Spencer's The Faerie Queene

Book II Canto V

Pyrrochles does with Guyon fight,
And Furors chayne vnbinds
Of whom sore hurt, for his reuenge
Atin Cymochles finds.

Who euer doth to temperaunce apply
His stedfast life, and all his actions frame,
Trust me, shall find no greater enimy,
Then stubborne perturbation, to the same;
To which right well the wise do giue that name,
For it the goodly peace of stayed mindes
Does ouerthrow, and troublous warre proclame:
His owne woes authour, who so bound it findes,
As did Pyrrochles, and it wilfully vnbindes.

After that varlets flight, it was not long,
Ere on the plaine fast pricking Guyon spide
One in bright armes embatteiled full strong,
That as the Sunny beames do glaunce and glide
Vpon the trembling waue, so shined bright,
And round about him threw forth sparkling fire,
That seemd him to enflame on euery side:
His steed was bloudy red, and fomed ire,
When with the maistring spur he did him roughly stire.

Approching nigh, he neuer stayd to greete,
Ne chaffar words, prowd courage to prouoke,
But prickt so fiers, that vnderneath his feete
The smouldring dust did round about him smoke,
Both horse and man nigh able for to choke;
And fairly couching his steele-headed speare,
Him first saluted with a sturdy stroke;
It booted nought Sir Guyon comming neare
To thinke, such hideous puissaunce on foot to beare.

But lightly shunned it, and passing by,
With his bright blade did smite at him so fell,
That the sharpe steele arriuing forcibly
On his broad shield, bit not, but glauncing fell
On his horse necke before the quilted sell,
And from the head the body sundred quight.
So him dismounted low, he did compell
On foot with him to matchen equall fight;
The truncked beast fast bleeding, did him fowly dight.

Sore bruzed with the fall, he slow vprose,
And all enraged, thus him loudly shent;
Disleall knight, whose coward courage chose
To wreake it selfe on beast all innocent,
And shund the marke, at which it should be ment,
Thereby thine armes seeme strõg, but manhood fraile;
So hast thou oft with guile thine honour blent;
But litle may such guile thee now auaile,
If wonted force and fortune do not much me faile.

With that he drew his flaming sword, and strooke
At him so fiercely, that the vpper marge
Of his seuenfolded shield away it tooke,
And glauncing on his helmet, made a large
And open gash therein: were not his targe,
That broke the violence of his intent,
The weary soule from thence it would discharge;
Nathelesse so sore abuff to him it lent,
That made him reele, and to his brest his beuer bent.

Exceeding wroth was Guyon at that blow,
And much ashamd, that stroke of liuing arme
Should him dismay, and make him stoup so low,
Though otherwise it did him litle harme:
Tho hurling high his yron braced arme,
He smote so manly on his shoulder plate,
That all his left side it did quite disarme;
Yet there the steele stayd not, but inly bate
Deepe in his flesh, and opened wide a red floodgate.

Deadly dismayd, with horrour of that dint
Pyrrochles was, and grieued eke entyre;
Yet nathemore did it his fury stint,
But added flame vnto his former fire,
That welnigh molt his hart in raging yre,
Ne thenceforth his approued skill, to ward,
Or strike, or hurle, round in warelike gyre,
Remembred he, ne car'd for his saufgard,
But rudely rag'd, and like a cruell Tygre far'd.

He hewd, and lasht, and foynd, and thundred blowes,
And euery way did seeke into his life,
Ne plate, ne male could ward so mighty throwes,
But yielded passage to his cruell knife.
But Guyon, in the heat of all his strife,
Was warie wise, and closely did awayt
Auauntage, whilest his foe did rage most rife;
Sometimes a thwart, sometimes he strooke him strayt,
And falsed oft his blowes, t'illude him with such bayt.

Like as a Lyon, whose imperiall powre
A prowd rebellious Vnicorne defies,
T'auoide the rash assault and wrathfull stowre
Of his fiers foe, him to a tree applies,
And when him running in full course he spies,
He slips aside; the whiles that furious beast
His precious horne, sought of his enimies
Strikes in the stocke, ne thence can be rel[e]ast,
But to the mighty victour yields a bounteous feast.

With such faire slight him Guyon often faild,
Till at the last all breathlesse, wearie, faint
Him spying, with fresh onset he assaild,
And kindling new his courage seeming queint,
Strooke him so hugely, that through great constraint
He made him stoup perforce vnto his knee,
And do vnwilling worship to the Saint,
That on his shield depainted he did see;
Such homage till that instant neuer learned hee.

Whom Guyon seeing stoup, pursewed fast
The present offer of faire victory.
And soone his dreadfull blade about he cast,
Wherewith he smote his haughty crest so hye,
That streight on ground made him full low to lye;
Then on his brest his victour foote he thrust:
With that he cryde, Mercy, do me not dye,
Ne deeme thy force by fortunes doome vniust,
That hath (maugre her spight) thus low me laid in dust.

Eftsoones his cruell hand Sir Guyon stayd,
Tempring the passion with aduizement slow,
And maistring might on enimy dismayd:
For th'equall dye of warre he well did know;
Then to him said, Liue and allegaunce owe,
To him that giues thee life and libertie,
And henceforth by this dayes ensample trow,
That hasty wroth, and heedlesse hazardrie,
Do breede repentaunce late, and lasting infamie.

