Anonymous Olde English


Guy And Amarant - Poem by Anonymous Olde English

Guy journeyes towards that sanctifyed ground
Whereas the Jewes fayre citye sometime stood,
Wherin our Saviours sacred head was crownd,
And where for sinfull man he shed his blood.
To see the sepulcher was his intent,
The tombe that Joseph unto Jesus lent.

With tedious miles he tyred his wearye feet,
And passed desart places full of danger;
At last with a most woefull wight did meet,
A man that unto sorrow was noe stranger.
For he had fifteen sonnes made captives all
To slavish bondage, in extremest thrall.

A gyant called Amarant detaind them,
Whom noe man durst encounter for his strength,
Who, in a castle which he held, had chaind them.
Guy questions where, and understands at length
The place not farr. - 'Lend me thy sword,' quoth hee;
'Ile lend my manhood all thy sonnes to free.'

With that he goes and lays upon the dore
Like one that sayes, I must and will come in.
The gyant never was soe rowz'd before,
For noe such knocking at his gate had bin;
Soe takes his keyes and clubb, and cometh out,
Staring with ireful countenance about.

'Sirra,' quoth hee, 'what busines hast thou heere?
Art come to feast the crowes about my walls?
Didst never heare noe ransome can him cleere
That in the compasse of my furye falls?
For making me to take a porters paines,
With this same clubb I will dash out thy braines.'

'Gyant,' quoth Guy, 'y'are quarrelsome, I see;
Choller and you seem very neere of kin;
Most dangerous at the clubb belike you bee;
I have bin better armd, though nowe goe thin.
But shew thy utmost hate, enlarge thy spight,
Keene is my weapon, and shall doe me right.'

Soe draws his sword, salutes him with the same
About the head, the shoulders, and the side,
Whilst his erected clubb doth death proclaime,
Standinge with huge Colossus' spacious stride,
Putting such vigour to his knotty beame
That like a furnace he did smoke extreame.

But on the ground he spent his strokes in vaine,
For Guy was nimble to avoyde them still,
And ever ere he heav'd his clubb againe,
Did brush his plated coat against his will:
At such advantage Guy wold never fayle
To bang him soundlye in his coate of mayle.

Att last through thirst the gyant feeble grewe,
And sayd to Guy, 'As thou'rt of humane race,
Show itt in this, give natures wants their dewe;
Let me but goe and drinke in yonder place;
Thou canst not yeeld to 'me' a smaller thing
Than to graunt life thats given by the spring.'

'I graunt thee leave,' quoth Guye, 'goe drink thy last,
Go pledge the dragon and the salvage bore,
Succeed the tragedyes that they have past;
But never thinke to taste cold water more;
Drinke deepe to Death and unto him carouse;
Bid him receive thee in his earthen house.'

Soe to the spring he goes, and slakes his thirst,
Takeing the water in extremely like
Some wracked shipp that one a rocke is burst,
Whose forced hulke against the stones does stryke;
Scooping it in soe fast with both his hands
That Guy, admiring, to behold it stands.

'Come on,' quoth Guy, 'let us to work againe;
Thou stayest about thy liquor overlong;
The fish which in the river doe remaine
Will want thereby; thy drinking doth them wrong;
But I will see their satisfaction made;
With gyants blood they must and shall be payd.'

'Villaine,' quoth Amarant, 'Ile crush thee streight;
Thy life shall pay thy daring toungs offence!
This clubb, which is about some hundred weight,
Is deathes commission to dispatch thee hence!
Dresse thee for ravens dyett, I must needes,
And breake thy bones as they were made of reedes!'

Incensed much by these bold pagan bostes,
Which worthye Guy cold ill endure to heare,
He hewes upon those bigg supporting postes
Which like two pillars did his body beare.
Amarant for those wounds in choller growes,
And desperatelye att Guy his clubb he throwes,

Which did directly on his body light
Soe violent and weighty therewithall,
That downe to ground on sudden came the knight;
And ere he cold recover from the fall,
The gyant gott his clubb againe in fist,
And aimd a stroke that wonderfullye mist.

'Traytor,' quoth Guy, 'thy falshood Ile repay,
This coward act to intercept my bloode.'
Sayes Amarant, 'Ile murther any way;
With enemyes, all vantages are good;
O could I poyson in thy nostrills blowe,
Besure of it I wold dispatch thee soe!'

