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TO PHILIP SIDNEY, A MAN MOST DISTINGUISHED BY BREEDING AND VIRTUE,
SCIPIO GENTILI SENDS HIS GREETINGS
UCH is your kindness and good will towards myself, Philip Sidney, and your devotion to Alberico my brother, that, although of all people I am the least capable of displaying some measure of gratitude, yet of all people I think upon it the most. Though I think you understand this full well, I make and, as long as I live, shall make the effort that others understand this also. And for the purpose nothing seems more suitable than literary memorials, thanks almost exclusively to which we bring it about that there be at least a few more who perceive our mind’s devotion to, and veneration of, another: the silent letters of literature bestow, if not more enthusiasm than that of those who display their duty to the same man by every manner of pursuit, at least much more of eloquence and fulsomeness. And so permit me yourself to enjoy this greatest profit of my devotion, that I be recognized as one of the particular devotees of your virtues; and pray grant me your forgiveness, if I attempt to accomplish this by a literary token and testimony of whatever quality it may be. When I can achieve a trifle more thanks to liesure and education (if I can ever achieve anything), possibly something will be offered up by myself which is not wholly unworthy of this splendor of your name and high repute. In the meantime willingly receive this Plutonis Consilium as if it were a offertory bowl of my reverence towards yourself, made out of gold (for it is Tasso’s), on which (if I may speak with my fellow jurisconsults) I desire the inscription and certain emblems to be spoken of as my own. “ O, a worthy Christmas present!” someone says. “A most worthy one indeed,” I shall reply. In human affairs there is nothing to be hoped for more than that for the same reason we are affected by the greatest happiness, and those with whom we have hatreds contracted both by nature and by religion, are affected by the greatest pains and torments. Pluto is pained and tormented by His advent, in which we most greatly rejoice, and by the entry of God’s savior into this life. And it pains him in those ways, which the most talented poet could invent on the basis of his own pain, but that I could not emulate in my imitation, ways that are almost divine. Wherefore I would wish to have things said by myself, lest I seem to have introduced into the Walsingham household (not only most distinguished in its own right, and most excellent for the honors it has received, but also most blessed for the kinship of the Sidneys, and also sanctified above all others by its domestic discipline) that is out of keeping with this season, and with piety’s reverence. Farewell. WRITTEN AT LONDON
THE FOURTH SONG
[THE ARGUMENT In the holy war, the Christians had cut down nearly all the wood in the neighboring forests for the manufacture of siege engines, and had contrived a mass of these huge in comparison with any others. When Pluto saw this, fearing lest the city be captured straightway, he determined to oppose them. Therefore he made up his mind to gather a council of his demons, and to deliver a speech, in which he incited them to the final destruction of the Christian armies.]
1. Whilst on so faire exploytes they bend their mind,
Which to effect use may employ with haste,
He that graund foe was aie to humaine kind,
His wannish eyes doth on the Christians cast:
Who for they joyfull and contented find,
Both lips through rage he champs, and gnaweth fast:
And his fell griefe, as some begoared bull,
Roaring and sighing, out hebelkes at full. (belches
2. Then having tossed ech devise in braine,
Which might the Christians wrap in wretched case,
He gives commaund that gathred be his traine
(A ghastly senate) to his royall place,
As t’ were, o foole, attempt of easie paine
Against the will divine t’ oppose thy face:
Foole, that compares with heavens, and forgeates
How Gods incenst right hand doth thunder threats.
3. The dwellers of th’ eternall shades he calles,
By hellish trumpet of hoarse jarring sound,
At such a dynne the wide darke vaulted walles
All quake, the misty thicke aire gan rebound.
Nor whistling so the flash downe ever falles
From upper regions of the sky to ground,
Nor shogged earth so ever bideth throwes, (shaken
When bigge in wombe she doth the vapours close.
4. The deities of the deepe from all about
In divers troupes soone meete at t’ haughty gates.
How strangy shapes them, (oh) how ugly clout!
What dread, what death in their fell eyes amates! (daunts
With savage insteps some the soyle bestrout, (bestride
With lockes of wrythed snakes some tire their pates:
A dragging hugy tayle their croupper bindes,
Which as a rod oft foldes and oft unwindes.
5. There thousands uncleane Harpyes might you vew,
And thousands Centaures, Sphinges, Gorgons pale,
And gulffy Scillaes an huge barcking crew:
There serpents hisse, and Hidras whistle bale,
And sootie sparckles up Chimeras spew:
Eke Gerions, Poliphems an ugly tale:
And in new monsters not earst heard or seene,
Confusde and mixt in one hewes sundry beene.
