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"Vile Hag," sayd Scudamour, “why dost thou lye, 48
And falsly seekst a virtuous wight to shame ?"
"Fond Knight," sayd she," the thing that with this eye
I saw, why should I doubt to tell the same?"
"Then tell," quoth Blandamour, “and feare no blame;
Tell what thou saw'st, maulgre who so it heares."
"I saw," quoth she, “a straunger Knight, whose name
I wote not well, but in his shield he beares
(That well I wote) the heads of many broken
"I saw him have your Amoret at will;
I saw him kisse; I saw him her embrace;
I saw him sleepe with her all night his fill ;
All, manie nights; and manie by in place
That present were to testifie the case."
Which whenas Scudamour did heare, his heart
Was thrild with inward griefe: As when in chace
The Parthian strikes a Stag with shivering dart,
The beast astonisht stands in middest of his smart;
So stood Sir Scudamour when this he heard,
Ne word he had to speake for great dismay,
But lookt on Glaucè grim, who woxe afeard
Of outrage for the words which she heard say,
Albee untrue she wist them by assay.
But Blandamour, whenas he did espie
His chaunge of cheere that anguish did bewray,
He woxe full blithe, as he had got thereby,
And gan thereat to triumph without victorie.
"Lo! recreant," sayd he, "the fruitlesse end
Of thy vaine boast, and spoile of love misgotten,
Whereby the name of knight-hood thou dost shend,
And all true Lovers with dishonor blotten:
All things not rooted well will soone be rotten."
"Fy, fy, false Knight," then false Duessa cryde,
"Unworthy life, that love with guile hast gotten :
Be thou, whereever thou do go or ryde,
Loathed of Ladies all, and of all Knights defyde!"
But Scudamour, for passing great despight,
Staid not to answer; scarcely did refraine
But that in all those Knights and Ladies sight
He for revenge had guiltlesse Glaucè slaine:
But, being past, he thus began amaine ;
"False traitour Squire, false Squire of falsest Knight,
Why doth mine hand from thine avenge abstaine,
Whose lord hath done my Love this foule despight!
Why do I not it wreake on thee now in my might!
"Discourteous, disloyall Britomart,
Untrue to God, and unto man unjust!
What vengeance due can equall thy desart,
That hast with shamefull spot of sinfull lust
Defil❜d the pledge committed to thy trust!
Let ugly shame and endlesse infamy
Colour thy name with foule reproaches rust!
Yet thou, false Squire, his fault shall deare aby,
And with thy punishment his penance shalt supply."
The aged Dame him seeing so enraged
Was dead with feare; nathlesse as neede required
His flaming furie sought to have assuaged
With sober words, that sufferance desired
Till time the tryall of her truth expyred;
And evermore sought Britomart to cleare:
But he the more with furious rage was fyred,
And thrise his hand to kill her did upreare,
And thrise he drew it backe: so did at last forbeare.
Blandamour winnes false Florimell;
Paridell for her strives :
They are accorded: Agapè
Doth lengthen her Sonnes lives.
IREBRAND of hell first tynd in Phlegeton
By thousand Furies, and from thence out-throwen
Into this world to worke confusion
And set it all on fire by force unknowen,
Is wicked Discord; whoses mall sparkes once blowen,
None but a God or godlike man can slake:
Such as was Orpheus, that, when strife was growen
Amongst those famous ympes of Greece, did take
His silver harpe in hand and shortly friends them make :
Or such as that celestiall Psalmist was,
That, when the wicked feend his Lord tormented,
With heavenly notes, that did all other pas,
The outrage of his furious fit relented.
Such musicke is wise words with time concented,
To moderate stiffe mindes disposd to strive:
Such as that prudent Romane well invented;
What time his people into partes did rive,
Them reconcyld againe, and to their homes did drive.
Such us'd wise Glaucè to that wrathfull Knight,
To calme the tempest of his troubled thought:
Yet Blandamour, with termes of foule despight,
And Paridell her scornd, and set at nought,
As old and crooked and not good for ought.
Both they unwise, and warelesse of the evill
That by themselves unto themselves is wrought,
Through that false Witch, and that foule aged Drevill;
The one a feend, the other an incarnate devill.
With whom as they thus rode accompanide,
They were encountred of a lustie Knight
That had a goodly Ladie by his side,
To whom he made great dalliance and delight.
It was to weet the bold Sir Ferraugh hight,
He that from Braggadocchio whilome reft
The snowy Florimell, whose beautie bright
Made him seeme happie for so glorious theft;
Yet was it in due triall but a wandring weft.
Which whenas Blandamour, whose fancie light
Was alwaies flitting as the wavering wind
After each Beautie that appeard in sight,
Beheld; eftsoones it prickt his wanton mind
With sting of lust that reasons eye did blind,
That to Sir Paridell these words he sent ;
"Sir Knight, why ride ye dumpish thus behind,
Since so good fortune doth to you present
So fayre a spoyle, to make you joyous meriment?"
But Paridell, that had too late a tryall
Of the bad issue of his counsell vaine,
List not to hearke, but made this faire denyall;
"Last turne was mine, well proved to my paine;
This now be yours; God send you better gaine !"
Whose scoffed words he taking halfe in scorne,
Fiercely forth prickt his steed as in disdaine
Against that Knight, ere he him well could torne;
By meanes whereof he hath him lightly overborne.
Who, with the sudden stroke astonisht sore,
Upon the ground awhile in slomber lay;
The whiles his Love away the other bore,
And, shewing her, did Paridell upbray;
"Lo! sluggish Knight, the victors happie pray!
So fortune friends the bold." Whom Paridell
Seeing so faire indeede, as he did say,
His hart with secret envie gan to swell,
And inly grudge at him that he had sped so well.
Nathlesse proud man himselfe the other deemed,
Having so peerlesse paragon ygot:
For sure the fayrest Florimell him seemed
To him was fallen for his happie lot,
Whose like alive on earth he weened not:
Therefore he her did court, did serve, did wooe,
With humblest suit that he imagine mot,
And all things did devise, and all things dooe,
That might her love prepare, and liking win theretoo.
She, in regard thereof, him recompenst
With golden words and goodly countenance, And such fond favours sparingly dispenst: Sometimes him blessing with a light eye-glance, And coy lookes tempring with loose dalliance; Sometimes estranging him in sterner wise; That, having cast him in a foolish trance, He seemed brought to bed in Paradise, [wise. And prov'd himselfe most foole in what he seem'd most
So great a mistresse of her art she was,
And perfectly practíz'd in womans craft,
That though therein himselfe he thought to pas,
And by his false allurements wylie draft
Had thousand women of their love beraft,
Yet now he was surpriz'd: for that false Spright,
Which that same Witch had in this forme engraft,
Was so expert in every subtile slight,
That it could overreach the wisest earthly wight.
Yet he to her did dayly service more,
And dayly more deceived was thereby ;
Yet Paridell him envied therefore,
As seeming plast in sole felicity:
So blind is lust false colours to descry.
But Atè soone discovering his desire,
And finding now fit opportunity
To stirre up strife twixt love and spight and ire, Did privily put coles unto his secret fire.