« PreviousContinue »
And ever when she nigh approacht, the Dove
Would Aic a little forward, and then stay
Till she drew near, and then again remove :
So tempting her still to pursue the prey,
And still from her escaping soft away :
Till that at length, into that forest wide
She drew her far, and led with now delay.
In th’end, she her unto that place did guide,
Whereas that woeful man in languor did abide.
Eftfoons she flew unto his fearless hand,
And there a piteous ditty new devis’d.
As if she would have made him understand,
His sorrows cause to be of her despis’d.
Whom when she saw in wretched weeds diguis'd,
With hairy glib deform'd, and meagre face,
Like Ghoit late riten from his grave agris'd,
She knew him not but pitied much his case,
And wisht it were in her to do him any grace.
He her beholding, at her feet down fell,
And kist the ground on which her sole did tread,
And washe the same with water, which did well
From his moist eyes, and like two streams proceed;
Yet spake no word, whereby she might aread
What mister wight he was, or what he meant:
But as one daunted with her presence dread,
Only few rueful looks unto her sent,
As messengers of his true meaning and intent.
Yet nathemore, his meaning lhe aread,
But wondred much at his fo felcouth case ;
And by his persons secret seemlihead
Well weend, that he had been some man of place,
Before misfortune did his hue deface :
That being mov'd with ruth the thus bespake; }
Ah! woetul man, what heavens hard disgrace,
Or wrath of cruel wight on thee ywrake, Or self disiked life, doth thee thus wretched make?
If heaven, then none may it redress or blame,
Sith to his powre we all are subject born :
If wrathful wight, then foul rebuke and shame
Be theirs, that have fo cruel thee forlorn ;
But if through inward grief, or wilful scorn
Of life it be, then better do advise.
For he whose days in wilful woe are worn,
The grace of his creator doth defpise,
That will not use his gifts for thankless nigardise,
When so he heard her say, eftfoons he brake
His tedious silence, which he long had pent,
And sighing inly deep, her thus bespake:
Then have they all themfelves against me bent :
For heaven (first author of my languishment)
Envying my too great felicity,
Did closely with a cruel one consent,
To cloud my days in doleful misery,
And make me loath this life, still longing for to dye.
Ne any but your self, O dearest dred,
Hath done this wrong; to wreak on worthless wighe
Your high displeasure, through misdeeming bred:
That when your pleasure is to deem aright,
You may redress, and me restore to light.
Which sorry words, her mighty heart did mate
With mild regard, to see his rueful plight,
That her in-burning wrath she ʼgan abate,
And him receiv'd again to former favours ftate.
In which, he long time afterwards did bead
An happy life, with grace and good accord;
Fearless of fortunes change, or envies dread,
And eke all mindless of his own dear Lord
The noble Prince, who never heard one word
Of tidings, what did unto him beride,
Or-what good fortune did to him afford ;
But through the endless world did wander wide, Him seeking ever more, yet no where him descride ;
Till on a day, as through that wood he rode,
He chanc'd to come where those two Ladies late,
Æmylia and Amoret abode,
Both in full fad and forrowful eftate;
The one right feeble, through the evil rate
Of food, which in her duress she had found:
The other almost dead and desperate
Through her late hurts, and chrough that hapless wound,
With which the Squire in her defence her sore astound.
Whom when the Prince beheld, he 'gan to rew
The evil case in which those Ladies lay,
But most was moved at the piteous view
Of Amoret, so near unto decay,
That her great danger did him much dismay.
Eftfoons that precious liquor forth he drew,
Which he in store about him kept alway,
And with few drops thereof did softly dew
Her wounds, that unto strength restor'å her soon anew.
Tho when they both recover'd were right well,
He 'gan of them inquire, what evil guide
Them thither brought; and how their harms befell
To whom they cold all that did them betide,
And how from thraldom vile they were untide
Of that same wicked Carle, by virgins hond;
Whose bloody corse they shew'd him there beside,
And eke his cave, in which they both were bond :
At which he wondred much, when all those signs he fond,
And evermore, he greatly did desire
To know, what virgin did them thence unbind;
And oft of them did earnestly inquire,
Where was her wonne, and how he mote her find.
But whenas nought according to his mind
He could out-learn, he them from ground did rear
(No service loathsome to a gentle kind)
And on his warlike beast them both did bear, himself by them on foot to succour them from fear.
So when that foreft they had passed well,
A little cottage far away they spide,
To which they drew, ere night upon them fell;
And entring in, found none therein abide,
But one old woman fitting there beside,
Upon the ground in ragged rude attire,
With filthy locks about her scatter'd wide,
Gnawing her nails for felness and for ire,
And thereout fucking venom to her parts entire.
A foul and loathly creature sure in sight,
And in conditions to be loach'd no less :
For she was stuft with rancour and despight
Up to the throat; that oft with bitternels
It forth would break, and gush in great excess,
Pouring out streams of poilon and of gall,
Gainst all that truth or vertue do profels;
Whom she with leasings lewdly did miscall,
And wickedly back-bite: her name men Slander call.
Her nature is all goodness to abuse,
And causeless crimes continually to frame;
: With which she guiltlefs persons may accuse,
And steal away the crown of their good name :
Ne ever Knight so bold, ne ever Dame
So chaste and loyal liv'd, but she would strive
With forged cause them fallly to defame :
Ne ever thing so well was doen alive,
But she with blame would blot, and of due praise deprive.
Her words were not as common words are meant,
T'express the meaning of the inward mind;
But noisome breath, and poil nous fpiric fent
From inward parts, with cankred malice lind,
And breathed forth with blaft of bitter wind;
Which passing through the ears, would pierce the heart,
And wound the soul it self with grief unkind :
For like the stings of Afps, that kill with smart,
Her spightful words did prick, and wound the inner part
Such was that Hag, unmeet to host such guests,
Whom greatest Princes court would welcome fain ;
But need (that answers not to all requests)
Bade them not look for better entertain
And eke that age despised niceness vain,
Enur'd to hardness and to homely fare,
Which them to walike discipline did train,
And manly limbs endur'd with little care,
Against all hard mishaps, and fortuneless misfare.
Then all that evening (welcomed with cold.”
And chearless hunger) they together fpent;
Yet found no fault, but that the Hag did fcold
And rail at them with grudgeful discontent,
For lodging there without her own consent:
Yet they endured all with patience mild, *5.
And unto rest themselves all only lent,
Regardless of that quean fo base and vild,
To be unjustly blam'd, and bitterly revil'd.
Here well I ween, whenas these rhimes be read
With mis-regard, that some rash witted wight,
Whose looser thought will lightly be misled,
These gentle Ladies will misdeem too light,
For thus conversing with this noble Knight ;
Sich now of days such temperance is rare".
And hard to find, that heat of youthful spright
For ought will from his greedy pleasure spare,
More hard for hungry fteed t’abstain from pleasant lare.'
But antique age, yet in the infancy
Of time, did live then like an innocent,
In simple truth and blameless chastity,
Ne then of guile had made experiment;
But void of vile and treacherous intent,
Held vertue for it self in soveraine awe :
Then loyal love had royal regiment,
And each unto his luft did make a law,
From all forbidden things his liking to withdraw.