6. Part on the right, part on the left this band
Siedgeth it selfe their wreakfull king before, (sits
Pluto sits in the mids, and with right hand
His rusty waightie scepter up he bore.
Not rocke in sea so mad, nor cragge at land,
Nor Calp or Atlas great high vaunceth more:
Yea matcht with him they but as hilockes shoe,
So his great front, so his great hornes up goe.
7. In his fierce looke an horred majestie
Encreaseth terrour, and more proud it makes,
Ruddy his eyes and plaguefull venomy:
His countenance as lucklesse comete flakes,
A beard bigge, bushy, knotted gristelly:
And as a gulfe where bottome none is vewd,
He yawnes his jawes with clottie bloud embrewd.
8. Like as the sulphure fumes encroaching flame,
And stinke, and thunder up from Etna steeme,
From his fell mouth such blacky belches came,
And such the scent, and such the sparckles seeme.
The helhounds barcking (while he spake) became
Silent, his voice mute made men Hidra deeme,
Cocytus flowed backe the deepes appall,
When his loud roarings to these speeches fall:
9. “You hellish powres, whose birth-right shold advance,
High bove the sun your there deserved throane,
And whom from realmes so blest that great mischance
Earst to this ghastly denne with me hath throwne:
Both others old suspects and fierce vengeance,
And our brave on-set over well are knowne,
At pleasure now on starres empyreth he,
And as we rebell soules condemned be.
10. “And in the liew of faire and clearest day
Of gold-bright sunne, and of the faring starres,
In this darke depth he us confines to stay,
And from aspiring to earst honour barres,
Then (ah this thought how heavie doth it way:
This tis which sharpely wounds a new my skarres)
To those faire heavenly seats he man hath cauld,
Vile man from vilest durst on eareth ycrauld.
11. “Nor this suffizde, but did his sonne betake
In pray to death to worke our greater skath.
He came, and downe th’ infernall gates he brake,
And in our kingdomes durst new tread a path,
And fetcht the soules which lot our owne did make,
And to rich spoyles to sky conveyed hath,
Triumphant victour, and us to upbrayd,
Of vanquisht hell, th’ ensignes he there displayed.
12. “But why do I be speech revive my woe?
Who hath not earst told of our wrongs the skore?
Where was the place? Or who the time can shoe,
When ever he has used prankes forbore:
Our thoughts no longer backe to th’ old must goe,
But cast to cure more then one present fore.
Ah! See you not hither his drifts to fall,
That ev’ry nation on his name may call?
13. “Shall we still sluggards then waste day and howre?
Nor any worthy carke our courage wake?
And shall we brooke that hourely greater powre
His faithfull people may in Asia take?
That Jury he subdew? That his honour,
And that his name more large and great he make?
That other tongs it sound? That other verse
It write? New brasse and marble it reherse?
14. “That all our idols downe to th’ earth be throwne?
To him our alters by the world turned?
To him the vowes up-hanged? To him alone
All incense burnt? Gold and mirrhe offered?
What where to us earst closd was temple none,
Now to our artes no way rest opened?
That of so many soules the wonted pay
Ceast? And an emptie realme Dan Pluto sway?
15. “Ah be it farre, of that first woorth as yet
In you the sprites quite are not under brought,
When round with steele, and haughty flames beset,
Against celestiall empire earst we fought,
We could (I not deny) no conquest get,
Yet valure did adorne so great a thought:
Be what it will that victory him gave,
Of hearts invict we yet the glory have.
16. “But why thus linger I? Oh you my crew!
Goe trusty on. Oh you my power and might!
Goe hastie on, and these caitives subdew,
Ere their stoupt forces rise to higher flight,
Ere whole consumed be the realme Hebrew,
Of this encroaching flame quench out the light:
Amongst them preace, and to their utter harme,
Now heds with wiles, now hands with forces arme.
17. “My will shall dest’ny be disperst, let some
A wandring walke, let slaughter some uprake,
Let some with carkes of fond love overcome,
A sweete glance, a coy smile their idol make,
Let weapons some against their leader clomme,
Let them grow mutinous, and parties take:
Let campe with losse and ruine be accloyd, (pierced
And ev’n his markes rest with it selfe destroyd.”
18. Gods rebell soules stay could no longer barre
That these last words might sort unto an end,
But flying foorth a new to view ech starre,
From their deepe plunged might abroad they wend,
Much like the stormes of broylly whistling jarre,
Whom native caves foorth from their intrayls send,
To darke the welkin and a warre to band
Against great realmes, both fo sea and land.
