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68 At last, whenas himselfe he gan to find,
To Una back he cast him to retire ;
Who him awaited still with pensive mind.
Great thankes, and goodly meed, to that good syre
He thens departing gave for his paines hyre.
So came to Una, who him joyd to see;
And, after litle rest, gan him desyre
Of her adventure mindfull for to bee.
So leave they take of Caelia and her daughters three.
The knight with that old Dragon fights
two dayes incessantly:
The third, him overthrowes, and gayns
most glorious victory.
I High time now gan it wex for Una faire
To thinke of those her captive parents deare,
And their forwasted kingdome to repaire :
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 heaven behold the tedious toyle ye for me take.
2 Now are we come unto my native soyle,
And to the place where all our perils dwell;
Here haunts that feend, and does his dayly spoyle;
Therefore henceforth be at your keeping well,
And ever ready for your foeman fell:
The sparke of noble courage now awake,
And strive your excellent selfe to excell :
That shall ye evermore renowmed make
Above all knights on earth, that batteill undertake.
3 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,
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.
4. With that they heard a roaring hideous sound,
That all the ayre with terror filled wide,
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 soone as he from far descride
Those glistring armes that heaven with light did fill,
He rousd himselfe full blith, and hastned them untill.
5 Then bad the knight his Lady yede aloof,
And to an hill herselfe withdraw aside :
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,
Faire ympe of Phoebus and his aged bride,
The nourse of time and everlasting fame,
That warlike hands ennoblest with immortall name;
6 0, gently come into my feeble brest,
Come gently, but not with that mighty rage,
Wherewith the martiall troupes thou doest infest,
And harts of great heroës doest enrage,
That nought their kindled courage may aswage :
Soone as thy dreadfull trompe begins to sownd,
The God of warre with his fiers equipage
Thou doest awake, sleepe never he so sownd;
And scared nations doest with horrour sterne astownd.
7 Faire Goddesse, lay that furious fit aside,
Till I of warres and bloudy Mars do sing,
And Briton fields with Sarazin bloud bedyde,
Twixt that great faery Queene, and Paynim king,
That with their horrour heaven and earth did ring;
A worke of labour long and endlesse prayse:
But now a while let downe that haughtie string
And to my tunes thy second tenor rayse,
That I this man of God his godly armes may blaze.
8 By this, the dreadfull 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 greatnesse more,
Was swoln with wrath and poyson, and with bloudy gore;
9 And over, all with brasen scales was armd,
Like plated coate of steele, so couched neare
That nought mote perce, ne might his corse be harmd
With dint of sword, nor push of pointed speare ;
Which, as an eagle, seeing pray appeare,
His aery plumes doth rouze full rudely dight;
So shaked he, that horrour was to heare :
For, as the clashing of an armour bright,
Such noyse his rouzed scales did send unto the knight.
10 His fiaggy wings, 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-yards with flying canvas lynd ;
With which whenas him list the ayre to beat,
And there by force unwonted passage find,
The cloudes before him fled for terrour great,
And all the heavens stood still amazed with his threat.
11 His huge long tayle, wound up in hundred foldes,
Does overspred his long bras-scaly back,
Whose wreathed boughts when ever he unfoldes,
And thicke entangled knots adown does slack,
Bespotted as with shields of red and blacke,
It sweepeth all the land behind him farre,
And of three furlongs does but litle lacke;
And at the point two stings in-fixed arre,
Both deadly sharp, that sharpest steele exceeden farre,
12 But stinges and sharpest steele did far exceed
The sharpnesse of his cruell rending clawes;
Dead was it sure, as sure as death in deed,
What ever thing does touch his 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 jawes
Wide gaped, like the griesly mouth of hell,
Through which into his darke abysse all ravin fell.
13 And, that more wondrous was, in either jaw
Three ranckes of yron teeth enraunged were,
In which yett trickling bloud, and gobbets raw,
Of late devoured bodies did appeare,
That sight thereof bred cold congealed feare:
Which to increase, and all atonce to kill,
A cloud of smoothering smoke, and sulphure seare,
Out of his stinking gorge forth steemed still,
That all the ayre about with smoke and stench did fill.
14 His blazing eyes, like two bright shining shields,
Did burne with wrath, and sparkled living fyre:
As two broad beacons, set in open fields,
Send forth their flames far off to every shyre,
And warning give, that enemies conspyre
With fire and sword the region to invade ;
So flam'd his eyne with rage and rancorous yre :
But far within, as in a hollow glade,
Those glaring lampes were set, that made a dreadfull shade.
15 So dreadfully he towardes him did pas,
Forelifting up aloft his speckled brest,
And often bounding on the brused gras,
As for great joyance of his newcome guest.
Eftsoones he gan advance his haughty crest,
As chauffed bore his bristles doth upreare,
And shoke his scales to battell ready drest;
That made the Redcrosse knight nigh quake for feare,
As bidding bold defiance to his foeman neare,