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When he him saw, for no demaunds he staide, But first him losde, and afterwards thus to him said;


"Unhappy Squire, what hard mishap thee brought
Into this bay of perill and disgrace?

What cruell hand thy wretched thraldome wrought,
And thee captyved in this shamefull place?"
To whom he answered thus; "My haplesse case
Is not occasiond through my misdesert,
But through misfortune, which did me abase
Unto this shame, and my young hope subvert,
Ere that I in her guilefull traines was well expert.



"Not farre from hence, uppon yond rocky hill,
Hard by a streight there stands a Castle strong,
Which doth observe a custome lewd 3 and ill,
And it hath long mayntaind with mighty wrong:
For may no Knight nor Lady passe along

That way, (and yet they needs must passe that way,
By reason of the streight, and rocks among,)

But they that Ladies lockes doe shave away,


And that Knights beard, for toll which they for passage



"A shamefull use as ever I did heare,"

Sayd Calidore," and to be overthrowne.

But by what meanes did they at first it reare,5

And for what cause? tell if thou have it knowne."

Sayd then that Squire; "The Lady, which doth owne
This Castle, is by name Briana hight;

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Then which a prouder Lady liveth none:

She long time hath deare lov'd a doughty Knight,

And sought to win his love by all the meanes she might.


"His name is Crudor; who, through high disdaine

And proud despight of his selfe-pleasing mynd,
Refused hath to yeeld her love againe,

Untill a mantle she for him doe fynd

With beards of Knights and locks of Ladies lynd:
Which to provide, she hath this Castle dight,2
And therein hath a Seneschall assynd,

Cald Maleffort, a man of mickle might,

Who executes her wicked will with worse despight.


"He, this same day as I that way did come
With a faire Damzell my beloved deare,
In execution of her lawlesse doome
Did set uppon us flying both for feare;
For little bootes against him hand to reare:
Me first he tooke unhable to withstond,
And whiles he her pursued every where,
Till his returne unto this tree he bond;
Ne wote 3 I surely whether he her yet have fond."


Thus whiles they spake they heard a ruefull shrieke
Of one loud crying, which they streightway ghest
That it was she the which for helpe did seeke.
Tho, looking up unto the cry to lest,5

They saw that Carle from farre with hand unblest

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That all her garments from her snowy brest,

And from her head her lockes he nigh did teare, Ne would he spare for pitty, nor refraine for feare.


Which haynous sight when Calidore beheld,
Eftsoones1he loosd that Squire, and so him left
With hearts dismay and inward dolour 2 queld,3
For to pursue that Villaine, which had reft 4
That piteous spoile by so iniurious theft:

Whom overtaking, loude to him he cryde;

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Leave, faytor, quickely that misgotten weft 6

To him that hath it better iustify de,

And turne thee soone to him of whom thou art defyde."


Who, hearkning to that voice, himselfe upreard,
And, seeing him so fiercely towardes make,

Against him stoutly ran, as nought afeard,

But rather more enrag'd for those words sake;
And with sterne count'naunce thus unto him spake;
"Art thou the Caytive that defyest me,

And for this Mayd, whose party thou doest take,
Wilt give thy beard, though it but little bee?

Yet shall it not her lockes for raunsome fro me free.”


With that he fiercely at him flew, and layd
On hideous strokes with most importune 7 might,
That oft he made him stagger as unstayd,8

1 Eftsoones, immediately.

3 Queld,


2 Dolour, grief.

4 Reft, taken. 5 Faytor, villain.

8 Unstayd, unsteady.

• Weft, waif, thing waived or abandoned. 7 Importune, cruel.

XVIII. 8.—That hath it better iustifyde.] That hath a better claim

to it.


And oft recuile to shunne his sharpe despight:

But Calidore, that was well skild in fight,
Him long forbore, and still his spirite spar'd,
Lying in waite how him he damadge might:

But when he felt him shrinke, and come to ward,2 He greater grew, and gan to drive at him more hard.


Like as a water-streame, whose swelling sourse
Shall drive a mill, within strong bancks is pent,
And long restrayned of his ready course;
So soone as passage is unto him lent,

Breakes forth, and makes his way more violent;
Such was the fury of Sir Calidore:

When once he felt his foe-man to relent,
He fiercely him pursu'd, and pressed sore;
Who as he still decayd,3 so he encreased more.


The heavy burden of whose dreadfull might
Whenas the Carle no longer could sustaine,
His heart gan faint, and streight he tooke his flight
Toward the Castle, where, if need constraine,
His hope of refuge used to remaine:

Whom Calidore perceiving fast to flie,

He him pursu'd and chaced through the plaine, That he for dread of death gan loude to crie Unto the Ward to open to him hastilie.


They, from the wall him seeing so aghast,
The gate soone opened to receive him in ;
But Calidore did follow him so fast,

1 Recuile, retreat. 2 Ward, guard. • Decayd, yielded.

That even in the porch he him did win,'
And cleft his head asunder to his chin:
The carkasse tumbling downe within the dore
Did choke the entraunce with a lumpe of sin,
That it could not be shut; whilest Calidore
Did enter in, and slew the Porter on the flore.2


With that the rest the which the Castle kept
About him flockt, and hard at him did lay;
But he them all from him full lightly swept,
As doth a steare, in heat of sommers day,
With his long taile the bryzes 3 brush away.
Thence passing forth into the hall he came,
Where of the Lady selfe in sad dismay
He was ymett, who with uncomely shame
Gan him salute, and fowle upbrayd with faulty blame:


"False traytor Knight," said she, "no Knight at all,
But scorne of armes ! that hast with guilty hand
Murdered my men, and slaine my Seneschall;
Now comest thou to rob my house unmand,
And spoile myselfe, that cannot thee withstand?
Yet doubt thou not, but that some better Knight
Then thou, that shall thy treason understand,
Will it avenge, and pay thee with thy right:

And if none do, yet shame shall thee with shame requight."


Much was the Knight abashed at that word;

Yet answer'd thus; "Not unto me the shame,
But to the shamefull doer it afford.

1 Win, overtake.

3 Bryzes, (Briosa, Sax.,) gadflies.

On the flore, on the spot.
Then, than.

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