19. Full soone to sundry coasts with wings displaide,
These through the world made their divers starts,
And of entrappings straunge and new they laid
Sly framed plots, and gan apply their arts.
But of their first annoyes (o Muse) me aide,
To shew how source they tooke, and from what parts.
Thou wotst it well, fame brings thus farre unneath (reduced
Of so great workes to us a feeble breath.
20. A famous noble wisard, Hidraote,
Ruled Damascus and the cities neere,
Who from his youth to arts of uncouth note
Addict, did day by day them more endeere.
But whereto booted this, if they ne mote (could not
Of these uncertaine broyles the issue cleere,
Nor of the fixt or wandring starres th’aspect,
Nor Hels swart cunning could to truth direct.
21. His jugement led (ah blinded humaine mind,
How vaine and wrested wrong thy judgements are!)
That to the campe of westerne armes combinde
The sky sole death and ruines did prepare.
So deeming palme for this attempt assigned
Should in the end fall to th’ Egyptians share,
He sought a portion of his people might
Of victory and gaines and glory light.
22. But for Frankes valure high he holds in price,
And harmes of bloody victorie doth feare.
He casts his penworths by some queint device (pennyworth
The Christians force peecemeale-wise to impaire,
So as them downe more easily at a trice
His and th’ Egyptians armes unite may beare.
In this conceit the angell blacke him neeres,
And more him pricks, and more him onward steeres.
23. He counsell lendeth, and affords the meanes
Which may to this exploit give easie passe.
There dwelt a wench whose peereles bewty steines
Ech easterne ladie, and his neice she was.
The cunningst spels and fardest fetched treines
Of witch or womans skill well couth the lasse. (knew
He her doth call, he her of counsell makes,
And unto her the whole charge he betakes.
24. “My deere,” he sayes, “who under golden haire,
And with a looke so delicate in show,
Dost aged wit and manly stomacke beare,
And in mine owne skils farre my selfe outgo,
Thy seconding my huge conceiv’d affaire
Will to our hopes cause glad successes flow.
Weave thou the web begun by my device,
Of warie age as bold executurice.
25. “Go to the en’mies campe, and there employ
Ech womans wile, which love may serfe to slocke, (stir
Let plants with prayres bedewd beare sweet alloy,
Let broken wordes with deepe sighes enter shocke,
Let dolefull bewties pityed annoy,
Winne to thy will ev’n harts of stiffest blocke.
Thy too much boldnes shadow under shame,
And cloke of truth unto thy leazings frame. (lies
26. “Catch (if it may be) Godfrey with the traine
Of thy sweete lookes, and of thy speeches faire,
That warre begun, the mans besotted braine
May loath, and it divert some other where.
If this faile others of the greatst enchaine,
And leade where all returne they may despeire.”
Then he his counsels sorts, and endeth thus,
“For faith and countrey not misseemeth us.”
27. The faire Armida, priding in her hew,
And in th’ endowments of her sexe and age,
This charge takes on her, and as ev’ning drew,
Doth part, and to close wayes her steps engage.
Stout harts she hopes, and arm’d hands to subdew
With her tresses, and wenches equippage.
But of her parting divers tales are spred
By set device, t’amuze the peoples hed.
28. Within few dayes this dame her journey ends
There where the Franks their large pavillions spred,
Whose bewtie rare at his apparence lends
Babling to tongues and eyes a gazing led,
As when some starre or comete strange ascends,
And in cleere day through sky his beames doth shed.
They flocke in plumps this pilgrim faire to vew, (groups
And to be wizde what cause her thither drew. (and to learn
29. Not Argos, Cyprus, Delos ere present
Paternes of shape, or bewtie could so deere.
Gold are her lockes, which in white shadow pent,
Erst do but but glipmse eft all disclosde appeare,
As when new clensde we see the element.
Sometimes the sun shines through white cloud uncleere,
Sometimes from cloud out gone his raies more bright
He sheads abroad, dubling of day the light.
30. The winde new crisples make in her loose haire, (waves
Which nature selfe to waves recrispelled.
Her sparing looke a coy regard doth beare,
And loves treasures, and her up wympelled.
Sweete roses colour in that visage faire
With yvorie sperst and mingelled.
But in her mouth whence breath of love out goes,
Ruddy alone and single bloomes the rose.
31. Her bosome faire musters his naked snow,
Whence fire of love is nourisht and revives.
Her pappes bitter unripe in part doe show,
And parth th’envious weed from sight deprives.
