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The Faerie Queene
Canto XII.

by Edmund Spenser

Fayre Pastorella by great hap
her parents vnderstands:
Calidore doth the Blatant beast
subdew, and bynd in bands.




Like as a ship, that through the Ocean wyde
Directs her course vnto one certaine cost,
Is met of many a counter winde and tyde,
With which her winged speed is let and crost,
And she her selfe in stormie surges tost;
Yet making many a borde, and many a bay,
Still winneth way, ne hath her compasse lost:
Right so it fares with me in this long way,
Whose course is often stayd, yet neuer is astray.
For all that hetherto hath long delayd
This gentle knight, from sewing his first quest,
Though out of course, yet hath not bene mis-sayd,
To shew the courtesie by him profest,
Euen vnto the lowest and the least.
But now I come into my course againe,
To his atchieuement of the Blatant beast;
Who all this while at will did range and raine,
Whilst none was him to stop, nor none him to restraine.

Sir Calidore when thus he now had raught
Faire Pastorella from those Brigants powre,
Vnto the Castle of Belgard her brought,
Whereof was Lord the good Sir Bellamoure;
Who whylome was in his youthes freshest flowre
A lustie knight, as euer wielded speare,
And had endured many a dreadfull stoure
In bloudy battell for a Ladie deare,
The fayrest Ladie then of all that liuing were.

Her name was Claribell: whose father hight
The Lord of Many Ilands, farre renound
For his great riches and his greater might.
He through the wealth, wherein he did abound,
This daughter thought in wedlocke to haue bound
Vnto the Prince of Picteland bordering nere,
But she whose sides before with secret wound
Of loue to Bellamoure empierced were,
By all meanes shund to match with any forrein fere.

And Bellamour againe so well her pleased,
With dayly seruice and attendance dew,
That of her loue he was entyrely seized,
And closely did her wed, but knowne to few.
Which when her father vnderstood, he grew
In so great rage, that them in dongeon deepe
Without compassion cruelly he threw;
Ye did so streightly them a sunder keepe,
That neither could to company of th'other creepe.

Nathlesse Sir Bellamour, whether through grace
Or secret guifts so with his keepers wrought,
That to his loue sometimes he came in place,
Whereof her wombe vnwist to wight was fraught,
And in dew time a mayden child forth brought.
Which she streight way for dread least, if her syre
Should know thereof, to slay he would haue sought,
Deliuered to her handmayd, that for hyre
She should it cause be fostred vnder straunge attyre.

The trustie damzell bearing it abrode
Into the emptie fields, where liuing wight
Mote not bewray the secret of her lode,
She forth gan lay vnto the open light
The litle babe, to take thereof a sight.
Whom whylest she did with watrie eyne behold,
Vpon the litle brest like christall bright,
She mote perceiue a litle purple mold,
That like a rose her silken leaues did faire vnfold.

Well she it markt, and pittied the more,
Yet could not remedie her wretched case;
But closing it againe like as before,
Bedeaw'd with teares there left it in the place:
Yet left not quite, but drew a litle space
Behind the bushes, where she her did hyde,
To weet what mortall hand, or heauens grace
Would for the wretched infants helpe prouyde,
For which it loudly cald, and pittifully cryde.

At length a Shepheard, which there by did keepe
His fleecie flocke vpon the playnes around,
Led with the infants cry, that loud did weepe,
Came to the place, where when he wrapped found
Th'abandond spoyle, he softly it vnbound;
And seeing there, that did him pittie sore,
He tooke it vp, and in his mantle wound;
So home vnto his honest wife it bore,
Who as her owne it nurst, and named euermore.

Thus long continu'd Claribell a thrall,
And Bellamour in bands, till that her syre
Departed life, and left vnto them all.
Then all the stormes of fortunes former yre
Were turnd, and they to freedome did retyre.
Thenceforth they ioy'd in happinesse together,
And liued long in peace and loue entyre,
Without disquiet or dislike of ether,
Till time that Calidore brought Pastorella thether.

