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The whiles a most delitious harmony,

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II

In full straunge notes was sweetly heard to With him went Daunger, cloth'd in ragged weed,

sound,

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Made of Beares skin, that him more dreadfull made,

Yet his owne face was dreadfull, ne did need Straunge horrour, to deforme his griesly shade;

A net in th'one hand, and a rustie blade In th'other was, this Mischiefe, that Mishap; With th'one his foes he threatned to inuade, With th'other he his friends ment to enwrap: For whom he could not kill, he practizd to entrap.

12

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28

Where force might not auaile, there sleights and

art

She cast to vse, both fit for hard emprize; For thy from that same roome not to depart Till morrow next, she did her selfe auize, When that same Maskeagaine shouldforth arize. The morrow next appeard with ioyous cheare, Calling men to their daily exercize, Then she, as morrow fresh, her selfe did reare Out of her secret stand, that day for to out

weare.

29

All that day she outwore in wandering,
And gazing on that Chambers ornament,
Till that againe the second euening
Her couered with her sable vestiment,
Wherewith the worlds faire beautie she hath
blent:

Then when the second watch was almost past, That brasen dore flew open, and in went Bold Britomart, as she had late forecast, Neither of idle shewes, nor of false charmes aghast.

30

So soone as she was entred, round about
She cast her eies, to see what was become
Of all those persons, which she saw without:
But lo, they streight were vanisht all and some,
Ne liuing wight she saw in all that roome,
Saue that same woefull Ladie, both whose hands
Were bounden fast, that did her ill become,
And her small wast girt round with yron bands,
Vnto a brasen pillour, by the which she stands.
31

And her before the vile Enchaunter sate,
Figuring straunge characters of his art,
With liuing bloud he those characters wrate,
Dreadfully dropping from her dying hart,
Seeming transfixed with a cruell dart,
And all perforce to make her him to loue.
Ah who can loue the worker of her smart?
A thousand charmes he formerly did proue ;
Yet thousand charmes could not her stedfast
heart remoue.

32

Soone as that virgin knight he saw in place,
His wicked bookes in hast he ouerthrew,
Not caring his long labours to deface,
And fiercely ronning to that Lady trew,
A murdrous knife out of his pocket drew,
The which he thought, for villeinous despight,
In her tormented bodie to embrew:
But the stout Damzell to him leaping light,
His cursed hand withheld, and maistered his
might.

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4I

And rising vp, gan streight to ouerlooke
Those cursed leaues, his charmes backe to She much was cheard to heare him mentiond,

reuerse;

Full dreadfull things out of that balefull booke He red, and measur'd many a sad verse, That horror gan the virgins hart to perse, And her faire locks vp stared stiffe on end, Hearing him those same bloudy lines reherse; And all the while he red, she did extend

Her sword high ouer him, if ought he did offend.

37

Anon she gan perceiue the house to quake,
And all the dores to rattle round about;
Yet all that did not her dismaied make,
Nor slacke her threatfull hand for daungers
dout,

But still with stedfast eye and courage stout Abode, to weet what end would come of all. At last that mightie chaine, which round about Her tender waste was wound, adowne gan fall, And that great brasen pillour broke in peeces small.

Whom of all liuing wights she loued best. Then laid the noble Championesse strong hond Vpon th'enchaunter, which had her distrest So sore, and with foule outrages opprest: With that great chaine, wherewith not long ygo He bound that pitteous Lady prisoner, now relest,

And captiue with her led to wretchednesse and

Himselfe she bound, more worthy to be so,

WO.

42

Returning backe, those goodly roomes, which

erst

She saw so rich and royally arayd,

Now vanisht vtterly, and cleane subuerst She found, and all their glory quite decayd, That sight of such a chaunge her much dismayd. Thence forth descending to that perlous Porch, Those dreadfull flames she also found delayd, And quenched quite, like a consumed torch, That erst all entrers wont so cruelly to scorch.

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Stanzas 43-45 were first inserted in the 1596 quarto, displacing the following stanzas which

concluded Book III in the first edition.

At last she came vnto the place, where late
She left Sir Scudamour in great distresse,
Twixt dolour and despight halfe desperate,
Of his loues succour, of his owne redresse,
And of the hardie Britomarts successe :
There on the cold earth him now thrown she found,
In wilfull anguish, and dead heauinesse,
And to him cald; whose voices knowen sound
Soon as he heard, himself he reared light from
ground.

There did he see, that most on earth him ioyd,
His dearest loue, the comfort of his dayes,
Whose too long absence him had sore annoyd,
And wearied his life with dull delayes:
Straight he vpstarted from the loathed layes,
And to her ran with hasty egernesse,
Like as a Deare, that greedily embayes
In the coole soile, after long thirstinesse,
Which he in chace endured ĥath, now nigh breath-
lesse.

Lightly he clipt her twixt his armes twaine,
And streightly did embrace her body bright,
Her body, late the prison of sad paine,
Now the sweet lodge of loue and deare delight:
But she faire Lady ouercommen quight
Of huge affection, did in pleasure melt,
And in sweete rauishment pourd out her spright:
No word they spake, nor earthly thing they felt,
But like two senceles stocks in long embracement
dwelt.

Had them seene, ye'y
ye
would haue surely thought,
That they had beene that faire Hermaphrodite,
Which that rich Romane of white marble wrought,
And in his costly Bath causd to bee site:
So seemd those two, as growne together quite,
That Britomart halfe enuying their blesse,
Was much empassiond in her gentle sprite,
And to her selfe oft wisht like happinesse,
In vaine she wisht, that fate n'ould let her yet

possesse.

Thus doe those louers with sweet counteruayle,
Each other of loues bitter fruit despoile.
But now my teme begins to faint and fayle,
All woxen weary of their iournall toyle:
Therefore I will their sweatie yokes assoyle
At this same furrowes end, till a new day:
And ye faire Swayns, after your long turmoyle,
Now cease your worke, and at your pleasure play;
Now cease your worke; to morrow is an holy day.

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