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The Faerie Queene
Canto XII.

by Edmund Spenser

Marin for loue of Florimell,
In languor wastes his life:
The Nymph his mother getteth her,
And giues to him for wife.




O What an endlesse worke haue I in hand,
To count the seas abundant progeny,
Whose fruitfull seede farre passeth those in land,
And also those which wonne in th'azure sky?
For much more eath to tell the starres on hy,
Albe they endlesse seeme in estimation,
Then to recount the Seas posterity:
So fertile be the flouds in generation,
So huge their numbers, and so numberlesse their nation.
Therefore the antique wisards well inuented,
That Venus of the fomy sea was bred;
For that the seas by her are most augmented.
Witnesse th'exceeding fry, which there are fed,
And wondrous sholes, which may of none be red.
Then blame me not, if I haue err'd in count
Of Gods, of Nymphs, of riuers yet vnred:
For though their numbers do much more surmount,
Yet all those same were there, which erst I did recount.

All those were there, and many other more,
Whose names and nations were too long to tell,
That Proteus house they fild euen to the dore;
Yet were they all in order, as befell,
According their degrees disposed well.
Amongst the rest, was faire Cymodoce,
The mother of vnlucky Marinell,
Who thither with her came, to learne and see
The manner of the Gods when they at banquet bee.

But for he was halfe mortall, being bred
Of mortall sire, though of immortall wombe,
He might not with immortall food be fed,
Ne with th'eternall Gods to bancket come;
But walkt abrode, and round about did rome,
To view the building of that vncouth place,
That seem'd vnlike vnto his earthly home:
Where, as he to and fro by chaunce did trace,
There vnto him betid a disauentrous case.

Vnder the hanging of an hideous clieffe,
He heard the lamentable voice of one,
That piteously complaind her carefull grieffe,
Which neuer she before disclosd to none,
But to her selfe her sorrow did bemone.
So feelingly her case she did complaine,
That ruth it moued in the rocky stone,
And made it seeme to feele her grieuous paine,
And oft to grone with billowes beating from the maine.

Though vaine I see my sorrowes to vnfold,
And count my cares, when none is nigh to heare,
Yet hoping griefe may lessen being told,
I will them tell though vnto no man neare:
For heauen that vnto all lends equall eare,
Is farre from hearing of my heauy plight;
And lowest hell, to which I lie most neare,
Cares not what euils hap to wretched wight;
And greedy seas doe in the spoile of life delight.

Yet loe the seas I see by often beating,
Doe pearce the rockes, and hardest marble weares;
But his hard rocky hart for no entreating
Will yeeld, but when my piteous plaints he heares,
Is hardned more with my aboundant teares.
Yet though he neuer list to me relent,
But let me waste in woe my wretched yeares,
Yet will I neuer of my loue repent,
But ioy that for his sake I suffer prisonment.

And when my weary ghost with griefe outworne,
By timely death shall winne her wished rest,
Let then this plaint vnto his eares be borne,
That blame it is to him, that armes profest,
To let her die, whom he might haue redrest.
There did she pause, inforced to giue place,
Vnto the passion, that her heart opprest,
And after she had wept and wail'd a space,
She gan afresh thus to renew her wretched case.

Ye Gods of seas, if any Gods at all
Haue care of right, or ruth of wretches wrong,
By one or other way me woefull thrall,
Deliuer hence out of this dungeon strong,
In which I daily dying am too long.
And if ye deeme me death for louing one,
That loues not me, then doe it not prolong,
But let me die and end my daies attone,
And let him liue vnlou'd, or loue him selfe alone.

But if that life ye vnto me decree,
Then let mee liue, as louers ought to do,
And of my lifes deare loue beloued be:
And if he shall through pride your doome vndo,
Do you by duresse him compell thereto,
And in this prison put him here with me:
One prison fittest is to hold vs two:
So had I rather to be thrall, then free;
Such thraldome or such freedome let it surely be.

But O vaine iudgement, and conditions vaine,
The which the prisoner points vnto the free,
The whiles I him condemne, and deeme his paine,
He where he list goes loose, and laughes at me.
So euer loose, so euer happy be.
But where so loose or happy that thou art,
Know Marinell that all this is for thee.
With that she wept and wail'd, as if her hart
Would quite haue burst through great abundance of her smart.

All which complaint when Marinell had heard,
And vnderstood the cause of all her care
To come of him, for vsing her so hard,
His stubborne heart, that neuer felt misfare
Was toucht with soft remorse and pitty rare;
That euen for griefe of minde he oft did grone,
And inly wish, that in his powre it weare
Her to redresse: but since he meanes found none
He could no more but her great misery bemone.

