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Tney ceast their clamors upon them to gaze; And round about before her feet there sate
Whom seeing all in armour bright as day,

A bevie of faire virgins clad in white,
Straunge there to see, it did them much amaze, That goodly seem'd t'adorne her royall state;
And with unwonted terror halfe affray:

All lovely daughters of high love, that hight
For never saw they there the like array;

Litæ, by bim begot in loves delight
Ne ever was the name of warre there spoken, Upon the righteous Themis; those they say
But ioyous peace and quietnesse alway

l'pon loves iudgment-seat wayt day and night;
Dealing iust judgments, that mote not be broken And, when in wrath he threats the worlds decay,
For any brybes, or threates of any to be wroken. They doe his anger calme and cruell vengeance stay,
There, as they entred at the scriene, they saw They also doe, by his divine permission,
Some one, whose tongue was for his trespasse vyle l'pon the thrones of mortall princes tend,
Nayld to a post, adiudged so by law;

And often treat for pardon and remission
For that therewith he falsely did revyle

To suppliants, through frayltie which offend :
And foule blaspheme that queene for forged guyle, Those did upon Mercillaes throne attend,
Both with bold speaches which he blazed had, lust Dice, wise Eunomie, myld Eirene;
And with lewd poems which he did compyle; And thein amongst, her glorie to commend,
For the bold title of a poet bad

[sprad. Sate goodly Temperance in garments clene,
He on himselfe had ta’en, and rayling rymes had And sacred Reverence yborne of heavenly strenes
Thus there he stood, whilest high uver his head Thus did she sit in royall rich estate,
There written was the purport of his sin,

Admyr'd of many, honoured of all;
In cyphers strange, that few could rightly read, Whylest underneath her feete, there as she state,
Bon Fons; but Bon, that once had written bin, An huge great lyon lay, (that mote appall
Was raced out, and Mal was now put in:

An hardie courage) like captived thrall
So now Malfunt was plainely to be red;

With a strong yron chaine and coller bound, Eyther for th' evill which he did therein,

That once he could not move, nor quich at all;
Or that he likened was to a welhed

Yet did he murmure with rebellious sound,
Of evill words, and wicked sclaunders by him shed. And softly royne, when salvage choler gan redound.
They, passing by, were gnyded by degree So sitting high in dreaded soverayntie,
Unto the presence of that gratious queene; Those two strange knights were to her presence
Who sate on high, that she might all men see

brought; And might of all men royally be seene,

Who, bowing low before her maiestie,
Upon a throne of gold full bright and sheene, Did to her myld obeysance, as they ought,
Adorned all with gemmes of endlesse price, And meekest boone that they imagine monght:
As either might for wealth have gotten beene, To whom she eke inclyning her withall,
Or could be fram'd by workmans rare device; As a faire stoupe of her high-soaring thought,
And all embost with lyons and fourdelice. A chearefull countenance on them let fall,

Yet tempred with some majestie imperiall.
All over her a cloth of state was spred,
Not of rich tissew, nor of cloth of gold,

As the bright Sunne, what time his fierie teme
Nor of ought else that may be richest red,

Towards the westerne brim begins to draw, But like a cloud, as likest may be told,

Gins to abate the brightnesse of his beme, That her brode-spreading wings did wyde unfold;

And fervour of his flames somewhat adaw; Whose skirts were bordred with bright sunny beames, So did this mightie ladie, when she saw Glistring like gold amongst the plights enrold,

Those two strange knights such homage to her make, And here and there shooting forth silver streames,

Bate somewhat of that maiestie and awe Mongst which crept litle angels through the glit. That whylome wont to doe so many quake, tering gleames.

