Famine and Dearth

The most pleasant history of Tom a Lincolne that renowned souldier, the Redrose Knight, who for his valour and chivalry, was surnamed the boast of England. Shewing his honourable victories in forraigne countries, with his strange fortunes in the Fayrie land: and how he married the faire Anglitora, daughter to Prester John, that renowned monarke of the world. Together with the lives and deathes of his two famous sonnes, the Blacke Knight, and the Fayrie Knight, with divers other memorable accidents, full of delight.

The most pleasant History
of TOM
ALINCOLNE,
That renowned Souldier, the
RED-ROSE Knight, who for
his Valour and Chivalry, was surna-
med The Boast of England.
Shewing his Honourable Victories in Forraigne
Countries, with his strange Fortunes in the Fayrie
Land: and how he married the faire Anglitora,
Daughter to Prester John, that renowned
Monarke of the World.
Together with the Lives and Deathes of his two
famous Sonnes, the Blacke Knight, and the Fayrie
Knight, with divers other memorable ac-
cidents, full of delight.
The sixth Impression.

LONDON,
Printed Aug: Mathewes and are to bee sold by Robert Bryde, and Francis Coules. 1631.

LONDON.
PUBLISHED BY Aug: Mathewes
1631

1. CHAP. IIII. How the Red-rose Knight travelled from the King of Englands Court, and how he arrived in the Fayerie-land, where he was entertained by a Mayden Queene, and what happened to him in the same Country.

[...]Thrée moneths the winde and the waters strove together for supremacie: during which time, they sawe no land, but were driven up and downe, to what place the everchanging Destenies listed: so at last they sayled beyond the Sunne, directed only by the light of the Starres, not knowing which way to travell towards land, but in such extrenity for want of Victuall, that they were forced to land at a certaine Iland in the Westerne parts of the world, inhabited onely by women: where being no sooner on land, and giving God thanks for delivering them from that mortall perill, but the Red-rose Knight cast up [Page] his eyes towards the higher parts of the Countrey, and espied more then two thousand women comming foorth at a Citie gate, all most richly armed with Breastplates of Silver, marching in trim aray, like an Army of well approoved Souldiers: the which number comming néere to the Sea side, they sent two of their Damsels, as Messengers to the English Knights, willing them, as they loved their lives, presently to retire againe back to the Seas, for that was no Countrey for their abode. But when the Red-rose Knight of England had understoode the hold message of the two Damsels, he was sore abashed (considering the number of armed women he saw before him, and the great dangers they had suffered before on the Sea for want of visuals) that he knew not in what manner he were best to answere them: but having a good courage, hee at last spake to the two Damsels in this sort.

Right Noble Ladies, I have well understood your spéeches: therefore I desire you for to shew such favour unto wandering Travailers, as to tell us in what Country Fortune hath brought us to: and for what cause we are commanded by you to returne to the Sea?

Surely Sir Knight (answered one of the Damsels) this Countrey whereon you are arived, it is not very bigge, but yet most fertile and commodious; and is called by the name of the Fayrie-Land: And now to shew you the cause why you are commaunded to returne, this it is. Not many yeares agoe, there raigned in this Countrey a King which had to name Larmos, for wisedome and prowesse not his equall was found in any of these parts of the world. This King had such continuall warre against the bordering Ilanders, that upon a time he was constrained to muster for the same warre all the men both young & old which were found in his Kingdome, whereby the whole Countrey was left destitute of men, to the great disconten ment of the Ladies and Damsels that here inhabited: whereupon they finding themselves so highly wronged, living without the company of men, they generally assembled themselves together, with the Daughter of King Larmos, which is called Caelia, no lesse in Beautie, then in Vertue and Wisedome: These Ladyes and Damosels beeing gathered together, with a generall consent, dispatched certaine Messengers to the King, and to their Husbands, willing them to returne into their Countrey, and not to leave their wives and children in such extremity, without the comfort and company of man. Upon which, the King answered, that hee had besieged his Enemies in their Townes of Warre; and before one man should returne home till he came with Conquest, his Country should bee lost and made desolate, and the Women given over to the spoyle of his Enemies: Which answere, when the Ladies had received, they tooke it in such evill part, that they conspired against their King, and Husbands, and put to death all the men children that were in the Countrey; and after determined, when their Husbands, Fathers, and Friends returned from the Warre, that they should the first night of their comming, bee slaine sléeping in their Beds, and that never after they should suffer man to enter into their Countrey. After this conclusion, they crowned Caelia the Kings Daughter for their Quéene: And so afterward, when the King and his Armie returned from his Warres, this bloudy murther was practised, and not a man left alive, but onely the King reserved, whom Caelia would in no wise against nature murther: but yet notwithstanding, shee delivered him into the hands of her chiefest Ladies, which put him into a Boat alone, and so sent him to the Sea to seeke his fortune. Therefore most noble Knights, this is the cause, why you may not enter into our Countrey: which if you doe, and not presently withdraw your selves unto the Sea, the Ladies will suddenly give you a mervailous Battell.

Now by the Ever-living which English-men adore, (said the Noble Red-rose Knight) such extremitie have wee suffered at Sea, that wée are like to perish and dye with hunger, unlesse wée finde some succeur at your hands: and before we will end our lives with famine, we will enter Battell with those Ladies, and so dye with Honour in the Field: yet this kindnesse doe we humbly desire at your hands, to returne unto your Quéene, and certifie her of our poore estate and necessity, and that we altogether instantly desire her, that if there be any sparke of Vertue, or Nobility harboured in her breast, that shée [Page] will have pitie upon us, and suffer us not to end our lives by such an unhappy kind of death.

