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[Archimago, in a last spiteful effort, comes disguised us a messenger and attempts to prevent the betrothal by producing a letter from Duesaa in which she asserts that the Knight is plighted to her. His ruse, however, is exposed.]
But they him layd full low in dungeon deepe, And bound him hand and foote with yron chains
And with continual watch did warely keepe: Who then would tbinke, that by his subtile trains
He could escape fowle death or deadly paines?
Thus when that princes wrath was pacifide,
He gan renew the late forbidden banes10,
And to the knight his daughter dear he tyde,
With sacred rites and vowes for ever to
His owne two hands the holy knots did knit,
That none but death for ever can devide;
His owne two hands, for such a turne moat fit,
The housling11 fire did kindle and provide,
And holy water thereon sprinckled wide;
At which the bushy Teade1- a groome did light,
Ami sacred lamp in secret chamber hide,
Where it should not be quenched day nor night,
Kor feare of evill fates, but burnen ever
Then gan they sprinckle all the posts with wine,
And made great feast to solemnize that day;
They all perfumde with frankencense divine,
And precious odours fetcht from far away,
That all the bouse did sweat with great aray:
And all the while sweete Musicke did apply
Her curious skill, the warbling notes to play,
To drive away the dull Melancholy;
The whiles one sung a song of love aud
During the which there was an heavenly noise
Heard sound through all the Pallace pleasantly,
Like as it had bene many an Angels voice
Singing before th' eternall Majesty,
In their trinall triplicitiesis on hye;
Yet wist no creature whence that heavenly
Proceeded, yet eachone felt secretly
Himselfe thereby reft of his sences meet,
And ravished with rare impression in his
"banns n sacramental 12 torch
12 The thrice three orders of the celestial hierarchy: Seraphim. Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Princedoms, Archangi-lx. Angels.
Great joy was made that day of young and old,
And solemne feast proclaimd throughout the land,
That their exceeding merth may not be told:
Suffice it heare by signes to understand
The usuall joyes at knitting of loves band.
Thrise happy man the knight himselfe did
Possessed of his Ladies hart and hand,
And ever, when his eye did her behold,
His heart did seeme to melt in pleasures
Her joyous presence, and sweet company
In full content he there did long enjoy;
Ne wicked envie, ne vile gealosy,
His deare delights were able to annoy:
Yet swimming in that sea of blissfull joy,
He nought forgot how he whilome had sworne,
In case he could that monstrous beast destroy,
Unto his Faerie Queene backe to returne;
The which he shortly did, and Una left to
Now strike your sailes ye jolly Mariners,
For we be come unto a quiet rode,
Where we must land some of our passengers,
And light this wearie vessel! of her lode.
Here she a while may make her safe abode,
Till she repaired have her tackles spent,
And wants supplide. And then againe abroad
On the long voyage whereto she is bent:
Well may she speede and fairely finish her intent.
Calm was the day, and through the trembling air
Sweet-breathing Zephyrus did softly play—
A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay
Hot Titan's beams, which then did glister
When I, (whom sullen care,
Through discontent of my long fruitless stay
In princes' court, and expectation vain
Of idle hopes, which still do fly away
Like empty shadows, did afflict my brain)
• A "Rpousail Verse" made In honor of the approaching double marriage of the Ladles Elizabeth and Katherlne Somerset in 1590, and apparently celebrating some visit of theirs to Essex House. F. T. I'algrave says of this poem: "Nowhere has Spenser more emphatically displayed himself as the very poet of Beauty: The Renaissance Impulse In England Is here seen at Its highest and purest."
Walk'd forth to ease my pain 10
Along the shore of silver-streaming Thames;
Whose ruttyi bank, the which his river hems,
Was painted all with variable flowers,
And all the meads adorn'd with dainty gems
Fit to deck maidens' bowers.
And crown their paramours
Against the bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my
There in a meadow by the river's side
A flock of nymphs I chanced to espy, 20
All lovely daughters of the flood thereby,
With goodly greenish locks all loose untied
As each had been a bride;
And each one had a little wicker basket
Made of fine twigs, entraile\l curiously.
In which they gather'd flowers to fill their
And with fine fingers cropt full feateously2
The tender stalks on high.
Of every sort which in that meadow grew
They gather'd some; the violet, pallid blue, 30
The little daisy that at evening closes,
The virgin lily and the primrose true,
With store of vermeil roses,
To deck their bridegrooms' posies
Against the bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames I run softly, till I end my
With that I saw two swanst of goodly hue
Come softly swimming down along the Lee3;
Two fairer birds I yet did never see;
The snow which doth the top of Pindus strow
Did never whiter show, ♦!
Nor Jove himself, when he a swan would be
For love of Leda, whiter did appear;
Yet Leda was (they say) as white as he,
Yet not so white as these, nor nothing near;
So purely white they were
That even the gentle stream, the which them
Seem'd foul to them, and bade his billows spare
To wet their silken feathers, lest they might
Soil their fair plumes with water not so fair. 60
And mar their beauties bright
That shone as Heaven's light
plucked very dexterously 3 stream , t "The critics blame him because In his Prothalamton the subjects of It enter on the Tl!um"S as swaus and leave It at Temple Hardens as noble damsels: but to those who are grown fnmillar with his Imaginary world such a transformation seems as natural as in the old legend of the Knight of the Swan Lowell.
