The spousals of faire Florimell,
where turney many knights:
There Braggadochio is vncas’duncas’d
in all the Ladies sights.
AFterAfter long stormes and tempests ouerblowneoverblowne,
The sunne at length his ioyousjoyous face doth cleare:
So when as fortune all her spight hath showne,
Some blisfull houres at last must needes appeare;
Else should afflicted wights oftimes despeire.
So comes it now to Florimell by tourne,
After long sorrowes suffered whyleare,
In which captiu’dcaptiv’d she many moneths did mourne,
To tast of ioyjoy, and to wont pleasures to retourne.
Who being freed from Proteus cruell band
By Marinell, was vntounto him affide,
And by him brought againe to Faerie land;
Where he her spous’d, and made his ioyousjoyous bride.
The time and place was blazed farre and wide;
And solemne feasts and giusts ordain’d therefore.
To which there did resort from eueryevery side
Of Lords and Ladies infinite great store;
Ne any Knight was absent, that brauebrave courage bore.
To tell the glorie of the feast that day,
The goodly seruiceservice, the deuicefulldevicefull sights,
The bridegromes state, the brides most rich aray,
The pride of Ladies, and the worth of knights,
The royall banquets, and the rare delights
Were worke fit for an Herauld, not for me:
But for so much as to my lot here lights,
That with this present treatise doth agree,
True vertue to aduanceadvance, shall here recounted bee.
When all men had with full satietie
Of meates and drinkes their appetites suffiz’d,
To deedes of armes and proofe of cheualriechevalrie
They gan themseluesthemselves addresse, full rich aguiz’d,
As each one had his furnitures deuiz’ddeviz’d.
And first of all issu’d Sir Marinell,
And with him sixe knights more, which enterpriz’d
To chalenge all in right of Florimell,
And to maintaine, that she all others did excell.
The first of them was hight Sir Orimont,
A noble Knight, and tride in hard assayes:
The second had to name Sir Bellisont,
But second vntounto none in prowesse prayse;
The third was Brunell, famous in his dayes;
The fourth Ecastor, of exceeding might;
The fift Armeddan, skild in louelylovely layes;
The sixt was Lansack, a redoubted Knight:
All sixe well seene in armes, and prou’dprov’d in many a fight.
And them against came all that list to giust,
From eueryevery coast and countrie vnderunder sunne:
None was debard, but all had leaueleave that lust.
The trompets sound; then all together ronne.
Full many deedes of armes that day were donne,
And many knights vnhorstunhorst, and many wounded,
As fortune fell; yet litle lost or wonne:
But all that day the greatest prayse redounded
To Marinell, whose name the Heralds loud resounded.
The second day, so soone as morrow light
Appear’d in heauenheaven, into the field they came,
And there all day continew’d cruell fight,
With diuersdivers fortune fit for such a game,
In which all strouestrove with perill to winne fame.
Yet whether side was victor, note be ghest:
But at the last the trompets did proclame
That Marinell that day deserueddeserved best.
So they disparted were, and all men went to rest.
The third day came, that should due tryall lend
Of all the rest, and then this warlike crew
Together met, of all to make an end.
There Marinell great deeds of armes did shew;
And through the thickest like a Lyon flew,
Rashing off helmes, and ryuingryving plates a sonder,
That eueryevery one his daunger did eschew.
So terribly his dreadfull strokes did thonder,
That all men stood amaz’d, &and at his might did wonder.
But what on earth can alwayes happie stand?
The greater prowesse greater perils find.
So farre he past amongst his enemies band,
That they hauehave him enclosed so behind,
As by no meanes he can himselfe outwind.
And now perforce they hauehave him prisoner taken;
And now they doe with captiuecaptive bands him bind;
And now they lead him thence, of all forsaken,
VnlesseUnlesse some succour had in time him ouertakenovertaken.
It fortun’d whylest they were thus ill beset,
Sir Artegall into the Tilt-yard came,
With Braggadochio, whom he lately met
VponUpon the way, with that his snowy Dame.
