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From her fayre head her fillet she undight,
And layd her stole aside: Her angels face,
As the great eye of heaven, shyned bright,
And make a sunshine in the shady place;
Did ever mortall eye behold such heavenly grace ?
It fortuned, out of the thickest wood
A ramping lyon rushed suddeinly,
Hunting full greedy after salvage blood :
Soone as the royall Virgin he did spy,
With gaping mouth at her ran greedily,
To have attonce devourd her tender corse :
But to the pray when as he drew more ny,
His bloody rage aswaged with remorse,
And, with the sight amazd, forgat his furious forgc.
Instead thereof he kist her wearie feet,
And lickt her lilly hands with fawning tong;
As? he her wronged innocence did weet.3
O how can beautie maister the most strong,
And simple truth subdue avenging wrong!
Whose yielded pryde and proud submission,
Still dreading death, when she had marked long,
Her hart gan melt in great compassion ;
And drizling teares did shed for pure affection.
“The lyon, lord of everie beast in field,”
Quoth she," his princely puissance doth abate,
And mightie proud to humble weake does yield,
Forgetfull of the hungry rage, which late
Him prickt, in pittie of my sad estate :-
But he, my lyon, and my noble lord,
How does he find in cruell hart to hate
Her, that him lov’d, and ever most adord
As the god of my life? why hath he me abhord ?"
Redounding * tears did choke th' end of her plaint,
Which softly echoed from the neighbour wood;
And, sad to see her sorrowfull constraint,
The kingly beast upon her gazing stood ;
With pittie calmd, downe fell his angry mood,
At last, in close hart shutting up her payne,
Arose the Virgin borne of heavenly brood,
And to her snowy palfrey got agayne,
The lyon would not leave her desolate,
But with her went along, as a strong gard
Of her chast person, and a faythfull mate
Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard :
Still, when she slept, he kept both watch and ward;
And, when she wakt, he wayted diligent,
With humble service to her will prepard :
From her fayre eyes he took commandément,
And ever by her lookes conceived her intent.
39. PRINCE ARTHUR. Book I., Canto 7.
At last she chaunced by good hap to meet
A goodly Knight, faire marching by the way,
Together with his Squyre, arrayed meet :
His glitterand armour shined far away,
Like glauncing light of Phæbus brightest ray;
From top to toe no place appeared bare,
That deadly dint of steele endanger may:
Athwart his brest a bauldrick brave he ware,
That shind, like twinkling stars, with stones most pretious
And, in the midst thereof, one pretious stone
Of wondrous worth, and eke of wondrous mights,
Shapt like a Ladies head, exceeding shone,
Like Hesperus emongst the lesser lights,
And strove for to amaze the weaker sights :
Thereby his mortall blade full comely hong
In yvory sheath, ycarv'd with curious slights,
Whose hilts were burnisht gold ; and handle strong
Of mother perle; and buckled with a golden tong.
His haughtie helmet, horrid all with gold,
Both glorious brightnesse and great terrour bredd :
For all the crest a dragon did enfold
With greedie pawes, and over all did spredd
His golden winges ; his dreadfull hideous hedd,
Close couched on the bever, seemd to throw
From flaming mouth bright sparckles fiery redd,
That suddeine horrour to faint hartes did show;
And scaly tayle was stretcht adowne his back full low.
Upon the top of all his loftie crest,
A bounch of heares discolourd diversly,
With sprincled pearle and gold full richly drest,
Did shake, and seemd to daunce for iollity;
Like to an almond tree ymounted hye
On top of greene Selinis 2 all alone,
With blossoms brave bedecked daintily;
Whose tender locks do tremble every one
At everie little breath, that under heaven is blowne.
2 Greene Sellinis.-Selinis is evidently the name of some hill or mountain, which I do not find in any book of reference within reach. Upton, strangely enough, supposes it to be Selinus, a city in Cilicia, to which he applies an epithet, “ Palmosa," applied by Virgil to another city of the same name in Sicily. After this double blunder, he remarks, with amusing simplicity, “The simile of the almond-tree is exceeding elegant, and much after the cast of that admired image in Homer,” &c. Todd copies the whole without comment.-Hillard.
40. BELPHBE. Book II., Canto 3.
Her face so faire, as fesh it seemed not,
But hevenly pourtraict of bright angels hew,
Cleare as the skye, withouten blame or blot,
Through goodly mixture of complexions dew;
And in her cheekes the vermeill red did shew
Like roses in a bed of lillies shed,
The which ambrosiall odours from them threw,
And gazers sence with double pleasure fed,
Hable to heale the sicke and to revive the ded.