And with more myld aspéct those two to entertake,
Seemed those litle angels did uphold
The cloth of state, and on their purpled wings

Now at that instant, as occasion fell,
Did beare the pendants through their nimblesse bold; When these two stranger knights arriv'd in place,
Besides, a thousand more of such as sings

She was about affaires of common-wele,
Hymns to high God, and carols heavenly things,

Dealing of iustice with indifferent grace,
Encompassed the throne on which she sate; And hearing pleas of people mean and base:
She, angel-like, the beyre of ancient kings

Mongst which, as then, there was for to be heard
And mightie conquerors, in royall state; stráte. The tryall of a great and weightie case,
Whylest kings and Kesars at her feet did them pros-

Which on both sides was then debating hard :

But, at the sight of these, those were awhile debard,
Thus she did sit in soverayne maiestie,
Holding a sceptre in her royall hand,

But, after all her princely entertayne,
The sacred pledge of peace and clemencie, To th' hearing of that former cause in hand
With which high God had blest her happie land, Herselfe eftsoones she gan convert againe ;
Maugre so many foes whieh did withstand : Which that those knights likewise mote understand,
But at her feet her sword was likewise layde, And witnesse forth aright in forrain land,
Whose long rest rusted the bright steely brand; Taking them up unto her stately throne,
Yet whenas foes enforst, or friends sought ayde, Where they mote heare the matter throughly scand
She conld it sternely draw, that all the world dis- One either part, she placed th' one on th' one,

Th' other on th' other side, and neare them none,


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Theo was there brought, as prisoner to the barre, But then, for her, on the contrárie part,
A ladie of great countenance and place,

Rose many advocates for her to plead :
But'that she it with foule abuse did marre; First there came Pittie with full tender hart,
Yet did appeare rare beautie in her face,

And with her ioyn'd Regard of Womanhead; But blotted with condition vile and base,

And then came Daunger threatning hidden dread That all her other honour did obscure,

And high alliance unto forren powre; And titles of nobilitie deface:

Then came Nobilitie of birth, that bread
Yet, in that wretched semblant, she did sure Great ruth through her misfortunes tragicke stowre;
The peoples great compassion unto her allure. And lastly Griefe did plead, and many teares forth

Then up arose a person of deepe reach,
And rare in-sight, hard matters to revele; [speach with the neare touch whereof in tender hart
That well could charme his tongue, and time his The Briton prince was sore empassionate,
To all assayes; his name was called Zele: And woxe inclined much unto her part,
He gan that ladie strongly to appele

Through the sad terror of so dreadfull fate,
Of many hayvous crymes by her enured ;

And wretched ruine of so high estate;
And with sharp reasons rang her such a pele, That for great ruth his conrage gan relent:
That those, whom she to pitie had allured, (ed. Which whenas Zele perceived to abate,
He now t' abhorre and loath her person had procur- He gan his earnest fervour to augment,

And many fearefull obiects to them to present.
First gan he tell how this, that seem'd so faire
And royally arayd, Duessa bight;

He gan t'efforce the evidence anew,
That false Duessa, which had wrought great care And new accusements to produce in place:
And mickle mischiefe unto many a knight

He brought forth that old hag of hellish hew, By her beguyled and confounded quight:

The cursed Atè, brought her face to face, But not for those she now in question came, Who privie was and partie in the case: Though also those mote question'd be aright, She, glad of spoyle and ruinous decay, But for vyld treasons and outrageous shame, Did her appeach; and, to her more disgrace, Which she against the dred Mercilla oft did frame. The plot of all her practise did display,

And all her traynes and all her treasons forth did For she whylome (as ye mote yet right well

lay. Remember) had her counsels false conspyred With faithlesse Blandamour and Paridell,

Then brought he forth with griesly grim aspect (Both two her paramours, both by her hyred, Abhorred Murder, who with bloudie knyfe And both with hope of sbadowes vaine inspyred) Yet dropping fresh in hand did her detect, And with them practiz'd, how for to depryve And there with guiltie bloudshed charged ryfe: Mercilla of her crowne, by her aspyred,

Then brought he forth Sedition, breeding stryfe
That she might it unto herselfe deryve, [dryve. In troublous wits and mutinous uprore:
And tryumph in their blood whom she to death did Then brought he forth Incontinence of lyfe,

Even foule Adulterie her face before,
But through high Heavens grace, which favour not And lewd Impietie, that her accused sore.
The wicked driftes of trayterous desynes
Gainst lojall princes, all this cursed plot

All which whenas the prince had heard and seene,
Ere proofe it tooke discovered was betymes, His former fancies ruth he gan repent,
And th’actours won the neede meet for theircrymes: And from her partie eftsoones was drawn cleene :
Such be the meede of all that by such meane But Artegall, with constant firme intent
Unto the type of kingdomes title clymes!