Both whom they goodly well did entertaine;
For Bellamour knew Calidore right well,
And loued for his prowesse, sith they twaine
Long since had fought in field. Als Claribell
No lesse did tender the faire Pastorell,
Seeing her weake and wan, through durance long.
There they a while together thus did dwell
In much delight, and many ioyes among,
Vntill the damzell gan to wex more sound and strong.

Tho gan Sir Calidore him to aduize
Of his first quest, which he had long forlore;
Asham'd to thinke, how he that enterprize,
The which the Faery Queene had long afore
Bequeath'd to him, forslacked had so sore;
That much he feared, least reprochfull blame
With foule dishonour him mote blot therefore;
Besides the losse of so much loos and fame,
As through the world thereby should glorifie his name.

Therefore resoluing to returne in hast
Vnto so great atchieuement, he bethought
To leaue his Loue, now perill being past,
With Claribell, whylest he that monster sought
Throughout the world, and to destruction brought.
So taking leaue of his faire Pastorell,
Whom to recomfort, all the meanes he wrought,
With thanks to Bellamour and Claribell,
He went forth on his quest, and did, that him befell.

But first, ere I doe his aduentures tell,
In this exploite, me needeth to declare,
What did betide to the faire Pastorell,
During his absence left in heauy care,
Through daily mourning, and nightly misfare:
Yet did that auncient matrone all she might,
To cherish her with all things choice and rare;
And her owne handmayd, that Melissa hight,
Appointed to attend her dewly day and night.

Who in a morning, when this Mayden faire
Was dighting her, hauing her snowy brest
As yet not laced, nor her golden haire
Into their comely tresses dewly drest,
Chaunst to espy vpon her yuory chest
The rosie marke, which she remembred well
That litle Infant had, which forth she kest,
The daughter of her Lady Claribell,
The which she bore, the whiles in prison she did dwell.

Which well auizing, streight she gan to cast
In her conceiptfull mynd, that this faire Mayd
Was that same infant, which so long sith past
She in the open fields had loosely layd
To Fortunes spoile, vnable it to ayd.
So full of ioy, streight forth she ran in hast
Vnto her mistresse, being halfe dismayd,
To tell her, how the heauens had her graste,
To saue her chylde, which in misfortunes mouth was plaste.

The sober mother seeing such her mood,
Yet knowing not, what meant that sodaine thro,
Askt her, how mote her words be vnderstood,
And what the matter was, that mou'd her so.
My liefe (sayd she) ye know, that long ygo,
Whilest ye in durance dwelt, ye to me gaue
A little mayde, the which ye chylded tho;
The same againe if now ye list to haue,
The same is yonder Lady, whom high God did saue.

Much was the Lady troubled at that speach,
And gan to question streight how she it knew.
Most certaine markes, (sayd she) do me it teach,
For on her brest I with these eyes did vew
The litle purple rose, which thereon grew,
Whereof her name ye then to her did giue.
Besides her countenaunce, and her likely hew,
Matched with equall yeares, do surely prieue
That yond same is your daughter sure, which yet doth liue.

The matrone stayd no lenger to enquire,
But forth in hast ran to the straunger Mayd;
Whom catching greedily for great desire,
Rent vp her brest, and bosome open layd,
In which that rose she plainely saw displayd.
Then her embracing twixt her armes twaine,
She long so held, and softly weeping sayd;
And liuest thou my daughter now againe?
And art thou yet aliue, whom dead I long did faine.

Tho further asking her of sundry things,
And times comparing with their accidents,
She found at last by very certaine signes,
And speaking markes of passed monuments,
That this young Mayd, whom chance to her presents
Is her owne daughter, her owne infant deare.
Tho wondring long at those so straunge euents,
A thousand times she her embraced nere,
With many a ioyfull kisse, and many a melting teare.