Thus whilst his stony heart with tender ruth
Was toucht, and mighty courage mollifide,
Dame Venus sonne that tameth stubborne youth
With iron bit, and maketh him abide,
Till like a victor on his backe he ride,
Into his mouth his maystring bridle threw,
That made him stoupe, till he did him bestride:
Then gan he make him tread his steps anew,
And learne to loue, by learning louers paines to rew.

Now gan he in his grieued minde deuise,
How from that dungeon he might her enlarge:
Some while he thought, by faire and humble wise
To Proteus selfe to sue for her discharge:
But then he fear'd his mothers former charge
Gainst womens loue, long giuen him in vaine.
Then gan he thinke, perforce with sword and targe
Her forth to fetch, and Proteus to constraine:
But soone he gan such folly to forthinke againe.

Then did he cast to steale her thence away,
And with him beare, where none of her might know.
But all in vaine: for why he found no way
To enter in, or issue forth below:
For all about that rocke the sea did flow.
And though vnto his will she giuen were,
Yet without ship or bote her thence to row,
He wist not how her thence away to bere;
And daunger well he wist long to continue there.

At last when as no meanes he could inuent,
Backe to him selfe he gan returne the blame,
That was the author of her punishment;
And with vile curses, and reprochfull shame
To damne him selfe by euery euill name;
And deeme vnworthy or of loue or life,
That had despisde so chast and faire a dame,
Which him had sought through trouble & lġg strife;
Yet had refusde a God that her had sought to wife.

In this sad plight he walked here and there,
And romed round about the rocke in vaine,
As he had lost him selfe, he wist not where;
Oft listening if he mote her heare againe;
And still bemoning her vnworthy paine.
Like as an Hynde whose calfe is falne vnwares
Into some pit, where she him heares complaine,
An hundred times about the pit side fares,
Right sorrowfully mourning her bereaued cares.

And now by this the feast was throughly ended,
And euery one gan homeward to resort.
Which seeing Marinell, was sore offended,
That his departure thence should be so short,
And leaue his loue in that sea-walled fort.
Yet durst he not his mother disobay,
But her attending in full seemly sort,
Did march amongst the many all the way:
And all the way did inly mourne, like one astray.

Being returned to his mothers bowre,
In solitary silence far from wight,
He gan record the lamentable stowre,
In which his wretched loue lay day and night,
For his deare sake, that ill deseru'd that plight:
The thought whereof empierst his hart so deepe,
That of no worldly thing he tooke delight;
Ne dayly food did take, ne nightly sleepe,
But pyn'd, &; mourn'd, & languisht, and alone did weepe.

That in short space his wonted chearefull hew
Gan fade, and liuely spirits deaded quight:
His cheeke bones raw, and eie-pits hollow grew,
And brawney armes had lost their knowen might,
That nothing like himselfe he seem'd in sight.
Ere long so weake of limbe, and sicke of loue
He woxe, that lenger he note stand vpright,
But to his bed was brought, and layd aboue,
Like ruefull ghost, vnable once to stirre or moue.

Which when his mother saw, she in her mind
Was troubled sore, ne wist well what to weene,
Ne could by search nor any meanes out find
The secret cause and nature of his teene,
Whereby she might apply some medicine;
But weeping day and night, did him attend,
And mourn'd to see her losse before her eyne,
Which grieu'd her more, that she it could not mend:
To see an helpelesse euill, double griefe doth lend.

Nought could she read the roote of his disease,
Ne weene what mister maladie it is,
Whereby to seeke some meanes it to appease.
Most did she thinke, but most she thought amis,
That that same former fatall wound of his
Whyleare by Tryphon was not throughly healed,
But closely rankled vnder th'orifis:
Least did she thinke, that which he most concealed,
That loue it was, which in his hart lay vnreuealed.

Therefore to Tryphon she againe doth hast,
And him doth chyde as false and fraudulent,
That fayld the trust, which she in him had plast,
To cure her sonne, as he his faith had lent:
Who now was falne into new languishment
Of his old hurt, which was not throughly cured.
So backe he came vnto her patient;
Where searching euery part, her well assured,
That it was no old sore, which his new paine procured.

