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Britomart chaceth Ollyphant ;
Findes Scudamour distrest:
Assayes the House of Busyrane,
Where Loves spoyles are exprest.
HATEFULL hellish Snake! what Furie furst Brought thee from balefull house of Proserpine, Where in her bosome she thee long had nurst, And fostred up with bitter milke of tine; Fowle Gealosy! that turnest love divine To joylesse dread, and mak'st the loving hart With hatefull thoughts to languish and to pine, And feed itselfe with selfe-consuming smart, Of all the passions in the mind thou vilest art!
O let him far be banished away,
And in his stead let Love for ever dwell!
Sweete Love, that doth his golden wings embay
In blessed Nectar, and pure Pleasures Well,
Untroubled of vile feare or bitter fell.
And ye, faire Ladies, that your kingdomes make
In th' harts of men, them governe wisely well,
And of faire Britomart ensample take,
That was as trew in love as Turtle to her make.
Who with Sir Satyrane, as earst ye red,
Forth ryding from Malbeccoes hostlesse hous,
Far off aspyde a young man, the which fled
From an huge Geaunt, that with hideous
And hatefull outrage long him chaced thus;
It was that Ollyphant, the brother deare
Of that Argantè vile and vitious,
From whom the Squyre of Dames was reft whylere; This all as bad as she, and worse, if worse ought were.
For as the sister did in feminine
And filthy lust exceede all womankinde; So he surpassed his sex masculine, In beastly use, all that I ever finde: Whom when as Britomart beheld behinde The fearefull Boy so greedily poursew, She was emmoved in her noble minde T'employ her puissaunce to his reskew, And pricked fiercely forward where she did him vew.
Ne was Sir Satyrane her far behinde,
But with like fiercenesse did ensew the chace:
Whom when the Gyaunt saw, he soone resinde
His former suit, and from them fled apace:
They after both, and boldly bad him bace,
And each did strive the other to outgoe;
But he them both outran a wondrous space,
For he was long, and swift as any Roe,
And now made better speed t' escape his feared foe.
It was not Satyrane, whom he did feare,
But Britomart the flowre of chastity;
For he the powre of chaste hands might not beare,
But alwayes did their dread encounter fly :
And now so fast his feet he did apply,
That he has gotten to a forrest neare,
Where he is shrowded in security.
The wood they enter, and search everie where; They searched diversely; so both divided were.
Fayre Britomart so long him followed,
That she at last came to a fountaine sheare,
By which there lay a Knight all wallowed
Upon the grassy ground, and by him neare
His haberjeon, his helmet, and his speare :
A little off, his shield was rudely throwne,
On which the Winged Boy in colours cleare
Depeincted was, full easie to be knowne,
And he thereby, wherever it in field was showne.
His face upon the grownd did groveling ly,
As if he had beene slombring in the shade;
That the brave Mayd would not for courtesy
Out of his quiet slomber him abrade,
Nor seeme too suddeinly him to invade :
Still as she stood, she heard with grievous throb
Him grone, as if his hart were peeces made,
And with most painefull pangs to sigh and sob,
That pitty did the Virgins hart of patience rob.
"If good find grace, and righteousnes reward,
Why then is Amoret in caytive band,
Sith that more bounteous creature never far'd
On foot upon the face of living land!
Or if that hevenly justice may withstand
The wrongfull outrage of unrighteous men,
Why then is Busirane with wicked hand
Suffred, these seven monethes day, in secret den
My Lady and my Love so cruelly to pen!
At last forth breaking into bitter plaintes,
He sayd; "O soverayne Lord, that sit'st on hye
And raingst in blis emongst thy blessed Saintes,
How suffrest thou such shamefull cruelty
So long unwreaked of thine enimy!
Or hast thou, Lord, of good mens cause no heed?
Or doth thy justice sleepe and silent ly?
What booteth then the good and righteous deed,
If goodnesse find no grace, nor righteousness
esse no meed!
“My Lady and my Love is cruelly pend
In dolefull darkenes from the vew of day,
Whilest deadly torments doe her chast brest rend,
And the sharpe steele doth rive her hart in tway,
All for she Scudamore will not denay.
Yet thou, vile man, vile Scudamore, art sound,
Ne canst her ayde, ne canst her foe dismay;
Unworthy wretch to tread upon the ground,
For whom so faire a Lady feeles so sore a wound."
There an huge heape of singulfes did oppresse
His strugling soule, and swelling throbs empeach
His foltring toung with pangs of drerinesse,
Choking the remnant of his plaintife speach,
As if his dayes were come to their last reach.
Which when she heard, and saw the ghastly fit
Threatning into his life to make a breach,
Both with great ruth and terrour she was smit, Fearing least from her cage the wearie soule would flit.
Tho, stouping downe, she him amoved light ;
Who, therewith somewhat starting, up gan looke,
And seeing him behind a stranger Knight,
Whereas no living creature he mistooke,
With great indignaunce he that sight forsooke,
And, downe againe himselfe disdainefully
Abjecting, th' earth with his faire forhead strooke:
Which the bold Virgin seeing, gan apply
Fit medcine to his griefe, and spake thus courtesly;
"Therefore, faire Sir, doe comfort to you take,
And freely read what wicked felon so
Hath outrag'd you, and thrald your gentle Make.
Perhaps this hand may help to ease your woe,
And wreake your sorrow on your cruell foe;
At least it faire endevour will apply."
Those feeling words so neare the quicke did goe,
That up his head he reared easily;
And, leaning on his elbowe, these few words lett fly :
"Ah! gentle Knight, whose deepe-conceived griefe
Well seemes t' exceede the powre of patience,
Yet, if that hevenly grace some good reliefe
You send, submit you to High Providence ;
And ever, in your noble hart, prepense,
That all the sorrow in the world is lesse
Then vertues might and values confidence:
For who nill bide the burden of distresse,
Must not here thinke to live; for life is wretchednesse.
"What boots it plaine that cannot be redrest,
And sow vaine sorrow in a fruitlesse eare;
powre of hand, nor skill of learned brest,
Ne worldly price, cannot redeeme my Deare
Out of her thraldome and continuall feare!
For he, the Tyrant, which her hath in ward
By strong enchauntments and blacke Magicke leare,
Hath in a dungeon deepe her close embard,
And many dreadfull feends hath pointed to her gard.
"There he tormenteth her most terribly,
And day and night afflicts with mortall paine,
Because to yield him love she doth deny,
Once to me yold, not to be yolde againe :
But yet by torture he would her constraine
Love to conceive in her disdainfull brest;
Till so she doe, she must in doole remaine,
Ne may by living meanes be thence relest:
What boots it then to plaine that cannot be redrest!"
With this sad hersall of his heavy stresse
The warlike Damzell was empassiond sore, And sayd; "Sir Knight, your cause is nothing lesse Then is your sorrow certes, if not more; For nothing so much pitty doth implore As gentle Ladyes helplesse misery: But yet, if please ye listen to my lore, I will, with proofe of last extremity, Deliver her fro thence, or with her for you dy."
"Ah! gentlest Knight alive," sayd Scudamore,
"What huge heroicke magnanimity
Dwells in thy bounteous brest? what couldst thou more
If shee were thine, and thou as now am I?
O spare thy happy daies, and them apply
To better boot; but let me die that ought;
More is more losse; one is enough to dy!"
"Life is not lost," said she, " for which is bought Endlesse renowm; that, more then death, is to be sought."