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THE FAERIE QUEENE.

BOOK III.

GLAUSE AND BRITOMART

EXPLORING THE CAVE OF MERLIN

Merlin bewrayes to Britomart

The state of Arthegall :
And shews the famous progeny,

Which from then springen shall.

Most sacred fyre, that burnest mightily
In living brests, ykindled first above
Emongst th' eternall spheres and lamping sky,
And thence pourd into men, which men call Love;
Not that same, which doth base affections move
In brutish mindes, and filthy lust inflame ;
But that sweete fit that doth true beautie love,
And choseth Vertue for his dearest dame,
Whence spring all noble deeds and never-dying

fame :

Well did Antiquity a god thee deeme,
That over mortall mindes hast so great might,
To order them as best to thee doth seeme,
And all their actions to direct aright:

The fatall purpose of divine foresight
Thou doest effect in destined descents,
Through deepe impression of thy secret might,
And stirredst up th’ heroës high intents,
Which the late world admyres for wondrous moni-

ments.

But thy dredd dartes in none doe triumph more,
Ne braver proofe in any of thy powre
Shewd'st thou, then in this royall maid of yore,
Making her seeke an unknowne paramoure,
From the worlds end, through many a bitter stowre:
From whose two loynes thou afterwardes did rayse
Most famous fruites of matrimoniall bowre,
Which through the Earth have spredd their living

prayse,
That Fame in tromp of gold eternally displayes.

Begin then, O my dearest sacred dame,
Daughter of Phæbus and of Memorye,
That doest ennoble with immortall name
The warlike worthies, from antiquityc,
In thy great volume of Eternitye ;
Begin, O Clio, and recount from hence
My glorious soveraines goodly auncestrye,
Till that by dew degrees, and long protense,
Thou have it lastly brought unto her excellence.

Full many wayes within her troubled mind
Old Glaucè cast to cure this ladies griefe ;
Full many wayes she sought, but none could find,
Nor herbes, nor charmes, nor counsel, that is chiefe
And choicest med'cine for sick harts reliefe :
VOL. II.

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For thy great care she tooke, and greater feare,
Least that it should her turne to fowle repriefe
And sore reproch, whenso her father deare
Should of his dearest daughters hard misfortune

heare.

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At last she her avisde, that he which made
That mirrhour, wherein the sicke damosell
So straungely vewed her straunge lovers shade,
To weet, the learned Merlin, well could tell
Under what coast of Heven the man did dwell,
And by what means his love might best be wrought:
For, though beyond the Africk Ismaël
Or th’ Indian Peru he were, she thought
Him forth through infinite endevour to have sought.

Forthwith themselves disguising both in straunge
And base attyre, that none might them bewray,
To Maridunum, that is now by chaunge
Of name Cayr-Merdin calld, they tooke their way :
There the wise Merlin whylome wont (they say)
To make his wonne, low underneath the ground,
In a deepe delve, far from the vew of day,
That of no living wight he mote be found,
Whenso he counseld with his sprights encompast

round.

And, if thou ever happen that same way
To traveill, go to see that dreadful place :
It is an hideous hollow cave (they say)
Under a rock that lyes a litle space
From the swift Barry, tombling down apace
Emongst the woody billes of Dyneuowre:
But dare thou not, I charge, in any case

To enter into that same balefull bowre,
For fear the cruell feendes should thee unwares

devowre :

But standing high aloft low lay thine eare,
And there such ghastly noyse of yron chaines
And brazen caudrons thou shalt rombling heare,
Which thousand sprights with long enduring paines
Doe tosse, that it will stornn thy feeble braines ;
And oftentimes great grones, and grievous stownds,
When too huge toile and labour them constraines;
And oftentimes loud strokes and ringing sowndes
From under that deepe rock most horribly re-

bowndes.

The cause, some say, is this : a little whyle
Before that Merlin dyde, he did intend
A brasen wall in compas to compyle
About Cairmardin, and did it commend
Unto these sprights to bring to perfect end :
During which worke the Lady of the Lake,
Whom long he lov’d, for him in hast did send;
Who, thereby forst his workemen to forsake,
Them bownd, till his retourne, their labour not to

slake.

In the meane time through thai false ladies traine
He was surprisd, and buried under beare,
Ne ever to his worke returnd againe :
Nath’lesse those feends may not their work forbeare,
So greatly his commandëment they, feare,
But there doe toyle and traveile day and night,
Until that brasen wall they up doe reare :

For Merlin had in magick more insight
Then ever him before or after living wight:

For he by wordes could call out of the sky
Both Sunne and Moone, and make them him obay;
The land to sea, and sea to maineland dry,
And darksom night he eke could turne to day;
Huge hostes of men he could alone dismay,
And hostes of men of meanest thinges could frame,
Whenso him list his enimies to fray :
That to this day, for terror of his fame,
The feendes do quake when any him to them does

name.

And, sooth, men say that he was not the sonne
Of mortall syre or other living wight,
But wondrously begotten, and begonne
By false illusion of a guilefull spright
On a faire lady Nonne, that whilome hight
Matilda, daughter to Pubidius,
Who was the lord of Mathtraval by right,
And coosen unto king Ambrosius ;
Whence he indued was with skill so marveilous.

They, here arriving, staid awhile without,
Ne durst adventure rashly in to wend,
But of their first intent gan make new dout
For dread of daunger, which it might portend:
Untill the hardy mayd (with Love to frend)
First entering, the dreadfull mage there fownd
Deepe busied 'bout worke of wondrous end,

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