Who euer is the mother of one chylde,
Which hauing thought long dead, she fyndes aliue,
Let her by proofe of that, which she hath fylde
In her owne breast, this mothers ioy descriue:
For other none such passion can contriue
In perfect forme, as this good Lady felt,
When she so faire a daughter saw suruiue,
As Pastorella was, that nigh she swelt
For passing ioy, which did all into pitty melt.

Thence running forth vnto her loued Lord,
She vnto him recounted, all that fell:
Who ioyning ioy with her in one accord,
Acknowledg'd for his owne faire Pastorell.
There leaue we them in ioy, and let vs tell
Of Calidore; who seeking all this while
That monstrous Beast by finall force to quell,
Through euery place, with restlesse paine and toile
Him follow'd, by the tract of his outragious spoile.

Through all estates he found that he had past,
In which he many massacres had left,
And to the Clergy now was come at last;
In which such spoile, such hauocke, and such theft
He wrought, that thence all goodnesse he bereft,
That endlesse were to tell. The Elfin Knight,
Who now no place besides vnsought had left,
At length into a Monastere did light,
Where he him foũd despoyling all with maine & might.

Into their cloysters now he broken had,
Through which the Monckes he chaced here & there.
And them pursu'd into their dortours sad,
And searched all their cels and secrets neare;
In which what filth and ordure did appeare,
Were yrkesome to report; yet that foule Beast
Nought sparing them, the more did tosse and teare,
And ransacke all their dennes from most to least,
Regarding nought religion, nor their holy heast.

From thence into the sacred Church he broke,
And robd the Chancell, and the deskes downe threw,
And Altars fouled, and blasphemy spoke,
And th'Images for all their goodly hew,
Did cast to ground, whilest none was them to rew;
So all confounded and disordered there.
But seeing Calidore, away he flew,
Knowing his fatall hand by former feare;
But he him fast pursuing, soone approched neare.

Him in a narrow place he ouertooke,
And fierce assailing forst him turne againe:
Sternely he turnd againe, when he him strooke
With his sharpe steele, and ran at him amaine
With open mouth, that seemed to containe
A full good pecke within the vtmost brim,
All set with yron teeth in raunges twaine,
That terrifide his foes, and armed him,
Appearing like the mouth of Orcus griesly grim.

And therein were a thousand tongs empight,
Of sundry kindes, and sundry quality;
Some were of dogs, that barked day and night,
And some of cats, that wrawling still did cry,
And some of Beares, that groynd continually,
And some of Tygres, that did seeme to gren,
And snar at all, that euer passed by:
But most of them were tongues of mortall men,
Which spake reprochfully, not caring where nor when.

And them amongst were mingled here and there,
The tongues of Serpents with three forked stings,
That spat out poyson and gore bloudy gere
At all, that came within his rauenings,
And spake licentious words, and hatefull things
Of good and bad alike, of low and hie;
Ne Kesars spared he a whit, nor Kings,
But either blotted them with infamie,
Or bit them with his banefull teeth of iniury.

But Calidore thereof no whit afrayd,
Rencountred him with so impetuous might,
That th'outrage of his violence he stayd,
And bet abacke, threatning in vaine to bite,
And spitting forth the poyson of his spight,
That fomed all about his bloody iawes.
Tho rearing vp his former feete on hight,
He rampt vpon him with his rauenous pawes,
As if he would haue rent him with his cruell clawes.

But he right well aware, his rage to ward,
Did cast his shield atweene, and therewithall
Putting his puissaunce forth, pursu'd so hard,
That backeward he enforced him to fall:
And being downe, ere he new helpe could call,
His shield he on him threw, and fast downe held;
Like as a bullocke, that in bloudy stall
Of butchers balefull hand to ground is feld,
Is forcibly kept downe, till he be throughly queld.

