Verse > Edmund Spenser > Complete Poetical Works
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Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
 
The Faerie Queene
Book VI. The Legend of Sir Calidore
Canto XII
 
        Fayre Pastorella by great hap
  Her parents understands.
Calidore doth the Blatant Beast
  Subdew, and bynd in bands.

I
LIKE as a ship, that through the ocean wyde
Directs her course unto one certaine cost,
Is met of many a counter winde and tyde,
With which her winged speed is let and crost,
And she her selfe in stormie surges tost;        5
Yet making many a borde, and many a bay,
Still winneth way, ne hath her compasse lost:
Right so it fares with me in this long way,
Whose course is often stayd, yet never is astray.
 
II
For all that hetherto hath long delayd
        10
This gentle knight from sewing his first quest,
Though out of course, yet hath not bene mis-sayd,
To shew the courtesie by him profest
Even unto the lowest and the least.
But now I come into my course againe,        15
To his atchievement of the Blatant Beast;
Who all this while at will did range and raine,
Whilst none was him to stop, nor none him to restraine.
 
III
Sir Calidore, when thus he now had raught
Faire Pastorella from those Brigants powre,        20
Unto the Castle of Belgard her brought,
Whereof was lord the good Sir Bellamoure;
Who whylome was, in his youthes freshest flowre,
A lustie knight as ever wielded speare,
And had endured many a dreadfull stoure        25
In bloudy battell for a ladie deare,
The fayrest ladie then of all that living were.
 
IV
Her name was Claribell, whose father hight
The Lord of Many Ilands, farre renound
For his great riches and his greater might.        30
He, through the wealth wherein he did abound,
This daughter thought in wedlocke to have bound
Unto the Prince of Picteland bordering nere;
But she, whose sides before with secret wound
Of love to Bellamoure empierced were,        35
By all meanes shund to match with any forrein fere.
 
V
And Bellamour againe so well her pleased,
With dayly service and attendance dew,
That of her love he was entyrely seized,
And closely did her wed, but knowne to few.        40
Which when her father understood, he grew
In so great rage, that them in dongeon deepe
Without compassion cruelly he threw;
Yet did so streightly them a sunder keepe,
That neither could to company of th’ other creepe.        45
 
VI
Nathlesse Sir Bellamour, whether through grace
Or secret guifts, so with his keepers wrought,
That to his love sometimes he came in place,
Whereof her wombe, unwist to wight, was fraught,
And in dew time a mayden child forth brought.        50
Which she streight way, for dread least, if her syre
Should know thereof, to slay he would have sought,
Delivered to her handmayd, that for hyre
She should it cause he fostred under straunge attyre.
 
VII
The trustie damzell bearing it abrode
        55
Into the emptie fields, where living wight
Mote not bewray the secret of her lode,
She forth gan lay unto the open light
The litle babe, to take thereof a sight.
Whom whylest she did with watrie eyne behold,        60
Upon the litle brest, like christall bright,
She mote perceive a litle purple mold,
That like a rose her silken leaves did faire unfold.
 
VIII
Well she it markt, and pittied the more,
Yet could not remedie her wretched case,        65
But, closing it againe like as before,
Bedeaw’d with teares there left it in the place:
Yet left not quite, but drew a litle space
Behind the bushes, where she her did hyde,
To weet what mortall hand, or heavens grace,        70
Would for the wretched infants helpe provyde,
For which it loudly cald, and pittifully cryde.
 
IX
At length a shepheard, which there by did keepe
His fleecie flocke upon the playnes around,
Led with the infants cry, that loud did weepe,        75
Came to the place; where when he wrapped found
Th’ abandond spoyle, he softly it unbound;
And seeing there that did him pittie sore,
He took it up, and in his mantle wound;
So home unto his honest wife it bore,        80
Who as her owne it nurst, and named evermore.
 
