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Him well behoved so; for his three foes
Sought to encompasse him on every side,
And dangerously did round about enclose :
But, most of all, Defetto him annoyde,
Creeping behinde him still to have destroyde;
So did Decetto eke him circumvent;
But stout Despetto in his greater pryde
Did front him, face to face against him bent:
Yet he them all withstood, and often made relent.

Till that at length nigh tyrd with former chace,
And weary now with carefull keeping ward,
He gan to shrinke and somewhat to give place,
Full like ere long to have escaped hard;
Whenas unwares he in the forrest heard
A trampling steede, that with his neighing fast
Did warne his rider be uppon his gard;

With noise whereof the Squire, now nigh aghast,
Revived was, and sad dispaire away did cast.

Eftsoones he spide a Knight approching nye;
Who, seeing one in so great daunger set
Mongst many foes, himself did faster hye
To reskue him, and his weake part abet,
For pitty so to see him overset:
Whom soone as his three enemies did vew,
They fled, and fast into the wood did get :
Him booted not to thinke them to pursew;
The covert was so thicke, that did no passage shew.

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Then, turning to that Swaine, him well he knew
To be his Timias, his owne true Squire;
Whereof exceeding glad, he to him drew,
And, him embracing twixt his armes entire,
Him thus bespake; "My liefe, my lifes desire,
Why have ye me alone thus long yleft ?
Tell me what worlds despight, or heavens yre,
Hath you thus long away from me bereft ?

Where have ye all this while bin wandring, where bene weft?

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With that he sighed deepe for inward tyne:
To whom the Squire nought aunswered againe,
But, shedding few soft teares from tender eyne,
His dear affect with silence did restraine,
And shut
up
all his plaint in privy paine.
There they awhile some gracious speeches spent,
As to them seem'd fit time to entertaine :
After all which up to their steedes they went,
And forth together rode, a comely couplement.

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So now they be arrived both in sight

Of this Wyld Man, whom they full busie found
About the sad Serena things to dight,
With those brave armours lying on the ground,
That seem'd the spoile of some right well renownd.
Which when that Squire beheld, he to them stept
Thinking to take them from that hylding hound;
But he it seeing lightly to him lept,

And sternely with strong hand it from his handling kept:

Gnashing his grinded teeth with griesly looke,

And sparkling fire out of his furious eyne,
Him with his fist unwares on th' head he strooke,
That made him downe unto the earth encline;
Whence soone upstarting, much he gan repine,
And laying hand upon his wrathfull blade
Thought therewithall forthwith him to have slaine;
Who it perceiving hand upon him layd,
And greedily him griping his avengement stayd.

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With that aloude the faire Serena cryde

Unto the Knight, them to dispart in twaine:
Who to them stepping did them soone divide,
And did from further violence restraine,
Albe the Wyld Man hardly would refraine.
Then gan the Prince of her for to demand
What and from whence she was; and by what traine
She fell into that Salvage Villaines hand;

And whether free with him she now were, or in band.

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To whom she thus; "I am, as now ye see,
The wretchedst Dame that lives this day on ground,
Who both in minde (the which most grieveth me)
And body have receiv'd a mortall wound,
That hath me driven to this drery stound.
I was erewhile the Love of Calepine;
Who whether he alive be to be found,

Or by some deadly chaunce be done to pine, Since I him lately lost, uneath is to define.

"In salvage forrest I him lost of late,

Where I had surely long ere this bene dead,
Or else remained in most wretched state,
Had not this Wylde Man in that wofull stead
Kept and delivered me from deadly dread.
In such a salvage wight, of brutish kynd,
Amongst wilde beastes in desert forrests bred,
It is most straunge and wonderful to fynd
So milde humanity and perfect gentle mynd.

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"Let me therefore this favour for him finde,

That ye will not your wrath upon him wreake, Sith he cannot expresse his simple minde, Ne yours conceive, ne but by tokens speake: Small praise to prove your powre on wight so weake!" With such faire words she did their heate asswage, And the strong course of their displeasure breake, That they to pitty turnd their former rage, And each sought to supply the office of her Page.

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So, having all things well about her dight,

She on her way cast forward to proceede; And they her forth conducted, where they might Finde harbour fit to comfort her great neede; For now her wounds corruption gan to breed: And eke this Squire, who likewise wounded was Of that same Monster late, for lacke of heed Now gan to faint, and further could not pas Through feeblenesse, which all his limbes oppressed has.

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So forth they rode together all in troupe

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To seeke some place, the which mote yeeld some ease To these sicke twaine that now began to droupe : And all the way the Prince sought to appease The bitter anguish of their sharpe disease By all the courteous meanes he could invent; Somewhile with merry purpose, fit to please, And otherwhile with good encouragement, To make them to endure the pains did them torment.

Mongst which, Serena did to him relate

The foule discourt'sies and unknightly parts,
Which Turpine had unto her shewed late
Without compassion of her cruell smarts:
Although Blandina did with all her arts
Him otherwise perswade all that she might,
Yet he of malice, without her desarts,
Not onely her excluded late at night,
But also trayterously did wound her weary Knight.

Wherewith the Prince sore moved there avoud
That, soone as he returned backe againe,
He would avenge th' abuses of that proud
And shameful Knight, of whom she did complaine.
This wize did they each other entertaine
To
passe
the tedious travell of the way;

Till towards night they came unto a Plaine,
By which a little Hermitage there lay,
Far from all neighbourhood, the which annoy it

may.

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And nigh thereto a little Chappel stoode,
Which being all with Yvy overspred
Deckt all the roofe, and, shadowing the roode,
Seem'd like a grove faire braunched over hed:
Therein the Hermite, which his life here led
In streight observaunce of religious vow,
Was wont his howres and holy things to bed;
And therein he likewise was praying now,

Whenas these Knights arriv'd, they wist not where nor how.

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They stayd not there, but streightway in did pas :
Whom when the Hermite present saw in place,
From his devotion streight he troubled was;
Which breaking off he toward them did pace
With stayed steps and grave beseeming grace :
For well it seem'd that whilome he had beene
Some goodly person, and of gentle race,

That could his good to all; and well did weene
How each to entertaine with curt'sie well beseene:

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And soothly it was sayd by common fame,
So long as age enabled him thereto,
That he had bene a man of mickle name,
Renowmed much in armes and derring doe:
But being aged now, and weary to

Of warres delight and worlds contentious toyle,
The name of Knighthood he did disavow;
And, hanging up his armes and warlike spoyle,
From all this worlds incombrance did himselfe assoyle.

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He thence them led into his Hermitage,

Letting their steedes to graze upon the Greene: Small was his house, and, like a little cage, For his owne turne; yet inly neate and clene, Deckt with greene boughes and flowers gay beseene: Therein he them full faire did entertaine Not with such forged showes, as fitter beene For courting fooles that curtesies would faine, But with entire affection and appearaunce plaine.

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Yet was their fare but homely, such as hee
Did use his feeble body to sustaine ;
The which full gladly they did take in glee,
Such as it was, ne did of want complaine,
But, being well suffiz'd, them rested faine:
But fair Serene all night could take no rest,
Ne yet that gentle Squire, for grievous paine
Of their late woundes, the which the Blatant Beast
Had given them, whose griefe through suffraunce sore in-

creast.

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