Envous, but though it close passage so
To eyes, loves thought unstaid yet farder strives,
Which outward bewty taking not for pay
Ev’n to his secrets hid endeeres a way.
32. As through water or christall sound the ray
Passeth, and it devides or parteth not,
So piercing through her closed robe a way,
His daring thought to part forboddon got.
It roameth there, there true it doth survay,
Of so great marvailes part by part the plot.
Then to desire it tels, and it descrives,
And in his breast the flames more quicke revives.
33. Eyed and praysd Armida past the while
Through the desirefull troupes, and wist it well,
But makes no show, though in heart she smile,
And there deseignes of spoiles and conquests swell,
As thus some guide she craves with doubtfull stile,
For her safe conduct to the coronel.
Eustace her meetes, who claymes a brother-hed
In him, that chiefe those armed forces led.
34. As fly at flame, so he about turned
At the brightnes of this bewtie devine,
And neere those lights to view he coveted,
Whom modest fashion sweetly can encline,
And cought great flame, and close it fostered,
As neered tinder doth the sparckle shrine,
And too her sayd (for hart and hardiment
The heat of yeares and love unto him lent):
35. “Lady, if you at least so base a name
Beseeme, who nothing earthly represent,
Nor every skyes on daughter of Adame,
Of their faire light so large a treasure spent,
What ist you seeke? Whence is it that you came?
What fortune yours or ours you hither bent?
Make me know who you are, make me not misse
To yeeld you right, and do what reason is.”
36. “Your prayse too loftie mounts,” she answering sayth,
“Not to such height our merit can arrive.
You see one, sir, not subject sole to death,
But dead to joy, onely to woe alive.
My hard mis-hap me hither carryeth,
A pilgrim mayden poore and fugitive.
I seeke good Godfrey, and in him affy, (trust
Such fame about doth of his bountie fly.
37. “Do you to captaine mine accesse obtaine,
If kinde and courteous (as you seeme) you be,
That to the one t’other brothers paine
You guide, and him entreat tis meete.” Quoth he,
“Faire maide, you have not made recourse in vaine,
Nor in the meanest grace he holdeth me.
At your best liking all is yours to spend,
What so his scepter or my sword may frend.”
38. He ends, and guides her where good Bulleyn stald
Twixt worthies great, stolne from the vulgar was.
Lowly she bendeth, and with shame appald,
No word from out her lips could winne a passe.
But those blushings the champion recald
To boldnes, and from feare assurde the lasse,
So as conceiv’d harmes she unfoldes at last,
With tune which senses in sweete fetters cast:
39. “Victorious prince (she sayd), whose greatest name
With so rich furniture adorned flyes,
That kings and countries, whom subdew and tame
Thou dost in warre it as their glory prayse,
Well is thy valour knowne, and as the fame
Is lov’d and praysd ev’n by thine enimies.
So it affies, and them invites again
Aide at thy hands to beg and to obtaine.
40. “And I borne in a faith so wide from thine,
As it thou quaylist, and now seek’st to oppresse.
Yet hope by thee that noble feat of mine,
And parents royall mace to repossesse.
And where kynnes and others to crave encline,
Gainst strangers fury, which workes their distresse,
I, since in them dew pittie beares no stroke,
Against my bloud mine en’mies armes invoke.
41. “On thee I call, in thee I hope alone,
In height (whence I was thrown) thou canst me place.
Nor ought thy right hand show it selfe lesse prone
Me to up-rayse, then others to abase,
Nor yet lesse prayse does vaunt of pittie owne
Then when triumphant thou giev’st en’my chase,
And as thou couldst their realmes from many rend,
So mine restord will equall glory lend.
42. “But if our divers faith perhaps thee move
Mine honest prayre to scorne, let faith profest
Sole on thy pitie to relie approve
My suit. Twere hard it should deluded rest.
Witnesse (o God) like good to all above,
Your juster aide to none was ever prest.
But that the whole may in your knowledge fall,
Here my mis-haps, and other fraudes withall.
43. “I daughter am to Arbylan that raygn’d
On faire Damascus, though of meanely race.
But he Cariclia faire to spowse obtained,
And she him graced with th’imperiall mace.
On her fell death well neere the mastry gain’d
Ere I had birth, for she did it embrace
As I forsooke her wombe. One fatall day
Doth death to her, and me to life convay.
44. “But the fifth yeare had scarce fulfild his date
From time that she her mortall vayle off threw,
When as my father yeelding unto fate
In heav’n perhaps with her allyde anew,
Leaving the charge of me, and of the state
To brother, whom he bare a love so trew,
As if goodnes in mortall breast remaine,
He might be sure of his true faith againe.