So vp he let him rise, who with grim looke
And count'naunce sterne vpstanding, gan to grind
His grated teeth for great disdeigne, and shooke
His sandy lockes, long hanging downe behind,
Knotted in bloud and dust, for griefe of mind,
That he in ods of armes was conquered;
Yet in himselfe some comfort he did find,
That him so noble knight had maistered,
Whose bounty more then might, yet both he wondered.

Which Guyon marking said, Be nought agrieu'd,
Sir Knight, that thus ye now subdewed arre:
Was neuer man, who most conquestes atchieu'd
But sometimes had the worse, and lost by warre,
Yet shortly gaynd, that losse exceeded farre:
Losse is no shame, nor to be lesse then foe,
But to be lesser, then himselfe, doth marre
Both loosers lot, and victours prayse alsoe.
Vaine others ouerthrowes, who selfe doth ouerthrowe.

Fly, O Pyrrochles, fly the dreadfull warre,
That in thy selfe thy lesser parts do moue,
Outrageous anger, and woe-working iarre,
Direfull impatience, and hart murdring loue;
Those, those thy foes, those warriours far remoue,
Which thee to endlesse bale captiued lead.
But sith in might thou didst my mercy proue,
Of curtesie to me the cause a read,
That thee against me drew with so impetuous dread.

Dreadlesse (said he) that shall I soone declare:
It was complaind, that thou hadst done great tort
Vnto an aged woman, poore and bare,
And thralled her in chaines with strong effort,
Voide of all succour and needfull comfort:
That ill beseemes thee, such as I thee see,
To worke such shame. Therefore I thee exhort,
To chaunge thy will, and set Occasion free,
And to her captiue sonne yield his first libertee.

Thereat Sir Guyon smilde, And is that all
(Said he) that thee so sore displeased hath?
Great mercy sure, for to enlarge a thrall,
Whose freedome shall thee turne to greatest scath.
Nath'lesse now quench thy whot emboyling wrath:
Loe there they be; to thee I yield them free.
Thereat he wondrous glad, out of the path
Did lightly leape, where he them bound did see,
And gan to breake the bands of their captiuitee.

Soone as Occasion felt her selfe vntyde,
Before her sonne could well assoyled bee,
She to her vse returnd, and streight defyde
Both Guyon and Pyrrochles: th'one (said shee)
Bycause he wonne; the other because hee
Was wonne: So matter did she make of nought,
To stirre vp strife, and do them disagree;
But soone as Furor was enlargd, she sought
To kindle his quencht fire, and thousand causes wrought.

It was not long, ere she inflam'd him so,
That he would algates with Pyrrochles fight,
And his redeemer chalengd for his foe,
Because he had not well mainteind his right,
But yielded had to that same straunger knight:
Now gan Pyrrochles wex as wood, as hee,
And him affronted with impatient might:
So both together fiers engrasped bee,
Whiles Guyon standing by, their vncouth strife does see.

Him all that while Occasion did prouoke
Against Pyrrochles, and new matter framed
Vpon the old, him stirring to be wroke
Of his late wrongs, in which she oft him blamed
For suffering such abuse, as knighhood shamed,
And him dishabled quite. But he was wise
Ne would with vaine occasions be inflamed;
Yet others she more vrgent did deuise:
Yet nothing could him to impatience entise.

Their fell contention still increased more,
And more thereby increased Furors might,
That he his foe has hurt, and wounded sore,
And him in bloud and durt deformed quight.
His mother eke, more to augment his spight,
Now brought to him a flaming fire brond,
Which she in Stygian lake, ay burning bright,
Had kindled: that she gaue into his hond,
That armd with fire, more hardly he mote him withstõd.

Tho gan that villein wex so fiers and strong,
That nothing might sustaine his furious forse;
He cast him downe to ground, and all along
Drew him through durt and myre without remorse,
And fowly battered his comely corse,
That Guyon much disdeignd so loathly sight.
At last he was compeld to cry perforse,
Helpe, ô Sir Guyon, helpe most noble knight,
To rid a wretched man from hands of hellish wight.

The knight was greatly moued at his plaint,
And gan him dight to succour his distresse,
Till that the Palmer, by his graue restraint,
Him stayd from yielding pitifull redresse;
And said, Deare sonne, thy causelesse ruth represse,
Ne let thy stout hart melt in pitty vayne:
He that his sorrow sought through wilfulnesse,
And his foe fettred would release agayne,
Deserues to tast his follies fruit, repented payne.

Guyon obayd; So him away he drew
From needlesse trouble of renewing fight
Already fought, his voyage to pursew.
But rash Pyrrochles varlet, Atin hight,
When late he saw his Lord in heauy plight,
Vnder Sir Guyons puissaunt stroke to fall,
Him deeming dead, as then he seemd in sight,
Fled fast away, to tell his funerall
Vnto his brother, whom Cymochles men did call.