Where when he vnderstoodunderstood by common fame,
What euillevill hap to Marinell betid,
He much was mou’dmov’d at so vnworthieunworthie shame,
And streight that boaster prayd, with whom he rid,
To change his shield with him, to be the better hid.
So forth he went, and soone them ouerover hent,
Where they were leading Marinell away,
Whom he assayld with dreadlesse hardiment,
And forst the burden of their prize to stay.
They were an hundred knights of that array;
Of which th’one halfe vponupon himselfe did set,
Th’other stayd behind to gard the pray.
But he ere long the former fiftie bet;
And from th’other fiftie soone the prisoner fet.
So backe he brought Sir Marinell againe;
Whom hauinghaving quickly arm’d againe anew,
They both together ioynedjoyned might and maine,
To set afresh on all the other crew.
Whom with sore hauockehavocke soone they ouerthrewoverthrew,
And chaced quite out of the field, that none
Against them durst his head to perill shew.
So were they left Lords of the field alone:
So Marinell by him was rescu’d from his fone.
Which when he had perform’d, then backe againe
To Braggadochio did his shield restore:
Who all this while behind him did remaine,
Keeping there close with him in pretious store
That his false Ladie, as ye heard afore.
Then did the trompets sound, and IudgesJudges rose,
And all these knights, which that day armour bore,
Came to the open hall, to listen whose
The honour of the prize should be adiudg’dadjudg’d by those.
And thether also came in open sight
Fayre Florimell, into the common hall,
To greet his guerdon vntounto
And best to him, to whom the best should fall.
Then for that stranger knight they loud did call,
To whom that day they should the girlond yield.
Who came not forth: but for Sir Artegall
Came Braggadochio, and did shew his shield,
Which bore the Sunne brode blazed in a golden field.
The sight whereof did all with gladnesse fill:
So vntounto him they did addeeme the prise
Of all that Tryumph. Then the trompets shrill
Don Braggadochios name resounded thrise:
So courage lent a cloke to cowardise.
And then to him came fayrest Florimell,
And goodly gan to greet his brauebrave
And thousand thankes him yeeld, that had so well
Approu’dApprov’d that day, that she all others did excell.
To whom the boaster, that all knights did blot,
With proud disdaine did scornefull answere make;
That what he did that day, he did it not
For her, but for his owne deare Ladies sake,
Whom on his perill he did vndertakeundertake,
Both her and eke all others to excell:
And further did vncomelyuncomely speaches crake.
Much did his words the gentle Ladie quell,
And turn’d aside for shame to heare, what he did tell.
Then forth he brought his snowy Florimele,
Whom Trompart had in keeping there beside,
CoueredCovered from peoples gazement with a vele.
Whom when discouereddiscovered they had throughly eide,
With great amazement they were stupefide;
And said, that surely Florimell it was,
Or if it were not Florimell so tride,
That Florimell her selfe she then did pas.
So feeble skill of perfect things the vulgar has.
Which when as Marinell beheld likewise,
He was therewith exceedingly dismayd;
Ne wist he what to thinke, or to deuisedevise,
But like as one, whom feends had made affrayd,
He long astonisht stood, ne ought he sayd,
Ne ought he did, but with fast fixed eies
He gazed still vponupon that snowy mayd;
Whom euerever as he did the more auizeavize,
The more to be true Florimell he did surmize.
As when two sunnes appeare in the azure skye,
Mounted in Phœbus charet fierie bright,
Both darting forth faire beames to each mans eye,
And both adorn’d with lampes of flaming light,
All that behold so strange prodigious sight,
Not knowing natures worke, nor what to weene,
Are rapt with wonder, and with rare affright.
So stood Sir Marinell, when he had seene
The semblant of this false by his faire beauties Queene.
All which when Artegall, who all this while
Stood in the preasse close coueredcovered, well aduewedadvewed,
And saw that boasters pride and gracelesse guile,
He could no longer beare, but forth issewed,
And vntounto all himselfe there open shewed,
And to the boaster said; Thou losell base,
That hast with borrowed plumes thy selfe endewed,
And others worth with leasings doest deface,
When they are all restor’d, thou shalt rest in disgrace.
