Imágenes de páginas
[graphic][merged small][merged small]


OUGHT is there under heav'ns wide hollowneffe,

That moves more deare compaffion of mind,

Then beautie brought t'unworthie



Through envies fnares, or fortunes freakes unkind. I, whether lately through her brightnes blynd, Or through alleageance, and faft fëalty, Which I do owe unto all womankynd, Feele my hart perft with fo great agony, When fuch I fee, that all for pitty I could dy.


And now it is empaffioned fo deepe,

For faireft Unaes fake, of whom I fing,

That my frayle eies thefe lines with teares do fteepe, To thinke how the through guyleful handeling, Though true as touch, though daughter of a king, Though faire as ever living wight was fayre,

Though nor in word nor deede ill meriting,

Is from her knight divorced in despayre, And her dew loves deryv'd to that vile witches fhayre.


Yet fhe, most faithfull Ladie, all this while
Forfaken, wofull, folitarie mayd,


Far from all peoples preace, as in exile,
In wilderneffe and waftfull deferts ftrayd,
To feeke her knight; who, fubtily betrayd

Through that late vifion which th' Enchaunter wrought,
Had her abandond. She, of nought affrayd,

Through woods and waftnes wide him daily fought; Yet wished tydinges none of him unto her brought.


One day, nigh wearie of the yrkefome way,
From her unhaftie beaft she did alight;
And on the graffe her dainty limbs did lay
In fecrete fhadow, far from all mens fight:
From her fayre head her fillet fhe undight,
And layd her ftole afide. Her angels face,
As the great eye of heaven, fhyned bright,
And made a funshine in the fhady place;
Did never mortall behold fuch heavenly grace.



It fortuned, out of the thickest wood
A ramping Lyon rushed fuddeinly,
Hunting full greedy after falvage blood.
Soone as the royall virgin he did spy,
With gaping mouth at her ran greedily,
To have attonce devourd her tender corfe ;
But to the pray when as he drew more ny,
His bloody rage afwaged with remorse,

a Far from all peoples preace.] Prefs or crowd. So Chaucer, "Wif of Bathes Prol." 6104. ed. Tyrwhitt :

"Great prees at market maketh dere ware." TODD.

And, with the sight amazd, forgat his furious forse.


In stead thereof he kist her wearie feet,

And lickt her lilly hands with fawning tong,
As he her wronged innocence did weet.
O, how can beautie maister the most strong,
And fimple truth fubdue avenging wrong!
Whofe yielded pryde and proud fubmiffion,
Still dreading death, when she had marked long,
Her hart gan melt in great compaffion;
And drizling teares did shed for pure affection.


"The Lyon, Lord of everie beast in field,”

Quoth fhe, "his princely puiffance 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 teares did choke' th' end of her plaint,
Which foftly ecchoed from the neighbour wood;
And, sad to see her forrowfull constraint,
The kingly beast upon her gazing stood:
With pittie calmd downe fell his angry mood.
At laft, in close hart shutting up her payne,
Arose the virgin, borne of heavenly brood,
And to her fnowy Palfrey got agayne,
To feeke her ftrayed Champion if she might attayne.

b Redounding teares did choke.] Here" redounding" is used for overflowing, redundant; but in the paffage quoted by Richardfon, from Lord Berner's" Froifart," (I. c. 185) it means refounding, for he speaks of the clattering of armour heard in a neighbouring abbey. C.


The Lyon would not leave her defolate,
But with her went along, as a strong gard

Of her chaft perfon, and a faythfull mate

Of her fad troubles and misfortunes hard:

Still, when she flept, he kept both watch and ward; And, when the wakt, he wayted diligent, With humble service to her will prepard : From her fayre eyes he tooke commandement, And ever by her lookes conceived her intent.


Long she thus traveiled through deserts wyde,

By which she thought her wandring knight shold pas,
Yet never fhew of living wight espyde;

Till that at length fhe found the troden gras,
In which the tract of peoples footing was,
Under the steepe foot of a mountaine hore:
The fame fhe followes, till at last she has

A damzel spyde, flow footing her before, That on her shoulders fad a pot of water bore.


To whom approching fhe to her gan call,

To weet if dwelling place were nigh at hand;
But the rude wench her answerd nought at all:
She could not heare, nor fpeake, nor understand;
Till, seeing by her fide the Lyon ftand,

With fuddeine feare her pitcher downe she threw,
And fled away for never in that land
Face of fayre Lady fhe before did vew,

And that dredd Lyons looke her caft in deadly hew.

And fled away.] After having told us, that, feeing the lion stand by her, fhe fled away for fear, he adds, that this was because she had never feen a lady before, which certainly was no reason why she should fly from the lion. What our author intended to exprefs here, was, that


at seeing the lion, and fo beautiful a lady, an object never seen before in that country, she was affrighted, and fled." T. WARTON.


Full faft fhe fled, ne ever lookt behynd,
As if her life upon the wager lay;

And home she came, whereas her mother blynd
Sate in eternall night: nought could she say;
But, fuddeine catching hold, did her dismay
With quaking hands, and other fignes of feare:
Who, full of ghaftly fright and cold affray,
Gan fhut the dore. By this arrived there
Dame Una, weary Dame, and entrance did requere :


Which when none yielded, her unruly Page

With his rude clawes the wicket open rent,
And let her in; where, of his cruell rage
Nigh dead with feare, and faint astonishment,
Shee found them both in darksome corner pent;
Where that old woman day and night did pray
Upon her beads, devoutly penitent:
Nine hundred Pater nofters every day,

And thrise nine hundred Aves fhe was wont to say.


And to augment her painefull penaunce more,
Thrife every weeke in afhes fhee did fitt,

And next her wrinkled fkin rough fackecloth wore,
And thrife three times did fast from any bitt;
But now, for feare her beads she did forgett:
Whose needleffe dread for to remove away,
Faire Una framed words and count'naunce fitt;
Which hardly doen, at length she gan
them pray,
That in their cotage fmall that night she reft her may.

The day is spent; and commeth drowfie night,
When every creature shrowded is in sleepe.
Sad Una downe her laies in weary plight,
And at her feete the Lyon watch doth keepe:

« AnteriorContinuar »