Spencer's The Faerie Queene
Book IV Canto XI
Marinells former wound is heald,
he comes to Proteus hall,
Where Thames doth the Medway wedd,
and feasts the Sea-gods all.
Bvt ah for pittie that I haue thus long
Left a fayre Ladie languishing in payne:
Now well away, that I haue doen such wrong,
To let faire Florimell in bands remayne,
In bands of loue, and in sad thraldomes chayne;
From which vnlesse some heauenly powre her free
By miracle, not yet appearing playne,
She lenger yet is like captiu'd to bee:
That euen to thinke thereof, it inly pitties mee.
Here neede you to remember, how erewhile
Vnlouely Proteus, missing to his mind
That Virgins loue to win by wit or wile,
Her threw into a dongeon deepe and blind,
And there in chaynes her cruelly did bind,
In hope thereby her to his bent to draw:
For when as neither gifts nor graces kind
Her constant mind could moue at all he saw,
He thought her to compell by crueltie and awe.
Deepe in the bottome of an huge great rocke
The dongeon was, in which her bound he left,
That neither yron barres, nor brasen locke
Did neede to gard from force, or secret theft
Of all her louers, which would her haue reft.
For wall'd it was with waues, which rag'd and ror'd
As they the cliffe in peeces would haue cleft;
Besides ten thousand monsters foule abhor'd
Did waite about it, gaping griesly all begor'd.
And in the midst thereof did horror dwell,
And darkenesse dredd, that neuer viewed day,
Like to the balefull house of lowest hell,
In which old Styx her aged bones alway,
Old Styx the Grandame of the Gods, doth lay.
There did this lucklesse mayd seuen months abide,
Ne euer euening saw, ne mornings ray,
Ne euer from the day the night descride,
But thought it all one night, that did no houres diuide.
And all this was for loue of Marinell,
Who her despysd (ah who would her despyse?)
And wemens loue did from his hart expell,
And all those ioyes that weake mankind entyse.
Nathlesse his pride full dearely he did pryse;
For of a womans hand it was ywroke,
That of the wound he yet in languor lyes,
Ne can be cured of that cruell stroke
Which Britomart him gaue, when he did her prouoke.
Yet farre and neare the Nymph his mother sought,
And many salues did to his sore applie,
And many herbes did vse. But when as nought
She saw could ease his rankling maladie,
At last to Tryphon she for helpe did hie,
(This Tryphon is the seagods surgeon hight)
Whom she besought to find some remedie:
And for his paines a whistle him behight
That of a fishes shell was wrought with rare delight.
So well that Leach did hearke to her request,
And did so well employ his carefull paine,
That in short space his hurts he had redrest,
And him restor'd to healthfull state againe:
In which he long time after did remaine
There with the Nymph his mother, like her thrall;
Who sore against his will did him retaine,
For feare of perill, which to him mote fall,
Through his too ventrous prowesse proued ouer all.
It fortun'd then, a solemne feast was there
To all the Sea-gods and their fruitfull seede,
In honour of the spousalls, which then were
Betwixt the Medway and the Thames agreed.
Long had the Thames (as we in records reed)
Before that day her wooed to his bed;
But the proud Nymph would for no worldly meed,
Nor no entreatie to his loue be led;
Till now at last relenting, she to him was wed.
So both agreed, that this their bridale feast
Should for the Gods in Proteus house be made;
To which they all repayr'd, both most and least,
Aswell which in the mightie Ocean trade,
As that in riuers swim, or brookes doe wade.
All which not if an hundred tongues to tell,
And hundred mouthes, and voice of brasse I had,
And endlesse memorie, that mote excell,
In order as they came, could I recount them well.
Helpe therefore, O thou sacred imp of Ioue,
The noursling of Dame Memorie his deare,
To whom those rolles, layd vp in heauen aboue,
And records of antiquitie appeare,
To which no wit of man may comen neare;
Helpe me to tell the names of all those floods,
And all those Nymphes, which then assembled were
To that great banquet of the watry Gods,
And all their sundry kinds, and all their hid abodes.