45. “He then thus to my government ordayned,
Of my well-doing mustred such a care,
As price and prayse he wanne of faith unstaynd,
And of a fathers love and kindnesse rare.
Weart that his inward thought with malice stayned,
Then under other cloake conceyld he bare,
Or that his will as yet just meaning led,
Because he ment me with his sonne to wed.
46. “I grew, and his sonne grew, but never ought
Of knightly parts or noble artes he reakes,
Nothing thats rare, no gentlemanlike thought
Buside his head, nor too much wit it breakes.
Under deform’d shape he a mind of nought
And proud hart bare, addict to gluttish freakes,
In clownish acts, and fashions such an elfe
As sole for vices he could match himselfe.
47. “Now my good guardein, with so brave a mate
In wedlockes bondes resolves me fast to knit,
And him of bed, and of my royall state
Consort to make, and oft he told me it.
He usde his tongue and traines, he usde his pate, (deceptions
That wisht effect might to his purpose fit,
Yet could he never me to promise sway,
But sowre still held my peace, or gave a nay.
48. “At last he parts with looke darke clouded so,
As cleere there through his felon hart shined,
And well the story of my future woe
In his forehead (me seem’d) I written red.
Then were my night rests, when to couch I goe,
With strange dreames still and bugbeares troubelled,
And in my soule a fatall horrour pight, (pitched
Was of my harmes a halsner over right.(prophet
49. “My mothers ghoast did oft it selfe present,
A paly image, and of dolefull plight.
Alas! How farre from that hew different,
Which elsewhere purtrayd earst had pleasd my sight?
’Fly, daughter, fly thy now, now imminent
And cruell death (she said) make speedly flight.
I see (loe poyson) to thy wracke preparde
By the felle tyrant, and his weapon barde.’
50. “But what avayled it, ah, that such presage
Of neering perill warning gave my mind,
If that surprizde with feare my tender age
All unresolved could on nothing bind
My flight to wilfull exile to engage,
And naked leave my native realme behind?
So grievous seem’d as lesse I reckoned
Eyes there to close, where first I opened.
51. “Alas! I feared death, and yet (who ere
Wist of the like?) had not the hart to fly.
Afrayd I was ev’n to disclose my feare,
Least haste might life sooner to death affy. (bind close
So restlesse and turmoyld my dayes out weare
In never ceasing martyrdome did I,
Like him that lookes ech stond in bared necke, (hour
When cruell axe shall his lives warrant checke.
52. “In such my state, were it in my friendly hap,
Or that for worse, me on my destny led,
One, whom in Court ev’n from his mother lap
In neere service my father up had bred,
To me bewrayes that of my fatall clap
Approcht the time, by tyrant limited,
And that selfe day he promisde had the beast
By poysoning me to complish his beheast.
53. “And farder addes, that of my running days
I onely could prolong the course by flight.
And since I hopte for aid none other wayes,
Prompt his owne paines unto my helpe he plight,
Whose comforts so my drooping courage rayse,
As bit of feare lost his restrayining might,
And I resolv’d that night with him to go,
Flying my unckle and my countrey fro.
54. “Uprose the night more darke than wonted was,
Whose well befriending shadowes us protect.
So safely foorth with damsels twaine I passe,
For my downe fallen fortune mates elect.
But backe to contrey walls mine eyes (alas!)
Bayned with teares, I turning oft direct, (gaped for
Nor ever of my native soyle the sight
Me thoroughly satisfie at parting might.
55. “The eye and thought both walked backe that way,
The foot much gainst his liking forward went,
Like ship from loved shore where safe it lay,
Which some fierce sodaine storme hath wrackful rent.
That night we farde, and all th’ensewing day
Through coverts where step earst was never bent,
And to a castle we arriv’d at last
Upon the confines of my kingdome plast.
56. “Aront the castle owned, Aront his name
Was, who me drew and kept this perill fro.
But when the traytour saw the deadly frame
Of his wiles falne, and me escaped so,
Kindled with rage his owne deserved blame
On our two backes he labours backe to throw,
And us to charge with that mis-doing sought,
Which he himselfe against me wold have wrougt.
57. “He sayes how Ariont I with guifts did bribe
To spice his cup with juyce envenomed,
That, he wonce gone, none might thenceforth prescribe
A law, or raine my will unbridelled.
And then would hoyting wanton to a tribe (go romping
Of loves my body have abandoned.
Ah, first let flame from sky on me descend,
Sacred vertue, ere I thy laws offend!
