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Long so they traveiled through wastefull wayes, And hasting towards him gan fayre perswade
Where daungers dwelt, and perils most did wonne, Not to provoke misfortune, nor to weene
To bunt for glory and renowmed prayse :

His speares default to mend with cruell blade; Pull many countreyes they did overronne,

For by his mightie science he had seene From the uprising to the setting Sunne,

The secrete vertue of that weapon keene, And many bard adventures did atchieve;

That mortall puissaunce mote not withstond : Of all the which they honour ever wonne,

Nothing on Earth mote alwaies happy heene! Seeking the weake oppressed to relieve,

Great hazard were it, and adventure fond, And to recover right for such as wrong did grieve. To loose long-gotten honour with one evill hond. At last, as through an open plaine they yode, By such good meanes he him discounselled They spide a knight that towards pricked fayre; From prosecuting his revenging rage: And him beside an aged squire there rode, And eke the prince like treaty handeled, That seemd to couch under his shield threesquare, His wrathfull will with reason to aswage; As if that age badd him that burden spare, And laid the blame, not to his carriage, And yield it those that stonter could it wield: But to his starting steed that swarv'd asyde, He, them espying, gan himselfe prepare,

And to the ill purvevaunce of his page, And on his arme addresse his goodly shield That had his furnitures not firmely tyde : That bore a lion passant in a golden field.

So is his angry corage fayrly pacifyde. Which seeing, good sir Guyon deare besought Thus reconcilement was betweene them knitt, The prince, of grace, to let him ronne that turne. Through goodly temperaunce and affection chaste; He graunted: then the Faery quickly raught And either vowd with all their power and witt His poynant speare, and sharply gan to spurne To let not others honour be defaste His fomy steed, whose ficry feete did burne of friend or foe, whoever it embaste, The verdant gras as he thereon did tread; Ne armes to bear against the others syde: Ne did the other backe bis foote returne,

la which accord the prince was also plaste, But fiercely forward came withouten dread, And with that golden chaine of concord tyde: And bent his dreadful speare against the others head. So goodly all agreed, they forth yfere did ryde They beene ymett, and both theyr points arrivd; 0, goodly usage of those antique tymes, But Guyon drove so furious and feil,

Jo which the sword was servaunt unto right; That seemd both shield and plate it would have riv’d; when not for malice and contentious crymes, Nathelesge it bore his foe not from his sell,

But all for prayse, and proofe of manly might, But made him stagger, as he were not well: The martiall brood accustomed to fight : But Guyon selfe, ere well he was aware,

Then honour was the meed of victory,
Nigh a speares length behind his crouper fell;

And yet the vanquished had no despight:
Yet in his fall so well himselfe he bare, [spare. Let later age that noble use envy,
That mischievous mischaunce his life and limbs did Vgle rancor to avoid and cruel surquedry!
Great shame and sorrow of that fall he tooke;
For never yet, sith warlike armes he bore

Long they thus traveiled in friendly wise,
And shivering speare in bloody field first shooke,

Through countreyes waste, and eke well edifyde, He fownd himselfe dishonored so sore.

Seeking adventures hard, to exercise Ah! gentlest knight, that ever armor bore,

Their puissaunce, whylome full dernly tryde: Let not thee grieve dismounted to have beene,

At length they came into a forest wyde,

Whose hideous horror and sad trembling sownd And brought to grownd, that never wast before; For not thy fault, but secret powre unseene ;

Full griesly seemd: therein they long did ryde,

Yet tract of living creature none they fownd, That speare enchaunted was which layd thee on the greene!

Save beares, lyons, and buls, which romed then

arownd. Bat weenedst thou what wight thee overthrew, Much greater griefe and shamefuller regrett

All suddenly out of the thickest brush, For thy hard fortune then thou wouldst renew,

Upon a milk-white palfrey all alone, That of a single dainzell thou wert mett

A goodly lady did foreby them rush, On eqnall plaine, and there so hard besett:

Whose face did seeme as cleare as christall stone, Even the famous Britomart it was,

And eke, through feare, as white as whalës bone Whom straunge adventure did from Britayne fett

Her garments all were wrought of beaten gold, To seeke her lover (love far sought alas!)