First came great Neptune with his threeforkt mace,
That rules the Seas, and makes them rise or fall;
His dewy lockes did drop with brine apace,
Vnder his Diademe imperiall:
And by his side his Queene with coronall,
Faire Amphitrite, most diuinely faire,
Whose yuorie shoulders weren couered all,
As with a robe, with her owne siluer haire,
And deckt with pearles, which th'Indian seas for her prepaire.
These marched farre afore the other crew;
And all the way before them as they went,
Triton his trompet shrill before them blew,
For goodly triumph and great iollyment,
That made the rockes to roare, as they were rent.
And after them the royall issue came,
Which of them sprung by lineall descent:
First the Sea-gods, which to themselues doe clame
The powre to rule the billowes, and the waues to tame.
Phorcys, the father of that fatall brood,
By whom those old Heroes wonne such fame;
And Glaucus, that wise southsayes vnderstood;
And tragicke Inoes sonne, the which became
A God of seas through his mad mothers blame,
Now hight Palemon, and is saylers frend;
Great Brontes, and Astraeus, that did shame
Himselfe with incest of his kin vnkend;
And huge Orion, that doth tempests still portend.
The rich Cteatus, and Eurytus long;
Neleus and Pelias louely brethren both;
Mightie Chrysaor, and Caicus strong;
Eurypulus, that calmes the waters wroth;
And faire Euphaemus, that vpon them go'th
As on the ground, without dismay or dread:
Fierce Eryx, and Alebius that know'th
The waters depth, and doth their bottome tread;
And sad Asopus, comely with his hoarie head.
There also some most famous founders were
Of puissant Nations, which the world possest;
Yet sonnes of Neptune, now assembled here:
Ancient Ogyges, even th'auncientest,
And Inachus renowmd aboue the rest;
Phoenix, and Aon, and Pelasgus old,
Great Belus, Phoeax, and Agenor best;
And mightie Albion, father of the bold
And warlike people, which the Britaine Islands hold.
For Albion the sonne of Neptune was,
Who for the proofe of his great puissance,
Out of his Albion did on dry-foot pas
Into old Gall, that now is cleeped France,
To fight with Hercules, that did aduance
To vanquish all the world with matchlesse might,
And there his mortall part by great mischance
Was slaine: but that which is th'immortall spright
Liues still: and to this feast with Neptunes seed was dight.
But what doe I their names seeke to reherse,
Which all the world haue with their issue fild?
How can they all in this so narrow verse
Contayned be, and in small compasse hild?
Let them record them, that are better skild,
And know the moniments of passed times:
Onely what needeth, shall be here fulfild,
T'expresse some part of that great equipage,
Which from great Neptune do deriue their parentage.
Next came the aged Ocean, and his Dame,
Old Tethys, th'oldest two of all the rest,
For all the rest of those two parents came,
Which afterward both sea and land possest:
Of all which Nereus th'eldest, and the best,
Did first proceed, then which none more vpright,
Ne more sincere in word and deed profest;
Most voide of guile, most free from fowle despight,
Doing him selfe, and teaching others to doe right.
Thereto he was expert in prophecies,
And could the ledden of the Gods vnfold,
Through which, when Paris brought his famous prise
The faire Tindarid lasse, he him fortold,
That her all Greece with many a champion bold
Should fetch againe, and finally destroy
Proud Priams towne. So wise is Nereus old,
And so well skild; nathlesse he takes great ioy
Oft-times amõgst the wanton Nymphs to sport and toy.
And after him the famous riuers came,
Which doe the earth enrich and beautifie:
The fertile Nile, which creatures new doth frame;
Long Rhodanus, whose sourse springs from the skie;
Faire Ister, flowing from the mountaines hie;
Diuine Scamander, purpled yet with blood
Of Greekes and Troians, which therein did die;
Pactolus glistring with his golden flood,
And Tygris fierce, whose streames of none may be withstood.
Great Ganges, and immortall Euphrates,
Deepe Indus, and Maeander intricate,
Slow Peneus, and tempestuous Phasides,
Swift Rhene, and Alpheus still immaculate:
Ooraxes, feared for great Cyrus fate;
Tybris, renowmed for the Romaines fame,
Rich Oranochy, though but knowen late;
And that huge Riuer, which doth beare his name
Of warlike Amazons, which doe possesse the same.
