Spencer's The Faerie Queene
Book VI Canto X
Calidore sees the Graces daunce,
To Colins melody:
The whiles his Pastorell is led,
Who now does follow the foule Blatant Beast,
Whilest Calidore does follow that faire Mayd,
Vnmyndfull of his vow and high beheast,
Which by the Faery Queene was on him layd,
That he should neuer leaue, nor be delayd
From chacing him, till he had it attchieued?
But now entrapt of loue, which him betrayd,
He mindeth more, how he may be relieued
With grace from her, whose loue his heart hath sore engrieued.
That from henceforth he meanes no more to sew
His former quest, so full of toile and paine;
Another quest, another game in vew
He hath, the guerdon of his loue to gaine:
With whom he myndes for euer to remaine,
And set his rest amongst the rusticke sort,
Rather then hunt still after shadowes vaine
Of courtly fauour, fed with light report,
Of euery blaste, and sayling alwaies on the port.
Ne certes mote he greatly blamed be,
From so high step to stoupe vnto so low.
For who had tasted once (as oft did he)
The happy peace, which there doth ouerflow,
And prou'd the perfect pleasures, which doe grow
Amongst poore hyndes, in hils, in woods, in dales,
Would neuer more delight in painted show
Of such false blisse, as there is set for stales,
T'entrap vnwary fooles in their eternall bales.
For what hath all that goodly glorious gaze
Like to one sight, which Calidore did vew?
The glaunce whereof their dimmed eies would daze,
That neuer more they should endure the shew
Of that sunne-shine, that makes them looke askew.
Ne ought in all that world of beauties rare,
(Saue onely Glorianaes heauenly hew
To which what can compare?) can it compare;
The which as commeth now, by course I will declare.
One day as he did raunge the fields abroad,
Whilest his faire Pastorella was elsewhere,
He chaunst to come, far from all peoples troad,
Vnto a place, whose pleasaunce did appere
To passe all others, on the earth which were:
For all that euer was by natures skill
Deuized to worke delight, was gathered there,
And there by her were poured forth at fill,
As if this to adorne, she all the rest did pill.
It was an hill plaste in an open plaine,
That round about was bordered with a wood
Of matchlesse hight, that seem'd th'earth to disdaine;
In which all trees of honour stately stood,
And did all winter as in sommer bud,
Spredding pauilions for the birds to bowre,
Which in their lower braunches sung aloud;
And in their tops the soring hauke did towre,
Sitting like King of fowles in maiesty and powre.
And at the foote thereof, a gentle flud
His siluer waues did softly tumble downe,
Vnmard with ragged mosse or filthy mud;
Ne mote wylde beastes, ne mote the ruder clowne
Thereto approch, ne filth mote therein drowne:
But Nymphes and Faeries by the bancks did sit,
In the woods shade, which did the waters crowne,
Keeping all noysome things away from it,
And to the waters fall tuning their accents fit.
And on the top thereof a spacious plaine
Did spred it selfe, to serue to all delight,
Either to daunce, when they to daunce would faine,
Or else to course about their bases light;
Ne ought there wanted, which for pleasure might
Desired be, or thence to banish bale:
So pleasauntly the hill with equall hight,
Did seeme to ouerlooke the lowly vale;
Therefore it rightly cleeped was mount Acidale.
They say that Venus, when she did dispose
Her selfe to pleasaunce, vsed to resort
Vnto this place, and therein to repose
And rest her selfe, as in a gladsome port,
Or with the Graces there to play and sport;
That euen her owne Cytheron, though in it
She vsed most to keepe her royall court,
And in her soueraine Maiesty to sit,
She in regard hereof refusde and thought vnfit.
Vnto this place when as the Elfin Knight
Approcht, him seemed that the merry sound
Of a shrill pipe he playing heard on hight,
And many feete fast thumping th'hollow ground,
That through the woods their Eccho did rebound.
He nigher drew, to weete what mote it be;
There he a troupe of Ladies dauncing found
Full merrily, and making gladfull glee,
And in the midst a Shepheard piping he did see.
He durst not enter into th'open greene,
For dread of them vnwares to be descryde,
For breaking of their daunce, if he were seene;
But in the couert of the wood did byde,
Beholding all, yet of them vnespyde.
