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Beside those armes there stood a mightie speare,
Which Bladud made by Magick art of yore,
And usd the same in batteill aye to beare;
Sith which it had beene here preserv'd in store,
For his great virtues proved long afore:
For never wight so fast in sell could sit,
But him perforce unto the ground it bore :
Both speare she tooke and shield which hong by it; Both speare and shield of great powre, for her purpose fit.
Thus when she had the Virgin all arayd,
Another harnesse which did hang thereby
About herselfe she dight, that the yong Mayd
She might in equall armes accompany,
And as her Squyre attend her carefully :
Tho to their ready Steedes they clombe full light;
And through back waies, that none might them espy,
Covered with secret cloud of silent night,
Themselves they forth convaid, and passed forward right
Ne rested they, till that to Faery Lond
They came, as Merlin them directed late :
Where, meeting with this Redcrosse Knight, she fond
Of diverse thinges discourses to dilate,
But most of Arthegall and his estate.
At last their wayes so fell, that they mote part:
Then each to other, well affectionate,
Frendship professed with unfained hart :
The Redcrosse Knight diverst; but forth rode Britomart.
HERE is the antique glory now become, That whylome wont in wemen to appeare? Where be the brave atchievements doen by some ? Where be the batteilles, where the shield and speare, And all the conquests which them high did reare, That matter made for famous Poets verse, And boastfull men so oft abasht to heare?
Beene they all dead, and laide in dolefull herse? Or doen they onely sleepe, and shall againe reverse?
If they be dead, then woe is me therefore;
But if they sleepe, O let them soone awake!
For all too long I burne with envy sore
To heare the warlike feates which Homere spake
Of bold Penthesilee, which made a lake
Of Greekish blood so ofte in Trojan Plaine ;
But when I reade, how stout Debora strake
Proud Sisera, and how Camill' hath slaine
The huge Orsilochus, I swell with great disdaine.
Yet these, and all that els had puissaunce,
Cannot with noble Britomart compare,
Aswell for glorie of great valiaunce,
As for pure chastitee and vertue rare,
That all her goodly deedes doe well declare.
Well worthie stock, from which the branches
That in late yeares so faire a blossome bare,
As thee, O Queene, the matter of my song,
Whose lignage from this Lady I derive along!
Who when, through speaches with the Redcrosse Knight, 4 She learned had th' estate of Arthegall,
And in each point herselfe informd aright,
A friendly league of love perpetuall
She with him bound, and Congè tooke withall.
Then he forth on his journey did proceede,
To seeke adventures which mote him befall,
And win him worship thro his warlike deed,
Which alwaies of his paines he made the chiefest meed.
But Britomart kept on her former course,
Ne ever dofte her armes; but all the way
Grew pensive through that amorous discourse,
By which the Redcrosse Knight did earst display
Her Lovers shape and chevalrous aray :
A thousand thoughts she fashiond in her mind;
And in her feigning fancie did pourtray
Him, such as fittest she for love could find,
Wise, warlike, personable, courteous, and kind.
With such selfe-pleasing thoughts her wound she fedd, 6
And thought so to beguile her grievous smart;
But so her smart was much more grievous bredd,
And the deepe wound more deep engord her hai,
That nought but death her dolour mote depart.
So forth she rode, without repose or rest,
Searching all lands and each remotest part,
Following the guydance of her blinded guest,
Till that to the sea-coast at length she her addrest.
There she alighted from her light-foot beast,
And, sitting downe upon the rocky shore,
Badd her old Squyre unlace her lofty creast:
Tho, having vewd awhile the surges hore
That gainst the craggy clifts did loudly rore,
And in their raging surquedry disdaynd
That the fast earth affronted them so sore,
And their devouring covetize restraynd;
1nereat she sighed deepe, and after thus complaynd:
"Huge sea of sorrow and tempestuous griefe,
Wherein my feeble barke is tossed long
Far from the hoped Haven of reliefe,
Why doe thy cruel billowes beat so strong,
And thy moyst mountaines each on others throng,
Threatning to swallow up my fearefull lyfe?
O, doe thy cruell wrath and spightfull wrong
At length allay, and stint thy stormy strife,
Which in these troubled bowels raignes and rageth ryfe!
"Thou God of windes, that raignest in the seas,
That raignest also in the Continent,
At last blow up some gentle gale of ease,
The which may bring my Ship, ere it be rent,
Unto the gladsome port of her intent!
Then, when I shall myselfe in safety see,
A table, for eternall moniment
"For els my feeble vessell, crazd and crackt
Through thy strong buffets and outrageous blowes, Cannot endure, but needes it must be wrackt On the rough rocks, or on the sandy shallowes, The whiles that Love it steres, and Fortune rowes: Love, my lewd Pilott, hath a restlesse minde; And Fortune, Boteswaine, no assuraunce knowes; But saile withouten starres gainst tyde and winde: How can they other doe, sith both are bold and blinde!
Of thy great grace and my great jeopardee, Great Neptune, I avow to hallow unto thee!"
Then sighing softly sore, and inly deepe,
She shut up all her plaint in privy griefe ;
(For her great courage would not let her weepe ;)
Till that old Glaucè gan with sharpe repriefe
Her to restraine, and give her good reliefe
Through hope of those, which Merlin had her told
Should of her name and nation be chiefe,
And fetch their being from the sacred mould Of her immortall womb, to be in heven enrold.
Thus as she her recomforted, she spyde
Where far away one, all in armour bright,
With hasty gallop towards her did ryde :
Her dolour soone she ceast, and on her dight
Her helmet, to her Courser mounting light:
Her former sorrow into sudden wrath
(Both coosen passions of distroubled spright)
Converting, forth she beates the dusty path:
Love and despight attonce her corage kindled hath,
As, when a foggy mist hath overcast
The face of heven and the cleare ayre engroste, The world in darknes dwels; till that at last The watry Southwinde from the seabord coste Upblowing doth disperse the vapour lo'ste, And poures itselfe forth in a stormy showre; So the fayre Britomart, having discloste Her clowdy care into a wrathfull stowre, The mist of griefe dissolv'd did into vengeance powre.
Eftsoones, her goodly shield addressing fayre,
That mortall speare she in her hand did take,
And unto battaill did herselfe prepayre.
The Knight, approching, sternely her bespake;
"Sir Knight, that doest thy voyage rashly make
By this forbidden way in my despight,
Ne doest by others death ensample take;
I read thee soone retyre, whiles thou hast might, Least afterwards it be too late to take thy flight."
Ythrild with deepe disdaine of his proud threat,
She shortly thus; "Fly they, that need to fly;
Wordes fearen babes: I meane not thee entreat
passe; but maugre thee will passe or dy:"
Ne lenger stayd for th' other to reply,
But with sharpe speare the rest made dearly knowne.
Strongly the straunge Knight ran, and sturdily
Strooke her full on the brest, that made her downe Decline her head, and touch her crouper with her crown.