With this request the two Damsels returned to the Quéen and recounted from word to word the humble suit of the Redrose Knight, and what extremitie they were in: Which when the Quéene understood, and that they were Knights of England, the fame of which countrey shée had so often heard reportes, shée demaunded, what manner of people they were, and of what condition? Surely Madam (answered one of the two Damsels) I never in all my life saw more goodly men, nor better spo en: and it is to bée supposed, they bée the choyce of all humane people, and with their courteous demeanors, are able to draive the mercilesse and savage Nation to affect them.

The Quéene hearing the Damsels so highly to commend the English Knights, thinking also upon their request, began (in minde) to have pitie of their misadventures, and so instantly sent for them, and gave them frée libertie to make their abode in her Countrey: which incontinently when the English Knights heard, how they should receive a kinde welcome, and a friendly entertainement, grew so exceeding joyfull, as though Heaven had sent them present comfort: so comming before the Quéene and her Ladyes, they saluted each other most courteously, and with great reverence. But when the vertuous Quéene behelde this noble company before her, in all humilitie, shée delivered to a hundred of her Ladies, the hundred English Knights, and reserved the Princely Redrose Knight unto her selfe: and so were they brought to the Quéenes Pallace, where every Lady feasted her Knight in most gallant sort, and to their hearts content. But now when the Quéene had the Redrose Knight in her Chamber, and had beheld the exceeding beautie of the noble Prince, shée tooke him by the hand, and led him into one of her Chambers, where the shewed him her Riches and Treasure: and after sayd unto him in this manner.

Most noble and valiant Englishman, these Riches bée all onely at thy Commandement, and also my body, which here I offer up as a gift and Present to thy divine excellencie: and [Page] furthermore, there is nothing of value, which I am Mistris of, but shall be at thy disposing, to the intent that my love may be acceptable to thy gracious eyes. But when the Red-rose Knight perceived to what intent she spake these words, in this manner answered her, saying.

Most deare Princesse, and faire Quéene of this Maiden countrey, I give you right humble thankes for these your courtesies, and by no meanes possible may I deserve this high honour you have grac'd me with.

Oh great Knight (replyed then the Quéene) the smallest thought of your honourable minde, is sufficien o recompence the uttermost of my deserts: yet let me request this one thing at your noble hands, that never asked the like favour of any one before, for she that never knew the least motion of love, is now pricked with a hundred torments: and unlesse you quench the ardent affection wherwith my heart is fired, with the pleasant hopes of your comfortable smiles, I am like to die desperat, and then the world will accuse you of cruelty, in murdering a consiant Lady: but if it shall please you to grant me love, and so espouse me according to Himens holy Kites, héere shall you rule sole King, and be the Lord of all this Countrey.

My right deare Lady (answered then the Redrose Knight) you have done such pleasure to mée, and to my distressed followers, in preserving us from famine, as I shal never requite it, though I should spend all the rest of my life in your Service, And know (most excellent Princesse) that there is no adventure so dangerous, yet at your commandement would I practise to accomplish yet for to tye my selfe in Wedlockes bonds, there is no woman in the world shall procure mee: for till I have finished an Adventure which in my heart I have vowed, I will not linke my affection to any Lady in the world. But thinke not (Madam) that I refuse your love through disdaine: for I sweare by the dignity King Arthur grac d mée with, I should think my selfe most fortunate, if I had so faire and noble a Lady, as your divine selfe.

Most worthy Knight (then answered the Quéene) I imagine, that the Gods have sent you into this Countrey for two causes principally: The first is, that you and your followers [Page] should be preserved from death by my meanes: The second is, that you should inhabit in this Countrey least it should in short time be left as a desert wildernesse: for it is inhabited onely by Women without a King, and have no other Governour but me, which am their chiefe Princesse: And for so much as I have succoured you, so succour you this desolate Citie, that it may be repeopled with your séed: and in so doing, you shall accomplish a vertuous déed, and winne to your names an eternall memory to all ensuing ages.

I confesse (quoth the Red-rose Knight,) that you and your Ladies have succoured mée and my followers in our great necessitie: and in recompense whereof, wee will imploy all our indeavours to the repeopling againe of this Countrey: But in regard of the secret vow my heart hath made, I will not yéeld my selfe to your desires; for if I should infringe my oath, mine Honour were greatly impaired: And before I would commit that dishonourable fact, I would suffer the greatest torment that mans heart can imagine.

Incontinently, when the lovesicke Quéene heard this answere of the English Knight, and perceived that he was firme in his purpose, shée tooke leave of him, and departed for that time, the Redrose Knight likewise withdrew himselfe into his Chamber, pondring in his minde a thousand imaginations. [...]

This is a selection from the original text

Keywords

death, desolation, soldier, virtue, war, water

Source text

Title: The most pleasant History of TOM A LINCOLNE That renowned Souldier, the RED-ROSE Knight, who for his Valour and chivalry, was surnamed the boast of England. Shewing his honourable victories in forraigne countries, with his strange fortunes in the Fayrie land: and how he married the faire Anglitora, daughter to Prester John, that renowned monarke of the world. Together with the lives and deathes of his two famous sonnes, the Blacke Knight, and the Fayrie Knight, with divers other memorable accidents, full of delight.

Author: Richard Johnson

Publisher: Aug: Mathewes

Publication date: 1631

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 14684 Physical description: [98] p. Copy from: Folger Shakespeare Library Reel position: STC / 558:14

Digital edition

Original author(s): Richard Johnson

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) tp
  • 2 ) image nos. 11-14 (Three moneths the wind ... a thousand imaginations)

Responsibility:

Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > prose fiction

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.

Acknowledgements