Full cruelly the Beast did rage and rore,
To be downe held, and maystred so with might,
That he gan fret and fome out bloudy gore,
Striuing in vaine to rere him selfe vpright.
For still the more he stroue, the more the Knight
Did him suppresse, and forcibly subdew;
That made him almost mad for fell despight.
He grind, hee bit, he scratcht, he venim threw,
And fared like a feend, right horrible in hew.

Or like the hell-borne Hydra, which they faine
That great Alcides whilome ouerthrew,
After that he had labourd long in vaine,
To crop his thousand heads, the which still new
Forth budded, and in greater number grew.
Such was the fury of this hellish Beast,
Whilest Calidore him vnder him downe threw;
Who nathemore his heauy load releast,
But aye the more he rag'd, the more his powre increast.

Tho when the Beast saw, he mote nought auaile,
By force, he gan his hundred tongues apply,
And sharpely at him to reuile and raile,
With bitter termes of shamefull infamy;
Oft interlacing many a forged lie,
Whose like he neuer once did speake, nor heare,
Nor euer thought thing so vnworthily:
Yet did he nought for all that him forbeare,
But strained him so streightly, that he chokt him neare.

At last when as he found his force to shrincke,
And rage to quaile, he tooke a muzzell strong
Of surest yron, made with many a lincke;
Therewith he mured vp his mouth along,
And therein shut vp his blasphemous tong,
For neuer more defaming gentle Knight,
Or vnto louely Lady doing wrong:
And thereunto a great long chaine he tight,
With which he drew him forth, euen in his own despight.

Like as whylome that strong Tirynthian swaine,
Brought forth with him the dreadfull dog of hell,
Against his will fast bound in yron chaine,
And roring horribly, did him compell
To see the hatefull sunne, that he might tell
To griesly Pluto, what on earth was donne,
And to the other damned ghosts, which dwell
For aye in darkenesse, which day light doth shonne:
So led this Knight his captyue with like conquest wonne.

Yet greatly did the Beast repine at those
Straunge bands, whose like till then he neuer bore,
Ne euer any durst till then impose,
And chauffed inly, seeing now no more
Him liberty was left aloud to rore:
Yet durst he not draw backe; nor once withstand
The proued powre of noble Calidore,
But trembled vnderneath his mighty hand,
And like a fearefull dog him followed through the land.

Him through all Faery land he follow'd so,
As if he learned had obedience long,
That all the people where so he did go,
Out of their townes did round about him throng,
To see him leade that Beast in bondage strong,
And seeing it, much wondred at the sight;
And all such persons, as he earst did wrong,
Reioyced much to see his captiue plight,
And much admyr'd the Beast, but more admyr'd the Knight.

Thus was this Monster by the maystring might
Of doughty Calidore, supprest and tamed,
That neuer more he mote endammadge wight
With his vile tongue, which many had defamed,
And many causelesse caused to be blamed:
So did he eeke long after this remaine,
Vntill that, whether wicked fate so framed,
Or fault of men, he broke his yron chaine,
And got into the world at liberty againe.

Thenceforth more mischiefe and more scath he wrought
To mortall men, then he had done before;
Ne euer could by any more be brought
Into like bands, ne maystred any more:
Albe that long time after Calidore,
The good Sir Pelleas him tooke in hand,
And after him Sir Lamoracke of yore,
And all his brethren borne in Britaine land;
Yet none of them could euer bring him into band.

So now he raungeth through the world againe,
And rageth sore in each degree and state;
Ne any is, that may him now restraine,
He growen is so great and strong of late,
Barking and biting all that him doe bate,
Albe they worthy blame, or cleare of crime:
Ne spareth he most learned wits to rate,
Ne spareth he the gentle Poets rime,
But rends without regard of person or of time.

Ne may this homely verse, of many meanest,
Hope to escape his venemous despite,
More then my former writs, all were they clearest
From blamefull blot, and free from all that wite,
With which some wicked tongues did it backebite,
And bring into a mighty Peres displeasure,
That neuer so deserued to endite.
Therfore do you my rimes keep better measure,
And seeke to please, that now is counted wisemens threasure.


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