For zeale of iustice, was against her bent ; But false Duessa, now untitled queene, (seene. So was she guiltie deemed of them all. Was brought to her sad doome, as here was to be Then Zele began to urge her punishment,

And to their queene for judgement loudly call, Strongly did Zele her haynous fact enforce, Unto Mercilla myld, for iustice gainst the thrall. And many other crimes of foule defame Against her brought, to banish all remorse, But she, whose princely breast was touched neare And aggravate the horror of her blame:

With piteous ruth of her so wretched plight, And with him, to make part against her, came Though plaine she saw, by all that she did heare, Many grave persons that against her pled. That she of death was guiltie found by right, First was a sage old syre, that bad to name Yet would not let iust vengeance on her light; The Kingdomes Care, with a white silver hed, But rather let, instead thereof, to fall That many high regards and reasons gainst her | Few perling drops from her faire lampes of light; red.

The which she covering with her purple pall

Would have the passion hid, and up arose withall, Then gan Authority her to oppose With peremptorie powre, that made all mute; And then the Law of Nations gainst her rose, And reasons brought, that bo man could refute; Next gan Religion gainst her to impute High Gods beheast, and powre of holy lawes; Then gan the peoples cry and commons sute Importune care of their owne publicke cause; And lastly Justice charged her with breach of lawes. VOL. III.


Hor name was Belgè; who in former age
A ladie of great worth and wealth had beene,

And mother of a frutefull heritage, (seene

Even seventeene goodly sonnes; which who had

In their first flowre, before this fatall teene
Prince Arthur takes the enterprize Them overtooke and their faire blossomes blasted,
For Belgee for to fight:

More happie mother would her surely weene
Gerioneos seneschall

Then famous Niobe, before she tasted
He slayes in Belges right,

Latonaes childrens wrath that all her issue wasted.

Some clarkes doe doubt in their devicefull art But this fell tyrant, through his tortious powre,
Whether this heavenly thing whereof I treat, Had left her now but five of all that brood :
To weeten Mercie, be of Justice part,

For twelve of them he did by times devoure,
Or drawne forth from her by divine extreate: And to his idols sacrifice their blood,
This well I wote, that sure she is as great, Whylest he of none was stopped nor withstood:
And meriteth to have as high a place,

For soothly he was one of matchlesse might, Sith in th' Almighties everlasting seat

Of horrible aspéct and dreadfull mood, She first was bred, and borne of heavenly race; And had three bodies in one wast empight, (fight. From thence pour’d down on men by influence of And th’armes and legs of three to succour him in grace.

And sooth they say that he was borne and bred For if that vertue be of so great might

Of gyants race, the sonne of Geryon;
Which from just verdict will for nothing start, He that whylome in Spaine so sore was dred
But, to preserve inviolated right,

For his huge powre and great oppression,
Oft spilles the principall to save the part;

Which brought that land to his subiection, So much more then is that of powre and art Through his three bodies powre in one combyn'd; That seekes to save the subiect of her skill, And eke all strangers, in that region Yot never doth from doome of right depart; Arryving, to his kyne for food assynd; As it is greater prayse to save then spill,

The fayrest kyne alive, but of the fiercest kynd : And better to reforme then to cut off the ill.

For they were all, they say, of purple bew, Who then can thee, Mercilla, throughly prayse, Kept by a cowheard, bight Eurytion, That herein doest all earthly princes pas ? A cruell carle, the which all strangers slew, What heavenly Muse shall thy great honour rayse Ne day nor night did sleepe t'attend them on, Up to the skies, whepce first deriv'd it was,

But walkt about them ever and anone And now on Earth itselfe enlarged has,

With his two-beaded dogge that Orthrus hight; From th' utmost brinke of the Armericke shore, Orthrus begotten by great Typhaon Unto the margent of the Molucas ?

