Prince Arthure ouercomesovercomes Disdaine,
Quites Mirabell from dreed:
Serena, found of SaluagesSalvages,
By Calepine is freed.
YEYe gentle Ladies, in whose souerainesoveraine powre
LoueLove hath the glory of his kingdome left,
And th’hearts of men, as your eternall dowre,
In yron chaines, of liberty bereft,
DeliueredDelivered hath into your hands by gift;
Be well aware, how ye the same doe vseuse,
That pride doe not to tyranny you lift;
Least if men you of cruelty accuse,
He from you take that chiefedome, which ye doe abuse.
And as ye soft and tender are by kynde,
Adornd with goodly gifts of beauties grace,
So be ye soft and tender eeke in mynde;
But cruelty and hardnesse from you chace,
That all your other praises will deface,
And from you turne the louelove of men to hate.
Ensample take of Mirabellaes case,
Who from the high degree of happy state,
Fell into wretched woes, which she repented late.
Who after thraldome of the gentle Squire,
Which she beheld with lamentable eye,
Was touched with compassion entire,
And much lamented his calamity,
That for her sake fell into misery:
Which booted nought for prayers, nor for threat
To hope for to release or mollify;
For aye the more, that she did them entreat,
The more they him misust, and cruelly did beat.
So as they forward on their way did pas,
Him still reuilingreviling and afflicting sore,
They met Prince Arthure with Sir Enias,
(That was that courteous Knight, whom he before
HauingHaving subdew’d, yet did to life restore,)restore),
To whom as they approcht, they gan augment
Their cruelty, and him to punish more,
Scourging and haling him more vehement;
As if it them should grieuegrieve to see his punishment.
The Squire him selfe when as he saw his Lord,
The witnesse of his wretchednesse, in place,
Was much asham’d, that with an hempen cord
He like a dog was led in captiuecaptive case,
And did his head for bashfulnesse abase,
As loth to see, or to be seene at all:
Shame would be hid. But whenas Enias
Beheld two such, of two such villaines thrall,
His manly mynde was much emmouedemmoved therewithall.
And to the Prince thus sayd; See you Sir Knight,
The greatest shame that euerever eye yet saw?
Yond Lady and her Squire with foule despight
Abusde, against all reason and all law,
Without regard of pitty or of awe.
See how they doe that Squire beat and reuilerevile;
See how they doe the Lady hale and draw.
But if ye please to lend me leaueleave a while,
I will them soone acquite, and both of blame assoile.
The Prince assented, and then he streight way
Dismounting light, his shield about him threw,
With which approching, thus he gan to say;
Abide ye caytiuecaytive treachetours vntrewuntrew,
That hauehave with treason thralled vntounto you
These two, vnworthyunworthy of your wretched bands;
And now your crime with cruelty pursew.
Abide, and from them lay your loathly hands;
Or else abide the death, that hard before you stands.
The villaine stayd not aunswer to inuentinvent,
But with his yron club preparing way,
His mindes sad message backe vntounto him sent;
The which descended with such dreadfull sway,
That seemed nought the course thereof could stay:
No more then lightening from the lofty sky.
Ne list the Knight the powre thereof assay,
Whose doome was death, but lightly slipping by,
VnawaresUnawares defrauded his intended destiny.
And to requite him with the like againe,
With his sharpe sword he fiercely at him flew,
And strooke so strongly, that the Carle with paine
SauedSaved him selfe, but that he there him slew:
Yet sau’dsav’d not so, but that the bloud it drew,
And gauegave his foe good hope of victory.
Who therewith flesht, vponupon him set anew,
And with the second stroke, thought certainely
To hauehave supplyde the first, and paide the vsuryusury.
But Fortune aunswerd not vntounto his call;
For as his hand was heauedheaved
vpup on hight,
The villaine met him in the middle fall,
And with his club bet backe his brondyron bright
So forcibly, that with his owne hands might
Rebeaten backe vponupon him selfe againe,
He driuendriven was to ground in selfe despight;
From whence ere he recoueryrecovery could gaine,
He in his necke had set his foote with fell disdaine.
With that the foole, which did that end awayte,
Came running in, and whilest on ground he lay,
Laide heauyheavy hands on him, and held so strayte,
That downe he kept him with his scornefull sway,
So as he could not weld him any way.