And all her steed with tinsell trappings shone, Whose image shee had seene in Venus looking-glas. Which Nedd so fast that nothing mote him hold,

And scarse them leasure gave her passing to behold. Full of disdainefull wrath, he fierce uprose For to revenge that fowle reprochefull shame, Still as she fledd her eye she backward threw, And snatching his bright sword began to close As fearing evill that poursewd her fast ; With her on foot, and stoutly forward came; And her faire yellow locks behind her fiew, Dye rather would he then endure that same. Loosely disperst with puff of every blast : Which when his palmer saw, he gan to feare All as a blazing starre doth farre outcast His toward perill, and untoward blame,

His hearie beames, and Haming lockes dispredd, Which by that new rencounter he should reare ; At sight whereof the people stand aghast ; For Death sate on the point of that enchaunted But the sage wisard telles, as he has redd, speare:

That it jmpórtunes death and delefull drery hedd.

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So as they gazed after her awhyle,

Whereto that single knight did answere frame; Lo! where a griesly foster forth did rush,

“ These six would me enforce, hy oddes of might, Breathing out beastly lust her to defyle :

To chaunge my liefe, and love another dame; His tyreling jade he fiersly forth did push

That death me liefer were then such despight, Through thicke and thin, both over banck and bush, So unto wrong to yield my wrested right: In hope her to attaine by hooke or crooke, For I love one, the truest one on grownd, That from his gory sydes the blood did gush: Ne list me chaunge; sbe ih' Errant Damzell hight; Large were his limbes, and terrible his looke, For whose deare sake full many a bitter stownd And in his ciownish hand a sharp bore-speare he I have endurd, and tasted many a bloody wownd." shooke.

“ Certes,” said she, “then beene ye sixe to blame, Which outrage when those geutle knights did see, To weene your wrong by force to justify: Full of great envy and fell gealosy

For kright to leave his lady were great shame They stayd not to avise who first should bee, That faithfull is; and better were to dy. But all spurd after, fast as they mote fly,

AN losse is lesse, and lesse the infamy, To reskew her from shamefull villany.

Then losse of love to him that loves but one: The prince and Guyon equally bylive

Ne may Love be compeld by maistery; Herse fe pursewd, in hope to win thereby

For, soone as maistery comes, sweet Lore anone Most goodly meede, the fairest dame alive : Taketh bis nimble winges, and soone away is gone." But after the foule foster Timias did strive.

Then spake one of those six; “There dwelleth here The whiles faire Britomart, whose constant mind Within this castle-wall a lady fayre, Would not so lightly follow beauties chace,

Whose soveraine beautie hath no living pere; Ne reckt of ladies love, did stay behynd;

Thereto so bounteous and so debonayre, And them awayted there a certaine space, That oever any mrte with her compayre: To weet if they would turne backe to that place: She hath ordaind this law, which we approve, But, when she saw them gone, she forward went, That every knight which doth this way repayre, As lay her iourney, through that perlous pace, In case he have no lady nor no love, With stedfast corage and stout hardiment; Shall doe unto her service, never to remove : Ne evil thing she feard, ne evill thing she ment.

“ But if he have a lady or a love, At last, as nigh out of the wood she came, Then must he her forgoe with fowle defame, A stately castle far away she spyde,

Or els with us by dint of sword approve, To which her steps directly she did frame.

That she is fairer then our fairest dame; That castle was inost goodly edifyde,

As did this knight, before ye hether came." And plaste for pleasure nigh that forrest syde:

Perdy,” said Britomart, “the choise is hard ! But faire before the gate a spatious playne, But what reward had he that overcame ?" M. ntled with grecne, itselfe did spredden wyde, “ He should advaunced bee to high regard," On which she saw six k.zights, that did darrayne Said they, “and have our ladies love for his reward. Fiers battaill against one with cruell might and mayne.

