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Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
 
The Faerie Queene
Book II. The Legend of Sir Guyon
Canto I
 
THE SECOND BOOKE
OF THE FAERIE QUEENE
CONTAYNING
THE LEGEND OF SIR GUYON
OR
OF TEMPERAUNCE

I
RIGHT well I wote, most mighty Soveraine,
That all this famous antique history
Of some th’ aboundance of an ydle braine
Will judged be, and painted forgery,
Rather then matter of just memory;        5
Sith none that breatheth living aire does know,
Where is that happy land of Faery,
Which I so much doe vaunt, yet no where show,
But vouch antiquities, which no body can know.
 
II
But let that man with better sence advize,
        10
That of the world least part to us is red:
And daily how through hardy enterprize
Many great regions are discovered,
Which to late age were never mentioned.
Who ever heard of th’ Indian Peru?        15
Or who in venturous vessell measured
The Amazons huge river, now found trew?
Or fruitfullest Virginia who did ever vew?
 
III
Yet all these were when no man did them know,
Yet have from wisest ages hidden beene;        20
And later times thinges more unknowne shall show.
Why then should witlesse man so much misweene,
That nothing is, but that which he hath seene?
What if within the moones fayre shining spheare,
What if in every other starre unseene,        25
Of other worldes he happily should heare?
He wonder would much more; yet such to some appeare.
 
IV
Of Faery Lond yet if he more inquyre,
By certein signes, here sett in sondrie place,
He may it fynd; ne let him then admyre,        30
But yield his sence to bee too blunt and bace,
That no’te without an hound fine footing trace.
And thou, O fayrest Princesse under sky,
In this fayre mirrhour maist behold thy face,
And thine owne realmes in lond of Faery,        35
And in this antique ymage thy great auncestry.
 
V
The which O pardon me thus to enfold
In covert vele, and wrap in shadowes light,
That feeble eyes your glory may behold,
Which ells could not endure those beames bright,        40
But would bee dazled with exceeding light.
O pardon! and vouchsafe with patient eare
The brave adventures of this Faery knight,
The good Sir Guyon, gratiously to heare;
In whom great rule of Temp’raunce goodly doth appeare.        45
 
CANTO I

        Guyon, by Archimage abusd,
  The Redcrosse Knight awaytes;
Fyndes Mordant and Amavia slaine
  With Pleasures poisoned baytes.

I
THAT conning architect of cancred guyle,
Whom princes late displeasure left in bands,
For falsed letters and suborned wyle,
Soone as the Redcrosse Knight he understands
To beene departed out of Eden landes,        50
To serve againe his soveraine Elfin Queene,
His artes he moves, and out of caytives handes
Himselfe he frees by secret meanes unseene;
His shackles emptie lefte, him selfe escaped cleene.
 
II
And forth he fares full of malicious mynd,
        55
To worken mischiefe and avenging woe,
Where ever he that godly knight may fynd,
His onely hart sore and his onely foe;
Sith Una now he algates must forgoe,
Whom his victorious handes did earst restore        60
To native crowne and kingdom late ygoe:
Where she enjoyes sure peace for evermore,
As wetherbeaten ship arryv’d on happie shore.
 
III
Him therefore now the object of his spight
And deadly food he makes: him to offend        65
By forged treason, or by open fight,
He seekes, of all his drifte the aymed end:
Thereto his subtile engins he does bend,
His practick witt, and his fayre fyled tonge,
With thousand other sleightes: for well he kend        70
His credit now in doubtfull ballaunce hong;
For hardly could bee hurt, who was already stong.
 
IV
Still as he went, he craftie stales did lay,
With cunning traynes him to entrap unwares,
And privy spyals plast in all his way,        75
To weete what course he takes, and how he fares;
To ketch him at a vauntage in his snares.
But now so wise and wary was the knight
By tryall of his former harmes and cares,
That he descryde, and shonned still his slight:        80
The fish that once was caught, new bait wil hardly byte.
 