The whiles that other villaine went about
Him to hauehave bound, and thrald without delay;
The whiles the foole did him reuilerevile and flout,
Threatning to yoke them tow &and tame their corage stout.
As when a sturdy ploughman with his hynde
By strength hauehave
ouerthrowneoverthrowne a stubborne steare,
They downe him hold, and fast with cords do bynde,
Till they him force the buxome yoke to beare:
So did these two this Knight oft tug and teare.
Which when the Prince beheld, there standing by,
He left his lofty steede to aide him neare,
And buckling soone him selfe, gan fiercely fly
VpponUppon that Carle, to sauesave his friend from iourneyjourney.
The villaine leauingleaving him vntounto his mate
To be captiu’dcaptiv’d, and handled as he list,
Himselfe addrest vntounto this new debate,
And with his club him all about so blist,
That he which way to turne him scarcely wist:
Sometimes aloft he layd, sometimes alow;
Now here, now there, and oft him neare he mist;
So doubtfully, that hardly one could know
Whether more wary were to giuegive or ward the blow.
But yet the Prince so well enured was
With such huge strokes, approuedapproved oft in fight,
That way to them he gauegave forth right to pas.
Ne would endure the daunger of their might,
But wayt aduantageadvantage, when they downe did light.
At last the caytiuecaytive after long discourse,
When all his strokes he saw auoydedavoyded quite,
ResoluedResolved in one t’assemble all his force,
And make one end of him without ruth or remorse.
His dreadfull hand he heauedheaved
And with his dreadfull instrument of yre,
Thought sure hauehave pownded him to powder soft,
Or deepe emboweld in the earth entyre:
But Fortune did not with his will conspire.
For ere his stroke attayned his intent,
The noble childe preuentingpreventing his desire,
VnderUnder his club with wary boldnesse went,
And smote him on the knee, that neuernever yet was bent.
It neuernever yet was bent, ne bent it now,
Albe the stroke so strong and puissant were,
That seem’d a marble pillour it could bow:
But all that leg, which did his body beare,
It crackt throughout, yet did no bloud appeare;
So as it was vnableunable to support
So huge a burden on such broken geare,
But fell to ground, like to a lumpe of durt,
Whence he assayd to rise, but could not for his hurt.
Eftsoones the Prince to him full nimbly stept,
And least he should recouerrecover foote againe,
His head meant from his shoulders to hauehave swept.
Which when the Lady saw, she cryde amaine;
Stay stay, Sir Knight, for louelove of God abstaine,
From that vnawaresunawares ye weetlesse doe intend;
Slay not that Carle, though worthy to be slaine:
For more on him doth then him selfe depend;
My life will by his death hauehave lamentable end.
He staide his hand according her desire,
Yet nathemore him suffred to arize;
But still suppressing gan of her inquire,
What meaning mote those vncouthuncouth words comprize,
That in that villaines health her safety lies:
That, were no might in man, nor heart in Knights,
Which durst her dreaded reskue enterprize,
Yet heauensheavens them seluesselves, that fauourfavour feeble rights,
Would for it selfe redresse, and punish such despights.
Then bursting forth in teares, which gushed fast
Like many water streames, a while she stayd;
Till the sharpe passion being ouerpastoverpast,
Her tongue to her restord, then thus she sayd;
Nor heauensheavens, nor men can me most wretched mayd
DeliuerDeliver from the doome of my desart,
The which the God of louelove hath on me layd,
And damned to endure this direfull smart,
For penaunce of my proud and hard rebellious hart.
In prime of youthly yeares, when first the flowre
Of beauty gan to bud, and bloosme delight,
And nature me endu’d with plenteous dowre,
Of all her gifts, that pleasde each liuingliving sight,
I was belou’dbelov’d of many a gentle Knight,
And sudesued and sought with all the seruiceservice dew:
Full many a one for me deepe groand and sight,
And to the dore of death for sorrow drew,
Complayning out on me, that would not on them rew.
But let them louelove that list, or liuelive or die;
Me list not die for any louerslovers doole:
Ne list me leaueleave my louedloved libertie,
To pitty him that list to play the foole:
To louelove my selfe I learned had in schoole.