“ Therefore aread, sir, if thou have a love." Mainely they all attonce upon him laid,

“ Love have I sure," quoth she, “but lady none;

Yet will I not fro mine owne love remove, And sore beset on every side arownd, That nigh he breathlesse grew, yet nought dismaid, But wreake your wronges wrought to this knight

Ne to your lady will I service done, {alone, Ne ever to them yielded foot of grownd, All had he lost much blood through many a wownd; She mightily aventred towards one,

And prove his cause." With that, her mortall speare But stoutly dealt his blowes, and every way,

And downe him smot ere well aware he weare; To which ne turned in his wrathfull stownd, Made them recoile, and fly from dredd decay,

Then to the next she rode, and downe the next did

beare. That none of all the six before him durst assay: Like dastard curres, that, having at a bay

Ne did she stay till three on ground she layd, The salvage beast embost in wearie chace,

That none of them himselfe could reare againe: Dare not adventure on the stubborne pray,

The fourth was by that other knight dismayd, Ne byte before, but rome from place to place

All were he wearie of his former paine ; To get a snatch when turned is his face.

That now there do but two of six remaine; In such distresse and doubtfull ieopardy

Which two did yield before she did them smight. When Britomart him saw, she ran apace

“ Ah !" said she then, “ now may ye all see plaine, Unto his reskew, and with earuest cry

That Truth is strong, and trew Love most of might, Badd those same sixe forbeare that single enimy.

That for his trusty serraunts doth so strongly tight.” But to her cry they list not lenden eare,

“Too well we see,” saide they, “ and prove too well Ne ought the more their mightie strokes surceasse; Our faulty weakenes, and your matchlesse might: But, gathering him rownd about more neare, Forthy, faire sir, yours be the damozell, Their direfull rancour rather did encreasse; Which by her owne law to your lot doth light, Till that she rushing through the thickest preasse And we your liegemen faith unto you plight.”. Perforce disparted their compacted gyre,

So underneath her feet their swords they mard, And soone compeld to hearken unto peace: And, after, her besought, well as they might, Tho gan she myldly of them to inquyre

To enter in and reape the dew reward : The cause of their dissention and outrageous yre. She graunted; and then in they all together farid.

Long were it to describe the goodly frame, Lo! where beyond he lyeth languishing,
And stately port of Castle Joyeous,

Deadly engored of a great wilde bore;
(Por so that castle night by common name) And by his side the goddesse groveling
Where they were entertaynd with courteous Makes for him endlesse mone, and evermore
And comely glee of many gratious

With her soft garınent wipes away the gore Faire ladies, and of many a gentle knight; Which staynes bis snowy skin with hatefull hew: Who, throtigh a chamber long and spacious, But, when she saw no helpe might him restore, Eftsoones them brought unto their ladies sight, Him to a dainty flowre she did transmew, That of them cleeped was the Lady of De'ight. Which in that cloth was wrought, as if it lively grew.

But, for to teil the sumptuous aray

So was that chamber clad in goodly wize: Of that great chamber, should be labour lost; And rownd about it many beds were dight, Por living wit, I weene, cannot display

As whylome was the antique worldës guize, The roiall ricbes and exceeding cost

Some for untimely ease, some for desight, Of every pillour and of every post,

As pleased them to use that use it might: Which all of purest bullion framed were,

And all was full of damzels and of squyres, And with great perles and pretious stones embost; Dauncing and reveling both day and night, That the bright glister of their beamës cleare And swimming deepe in sensuall desyres; Did sparckle forth great light, and glorious did ap- And Cupid stillemongest them kindled lustfull fyres. peare.

And all the while sweet musicke did divide These stranger knights, through passing, forth were Her looser notes with Lydian harmony; Into an inner rowme, whose royaltee [led And all the while sweete birdes thereto applide Aod rich purveyance might uneath be red; Their daintie layes and dulcet melody, Mote princes place beseeme so deckt to bee.

Ay caroling of love and io.lity, Which stately manner whenas they did see, That wonder was to beare their trim consórt. The image of superfluous riotize,

Which when those knightsbeheld, with scornefull eye Exceeding much the state of meane degree,

They sdeigned such lascivious disport, They greatly wondred whence so sumptuous guize And loath'd the loose demeanure of that wanton sort. Might be maintaynd, and each gan diversely devize. The wals were round about apparelled

Thence they were brought to that great ladies vew, With costly clothes of Arras and of Toure;

Whom they fouud sitting on a sumptuous bed In which with cunning hand was pourtrahed

That glistred all with gold and glorious shew, The love of Venus and her paramoure,

As the proud Persian queenes accustomed: The fayre Adonis, turned to a flowre;

She seemd a woman of great bountihed A worke of rare device and wondrous wit.