V
Nath’lesse th’ enchaunter would not spare his payne,
In hope to win occasion to his will;
Which when he long awaited had in vayne,
He chaungd his mynd from one to other ill:        85
For to all good he enimy was still.
Upon the way him fortuned to meet,
Fayre marching underneath a shady hill,
A goodly knight, all armd in harnesse meete,
That from his head no place appeared to his feete.        90
 
VI
His carriage was full comely and upright,
His countenance demure and temperate,
But yett so sterne and terrible in sight,
That cheard his friendes, and did his foes amate:
He was an Elfin borne, of noble state        95
And mickle worship in his native land;
Well could he tourney and in lists debate,
And knighthood tooke of good Sir Huons hand,
When with King Oberon he came to Fary Land.
 
VII
Him als accompanyd upon the way
        100
A comely palmer, clad in black attyre,
Of rypest yeares, and heares all hoarie gray,
That with a staffe his feeble steps did stire,
Least his long way his aged limbes should tire:
And if by lookes one may the mind aread,        105
He seemd to be a sage and sober syre,
And ever with slow pace the knight did lead,
Who taught his trampling steed with equall steps to tread.
 
VIII
Such whenas Archimago them did view,
He weened well to worke some uncouth wyle,        110
Eftsoones, untwisting his deceiptfull clew,
He gan to weave a web of wicked guyle;
And with faire countenance and flattring style
To them approching, thus the knight bespake:
‘Fayre sonne of Mars, that seeke with warlike spoyle,        115
And great atchiev’ments, great your selfe to make,
Vouchsafe to stay your steed for humble misers sake.’
 
IX
He stayd his steed for humble misers sake,
And badd tell on the tenor of his playnt;
Who feigning then in every limb to quake,        120
Through inward feare, and seeming pale and faynt,
With piteous mone his percing speach gan paynt:
‘Deare lady, how shall I declare thy cace,
Whom late I left in languorous constraynt?
Would God, thy selfe now present were in place,        125
To tell this ruefull tale! Thy sight could win thee grace.
 
X
‘Or rather would, O! would it so had chaunst,
That you, most noble sir, had present beene
When that lewd rybauld, with vyle lust advaunst,
Laid first his filthie hands on virgin cleene,        130
To spoyle her dainty corps, so faire and sheene
As on the earth, great mother of us all,
With living eye more fayre was never seene,
Of chastity and honour virginall:
Witnes, ye heavens, whom she in vaine to help did call.’        135
 
XI
‘How may it be,’ sayd then the knight halfe wroth,
‘That knight should knighthood ever so have shent?’
‘None but that saw,’ quoth he, ‘would weene for troth,
How shamefully that mayd he did torment.
Her looser golden lockes he rudely rent,        140
And drew her on the ground, and his sharpe sword
Against her snowy brest he fiercely bent,
And threatned death with many a bloodie word;
Tounge hates to tell the rest, that eye to see abhord.’
 
XII
Therewith amoved from his sober mood,
        145
‘And lives he yet,’ said he, ‘that wrought this act,
And doen the heavens afford him vitall food?’
‘He lives,’ quoth he, ‘and boasteth of the fact,
Ne yet hath any knight his courage crackt.’
‘Where may that treachour then,’ sayd he, ‘be found,        150
Or by what meanes may I his footing tract?’
‘That shall I shew,’ said he, ‘as sure as hound
The stricken deare doth chaleng by the bleeding wound.’
 
XIII
He stayd not lenger talke, but with fierce yre
And zealous haste away is quickly gone,        155
To seeke that knight, where him that crafty squyre
Supposd to be. They do arrive anone,
Where sate a gentle lady all alone,
With garments rent, and heare discheveled,
Wringing her handes, and making piteous mone:        160
Her swollen eyes were much disfigured,
And her faire face with teares was fowly blubbered.
 
XIV
The knight, approching nigh, thus to her said:
‘Fayre lady, through fowle sorrow ill bedight,
Great pitty is to see you thus dismayd,        165
And marre the blossom of your beauty bright:
Forthy appease your griefe and heavy plight,
And tell the cause of your conceived payne:
For if he live that hath you doen despight,
He shall you doe dew recompence agayne,        170
Or els his wrong with greater puissance maintaine.’
 