In her faire eyes two living lamps did flame,
Kindled above at th’ Hevenly Makers light,
And darted fyrie beames out of the same,
So passing persant, and so wondrous bright,
That quite bereavd the rash beholders sight;
In them the blinded god his lustful fyre
To kindle oft assayd, but had no might;
For, with dredd maiestie and awfull yre
She broke his wanton darts, and quenched bace desyre
Her yvoire forhead, full of bountie brave,
Like a broad table did itselfe dispred,
For Love his loftie triumphes to engrave,
And write the battailes of his great godhed :
All good and honour might therein be red ;
For there their dwelling was. And, when she spake,
Sweete wordes, like dropping honny, she did shed ;
And twixt the perles and rubins a softly brake
A silver sound, that heavenly musicke seemd to make.
Upon her eyelids many Graces sate,
Under the shadow of her even browes,
Working belgardes 8 and amorous retrate ; 4
And everie one her with a grace endowes,
And everie one with meekenesse to her bowes :
So glorious mirrhour of celestiall grace,
And soveraine moniment of mortall vowes,
How shall frayle pen descrive lier heavenly face,
For feare, through want of skill, her beauty to disgrace !
So faire, and thousand thousand times more faire,
She seemd, when she presented was to sight;
And was yclad, for heat of scorching aire,
All in a silken camus 5 lilly whight,
many a folded plight,
Which all above besprinckled was throughout
With golden aygulets, that glistred bright
Like twinckling starres ; and all the skirt about
Was hemd with golden fringe.
Her yellow lockes, crisped like golden wyre,
About her shoulders weren loosely shed,
And, when the winde emongst them did inspyre,
They waved like a penon wyde dispred.
And low behinde her backe were scattered :
And, whether art it were or heedlesse hap,
gh the flou ing forrest rash she fled, In her rude heares sweet flowres themselves did lap, 10 And flourishing fresh leaves and blossomes did enwrap. 2 Rubins-rubies. 3 Belgardes-sweet looks. 4 Retrate-picture. 5 Camus thin dress. 6 Purfled-embroidered. 7 Plight-plait. 8 Aygulets—tagged points. 9 Inspyre-breathe. 10 Lap-entwine themselves.
41. THE CARE OF ANGELS OVER MEN. Book II., Canto 8. And is there care in heaven ? And is there love
In heavenly spirits to these creatures bace,
That may compassion of their evils move ?
There is :-else much more wretched were the cace
Of men then beasts : But 0! th' exceeding grace
Of Highest God that loves his creatures so,
And all his workes with mercy doth embrace,
That blessed Angels he sends to and fro,
To serve to wicked man, to serve his wicked foe!
How oft do they their silver bowers leave
To come to succour us that succour want!
How oft do they with golden pineons cleave
The flitting skyes, like flying pursuivant,
Against fowle feendes to ayd us militant !
They for us fight, they watch and dewly ward,
And their bright squadrons round about us plant;
And all for love and nothing for reward :
O, why should Hevenly God to men have such regard !
42. THE SEASONS. Book VII., Canto 7. So forth issew'd the Seasons of the yeare:
First, lusty Spring all dight 1 in leaves of flowres
That freshly budded and new bloosmes did beare,
In which a thousand birds had built their bowres,
That sweetly sung to call forth paramours;
And in his hand a iavelin he did beare,
And on his head (as fit for warlike stoures 2)
A guilts engraven morion * he did weare;
That as some did him love, so others did him feare.
Then came the iolly Sommer, being dight
In a thin silken cassock colored greene,
That was unlyned all, to be more light:
And on his head a girlond well beseene
He wore, from which, as he had chauffed 5 been,
The sweat did drop; and in his hand he bore
A bowe and shaftes, as he in forrest greene
Had hunted late the libbard 6 or the bore,
And now would bathe his limbes with labor heated sore.
Then came the Autumne all in yellow clad,
As though he ioyed in his plentious store,
Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad
That he had banisht hunger, which to-fore
Had by the belly oft him pinched sore:
Upon his head a wreath, that was enrold
With ears of corne of every sort, he bore ;
And in his hand a sickle he did holde,
To reape the ripened fruits the which the earth had yold.7