Spencer's The Faerie Queene
Book II Canto IV
Guyon does Furor bind in chaines,
and stops Occasion:
Deliuers Phedon, and therefore
by Strife is rayld vpon.
In braue pursuit of honorable deed,
There is I know not what great difference
Betweene the vulgar and the noble seed,
Which vnto things of valorous pretence
Seemes to be borne by natiue influence;
As feates of armes, and loue to entertaine,
But chiefly skill to ride, seemes a science
Proper to gentle bloud; some others faine
To menage steeds, as did this vaunter; but in vaine.
But he the rightfull owner of that steed,
Who well could menage and subdew his pride,
The whiles on foot was forced for to yeed,
With that blacke Palmer, his most trusty guide;
Who suffred not his wandring feet to slide.
But when strong passion, or weake fleshlinesse
Would from the right way seeke to draw him wide,
He would through temperance and stedfastnesse,
Teach him the weake to strengthen, & the strõg suppresse.
It fortuned forth faring on his way,
He saw from farre, or seemed for to see
Some troublous vprore or contentious fray,
Whereto he drew in haste it to agree.
A mad man, or that feigned mad to bee,
Drew by the haire along vpon the ground,
A handsome stripling with great crueltee,
Whom sore he bett, and gor'd with many a wound,
That cheekes with teares, and sides with bloud did all abound.
And him behind, a wicked Hag did stalke,
In ragged robes, and filthy disaray,
Her other leg was lame, that she no'te walke,
But on a staffe her feeble steps did stay;
Her lockes, that loathly were and hoarie gray,
Grew all afore, and loosely hong vnrold,
But all behind was bald, and worne away,
That none thereof could euer taken hold,
And eke her face ill fauourd, full of wrinckles old.
And euer as she went, her tongue did walke
In foule reproch, and termes of vile despight,
Prouoking him by her outrageous talke,
To heape more vengeance on that wretched wight;
Sometimes she raught him stones, wherwith to smite,
Sometimes her staffe, though it her one leg were,
Withouten which she could not go vpright;
Ne any euill meanes she did forbeare,
That might him moue to wrath, and indignation reare.
The noble Guyon mou'd with great remorse,
Approching, first the Hag did thrust away,
And after adding more impetuous forse,
His mightie hands did on the madman lay,
And pluckt him backe; who all on fire streightway,
Against him turning all his fell intent,
With beastly brutish rage gan him assay,
And smot, and bit, and kickt, and scratcht, and rent,
And did he wist not what in his auengement.
And sure he was a man of mickle might,
Had he had gouernance, it well to guide:
But when the franticke fit inflamd his spright,
His force was vaine, and strooke more often wide,
Then at the aymed marke, which he had eide:
And oft himselfe he chaunst to hurt vnwares,
Whilst reason blent through passion, nought descride,
But as a blindfold Bull at randon fares,
And where he hits, nought knowes, & whom he hurts, nought cares.
His rude assault and rugged handeling
Straunge seemed to the knight, that aye with foe
In faire defence and goodly menaging
Of armes was wont to fight, yet nathemoe
Was he abashed now not fighting so,
But more enfierced through his currish play,
Him sternely grypt, and haling to and fro,
To ouerthrow him strongly did assay,
But ouerthrew himselfe vnwares, and lower lay.
And being downe the villein sore did beat,
And bruze with clownish fistes his manly face:
And eke the Hag with many a bitter threat,
Still cald vpon to kill him in the place.
With whose reproch and odious menace
The knight emboyling in his haughtie hart,
Knit all his forces, and gan soone vnbrace
His grasping hold: so lightly did vpstart,
And drew his deadly weapon, to maintain his part.
Which when the Palmer saw, he loudly cryde,
Not so, ô Guyon, neuer thinke that so
That Monster can be maistred or destroyd:
He is not, ah, he is not such a foe,
As steele can wound, or strength can ouerthroe.
That same is Furor, cursed cruell wight,
That vnto knighthood workes much shame and woe;
And that same Hag, his aged mother, hight
Occasion, the root of all wrath and despight.
With her, who so will raging Furor tame,
Must first begin, and well her amenage:
First her restraine from her reprochfull blame,
And euill meanes, with which she doth enrage
Her franticke sonne, and kindles his courage,
Then when she is withdrawen, or strong withstood,
It's eath his idle furie to asswage,
And calme the tempest of his passion wood;
The bankes are ouerflowen, when stopped is the flood.