And of rare beautie, saving that askaunce First did it shew the bitter balefull stowre,

Her wanton eyes (ill signes of womanhed) Which her assayd with many a fervant fit,

Did roll too ligotly, and too often glaunce, When first hertender hart was with his beautiesmit: Without regard of grace or comely amenaunce. Then with what sleights and sweet allurements she Long worke it were, and needlesse, to devize Entyst the boy, as well that art she knew, Their goodly entertainement and great glee: And wooed him her paramoure to bee;

She caused them be led in courteous wize
Now making girlonds of each flowre that grew, Into a bowre, disarmed for to be,
To crowne his golden lockes with honour dew; And cheared well with wine and spiceree:
Now leading bim into a secret shade

The Redcrosse knight was soon disarıned there; From his beauperes, and from bright Heavens vew,

But the brave mayd would not disarmed bee, Where him to sleepe she gently would perswade, But onely vented up her umbriëre, Or bathe him in a fountaine by some covert glade: And so did let her goodly visage to appere. And, whilst he slept, she over him would spred Her mantle colour'd like the starry skyes,

As when fayre Cynthia, in darkesome night, And her soft arme lay underneath his ned,

Is in a noyous cloud enveloped, And with ambrosiall kisses bathe his eyes;

Where she may finde the substance thin and light, And, whilst he bath'd, with her two crafty spyes

Breakes forth ber silver beames, and her bright hed She secretly would search each daintie lim,

Discovers to the world discomfited; And throw into the well sweet rosemaryes,

Of the poore traveiler that went astray And fragrant violets, and pæunces trim;

With thousand blessings she is heried: And ever with sweet nectar she did sprinkle him.

Such was the beautie and the shining ray,

With which fayre Britomart gave light unto the day. So did she steale his heedelesse hart away, And ioyd his love in secret unespyde:

And eke those six, which lately with her fought, But for she saw him bent to cruell play,

Now were disarmd, and did themselves present To hunt the salvage beast in forrest wyde,

Onto her vew, and company insonight; Dreadfull of daunger that mote him betyde For they all seemed courteous and gent, She oft and oft adviz'd him to refraine

And all sixe brethren, borne of one parent, From chase of greater beastes, whose brut sh pryde which bad them traynd in all civililee, Mote breede him scath onwares: but all in vaine ; | And goodly taught to tilt and turnament; For who can shun the chance that dest'ny doth or- Now were they liezmen to this ladie free, daine ?

And her knights-service ought, to hold of her in fee.

The first of them by name Gardantè hight, So, when they slaked had the fervent heat
A jolly person, and of comely vew;

Of appetite with meates of every sort,
The second was Parlante, a bold knight;

The lady did faire Britomart entreat And next to bim locantè did ensew;

Her to disarme, and with delightfull sport Basciantè did himselse most courteous shew; To loose her warlike limbs and strong effort: But fierce Bacchantè seemd too fell and keene; But when shee mote not thereunto be wonne, And yett in armes Noctantè greater grew:

(For shee her sexe under that straunge purport All were faire knights, and goodly well beseene; Did use to hide, and plaive apparaunce sbonne) But to faire Britomart they all but shadowes beene. In playner wise to tell her grievaunce she begonne; For shee was full of amiable grace

And all attonce discovered her desire And manly terror mixed therewithall;

With sighes, and sobs, and plaints, and piteous griefe, That as the one stird up affections bace,

The outward sparkes of her in-burning fire: So th' other did mens rash desires apall,

Which spent in vaine, at last she told her briefe, And hold them backe that would in error fall: That, but if she did lend her short reliefe As hee that hath espide a vermeill rose,

And doe her comfort, she mote algates dye.
To which sharp thornes and breres the way forstall, But the chaste damzell, that had never priefe
Dare not for dread his hardy hand expose,

Of such malengine and fine forgerye,
But, wishing it far off, his ydle wish doth lose. Did easely beleeve her strong extremitye.

