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PAGE 3

The Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto 12
by [?]

XIV

What needs me tell their feast and goodly guize,[*]
In which was nothing riotous nor vaine?
What needs of dainty dishes to devize, 120
Of comely services, or courtly trayne?
My narrow leaves cannot in them containe
The large discourse of royall Princes state.
Yet was their manner then but bare and plaine:
For th’ antique world excesse and pride did hate; 125
Such proud luxurious pompe is swollen up but late.

XV

Then when with meates and drinkes of every kinde
Their fervent appetites they quenched had,
That auncient Lord gan fit occasion finde,
Of straunge adventures, and of perils sad, 130
Which in his travell him befallen had,
For to demaund of his renowmed guest:
Who then with utt’rance grave, and count’nance sad,
From point to point, as is before exprest,
Discourst his voyage long, according his request. 135

XVI

Great pleasures mixt with pittiful regard,
That godly King and Queene did passionate,
Whiles they his pittifull adventures heard,
That oft they did lament his lucklesse state,
And often blame the too importune fate, 140
That heaped on him so many wrathfull wreakes:
For never gentle knight, as he of late,
So tossed was in fortunes cruell freakes;
And all the while salt teares bedeawd the hearers cheaks.

XVII

Then sayd the royall Pere in sober wise; 145
Deare Sonne, great beene the evils which ye bore
From first to last in your late enterprise,
That I note whether prayse, or pitty more:
For never living man, I weene, so sore
In sea of deadly daungers was distrest; 150
But since now safe ye seised have the shore,
And well arrived are, (high God be blest)
Let us devize of ease and everlasting rest.

XVIII

Ah, dearest Lord, said then that doughty knight,
Of ease or rest I may not yet devize, 155
For by the faith, which I to armes have plight,
I bounden am streight after this emprize,
As that your daughter can ye well advize,
Backe to returne to that great Faerie Queene,
And her to serve six yeares in warlike wize, 160
Gainst that proud Paynim king[*] that workes her teene
Therefore I ought crave pardon, till I there have beene.

XIX

Unhappie falles that hard necessitie,
(Quoth he) the troubler of my happie peace,
And vowed foe of my felicitie; 165
Ne I against the same can justly preace:
But since that band ye cannot now release,
Nor doen undo[*]; (for vowes may not be vaine,)
Soone as the terme of those six yeares shall cease,
Ye then shall hither backe returne againe, 170
The marriage to accomplish vowd betwixt you twain.