Against their bridal day, which was not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end lay song.
Eftsoons the nymphs, which now had flowers their fill,
Ban all in haste to see that silver brood
As they came floating on the crystal flood;
Whom when they saw, they stood amazed still
Their wondering eyes to fill; 59
Them seem'd they never saw a sight so fair
Of fowls, so lovely, that they sure did deem
Them heavenly born, or to be that same pair
Which through the sky draw Venus' silver
For sure they did not seem
To be begot of any earthly seed,
But rather Angels, or of Angels' breed;
Yet were they bred of summer's heat', they
In sweetest season, when each flower and weed
The earth did fresh array;
So fresh they seem'd as day, TO
Ev 'n as their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my
Then forth they nil out of their baskets drew
Great store of flowers, the honour of the field.
That to the sense did fragrant odours yield.
All which upon those goodly birds they threw
And all the waves did strew,
That like old Peneus' waters they did seem
When down along by pleasant Tempe's shore
Scatter'd with flowers, through Thessaly they
stream, 80 That they appear, through lilies' plenteous
Like a bride's chamber-floor. Two of those nymphs meanwhile two garlands bound
Of freshest flowers which in that mead tbey found,
The which presenting all in trim array,
Their snowy foreheads therewithal they
crown'd; Whilst one did sing this lay Prepared against that day, Against their bridal day, which was not long: Sweet Thames! run softly till I end my
'Ye gentle birds! the world's fair ornament, And Heaven's glory, whom this happy hour Doth lead unto your lovers' blissful bower,
4 Spenser spelled it Somer's hent (Somerset) and the pun was no doubt regarded as an orna
Joy may you have, and gentle hearts' content
Of your love's eoupleniont;
And let fair Venus, that is queen of love,
With her heart-quelling son upon you smile.
Whose smile, they say, hath virtue to remove
All love's dislike, and friendship's faulty guile
For ever to assoil. 100
Let endless peace your steadfast hearts accord,
And blessed plenty wait upon your board;
And let your bed with pleasures chaste abound,
That fruitful issue may to you afford
Which may your foes confound,
And make your joys redound
Upon your bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my
So ended she; and all the rest around
To her redoubled that her undersong, HO
Which said their bridal day should not be long:
And gentle Echo from the neighbour ground
Their accents did resound.
So forth these joyous birds did pass along
Adown the Lee that to them murmur'd low,
As he would speak but that he lack'd a tongue;
Yet did by signs his glad affection show,
Making his stream run slow.
And all the fowl which in his flood did dwell
'Gan flock about these twain, that did excel
The re9t, so far as Cynthia doth shend5 121
The lesser stars. So they, enranged well,
Did on those two attend,
And their best service lend
Against their wedding day, which was not long!
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
At length they all to merry London came.
To merry London, my most kindly nurse,
That to nn> gave this life 'x first native source.
Though from another plaee I take my name, 130
An house of ancient fame:
There when she came whereas* those bricky
The which on Thames' broad aged back do ride,
Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers,
There whilome wont the Templar-knights to bide,
Till they decay'd through pride;
Next whereunto there stands a stately plaee.
Where oft I gained gifts and goodly grace
Of that great lord7, which therein wont to
5 the moon doth shame ^ Lord Leicester, Spen• where ser's patron, whose
death left bim in "friendless case."
Whose want too well now feels my friemlless case;
But ah! here fits not well HI
Old woes, but joys to tell
Against the bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till lend my song.
Yet therein now doth lodge a noble peer," Great England's glory and the world's wide wonder,
Whose dreadful name late through all Spain
did thunder, And Hercules' two pillars standing near Did make to quake and fear: Fair branch of honour, flower of chivalry! 150 That fillest England with thy triumphs' fame Joy have thou of thy noble victory,0 And endless happiness of thine own name10 That promiseth the same;
That through thy prowess and victorious arms Thy country may be freed from foreign harms. And great Klisa's glorious name may ring Through all the world, fill M with thy wide alarms,
Which some brave Muse may sing
To ages following: 160
Upon the bridal day, which is not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song'
From those high towers this noble lord issuing
Like Radiant Hesper, when his golden hair
In th' ocean billows he hath bathed fair.
Descended to the river's open viewing
With a great train ensuing.
Above the rest were goodly to be seen
Two gentle knights of lovely face and feature,
Beseeming well the bower of any queen, 170
With gifts of nit and ornaments of nature,
Fit for so goodly stature,
That like the twins of Joveii they seem'd in sight
Which deck the baldric of the Heavens bright; They two, forth pacing to the river's side. Received those two fair brides, their love's
delight; Which, at th' appointed tide, Each one did make his bride Against their bridal day, which is not long: Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
s Robert Devereiu, second Earl of Essex » At Cadiz, 1596.