Whom when the lady saw so faire a wight, Full easy was for her to have beliefe,
All ignorant of her contráry sex,

Who by self- feeling of her feeble sexe, (For shee her weend a fresh and lusty knight) And by long triall of the inward griefe Shee greatly gan enamoured to wex,

Wherewith imperious love her hart did vexe, And with vaine thoughts her falsed fancy vex: Could judge what paines doe loving harts perplexe. Her fickle hart conceived hasty fyre,

Who means no guile, be guiled soonest shall, Like sparkes of fire which fall in sclender flex, And to faire semblaunce doth light faith annexe: That shortly brent into extreme desyre,

The bird, that knowes not the false fowlers call, And ransackt all her veines with passion entyre. Into his hidden nett full easely doth fall. Eftsoones sbee grew to great impatience,

Forthy she would not in discourteise wise And into termes of open outrage brust,

Scorne the faire offer of good will profest; That plaine discovered her incontinence;

For great rebuke it is love to despise, Ne reckt shee who her meaning did mistrust;

Or rudely sdeigne a gentle harts request; For she was given all to fleshly lust,

But with faire countenaunce, as beseemed best, And poured forth in sensuall delight,

Her entertaynd; nath'lesse shee inly deemd That all regard of shame she had discust,

Her love too light, to wooe a wandring guest ; And meet respect of honor put to flight:

Which she misconstruing, thereby esteerd (steemd, So shamelesse beauty soone becomes a loathly sight. That from like inward fire that outward smoke had Faire ladies, that to love captíved arre,

Therewith awhile she her fit fancy fedd, And chaste desires doe norirish in your mind,

Till she mote winne fit time for her desire; Let not her fault your sweete affections marre;

But yet her wound still inward freshly bledd,

And through her bones the false instilled fire Ne blott the bounty of all womankind 'Mongst thousands good, one wanton dame to find :

Did spred itselfe, and venime close inspire.

Tho were the tables taken all away;
Emongst the roses grow some wicked weeds:
For this was not to love, but lust, inclind;

And every knight, and every gentle squire,

Gan choose his dame with basciomani gay, [play. for love does alwaies bring forth bounteous deeds,

With whom he ment to make his sport and courtly And in each gentle hart desire of honor breeds.

Some fell to daunce ; some fell to hazardry; Nought so of love this looser dame did skill,

Some to make love; some to make meryment; But as a cole to kindle fleshly tiame,

As diverse witts to diverse things apply: Giving the bridle to her wanton will,

And all the while faire Malecasta bent And treading under foote her honest name:

Her crafty engins to her close intent, Such love is bate, and such desire is shame.

By this th' eternall lampes, wherewith high love Still did she rove at her with crafty glaunce Doth light the lower world, were balfe yspent, Of her false eies, that at her hart did ayme, And the moist daughters of huge Atlas strove And told her meaning in her countenauuce; Into the ocean deepe to drive their weary drore. But Britomart dissembled it with ignoraunce.

High time it seemed then for everie wight Supper was shortly dight, and downe they satt; Them to betake unto their kindly rest : Where they were served with all sumptuous fare, Eftesoones long waxen torches weren light Whiles fruitfull Ceres and Lyæus fatt

Unto their bowres to guyden every guest: Pourd out their plenty, without spight or spare ; Tho, when the Britonesse saw all the rest Nought wanted there that dainty was and rare: Avoided quite, she gan herselfe despoile, And aye the cups their bancks did overflow; And safe committ to her soft fethered nest; And aye betweene the cups sbe did prepare Wher through long watch, and late daies weary toile, Way to her love, and secret darts did throw ; She soundly slept, and earefull thoughts did quite But Britomart would act sich guilfull message know.


Now whenas all the world in silence deepe Wherewith enrag'd she fiercely at them flew, Yshrowded was, and every mortall wight

And with her faming sword about her layd, Was drowned in the depth of deadly sleepe, That none of them fonle mischiefe could eschew, Faire Malecasta, whose engrieved spright

But with her dreadfull strokes were all dismayd : Could find no rest in such perplexed plight, Here, there, and every where, about her swayd Lightly arose out of her wearie bed,

Her wrathfull steele, that none mote it abyde ; And, under the blacke vele of guilty night, And eke the Redcrosse knight gave her good ayd, Her with a scarlott inantle covered