Thus I triumphed long in louerslovers paine,
And sitting carelesse on the scorners stoole,
Did laugh at those that did lament and plaine:
But all is now repayd with interest againe.
For loe the winged God, that woundeth harts,
Causde me be called to accompt therefore,
And for reuengementrevengement of those wrongfull smarts,
Which I to others did inflict afore,
Addeem’d me to endure this penaunce sore;
That in this wize, and this vnmeeteunmeete array,
With these two lewd companions, and no more,
Disdaine and Scorne, I through the world should stray,
Till I hauehave
sau’dsav’d so many, as I earst did slay.
Certes (sayd then the Prince) the God is iustjust,
That taketh vengeaunce of his peoples spoile.
For were no law in louelove, but all that lust,
Might them oppresse, and painefully turmoile,
His kingdome would continue but a while.
But tell me Lady, wherefore doe you beare
This bottle thus before you with such toile,
And eeke this wallet at your backe arreare,
That for these Carles to carry much more comely were?
Here in this bottle (sayd the sory Mayd)
I put the teares of my contrition,
Till to the brim I hauehave it full defrayd:
And in this bag which I behinde me don,
I put repentaunce for things past and gon.
Yet is the bottle leake, and bag so torne,
That all which I put in, fals out anon;
And is behinde me trodden downe of Scorne,
Who mocketh all my paine, &and laughs the more I mourn.
The Infant hearkned wisely to her tale,
And wondred much at Cupids
That could so meekly make proud hearts aualeavale,
And wreake him selfe on them, that him despise.
Then suffred he Disdaine
vpup to arise,
Who was not able vpup him selfe to reare,
By meanes his leg through his late luckelesse prise,
Was crackt in twaine, but by his foolish feere
Was holpen vpup, who him supported standing neare.
But being vpup, he lookt againe aloft,
As if he neuernever had receiuedreceived fall;
And with sterne eye-browes stared at him oft,
As if he would hauehave daunted him with all:
And standing on his tiptoes, to seeme tall,
Downe on his golden feete he often gazed,
As if such pride the other could apall;
Who was so far from being ought amazed,
That he his lookes despised, and his boast dispraized.
Then turning backe vntounto that captiuecaptive thrall,
Who all this while stood there beside them bound,
VnwillingUnwilling to be knowne, or seene at all,
He from those bands weend him to hauehave
But when approching neare, he plainely found,
It was his owne true groome, the gentle Squire,
He thereat wext exceedingly astound,
And him did oft embrace, and oft admire,
Ne could with seeing satisfie his great desire.
Meane while the SaluageSalvage man, when he beheld
That huge great foole oppressing th’other Knight,
Whom with his weight vnweldyunweldy downe he held,
He flew vponupon him, like a greedy kight
VntoUnto some carrion offered to his sight,
And downe him plucking, with his nayles and teeth
Gan him to hale, and teare, and scratch, and bite;
And from him taking his owne whip, therewith
So sore him scourgeth, that the bloud downe followeth.
And sure I weene, had not the Ladies cry
Procur’d the Prince his cruell hand to stay,
He would with whipping, him hauehave done to dye:
But being checkt, he did abstaine streight way,
And let him rise. Then thus the Prince gan say;
Now Lady sith your fortunes thus dispose,
That if ye list hauehave liberty, ye may,
VntoUnto your selfe I freely leaueleave to chose,
Whether I shall you leaueleave, or from these villaines lose.
Ah nay Sir Knight (sayd she) it may not be,
But that I needes must by all meanes fulfill
This penaunce, which enioynedenjoyned is to me,
Least vntounto me betide a greater ill;
Yet no lesse thankes to you for your good will.
So humbly taking leaueleave, she turnd aside,
But Arthure with the rest, went onward still
On his first quest, in which did him betide
A great aduentureadventure, which did him from them deuidedevide.
But first it falleth me by course to tell
Of faire Serena, who as earst you heard,
When first the gentle Squire at variaunce fell
With those two Carles, fled fast away, afeard
Of villany to be to her inferd:
So fresh the image of her former dread,
Yet dwelling in her eye, to her appeard,
That eueryevery foote did tremble, which did tread,
And eueryevery body two, and two she foure did read.