58. “That hungrey teene of gold and thirst withall (vexation
Of mine unharmefuly bloud her self hath cought.
It sorely grieves, ye more my hart doth gall,
That my cleere honour he to blemish sought,
The wretch whom feares of peoples brunt appall
With such embellishment his leasings wrought, (falsehoods
That doubtfull of the troth, and in suspence,
The towne rose not in armes for my defence.
59. “Nor for he now is stalled in my seate,
And on his his crowne my royall crowne doth shine,
An end unto my shame and harmes so great
His still on-pricking fiercenes will assigne,
But Aront in his fort to burne doth threat,
Unlesse in prison up himselfe he shrine,
And to my conforts, and poore soule to me,
Not warre, but racks and deaths denounceth he.
60. “This he pretends to do, as if he thought
So from his face to wash away the shame,
And to restore dew place, whence I it rought,
To th’honour of my bloud and princely name.
But feare it causde least scepter might be cought
Him fro, I being true heire to the same,
For onely if I fall, a setled stay
Plant on my ruines for his rayne he may.
61. “And ev’n such end will jump with fell desire,
Whereto the tyrants mind is fully bent,
And by my bloud shall quenched be his ire,
Which at my teares would never yet relent.
If thou let not, to thee I fly (o sire) (prevent
A wench, a wretch, orphane, and innocent.
Let this plaint, which mine eyes shed at thy feet,
Vayle me that bloud from vaines not also fleet.
62. “By these legs which the proud and lewd down tread,
By this hand which assisteth aie the right,
By thine high victories, and by the aide
Thou hast, and dost those holy temples plight,
Do thou my suit, that sole art able, stead.
Let both to life and realme thy pittie dight.
One helpe for all yet voyde let pittie bee,
If right and reason also move not thee.
63. “Thou whom the sky graunted and gave in fate
To will whats just, and what thou will t’obtaine,
Mayst save my life, and winne thy selfe a state,
For thine it shall be, if it I regaine.
Ten onely champions of the bravest rate
I seeke to cull amidst so great a traine.
For with my fathers friends and subjectes trew
They’ll serve to roost me in my nest anew.
64. “Yea more one of the chiefe, whose loyaltee
With guard is trusted of a secret port.
It promiseth by night to d’ope, and mee
Into his pallace let, and doth exhort
That only some small aide I begge of thee,
And thereon more rely for sound comfort
Then if I had huge troup of other freakes.
So much thine ensigne and sole name he reakes.” (esteems
65. This sayd, she peac’d, and his answer attends,
In act which silent doth both speake and pray.
Godfrey his doubtfull mind tossing suspends
Twixt divers thoughts, ne wots which side to sway.
He dreads barbarians wiles, and well comprehends
Man findes no faith were God receives a nay.
But t’other side a milde ruth him awakes,
Which in a worthy mind sleepe never takes.
66. Nor sole his native pitie, usde tofore,
Willeth that her of helpefull grace he deygne,
But profit moves him eke for profit store:
T’will bring in Damascus such do reygne,
As may on him depend, and ope the dore,
And plaine the path to every his deseigne,
And men may minister and armes and gold
Against th’ Egyptians, and his party hold.
67. Whilst doubtfull thus his looke on ground he bends,
And in deepe thought revolves, and tosseth carkes,
The dames fixt eye on his countance depends,
And all his acts observes, and heedy markes,
And for delay time past her deeming spends.
With feares and sighes she for his answer harkes.
At last the craved grace he her denies,
But th’answere gave in kind and gentle wise:
68. “If in Gods service, Who us thereto chose,
Our swords were not employed here to be,
On them you safely might your hope repose,
And you not pittie sole, but aide would we.
But till that these His flockes, and till that those
Oppressed walles we turne to libertie,
It is not just that forces sent away
On course of victory we thwart a stay.
69. “I promise, yet do you my faith receive
As noble pawne, and safe thereon rely.
If every we may yoake unworthy reave
From those walles sacred and most deere to sky,
As pitie bids us, we no care will leave
To winne againe your forlorne soveraigntie.
But pitie now my pietie would blot,
If first His right to God I render not.”
70. At this speech downe the lady cast, and stayd
Her eyes on th’earth, and stood unmov’d a a space.
Then them bedewed up she lifts, and said,
Accompaning her plaint with ruefull grace,
“Ah wretch, on whom hath sky els every laid
A life so grievous, and unchangde to trace,
That others nature rather change, and mind,
Then my hard fortune should a changing find?
71. “No farder hope is left, I wayle in vaine,
In humaine brest prayers have no longer force.