X
Thus long continu’d Claribell a thrall,
And Bellamour in bands, till that her syre
Departed life, and left unto them all.
Then all the stormes of Fortunes former yre        85
Were turnd, and they to freedome did retyre.
Thenceforth they joy’d in happinesse together,
And lived long in peace and love entyre,
Without disquiet or dislike of ether,
Till time that Calidore brought Pastorella thether.        90
 
XI
Both whom they goodly well did entertaine;
For Bellamour knew Calidore right well,
And loved for his prowesse, sith they twaine
Long since had fought in field: als Claribell
No lesse did tender the faire Pastorell,        95
Seeing her weake and wan, through durance long.
There they a while together thus did dwell
In much delight, and many joyes among,
Untill the damzell gan to wex more sound and strong.
 
XII
Tho gan Sir Calidore him to advize
        100
Of his first quest, which he had long forlore,
Asham’d to thinke, how he that enterprize,
The which the Faery Queene had long afore
Bequeath’d to him, forslacked had so sore;
That much he feared, least reprochfull blame        105
With foule dishonour him mote blot therefore;
Besides the losse of so much loos and fame,
As through the world thereby should glorifie his name.
 
XIII
Therefore resolving to returne in hast
Unto so great atchievement, he bethought        110
To leave his love, now perill being past,
With Claribell, whylest he that monster sought
Throughout the world, and to destruction brought.
So taking leave of his faire Pastorell,
Whom to recomfort all the meanes he wrought,        115
With thanks to Bellamour and Claribell,
He went forth on his quest, and did that him befell.
 
XIV
But first, ere I doe his adventures tell
In this exploite, me needeth to declare
What did betide to the faire Pastorell,        120
During his absence left in heavy care,
Through daily mourning and nightly misfare:
Yet did that auncient matrone all she might,
To cherish her with all things choice and rare;
And her owne handmayd, that Melissa hight,        125
Appointed to attend her dewly day and night.
 
XV
Who in a morning, when this mayden faire
Was dighting her, having her snowy brest
As yet not laced, nor her golden haire
Into their comely tresses dewly drest,        130
Chaunst to espy upon her yvory chest
The rosie marke, which she remembered well
That litle infant had, which forth she kest,
The daughter of her Lady Claribell,
The which she bore the whiles in prison she did dwell.        135
 
XVI
Which well avizing, streight she gan to cast
In her conceiptfull mynd, that this faire mayd
Was that same infant, which so long sith past
She in the open fields had loosely layd
To fortunes spoile, unable it to ayd.        140
So, full of joy, streight forth she ran in hast
Unto her mistresse, being halfe dismayd,
To tell her how the heavens had her graste,
To save her chylde, which in misfortunes mouth was plaste.
 
XVII
The sober mother, seeing such her mood,
        145
Yet knowing not what meant that sodaine thro,
Askt her, how mote her words be understood,
And what the matter was, that mov’d her so.
‘My liefe,’ sayd she, ‘ye know that long ygo,
Whilest ye in durance dwelt, ye to me gave        150
A little mayde, the which ye chylded tho;
The same againe if now ye list to have,
The same is yonder lady, whom High God did save.’
 
XVIII
Much was the lady troubled at that speach,
And gan to question streight how she it knew.        155
‘Most certaine markes,’ sayd she, ‘do me it teach,
For on her brest I with these eyes did vew
The litle purple rose which thereon grew,
Whereof her name ye then to her did give.
Besides, her countenaunce and her likely hew,        160
Matched with equall yeares, do surely prieve
That yond same is your daughter sure, which yet doth live.’
 
XIX
The matrone stayd no lenger to enquire,
But forth in hast ran to the straunger mayd;
Whom catching greedily for great desire,        165
Rent up her brest, and bosome open layd,
In which that rose she plainely saw displayd.
Then her embracing twixt her armes twaine,
She long so held, and softly weeping sayd:
‘And livest thou, my daughter, now againe?        170
And art thou yet alive, whom dead I long did faine?’
 
XX
Tho further asking her of sundry things,
And times comparing with their accidents,
She found at last by very certaine signes,
And speaking markes of passed monuments,        175
That this young mayd, whom chance to her presents,
Is her owne daughter, her owne infant deare.
Tho, wondring long at those so straunge events,
A thousand times she her embraced nere,
With many a joyfull kisse, and many a melting teare.        180
 
XXI
Who ever is the mother of one chylde,
Which having thought long dead, she fyndes alive,
Let her by proofe of that which she hath fylde
In her owne breast, this mothers joy descrive:
For other none such passion can contrive        185
In perfect forme, as this good lady felt,
When she so faire a daughter saw survive,
As Pastorella was, that nigh she swelt
For passing joy, which did all into pitty melt.
 