Through hils &and dales, through bushes &and through breres
Long thus she fled, till that at last she thought
Her selfe now past the perill of her feares.
Then looking round about, and seeing nought,
Which doubt of daunger to her offer mought,
She from her palfrey lighted on the plaine,
And sitting downe, her selfe a while bethought
Of her long trauelltravelland turmoyling paine;
And often did of louelove, and oft of lucke complaine.
And euermoreevermoreshe blamed Calepine,
The good Sir Calepine, her owne true Knight,
As th’onely author of her wofull tine:
For being of his louelove to her so light,
As her to leaueleave in such a piteous plight.
Yet neuernever Turtle truer to his make,
Then he was tride vntounto his Lady bright:
Who all this while endured for her sake,
Great perill of his life, and restlesse paines did take.
Tho when as all her plaints she had displayd,
And well disburdened her engrieuedengrieved brest,
VponUpon the grasse her selfe adowne she layd;
Where being tyrde with trauelltravell, and opprest
With sorrow, she betooke her selfe to rest.
There whilest in Morpheus bosome safe she lay,
Fearelesse of ought, that mote her peace molest,
False Fortune did her safety betray,
VntoUnto a straunge mischaunce, that menac’d her decay.
In these wylde deserts, where she now abode,
There dwelt a saluagesalvage nation, which did liuelive
Of stealth and spoile, and making nightly rode
Into their neighbours borders; ne did giuegive
Them seluesselves to any trade, as for to driuedrive
The painefull plough, or cattell for to breed,
Or by aduentrousadventrous marchandize to thriuethrive;
But on the labours of poore men to feed,
And serueserve their owne necessities with others need.
Thereto they vsdeusde one most accursed order,
To eate the flesh of men, whom they mote fynde,
And straungers to deuouredevoure, which on their border
Were brought by errour, or by wreckfull wynde.
A monstrous cruelty gainst course of kynde.
They towards eueningevening wandring eueryevery way,
To seeke for booty, came by fortune blynde,
Whereas this Lady, like a sheepe astray,
Now drowned in the depth of sleepe all fearelesse lay.
Soone as they spide her, Lord what gladfull glee
They made amongst them seluesselves; but when her face
Like the faire yuoryyvory shining they did see,
Each gan his fellow solace and embrace,
For ioyjoy of such good hap by heauenlyheavenly grace.
Then gan they to deuizedevize what course to take:
Whether to slay her there vponupon the place,
Or suffer her out of her sleepe to wake,
And then her eate attonce; or many meales to make.
The best aduizementadvizement was of bad, to let her
Sleepe out her fill, without encomberment:
For sleepe they sayd would make her battill better.
Then when she wakt, they all gauegave one consent,
That since by grace of God she there was sent,
VntoUnto their God they would her sacrifize,
Whose share, her guiltlesse bloud they would present,
But of her dainty flesh they did deuizedevize
To make a common feast, &and feed with gurmandize.
So round about her they them seluesselves did place
VponUpon the grasse, and diuerselydiversely dispose,
As each thought best to spend the lingring space.
Some with their eyes the daintest morsels chose;
Some praise her paps, some praise her lips and nose;
Some whet their kniuesknives, and strip their elboes bare:
The Priest him selfe a garland doth compose
Of finest flowres, and with full busie care
His bloudy vessels wash, and holy fire prepare.
The Damzell wakes, then all attonce vpstartupstart,
And round about her flocke, like many flies,
Whooping, and hallowing on eueryevery part,
As if they would hauehave rent the brasen skies.
Which when she sees with ghastly griefful eies,
Her heart does quake, and deadly pallid hew
Benumbes her cheekes: Then out aloud she cries,
Where none is nigh to heare, that will her rew,
And rends her golden locks, and snowy brests embrew.
But all bootes not: they hands vponupon her lay;
And first they spoile her of her iewlsjewls deare,
And afterwards of all her rich array;
The which amongst them they in peeces teare,
And of the pray each one a part doth beare.
Now being naked, to their sordid eyes
The goodly threasures of nature appeare:
Which as they view with lustfull fantasyes,
Each wisheth to him selfe, and to the rest enuyesenvyes.
