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“ Forwearied with my sportes, I did alight
From loftie steed, and downe to sleep me layd :
The verdant gras my couch did goodly dight,
And pillow was my helmett fayre displayd :
Whiles every sence the humour sweet embayd,
And slombring soft my hart did steale away,
Me seemed, by my side a royall mayd
Her daintie limbes full softly down did lay :
So fayre a creature yet saw never sunny day.
“Most goodly glee and lovely blandishment
She to me made, and badd me love her deare;
For dearely sure her love was to me bent,
As, when iust time expired, should appeare.
But, whether dreames delude, or true it were,
Was never hart so ravisht with delight,
Ne living man like wordes did ever heare,
As she to me delivered all that night;
And at her parting said, she queene of Faries hight.
“When I awoke, and found her place devoyd,
And nought but pressed gras where she had lyen,
I sorrowed all so much as earst I ioyd,
And washed all her place with watry eyen.
From that day forth I lov'd that face divyne ;
From that day forth I cast in carefull mynd,
To seek her out with labor and long tyne,
And never vowd to rest till her I fynd: [bynd.”
Nyne monethes I seek in vain, yet ni'll that vow un•
Thus as he spake, his visage wexed pale,
And chaunge of hew great passion did bewray ;
Yett still he strove to cloke his inward bale,
And hide the smoke that did his fire display;
Till gentle Una thus to him gan say ;
“O happy queene of Faries, that hast fownd,
Mongst many, one that with his prowesse may
Defend thine honour, and thy foes confownd !
True loves are often sown, but seldom grow on
“Thine, O! then,” said the gentle Redcrosse knight,
“Next to that ladies love, shal be the place,
O fayrest virgin, full of heavenly light,
Whose wondrous faith, exceeding earthly race,
Was firmest fixt in myne extremest case.
And you, my lord, the patrone of my life,
Of that great queene may well gaine worthie grace;
For onely worthie you through prowes priefe,
Yf living man mote worthie be, to be her liefe.”
So diversly discoursing of their loves,
The golden Sunne his glistring head gan shew,
And sad remembraunce now the prince amoves
With fresh desire his voyage to pursew :
Als Una earnd her traveill to renew.
Then those two knights, fast frendship for to bynd,
And love establish each to other trew.
Gave goodly gifts, the signes of gratefull mynd,
And eke, as pledges firme, right hands together
Prince Arthur gave a boxe of diamond sure,
Embowd with gold and gorgeous ornament,
Wherein were closd few drops of liquor pure,
Of wondrous worth, and vertue excellent,
That any wownd could heale incontinent.
Which to requite, the Redcrosse knight him gave
A booke, wherein his Saveours Testament
Was writt with golden letters rich and brave;
A worke of wondrous grace, and hable soules to save.
Thus beene they parted ; Arthur on his way
To seeke his love, and th’ other for to fight
With Unaes foe, that all her realme did pray.
But she, now weighing the decayed plight
And shrunken synewes of her chosen knight,
Would not a while her forwsrd course pursew,
Ne bring him forth in face of dreadfull fight,
Till he recovered had his former hew :
For him to be yet weake and wearie well she knew.
So as they traveild, lo! they gan espy
An armed knight towards them gallop fast,
That seemed from some feared foe to fly,
Or other griesly thing, that him aghast.
Still, as he fledd, his eye was backward cast,
As if his feare still followed him behynd :
Als few his steed, as he his bandes had brast,
And with his winged heeles did tread the wynd,
As he had been a fole of Pegasus his kynd.
Nigh as he drew, they might perceive his head
To be unarmd, and curld uncombed heares
Upstaring stiffe, dismaid with úncouth dread :
Nor drop of blood in all his face appeares,
Nor life in limbe; and, to increase his feares,
In fowle reproch of knighthoodes fayre degree,
About his neck an hempen rope he weares,
That with his glistring armes does ill agree :
But he of rope, or armes, has now no memoree.
The Redcrosse knight toward him crossed fast,
To weet what mister wight was so dismayd :
There him he findes all senceless and aghast,
That of himselfe he seemd to be afrayd ;
Whom hardly he from flying forward stayd,
Till he these wordes to him deliver might;
“ Sir Knight, aread who hath ye thus arayd,
And eke from whom make ye this hasty flight?
For never knight I saw in such misseeming plight.”
He answerd nought at all; but adding new
Feare to his first ainazment, staring wyde
With stony eyes and hartlesse hollow hew,
Astonisht stood, as one that had aspyde
Infernall Furies with their chaines untyde.
Him yett againe, and yett againe, bespake
The gentle knight; who nought to him replyde;
But, trembling every ioynt, did inly quake,
And foltring tongue at last these words seemd forth
“For Gods deare love, sir Knight, doe me not stay;
For loe! he comes, he comes fast after mee!”
Eft looking back would faine have runne away;
But he him forst to stay, and tellen free
The secrete cause of his perplexitie:
Yet nathëmore by his bold hartie speach
Could his blood-frosen hart emboldned bee,
But through his boldnes rather feare did reach;
Yett, forst, at last he made through silence suddien
“ And am I now in safetie sure," quoth he,
“ From him, that would have forced me to dye?
And is the point of death now turnd fro mee, That I may tell this haplesse history?" “Fear nought,” quoth he," no daunger now is nye.” “Then shall I you recount a ruefull cace,” Said he, “the which with this unlucky eye I late beheld ; and, had not greater grace Me reft from it, had bene partaker of the place.
“I lately chaunst (would I had never chaunst!)
With a fayre knight to keepen companee,
Sir Terwin hight, that well himselfe advaunst
In all affayres, and was both bold and free;
But not so happy as mote happy bee:
He lov’d, as was his lot, a lady gent,
That him againe lov’d in the least degree;
For she was proud, and of too high intent,
And ioyd to see her lover languish and lament:
“ From whom retourning sad and comfortlesse,
As on the way together we did fare,
We met that villen, (God from him me blesse !)
That cursed wight, from whom I scapt whyleare,
A man of Hell, that calls himselfe Despayre :
Who first us greets, and after fayre areedes
Of tydinges straunge, and of adventures rare :
So creeping close, as snake in hidden weedes,
Inquireth of our states, and of our knightly deedes.
“Which when he knew, and felt our feeble harts
Embost with bale, and bitter byting griefe,
Which Love had launched with his deadly darts :
With wounding words, and termes of foule repriefe,
He pluckt from us all hope of dew reliefe,