight,
And halfe enraged at her shamelesse guise,
He thought hauehave slaine her in his fierce despight:
But hasty heat tempring with sufferance wise,
He stayde his hand, and gan himselfe aduiseadvise
To proueprove his sense, and tempt her faigned truth.
Wringing her hands in wemens pitteous wise,
Tho canshe weepe, to stirre vpup gentle ruth,
Both for her noble bloud, and for her tender youth.
And said, Ah Sir, my liege Lord and my louelove,
Shall I accuse the hidden cruell fate,
And mightie causes wrought in heauenheaven aboueabove,
Or the blind God, that doth me thus amate,
For hoped louelove to winne me certaine hate?
Yet thus perforce he bids me do, or die.
Die is my dew: yet rew my wretched state
You, whom my hard auengingavenging destinie
Hath made iudgejudge of my life or death indifferently.
Your owne deare sake forst me at first to leaueleave
My Fathers kingdome, There she stopt with teares;
Her swollen hart her speach seemd to bereauebereave,
And 52.4. then: thanthenthan againe begun, My weaker yeares
Captiu’dCaptiv’d to fortune and frayle worldly feares,
Fly to your faith for succour and sure ayde:
Let me not dye in languor and long teares.
Why Dame (quoth he) what hath ye thus dismayd?
What frayes ye, that were wont to comfort me affrayd?
LoueLove of your selfe, she said, and deare constraint
Lets me not sleepe, but wast the wearie night
In secret anguish and vnpittiedunpittied plaint,
Whiles you in carelesse sleepe are drowned quight.
Her doubtfull words made that redoubted knight
Suspect her truth: yet since no’vntruthno’untruth he knew,
Her fawning louelove with foule disdainefull spight
He would not shend, but said, Deare dame I rew,
That for my sake vnknowneunknowne such griefe vntounto you grew.
Assure your selfe, it fell not all to ground;
For all so deare as life is to my hart,
I deeme your louelove, and hold me to you bound;
Ne let vaine feares procure your needlesse smart,
Where cause is none, but to your rest depart.
Not all content, yet seemd she to appease
Her mournefull plaintes, beguiled of her art,
And fed with words, that could not chuse but please,
So slyding softly forth, she turnd as to her ease.
Long after lay he musing at her mood,
Much grieu’dgriev’d to thinke that gentle Dame so light,
For whose defence he was to shed his blood.
At last dull wearinesse of former fight
HauingHaving yrockt a sleepe his irkesome spright,
That troublous dreame gan freshly tosse his braine,
With bowres, and beds, and Ladies deare delight:
But when he saw his labour all was vaine,
With that misformed spright he backe returnd againe.