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Proceeding to the midst he stil did stand,
As if in minde he somewhat had to say;
And to the vulgare beckning with his hand,
In signe of silence, as to heare a play,
By lively actions he gan bewray
Some argument of matter passioned ;
Which doen, he backe retyred soft away,
And, passing by, his name discovered,
Ease, on his robe in golden letters cyphered.

The noble Mayd still standing all this vewd,
And merveild at his straunge intendiment:
With that a joyous fellowship issewd
Of minstrales making goodly meriment,
With wanton bardes, and rymers impudent;
All which together song full chearefully
A lay of loves delight with sweet concent:
After whom marcht a jolly company,
In manner of a Maske, enranged orderly.

The whiles a most delitious harmony

In full straunge notes was sweetly heard to sound,
That the rare sweetnesse of the melody

The feeble sences wholy did confound,

And the frayle soule in deepe delight nigh drownd:
And, when it ceast, shrill trompets lowd did bray,
That their report did far away rebound;

And, when they ceast, it gan againe to play,
The whiles the Maskers marched forth in trim aray.

The first was Fansy, like a lovely boy

Of rare aspect and beautie without peare,
Matchable either to that ympe of Troy,




Whom Jove did love and chose his cup to beare;
Or that same daintie lad, which was so deare
To great Alcides, that, whenas he dyde,

He wailed womanlike with many a teare,
And every wood and every valley wyde

He filld with Hylas name; the Nymphes eke Hylas cryde.

His garment neither was of silke nor say,
But paynted plumes in goodly order dight,
Like as the sunburnt Indians do aray
Their tawney bodies in their proudest plight:
As those same plumes, so seemd he vaine and light,
That by his gate might easily appeare;
For still he far'd as dauncing in delight,

And in his hand a windy fan did beare,
That in the ydle ayre he mov'd still here and theare.

And him beside marcht amorous Desyre,

Who seemd of ryper yeares then th' other Swayne, Yet was that other swayne this elders syre,


And gave him being, commune to them twayne:
His garment was disguysed very vayne,

And his embrodered Bonet sat awry:

Twixt both his hands few sparks he close did strayne, Which still he blew and kindled busily,

That soone they life conceiv'd, and forth in flames did fly.

Next after him went Doubt, who was yclad

In a discolour'd cote of straunge disguyse,
That at his backe a brode capuccio had,
And sleeves dependaunt Albanese-wyse;
He lookt askew with his mistrustfull eyes,
And nycely trode, as thornes lay in his way,
Or that the flore to shrinke he did avyse;

And on a broken reed he still did stay
His feeble steps, which shrunck when hard thereon he lay.


With him went Daunger, cloth'd in ragged weed

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 rusty blade In th' other was; this Mischiefe, that Mishap; With th' one his foes he threatned to invade, With th' other he his friends ment to enwrap: For whom he could not kill he practizd to entrap.


Next him was Feare, all arm'd from top to toe,
Yet thought himselfe not safe enough thereby,
But feard each shadow moving to and froe;
And, his owne armes when glittering he did spy
Or clashing heard, he fast away did fly,
As ashes pale of hew, and winged heeld;
And evermore on Daunger fixt his eye,

Gainst whom he alwayes bent a brasen shield,
Which his right hand unarmed fearefully did wield.

And her fayre lockes were woven up in gold:
She alway smyld, and in her hand did hold
An holy water Sprinckle, dipt in deowe,
With which she sprinckled favours manifold
On whom she list, and did great liking sheowe,
Great liking unto many, but true love to feowe.

With him went Hope in rancke, a handsome Mayd, 13
Of chearefull looke and lovely to behold;
In silken samite she was light arayd,


And after them Dissemblaunce and Suspect

Marcht in one rancke, yet an unequall paire; For She was gentle and of milde aspect, Courteous to all and seeming debonaire, Goodly adorned and exceeding faire ; Yet was that all but paynted and purloynd, And her bright browes were deckt with borrowed haire; Her deeds were forged, and her words false coynd, And alwaies in her hand two clewes of silke she twynd:

But He was fowle, ill favoured, and grim,

Under his eiebrowes looking still askaunce;
And ever, as Dissemblaunce laught on him,
He lowrd on Her with daungerous eye-glaunce,
Shewing his nature in his countenaunce;
His rolling eies did never rest in place,

But walkte each where for feare of hid mischaunce,
Holding a lattis still before his face,

Through which he stil did peep as forward he did




Next him went Griefe and Fury matcht yfere;
Griefe all in sable sorrowfully clad,

Downe hanging his dull head with heavy chere,
Yet inly being more then seeming sad:
A paire of pincers in his hand he had,
With which he pinched people to the hart,
That from thenceforth a wretched life they ladd,
In wilfull languor and consuming smart,
Dying each day with inward wounds of dolours dart.


But Fury was full ill appareiled

In rags, that naked nigh she did appeare,
With ghastly looks and dreadfull drerihed;
And from her backe her garments she did teare,
And from her head ofte rente her snarled heare:
In her right hand a firebrand shee did tosse
About her head, still roaming here and there;
As a dismayed Deare in chace embost,
Forgetfull of his safety, hath his right way lost.

After them went Displeasure and Pleasaunce,
He looking lompish and full sullein sad,
And hanging downe his heavy countenaunce;
She chearfull, fresh, and full of joyaunce glad,
As if no sorrow she ne felt ne drad;

That evill matched paire they seemd to bee:
An angry Waspe th' one in a viall had,

Th' other in hers an hony lady Bee.

Thus marched these six couples forth in faire degree.

After all these there marcht a most faire Dame,
Led of two grysie Villeins, th' one Despight,
The other cleped Cruelty by name :
She dolefull Lady, like a dreary spright
Cald by strong charmes out of eternall night,
Had Deathes own ymage figurd in her face,
Full of sad signes, fearfull to living sight;
Yet in that horror shewd a seemely grace,
And with her feeble feete did move a comely pace.




Her brest all naked, as nett yvory

Without adorne of gold or silver bright
Wherewith the Craftesman wonts it beautify,
Of her dew honour was despoyled quight;
And a wide wound therein (O ruefull sight!)
Entrenched deep with knyfe accursed keene,
Yet freshly bleeding forth her fainting spright,
(The worke of cruell hand) was to be seene,
That dyde in sanguine red her skin all snowy cleene :

At that wide orifice her trembling hart

Was drawne forth, and in silver basin layd,
Quite through transfixed with a deadly dart,
And in her blood yet steeming fresh embayd.
And those two Villeins (which her steps upstayd,
When her weake feete could scarcely her sustaine,
And fading vitall powres gan to fade,)

Her forward still with torture did constraine,
And evermore encreased her consuming paine.

Next after her, the Winged God himselfe
Came riding on a Lion ravenous,
Taught to obay the menage of that Elfe
That man and beast with powre imperious
Subdeweth to his kingdome tyrannous:
His blindfold eies he bad awhile unbinde,
That his proud spoile of that same dolorous
Faire Dame he might behold in perfect kinde;
Which seene, he much rejoyced in his cruell minde.

Of which ful prowd, himselfe uprearing hye

He looked round about with sterne disdayne,
And did survay his goodly company;




And, marshalling the evill-ordered trayne, With that the darts which his right hand did straine Full dreadfully he shooke, that all did quake, And clapt on hye his coulourd wingës twaine, That all his many it affraide did make : Tho, blinding him againe, his way he forth did take.


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