Therewith Sir Guyon left his first emprise,
And turning to that woman, fast her hent
By the hoare lockes, that hong before her eyes,
And to the ground her threw: yet n'ould she stent
Her bitter rayling and foule reuilement,
But still prouokt her sonne to wreake her wrong;
But nathelesse he did her still torment,
And catching hold of her vngratious tong,
Thereon an yron lock did fasten firme and strong.
Then when as vse of speach was from her reft,
With her two crooked handes she signes did make,
And beckned him, the last helpe she had left:
But he that last left helpe away did take,
And both her hands fast bound vnto a stake,
That she note stirre. Then gan her sonne to flie
Full fast away, and did her quite forsake;
But Guyon after him in haste did hie,
And soone him ouertooke in sad perplexitie.
In his strong armes he stiffely him embraste,
Who him gainstriuing, nought at all preuaild:
For all his power was vtterly defaste,
And furious fits at earst quite weren quaild:
Oft he re'nforst, and oft his forces fayld,
Yet yield he would not, nor his rancour slacke.
Then him to ground he cast, and rudely hayld,
And both his hands fast bound behind his backe,
And both his feet in fetters to an yron racke.
With hundred yron chaines he did him bind,
And hundred knots that did him sore constraine:
Yet his great yron teeth he still did grind,
And grimly gnash, threatning reuenge in vaine:
His burning eyen, whom bloudie strakes did staine,
Stared full wide, and threw forth sparkes of fire,
And more for ranck despight, then for great paine,
Shakt his long lockes, colourd like copper-wire,
And bit his tawny beard to shew his raging ire.
Thus when as Guyon Furor had captiu'd,
Turning about he saw that wretched Squire,
Whom that mad man of life nigh late depriu'd,
Lying on ground, all soild with bloud and mire:
Whom when as he perceiued to respire,
He gan to comfort, and his wounds to dresse.
Being at last recured, he gan inquire,
What hard mishap him brought to such distresse,
And made that caitiues thral, the thral of wretchednesse.
With hart then throbbing, and with watry eyes,
Faire Sir (quoth he) what man can shun the hap,
That hidden lyes vnwares him to surpryse?
Misfortune waites aduantage to entrap
The man most warie in her whelming lap.
So me weake wretch, of many weakest one,
Vnweeting, and vnware of such mishap,
She brought to mischiefe through occasion,
Where this same wicked villein did me light vpon.
It was a faithlesse Squire, that was the sourse
Of all my sorrow, and of these sad teares,
With whom from tender dug of commune nourse,
Attonce I was vpbrought, and eft when yeares
More rype vs reason lent to chose our Peares,
Our selues in league of vowed loue we knit:
In which we long time without gealous feares,
Or faultie thoughts continewd, as was fit;
And for my part I vow, dissembled not a whit.
It was my fortune commune to that age,
To loue a Ladie faire of great degree,
The which was borne of noble parentage,
And set in highest seat of dignitee,
Yet seemd no lesse to loue, then loued to bee:
Long I her seru'd, and found her faithfull still,
Ne euer thing could cause vs disagree:
Loue that two harts makes one, makes eke one will:
Each stroue to please, and others pleasure to fulfill.
My friend, hight Philemon, I did partake
Of all my loue and all my priuitie;
Who greatly ioyous seemed for my sake,
And gratious to that Ladie, as to mee,
Ne euer wight, that mote so welcome bee,
As he to her, withouten blot or blame,
Ne euer thing, that she could thinke or see,
But vnto him she would impart the same:
O wretched man, that would abuse so gentle Dame.
At last such grace I found, and meanes I wrought,
That I that Ladie to my spouse had wonne;
Accord of friends, consent of parents sought,
Affiance made, my happinesse begonne,
There wanted nought but few rites to be donne,
Which mariage make; that day too farre did seeme:
Most ioyous man, on whom the shining Sunne,
Did shew his face, my selfe I did esteeme,
And that my falser friend did no lesse ioyous deeme.
But ere that wished day his beame disclosd,
He either enuying my toward good,
Or of himselfe to treason ill disposd
One day vnto me came in friendly mood,
And told for secret how he vnderstood
That Ladie whom I had to me assynd,
Had both distaind her honorable blood,
And eke the faith, which she to me did bynd;
And therfore wisht me stay, till I more truth should fynd.
The gnawing anguish and sharpe gelosy,
Which his sad speech infixed in my brest,
Ranckled so sore, and festred inwardly,
That my engreeued mind could find no rest,
Till that the truth thereof I did outwrest,
And him besought by that same sacred band
Betwixt vs both, to counsell me the best.
He then with solemne oath and plighted hand
Assur'd, ere long the truth to let me vnderstand.