And foule Echidna in the house of Night: Those nations farre thy justice doe adore ; (more. But Hercules them all did overcome in fight. But thine owne people do thy mercy prayse much

His sonne was this Geryoneo hight; Much more it praysed was of those two knights, Who, after that his monstrous father fell The noble prince and righteous Artegall,

Under Alcides club, streight tooke his flight When they had seene and heard her doome arights from that sad land, where he his syre did quell, Against Duessa, damned by them all;

And came to this, where Belge then did dwell But by her tempred without griefe or gall, And Aourish in all wealth and happinesse, Till strong constraint did her thereto enforce : Being then new made widow, as befell, And yet even then ruing her wilfull fall

After her noble husbands late decesse; With more then needfull naturall remorse, Which gave beginning to her woe and wretchedAnd yeelding the last honour to her wretched corse. During all which, those knights continu'd there Then this bold tyrant, of her widowhed Both doing and receiving curtesies

Taking advantage and her yet fresh woes, Of that great ladie, who with goodly chere

Himselfe and service to her offered, Them entertayn'd, fit for their digoities,

Her to defend against all forrein foes Approving dayly to their noble eyes

That should their powre against her right oppose : Royall examples of her mercies rare

Wherefore she glad, now needing strong defence, And worthie paterns of her clemencies;

Him enterta yn'd and did her champion chose; Which till this day mongst many living are, Which long he usd with carefull diligence, Who them to their posterities doe still declare, The better to confirme her fearelesse confidence.


Amongst the rest, which in that space befell, By meanes whereof she did at last commit
There came two springals of full tender yeares, All to his hands, and gave him soveraice powre
Parre thence from forrein land where they did dwell, To doe whatever he thought good or fit:
• To seeke for succour of her and her peares, Which having got, he gan forth from that howre

With humble prayers and intreatfull teares; To stirre up strife and many a tragicke stowre;
Sent by their mother wbo, a widow, was

Giving her dearest children one by one Wrapt in great dolours and in deadly feares Unto a dreadfull monster to devoure, By a strong tyrant, who invaded has

And setting up an idole of his owne, Her land, and slaine her children ruefully, alas! The image of his monstrous parent Geryone.

So tyrannizing and oppressing all,

Then turning unto him; “ And you, sir Knight," The woefull-widow had no meanes now left, Said she, “ that taken have this toylesome paine But unto gratious great Mercilla call

For wretched woman, miserable wight, For ayde against that cruell tyrants theft,

May you in Heaven immortall guerdon gaine Ere all her children he from her had reft :

Por so great travell as you doe sustaine ! Therefore these two, her eldest sonnes, she sent For other meede may hope for none of mee, To seeke for succour of this ladies gieft:

To whom nought else but bare life doth remaine; To whom their sute they humbly did present And that so wretched one, as ye do see In th’ hearing of full many knights and ladies gent. Is liker lingring death then loathed life to bee.” Amongst the which then fortuned to bee

Much was he moved with her piteous plight; The noble Briton prince with his brave peare; And low dismounting from his loftie steede Who when he none of all those knights did see Gan to recomfort her all that he might, Hastily bent that enterprise to heare,

Seeking to drive away deepe-rooted drecde Nor undertake the same for cowheard feare, With hope of belpe in that her greatest neede. He stepped forth with courage bold and great, So thence he wished her with him to wend Admyrd of all the rest in presence there,

Unto some place where they mote rest and feede, And humbly gan that mightie queene entreat And she take comfort which God now did send : To graunt him that adventure for his former feat. Good hart in evils doth the evils much amend. She gladly graunted it: then he straightway Ay me!” sayd she, “and whither shall I goe? Himselfe unto his journey gan prepare,