There he did see, that pleased much his sight,
That euen he him selfe his eyes enuyde,
An hundred naked maidens lilly white,
All raunged in a ring, and dauncing in delight.
All they without were raunged in a ring,
And daunced round ; but in the midst of them
Three other Ladies did both daunce and sing,
The whilest the rest them round about did hemme,
And like a girlond did in compasse stemme:
And in the middest of those same three, was placed
Another Damzell, as a precious gemme,
Amidst a ring most richly well enchaced,
That with her goodly presence all the rest much graced.
Looke how the Crowne, which Ariadne wore
Vpon her yuory forehead that same day
That Theseus her vnto his bridale bore,
When the bold Centaures made that bloudy fray
With the fierce Lapithes, which did them dismay;
Being now placed in the firmament,
Through the bright heauen doth her beams display,
And is vnto the starres an ornament,
Which round about her moue in order excellent.
Such was the beauty of this goodly band,
Whose sundry parts were here too long to tell:
But she that in the midst of them did stand,
Seem'd all the rest in beauty to excell,
Crownd with a rosie girlond, that right well
Did her beseeme. And euer, as the crew
About her daunst, sweet flowres, that far did smell,
And fragrant odours they vppon her threw;
But most of all, those three did her with gifts endew.
Those were the Graces, daughters of delight,
Handmaides of Venus, which are wont to haunt
Vppon this hill, and daunce there day and night:
Those three to men all gifts of grace do graunt,
And all, that Venus in her selfe doth vaunt,
Is borrowed of them. But that faire one,
That in the midst was placed parauaunt,
Was she to whom that shepheard pypt alone,
That made him pipe so merrily, as neuer none.
She was to weete that iolly Shepheards lasse,
Which piped there vnto that merry rout:
That iolly shepheard, which there piped, was
Poore Colin Clout (who knowes not Colin Clout?)
He pypt apace, whilest they him daunst about.
Pype iolly shepheard, pype thou now apace
Vnto thy loue, that made thee low to lout;
Thy Loue is present there with thee in place,
Thy Loue is there aduaunst to be another Grace.
Much wondred Calidore at this straunge sight,
Whose like before his eye had neuer seene,
And standing long astonished in spright,
And rapt with pleasaunce, wist not what to weene;
Whether it were the traine of beauties Queene,
Or Nymphes, or Faeries, or enchaunted show,
With which his eyes mote haue deluded beene.
Therefore resoluing, what it was, to know,
Out of the wood he rose, and toward them did go.
But soone as he appeared to their vew,
The vanisht all away out of his sight,
And cleane were gone, which way he neuer knew;
All saue the shepheard, who for fell despight
Of that displeasure, broke his bag-pipe quight,
And made great mone for that vnhappy turne.
But Calidore, though no lesse sory wight,
For that mishap, yet seeing him to mourne,
Drew neare, that he the truth of all by him mote learne.
And first him greeting, thus vnto him spake;
Haile iolly shepheard, which thy ioyous dayes
Here leadest in this goodly merry make,
Frequented of these gentle Nymphes alwayes,
Which to thee flocke, to heare thy louely layes;
Tell me, what mote these dainty Damzels be,
Which here with thee doe make their pleasant playes?
Right happy thou, that mayst them freely see:
But why when I them saw, fled they away from me?
Not I so happy, answerd then that swaine,
As thou vnhappy, which them thence didst chace,
Whom by no meanes thou canst recall againe;
For being gone, none can them bring in place,
But whom they of them selues list so to grace.
Right sory I, (saide then Sir Calidore,)
That my ill fortune did them hence displace.
But since things passed none may now restore,
Tell, me what were they all, whose lacke thee grieues so sore.
Tho gan that shepheard thus for to dilate;
Then wote thou shepheard, whatsoeuer thou bee,
That all those Ladies, which thou sawest late,
Are Venus Damzels, all within her fee,
But differing in honour and degree:
They all are Graces, which on her depend,
Besides a thousand more, which ready bee
Her to adorne, when so she forth doth wend:
But those three in the midst, doe chiefe on her attend.
They are the daughters of sky-ruling Ioue,
By him begot of faire Eurynome,
The Oceans daughter, in this pleasant groue,
As he this way comming from feastfull glee,
Of Thetis wedding with Æacidee,
In sommers shade himselfe here rested weary.