That shield, which thou doest beare, was it indeed,
Which this dayes honour sau’dsav’d to Marinell;
But not that arme, nor thou the man I reed,
Which didst that seruiceservice
For proofe shew forth thy sword, and let it tell,
What strokes, what dreadfull stoure it stird this day:
Or shew the wounds, which vntounto thee befell;
Or shew the sweat, with which thou diddest sway
So sharpe a battell, that so many did dismay.
But this the sword, which wrought those cruell stounds,
And this the arme, the which that shield did beare,
And these the signes, (so shewed forth his wounds)
By which that glorie gotten doth appeare.
As for this Ladie, which he sheweth here,
Is not (I wager) Florimell at all;
But some fayre Franion, fit for such a fere,
That by misfortune in his hand did fall.
For proofe whereof, he bad them Florimell forth
So forth the noble Ladie was ybrought,
Adorn’d with honor and all comely grace:
Whereto her bashfull shamefastnesse ywrought
A great increase in her faire blushing face;
As roses did with lillies interlace.
For of those words, the which that boaster threw,
She inly yet conceiuedconceived great disgrace.
Whom when as all the people such did vew,
They shouted loud, and signes of gladnesse all did shew.
Then did he set her by that snowy one,
Like the true saint beside the image set,
Of both their beauties to make paragone,
And triall, whether should the honor get.
Streight way so soone as both together met,
Th’enchaunted Damzell vanisht into nought:
Her snowy substance melted as with heat,
Ne of that goodly hew remayned ought,
But th’emptie girdle, which about her wast was wrought.
As when the daughter of Thaumantes faire,
Hath in a watry cloud displayed wide
Her goodly bow, which paints the liquid ayre;
That all men wonder at her colours pride;
All suddenly, ere one can looke aside,
The glorious picture vanisheth away,
Ne any token doth thereof abide:
So did this Ladies goodly forme decay,
And into nothing goe, ere one could it bewray.
Which when as all that present were, beheld,
They stricken were with great astonishment,
And their faint harts with senselesse horrour queld,
To see the thing, that seem’d so excellent,
So stolen from their fancies wonderment;
That what of it became, none vnderstoodunderstood.
And Braggadochio selfe with dreriment
So daunted was in his despeyring mood,
That like a lifelesse corse immoueableimmoveable he stood.
But Artegall that golden belt vptookeuptooke,
The which of all her spoyle was onely left;
Which was not hers, as many it mistooke,
But Florimells owne girdle, from her reft,
While she was flying, like a weary weft,
From that foule monster, which did her compell
To perils great; which hevnbuckling eft,
Presented to the fayrest Florimell;
Who round about her tender wast it fitted well.
Full many Ladies often had assayd,
About their middles that faire belt to knit;
And many a one suppos’d to be a mayd:
Yet it to none of all their loynes would fit,
Till Florimell about her fastned it.
Such power it had, that to no womans wast
By any skill or labour it would sit,
VnlesseUnlesse that she were continent and chast,
But it would lose or breake, that many had disgrast.
Whilest thus they busied were bout Florimell,
And boastfull Braggadochio to defame,
Sir Guyon as by fortune then befell,
Forth from the thickest preasse of people came,
His owne good steed, which he had stolne, to clame;
And th’one hand seizing on his golden bit,
With th’other drew his sword: for with the same
He ment the thiefe there deadly to hauehave smit:
And had he not bene held, he nought had fayld of it.
Thereof great hurly burly mouedmoved was
Throughout the hall, for that same warlike horse.
For Braggadochio would not let him pas;
And Guyon would him algates hauehave perforse,
Or it approueapprove
vponupon his carrion corse.
Which troublous stirre when Artegall
He nigh them drew to stay th’auengersth’avengers forse,
And gan inquire, how was that steed bereauedbereaved,
Whether by might extort, or else by slight deceaueddeceaved.