Her yuorieyvorie necke, her alablaster brest,
Her paps, which like white silken pillowes were,
For louelove in soft delight thereon to rest;
Her tender sides, her bellie white and clere,
Which like an Altar did it selfe vprereuprere,
To offer sacrifice diuinedivine thereon;
Her goodly thighes, whose glorie did appeare
Like a triumphall Arch, and thereupon
The spoiles of Princes hang’d, which were in battel won.
Those daintie parts, the dearlings of delight,
Which mote not be prophan’d of common eyes,
Those villeins vew’d with loose lasciuiouslascivious sight,
And closely tempted with their craftie spyes;
And some of them gan mongst themseluesthemselves
Thereof by force to take their beastly pleasure.
But them the Priest rebuking, did aduizeadvize
To dare not to pollute so sacred threasure,
Vow’d to the gods: religiõreligion held eueneven
theeuestheeves in measure.
So being stayd, they her from thence directed
VntoUnto a litle grouegrove not farre asyde,
In which an altar shortly they erected,
To slay her on. And now the EuentydeEventyde
His brode black wings had through the heauensheavens wyde
By this dispred, that was the tyme ordayned
For such a dismall deed, their guilt to hyde:
Of few greene turfes an altar soone they fayned,
And deckt it all with
flowres, which they nigh hand obtayned.
Tho when as all things readie were aright,
The Damzell was before the altar set,
Being alreadie dead with fearefull fright.
To whom the Priest with naked armes full net
Approching nigh, and murdrous knife well whet,
Gan mutter close a certaine secret charme,
With other diuelishdivelishceremonies met:
Which doen he gan aloft t’aduancet’advance his arme,
Whereat they shouted all, and made a loud alarme.
Then gan the bagpypes and the hornes to shrill,
And shrieke aloud, that with the peoples voyce
Confused, did the ayre with terror fill,
And made the wood to tremble at the noyce:
The whyles she wayld, the more they did reioycerejoyce.
Now mote ye vnderstandunderstand that to this grouegrove
Sir Calepine by chaunce, more then by choyce,
The selfe same eueningevening fortune hether drouedrove,
As he to seeke Serena through the woods did rouerove.
Long had he sought her, and through many a soyle
Had traueldtraveld still on foot in heauieheavie armes,
Ne ought was tyred with his endlesse toyles,
Ne ought was feared of his certaine harmes:
And now all weetlesse of the wretched stormes,
In which his louelove was lost, he slept full fast,
Till being waked with these loud alarmes,
He lightly started vpup like one aghast,
And catching vpup his arms streight to the noise forth past.
There by th’vncertaineth’uncertaine glimse of starry night,
And by the twinkling of their sacred fire,
He mote perceiueperceive a litle dawning sight
Of all, which there was doing in that quire:
Mongst whom a woman spoyld of all attire
He spyde, lamenting her vnluckieunluckie strife,
And groning sore from grieuedgrieved hart entire;
Eftsoones he saw one with a naked knife
Readie to launce her brest, and let out louedloved life.
With that he thrusts into the thickest throng,
And eueneven as his right hand adowne descends,
He him preuentingpreventing, layes on earth along,
And sacrifizeth to th’infernall feends.
Then to the rest his wrathfull hand he bends,
Of whom he makes such hauockehavocke and such hew,
That swarmes of damned soules to hell he sends:
The rest that scape his sword and death eschew,
Fly like a flocke of douesdoves before a Faulcons vew.
From them returning to that Ladie backe,
Whom by the Altar he doth sitting find,
Yet fearing death, and next to death the lacke
Of clothes to couercover, what they ought by kind,
He first her hands beginneth to vnbindunbind,
And then to question of her present woe;
And afterwards to cheare with speaches kind.
But she for nought that he could say or doe,
One word durst speake, or answere him a whit thereto.
So inward shame of her vncomelyuncomely case
She did conceiveconceiue, through care of womanhood,
That though the night did couercover her disgrace,
Yet she in so vnwomanlyunwomanly a mood,
Would not bewray the state in which she stood.
So all that night to him vnknowenunknowen she past.
But day, that doth discouerdiscover bad and good,
Ensewing, made her knowen to him at last:
The end whereof Ile keepe vntilluntill another cast.