The first of them hight mylde Euphrosyne,
Next faire Aglaia, last Thalia merry:
Sweete Goddesses all three which me in mirth do cherry.
These three on men all gracious gifts bestow,
Which decke to body or adorne the mynde,
To make them louely or well fauoured show,
As comely carriage, entertainement kynde,
Sweete semblaunt, friendly offices that bynde,
And all the complements of curtesie:
They teach vs, how to each degree and kynde
We should our selues demeane, to low, to hie;
To firends, to foes, which skill men call Ciuility.
Therefore they alwaies smoothly seeme to smile,
That we likewise should mylde and gentle be,
And also naked are, that without guile
Or false dissemblaunce all them plaine may see,
Simple and true from couert malice free:
And eeke them selues so in their daunce they bore,
That two of them still fr[ow]ard seem'd to bee,
But one still towards shew'd her selfe afore;
That good should from vs goe, then come in greater store.
Such were those Goddesses, which ye did see;
But that fourth Mayd, which there amidst the traced,
Who can aread, what creature mote she bee,
Whether a creature, or a goddesse graced
With heauenly gifts from heuen first enraced?
But what so sure she was, she worthy was,
For be the fourth with those three other placed:
Yet was she certes but a countrey lasse,
Yet she all other countrey lasses farre did passe.
So farre as doth the daughter of the day,
All other lesser lights in light excell,
So farre doth she in beautyfull array,
Aboue all other lasses beare the bell,
Ne lesse in vertue that beseemes her well,
Doth she exceede the rest of all her race;
For which the Graces that here wont to dwell,
Haue for more honor brought her to this place,
And graced her so much to be another Grace.
Another Grace she well deserues to be,
In whom so many Graces gathered are,
Excelling much the meane of her degree;
Diuine resemblaunce, beauty soueraine rare,
Firme Chastity, that spight ne blemish dare;
All which she with such courtesie doth grace,
That all her peres cannot with her compare,
But quite are dimmed, when she is in place.
She made me often pipe and now to pipe apace.
Sunne of the world, great glory of the sky,
That all the earth doest lighten with thy rayes,
Great Gloriana, greatest Maiesty,
Pardon thy shepheard, mongst so many layes,
As he hath sung of thee in all his dayes,
To make one minime of thy poore handmayd,
And vnderneath thy feete to place her prayse;
That when thy glory shall be farre displayd
To future age of her this mention may be made.
When thus that shepherd ended had his speach,
Sayd Calidore ; Now sure it yrketh mee,
That to thy blisse I made this luckelesse breach,
As now the author of thy bale to be,
Thus to bereaue thy Loues deare sight from thee:
But gentle Shepheard pardon thou my shame,
Who rashly sought that, which I mote not see.
Thus did the courteous Knight excuse his blame,
And to recomfort him, all comely meanes did frame.
In such discourses they together spent
Long time, as fit occasion forth them led;
With which the Knight him selfe did much content,
And with delight his greedy fancy fed,
Both of his words, which he with reason red;
And also of the place, whose pleasures rare
With such regard his sences rauished,
That thence, he had no will away to fare,
But wisht, that with that shepheard he mote dwelling share.
But that enuenimd sting, the which of yore,
His poysnous point deepe fixed in his hart
Had left, now gan afresh to rancle sore,
And to renue the rigour of his smart:
Which to recure, no skill of Leaches art
Mote him auaile, but to returne againe
To his wounds worker, that with louely dart
Dinting his brest, had bred his restlesse paine,
Like as the wounded Whale to shore flies froõ the maine.
So taking leaue of that same gentle swaine,
He backe returned to his rusticke wonne,
Where his faire Pastorella did remaine:
To whome in sort, as he at first begonne,
He daily did apply him selfe to donne
All dewfull seruice voide of thoughts imp[u]re:
Ne any paines ne perill did he shonne,
By which he might her to his loue allure,
And liking in her yet vntamed heart procure.
And euermore the shepheard Coridon,
What euer thing he did her to aggrate,
Did striue to match with strong contention,
And all his paines did closely emulate;
Whether it were to caroll, as they sate
Keeping their sheepe, or games to exercize,
Or to present her with their labours late;
Through which if any grace chaunst to arize
To him, the Shepheard streight with iealousie did frize.