XXII
Thence running forth unto her loved lord,
        190
She unto him recounted all that fell:
Who joyning joy with her in one accord,
Acknowledg’d for his owne faire Pastorell
There leave we them in joy, and let us tell
Of Calidore, who, seeking all this while        195
That monstrous beast by finall force to quell,
Through every place, with restlesse paine and toile,
Him follow’d by the tract of his outragious spoile.
 
XXIII
Through all estates he found that he had past,
In which he many massacres had left,        200
And to the clergy now was come at last;
In which such spoile, such havocke, and such theft
He wrought, that thence all goodnesse he bereft,
That endlesse were to tell. The Elfin knight,
Who now no place besides unsought had left,        205
At length into a monastere did light,
Where he him found despoyling all with maine and might.
 
XXIV
Into their cloysters now he broken had,
Through which the monckes he chaced here and there,
And them pursu’d into their dortours sad,        210
And searched all their cels and secrets neare;
In which what filth and ordure did appeare
Were yrkesome to report; yet that foule beast,
Nought sparing them, the more did tosse and teare,
And ransacke all their dennes from most to least,        215
Regarding nought religion, nor their holy heast.
 
XXV
From thence into the sacred church he broke,
And robd the chancell, and the deskes downe threw,
And altars fouled, and blasphemy spoke,
And th’ images, for all their goodly hew,        220
Did cast to ground, whilest none was them to rew;
So all confounded and disordered there.
But seeing Calidore, away he flew,
Knowing his fatall hand by former feare;
But he him fast pursuing, soone approched neare        225
 
XXVI
Him in a narrow place he overtooke,
And fierce assailing forst him turne againe:
Sternely he turnd againe, when he him strooke
With his sharpe steele, and ran at him amaine
With open mouth, that seemed to containe        230
A full good pecke within the utmost brim,
All set with yron teeth in raunges twaine,
That terrifide his foes, and armed him,
Appearing like the mouth of Orcus griesly grim.
 
XXVII
And therein were a thousand tongs empight,
        235
Of sundry kindes, and sundry quality;
Some were of dogs, that barked day and night,
And some of cats, that wrawling still did cry,
And some of beares, that groynd continually,
And some of tygres, that did seeme to gren        240
And snar at all that ever passed by:
But most of them were tongues of mortall men,
Which spake reprochfully, not caring where nor when.
 
XXVIII
And them amongst were mingled here and there
The tongues of serpents with three forked stings,        245
That spat out poyson and gore bloudy gere
At all that came within his ravenings,
And spake licentious words and hatefull things
Of good and bad alike, of low and hie;
Ne kesars spared he a whit, nor kings,        250
But either blotted them with infamie,
Or bit them with his banefull teeth of injury.
 
XXIX
But Calidore, thereof no whit afrayd,
Rencountred him with so impetuous might,
That th’ outrage of his violence he stayd,        255
And bet abacke, threatning in vaine to bite,
And spitting forth the poyson of his spight,
That fomed all about his bloody jawes.
Tho, rearing up his former feete on hight,
He rampt upon him with his ravenous pawes,        260
As if he would have rent him with his cruell clawes.
 
XXX
But he right well aware, his rage to ward,
Did cast his shield atweene, and therewithall
Putting his puissaunce forth, pursu’d so hard,
That backeward he enforced him to fall,        265
And being downe, ere he new helpe could call,
His shield he on him threw, and fast downe held,
Like as a bullocke, that in bloudy stall
Of butchers balefull hand to ground is feld,
Is forcibly kept downe, till he be throughly queld.        270
 
XXXI
Full cruelly the beast did rage and rore,
To be downe held, and maystred so with might,
That he gan fret and fome out bloudy gore,
Striving in vaine to rere him selfe upright.
For still the more he strove, the more the knight        275
Did him suppresse, and forcibly subdew;
That made him almost mad for fell despight.
He grind, hee bit, he scratcht, he venim threw,
And fared like a feend, right horrible in hew:
 
XXXII
Or like the hell-borne Hydra, which they faine
        280
That great Alcides whilome overthrew,
After that he had labourd long in vaine
To crop his thousand heads, the which still new
Forth budded, and in greater number grew.
Such was the fury of this hellish beast,        285
Whilest Calidore him under him downe threw;
Who nathemore his heavy load releast,
But aye the more he rag’d, the more his powre increast.
 