Ere long with like againe he boorded mee,
Saying, he now had boulted all the floure,
And that it was a groome of base degree,
Which of my loue was partner Paramoure:
Who vsed in a darksome inner bowre
Her oft to meet: which better to approue,
He promised to bring me at that howre,
When I should see, that would me nearer moue,
And driue me to withdraw my blind abused loue.
This gracelesse man for furtherance of his guile,
Did court the handmayd of my Lady deare,
Who glad t'embosome his affection vile,
Did all she might, more pleasing to appeare.
One day to worke her to his will more neare,
He woo'd her thus: Pryene (so she hight)
What great despight doth fortune to thee beare,
Thus lowly to abase thy beautie bright,
That it should not deface all others lesser light?
But if she had her least helpe to thee lent,
T'adorne thy forme according thy desart,
Their blazing pride thou wouldest soone haue blent,
And staynd their prayses with thy least good part;
Ne should faire Claribell with all her art,
Though she thy Lady be, approch thee neare;
For proofe thereof, this euening, as thou art,
Aray thy selfe in her most gorgeous geare,
That I may more delight in thy embracement deare.
The Maid&etilde; proud through prayse, and mad through loue
Him hearkned to, and soone her selfe arayd,
The whiles to me the treachour did remoue
His craftie engin, and as he had sayd,
Me leading, in a secret corner layd,
The sad spectatour of my Tragedie;
Where left, he went, and his owne false part playd,
Disguised like that groome of base degree,
Whom he had feignd th'abuser of my loue to bee.
Eftsoones he came vnto th'appointed place,
And with him brought Priene, rich arayd,
In Claribellaes clothes. Her proper face
I not descerned in that darkesome shade,
But weend it was my loue, with whom he playd.
Ah God, what horrour and tormenting griefe
My hart, my hands, mine eyes, and all assayd?
Me liefer were ten thousand deathes priefe,
Then wound of gealous worme, and shame of such repriefe.
I home returning, fraught with fowle despight,
And chawing vengeance all the way I went,
Soone as my loathed loue appeard in sight,
With wrathfull hand I slew her innocent;
That after soone I dearely did lament:
For when the cause of that outrageous deede
Demaunded, I made plaine and euident,
Her faultie Handmayd, which that bale did breede,
Confest, how Philemon her wrought to chaunge her weede.
Which when I heard, with horrible affright
And hellish fury all enragd, I sought
Vpon my selfe that vengeable despight
To punish: yet it better first I thought,
To wreake my wrath on him, that first it wrought.
To Philemon, false faytour Philemon
I cast to pay, that I so dearely bought;
Of deadly drugs I gaue him drinke anon,
And washt away his guilt with guiltie potion.
Thus heaping crime on crime, and griefe on griefe,
To losse of loue adioyning losse of frend,
I meant to purge both with a third mischiefe,
And in my woes beginner it to end:
That was Pryene; she did first offend,
She last should smart: with which cruell intent,
When I at her my murdrous blade did bend,
She fled away with ghastly dreriment,
And I pursewing my fell purpose, after went.
Feare gaue her wings, and rage enforst my flight;
Through woods and plaines so long I did her chace,
Till this mad man, whom your victorious might
Hath now fast bound, me met in middle space,
As I her, so he me pursewd apace,
And shortly ouertooke: I breathing yre,
Sore chauffed at my stay in such a cace,
And with my heat kindled his cruell fyre;
Which kindled once, his mother did more rage inspyre.
Betwixt them both, they haue me doen to dye,
Through wounds, & strokes, & stubborne handeling,
That death were better, then such agony,
As griefe and furie vnto me did bring;
Of which in me yet stickes the mortall sting,
That during life will neuer be appeasd.
When he thus ended had his sorrowing,
Said Guyon, Squire, sore haue ye beene diseasd;
But all your hurts may soone through t&etilde;perance be easd.
Then gan the Palmer thus, most wretched man,
That to affections does the bridle lend;
In their beginning they are weake and wan,
But soone through suff'rance grow to fearefull end;
Whiles they are weake betimes with them contend:
For when they once to perfect strength do grow,
Strong warres they make, and cruell battry bend
Gainst fort of Reason, it to ouerthrow:
Wrath, gelosie, griefe, loue this Squire haue layd thus low.
Wrath, gealosie, griefe, loue do thus expell:
Wrath is a fire, and gealosie a weede,
Griefe is a flood, and loue a monster fell;
The fire of sparkes, the weede of little seede,
The flood of drops, the Monster filth did breede:
But sparks, seed, drops, and filth do thus delay;
The sparks soone quench, the springing seed outweed,
The drops dry vp, and filth wipe cleane away:
So shall wrath, gealosie, griefe, loue dye and decay.
