Page images

His cruell step-dame, seeing what was donne,
Her wicked daies with wretched knife did end,
In death avowing th' innocence of her sonne.
Which hearing, his rash syre began to rend
His heare, and hasty tong that did offend :
Tho, gathering up the reliques of his smart,
By Dianes meanes who was Hippolyts frend,
Them brought to Aesculape, that by his art
Did heale them all againe, and ioyned every part.

Such wondrous science in mans witt to rain
When Iove avizd, that could the dead revive,
And fates expired could renew again,
Of endlesse life he might him not deprive;
But unto Hell did thrust him downe alive,
With flashing thunderbolt ywounded sore :
Where, long remaining, he did alwaies strive
Himselfe with salves to health for to restore,
And slake the heavenly fire that raged evermore,

There auncient Night arriving did alight
From her nigh-weary wayne, and in her armes
To Aesculapius brought the wounded knight:
Whom having softly disaraid of armes,
Tho gan to him discover all his harmes,
Beseecbing him with prayer, and with praise,
If either salves, or oyles, or herbes, or charmes,
A fordonne wight from dore of death mote raise,
He would at her request prolong her nephews daies.
“Ah, dame,” quoth he, “thou temptest me in vaine
Te dare the thing, which daily yet I rew;
And the old cause of my continued paine
With like attempt to like end to’renew.
Is not enough, that, thrust from Heaven dew,

Here endlesse penaunce for one fault I pay;
But that redoubled crime with vengeaunce new
Thou bidst me too eeke? can Night defray
The wrath of thundering love, that rules both Night

and Day?"

“Not so," quoth she ; " but, sith that Heavens king
From hope of Heaven hath thee excluded quight,
Why fearest thou, that canst not hope for thing;
And fearest not that more thee hurten might,
Nowe in the powre of everlasting Night ?
Goe to then, O thou far renowned sonne
of great Apollo, shew thy famous might
In medicine, that els hath to thee wonne (donne."
Great pains, and greater praise, both never to be

Her words prevaild : and then the learned leach
His cunning hand gan to his wounds to lay,
And all things els, the which his art did teach :
Which having seene, from thence arose away
The mother of dredd darknesse, and let stay
Aveugles sonne there in the leaches cure ;
And, backe retourning, took her wonted way
To ronne her timely race, whilst Phoebus pure
In westerne waves his weary wagon did recure.

The false Duessa, leaving noyous Night,
Returnd to stately pallace of Dame Pryde :
Where when she came, she found the Faery knight
Departed thence; albee (his woundës wyde
Not throughly heald) unready were to ryde.
Good cause he had to hasten thence away ;
For on a day his wary dwarfe had spyde

Where, in a dungeon deepe, huge nombers lay
Of caytive wretched thralls, that wayled night and

day ;

(A rueful sight as could be seene with eie ;) Of whom he learned had in secret wise The hidden cause of their captivitie; How mortgaging their lives to Covetise, Through wastfull pride and wanton riotise, They were by law of that proud tyrannesse, · Provokt with Wrath and Envyes false surmise, Condemned to that dongeon mercilesse, [nesse. Where they should live in wo, and dye in wretched

There was that great proud king of Babylon,
That would compell all nations to adore,
And him, as onely God, to call upon ;
Till, through celestial doome thrown out of dore,
Into an oxe he was transformd of yore,
There also was king Cræsus, that enhaunst
His hart too high through his great richesse store;
And proud Antiochus, the which advaunst
His cursed hand gainst God, and on his altares


And, them long time before, great Nimrod was,
That first the world with sword and fire warrayd;
And after him old Ninus far did pas
In princely pomp, of all the world obayd.
There also was that mighty monarch layd
Low under all, yet above all in pride,
That name of native syre did fowle upbrayd,
And would as Ammons sonne be magnifide: [dide.
Till, scornd of God and man, a shamefull death he

All these together in one heape were throwne,
Like carkases of beastes in butchers stall.
And, in anothet corner, wide were strowne
The antique ruins of the Romanes fall :
Great Romulus, the grandsyre of them all;
Proud Tarquin; and too lordly Lentulus;
Stout Scipio ; and stubborne Hanniball ;
Ambitious Sylla ; and sterne Marius;
High Caesar ; great Pompey; and fiers Antonius.

Amongst these mightie men were wemen mixt,
Proud wemen, vaine, forgetfull of their yoke :
The bold Semiramis, whose sides transfixt
With sonnes own blade her fowle reproches spoke
Fayre Sthenobea, that her selfe did choke
With wilfull chord, for wanting of her will;
High minded Cleopatra, that with stroke
Of aspës sting her selfe did stoutly kill : {fill:
And thousands moe the like, that did that dungeon

Besides the endlesse routes of wretched thralles,
Which thether were assembled, day by day,
From all the world, after their wofull falles
Through wicked pride and wasted welthes decay.
But most, of all which in that dungeon lay,
Fell from high princes courtes, or ladies bowres ;
Where they in ydle pomp, or wanton play,
Consumed had their goods and thriftless howres,
And lastly thrown themselves into these heavy


Whose case whenas the careful dwarfe had tould,
And made ensample of their mournfull sight
Unto his maister; he no lenger would

The e dwell in perili of like painefull plight,
But earely rose ; and, ere that dawing light
Discovered had the world to Heaven wyde,
He by a privy posterne tooke his flight,
That of no envious eyes he mote be spyde:
For, doubtlesse, death ensewd if any him descryde,

Scarse could he footing find in that fowle way,
For many corses, like a great lay-stall,
Of murdred men, which therein strowed lay
Without remorse or decent funerall;

Whlch, al through that great princesse Pryde, did
And came to shamefull end: and them besyde
Forth ryding underneath the castell wall,
A dongbill of dead carcases he spyde;
The dreadful spectacle of that sad House of Pryde.


From lawlesse lust by wondrous grace

Fayre Una is releast:
Whom salvage nation does adore,

And learnes her wise beheast.

As when a ship, that flyes fayre under sayle,
, An hidden rocke escaped hath unwares,
That lay in waite her wrack for to bewaile ;
The mariner yet halfe amazed stares
At perill past, and yet in doubt ne dares
To ioy at his foolhappie oversight:
So doubly is distrest twixt ioy and cares
The dreadlesse corage of this Elfin knight,
Having escapt so sad ensamples in his sight.

« PreviousContinue »