Are not all places full of forraine powres? And all his armours readie dight that day, My pallaces possessed of my foe, That nought the morrow next mute stay his fare. My cities sackt, and their sky-threatning towres The morrow next appear'd with purple hayre Raced and made smooth fields now full of flowres ? Yet dropping fresh out of the Indian fount, Onely these marishes and myrie bogs, And bringing light into the Heavens fayre,

In which the fearefull ewftes do build their bowres, When he was readie to his steede to mount Yeeld me an hostry mongst the croking frogs, Unto his way, which now was all his care and count. And harbour here in safety from those ravenous

dogs.” Then taking humble leave of that great queene, Who gave him roiall giftes and riches rare,

“ Nathlesse,” said he, “ deare ladie, with me goe; As tokens of her thankefull mind beseene,

Some place shall us receive and harbour yield; And leaving Artegall to his owne care,

If not, we will it force, maugre your foe, Upon his voyage forth be gan to fare

And purchase it to us with speare and shield: With those two gentle youthes, which him did guide And if all fayle, yet farewell open field ! And all his way before him still prepare :

The Earth to all her creatures lodging lends." Ne after him did Artegall abide,

With such his chearefull speaches he doth wield But on his first adventure forward forth did ride.

Her mind so well, that to his will she bends ;

And, bynding up her locks and weeds, forth with It was not long till that the prince arrived

him wends. Within the land where dwelt that ladie sad;

They came unto a citie farre up land,
Whereof that tyrant had her now deprived,
And into moores and marshes banisht had,

The which whylome that ladies owne had bene ;

But now by force extort out of her hand Out of the pleasant soyle and citties glad,

By her strong foe, who had defaced cleene In which she wont to harbour happily :

Her stately towres and buildings sunny sheene, But now his cruelty so sore she drad,

Shut up her haven, mard her marchants trade,
That to those fennes for fastnesse she did fly,
And there herselfe did hyde from his hard tyranny.

Robbed her people that full rich had beene,
And in her necke a castle huge had made, (swade.

The which did her commaund without needing per-
There he her found in sorrow and dismay,
All solitarie without living wight;

That castle was the strength of all that state, For all her other children, through affray,

Untill that state by strength was pulled downe; Had hid themselves, or taken further flight: And that same citie, so now ruinate, And eke herselfe through sudden strange affright, Had bene the keye of all that kingdomes crowne; When one in armes she saw, began to fly ;

Both goodly castle, and both goodly towne, But, when her owne two sonnes she had in sight, Till that th' offended Heavens list to lowre She gan take hart and looke up joyfully;

Upon their blisse, and balefull fortune frowne. For well she wist this knight came succour to supply. When those gainst states and kingdomes do coniure,

Who then can thinke their hedlong ruine to recure! And, running unto them with greedy ioyes, Fell straight about their neckes as they did kneele, But he had brought it now in servile bond, And bursting forth in teares; “Ah! my sweet And made it beare the yoke of inquisition, Sayd she, “yetuow Iginnew life to feele; (boyes,” Stryving long time in vaine it to withstond; And feeble spirits, that gan faint and reele, Yet glad at last to make most base submission, Now rise againe at this your joyous sight.

And life enjoy for any composition: Alreadie seemes that Fortunes headlong wheele So now he hath new lawes and orders new Begins to turne, and Sunne to shine more bright Imposd on it with many a hard condition, Then it was wont, through comfort of this noble And forced it, the honour that is dew knight."

To God, to doe unto his idole most untrex,

To him he hath before this castle greene

So all attonce they on the prince did thonder; Built a faire chappell, and an altar framed Who from his saddle swarved nought asyde, Of costly ivory full rich beseene,

Ne to their force gave way, that was great wonder; On which that cursed idole, farre proclamed, But like a bulwarke firmely did abyde, He hath set up, and him his god hath named ; Rebutting him, which in the midst did ryde, Offring to him in sinfull sacrifice

With so huge rigour, that his mortall speare (syde; The Acsh of men, to Gods owne likenesse framed, Past through his shield and pierst through either And powring forth their bloud in brutishe wize, That downe he fell uppon his mother deare, That any yron eyes, to see, it would agrize. And powred forth his wretched life in deadly dreare. And, for more horror and more crueltie,

