Page images
PDF

36 The drouping Night thus creepeth on them fast,

And the sad humour loading their eye liddes,
As messenger of Morpheus on them cast
Sweet slombring deaw, the which to sleep them biddes.
Unto their lodgings then his guestes he riddes :
Where when all drownd in deadly sleepe he findes,
He to this studie goes, and there amiddes
His magick bookes, and artes of sundry kindes,

He seeks out mighty charmes, to trouble sleepy minds. 37 Then choosing out few words most horrible,

(Let none them read) thereof did verses frame,
With which, and other spelles like terrible,
He bad awake blacke Plutoes griesly Dame,
And cursed heaven, and spake reprochfull shame
Of highest God, the Lord of life and light;
A bold bad man, that dar'd to call by name
Great Gorgon, Prince of darknesse and dead night;
At which Cocytus quakes, and Styx is put to flight.

38 And forth he cald out of deepe darknesse dredd

Legions of Sprights, the which like little flyes,
Fluttring about his everdamned hed,
Awaite whereto their service he applyes,
To aide his friends, or fray his enimies :
Of those he chose out two, the falsest twoo,
And fittest for to forge true-seeming lyes;
The one of them he gave a message too,
The other by himselfe staide other worke to doo.

39 He making speedy way through spersed ayre,

And through the world of waters wide and deepe,
To Morpheus house doth hastily repaire.
Amid the bowels of the earth full steepe,
And low, where dawning day doth never peepe,
His dwelling is; there Tethys his wet bed
Doth ever wash, and Cynthia still doth steepe
In silver deaw his ever-drouping hed,
Whiles sad Night over him her mantle black doth spred.

40 Whose double gates he findeth locked fast,

The one faire fram'd of burnisht yvory,
The other all with silver overcast;
And wakeful dogges before them farre doe lye,
Watching to banish Care their enimy,
Who oft is wont to trouble gentle Sleepe.
By them the Sprite doth passe in quietly,
And unto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deepe
In drowsie fit he findes: of nothing he takes keepe.

41 And, more, to lulle him in his slumber soft,

A trickling streame from high rock tumbling downe,
And ever-drizling raine upon the loft,
Mixt with a murmuring winde, much like the sowne
Of swarming bees, did cast him in a swowne:
No other noyse, nor peoples troublous cryes,
As still are wont t' annoy the walled towne,
Might there be heard: but carelesse Quiet lyes,
Wrapt in eternall silence farre from enimyes.

42 The messenger approching to him spake,

But his waste wordes retournd to him in vaine:
So sound he slept, that nought mought him awake.

Then rudely he him thrust, and pusht with paine,
Whereat he gan to stretch: but he againe
Shooke him so hard, that forced him to speake.
As one then in a dreame, whose dryer braine
Is tost with troubled sights and fancies weake,
He mumbled soft, but would not all his silence breake.

43 The Sprite then gan more boldly him to wake,

And threatned unto him the dreaded name
Of Hecate: whereat he gan to quake,
And, lifting up his lumpish head, with blame
Halfe angrie asked him, for what he came.
Hether (quoth he) me Archimago sent,
He that the stubborne Sprites can wisely tame,
He bids thee to him send for his intent
A fit false dreame, that can delude the sleepers sent.

44 The God obayde, and, calling forth straightway

A diverse dreame out of his prison darke,
Delivered it to him, and downe did lay
His heavie head, devoide of careful carke,
Whose sences all were straight benumbd and starke.
He, backe returning by the yvorie dore,
Remounted up as light as chearefull larke;
And on his litle winges the dreame he bore
In hast unto his Lord, where he him left afore.

45 Who all this while with charmes and hidden artes

Had made a Lady of that other Spright,
And fram'd of liquid ayre her tender partes
So lively, and so like in all mens sight,
That weaker sence it could have ravisht quight:
The makers selfe, for all his wondrous witt,
Was nigh beguiled with so goodly sight:
Her all in white he clad, and over it
Cast a black stole, most like to seeme for Una fit.

46 Now when that ydle dreame was to him brought,

Unto that Elfin knight he bad him fly,
Where he slept soundly void of evil thought,
And with false shewes abuse his fantasy;
In sort as he him schooled privily.
And that new creature, borne without her dew,
Full of the makers guile, with usage sly
He taught to imitate that Lady trew,
Whose semblance she did carrie under feigned hew.

CANTO II.

The guilefull great Enchaunter parts

the Redcrosse Knight from Trutb : Into whose stead faire falsbood steps,

and workes him woefull ruth.

i By this the northerne wagoner had set
His sevenfold teme behind the stedfast starre
That was in Ocean waves yet never wet,
But firme is fixt, and sendeth light from farre
To all that in the wide deepe wandring arre:
And chearefull Chaunticlere with his note shrill
Had warned once, that Phoebus fiery carre
In hast was climbing up the easterne hill,
Full envious that night so long his roome did fill.

2 When those accursed messengers of hell,

That feigning dreame, and that faire-forged Spright,
Came to their wicked maister, and gan tell
Their bootelesse paines, and ill-succeeding night:
Who all in rage to see his skilfull might
Deluded so, gan threaten hellish paine
And sad Proserpines wrath, them to affright.
But, when he saw his threatning was but vaine,
He cast about, and searcht his baleful bookes again.

7 Now when the rosy-fingred Morning faire,

Weary of aged Tithones saffron bed,
Had spread her purple robe through deawy aire,
And the high hils Titan discovered,
The royall virgin shooke off drousyhed;
And, rising forth out of her baser bowre,
Lookt for her knight, who far away was fled,
And for her Dwarfe, that wont to waite each howre:
Then gan she wail and weepe to see that woeful stowre.

8 And after him she rode with so much speede

As her slow beast could make; but all in vaine:
For him so far had borne his light-foot steede,
Pricked with wrath and fiery fierce disdaine,
That him to follow was but fruitlesse paine ;
Yet she her weary limbes would never rest,
But every hil and dale, each wood and plaine,
Did search, sore grieved in her gentle brest,

He so ungently left her, whom she loved best. 9 But subtill Archimago, when his guests

He saw divided into double parts,
And Una wandring in woods and forrests,
Th' end of his drift, he praised his divelish arts,
That had such might over true meaning harts:
Yet rests not so, but other meanes doth make,
How he may worke unto her further smarts:
For her he hated as the hissing snake,
And in her many troubles did most pleasure take.

10 He then devisde himselfe how to disguise;

For by his mighty science he could take
As many formes and shapes in seeming wise,
As ever Proteus to himselfe could make:
Sometime a fowle, sometime a fish in lake,
Now like a foxe, now like a dragon fell,
That of himselfe he ofte for feare would quake,
And oft would fie away. O who can tell
The hidden powre of herbes, and might of Magick spell ?

II But now seemde best the person to put on

Of that good knight, his late beguiled guest :
In mighty armes he was yclad anon,
And silver shield, upon his coward brest
A bloudy crosse, and on his craven crest
A bounch of haires discolourd diversly.
Full jolly knight he seemde, and wel addrest,
And, when he sate upon his courser free,
Saint George himself ye would have deemed him to be.

« PreviousContinue »