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37 A gentle youth, his dearely loved squire,
His speare of heben wood behind him bare,
Whose harmeful head, thrice heated in the fire,
Had riven many a brest with pikehead square:
A goodly person, and could menage faire
His stubborne steed with curbed canon bit,
Who under him did trample as the aire,
And chauft, that any on his backe should sit
The yron rowels into frothy fome he bit.
38 Whenas this knight nigh to the lady drew,
With lovely court he gan her entertaine ;
But when he heard her answers loth, he knew
Some secret sorrow did her heart distraine :
Which to allay, and calme her storming paine,
Faire feeling words he wisely gan display,
And for her humor fitting purpose faine,
To tempt the cause it selfe for to bewray; Wherewith enmov'd, these bleeding words she gan to say; 39 What worlds delight, or joy of living speach
Can hart, so plung'd in sea of sorrowes deep
And heaped with so huge misfortunes, reach?
The carefull cold beginneth for to creep,
And in my heart his yron arrow steep,
Soone as I thinke upon my bitter bale:
Such helplesse harmes yts better hidden keep,
Then rip up griefe, where it may not availe,
My last left comfort is my woes to weepe and waile.
40 Ah lady deare, quoth then the gentle knight,
Well may I ween your griefe is wondrous great;
For wondrous great griefe groneth in my spright,
Whiles thus I heare you of your sorrowes treat.
But woefull lady, let me you intrete
For to unfold the anguish of your hart :
Mishaps are maistred by advice discrete,
And counsell mitigates the greatest smart;
Found never help, who never would his hurts impart.
41 O but (quoth she) great griefe will not be tould,
And can more easily be thought then said.
Right so; (quoth he) but he, that never would,
Could never: will to might gives greatest aid.
But griefe (quoth she) does greater grow displaid,
If then it find not helpe, and breeds despaire.
Despair breeds not (quoth he) where faith is staid.
No faith so fast (quoth she) but flesh does paire. Flesh may empaire (quoth he) but reason can repaire. 42 His goodly reason, and well guided speach,
So deepe did settle in her gracious thought,
That her perswaded to disclose the breach,
Which love and fortune in her heart had wrought;
And said; Faire Sir, I hope good hap hath brought
You to inquire the secrets of my griefe,
Or that your wisedome will direct my thought,
Or that your prowesse can me yield reliefe:
Then heare the story sad, which I shall tell you briefe.
43 The forlorne maiden, whom your eyes have seene
The laughing stocke of fortunes mockeries,
Am th' onely daughter of a king and queene,
Whose parents deare, whilest equal destinies
Did runne about, and their felicities
The favourable heavens did not envy,
Did spred their rule through all the territories,
Which Phison and Euphrates floweth by,
And Gehons golden waves doe wash continually.
44 Till that their cruell cursed enemy,
An huge great dragon, horrible in sight,
Bred in the loathly lakes of Tartary,
With murdrous ravine, and devouring might,
Their kingdome spoild, and countrey wasted quight,
Themselves, for feare into his jawes to fall,
He forst to castle strong to take their flight;
Where fast embard in mighty brasen wall,
He has them now foure years besiegd to make them thrall.
45 Full many knights, adventurous and stout,
Have enterpriz'd that monster to subdew :
From every coast that heaven walks about,
Have thither come the noble martial crew,
That famous hard atchievements still pursew;
Yet never any could that girlond win,
But all still shronke, and still he greater grew:
All they for want of faith, or guilt of sin, The pitteous pray of his fierce cruelty have bin. 46 At last yled with far reported praise,
Which flying fame throughout the world had spred,
Of doughty knights, whom Faery land did raise,
That noble order hight of maidenhed,
Forthwith to court of Gloriane I sped,
Of Gloriane, great queene of glory bright,
Whose kingdomes seat Cleopolis is red,
There to obtaine some such redoubted knight
That parents deare from tyrants powre deliver might.
47 It was my chance (my chance was faire and good)
There for to find a fresh unproved knight;
Whose manly hands imbrew'd in guilty blood
Had never beene, ne ever by his might
Had throwne to ground the unregarded right:
Yet of his prowesse proofe he since hath made
(I witnesse am) in many a cruell fight;
The groning ghosts of many one dismaide Have felt the bitter dint of his avenging blade. 48 And ye the forlorne reliques of his powre,
His biting sword, and his devouring speare,
Which have endured many a dreadfull stowre,
Can speake his prowesse, that did earst you beare,
And well could rule: now he hath left you heare
To be the record of his ruefull losse,
And of my dolefull disaventurous deare:
O heavie record of the good Redcrosse,
Where have you left your lord, that could so well you tosse ?
49 Well hoped I, and faire beginnings had,
That he my captive languor should redeeme,
Till all unweeting an enchaunter bad
His sence abusd, and made him to misdeeme
My loyalty, not such as it did seeme,
That rather death desire, then such despight.
Be judge ye heavens, that all things right esteeme,
How I him lov'd, and love with all my might,
So thought I eke of him, and think I thought aright.
50 Thenceforth me desolate he quite forsooke,
To wander, where wilde fortune would me lead,
And other bywaies he himselfe betooke,
Where never foot of living wight did tread,
That brought not backe the balefull body dead;
In which him chaunced false Duessa meete,
Mine onely foe, mine onely deadly dread,
Who with her witchcraft, and misseeming sweete,
Inveigled him to follow her desires unmeete.
51 At last by subtill sleights she him betraid
Unto his foe, a gyaunt huge and tall,
Who him disarmed, dissolute, dismaid,
Unwares surprised, and with mighty mall
The monster mercilesse him made to fall,
Whose fall did never foe before behold;
And now in darkesome dungeon, wretched thrall,
Remedilesse, for aie he doth him hold;
This is my cause of griefe, more great then may be told.
52 Ere she had ended all, she gan to faint:
But he her comforted, and faire bespake;
Certes, madame, ye have great cause of plaint,
The stoutest heart, I weene, could cause to quake.
But be of cheare, and comfort to you take;
For till I have acquit your captive knight,
Assure your selfe, I will you not forsake.
His chearefull words reviv'd her chearlesse spright.
So forth they went, the dwarfe them guiding ever right.
Faire virgin, to redeeme her deare,
brings Aribur to the fight:
Wbo slayes that Gyant, wounds the beast,
and strips Duessa quigbt.
i Ay me, how many perils doe enfold
The righteous man, to make him daily fall,
Were not that heavenly grace doth him uphold,
And stedfast truth acquite him out of all.
Her love is firme, her care continuall,
So oft as he through his own foolish pride
Or weaknesse is to sinfull bands made thrall :
Els should this Redcrosse knight in bands have dyde, For whose deliverance she this prince doth thither guide.
2 They sadly traveild thus, untill they came
Nigh to a. castle builded strong and hie:
Then cryde the dwarfe, Lo yonder is the same,
In which my lord, my liege, doth lucklesse lie,
Thrall to that gyants hatefull tyranny:
Therefore, deare sir, your mightie powres assay.
The noble knight alighted by and by
From loftie steede, and bad the ladie stay,
To see what end of fight should him befall that day.
3 So with his squire, th' admirer of his might,
He marched forth towards that castle wall;
Whose gates he found fast shut, ne living wight
To ward the same, nor answere commers call.
Then tooke that squire an horne of bugle small,
Which hong adowne his side in twisted gold
And tassels gay. Wyde wonders over all
Of that same hornes great vertues weren told
Which had approved bene in uses manifold.