How may I thinke the tyrant fell my paine
Will rew, which could in thee worke no remorse?
Yet will I not of thy hard hart complaine,
Which from my helpe doth this small aide divorse,
But plaint gainst heaven my harms cause address,
Which makes in thee ev’n pitie pitilesse.
72. “Not you, my lord, not such is your bountie,
But tis my dest’ny, which me aie denies.
Dest’ny dismall, fell fatall destine,
Yeeld eke my hated life to death a prize.
Was it (aye me) a slender injurie
To close in youthes flowre my deere parents eyes,
That thou must also see my kingdome rest,
And thrald to th’axe as sacrifice me left?
73. “For since of vertues law the dew respect
Brookes not that here I trifle longer stay,
Where shall I fly the while? Who shall protect?
What, ah, yeeld refuge gainst the tyrant may?
No place is under sky so closely deckt
Which gold not opes. Then why do I delay?
Death preast I see, which since to fly is vaine,
This hand shall go, and fetch and entertaine.”
74. There silenc’d she, and seemed a disdaine
Royall and noble flamed in her face.
Then turning steps, she showes to part againe,
With port all framde to sad despiteous grace.
Her ceaseless mone in such a tune doth plane,
As is begot when wrath and woe embrace,
And her new borne teares for they to see,
Gainst sunny rayes christall and pearle bee.
75. Her cheekes with those life humours sprinckelled,
Which trickling dropt down on her vestures hemme,
Seem’d entermingled roses white and red,
If so a dewy cloud do water them,
When to calme breath their closed lap they spred,
What time first peered dawning takes his stemme,
And morne which them beholds and in them joyes.
Proud with their ornament her lockes accoyes. (puts in order
76. But that cleere humour which embelliseth
1`Her bosome and faire cheekes with drops so thicke
Workes the effect of fire, and close creepeth
Into a thousand breasts, and there doth sticke.
O miracle of love! Which sparckes draweth
From teares, and harts in water kindles quicke
With flames, past nature still his powre extends,
But in her vertue bove it selfe ascends.
77. This fained sorrow drew from many a freake (man
True teares, and harts unstoand most hardened,
Ech with her walles, and to himself doth speake:
“By Godfreys ruth if thy suit be not sped,
His nurse some raging tygre was, and eake
On rugged Alpes some hideous cragge him bred,
Or some sea wave which breakes and froth upcastes,
Fell man that broyles, and such a bewtie wastes.
78. But Eustace, gallant youth, whom fierie brand
Of pitie and of love more fervent fride,
Whiles ech else mutters, or doth silent stand,
Steps foorth, and tongue to these bold words allide:
“My lord and brother, with too straight a band
Your stiffe minde is to your first purpose tide.
If joynt consent, which doth intreat and pray,
To plyant bent it somewhat cannot sway.
79. “I say not that the prince, who their care
Owe to these troopes, as they to them their awe,
Should from this siedge with steps backe-turned fare,
Or from their duetie their regard withdrawe.
But mongst our selves, who knights adventrous are,
Devoyde of proper charge, nor bent to lawe,
That others underly you safely might
Cull out some ten to patronize her right.
80. “For from Gods service not bereft is hee
Who doth a virgin innocent defende,
And deere those spoyles unto the heavens bee
Which of a slaughtred tyrant any sende.
If then to this attempt the profit mee
Not swayd, which thence assured we attende,
Yet duetie would me move by dueties right.
Our order doth our aide to ladies plight.
81. “Ah, be it farre (for-God) that any say
In Fraunce or were-so else raignes courtesie,
That for a cause which on a ground doth stay
So just and good, perill or paine we fly.
My selfe here downe my helme and curets lay.
Here I my sword ungird, nor more will I
My courser manage, nor beare armes in fight,
Nor eare henceforth usurpe the name of knight.”
82. So spake he, and with him his fellowes all
Concording jangle in a shrilly sound,
And his advice bootfull and good they call,
And captaine presse with prayers, and around.
“I yeeld,” then sayd he, “Me vanquish shall
So manies concourse, so together bound.
Graunt we her boon, if so your will encline,
But be it your advice, and none of mine.
83. “But if that Godfreys credit ought your prize,
Some measure yet on your affections place.”
This sole he spake, and this can them suffize,
For what he graunted, each gan soone embrace.
Now what worke not a faire dames pewling eyes,
And in tongue amarous words hony grace?
From her sweet lips issues a golden chaine,
Which soules doth captive, and at pleasure raine.
84. Eustace her calleth backe, and “Cease (he sayes),
Lady of bewtie, this your drooping cheere.
