« PreviousContinue »
From dreaded storme of his disdainfull spright;
To you th' inheritance belongs by right
Of brothers prayse to you eke longes his love.
Let not his love, let not his restlesse spright,
Be unreveng'd, that calles to you above
From wandring Stygian shores, where it doth end-
Thereto said he, “Faire dame, be nought dismaid
For sorrowes past ; their griefe is with them gone.
Ne yet of present perill be affraid :
For needlesse feare did never vantage none;
And helplesse hap it booteth not to mone.
Dead is Sansfoy, his vitall paines are past,
Though greeved ghost for vengeance deep to
He lives, that shall him pay his dewties last,
And guiltie Elfin blood shall sacrifice in hast,"
"O, but I feare the fickle freakes," quoth shee, "Of fortune false, and odds of armes in field;" "Why, dame,” quoth he, “what oddes can ever bee, Where both doe fight alike, to win or yield? " Yea, but," quoth she, “he beares a charmed
shield, And eke enchaunted armes, that none can percc ;
can wound the man, that does them
wield.” “Charmd or enchaunted,” answerd he then ferce, "I no whitt reck; ne you the like need to reherce.
* But, faire Fidessa, sithens fortunes guile, Or enimies powre, hath now captived you, Returne from whence ye came, and rest a while,
Till morrow next, thar I the elfe subdew, And with Sansfoyes dead dowry you endew.” ~ Ah me, that is a double death,” she said, “ With proud foes sight my sorrow to renew : Where ever yet I be, my secret aide Shall follow you." So, passing forth, she him obaid.
The faithfull knight in equall field
Subdewes his faithlesse foe;
Whom false Duessa saves, and for
His cure to hell does goe.
The noble hart that harbours vertuous thought,
And is with childe of glorious great intent,
Can never rest, untill it forth have brought
Th' eternall brood of glorie excellent.
Such restlesse passion did all night torment
The flaming corage of that Faery knight,
Devizing, now that doughtie turnament
With greatest honour be atchieven might:
Still did he wake, and still did watch for dawning
At last, the golden orientall gate
Of greatest Heaven gan to open fayre ;
And Phæbus, fresh as brydegrome to his mate,
Came dauncing forth, shaking his deawie hayre;
And hurld his glistring beams through gloomy ayre.
Which when the wakeful Elfe perceiv’d, streight-
lle started up, and did him selfe prepayre
In sunbright armes, and battailous array;
For with that Pagan proud he combatt will that
And forth he comes into the commune hall;
Where earely waite him many a gazing eye,
To weet what end to straunger knights may fall.
There many minstrales maken melody,
To drive away the dull melancholy,
And many bardes, that to the trembling chord
Can tune their timely voices cunningly;
And many chroniclers, that can record
Old loves, and warres for ladies doen by many a
Sooner after comes the cruell Sarazin,
In woven maile all armed warily;
And sternly lookes at him, who not a pin
Does care for looke of living creatures eye.
They bring them wines of Greece and Araby,
And daintie spices fetch from furthest Ynd,
To kindle heat of corage privily ;
And in the wine a solemne oth they bynd
T'observe the sacred lawes of armes, that are assynd.
At last forth comes that far renowned queene.
With royall pomp and princely maiestie
She is ybrought unto a paled greene,
And placed under stately canapee,
The warlike feates of both those knights to see.
On th’ other side in all mens open vew
Duessa placed is, and on a tree
Sansfoy his shield is hangd with bloody hew:
Both those, the lawrell girlonds to the victor dew.
A shrilling trompett sownded from on hye,
And unto battaill bad themselves addresse :
Their shining shieldes about their wrestes they tye,
And burning blades about their heades do blesse,
The instruments of wrath and heavinesse :
With greedy force each other doth assayle,
And strike so fiercely, that they do impresse
Deepe dinted furrowes in the battred mayle :
The yron walles to ward their blowes are weak and
The Sarazin was stout and wondrous strong,
And heaped blows like yron hammers great;
For after blood and vengeance he did long.
The knight was fiers, and full of youthly heat,
And doubled strokes, like dreaded thunders threat:
For all for praise and honour did he fight.
Both stricken stryke, and beaten both doe beat;
That from their shields forth Ayeth firie light,
And helmets, hewen deepe, shew marks of eithers
So th' one for wrong, the other strives for right:
As when a gryfon, seized of his pray,
A dragon fiers encountreth in his flight,
ayre making his ydle way,
That would his rightfull ravine rend away :
With hideous horror both together smight,
And souce so sore, that they the Heavens affray:
The wise southsayer, seeing so sad a sight,
Th' amazed vulgar telles of warres and mortal fight,
So th’ one for wrong, the other strives for right; And each to deadly shame would drive his foe: The cruell steele so greedily doth bight
In tender flesh, the streames of blood down flow;
With which the armes, that earst so bright did show,
Into a pure vermillion now are dyde.
Great ruth in all the gazers harts did grow,
Seeing the gored woundes to gape so wyde,
That victory they dare not wish to either side.
At last the Paynim chaunst to cast his eye,
His suddein eye, flaming with wrathfull fyre,
Upon his brothers shield, which hong thereby :
Therewith redoubled was his raging yre,
And said; “ Ah! wretched sonne of wofull syre,
Doest thou sit wayling by blacke Stygian lake,
Whylest here thy shield is hangd for victors hyre?
And, sluggish german, doest thy forces slake
To after-send his foe, that him may overtake?
“Go, caytive Elfe, him quickly overtake,
And soone redeeme from his long-wandring woe :
Goe, guiltie ghost, to him my message make,
That I his shield have quit from dying foe.”
Therewith upon his crest he stroke him so,
That twise he reeled, readie twise to fall :
End of the doubtfull battaile deemed tho
The lookers, on; and lowd to him gan
(all !" The false Duessa, " Thine the shield, and I, and
Soone as the Faerie heard his ladie speake,
Out of his swowning dreame he gan awake;
And quickning faith, that earst was woxen weake,
The creeping deadly cold away did shake ;
Tho mov'd with wrath, and shame, and ladies sake,
Of all attonce he cast aveng'd to be,
And with so exceeding furie at him strake,