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DEscription of the KINGs of THRAcE AND INDIA.
There mightst thou see, coming with Palamon, The great Lycurgus, sovrein king of Thrace: Black was his beard, and manly was his face; The restless glancing of his eyen bright, Shone with a glowing and a fearful light, And like a griffon looked he about. * † o: * * * * * His limbs were great, his sinews hard and strong, His shoulders broad, his arms were round and long; And, as the manner was in his countree, Full high upon a car of gold stood he, Drawen by four bulls of milk-white hue. And in the place of any coat of mail, He had a bear's skin, black as is a coal. His hair was long, and braided down his back, As any raven's feather shining black. | A coronet of gold, of greatest weight, Upon his head sat, full of jewels bright, Of rubies fine, and sparkling diamonds. "About his car there wenten snow-white hounds, Twenty and more, as great as any steer, To hunten at the lion or the deer ; And followed him, with muzzle fast ybound.
With Arcite came Emetrius, king of Inde,
Covered with pearls, white, round, and great;
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THE CAVE OF DESPAIR
Ere long they come, where that same wicked wight His dwelling has, low in a hollow cave, Far underneath a craggy cliff ypight, Dark, doleful, dreary, like a greedy grave, That still for carrion carcases doth crave : On top whereof ay dwelt the ghastly owl, Shrieking his baleful note, which ever drave Far from that haunt all other cheerful fowl; And all about it wandering ghosts did wail and howl.
And all about old stocks and stubs of trees, Whereon nor fruit nor leaf was ever seen. Did hang upon the ragged, rocky knees; On which had many wretches hanged been, Whose carcases were scattered on the green, And thrown about the cliffs. Arrived there, That bare-head Knight, for dread and doleful teene, Would fain have fled, ne durst approachen near; But the other forced him stay, and comforted in fear
That darksome cave they enter, where they find That cursed man, low sitting on the ground, Musing full sadly in his sullen mind; His grisly locks, long growen and unbound, Disordered hung about his shoulders round, And hid his face; through which his hollow eyne Looked deadly dull, and stared as astound; His raw-bone cheeks, through penury and pine, Were shrunk into his jaws, as he did never dine:
His garment, nought but many ragged clouts,
Which piteous spectacle approving true The wofull tale that Trevisan had told, When as the gentle red-cross knight did view, With fiery zeal he burnt in courage bold, Him to avenge before his blood was cold; And to the villain said, “Thou damned wight, The author of this fact we here behold, What justice can but judge against thee right, With thine own blood to price his blood, here shed in
“What frantic fit,” quoth he, “hath thus distraught Thee, foolish man, so rash a doom to give 7 What justice ever other judgment taught, But he should die who merits not to live : None else to death this man despairing drove, But his own guilty mind deserving death. Is’t then unjust to each his due to give? Or let him die that loatheth living breath ; Or let him die at ease, that liveth here uneath 1
“Who travels by the weary wandering way, To come unto his wished home in haste, And meets a flood, that doth his passage stay, Is’t not great grace to help him over past, Or free his feet, that in the mire stick fast? Most envious man, that grieves at neighbours' good, And fond, that joyest in the wo thou hast; Why wilt not let him pass, that long hath stood Upon the bank, yet wilt thyself not pass the flood?
“He there does now enjoy eternal rest
Ease after war, death after life, doth greatly please."