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Dark was the evening, fit for Lovers stealth,
When chanst Malbecco busie be else-where,
She to his closet went, where all his wealth
Lay hid: thereof the countless sums did rear,
The which she meant away with her to bear;
The rest, she fir'd for sport, or for despight;
As Hellen, when she saw aloft appear
The Trojan Aames, and reach to heavens height, Did clap her hands, and joyed at that doleful light.
This second Hellen, fair Dame Hellenore,
The whiles her husband ran with sorry hafte
To quench the flames which she had tin'd before,
Laught at his foolith labour spent in waste;
And ran into her Lovers arms right fast ;
Where straight embraced, she to him did cry,
And call aloud for help, ere help were paft;
For lo, that guest would bear her forcibly, And meant to ravish her, that rather had to dye.
The wretched man, hearing her call for aid,
And ready seeing him with her to fly,
In his disquiet mind was much dismaid :
But when again he backward cast his eye,
And saw the wicked fire so furiously
Consume his heart, and scorch his idols face,
He was there with distressed diversly,
Ne wist he how to turn, nor to what place;
Was never wretched man in such a woeful case.
XV, Ay when to him she cride, to her he turn'd, And left the fire; Love, money overcame : But, when he marked how his money burn'd, He left his wife; money did Love disclaim : Both was he loth to lose his loved Dame, And loth to leave his liefest pelf behind, Yet sith he n'ote save both, he fav’d that same
Which was the dearest to his dunghill mind, The God of his desire, the joy of misers blind.
Thus whilst all things in troublous uproar were,
And all men bulie to suppress the Aame,
The loving couple need no rescue fear,
But leisure had, and liberty to frame
Their purposd Aight, free from all mens
reclame ; And Night (the patroness of love-stealth fair) Gave him safe conduct, till to end they came :
So been they gone yfere (a wanton pair
Of Lovers loosely knit) where list them to repair.
Soon as the cruel flames ysacked were,
Malbecco, seeing how his loss did lie,
Out of the flames, which he had quencht whylere
Into huge waves of grief and jealousie
Full deep emplonged was, and drowned nigh,
Twixt inward dool and felonous despight;
He rav'd, he wept, he stampt, he loud did cry,
And all the passions that in man may light,
Did him attonce oppress, and vex his caitive spright.
Long thus he chawd the cud of inward grief,
And did consume his gall with anguish fore:
Still when he mused on his late mischief,
Then still the smart thereof increased more,
And seem'd more grievous than it was before :
At last, when sorrow he saw booted nought,
Ne grief might not his Love to him restore,
He'gan devise, how her he rescue mought,
Ten thousand ways he cast in his confused thought.
At last, resolving like a pilgrim poor
To learch her forth, where so she might be fond,
And bearing with him treasure in close store,
The rest he leaves in ground: So takes in hond
To seek her endlong, both by sea and lond.
Long he her sought, he fought her far and near,
And every where that he mote understond,
Of Knights and Ladies any meetings were,
And of each one he met, he tidings did inquere.
But all in vain, his woman was too wise,
Ever to come into his clouch again,
And he too simple ever to surprise
The jolly Paridell, for all his pain.
One day, as he fore passed by the plain
With weary pace, he far away espide.
A couple (seeming well to be his twain)
Which hoved close under a forest fide,
As if they lay in wait, or else themselves did hide.
Well weened he, that those the same mote be:
And as he better did their shape avize,
Him seemed more their manner did agree ;
For th’one was armed all in warlike wize,
Whom to be Paridell he did devize ;
And th’other, all yclad in garments light,
Discolour'd like to womanish disguize,
He did resemble to his Lady bright;
And ever his faint heart much yearned at the fight.
And ever fain he towards them would go,
But yet durft not for dread approachen nigh,
But stood aloof, unweering what to do ;
Till that prickt forth with loves extremity,
That is the father of foul jealousie,
He closely nearer crept, the truth to weet :
But, as he nigher drew, he easily
Might ’scern, that it was not his sweetest sweet,
yet her Belamour, the partner of his sheet.
But it was scornful Braggadochio,
That with his servant Trompart hover'd there,
Since late he fled from his too earnest foe :
Whom such whenas Malbecco spyed clear,
He turned back, and would have fled arear;
Till Trompart running haft’ly, him did stay,
And bade before his foveraine Lord appear :
That was hin loth, yet durft he not gain-say,
And coming him before, low louted on the lay.
The boaster at him sternly bent his brow,
As if he could have kill'd him with his look,
That to the ground him meekly made to bow,
And aweful terror deep into him strook,
That every member of his body quook.
Said he, thou man of nought, what dost thou here,
Unfitly furnisht with thy bag and book,
Where I expected one with shield and spear,
To prove fome deeds of arms upon an equal peer.
The wretched man, at his imperious speech,
Was all abalht, and low proftrating, said;
Good Sir, let not my rudeness be a breach
Unto your patience, ne be ill ypaid;
For I unwares this way by fortune strayd,
A filly Pilgrim driven to distress,
That seek a Lady. There he suddain stayd,
And did the rest with grievous sighs suppress, While cears stood in his eyes (few drops of bitterness.)
What Lady, man? said Trompart, take good heart,
And tell thy grief, if any hidden lye ;
Was never better time to shew thy smart
Than now, that noble fuccour is thee by,
That is the whole worlds common remedy.
That chearful word his weak heart much did chear,
And with vain hope his spirits faint supply,
That bold he faid; O most redoubted Peer,
Vouchsafe with mild regard a wretches cafe to hear.
Then sighing fore, It is not long, said he,
Since I enjoy'd the gentleft Dame alive;
Of whom a Knight, no Knight at all perdee,
But shame of all that do for honour strive,
By treacherous deceipt did me deprive;
Through open ouc-rage he her bore away,
And with foul force unto his will did drive,
Which all good Knights, that arms do bear this day, Are bound for to revenge, and punish if they may.
And you (most noble Lord) that can and dare
Redress the wrong of miserable wight,
Cannot employ your most victorious spear
In better quarrel, than defence of right,
And for a Lady'gainst a faithless Knight;
So shall your glory be advanced much,
And all fair Ladies magnify your might,
And eke my self (albe I simple such)
Your worthy pain shall well reward with guerdon rich.
With that, out of his bouger forth he drew
Great store of treasure, there with him to tempt;
But he on it lookt scornfully askew,
As much disdeigning to be so misdempt,
Or a war-monger to be basely nempt ;
And said ; Thy offers base I greatly loath,
And eke thy words uncourteous and unkempt;
I tread in dust thee and thy money both,
That, were it not for shame ; So turned from him wroth.
But Trompart, that his masters humour knew,
In lofty looks to hide an humble mind,
Was inly tickled with that golden view,
And in his ear him rounded close behind :
Yet stoopt he not, but lay still in the wind,
Waiting advantage on the prey to seife;
Till Trompart lowly to the ground inclin'd,
Besought him his great courage to appease,
And pardon simple man, that rash did him displease.
Big looking, like a doughty Doucëpere,
At last he thus ; Thou clod of vileft clay,
I pardon yield, and with thy rudeness bear ;
But weet henceforth, that all that golden prey,
And all that else the vain world vaunten may,
I loath as dung, ne deem my due reward :
Fame is my meed, and glory vertues pay.
But minds of mortal men are muchell mar'd,
And moy'd amiss with masie mucks unmeet regard.