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Whom whenas he thus combred did behold,
Striving in vain that nigh his bowels brast,
He with him clos'd : and laying mighty hold
Upon his throat, did gripe his gorge so fast,
That wanting breath, him down to ground he cast;
And then oppressing him with urgent pain,
Ere long entorc'd to breathe his utmost blast,
Nashing his cruel teeth at him in vain, [ftrain.
And threatning his sharp claws, now wanting powre to
Then took he up betwixt his armës twain
The little babe, sweet relicks of his prey;
Whom pitying to hear so sore complain,
From his soft eyes the tears he wip'd away,
And from his face the filth that did it ray:
And every little limb he searcht around,
And every part, that under sweath-bands lay,
Left that the beasts sharp teeth had any wound
Made in his tender flesh; but whole them all he found.
So having all his bands again up-tide,
He with him thought back to return again :
But when he looke about on every side,
To weet which way were best to entertain,
To bring him to the place where he would fain,
He could no path nor tract of foot descry,
Ne by inquiry learn, nor guess by aim.
For nought but woods and forests far and nigh,
Thar all about did close the compass of his eye.
Much was he then encombred, ne could tell
Which way to take : now West he went awhile,
Then North; then neither, but as fortune fell.
So up and down he wandred many a mile,
With weary travel and uncertain toil,
Yet nought the nearer to his journeys end;
And evermore his lovely little spoil
Crying for food did greatly him offend.
So all that day in wandring vainly he did spend...
At last, about the setting of the Sun,
Himself out of the forest he did wind,
And by good fortune the plain champion won :
Where looking all about, where he mote find
Some place of succour to content his mind,
At length he heard under the forests side
A voice, that seemed of some woman-kind,
Which to herself lamenting loudly cride,
And oft complain'd of fate, and fortune oft defide.
To whom approaching, whenas she perceiv'd
A stranger wight in place, her plaint she stayd,
As if she doubted to have been deceiv'd,
Or loth to let her forrows be bewray'd.
Whom whenas Calepine saw so dismay'd,
He to her drew, and with fair blandishment
Her chearing up, thus gently to her laid;
What be you woeful Dame, which thus lament? And for what cause declare, so mote ye not repent.
To whom she thus; What need me Sir to tell
That which yourself have earst aread so right?
A woeful Dame ye have me termed well;
So much more woeful, as my woeful plight
Cannot redressed be by living wight.
Nath'less, quoth he, if need do not you bind,
Do it disclose, to ease your grieved ipright:
Oft-times it haps, that forrows of the mind Find remedy unsought, which seeking cannot find.
Then thus began the lamentable Dame;
Sith then ye needs will know the grief I hoard,
I am th’unfortunate Matilde by name,
The wife of bold Sir Bruin, who is Lord
Of all this land, late conquer'd by his sword
From a great Giant, called Cormoraunt ;
Whom he did overthrow by yonder ford,
And in three battles did so deadly daunt,
That he dare not return for all his daily vaunt.
So is my Lord now seiz'd of all the land,
And in his fee, with peaceable estate,
And quietly doth hold it in his hand,
Ne any dares with him for it debate.
But to these happy fortunes, cruel Fate
Hath join’d one evil, which doth over-throw
All these our joys, and all our bliss abate ;
And like in çime to further ill to grow,
And all this land with endless loss to overflow,
For th'heavens, envying our prosperity,
Have not vouchsaft to grant unto us twain
The gladful blessing of pofterity,
Which we might see after our selves remain
In th’heritage of our unhappy pain :
So that for want of heirs it to defend,
All is in time like to return again
To that foul Fiend, who daily doch attend
To leap into the same after our livës end.
But most my Lord is grieved here-withall,
And makes exceeding moan, when he does think
That all this land unto his foe shall fall,
For which he long in vain did sweat and swink,
That now the same he greatly doth forthink.
Yet was it said, there should to him a Son
Be gotten, not begotten, which should drink
And dry up all the water, which doth rone
In the next brook, by whom that Fiend should be fordone,
Well hop'd he then, when this was propheside,
That from his side some noble child should rise,
The which, through fame should far be magnifide,
And this proud Giant should with brave emprise
Quite overthrow, who now 'gias to despise
The good Sir Bruin, growing far in years;
Who thinks from me his forrow all doch rise.
Lo, this my cause of grief to you appears;
For which I thus do mourn, and pour forch ceaseless teass.
Which when he heard, he inly touched was
With tender ruth for her unworthy grief:
And when he had devized of her case,
He 'gan in mind conceive a fit relief
For all her pain, if please her make the prief.
And having cheared her, thus said ; fair Dame,
In evils, caunsel is the comfort chief:
Which though I be not wise enough to frame,
Yet as I well it mean, vouchsafe it without blame.
If that the cause of this your languishment
Be lack of children, to supply your place ;
Lo how good fortune doth to you present
This little babe of sweet and lovely face,
And spotless sprite, in which ye may enchace
Whatever forms ye lift thereto apply,
Being now soft and fit them to embrace ;
Whether ye list him train in chevalry,
Or noursle up in lore of learn’d philosophy.
And certes it hath often-times been seen,
That of the like whose linage was unknown,
More brave and noble Knights have raised been
(As their victorious deeds have often shown,
Being with fame through many nations blown)
Than those, which have been dandled in the lap.
Therefore some thought, that those brave Imps were
Here by the Gods, and fed with heavenly fap, [sown That made them grow.'so high c’all honourable hap.
The Lady, hearkning to his sensefull speech,
Found nothing that he said, unmeet nor geason,
Having oft seen it tride, as he did teach.
Therefore inclining to his goodly reason,
Agreeing well both with the place and season,
She gladly did of that same babe accept,
As of her own by livery and seisin;
And having over it a little wept,
She bore it thence, and ever as her own it kept..
Right glad was Calepine to be fo rid
Of his young charge, whereof he skilled nought :
Ne she less glad; for the so wisely did,
And with her husband under hand so wrought,
That when that infant unto him she brought,
She made him think it surely was his own,
And it in goodly thews so well upbrought,
That it became a famous Knight well known,
And did right noble deeds, the which elsewhere are shown.
But Calepine, now being left alone
Under the green-woods side in forry plight,
Withouten arms or steed to ride upon,
Or house to hide his head from heavens spight,
Albe that Dame, (by all the means she might)
Him oft désired home with her to wend;
And offred him (his court'ly to require)
Both hørfe and arms, and whatso else to lend;
Yet he them all refus'd, though thankt her as a friend.
And for exceeding grief which inly grew,
That he his Love so luckless now had lost,
On the cold ground, maugre himself he threw
For fell despight, to be so sorely croft ;
And there all night himself in anguish toft ;
Vowing that never he in bed again
His limbs would rest, ne lig in ease embost,
Till that his Ladies fight he mote attain,
Or understand, that she in safety did remain.