XV
Which when she heard, as in despightfull wise,
She wilfully her sorrow did augment,
And offred hope of comfort did despise:
Her golden lockes most cruelly she rent,        175
And scratcht her face with ghastly dreriment;
Ne would she speake, ne see, ne yet be seene,
But hid her visage, and her head downe bent,
Either for grievous shame, or for great teene,
As if her hart with sorow had transfixed beene:        180
 
XVI
Till her that squyre bespake: ‘Madame, my liefe,
For Gods deare love be not so wilfull bent,
But doe vouchsafe now to receive reliefe,
The which good fortune doth to you present.
For what bootes it to weepe and to wayment,        185
When ill is chaunst, but doth the ill increase,
And the weake minde with double woe torment?’
When she her squyre heard speake, she gan appease
Her voluntarie paine, and feele some secret ease.
 
XVII
Eftsoone she said: ‘Ah! gentle trustie squyre,
        190
What comfort can I, wofull wretch, conceave,
Or why should ever I henceforth desyre
To see faire heavens face, and life not leave,
Sith that false traytour did my honour reave?’
‘False traytour certes,’ saide the Faerie knight,        195
‘I read the man, that ever would deceave
A gentle lady, or her wrong through might:
Death were too little paine for such a fowle despight.
 
XVIII
‘But now, fayre lady, comfort to you make,
And read who hath ye wrought this shamfull plight,        200
That short revenge the man may overtake,
Where so he be, and soone upon him light.’
‘Certes,’ saide she, ‘I wote not how he hight,
But under him a gray steede did he wield,
Whose sides with dapled circles weren dight;        205
Upright he rode, and in his silver shield
He bore a bloodie crosse, that quartred all the field.’
 
XIX
‘Now by my head,’ saide Guyon, ‘much I muse,
How that same knight should do so fowle amis,
Or ever gentle damzell so abuse:        210
For may I boldly say, he surely is
A right good knight, and trew of word ywis:
I present was, and can it witnesse well,
When armes he swore, and streight did enterpris
Th’adventure of the Errant Damozell;        215
In which he hath great glory wonne, as I heare tell.
 
XX
‘Nathlesse he shortly shall againe be tryde,
And fairely quit him of th’ imputed blame,
Els be ye sure he dearely shall abyde,
Or make you good amendment for the same:        220
All wrongs have mendes, but no amendes of shame.
Now therefore, lady, rise out of your paine,
And see the salving of your blotted name.’
Full loth she seemd thereto, but yet did faine;
For she was inly glad her purpose so to gaine.        225
 
XXI
Her purpose was not such as she did faine,
Ne yet her person such as it was seene;
But under simple shew and semblant plaine
Lurkt false Duessa secretly unseene,
As a chaste virgin, that had wronged beene:        230
So had false Archimago her disguysd,
To cloke her guile with sorrow and sad teene;
And eke himselfe had craftily devisd
To be her squire, and do her service well aguisd.
 
XXII
Her late, forlorne and naked, he had found,
        235
Where she did wander in waste wildernesse,
Lurking in rockes and caves far under ground,
And with greene mosse cov’ring her nakednesse,
To hide her shame and loathly filthinesse,
Sith her Prince Arthur of proud ornaments        240
And borrowd beauty spoyld. Her nathelesse
Th’enchaunter finding fit for his intents
Did thus revest, and deckt with dew habiliments.
 
XXIII
For all he did was to deceive good knights,
And draw them from pursuit of praise and fame,        245
To slug in slouth and sensuall delights,
And end their daies with irrenowmed shame.
And now exceeding griefe him overcame,
To see the Redcrosse thus advaunced hye;
Therefore this craftie engine he did frame,        250
Against his praise to stirre up enmitye
Of such, as vertues like mote unto him allye.
 