One day as they all three together went
To the greene wood, to gather strawberies,
There chaunst to them a dangerous accident;
A Tigre forth out of the wood did rise,
That with fell clawes full of fierce gourmandize,
And greedy mouth, wide gaping like hell gate,
Did runne at Pastorell, her to surprize:
Whom she beholding, now all desolate
Gan cry to them aloud, to helpe ere all too late.
Which Coridon first hearing, ran in hast
To reskue her, but when he saw the feend,
Through cowherd feare he fled away as fast,
Ne durst abide the daunger of the end;
His life he steemed dearer then his frend.
But Calidore soone comming to her ayde,
When he the beast saw ready now to rend
His Loues deare spoile, in which his heart was prayde,
He ran at him enrag[e]d in stead of being frayde.
He had no weapon, but his shepheards hooke,
To serue the vengeaunce of his wrathfull will;
With which so sternely he the monster strooke,
That to the ground astonished he fell;
Whence ere he could recou'r, he did him quell,
And hewing off his head, [he] it presented
Before the feete of the faire Pastorell;
Who scarcely yet from former feare exempted,
A thousand times him thankt, that had her death preuented.
From that day forth she gan him to affect,
And daily more her fauour to augment;
But Coridon for cowherdize reiect,
Fit to keepe sheepe, vnfit for loues content:
The gentle heart scornes base disparagement.
Yet Calidore did not despise him quight,
But vsde him friendly for further intent,
That by his fellowship, he colour might
Both his estate, and loue from skill of any wight.
So well he wood her, and so well he wrought her,
With humble seruice, and with daily sute,
That at the last vnto his will he brought her;
Which he so wisely well did prosecute,
That of his loue he reapt the timely frute,
And ioyed long in close felicity:
Till fortune fraught with malice, blinde, and brute,
That enuies louers long prosperity,
Blew vp a bitter storme of foule aduersity.
It fortuned one day, when Calidore
Was hunting in the woods (as was his trade)
A lawlesse people, Brigants hight of yore,
That neuer vsde to liue by plough nor spade,
But fed on spoile and booty, which they made
Vpon their neighbours, which did nigh them border,
The dwelling of these shepheards did inuade,
And spoyld their houses, and them selues did murder;
And droue away their flocks, with other much disorder.
Amongst the rest, the which they then did pray,
They spoyld old Melibee of all he had,
And all his people captiue led away;
Mongst which this lucklesse mayd away was lad,
Faire Pastorella, sorrowfull and sad,
Most sorrowfull, most sad, that euer sigh't,
Now made the spoile of theeues and Brigants bad,
Which was the conquest of the gentlest Knight,
That euer liu'd, and th'onely glory of his might.
With them also was taken Coridon,
And carried captiue by those theeues away;
Who in the couert of the night, that none
Mote them descry, nor reskue from their pray,
Vnto their dwelling did them close conuay.
Their dwelling in a little Island was,
Couered with shrubby woods, in which no way
Appeard for people in nor out to pas,
Nor any footing fynde for ouergrowen gras.
For vnderneath the ground their way was made,
Through hollow caues, that no man mote discouer
For the thicke shrubs, which did them alwaies shade
From view of liuing wight, and couered ouer:
But darkenesse dred and daily night did houer
Through all the inner parts, wherein they dwelt,
Ne lightned was with window, nor with louer,
But with continuall candlelight, which delt
A doubtfull sense of things, not so well seene, as felt.
Hither those Brigants brought their present pray,
And kept them with continuall watch and ward,
Meaning so soone, as they conuenient may,
For slaues to sell them, for no small reward,
To merchants, which them kept in bondage hard,
Or sold againe. Now when faire Pastorell
Into this place was brought, and kept with gard
Of griesly theeues, she thought her self in hell,
Where with such damned fiends she should in darknesse dwell.
But for to tell the dolefull dreriment,
And pittifull complaints, which there she made,
Where day and night she nought did but lament
Her wretched life, shut vp in deadly shade,
And waste her goodly beauty, which did fade
Like to a flowre, that feeles no heate of sunne,
Which may her feeble leaues with comfort glade.
But what befell her in that theeuish wonne,
Will in an other Canto better be begonne.
On to Canto XI
Back to Canto IX
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