For we will yeeld such, and within few dayes,
As for your feare shall more than just appeare.”
Armida then unshrowdes her cloudie rayes,
And countnance doth with such a smile endeere,
As her bewtie enamoureth the skyes,
Whilst with her precious vayle she wipes her eyes.
85. Her selfe then yeeldes she in notes deerely sweet,
Gratefull for so large graces they bestow,
Which printed in her hart thence never fleet,
But them for ever shall the world know.
And what the tongue t’expresse appeares unmeet,
Dumbe eloquence doth in her gestures show,
And close she hideth under borow’d looke,
That thought whereof no one suspition tooke.
86. Then seeing fortune favour with a smile
The great beginning of her fraudfull parts,
Ere her conceipt be forst to vary style,
This wicked worke she’ll end, and more then th’arts
Of Circe and Medea could beguile.
Her sweet showes and faire lookes shall beizle harts, (steal
And with well turned voyce of Syrens kind
A slumber cast on the most wakefull mind.
87. The wench ech art employes so to infold
Some new-come lover with out-spreaded net,
Nor alwayes, nor withall selfe looke doth hold,
But changde on face, and grace in season set.
Sometimes her basht eye seemes by shame controld,
Sometimes with wishfull roules abroad to jet.
With these the rod, with those she plyes the bit,
As for their swift or slow love seemeth fit.
88. When any soule she from her love espies
Retire, and thoughts to bridle by despeires,
To him kinde smile she opes, to him her eyes
Sweet blinck, loves message cleare and cheery beares.
The dastard sluggardly desires thus wyse
She spurres, and doubtfull hope t’affiance reares,
And kindling flames in wils enamored,
Thaweth the yce by frozen feare ybred.
89. Againe to some who hardly overgo
Dew bounds, led by their chieftaine rash and blind,
Sweet lookes and lovely words more sparely flow,
Whilst feare to rev’rence doth them prentise bind.
Yet when disdaine her countnance changed so,
Glimpsing therethrough some ray of pitie shind,
That feare they may but not dispaire they need,
And she more longing doth more stately breed.
90. Somewhile she gets her selfe elsewhere apart,
And fashions frames, and doth a visage faine,
As woe begunne, and from her eyes out-start
Forst teares full oft, which in she drawes againe,
The whiles to weepe in deede by such her art.
A thousand simple soules she does constraine,
And shafts of love seasons in pities fire,
That armes so strong may hart give death to hire.
91. Then as she would stealing away beguile
Those thoughts, and new hope did awake her mind,
Towards her lovers bent she steps and style,
And in joyes seemely weede her face she shined,
And her bright hew and faire celestiall smile
Seem’d as a double sunne that gleaming shined
On thicke and mystie clowds of sorrow sad,
Which bout their breasts tofore it gathred had.
92. But whiles she sweetly speakes, and laughes sweetly,
And with this two-fold sweetnes luls the sense,
Well neere she makes the soule from bodie fly,
As gainst so rare delites voyde of defence.
Ah cruell love that flayth us equally,
Where wormewood thou or hony do dispense!
And equall deadly at all seasons bee
Mischiefes and medcines which proceede of thee.
93. Twixt tempers crossing thus in frost in flame,
In plaint and laughter, and midst hope and feare,
The wylie wench them makes her gleefull game,
And more her state doth to assurance reare.
And if some one dare tongue all trembling frame,
With hoarce voyce witnesse of his paynes to beare,
She faines, as one unskild in lovers trade,
Not see the mind whose words it overt made.
94. Or she her shamefast and downe clyned eyes
With tire and taint of honesty embowres,
So as her gayest verdure vayled lyes
Under the rose which her faire face beflowres,
As at first birth we see the morning ryse
In his fresh blooming, and betimely howres,
And blush of scorne fellowd with that of shame.
Forth both at once, mixt and confused came.
95. But if she any by his fashions spy
Bent to reveile his harts in burning paine,
Now steale and fly him fro, now meanes supply
Of speech she doth, and straight them reaves againe,
So tyrde and skorned all day he treads awry,
And at the last his hope she chops a twayne,
Like hunter that at evn’ning leeseth vew (loses
Of deere, whom long in chance he did persew.
96. These were the arts with which she could surprize
A thousand thousand soules by theevish trade,
Rather the armes with which, in robbing wise,
To force of love them humble slaves she made.
What marvaile then, if fierce Achilles lyes,
Or Hercules or Theseus to blade.
Of love a pray, if who for Christ it draw,
The naughtie-packe sometimes do catch in paw?
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