XXIV
So now he Guyon guydes an uncouth way
Through woods and mountaines, till they came at last
Into a pleasant dale, that lowly lay        255
Betwixt two hils, whose high heads, overplast,
The valley did with coole shade overcast:
Through midst thereof a little river rold,
By which there sate a knight with helme unlaste,
Himselfe refreshing with the liquid cold,        260
After his travell long, and labours manifold.
 
XXV
‘Lo! yonder he,’ cryde Archimage alowd,
‘That wrought the shamefull fact, which I did shew,
And now he doth himselfe in secret shrowd,
To fly the vengeaunce for his outrage dew;        265
But vaine: for ye shall dearely do him rew,
So God ye speed and send you good successe;
Which we far off will here abide to vew.’
So they him left, inflam’d with wrathfulnesse,
That streight against that knight his speare he did addresse.        270
 
XXVI
Who, seeing him from far so fierce to pricke,
His warlike armes about him gan embrace,
And in the rest his ready speare did sticke;
Tho, when as still he saw him towards pace,
He gan rencounter him in equall race:        275
They bene ymett, both ready to affrap,
When suddeinly that warriour gan abace
His threatned speare, as if some new mishap
Had him betide, or hidden danger did entrap:
 
XXVII
And cryde, ‘Mercie, sir knight! and mercie, lord,
        280
For mine offence and heedelesse hardiment,
That had almost committed crime abhord,
And with reprochfull shame mine honour shent,
Whiles cursed steele against that badge I bent,
The sacred badge of my Redeemers death,        285
Which on your shield is set for ornament.’
But his fierce foe his steed could stay uneath,
Who, prickt with courage kene, did cruell battell breath.
 
XXVIII
But when he heard him speake, streight way he knew
His errour, and himselfe inclyning sayd:        290
‘Ah! deare Sir Guyon, well becommeth you,
But me behoveth rather to upbrayd,
Whose hastie hand so far from reason strayd,
That almost it did haynous violence
On that fayre ymage of that heavenly mayd,        295
That decks and armes your shield with faire defence:
Your court’sie takes on you anothers dew offence.’
 
XXIX
So beene they both at one, and doen upreare
Their bevers bright, each other for to greet;
Goodly comportaunce each to other beare,        300
And entertaine themselves with court’sies meet.
Then saide the Redcrosse Knight: ‘Now mote I weet,
Sir Guyon, why with so fierce saliaunce,
And fell intent, ye did at earst me meet;
For sith I know your goodly governaunce,        305
Great cause, I weene, you guided, or some uncouth chaunce.’
 
XXX
‘Certes,’ said he, ‘well mote I shame to tell
The fond encheason that me hether led.
A false infamous faitour late befell
Me for to meet, that seemed ill bested,        310
And playnd of grievous outrage, which he red
A knight had wrought against a ladie gent;
Which to avenge, he to this place me led,
Where you he made the marke of his intent,
And now is fled: foule shame him follow, wher he went!’        315
 
XXXI
So can he turne his earnest unto game,
Through goodly handling and wise temperaunce.
By this his aged guide in presence came,
Who, soone as on that knight his eye did glaunce,
Eftsoones of him had perfect cognizaunce,        320
Sith him in Faery court he late avizd;
And sayd: ‘Fayre sonne, God give you happy chaunce,
And that deare Crosse uppon your shield devizd,
Wherewith above all knights ye goodly seeme aguizd.
 
XXXII
‘Joy may you have, and everlasting fame,
        325
Of late most hard atchiev’ment by you donne,
For which enrolled is your glorious name
In heavenly regesters above the sunne,
Where you a saint with saints your seat have wonne:
But wretched we, where ye have left your marke,        330
Must now anew begin like race to ronne.
God guide thee, Guyon, well to end thy warke,
And to the wished haven bring thy weary barke.’
 
XXXIII
‘Palmer,’ him answered the Redcrosse Knight,
‘His be the praise, that this atchiev’ment wrought,        335
Who made my hand the organ of His might:
More then goodwill to me attribute nought;
For all I did, I did but as I ought.
But you, faire sir, whose pageant next ensewes,
Well mote yee thee, as well can wish your thought,        340
That home ye may report thrise happy newes;
For well ye worthy bene for worth and gentle thewes.’
 