Ioy on those warlike women, which so long
Can from all men so rich a kingdome hold;
And shame on you, ô men, which boast your strong
And valiant hearts, in thoughts lesse hard and bold,
Yet quaile in conquest of that land of gold.
But this to you, ô Britons, most pertaines,
To whom the right hereof it selfe hath sold;
The which for sparing litle cost or paines,
Loose so immortall glory, and so endlesse gaines.
Then was there heard a most celestiall sound,
Of dainty musicke, which did next ensew
Before the spouse: that was Arion crownd;
Who playing on his harpe, vnto him drew
The eares and hearts of all that goodly crew,
That euen yet the Dolphin, which him bore
Through the AEgaean seas from Pirates vew,
Stood still by him astonisht at his lore,
And all the raging seas for ioy forgot to rore.
So went he playing on the watery plaine.
Soone after whom the louely Bridegroome came,
The noble Thamis, with all his goodly traine,
But him before there went, as best became
His auncient parents, namely th'auncient Thame.
But much more aged was his wife then he,
The Ouze, whom men doe Isis rightly name;
Full weake and crooked creature seemed she,
And almost blind through eld, that scarce her way could see.
Therefore on either side she was sustained
Of two smal grooms, which by their names were hight
The Churne, and Charwell, two small streames, which pained
Them selues her footing to direct aright,
Which fayled oft through faint and feeble plight:
But Thame was stronger, and of better stay;
Yet seem'd full aged by his outward sight,
With head all hoary, and his beard all gray,
Deawed with siluer drops, that trickled downe alway.
And eke he somewhat seem'd to stoupe afore
With bowed backe, by reason of the lode,
And auncient heauy burden, which he bore
Of that faire City, wherein make abode
So many learned impes, that shoote abrode,
And with their braunches spred all Britany,
No lesse then do her elder sisters broode.
Ioy to you both, ye double noursery
Or Arts, but Oxford thine doth Thame most glorify.
But he their sonne full fresh and iolly was,
All decked in a robe of watchet hew,
On which the waues, glittering like Christall glas,
So cunningly enwouen were, that few
Could weenen, whether they were false or trew.
And on his head like to a Coronet
He wore, that seemed strange to common vew,
In which were many towres and castels set,
That it encompast round as with a golden fret.
Like as the mother of the Gods, they say,
In her great iron charet wonts to ride,
When to Ioues pallace she doth take her way;
Old Cybele, arayd with pompous pride,
Wearing a Diademe embattild wide
With hundred turrets, like a Turribant.
With such an one was Thamis beautifide;
That was to weet the famous Troynouant,
In which her kingdomes throne is chiefly resiant.
And round about him many a pretty Page
Attended duely, ready to obay;
All little Riuers, which owe vassallage
To him, as to their Lord, and tribute pay:
The chaulky Kenet, and the Thetis gray,
The morish Cole, and the soft sliding Breane,
The wanton Lee, that oft doth loose his way,
And the still Darent, in whose waters cleane
Ten thousand fishes play, and decke his pleasant streame.
Then came his neighbour flouds, which nigh him dwell,
And water all the English soile throughout;
They all on him this day attended well;
And with meet seruice waited him about;
Ne none disdained low to him to lout:
No not the stately Seuerne grudg'd at all,
Ne storming Humber, though he looked stout;
But both him honor'd as their principall,
And let their swelling waters low before him fall.
There was the speedy Tamar, which deuides
The Cornish and the Deuonish confines;
Through both whose borders swiftly downe it glides,
And meeting Plim, to Plimmouth thence declines:
And Dart, nigh chockt with sands of tinny mines.
But Auon marched in more stately path,
Proud of his Adamants, with which he shines
And glisters wide, as als' of wondrous Bath,
And Bristow faire, which on his waues he builded hath.
And there came Stoure with terrible aspect,
Bearing his sixe deformed heads on hye,
That doth his course through Blandford plains direct,
And washeth Winborne meades in season drye.
Next him went Wylibourne with passage slye,
That of his wylinesse his name doth take,
And of him selfe doth name the shire thereby;
And Mole, that like a nousling Mole doth make
His way still vnder ground, till Thamis he ouertake.
