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The Boaster at him sternely bent his browe,
As if he could have kild him with his looke,
That to the ground him meekely made to bowe,
And awfull terror deepe into him strooke,
That every member of his body quooke.
Said he, "Thou man of nought! what doest thou here
Unfitly furnisht with thy bag and booke,
Where I expected one with shield and spere
To prove some deeds of armes upon an equall pere?"
The wretched man at his imperious speach
Was all abasht, and low prostrating said;
"Good Sir, let not my rudenes be no breach
Unto your patience, ne be ill ypaid;
For I unwares this way by fortune straid,
A silly Pilgrim driven to distresse,
That seeke a Lady”—There he suddein staid,
And did the rest with grievous sighes suppresse,
While teares stood in his eies, few drops of bitternesse.
"What Lady?”—“ Man,” said Trompart, “ take good
And tell thy griefe, if any hidden lye : [hart, 26
Was never better time to shew thy smart
Then now that noble succor is thee by,
That is the whole worlds commune remedy."
That chearful word his weak heart much did cheare, And with vaine hope his spirits faint supply, That bold he sayd; "O most redoubted Pere, Vouchsafe with mild regard a wretches cace to heare."
Then sighing sore, " It is not long," saide hee,
"Sith I enjoyd the gentlest Dame alive;
Of whom a Knight, (no Knight at all perdee,
But shame of all that doe for honor strive,)
By treacherous deceipt did me deprive;
Through open outrage he her bore away,
And with fowle force unto his will did drive;
Which al good Knights, that armes do bear this day,
Are bownd for to revenge and punish if they may.
"And you, most noble Lord, that can and dare
Redresse the wrong of miserable wight,
Cannot employ your most victorious speare
In better quarrell then defence of right,
And for a Lady gainst a faithlesse Knight:
So shall your glory be advaunced much,
And all faire Ladies magnify your might,
And eke myselfe, albee I simple such,
Your worthy paine shall wel reward with guerdon rich."
But Trompart, that his Maistres humor knew
In lofty looks to hide an humble minde,
Was inly tickled with that golden vew,
And in his eare him rownded close behinde :
Yet stoupt he not, but lay still in the winde,
Waiting advauntage on the pray to sease;
Till Trompart, lowly to the grownd inclinde,
Besought him his great corage to appease,
And pardon simple man that rash did him displease.
With that out of his bouget forth he drew
Great store of treasure, therewith him to tempt; But he on it lookt scornefully askew, As much disdeigning to be so misdempt, Or a war-monger to be basely nempt; And sayd; "Thy offers base I greatly loth, 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.
Big looking like a doughty Doucëpere,
At last he thus; "Thou clod of vilest clay,
I pardon yield, and with thy rudenes beare;
But weete henceforth, that all that golden pray,
And all that els the vaine world vaunten may,
I loath as doung, ne deeme my dew reward:
Fame is my meed, and glory vertues pay:
But minds of mortall men are muchell mard
And mov'd amisse with massy mucks unmeet regard.
"And more; I graunt to thy great misery
Gratious respect; thy wife shall backe be sent:
And that vile Knight, whoever that he bee,
Which hath thy Lady reft and knighthood shent,
By Sunglamort my sword, whose deadly dent
The blood hath of so many thousands shedd,
I sweare ere long shall dearely it repent;
Ne he twixt heven and earth shall hide his hedd,
But soone he shall be fownd, and shortly doen be dedd.”
The foolish man thereat woxe wondrous blith,
As if the word so spoken were halfe donne,
And humbly thanked him a thousand sith
That had from death to life him newly wonne.
Tho forth the Boaster marching brave begonne
His stolen steed to thunder furiously,
As if he heaven and hell would over-ronne,
And all the world confound with cruelty;
That much Malbecco joyed in his jollity.
Thus long they three together traveiled,
Through many a wood and many an uncouth way,
To seeke his wife that was far wandered:
It fortuned, as they together far'd,
They spide where Paridell came pricking fast
Upon the Plaine, the which himselfe prepar❜d
To giust with that brave straunger Knight a cast,
As on adventure by the way he past:
Alone he rode without his Paragone;
For, having filcht her bells, her up he cast
To the wide world, and lett her fly alone;
He nould be clogd: So had he served many one.
But those two sought nought but the present pray, To weete, the treasure which he did bewray, On which their eies and harts were wholly sett, With purpose how they might it best betray; For, sith the howre that first he did them lett The same behold, therwith their keene desires were whett.
The gentle Lady, loose at randon lefte,
The greene-wood long did walke, and wander wide
At wilde adventure, like a forlorne wefte;
Till on a day the Satyres her espide
Straying alone withouten groome or guide:
Her up they tooke, and with them home her ledd,
With them as housewife ever to abide,
To milk their gotes, and make them cheese and bredd ; And every one as commune good her handeled :
That shortly she Malbecco has forgott,
And eke Sir Paridell all were he deare;
Who from her went to seeke another lott,
And now by fortune was arrived here,
Where those two guilers with Malbecco were.
Soone as the old man saw Sir Paridell,
He fainted, and was almost dead with feare,
Ne word he had to speake his griefe to tell,
But to him louted low, and greeted goodly well;
And, after, asked him for Hellenore:
"I take no keepe of her," sayd Paridell,
"She wonneth in the forrest there before."
So forth he rode as his adventure fell;
The whiles the Boaster from his loftie sell
Faynd to alight, something amisse to mend ;
But the fresh Swayne would not his leasure dwell,
But went his way; whom when he passed kend,
He up remounted light, and after faind to wend.
Perdy nay," said Malbecco," shall ye not; But let him passe as lightly as he came : For litle good of him is to be got, And mickle perill to bee put to shame. But let us goe to seeke my dearest Dame, Whom he hath left in yonder forest wyld: For of her safety in great doubt I ame, Least salvage beastes her person have despoyld: Then all the world is lost, and we in vaine have toyld !"
They all agree, and forward them addrest:
"Ah! but," said crafty Trompart, “ weete ye well, That yonder in that wastefull wildernesse Huge Monsters haunt, and many dangers dwell; Dragons, and Minotaures, and feendes of hell, And many wilde woodmen which robbe and rend All traveilers; therefore advise ye well, Before ye enterprise that way to wend: One may his journey bring too soone to evill end."
Malbecco stopt in great astonishment,
And, with pale eyes fast fixed on the rest,
Their counsell crav'd in daunger imminent.
Said Trompart; "You, that are the most opprest
With burdein of great treasure, I thinke best
Here for to stay in safëtie behynd:
My Lord and I will search the wide forest."
That counsell pleased not Malbeccoes mynd;
For he was much afraid himselfe alone to fynd.
"Then is it best," said he, " that ye doe leave
Your treasure here in some security,
Either fast closed in some hollow greave,
Or buried in the ground from jeopardy,
Till we returne againe in safety :
As for us two, least doubt of us ye have,
Hence farre away we will blyndfolded ly,
Ne privy bee unto your treasures Grave."
It pleased; so he did: Then they march forward brave.
Now when amid the thickest woodes they were,
They heard a noyse of many bagpipes shrill,
And shrieking Hububs them approching nere,
Which all the forest did with horrour fill:
That dreadfull sound the Bosters hart did thrill
With such amazment, that in hast he fledd,
Ne ever looked back for good or ill;
And after him eke fearefull Trompart spedd :
The old man could not fly, but fell to ground half dedd :