XXXIV
So courteous conge both did give and take,
With right hands plighted, pledges of good will.
Then Guyon forward gan his voyage make        345
With his blacke palmer, that him guided still.
Still he him guided over dale and hill,
And with his steedy staffe did point his way:
His race with reason, and with words his will,
From fowle intemperaunce he ofte did stay,        350
And suffred not in wrath his hasty steps to stray.
 
XXXV
In this faire wize they traveild long yfere,
Through many hard assayes, which did betide,
Of which he honour still away did beare,
And spred his glory through all countryes wide.        355
At last, as chaunst them by a forest side
To passe, for succour from the scorching ray,
They heard a ruefull voice, that dearnly cride,
With percing shriekes, and many a dolefull lay;
Which to attend, a while their forward steps they stay.        360
 
XXXVI
‘But if that carelesse hevens,’ quoth she, ‘despise
The doome of just revenge, and take delight
To see sad pageaunts of mens miseries,
As bownd by them to live in lives despight,
Yet can they not warne Death from wretched wight.        365
Come then, come soone, come, sweetest Death, to me,
And take away this long lent loathed light:
Sharpe be thy wounds, but sweete the medicines be,
That long captived soules from weary thraldome free.
 
XXXVII
‘But thou, sweete babe, whom frowning froward fate
        370
Hath made sad witnesse of thy fathers fall,
Sith heven thee deignes to hold in living state,
Long maist thou live, and better thrive withall,
Then to thy lucklesse parents did befall:
Live thou, and to thy mother dead attest,        375
That cleare she dide from blemish criminall:
Thy litle hands embrewd in bleeding brest,
Loe! I for pledges leave. So give me leave to rest.’
 
XXXVIII
With that a deadly shrieke she forth did throw,
That through the wood reechoed againe,        380
And after gave a grone so deepe and low,
That seemd her tender heart was rent in twaine,
Or thrild with point of thorough piercing paine:
As gentle hynd, whose sides with cruell steele
Through launched, forth her bleeding life does raine,        385
Whiles the sad pang approching shee does feele,
Braies out her latest breath, and up her eies doth seele.
 
XXXIX
Which when that warriour heard, dismounting straict
From his tall steed, he rusht into the thick,
And soone arrived where that sad pourtraict        390
Of death and dolour lay, halfe dead, halfe quick;
In whose white alabaster brest did stick
A cruell knife, that made a griesly wownd,
From which forth gusht a stream of goreblood thick,
That all her goodly garments staind arownd,        395
And into a deepe sanguine dide the grassy grownd.
 
XL
Pitifull spectacle of deadly smart,
Beside a bubling fountaine low she lay,
Which shee increased with her bleeding hart,
And the cleane waves with purple gore did ray;        400
Als in her lap a lovely babe did play
His cruell sport, in stead of sorrow dew;
For in her streaming blood he did embay
His litle hands, and tender joints embrew;
Pitifull spectacle, as ever eie did vew.        405
 
XLI
Besides them both, upon the soiled gras
Thedead corse of an armed knight was spred,
Whose armour all with blood besprincled was;
His ruddy lips did smyle, and rosy red
Did paint his chearefull cheekes, yett being ded;        410
Seemd to have beene a goodly personage,
Now in his freshest flowre of lustyhed,
Fitt to inflame faire lady with loves rage,
But that fiers fate did crop the blossome of his age.
 
XLII
Whom when the good Sir Guyon did behold,
        415
His hart gan wexe as starke as marble stone,
And his fresh blood did frieze with fearefull cold,
That all his sences seemd berefte attone.
At last his mighty ghost gan deepe to grone,
As lion, grudging in his great disdaine,        420
Mournes inwardly, and makes to him selfe mone,
Til ruth and fraile affection did constraine
His stout courage to stoupe, and shew his inward paine.
 