Whom when his other fellowes saw, they fled Under that cursed idols altar-stone

As fast as fecte could carry them away; An hideous monster doth in darknesse lie,

And after them the prince as swiftly sped, Whose dreadfull shape was never seene of none To be aveng'd of their unknightly play. That lives on Earth; but unto those alone

'There, whilest they entring th'one did th'other stay, The which unto him sacrificed bee:

The hindmost in the gate he overhent, Those he devoures, they say, both Nesh and bone ; And, as he pressed in, him there did slay: What else they have is all the tyrants fee: His carkasse tumbling on the threshold sent So that no whit of them remayning one may see. His groning soule unto her place of punishment. There eke he placed a strong garrisone,

The other which was entred laboured fast And set a seneschall of dreaded might,

To sperre the gate; but that same lumpe of clay, That by his powre oppressed every one,

Whose grudging ghost was thereout fied and past, And vanquished al venturous knights in fight; Right in the middest of the threshold lay, To whom he wont shew all the shame he might, That it the posterne did from closing stay: After that them in battell he bad wonne:

The whiles the prince hard preased in betweene, To which when now they gan approch in sight, And entraunce wonne: streight th' other fled away, The ladie counseld him the place to shonne, And ran into the hall, where he did weene Whereas so many knights had fouly bene fordonne. Himselfe to save; but he there slew hiin at the

skreene. Her fearefull speaches nought he did regard ; But, ryding streight under the castle wall,

Then all the rest which in that castle were, Called aloud unto the watchfull ward

Seeing that sad ensample them before, Wbich there did wayte, willing them forth to call Durst not abide, but fled away for feare, Into the field tbeir tyrants seneschall:

And them convayd out at a posterne dore. To whom when tydings thereof came, he streight Long sought the prince; but when he found no more Cals for his armes, and arming him withall

T'oppose against his powre, he forth issued Eftsoones forth pricked proudly in his might, U'nto that lady, where he her had lore, And gan with courage fierce addresse him to the And ber gan cheare with what she there had vewed, fight.

And, what she bad not seene within, unto her shewed: They both encounter in the middle plaine, Who with right humble thankes him goodly greeting And their sharpe speares doe both together smite For so great prowesse as he there bad proved, Amid their shields with so huge might and maine, Much greater then was ever in her weeting, That seem'd their soules they would have ryven With great admiraunce inwardly was moved, Out of their breasts with furious despight: [quigbt And honourd him with all that her behoved. Yet could the seneschals no entrance find

Thenceforth into that castle he her led Into the princes shield where it empight,

With her two sonnes right deare of her beloved ; (So pure the metall was and well refynd)

Where all that night themselves they cherished, But shivered all about, anal scattered in the wynd: And from her balefull minde all care he banished.

Not so the princes ; but with restlesse force
Into his shield it readie passage found,
Both through his haberieon and eke his corse;

Which tombling downe upon the senselesse ground
Gave-leave unto his ghost from thraldome bound
To wander in the griesly shades of night:

Prince Arthure overcomes the great
There did the prince him leave in deadly swound,

Gerioneo in fight: And thence unto the castle marched right,

Doth slay the monster, and restore
To see if entrance there as yet obtaine he might.

Belgè unto her right.
But, as he nigher drew, three knights he spyde, It often fals, in course of common life,
All arm'd to point issuing forth apace,

That right long time is overborne of wrong Which towards him with all their powre did ryde, Through avarice, or powre, or guile, or strife, And meeting him right in the middle race That weakens her, and makes her party strong : Did all their speares attonce on him enchace. But lustice, though her dome she doe prolong, As three great culverings for batterie bent, Yet at the last she will her owne cause right: And leveld all against one certaine place,

As by sad Belgéseemes ; whose wrongs though long Doe all attouce their thunders rage forthrent, She suffred, yet at length she did requight, That makes the wals to stagger with astonishment: And sent redresse thereof by this brave Briton knight.

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