Page images

Long she thus traveiled through deserts wyde,
By which she thought her wandring knight shold

Yet never shew of living wight espyde :
Till that at length she found the troden gras,
In which the tract of peoples footing was,
Under the steepe foot of a mountaine hore:
The same she followes, till at last she has
A damzel spyde slow-footing her before,
That on her shoulders sad a pot of water bore.

To whom approching she to her gan call,
To weet, if dwelling place were nigh at hand :
But the rude wench her answerd nought at all ;
She could not heare, nor speake, nor understand :
Till, seeing by her side the lyon stand,
With suddein feare her pitcher downe she threw,
And fled away: for never in that land
Face of fayre lady she before did vew,
And that dredd lyons looke her cast in deadly hew


Full fast she fled, ne ever lookt behynd,
As if her life


wager lay;
And home she came, whereas her mother blynd
Sate in eternall night; nought could she say ;
But, suddeine catching hold, did her dismay
With quaking hands, and other signes of feare :
Who, full of ghastly fright and cold affray,
Gan shut the dore. By this arrived there
Dame Una, weary dame, and entrance did requere:

Which when none yielded, her unruly page
With his rude clawes the wicket open rent,

And let her in; where, of his cruell rage
Nigh dead with feare, and faint astonishment,
Shee found them both in darksome corner pent :
Where that old woman day and night did pray
Upon her beads, devoutly penitent;
Nine hundred Pater nosters every day,
And thrise nine hundred Aves she was wont to say:

And, to augment her painefull penaunce more,
Thrise every weeke in ashes shee did sitt,
And next her wrinkled skin rough sackecloth wore,
And thrise-three times did fast from any bitt:
But now for feare her beads she did forgett,
Whose needlesse dread for to remove away,
Faire Una framed words and count’naunce fitt:
Which hardly doen, at length she gan them pray,
That in their cotage small that night she rest her


The day is spent; and commeth drowsie night,
When every creature shrowded is in sleepe:
Sad Una downe her laies in weary plight,
And at her feete the lyon watch doth keepe:
In stead of rest, she does lament, and weepe,
For the late losse of her deare-loved knight,
And sighes, and grones, and evermore does steepe
Her tender brest in bitter teares all night; [light.
All night she thinks too long, and often lookes for

Now when Aldeboran was mounted hye
Above the shinie Cassiopeias chaire,
And all in deadly sleepe did drowned lye,
One knocked at the dore, and in would fare ;
He knocked fast, and often curst, and sware,

That ready entraunce was not at his call ;
For on his backe a heavy load he bare
Of nightly stelths, and pillage severall,
Which he had got abroad by purchas criminall.

He was, to weete, a stout and sturdy thiefe,
Wont to robbe churches of their ornaments,
And poore mens boxes of their due reliefe,
Which given was to them for good intents:
The holy saints of their rich vestiments
He did disrobe, when all men carelesse slept;
And spoild the priests of their habiliments ;
Whiles none the holy things in safety kept,
Then he by conning sleights in at the window crept-

And all, that he by right or wrong could find,
Unto this house he brought, and did bestow
Upon the daughter of this woman blind,
Abessa, daughter of Corceca slow,
With whom he whoredome usd that few did know,
And fed her fatt with feast of offerings,
And plenty, which in all the land did grow;
Ne spared he to give her gold and rings :
And now he to her brought part of his stolen things.

Thus, long the dore with rage and threats he bett;
Yet of those fearfull women none durst rize,
(The lyon frayed them) him in to lett ;
He would no lenger stay him to advize,
But open breakes the dore in furious wize,
And entring is; when that disdainfull beast,
Encountring fierce, him suddein doth surprize ;
And, seizing cruell clawes on trembling brest,
Under his lordly foot him proudly hath supprest.

Him booteth not resist, nor succour call,
His bleeding hart is in the vengers hand;
Who streight him rent in thousand peeces small,
And quite dismembred hath : the thirsty land
Dronke up his life ; his corse left on the strand.
His fearefull freends weare out the wofull night,
Ne dare to weepe, nor seeme to understand
The heavie hap, which on them is alight;
Affraid, least to themselves the like mishapen


Now when broad day the world discovered has,
Up Una rose, up rose the lyon eke;
And on their former iourney forward pas,
In waies unknowne, ber wandring knight to seeke,
With paines far passing that long-wandring Greeke,
That for his love refused deitye :
Such were the labours of this lady meeke,
Still seeking him, that from her still did flye; (nye.
Then furthest from her hope, when most she weened

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Soone as she parted thence, the fearfull twayne,
That blind old woman, and her daughter dear,
Came forth ; and, finding Rirkrapine there slayne,
For anguish great they gan to rend their heare,
And beat their brests, and nsked flesh to teare :
And when they both had wept and wayld their fill,
Then forth they ran, like two amazed deare,
Halfe mad through malice and revenging will,
To follow her, that was the causer of their ill :

Whome overtaking, they gan loudly bray,
With hollow houling, and lamenting cry;
Shamefully at her rayling all the way,

And her accusing of dishonesty,
That was the flowre of faith and chastity :
And still, amidst her rayling, she did pray
That plagues, and mischiefes, and long misery,
Might fall on her, and follow all the way;
And that in endlesse error she might ever stray.

But, when she saw her prayers nought le,
Shee backe retourned with some labour lost :
And in the way, as shee did weepe and waile,
A knight her mett in mighty armes embost,
Yet knight was not for all his bragging bost;
But subtill Archimag, that Una sought
By traynes into new troubles to have toste ;
Of that old woman tidings he besought,
If that of such a lady shee could tellen ought.

Therewith she gan her passion to renew,
And cry, and curse, and raile, and rend her heare,
Saying, that harlott she too lately knew,
That causd her shed so many a bitter teare;
And so forth told the story of her feare.
Much seemed he to mone her haplesse chaunce,
And after for that lady did inquere ;
Which being taught, he forward gan advaunce
His fair enchaunted steed, and eke his charmed


Ere long he came where Una traveild slow,
And that wilde champion wayting her besyde ;
Whome seeing such, for dread hee durst not show
Him selfe too nigh at hand, but turned wyde
Unto an hil; from whence when she him spyde,
By his like-seeming shield her knight by name

« PreviousContinue »