Ay ioyning foot to foot, and syde to syde; (fyde. That was with gold and ermines faire enveloped. That in short space their foes they have quite terriThen panting softe, and trembling every ioynt, Tho, whenas all were put to shamefull fight, Her fearfull feete towards the bowre she mov'd, The noble Britomartis her arayd, Where she for secret purpose did appoynt And her bright armes about her body dight: To lodge the warlike maide, unwisely loov'd; For nothing would she lenger there be stayd, And, to her bed approching, first she proovid Where so loose life, and so ungentle trade, Whether she slept or wakte: with her softe hand Was usd of knightes and ladies seeming gent: She softely felt if any member moov'd,

So, earely, ere the grosse Earthes gryesy shade And lent her wary eare to understand

Was all disperst out of the firmament, (went.
If any puffe of breath or signe of sence shee fond. They tooke their steeds, and forth upon their ioumey
Which whenas none she fond, with easy shifte,
For feare least her unwares she should abrayd,
Th' embroder'd quilt she lightly up did lifte,

And by her side herselfe she softly layd,
Of every finest fingers touch affrayd;

The Redcrosse knight to Britomart
Ne any noise she made, ne word she spake,

Describeth Artegall: But inly sighd. At last the royall mayd

The wondrous myrrhour, by which she Out of her quiet slomber did awake,

In love with him did fall. And chaungd her weary side the better ease to take.

Here have I cause in men just blame to find, Where feeling one close couched by her side,

That in their proper praise too partiall bee, She lightly lept out of her filed bedd,

And not indifferent to woman kind, And to her weapon ran, in minde to gride

To whom no share in armes and chevalree The loathed leachour: but the dame, halfe dedd

They doe impart, ne maken memoree Through suddeine feare and ghastly drerihedd

Of their brave gestes and prowesse martiall : Did shrieke alowd, that throngh the hous it rong,

Scarse do they spare to one, or two, or three, And the whole family therewith adredd

Rowme in their writtes; yet the same writing small Rashly out of their rouzed couches sprong, Does all their deedes deface, and dims their gloAnd to the troubled chamber all in armes did throng.

ries all. And those sixe knightes, that ladies champions, But by record of antique times I finde And eke the Redcrosse knight ran to the stownd, That wemen wont in warres to beare most sway, Halfe armd and halfe unarmd, with them attons : And to a'l great exploites themselves iuclin'd, Where when confusedly they came, they fownd Of which they still the girlond bore away; Their lady lying on the sencelesse grownd : Till envious men, fearing their rules decay, On th' other side they saw the warlike mayd

Gan coyne streight lawes to curb their liberty : Al in her snow-white smocke, with locks unbownd, Yet, sith they warlike armes have laide away, Threatning the point of her avenging blade ; They have exceld in artes and pollicy, That with so troublous terror they were all dismayd. That now we foolish men that prayse gin eke t'envy. About their ladye first they flockt arownd; Of warlike puissaunce in ages spent, Whom having laid in comfortable couch,

Be thon, faire Britomait, whose prayse I wryte ; Shortly they reard out of her frosen swownd; But of all wisedom bee thou precedent, And afterwardes they gan with fowle reproch O soveraine queene, whose prayse I would endyte, To stirre up strife, and troublous contecke broch: Endite I would as dewtie doth excyte; But, by ensample of the last dayes losse,

But ah! my rymes tvo rude and rugged arre, None of them rashly dorst to her approch, When in so high an obiect they doe lyte, Ne in so glorious spoile themseives embosse: And, striving it to make, I feare, doe inarre: Her succourd eke the champion of the bloody crosse. Thyselfe thy prayses tell, and make them knowen

farre. But one of those sixe knights, Gardantè night, Drew out a deadly bow and arrow keene,

She, traveling with Guyon, by the way Which forth he sent with felonous despight Of sopory thinges faire purpose gan to find, And fell intent against the virgin sheene:

T'abridg their iourvey long and lingring day: The mortall steele stavd not till it was seene Mongst which it fell into that Fairies mind To gore her side; yet was the wound not deepe, To aske this Briton maid, what oncouth wind But lightly rased her soft silken skin,

Brought her into those partes, and what inquest That drops of purple blood thereout did weepe, Made her dissemble her sgused kiud : Which did her lilly smock with staines of vermeil Faire lady she bim seemd like lady drest, steep.

But fairest knight alive when armed was her brest.

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