Who all that piteous storie, which befell
About that wofull couple, which were slaine,
And their young bloodie babe to him gan tell;
With whom whiles he did in the wood remaine,
His horse purloyned was by subtill traine:
For which he chalenged the thiefe to fight.
But he for nought could him thereto constraine.
For as the death he hated such despight,
And rather had to lose, 1596.bk5.V.iii.31.9. then: thanthenthan trie in armes his right.
Which Artegall well hearing, though no more
By law of armes there neede ones right to trie,
As was the wont of warlike knights of yore,
1596.bk5.V.iii.32.4. Then: ThanThenThan that his foe should him the field denie,
Yet further right by tokens to descrie,
He askt, what priuieprivie tokens he did beare.
If that (said Guyon) may you satisfie,
Within his mouth a blacke spot doth appeare,
Shapt like a horses shoe, who list to seeke it there.
Whereof to make due tryall, one did take
The horse in hand, within his mouth to looke:
But with his heeles so sorely he him strake,
That all his ribs he quite in peeces broke,
That neuernever word from that day forth he spoke.
Another that would seeme to hauehave more wit,
Him by the bright embrodered hedstall tooke:
But by the shoulder him so sore he bit,
That he him maymed quite, and all his shoulder split.
Ne he his mouth would open vntounto wight,
VntillUntill that Guyon selfe vntounto him spake,
And called Brigadore (so was he hight)
Whose voice so soone as he did vndertakeundertake,
Eftsoones he stood as still as any stake,
And suffred all his secret marke to see:
And when as he him nam’d, for ioyjoy he brake
His bands, and follow’d him with gladfull glee,
And friskt, and flong aloft, and louted low on knee.
Thereby Sir Artegall did plaine areed,
That vntounto him the horse belong’d, and sayd;
Lo there Sir Guyon, take to you the steed,
As he with golden saddle is arayd;
And let that losell, plainely now displayd,
Hence fare on foot, till he an horse hauehave gayned.
But the proud boaster gan his doome vpbraydupbrayd,
And him reuil’drevil’d, and rated, and disdayned,
That iudgementjudgement so vniustunjust against him had ordayned.
Much was the knight incenst with his lewd word,
reuengedrevenged that his villeny;
And thrise did lay his hand vponupon his sword,
To hauehave him slaine, or dearely doen aby.
But Guyon did his choler pacify,
Saying, Sir knight, it would dishonour bee
To you, that are our iudgejudge of equity,
To wreake your wrath on such a carle as hee
It’s punishment enough, that all his shame doe see.
So did he mitigate Sir Artegall,
But Talus by the backe the boaster hent,
And drawing him out of the open hall,
VponUpon him did inflict this punishment.
First he his beard did shaueshave, and fowly shent:
Then from him reft his shield, and it renuerstrenverst,
And blotted out his armes with falshood blent,
And himselfe baffuld, and his armes vnherstunherst,
And broke his sword in twaine, and all his armour sperst.
The whiles his guilefull groome was fled away:
But vaine it was to thinke from him to flie.
Who ouertakingovertaking him did disaray,
And all his face deform’d with infamie,
And out of court him scourged openly.
So ought all faytours, that true knighthood shame,
And armes dishonour with base villanie,
From all brauebrave knights be banisht with defame:
For oft their lewdnes blotteth good deserts with blame.
Now when these counterfeits were thus vncaseduncased
Out of the foreside of their forgerie,
And in the sight of all men cleane disgraced,
All gan to iestjest and gibe full merilie
At the remembrance of their knauerieknaverie.
Ladies can laugh at Ladies, Knights at Knights,
To thinke with how great vaunt of braueriebraverie
He them abused, through his subtill slights,
And what a glorious shew he made in all their sights.
There leaueleave we them in pleasure and repast,
Spending their ioyousjoyous dayes and gladfull nights,
And taking vsurieusurie of time forepast,
With all deare delices and rare delights,
Fit for such Ladies and such louelylovely knights:
And turne were here to this faire furrowes end
Our wearie yokes, to gather fresher sprights,
That when as time to Artegall shall tend,
We on his first aduentureadventure may him forward send.