10 Apparently an allusion to the fact that the
words ever and hcureux (ft., "happy") can be seen in the name Dcvcreux.
11 Castor and Pollux, who were placed anions the
st&rs as the constellation Gemini.
EDMUND SPENSER (1552-1599)
Ye tradeful merchants that with weary toil
Do seek most precious things to make your gain,
And both the Indias of their treasures spoil,
What needeth you to seek so far in vain?
For lo, my love doth in herself contain
All this world's riches that may far be found:
If sapphires, lo, her eyes be sapphires plain;
If rubies, lo, her lips be rubies sound;
If pearls, her teeth be pearls, both pure and
If ivory, her forehead ivory ween;
If gold, her locks are finest gold on ground;
If silver, her fair hands are silver sheen.
But that which fairest is, but few behold—
Her mind adorned with virtues manifold.
What guile is this, that those her golden tresses
She doth attire under a net of gold,
And with sly skill so cunningly them dresses
That which is gold or hair may scarce be told?
Is it that men's frail eyes, which gaze too bold,
She may entangle in that golden snare,
And, being caught, may craftily enfold
Their weaker hearts, which are not well aware?
Take heed, therefore, mine eyes, how ye do stare
Henceforth too rashly on that guileful net,
In which if ever ye entrapped are,
Out of her bands ye by no means shall get.
Fondness* it were /or any, being free,
To covet fetters, though they golden bel
Amoretti LXL The glorious image of the Maker's beauty, My sovereign saint, the idol of my thought, Dare not henceforth, above the bounds of duty, T' accuse of pride, or rashly blame for ought. For being, as she is, divinely wrought, And of the brood of angels heavenly born, And with the crew of blessed saints upbrought, Each of which did her with their gifts adorn— The bud of joy, the blossom of the morn, The beam of light, whom mortal eyes admire; What reason is it then but she should scorn
* Sonnet groups or sequences were a marked feature of Elizabethan verse. The Amoretti are a serleR of eighty-eight, recording Spenser's courtship of Elizabeth Boyle, his marriage to whom In 1594 was the occasion of his Kpithalamion. The Aatrophel and Stella series, of one hundred and ten. chronicles Sidney's love for I'enelope Devereux. The InspireTM of most of the other series seem more or less imaginary. See Eng. Lit., pp. 95, 107.
Base things that to her love too bold aspire! Such heavenly forms ought rather worshipt be Than dare be loved by men of mean degree.
SIB PHILIP SIDNEY (1554-1586)
ASTBOPHEL AND STELLA I.f
Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she, dear she, might take some pleasure
of my pain,— Pleasure might cause her read, reading might
make her know, Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe;
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain, Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburn'd brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay*;
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows;
And others' feet still seem'd but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless
in my throes, Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite; Fool, said my Muse to me, look in thy heart
ASTROPHEL AND STELLA XXXI.
With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies!
How silently, and with how wan a face!
What, may it be that e 'en in heavenly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries!
Sure, if that long-with-love-acquainted eyes
Can Judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case,
I read it in thy looks; thy languish'd grace,
To me, that feel the like, thy state descries.
Then, e'en of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be loved, and yet
Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
Do they call virtue, there, ungratefulness?
SAMUEL DANIEL (1562-1619)
To Delia LI.
Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night,
Brother to Death, in silent darkness born.
t 8ee last note. "After Shakespeare's sonnets, Sidney's Astrophrl and Stella offers the most Intense and powerful picture of the passion of love In the whole range of our poetry."—F. T. Palgrave. 2 support
Believe my languish, and restore the light;
With dark forgetting of my care return.
And let the day be time enough to mourn
The shipwreck of my ill-adventured youth:
Let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn,
Without the torment of the night 'b untruth.
Cease, dreams, the images of day-desires,
To model forth the passions of the morrow;
Never let rising Sun approve you liars,
To add more grief to aggravate my sorrow:
Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain,
And never wake to feel the day's disdain.
MICHAEL DRAYTON (1563-1631)
Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part —
Xay I have done, you get no more of me;
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free;
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
-Vow at the last gasp of love's latest breath,
When his pulse failing, passion speechless lies,
When faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And innocence is closing up his eyes,
—Xow if thou would 'st, when all have given
From death to life thou might 'st him yet recover!
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616)
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
1 all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless
And look upon myself, and curse my fate;
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possest.
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope.
W'ith what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee;—and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
Prom sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's
For thy sweet love remember'd, such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
When to the sessions^ of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless
And weep afresh love's long-since-cancell'd woer And moan the expense4 of many a vanished sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoanid moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before:
—But if the while I think on thee, dear
All losses are restored, and sorrows end.
When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of out-worn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed,
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of tho shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay,
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate—
That Time will come and take my Love away:
—This thought is as a death, which cannot
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o'ersways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower f
0 how shall summer's honey breath hold out
Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout
Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays!
O fearful meditation! where, alack!
Shall Time's best jewel5 from Time's chest lie
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back,
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid f
O! none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine
a Legal phraseology s I. e., the poet's friend. 4 the cost (In grief)