'Its well,' said Guy, 'thy honest thoughts appeare
Within that beastlye bulke where devills dwell,
Which are thy tenants while thou livest heare,
But will be landlords when thou comest in hell.
Vile miscreant, prepare thee for their den,
Inhumane monster, hatefull unto men!

'But breathe thy selfe a time while I goe drinke,
For flameing Phoebus with his fyerye eye
Torments me soe with burning heat, I thinke
My thirst wolde serve to drinke an ocean drye.
Forbear a litle, as I delt with thee.'
Quoth Amarant, 'Thou hast noe foole of mee!

'Noe, sillye wretch, my father taught more witt,
How I shold use such enemyes as thou.
By all my gods I doe rejoice at itt,
To understand that thirst constraines thee now;
For all the treasure that the world containes,
One drop of water shall not coole thy vaines.

'Releeve my foe! why, 'twere a madmans part!
Refresh an adversarye, to my wrong!
If thou imagine this, a child thou art.
Noe, fellow, I have known the world too long
To be soe simple now I know thy want;
A minutes space of breathing I'll not grant.'

And with these words, heaving aloft his clubb
Into the ayre, he swings the same about,
Then shakes his lockes, and doth his temples rubb,
And like the Cyclops in his pride doth strout:
'Sirra,' says hee, 'I have you at a lift;
Now you are come unto your latest shift;

'Perish forever; with this stroke I send thee
A medicine that will doe thy thirst much good;
Take noe more care for drinke before I end thee,
And then wee'll have carouses of thy blood!
Here's at thee with a butcher's downright blow,
To please my furye with thine overthrow!'

'Infernall, false, obdurate feend,' said Guy,
'That seemst a lumpe of crueltye from hell;
Ungratefull monster, since thou dost deny
The thing to mee wherein I used thee well,
With more revenge than ere my sword did make,
On thy accursed head revenge Ile take.

'The gyants longitude shall shorter shrinke,
Except thy sun-scorcht skin be weapon proof.
Farewell my thirst! I doe disdaine to drinke.
Streames, keepe your waters to your owne behoof,
Or let wild beasts be welcome thereunto;
With those pearle drops I will not have to do.

'Here, tyrant, take a taste of my good-will;
For thus I doe begin my bloodye bout;
You cannot chuse but like the greeting ill,-
It is not that same clubb will beare you out, -
And take this payment on thy shaggye crowne'-
A blowe that brought him with a vengeance downe.

Then Guy sett foot upon the monsters brest,
And from his shoulders did his head divide,
Which with a yawninge mouth did gape unblest, -
Noe dragons jawes were ever seene soe wide
To open and to shut, - till life was spent.
Then Guy tooke keyes, and to the castle went,

Where manye woefull captives he did find,
Which had beene tyred with extremityes,
Whom he in friendly manner did unbind,
And reasoned with them of their miseryes.
Eche told a tale with teares and sighes and cryes,
All weeping to him with complaining eyes.

There tender ladyes in darke dungeons lay,
That were surprised in the desart wood,
And had noe other dyett everye day
But flesh of humane creatures for their food;
Some with their lovers bodyes had beene fed,
And in their wombes their husbands buryed.

Now he bethinkes him of his being there,
To enlarge the wronged brethren from their woes;
And, as he searcheth, doth great clamours heare,
By which sad sound's direction on he goes
Untill he findes a darksome obscure gate,
Arm'd strongly ouer all with iron plate:

That he unlockes, and enters where appeares
The strangest object that he ever saw,
Men that with famishment of many years
Were like deathes picture, which the painters draw!
Divers of them were hanged by eche thombe;
Others head-downward; by the middle, some.

With diligence he takes them from the walls,
With lybertye their thraldome to acquaint.
Then the perplexed knight their father calls,
And sayes, 'Receive thy sonnes, though poore and faint:
I promised you their lives; accept of that;
But did not warrant you they shold be fat.

'The castle I doe give thee, heere's the keyes,
Where tyranye for many yeeres did dwell;
Procure the gentle tender ladyes ease;
For pittyes sake use wronged women well:
Men easilye revenge the wrongs men do,
But poore weake women have not strength thereto.'

The good old man, even overjoyed with this,
Fell on the ground, and wold have kist Guys feete.
'Father,' quoth he, 'refraine soe base a kiss!
For age to honor youth, I hold unmeete;
Ambitious pryde hath hurt mee all it can,
I goe to mortifie a sinfull man.'


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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