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47 At last when perils all I weened past,
And hop'd to reape the crop of all my care,
Into new woes unweeting I was cast
By this false faytor, who unworthy ware
His worthy shield, whom he with guilefull snare
Entrapped slew, and brought to shamefull grave.
Me silly maid away with him he bare,
And ever since hath kept in darksome cave;
For that I would not yeeld, that to Sans foy I gave.
48 But since faire sunne hath sperst that lowring clowd,
And to my loathed life now shewes some light,
Under your beames I will me safely shrowd
From dreaded storme of his disdainfull spight :
To you th' inheritance belongs by right
Of brothers prayse, to you eke longs 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 endlesse move.
49 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 Sans foy, his vitall paines are past,
Though greeved ghost for vengeance deepe do grone:
He lives, that shall him pay his dewties last,
And guiltie elfin blood shall sacrifice in hast.
50 O but I feare the fickle freakes (quoth shee)
Of fortune false, and oddes of armes in field.
Why Dame (quoth he) what oddes can ever bee
Where both do fight alike, to win or yield ?
Yea but (quoth she) he beares a charmed shield,
And eke enchaunted armes, that none can perce;
Ne none can wound the man, that does them wield.
Charmd or enchaunted (answerd he then ferce)
I no whit reck, ne you the like need to reherce.
51 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, that I the Elfe subdew,
And with Sans foyes dead dowry you endew.
Ay me, that is a double death (she said)
With proud foes sight my sorrow to renew :
Where ever yet I be, my secret aid
Shall follow you. So passing forth she him obaid.
The faithfull knight in equall field
subdewes bis faithlesse foe; Whom false Duessa saves, and for
bis cure to bell does goe.
1 THE noble hart, that harbours vertuous thought,
And is with child 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, how that doughtie turnament
With greatest honour be atchieven might:
Still did he wake, and still did watch for dawning light.
2 At last the golden orientall gate
Of greatest heaven gan to open faire,
And Phoebus fresh, as bridegrome to his mate,
Came dauncing forth, shaking his deawie haire ;
And hurls his glistring beams through gloomy aire.
Which when the wakeful Elfe perceiv’d, streightway
He started up, and did him selfe prepaire
In sunbright armes, and battailous array:
For with that Pagan proud he combat will that day.
3 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 lord.
4 Soone 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 fetcht 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.
5 At last forth comes that far renowmed Queene,
With royall pomp and princely majestie;
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
Sans foy his shield is hangd with bloudy hew:
Both those the lawrell girlonds to the victor dew.
6 A shrilling trompet sownded from on hye,
And unto battaill bad themselves addresse :
Their shining shieldes about their wrestes they tye,
And burning blades about their heades doe 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 fraile.
7 The Sarazin was stout, and wondrous strong,
And heaped blowes like yron hammers great ;
For after bloud 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 he did fight.
Both stricken strike, and beaten both do beat,
That from their shields forth flyeth firie light,
And helmets hewen deepe shew marks of eithers might.
8 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,
Through widest 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 soothsayer, seeing so sad sight,
Th' amazed vulgar tels of warres and mortall fight.
9 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, that streames of bloud 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. 10 At last the Paynim chaunst to cast his eye,
His suddein eye, flaming with wrathful 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,
Whilest here thy shield is hangd for victors hyre,
And sluggish german doest thy forces slake
To after-send his foe, that him may overtake?
11 Goe caytive Elfe, him quickly overtake,
And soone redeeme from his longwandring 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 battell deemed tho
The lookers on, and lowd to him gan call
The false Duessa, Thine the shield, and I, and all.