Then came the Rother, decked all with woods
Like a wood God, and flowing fast to Rhy:
And Sture, that parteth with his pleasant floods
The Easterne Saxons from the Southerne ny,
And Clare, and Harwitch both doth beautify:
Him follow'd Yar, soft washing Norwitch wall,
And with him brought a present ioyfully
Of his owne fish vnto their festiuall,
Whose like none else could shew, the which they Ruffins call.
Next these the plenteous Ouse came far from land,
By many a city, and by many a towne,
And many riuers taking vnder hand
Into his waters, as he passeth downe,
The Cle, the Were, the Grant, the Sture, the Rowne.
Thence doth by Huntingdon and Cambridge flit;
My mother Cambridge, whom as with a Crowne
He doth adorne, and is adorn'd of it
With many a gentle Muse, and many a learned wit.
And after him the fatall Welland went,
That if old sawes proue true (which God forbid)
Shall drowne all Holland with his excrement,
And shall see Stamford, though now homely hid,
Then shine in learning, more then euer did
Cambridge or Oxford, Englands goodly beames.
And next to him the Nene downe softly slid;
And bounteous Trent, that in him selfe enseames
Both thirty sorts of fish, and thirty sundry streames.
Next these came Tyne, along whose stony bancke
That Romaine Monarch built a brasen wall,
Which mote the feebled Britons strongly flancke
Against the Picts, that swarmed ouer all,
Which yet thereof Gualseuer they doe call:
And Twede the limit betwixt Logris land
And Albany: And Eden though but small,
Yet often stainde with bloud of many a band
Of Scots and English both, that tyned on his strand.
Then came those sixe sad brethren, like forlorne,
That whilome were (as antique fathers tell)
Sixe valiant Knights, of one faire Nymphe yborne,
Which did in noble deedes of armes excell,
And wonned there, where now Yorke people dwell;
Still Vre, swift Werfe, and Oze the most of might,
High Swale, vnquiet Nide, and troublous Skell;
All whom a Scythian king, that Humber hight,
Slew cruelly, and in the riuer drowned quight.
But past not long, ere Brutus warlicke sonne
Locrinus them aueng'd, and the same date,
Which the proud Humber vnto them had donne,
By equall dome repayd on his owne pate:
For in the selfe same riuer, where he late
Had drenched them, he drowned him againe;
And nam'd the riuer of his wretched fate;
Whose bad condition yet it doth retaine,
Oft tossed with his stormes, which therein still remaine.
These after, came the stony shallow Lone,
That to old Loncaster his name doth lend;
And following Dee, which Britons long ygone
Did call diuine, that doth by Chester tend;
And Conway which out of his streame doth send
Plenty of pearles to decke his dames withall,
And Lindus that his pikes doth most commend,
Of which the auncient Lincolne men doe call;
All these together marched toward Proteus hall.
Ne thence the Irishe Riuers absent were:
Sith no lesse famous then the rest they bee,
And ioyne in neighbourhood of kingdome nere,
Why should they not likewise in loue agree,
And ioy likewise this solemne day to see?
They saw it all, and present were in place;
Though I them all according their degree,
Cannot recount, nor tell their hidden race,
Nor read the saluage c&utilds;treis, thorough which they pace.
There was the Liffy rolling downe the lea,
The sandy Slane, the stony Aubrian,
The spacious Shenan spreading like a sea,
The pleasant Boyne, the fishy fruitfull Ban,
Swift Awniduff, which of the English man
Is cal'de Blacke water, and the Liffar deep,
Sad Trowis, that once his people ouerran,
Strong Allo tombling from Slewlogher steep,
And Mulla mine, whose waues I whilom taught to weep.
And there the three renowmed brethren were,
Which that great Gyant Blomius begot,
Of the faire Nimph Rheusa wandring there.
One day, as she to shunne the season whot,
Vnder Slewbloome in shady groue was got,
This Gyant found her, and by force deflowr'd:
Whereof conceiuing, she in time forth brought
These three faire sons, which being thece forth powrd
In three great riuers ran, and many countreis scowrd.
