Page images

For wondrous anguish in his hart it wrought,
To see his loved squyre into such thraldom brought:

And, high advauncing his blood-thirstie blade,
Stroke one of those deformed heades so sore,
That of his puissaunce proud ensample made ;
His monstrous scalpe down to his teeth it tore,
And that misformed shape misshaped more :
A sea of blood gusht from the gaping wownd,
That her gay garments staynd with filthy gore,
And overflowed all the field arownd;
That over shoes in blood he waded on the grownd.

Thereat he rored for exceeding paine,
That, to have heard, great horror would have bred;
And scourging th’emptie ayre with his long trayne,
Through great impatience of his grieved hed,
Mis gorgeous ryder from her loftie sted
Would have cast downe, and trodd in durty myre,
Had not the gyaunt soone her succoured;
Who, all enrag'd with smart and frantick yre,
Came hurtling in full fiers, and forst the knight re-


The force, which wont in two to be disperst,
In one alone left hand he now unites, (erst,
Which is through rage more strong than both were
With which his hideous club aloft he dites,
And at his foe with furious rigor smites,
That strongest oake might seeme to overthrow :
The stroke upon his shield so heavie lites,
That to the ground it doubleth him full low :-
What mortall wight could ever beare so monstrous


And in his fall his shield, that covered was,
Did loose his vele by chaunce, and open flew ;
The light whereof, that Hevens light did pas,
Such blazing brightnesse through the ayër threw,
That eye mote not the same endure to vew.
Which when the gyaunt spyde with staring eye,
He downe let fall his arme, and soft withdrew
His weapon huge, that heaved was on hye,
For to have slain the man, that on the ground did


And eke the fruitfull-headed beast, amazd
At flashing beames of that sunshiny shield,
Became stark blind, and all his sences dazd,
That downe he tumbled on the durtie field,
And seemd himselfe as conquered to yield.
Whom when his maistresse proud perceiv'd to fall,
Whiles yet his feeble feet for faintnesse reeld,
Unto the gyaunt lowdly she gan call ;
“O! helpe, Orgoglio; helpe, or els we perish all."

At her so pitteous cry was much amoov'd
Her champion stout; and, for to ayde his friend,
Againe his wonted angry weapon proovid,
But all in vaine ; for he has redd his end
In that bright shield, and all their forces spend
Themselves in vaine : for, since that glauncing sight,
He hath no powre to hurt, nor to defend.
As where th’ Almighties lightning brond does light,
It dimmes the dazed eyen, and daunts the sences

quight. VOL. 11.


Whom when the prince, to batteill new addrest
And threatning high his dreadful stroke, did see,
His sparkling blade about his head he blest,
And smote off quite his left leg by the knee,
That downe he tombled ; as an aged tree,
High growing on the top of rocky clift,
Whose hart-strings with keene steele nigh hewen


The mightie trunk halfe rent with ragged rift
Doth roll adowne the rocks, and fall with fearefull


Or as a castle, reared high and round,
By subtile engins and malitious slight
Is undermined from the lowest ground,
And her foundation forst, and feebled quight,
At last downe falls; and with her heaped hight
Her hastie ruine does more heavie make,
And yields it selfe unto the victours might:
Such was this gyaunts fall, that seemd to shake
The stedfast globe of Earth, as it for feare did


The knight then, lightly leaping to the pray,
With mortall steele him smot againe so sore,
That headlesse his unweldy bodie lay,
All wallowed in his owne fowle bloody gore,
Which flowed from his wounds in wondrous store,
But, soone as breath out of his brest did pas,
That huge great body, which the gyaunt bore,
Was vanisht quite ; and of that monstrous mas
Was nothing left, but like an emptie blader was.

Whose grievous fall when false Duessa spyde,
Her golden cup she cast unto the gronnd, .
And crowned mitre rudely threw asyde :
Such piercing griefe her stubborne hart did wound,
That she could not endure that dolefull stound;
But, leaving all behind her, fled away :
The light-foot squire her quickly turnd around,
And, by hard meanes enforcing her to stay,
So brought unto his lord, as his deserved pray,

The roiall virgin which beheld from farre,
In pensive plight and sad perplexitie,
The whole atchievement of this doubtfull warre,
Came running fast to greet his victorie,
With sober gladnesse and myld modestie;
And, with sweet ioyous cheare, him thus bespake :
“Fayre braunch of noblesse, flowre of chevalrie,
That with your worth the world amazed make,
How shall I quite the paynes, ye suffer for my sake ?

“ And you, fresh budd of vertue springing fast,
Whom these sad eyes saw nigh unto Deaths dore,
What hath poore virgin for such perill past
Wherewith you to reward ? Accept therefore
My simple selfe, and service evermore.
And He that high does sit, and all things see
With equall eye, their merites to restore,
Behold what ye this day have done for mee;
And, what I cannot quite, requite with usuree!
“But sith the Heavens, and your faire handëling,
Have made you master of the field this day;
Your fortune maister eke with governing,
And, well begonne, end all so well, I pray!

[ocr errors]

Ne let that wicked woman scape away ;
For she, it is, that did my lord bethrall,
My dearest lord, and deepe in dongeon lay;
Where he his better dayes hath wasted all:
O heare, how piteous he to you for ayd does call!”

Forthwith he gave in charge unto his squyre,
That scarlot whore to keepen carefully;
Whyles he himselfe with greedie great desyre
Into the castle entred forcibly,
Where living creature none he did espye:
Then gan he lowdly through the house to call;
But no man car'd to answere to his crye:
There raignd a solemne silence over all;
Nor voice was heard, nor wight was seene in bowre

or hall!

At last, with creeping crooked pace forth came
An old old man, with beard as white as snow:
That on a staffe his feeble steps did frame,
And guyde his wearie gate both too and fro;
For his eye sight him fayled long ygo:
And on his arme a bounch of keyes he bore,
The which unused rust did overgrow:
Those were the keyes of every inner dore ;
But he could not them use, but kept them still in


But very úncouth sight was to behold,
How he did fashion his untoward pace;
For as he forward moov'd his footing old,
So backward still was turnd his wrincled face :
Unlike to men, who ever, as they trace,

« PreviousContinue »