XXXIII
Tho when the beast saw he mote nought availe
By force, he gan his hundred tongues apply,        290
And sharpely at him to revile and raile,
With bitter termes of shamefull infamy;
Oft interlacing many a forged lie,
Whose like he never once did speake, nor heare,
Nor ever thought thing so unworthily:        295
Yet did he nought, for all that, him forbeare,
But strained him so streightly that he chokt him neare.
 
XXXIV
At last, when as he found his force to shrincke,
And rage to quaile, he tooke a muzzell strong
Of surest yron, made with many a lincke;        300
Therewith he mured up his mouth along,
And therein shut up his blasphemous tong,
For never more defaming gentle knight,
Or unto lovely lady doing wrong:
And thereunto a great long chaine he tight,        305
With which he drew him forth, even in his own despight.
 
XXXV
Like as whylome that strong Tirynthian swaine
Brought forth with him the dreadfull dog of hell,
Against his will fast bound in yron chaine,
And roring horribly, did him compell        310
To see the hatefull sunne, that he might tell
To griesly Pluto what on earth was donne,
And to the other damned ghosts, which dwell
For aye in darkenesse, which day light doth shonne:
So led this knight his captyve with like conquest wonne.        315
 
XXXVI
Yet greatly did the beast repine at those
Straunge bands, whose like till then he never bore,
Ne ever any durst till then impose,
And chauffed inly, seeing now no more
Him liberty was left aloud to rore:        320
Yet durst he not draw backe, nor once withstand
The proved powre of noble Calidore,
But trembled underneath his mighty hand,
And like a fearefull dog him followed through the land.
 
XXXVII
Him through all Faery Land he follow’d so,
        325
As if he learned had obedience long,
That all the people, where so he did go,
Out of their townes did round about him throng,
To see him leade that beast in bondage strong,
And seeing it, much wondred at the sight;        330
And all such persons as he earst did wrong
Rejoyced much to see his captive plight,
And much admyr’d the beast, but more admyr’d the knight.
 
XXXVIII
Thus was this monster, by the maystring might
Of doughty Calidore, supprest and tamed,        335
That never more he mote endammadge wight
With his vile tongue, which many had defamed,
And many causelesse caused to be blamed:
So did he eeke long after this remaine,
Untill that, whether wicked fate so framed,        340
Or fault of men, he broke his yron chaine,
And got into the world at liberty againe.
 
XXXIX
Thenceforth more mischiefe and more scath he wrought
To mortall men, then he had done before;
Ne ever could, by any, more be brought        345
Into like bands, ne maystred any more:
Albe that long time after Calidore,
The good Sir Pelleas him tooke in hand,
And after him Sir Lamoracke of yore,
And all his brethren borne in Britaine land;        350
Yet none of them could ever bring him into band.
 
XL
So now he raungeth through the world againe,
And rageth sore in each degree and state;
Ne any is, that may him now restraine,
He growen is so great and strong of late,        355
Barking and biting all that him doe bate,
Albe they worthy blame, or cleare of crime:
Ne spareth he most learned wits to rate,
Ne spareth he the gentle poets rime,
But rends without regard of person or of time.        360
 
XLI
Ne may this homely verse, of many meanest,
Hope to escape his venemous despite,
More then my former writs, all were they cleanest
From blamefull blot, and free from all that wite,
With which some wicked tongues did it backebite,        365
And bring into a mighty peres displeasure,
That never so deserved to endite.
Therfore do you, my rimes, keep better measure,
And seeke to please, that now is counted wisemens threasure.
 
 
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