The first, the gentle Shure that making way
By sweet Clonmell, adornes rich Waterford;
The next, the stubborne Newre, whose waters gray
By faire Kilkenny and Rosseponte boord,
The third, the goodly Barow, which doth hoord
Great heapes of Salmons in his deepe bosome:
All which long sundred, doe at last accord
To ioyne in one, ere to the sea they come,
So flowing all from one, all one at last become.
There also was the wide embayed Mayre,
The pleasaunt Bandon crownd with many a wood,
The spreading Lee, that like an Island fayre
Encloseth Corke with his deuided flood;
And balefull Oure, late staind with English blood:
With many more, whose names no tongue can tell.
All which that day in order seemly good
Did on the Thamis attend, and waited well
To doe their duefull seruice, as to them befell.
Then came the Bride, the louely Medua came,
Clad in a vesture of vnknowen geare,
And vncouth fashion, yet her well became;
That seem'd like siluer, sprinckled here and theare
With glittering spangs, that did like starres appeare,
And wau'd vpon, like water Chamelot,
To hide the metall, which yet euery where
Bewrayd it selfe, to let men plainely wot,
It was no mortall worke, that seem'd and yet was not.
Her goodly lockes adowne her backe did flow
Vnto her waste, with flowres bescattered,
The which ambrosiall odours forth did throw
To all about, and all her shoulders spred
As a new spring; and likewise on her hed
A Chapelet of sundry flowers she wore,
From vnder which the deawy humour shed,
Did tricle downe her haire, like to the hore
Congealed litle drops, which doe the morne adore.
On her two pretty handmaides did attend,
One cald the Theise, the other cald the Crane;
Which on her waited, things amisse to mend,
And both behind vpheld her spredding traine;
Vnder the which, her feet appeared plaine,
Her siluer feet, faire washt against this day:
And her before there paced Pages twaine,
Both clad in colours like, and like array,
The Doune & eke the Frith, both which prepard her way.
And after these the Sea Nymphs marched all,
All goodly damzels, deckt with long greene haire,
Whom of their sire Nereides men call,
All which the Oceans daughter to him bare
The gray eyde Doris: all which fifty are;
All which she there on her attending had.
Swift Proto, milde Eucrate, Thetis faire,
Soft Spio, sweete Eudore, Sao sad,
Light Doto, wanton Glauce, and Galene glad.
White hand Eunica, proud Dynamene,
Ioyous Thalia, goodly Amphitrite,
Louely Pasithee, kinde Eulimene,
Lifht goote Cymothoe, and sweete Melite,
Fairest Pherusa, Phao lilly white,
Wondred Agaue, Poris, and Nesæa,
With Erato that doth in loue delite,
And Panopæ, and wise Protomedæa,
And snowy neckd Doris, and milkewhite Galathæa.
Speedy Hippothoe, and chaste Actea,
Large Lisianassa, and Pronæa sage,
Euagore, and light Pontoporea,
And she, that with her least word can asswage
The surging seas, when they do sorest rage,
Cymodoce, and stout Autonoe,
And Neso, and Eione well in age,
And seeming still to smile, Glauconome,
And she that hight of many heastes Polynome,
Fresh Alimeda, deckt with girlond greene;
Hyponeo, with salt bedewed wrests:
Laomedia, like the christall sheene;
Liagore, much praisd for wise behests;
And Psamathe, for her brode snowy brests;
Cymo, Eupompe, and Themiste iust;
And she that vertue loues and vice detests
Euarna, and Menippe true in trust,
And Nemertea learned well to rule her lust.
All these the daughters of old Nereus were,
Which haue the sea in charge to them assinde,
To rule his tides, and surges to vprere,
To bring forth stormes, or fast them to vpbinde,
And sailers saue from wreckes of wrathfull winde.
And yet besides three thousand more there were
Of th'Oceans seede, but Ioues and Phoebus kinde;
The which in floods and fountaines doe appere,
And all mankinde do nourish with their waters clere.
The which, more eath it were for mortall wight,
To tell the sands, or count the starres on hye,
Or ought more hard, then thinke to reckon right.
But well I wote, that these which I descry,
Were present at this great solemnity:
And there amongst the rest, the mother was
Of luckelesse Marinell Cymodoce.
Which, for my Muse her selfe now tyred has,
Vnto an other Canto I will ouerpas.
On to Canto XII
Back to Canto X
Back to Book IV Index