He was a man of rare redoubted might,
Famous throughout the world for warlike prayse,
And glorious spoiles, purchast in perilous fight:
Full many doughtie knights he in his dayes
Had doen to death, subdewde in equall frayes,
Whose carkases, for terrour of his name,
Of fowles and beastes he made the piteous prayes,
And hong their conquered armes for more defame
On gallow trees, in honour of his dearest Dame.

His dearest Dame is that Enchaunteresse,
The vile Acrasia, that with vaine delightes,
And idle pleasures in his[her] Bowre of Blisse,
Does charme her louers, and the feeble sprightes
Can call out of the bodies of fraile wightes:
Whom then she does transforme to mõstrous hewes,
And horribly misshapes with vgly sightes,
Captiu'd eternally in yron mewes,
And darksom dens, where Titan his face neuer shewes.

There Atin found Cymochles soiourning,
To serue his Lemans loue: for he, by kind,
Was giuen all to lust and loose liuing,
When euer his fiers hands he free mote find:
And now he has pourd out his idle mind
In daintie delices, and lauish ioyes,
Hauing his warlike weapons cast behind,
And flowes in pleasures, and vaine pleasing toyes,
Mingled emongst loose Ladies and lasciuious boyes.

And ouer him, art striuing to compaire
With nature, did an Arber greene dispred,
Framed of wanton Yuie, flouring faire,
Through which the fragrant Eglantine did spred
His pricking armes, entrayld with roses red,
Which daintie odours round about them threw,
And all within with flowres was garnished,
That when myld Zephyrus emongst them blew,
Did breath out bounteous smels, & painted colors shew.

And fast beside, there trickled softly downe
A gentle streame, whose murmuring waue did play
Emongst the pumy stones, and made a sowne,
To lull him soft a sleepe, that by it lay;
The wearie Traueiler, wandring that way,
Therein did often quench his thristy heat,
And then by it his wearie limbes display,
Whiles creeping slomber made him to forget
His former paine, and wypt away his toylsoms weat.

And on the other side a pleasaunt groue
Was shot vp high, full of the stately tree,
That dedicated is t'Olympicke Ioue,
And to his sonne Alcides, whenas hee
Gaynd in Nemea goodly victoree;
Therein the mery birds of euery sort
Chaunted alowd their chearefull harmonie:
And made emongst them selues a sweet consort,
That quickned the dull spright with musicall comfort.

There he him found all carelesly displayd,
In secret shadow from the sunny ray,
On a sweet bed of lillies softly layd,
Amidst a flocke of Damzels fresh and gay,
That round about him dissolute did play
Their wanton follies, and light meriment;
Euery of which did loosely disaray
Her vpper parts of meet habiliments,
And shewd them naked, deckt with many ornaments.

And euery of them stroue, with most delights,
Him to aggrate, and greatest pleasures shew;
Some framd faire lookes, glancing like euening lights,
Others sweet words, dropping like honny dew;
Some bathed kisses, and did soft embrew,
The sugred licour through his melting lips:
One boastes her beautie, and does yeeld to vew
Her daintie limbes aboue her tender hips,
Another her out boastes, and all for tryall strips.

He, like an Adder, lurking in the weeds,
His wandring thought in deepe desire does steepe,
And his fraile eye with spoyle of beautie feedes;
Sometimes he falsely faines himselfe to sleepe,
Whiles through their lids his wanton eies do peepe,
To steale a snatch of amorous conceipt,
Whereby close fire into his heart does creepe:
So, them deceiues, deceiu'd in his deceipt,
Made drunke with drugs of deare voluptuous receipt.

Atin arriuing there, when him he spide,
Thus in still waues of deepe delight to wade,
Fiercely approching, to him lowdly cride,
Cymochles; oh no, but Cymochles shade,
In which that manly person late did fade,
What is become of great Acrates sonne?
Or where hath he hong vp his mortall blade,
That hath so many haughtie conquests wonne?
Is all his force forlorne, and all his glory donne?

Then pricking him with his sharpe-pointed dart,
He said? Vp, vp, thou womanish weake knight,
That here in Ladies lap entombed art,
Vnmindfull of thy praise and prowest might,
And weetlesse eke of lately wrought despight,
Whiles sad Pyrrochles lies on senselesse ground,
And groneth out his vtmost grudging spright,
Through many a stroke, & many a streaming wound,
Calling thy helpe in vaine, that here in ioyes art dround.

Suddeinly out of his delightfull dreame
The man awoke, and would haue questiond more;
But he would not endure that wofull theame
For to dilate at large, but vrged sore
With percing words, and pittifull implore,
Him hastie to arise. As one affright
With hellish feends, or Furies mad vprore,
He then vprose, inflam'd with fell despight,
And called for his armes; for he would algates fight.

They bene ybrought; he quickly does him dight,
And lightly mounted, passeth on his way,
Ne Ladies loues, ne sweete entreaties might
Appease his heat, or hastie passage stay;
For he has vowd, to beene aueng'd that day,
(That day it selfe him seemed all too long:)
On him, that did Pyrrochles deare dismay:
So proudly pricketh on his courser strong,
And Atin aie him pricks with spurs of shame & wrong.

On to Canto VI

Back to Canto IV

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