Vnlucky Squire (said Guyon) sith thou hast
Falne into mischiefe through intemperaunce,
Henceforth take heede of that thou now hast past,
And guide thy wayes with warie gouernaunce,
Least worse betide thee by some later chaunce.
But read how art thou nam'd, and of what kin.
Phedon I hight (quoth he) and do aduaunce
Mine auncestry from famous Coradin,
Who first to rayse our house to honour did begin.
Thus as he spake, lo far away they spyde
A varlet running towards hastily,
Whose flying feet so fast their way applyde,
That round about a cloud of dust did fly,
Which mingled all with sweate, did dim his eye.
He soone approched, panting, breathlesse, whot,
And all so soyld, that none could him descry;
His countenaunce was bold, and bashed not
For Guyons lookes, but scornefull eyglaunce at him shot.
Behind his backe he bore a brasen shield,
On which was drawen faire, in colours fit,
A flaming fire in midst of bloudy field,
And round about the wreath this word was writ,
Burnt I do burne. Right well beseemed it,
To be the shield of some redoubted knight;
And in his hand two darts exceeding flit,
And deadly sharpe he held, whose heads were dight
In poyson and in bloud, of malice and despight.
When he in presence came, to Guyon first
He boldly spake, Sir knight, if knight thou bee,
Abandon this forestalled place at erst,
For feare of further harme, I counsell thee,
Or bide the chaunce at thine owne ieoperdie.
The knight at his great boldnesse wondered,
And though he scornd his idle vanitie,
Yet mildly him to purpose answered;
For not to grow of nought he it coniectured.
Varlet, this place most dew to me I deeme,
Yielded by him, that held it forcibly.
But whence should come that harme, which thou doest seeme
To threat to him, that minds his chaunce t'abye?
Perdy (said he) here comes, and is hard by
A knight of wondrous powre, and great assay,
That neuer yet encountred enemy,
But did him deadly daunt, or fowle dismay;
Ne thou for better hope, if thou his presence stay.
How hight he then (said Guyon) and from whence?
Pyrrhochles is his name, renowmed farre
For his bold feats and hardy confidence,
Full oft approu'd in many a cruell warre,
The brother of Cymochles, both which arre
The sonnes of old Acrates and Despight,
Acrates sonne of Phlegeton and Iarre;
But Phlegeton is sonne of Herebus and Night;
But Herebus sonne of Aeternitie is hight.
So from immortall race he does proceede,
That mortall hands may not withstand his might,
Drad for his derring do, and bloudy deed;
For all in bloud and spoile is his delight.
His am I Atin, his in wrong and right,
That matter make for him to worke vpon,
And stirre him vp to strife and cruell fight.
Fly therefore, fly this fearefull stead anon,
Least thy foolhardize worke thy sad confusion.
His be that care, whom most it doth concerne,
(Said he) but whither with such hasty flight
Art thou now bound? for well mote I discerne
Great cause, that carries thee so swift and light.
My Lord (quoth he) me sent, and streight behight
To seeke Occasion, where so she bee:
For he is all disposd to bloudy fight,
And breathes out wrath and hainous crueltie;
Hard is his hap, that first fals in his ieopardie.
Madman (said then the Palmer) that does seeke
Occasion to wrath, and cause of strife;
She comes vnsought, and shonned followes eke.
Happy, who can abstaine, when Rancour rife
Kindles Reuenge, and threats his rusty knife;
Woe neuer wants, where euery cause is caught,
And rash Occasion makes vnquiet life.
Then loe, where bound she sits, whõ thou hast sought,
(Said Guyon,) let that message to thy Lord be brought.
That when the varlet heard and saw, streight way
He wexed wondrous wroth, and said, Vile knight,
That knights & knighthood doest with shame vpbray,
And shewst th'ensãple of thy childish might,
With silly weake old woman thus to fight.
Great glory and gay spoile sure hast thou got,
And stoutly prou'd thy puissaunce here in sight;
That shall Pyrrochles well requite, I wot,
And with thy bloud abolish so reprochfull blot.
With that one of his thrillant darts he threw,
Headed with ire and vengeable despight;
The quiuering steele his aymed end well knew,
And to his brest it selfe intended right:
But he was warie, and ere it empight
In the meant marke, aduaunst his shield atweene,
On which it seizing, no way enter might,
But backe rebounding, left the forckhead keene;
Eftsoones he fled away, and might no where be seene.
On to Canto V
Back to Canto III
Back to Book II Index