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Then did he fet her by that snowy one,
Like the true Saint beside the Image set ;
Of both their beauties to make paragone,
And trial, whether should the honour get.
Straightway so soon as both together met,
Th'enchanted damzell vanisht into nought :
Her snowy substance melted as with heat,
Ne of that goodly hue remained ought,
But th'empty girdle, which about her waist was wrought.
As when the daughter of Thaumantes fair,
Hath in a watry cloud displayed wide
Her goodly bow, which paints the liquid air,
That all men wonder at her colours pride ;
All suddenly, ere one can look aside,
The glorious picture vanisheth away,
Ne any token doth thereof abide:
So did his Ladies goodly form decay,
And into nothing go, ere one could it bewray.
Which whenas all that present were beheld,
They striken were with great astonishment;
And their faint hearts with senseless horrour quell'd,
To see the thing that seem'd so excellent,
So stolen from their fancies wonderment;
That what of it became, none underitood.
And Braggadocbio self with dreriment
So daunted was in his despairing mood,
That like a lifeless corse immoveable he stood.
But Arthegal that golden belt uptook,
The which of all her spoil was only left ;
Which was not hers, as many it mistook,
But Florimeils own girdle, from her reft,
While she was Aying, like a weary weft,
From that fout monster, which did her compell
To perils great; which he unbuckling ell,
Presented to the faireit Florimell:
Who round about her tender waist it ficted well.
Full many Ladies often had affay'd,
About their middles that fair belt to knit ;
And many a one supposd to be a maid :
Yet it to none of all their loins would fic,
Till Florimell about her faften'd it.
Such power ic had, that to no womans wain
By any skill or labour it would fit,
Unless that she were continent and chaite,
But it would loose or break, that many had disgrac'd.
Whilst thus they busied were 'bout Florimeli,
And boastful Braggadocbio to defame,
Sir Guyon (as by fortune them befell)
Forth from the thickest prease of people came,
His own good steed, which he had stoln, to claim,
And th' one hand seizing on his golden bit,
With th' other drew his sword : foe with the same
He meant the thief there deadly to have smit:
And had he not been held, he nought had fail'd of it.
Thereof great hurly burly moved was
Throughout the hall, for that same warlike horse.
For Braggadocbio would not let him pass;
And Guyon would him algates have perforce,
Or it approve upon his carion corfe.
Which troublous ftir when Artbegal perceivid,
He nigh them drew, to stay th'avengers force ;
And 'gan inquire, how was that steed bereav'd, Whether by might extort, or else by Neight deceiv'd.
Who all that piteous story, which befell
About that woeful couple, which were Nain,
And their young bloody babe, to him 'gan tell;
With whom whiles he did in the wood remain,
His horse purloined was by subtle train :
For which he challenged the thief to fight.
But he for nought could him thereto constrain :
For as the death he hated such despight,
And rather had to lose, than cry in arms his right.
Which Arthegal well hearing, though no more
By law of arms there need ones right to try,
As was the wont of warlike Knights of yore,
Than that his foe should him the field deny :
Yet further right by tokens to descry,
He askt what privy tokens he did bear.
If that said Guyon, may you sacisfie,
Within his mouth a black spot doth appear,
Shap'd like a horses shoe, who lift to seek it there.
Whereof to make due trial, one did take
The horse in hand, within his mouth to look :
But with his heels so forely he him strake,
That all his ribs he quite in pieces brake,
That never word from that day forth he spoke.
Another that would seem to have more wit,
Him by the bright embroidred head-stall cook :
But by the shoulder him so sore he bit,
That he him maimed quite, and all his shoulder splic.
Ne he his mouth would open unto wight,
Untill that Guyon self unto him spake,
And called Brigadore (fo was he hight :)
Whose voice so soon as he did undertake,
Eftfoons he stood as still as any stake,
And suffred all his secret mark to see:
And whenas he him nam’d, for joy he brake
His bands, and follow'd him with gladful glee, And friskt, and flung aloft, and louted low on knec.
Thereby Sir Arihegal did plain areed,
That unto him che horse belong'd, and said;
Lo there Sir Guyon, take to you the steed,
As he with golden saddle is array'd :
And let that Losel, plainly now display'd,
Hence fare on foot, cill he an horse have gain's.
But the proud boafter 'gan his dogm upbraid,
And him revil'd, and rated, and Wisdain'u,
Thac judgement so unjust againft him had ordain a.
Much was the Knight incenc'd with his lewd word,
To have revenged that his villany :
And chrice did lay his hand upon his sword,
To have him flain, or dearly doen aby,
But Gayon did his choler pacify,
Saying, Sir Knight, it would dishonour be
To you, that are our judge of equity,
To wreak your wrath on such a Carle as he :
It's pupishment enough, that all his shame do fee.
So did he mitigate Sir Arthegall;
But Telus by the back the boafter hent,
And drawing him out of the open hall,
Upon him did inflict this punishment.
First he his beard did thave, and fouly shent:
Then from him reft his shield, and it renverst,
And blotted out his arms with falshood blent,
And himself baffuld, and his arms unherst,
And broke his sword in twain, and all his armour sperft.
The whiles his guileful groom was fled away :
But vain it was to think from him to fly.
Who overtaking him did disarray,
And all his face deform'd with infamy,
And out of court him scourged openly.
So ought all faytours, that true knighthood shame,
And arms dishonour with base villany,
From all brave Knights be banisht with defame,
For oft their lewdness blotteth good deserts with blame.
Now when these counterfeits were thus uncas'd
Out of the fore-side of their forgery,
And in the fight of all men clean disgrac'd,
All’yan to jest and gibe full merrily
At the remembrance of their knavery.
Ladies 'gan laugh at Ladies, Knights at Knights,
To think with how great vaunt of bravery
He them abused through his subtil Nights,
And what a glorious Chew be made in all their lights,
There leave we them in pleasure and repast,
Spending their joyous days and gladful nights,
And taking usury of time forepast,
With all dear delices and rare de lights,
Fit for such Ladies and such lovely Knights :
And turn we here to this fair furrows end
Our weary yokes, to gather fresher Sprights,
That whenas time to Artbegal shall tend,
We on his first adventure may him forward send.
Arthegal dealeth right betwixt
Two brethren that do firive:
Saves Terpine from the gallow tree,
And doth from death reprive.
1. W hoso upon
himself will take the skill True justice unto people to divide, Have need of mighty hands for to fulfill That which he doth with righteous doom decide, And for to maister wrong and puissant pride. For vain it is to deem of things aright, And makes wrong-doers justice to deride,
Unless it be perform’d with dreadless might. For powre is the right hand of Justice truly hight.
Therefore whylome to Knights of great emprise,
The charge of Justice given was in trust,
That they might execute her judgements wife,
And with their might beat down licentious luft,
Which proudly did impugne her sentence juft.
Whereof no braver precedent this day
Remains on earth, preserv'd from iron rust
Of rude oblivion, and long times decay,
Than this of Artbegal, which here we have to say.