Page images

“ Thence she thee brought into this Faery lond,
And in an heaped furrow did thee hyde ;
Where thee a ploughman all unweeting fond,
As he his toylesome teme that way did guyde,
And brought thee up in ploughmans state to byde,
Whereof Gëorges he thee gave to name;
Till prickt with courage, and thy forces pryde,
To Faery court thou cam’st to seek for fame,
And prove thy puissant armes, as seemes thee best


“O holy sire,” quoth he, “how shall I quight
The many favours I with thee have fownd,
That hast my name and nation red aright,
And taught the way that does to Heaven bownd!"
This saide, adowne he looked to the grownd
To have returnd, but dazed were his eyne
Through passing brightnes, which did quite con-

found His feeble sence, and too exceeding shyne. So darke are earthly thinges compared to thinges


At last, whenas himself he gan to fynd,
To Una back he cast him to retyre ;
Who him awaited still with pensive mynd.
Great thankes, and goodly meed, to that good syre
He thens departing gave for his paynes hyre.
So came to Una, who him ioyd to see ;
And, after litle rest, gan him desyre
Of her adventure mindfull for to bee.
So leave they take of Cælia and her daughters three.


The knight with that old dragon fights

Two dayes incessantly :
The third, him overthrowes ; and

Most glorious victory.

High time now gan it wex for Una fayre
To thinke of those her captive parents deare,
And their forwasted kingdom to repayre:
Whereto whenas they now approched neare,
With hartie wordes her knight she gan to cheare,
And in her modest manner thus bespake ;
“Deare knight, as deare as ever knight was deare,
That all these sorrowes suffer for my sake,
High Heven behold the tedious toyle, ye for me


“Now are we come unto my native soyle,'
And to the place where all our perilles dwell;
Here hauntes that feend, and does his daily spoyle ;
Therefore henceforth bee at your keeping well,
And ever ready for your foeman fell:
The sparke of noble corage is now awake,
And strive your excellent selfe to excell:
That shall ye evermore renowmed make
Above all knights on Earth, that batteill undertake."

And pointing forth, “Lo! yonder is,” said she,
“ The brasen towre, in which my parents deare
For dread of that huge feend emprisond be;
Whom I from far see on the walles appeare,
Vol. U.


Whose sight my feeble soule doth greatly cheare :
And on the top of all I do espye
The watchman wayting tydings glad to heare;
That, O my parents, might I happily
Unto you bring, to ease you of your misery!"

With that they heard a roaring hideous sownd,
That all the ayre with terror filled wyde,
And seemd uneath to shake the stedfast ground,
Eftsoones that dreadful dragon they espyde,
Where stretcht he lay upon the sunny side
Of a great hill, himselfe like a great hill:
But, all so sovne as he from far descryde
Those glistring armes that Heven with light did fill,
He rousd himselfe full blyth, and hastned them un-


Then badd the knight his lady yede aloof,
And to an hill herselfe withdraw asyde;
From whence she might behold that battailles proof,
And eke be safe from daunger far descryde:
She him obayd, and turnd a little wyde.-
Now, O thou sacred Muse, most learned dame,
Fayre ympe of Phæbus and his aged bryde,
The nourse of time and everlasting fame,
That warlike handes ennoblest with immortall name;

O, gently come into my feeble brest,
Come gently; but not with that mightie rage,
Wherewith the martiall troupes thou doest infest,
And hartes of great heroës doest enrage,
That nought their kindled corage may aswage :
Soone as thy dreadfull trompe begins to sownd,
The god of warre with his fiers equipage

Thou doest awake, sleepę neuer he so sownd; and scared nations doest with horror sterne astownd.

Fayre goddesse, lay that furious fitt asyde,
Till I of warres and bloody Mars doe sing,
And Bryton fieldes with Sarazin blood bedyde,
Twixt that great Faery queene and Paynim king,
That with their horror Heven and Earth did ring;
A worke of labour long, and endlesse prayse :
But now a while lett downe that haughtie string,
And to my tunes thy second tenor rayse,
That I this man of God his godly armes may blaze.

By this, the dreadful beast drew nigh to hand,
Halfe flying and halfe footing in his haste,
That with his largenesse measured much land,
And made wide shadow under his huge waste ;
As mountaine doth the valley overcaste.
Approching nigh, he reared high afore
His body monstrous, horrible, and vaste ;
Which, to increase his wondrous greatnes more,
Was swoln with wrath and poyson, and with bloody


And over all with brasen scales was armd,
Like plated cote of steele, so couched neare
That nought mote perce; ne might his corse be

With dint of swerd, nor push of pointed speare:
Which, as an eagle, seeing pray appeare,
His aery plumes doth rouze full rudely dight;
So shaked he, that horror was to heare :

For, as the clashing of an armor bright,
Such noyse bis rouzed scales did send unto the


His Aaggy winges, when forth he did display,
Were like two sayles, in which the hollow wynd
Is gathered full, and worketh speedy way:
And eke the pennes, that did his pineons bynd,
Were like mayne-yardes with Aying canvas lynd;
With which whenas him list the ayre to beat,
And there by force unwonted passage fynd,
The cloudes before him fledd for terror great,
And all the heavens stood still amazed with his threat.

His huge long tayle, wownd up in hundred foldes,
Does overspred his long bras-scaly back,
Whose wreathed boughtes when ever he unfoldes,
And thick-entangled knots adown does slack,
Bespotted as with shieldes of red and blacke.
It sweepeth all the land behind him farre,
And of three furlongs does but little lacke;
And at the point two stinges infixed arre, [farre.
Both deadly sharp, that sharpest steele exceeden

But stinges and sharpest steele did far exceed
The sharpnesse of his cruel rending clawes :
Dead was it sure, as sure as death indeed,
What ever thing does touch bis ravenous pawes,
Or what within his reach he ever drawes.
But his most hideous head my tongue to tell
Does tremble ; for his deepe devouring iawes
Wyde gaped, like the griesly mouth of Hell,
Through which into his darke abysse all ravin fell.

« PreviousContinue »