But that it was some other maladie,
Or griefe vnknowne, which he could not discerne:
So left he her withouten remedie.
Then gan her heart to faint, and quake, and earne,
And inly troubled was, the truth to learne.
Vnto himselfe she came, and him besought,
Now with faire speches, now with threatnings sterne,
If ought lay hidden in his grieued thought,
It to reueale: who still her answered, there was nought.

Nathlesse she rested not so satisfide,
But leauing watry gods, as booting nought,
Vnto the shinie heauen in haste she hide,
And thence Apollo King of Leaches brought.
Apollo came; who soone as he had sought
Through his disease, did by and by out find,
That he did languish of some inward thought,
The which afflicted his engrieued mind;
Which loue he red to be, that leads each liuing kind.

Which when he had vnto his mother told,
She gan thereat to fret, and greatly grieue.
And comming to her sonne, gan first to scold,
And chyde at him, that made her misbelieue:
But afterwards she gan him soft to shrieue,
And wooe with faire intreatie, to disclose,
Which of the Nymphes his heart so sore did mieue.
For sure she weend it was some one of those,
Which he had lately seene, that for his loue he chose.

Now lesse she feared that same fatall read,
That warned him of womens loue beware:
Which being ment of mortall creatures sead,
For loue of Nymphes she thought she need not care,
But promist him, what euer wight she weare,
That she her loue to him would shortly gaine:
So he her told: but soone as she did heare
That Florimell it was, which wrought his paine,
She gan a fresh to chafe, and grieue in euery vaine.

Yet since she saw the streight extremitie,
In which his life vnluckily was layd,
It was no time to scan the prophecie,
Whether old Proteus true or false had sayd,
That his decay should happen by a mayd.
It's late in death of daunger to aduize,
Or loue forbid him, that is life denayd:
But rather gan in troubled mind deuize,
How she that Ladies libertie might enterprize.

To Proteus selfe to sew she thought it vaine,
Who was the root and worker of her woe:
Nor vnto any meaner to complaine,
But vnto great king Neptune selfe did goe,
And on her knee before him falling lowe,
Made humble suit vnto his Maiestie,
To graunt to her, her sonnes life, which his foe
A cruell Tyrant had presumpteouslie
By wicked doome condemn'd, a wretched death to die.

To whom God Neptune softly smyling, thus;
Daughter me seemes of double wrong ye plaine,
Gainst one that hath both wronged you, and vs:
For death t'adward I ween'd did appertaine
To none, but to the seas sole Soueraine.
Read therefore who it is, which this hath wrought,
And for what cause; the truth discouer plaine.
For neuer wight so euill did or thought,
But would some rightfull cause pretend, though rightly nought.

To whom she answerd, Then it is by name
Proteus, that hath ordayn'd my sonne to die;
For that a waift, the which by fortune came
Vpon your seas, he claym'd as propertie:
And yet nor his, nor his in equitie,
But yours the waift by high prerogatiue.
Therefore I humbly craue your Maiestie,
It to repleuie, and my sonne repriue:
So shall you by one gift saue all vs three aliue.

He graunted it: and streight his warrant made,
Vnder the Sea-gods seale autenticall,
Commaunding Proteus straight t'enlarge the mayd,
Which wandring on his seas imperiall,
He lately tooke, and sithence kept as thrall.
Which she receiuing with meete thankefulnesse,
Departed straight to Proteus therewithall:
Who reading it with inward loathfulnesse,
Was grieued to restore the pledge, he did possesse.

Yet durst he not the warrant to withstand,
But vnto her deliuered Florimell.
Whom she receiuing by the lilly hand,
Admyr'd her beautie much, as she mote well:
For she all liuing creatures did excell;
And was right ioyous, that she gotten had
So faire a wife for her sonne Marinell.
So home with her she streight the virgin lad,
And shewed her to him, then being sore bestad.

Who soone as he beheld that angels face,
Adorn'd with all diuine perfection,
His cleared heart eftsoones away gan chace
Sad death, reuiued with her sweet inspection
And feeble spirit inly felt refection;
As withered weed through cruell winters tine,
That feeles the warmth of sunny beames reflection,
Liftes vp his head, that did before decline
And gins to spread his leafe before the faire sunshine.

Right so himselfe did Marinell vpreare,
When he in place his dearest loue did spy;
And though his limbs could not his bodie beare,
Ne former strength returne so suddenly,
Yet chearefull signes he shewed outwardly.
Ne lesse was she in secret hart affected,
But that she masked it with modestie,
For feare she should of lightnesse be detected:
Which to another place I leaue to be perfected.


[here, in 1609, 'The end of the fourth Booke.']
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