Thither the great magicien Merlin came,
As was his use, ofttimes to visit me:
For he had charge my discipline to frame,[*]
And Tutours nouriture to oversee. 40
Him oft and oft I askt in privitie,
Of what loines and what lignage I did spring:
Whose aunswere bad me still assured bee,
That I was sonne and heire unto a king,
As time in her just terme[*] the truth to light should bring. 45
Well worthy impe, said then the Lady gent,
And pupill fit for such a Tutours hand.
But what adventure, or what high intent
Hath brought you hither into Faery land,
Aread Prince Arthur, crowne of Martiall band? 50
Full hard it is (quoth he) to read aright
The course of heavenly cause, or understand
The secret meaning of th’ eternall might,
That rules mens wayes, and rules the thoughts of living wight.
For whether he through fatall deepe foresight
Me hither sent, for cause to me unghest,
Or that fresh bleeding wound,[*] which day and night
Whilome doth rancle in my riven brest,
With forced fury[*] following his behest,
Me hither brought by wayes yet never found; 60
You to have helpt I hold myself yet blest.
Ah curteous knight (quoth she) what secret wound
Could ever find,[*] to grieve the gentlest hart on ground?
Deare dame (quoth he) you sleeping sparkes awake,[*]
Which troubled once, into huge flames will grow, 65
Ne ever will their fervent fury slake,
Till living moysture into smoke do flow,
And wasted life do lye in ashes low.
Yet sithens silence lesseneth not my fire,
But told[*] it flames, and hidden it does glow; 70
I will revele what ye so much desire:
Ah Love, lay down thy bow, the whiles I may respire.
It was in freshest flowre of youthly yeares,
When courage first does creepe in manly chest,
Then first the coale of kindly heat appeares 75
To kindle love in every living brest;
But me had warnd old Timons wise behest,
Those creeping flames by reason to subdew,
Before their rage grew to so great unrest,
As miserable lovers use to rew, 80
Which still wex old in woe, whiles woe still wexeth new.
That idle name of love, and lovers life,
As losse of time, and vertues enimy,
I ever scornd, and joyd to stirre up strife,
In middest of their mournfull Tragedy, 85
Ay wont to laugh, when them I heard to cry,
And blow the fire, which them to ashes brent:
Their God himselfe, griev’d at my libertie,
Shot many a dart at me with fiers intent,
But I them warded all with wary government. 90