XLIII
Out of her gored wound the cruell steel
He lightly snatcht, and did the floodgate stop        425
With his faire garment: then gan softly feel
Her feeble pulse, to prove if any drop
Of living blood yet in her veynes did hop;
Which when he felt to move, he hoped faire
To call backe life to her forsaken shop:        430
So well he did her deadly wounds repaire,
That at the last shee gan to breath out living aire.
 
XLIV
Which he perceiving, greatly gan rejoice,
And goodly counsell, that for wounded hart
Is meetest med’cine, tempred with sweete voice:        435
‘Ay me! deare lady, which the ymage art
Of ruefull pitty, and impatient smart,
What direfull chaunce, armd with avenging fate,
Or cursed hand, hath plaid this cruell part,
Thus fowle to hasten your untimely date?        440
Speake, O dear lady, speake: help never comes too late.’
 
XLV
Therewith her dim eie-lids she up gan reare,
On which the drery death did sitt, as sad
As lump of lead, and made darke clouds appeare:
But when as him, all in bright armour clad,        445
Before her standing she espied had,
As one out of a deadly dreame affright,
She weakely started, yet she nothing drad:
Streight downe againe her selfe in great despight
She groveling threw to ground, as hating life and light.        450
 
XLVI
The gentle knight her soone with carefull paine
Uplifted light, and softly did uphold:
Thrise he her reard, and thrise she sunck againe,
Till he his armes about her sides gan fold,
And to her said: ‘Yet if the stony cold        455
Have not all seized on your frozen hart,
Let one word fall that may your griefe unfold,
And tell the secrete of your mortall smart:
He oft finds present helpe, who does his griefe impart.’
 
XLVII
Then, casting up a deadly looke, full low
        460
Shee sight from bottome of her wounded brest,
And after, many bitter throbs did throw:
With lips full pale and foltring tong opprest,
These words she breathed forth from riven chest:
‘Leave, ah! leave of, what ever wight thou bee,        465
To lett a weary wretch from her dew rest,
And trouble dying soules tranquilitee.
Take not away now got, which none would give to me.’
 
XLVIII
‘Ah! far be it,’ said he, ‘deare dame, fro mee,
To hinder soule from her desired rest,        470
Or hold sad life in long captivitee:
For all I seeke is but to have redrest
The bitter pangs that doth your heart infest.
Tell then, O lady, tell what fatall priefe
Hath with so huge misfortune you opprest:        475
That I may cast to compas your reliefe,
Or die with you in sorrow, and partake your griefe.’
 
XLIX
With feeble hands then stretched forth on hye,
As heven accusing guilty of her death,
And with dry drops congealed in her eye,        480
In these sad wordes she spent her utmost breath:
‘Heare then, O man, the sorrowes that uneath
My tong can tell, so far all sence they pas:
Loe! this dead corpse, that lies here underneath,
The gentlest knight, that ever on greene gras        485
Gay steed with spurs did pricke, the good Sir Mortdant was.
 
L
‘Was (ay the while, that he is not so now!)
My lord, my love, my deare lord, my deare love,
So long as hevens just with equall brow
Vouchsafed to behold us from above.        490
One day, when him high corage did emmove,
As wont ye knightes to seeke adventures wilde,
He pricked forth, his puissant force to prove.
Me then he left enwombed of this childe,
This luckles childe, whom thus ye see with blood defild.        495
 
LI
‘Him fortuned (hard fortune ye may ghesse)
To come where vile Acrasia does wonne,
Acrasia, a false enchaunteresse,
That many errant knightes hath fowle fordonne:
Within a wandring island, that doth ronne        500
And stray in perilous gulfe, her dwelling is:
Fayre sir, if ever there ye travell, shonne
The cursed land where many wend amis,
And know it by the name; it hight the Bowre of Blis.
 
LII
‘Her blis is all in pleasure and delight,
        505
Wherewith she makes her lovers dronken mad,
And then with words and weedes of wondrous might,
On them she workes her will to uses bad:
My liefest lord she thus beguiled had;
For he was flesh (all flesh doth frayltie breed):        510
Whom when I heard to beene so ill bestad,
Weake wretch, I wrapt myselfe in palmers weed,
And cast to seek him forth through danger and great dreed.
 
