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The Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto 3
by [?]



CANTO III

Forsaken Truth long seekes her love,
and makes the Lyon mylde,
Marres blind Devotions mart, and fals
in hand of leachour vylde.

I

Nought is there under heav’ns wide hollownesse,
That moves more deare compassion of mind,
Then beautie brought t’ unworthy wretchednesse
Through envies snares, or fortunes freakes unkind.
I, whether lately through her brightnesse blind, 5
Or through alleageance and fast fealtie,
Which I do owe unto all woman kind,
Feele my hart perst with so great agonie,
When such I see, that all for pittie I could die.

II

And now it is empassioned so deepe, 10
For fairest Unaes sake, of whom I sing,
That my fraile eyes these lines with teares do steepe,
To thinke how she through guilefull handeling,
Though true as touch,[*] though daughter of a king,
Though faire as ever living wight was faire, 15
Though nor in word nor deede ill meriting,
Is from her knight divorced in despaire,
And her due loves[*] deriv’d to that vile witches share.

III

Yet she most faithfull Ladie all this while
Forsaken, wofull, solitarie mayd 20
Far from all peoples prease, as in exile,
In wildernesse and wastfull deserts strayd,
To seeke her knight; who subtilly betrayd
Through that late vision, which th’ Enchaunter wrought,
Had her abandond. She of nought affrayd, 25
Through woods and wastnesse wide him daily sought;
Yet wished tydings[*] none of him unto her brought.

IV

One day nigh wearie of the yrkesome way,
From her unhastie beast she did alight,
And on the grasse her daintie limbes did lay 30
In secret shadow, farre from all mens sight:
From her faire head her fillet she undight,
And laid her stole aside. Her angels face
As the great eye of heaven[*] shyned bright,
And made a sunshine in the shadie place; 35
Did never mortall eye behold such heavenly grace.

V

It fortuned out of the thickest wood
A ramping Lyon[*] rushed suddainly,
Hunting full greedy after salvage blood;
Soone as the royall virgin he did spy, 40
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 asswaged with remorse,
And with the sight amazd, forgat his furious forse. 45

VI

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 simple truth subdue avenging wrong? 50
Whose yeelded pride[*] 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.