LIII
‘Now had fayre Cynthia by even tournes
Full measured three quarters of her yeare,        515
And thrise three tymes had fild her crooked hornes,
Whenas my wombe her burdein would forbeare,
And bad me call Lucina to me neare.
Lucina came: a manchild forth I brought:
The woods, the nymphes, my bowres, my midwives, weare:        520
Hard helpe at need! So deare thee, babe, I bought;
Yet nought to dear I deemd, while so my deare I sought.
 
LIV
‘Him so I sought, and so at last I fownd,
Where him that witch had thralled to her will,
In chaines of lust and lewde desyres ybownd,        525
And so transformed from his former skill,
That me he knew not, nether his owne ill;
Till through wise handling and faire governaunce,
I him recured to a better will,
Purged from drugs of fowle intemperaunce:        530
Then meanes I gan devise for his deliverance.
 
LV
‘Which when the vile enchaunteresse perceiv’d,
How that my lord from her I would reprive,
With cup thus charmd, him parting she deceivd:
Sad verse, give death to him that death does give,        535
And losse of love to her that loves to live,
So soone as Bacchus with the Nymphe does lincke.
So parted we, and on our journey drive,
Till, comming to this well, he stoupt to drincke:
The charme fulfild, dead suddeinly he downe did sincke.        540
 
LVI
‘Which when I, wretch’—Not one word more she sayd,
But breaking of the end for want of breath,
And slyding soft, as downe to sleepe her layd,
And ended all her woe in quiet death.
That seeing good Sir Guyon, could uneath        545
From teares abstayne, for griefe his hart did grate,
And from so heavie sight his head did wreath,
Accusing fortune, and too cruell fate,
Which plonged had faire lady in so wretched state.
 
LVII
Then, turning to his palmer, said: ‘Old syre,
        550
Behold the ymage of mortalitie,
And feeble nature cloth’d with fleshly tyre.
When raging passion with fierce tyranny
Robs reason of her dew regalitie,
And makes it servaunt to her basest part,        555
The strong it weakens with infirmitie,
And with bold furie armes the weakest hart:
The strong through pleasure soonest falles, the weake through smart.’
 
LVIII
‘But Temperaunce,’ said he, ‘with golden squire
Betwixt them both can measure out a meane,        560
Nether to melt in pleasures whott desyre,
Nor frye in hartlesse griefe and dolefull tene.
Thrise happy man, who fares them both atweene!
But sith this wretched woman overcome
Of anguish, rather then of crime, hath bene,        565
Reserve her cause to her eternall doome,
And, in the meane, vouchsafe her honorable toombe.’
 
LIX
‘Palmer,’ quoth he, ‘death is an equall doome
To good and bad, the commen in of rest;
But after death the tryall is to come,        570
When best shall bee to them that lived best:
But both alike, when death hath both supprest,
Religious reverence doth buriall teene,
Which who so wants, wants so much of his rest:
For all so great shame after death I weene,        575
As selfe to dyen bad, unburied bad to beene.’
 
LX
So both agree their bodies to engrave:
The great earthes wombe they open to the sky,
And with sad cypresse seemely it embrave;
Then, covering with a clod their closed eye,        580
They lay therein those corses tenderly,
And bid them sleepe in everlasting peace.
But ere they did their utmost obsequy,
Sir Guyon, more affection to increace,
Bynempt a sacred vow, which none should ay releace.        585
 
LXI
The dead knights sword out of his sheath he drew,
With which he cutt a lock of all their heare,
Which medling with their blood and earth, he threw
Into the grave, and gan devoutly sweare:
‘Such and such evil God on Guyon reare,        590
And worse and worse, young orphane, be thy payne,
If I or thou dew vengeance doe forbeare,
Till guiltie blood her guerdon doe obtayne.’
So shedding many teares, they closd the earth agayne.
 
 
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