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"Good or bad," gan his brother fiers reply,
"What do I recke, sith that he dide entire ?
Or what doth his bad death now satisfy
The greedy hunger of revenging yre,

Sith wrathfull hand wrought not her owne desire ?
Yet, since no way is lefte to wreake my spight,
I will him reave of armes, the victors hire,
And of that shield, more worthy of good Knight;
For why should a dead dog be deckt in armour bright?"

"Fayr Sir," said then the Palmer suppliaunt,

"For knighthoods love doe not so fowle a deed,
Ne blame your honor with so shamefull vaunt
Of vile revenge: To spoile the dead of weed
Is sacrilege, and doth all sinnes exceed :

But leave these relicks of his living might

With that, rude hand upon his shield he laid,
And th' other brother gan his helme unlace;
Both fiercely bent to have him disaraid :
Till that they spyde where towards them did pace
An armed Knight, of bold and bounteous grace,
Whose Squire bore after him an heben launce
And coverd shield: Well kend him so far space
Th' Enchaunter by his armes and amenaunce,
When under him he saw his Lybian steed to praunce;



To decke his herce, and trap his tomb-blacke steed." "What herce or steed," said he, " should he have dight, But be entombed in the raven or the kight?"


And to those brethren sayd; "Rise, rise bylive,
And unto batteil doe yourselves addresse;
For yonder comes the prowest Knight alive,
Prince Arthur, flowre of grace and nobilesse,
That hath to Paynim Knights wrought gret distresse,
And thousand Sar'zins fowly donne to dye."
That word so deepe did in their harts impresse,
That both eftsoones upstarted furiously,

And gan themselves prepare to batteill greedily.


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But fiers Pyrochles, lacking his owne sword,
The want thereof now greatly gan to plaine,
And Archimage besought, him that afford
Which he had brought for Braggadochio vaine.
"So would I," said th' Enchaunter, "glad and faine
Beteeme to you this sword, you to defend,
Or ought that els your honour might maintaine;
But that this weapons powre I well have kend
To be contrary to the worke which ye intend :


"For that same Knights owne sword this is, of yore 20 Which Merlin made by his almightie art

For that his Noursling, when he knighthood swore, Therewith to doen his foes eternall smart. The metall first he mixt with Medawart, That no enchauntment from his dint might save; Then it in flames of Aetna wrought apart, And seven times dipped in the bitter wave Of hellish Styx, which hidden vertue to it gave.

"The vertue is, that nether steele nor stone

The stroke thereof from entraunce may defend;
Ne ever may be used by his fone;

Ne forst his rightful owner to offend;
Ne ever will it breake, ne ever bend;
Wherefore Morddure it rightfully is hight.
In vaine therefore, Pyrochles, should I lend
The same to thee, against his Lord to fight;
For sure yt would deceive thy labor and thy might.”


"Foolish old man," said then the Pagan wroth,


“That weenest words or charms may force withstond : Soone shalt thou see, and then beleeve for troth, That I can carve with this inchaunted brond His Lords owne flesh." Therewith out of his hond That vertuous steele he rudely snatcht away; And Guyons shield about his wrest he bond: So ready dight, fierce battaile to assay, And match his brother proud in battailous aray.

By this, that straunger Knight in presence came,
And goodly salved them; who nought againe
Him answered, as courtesie became ;
But with sterne lookes, and stomachous disdaine,
Gave signes of grudge and discontentment vaine :
Then, turning to the Palmer, he gan spy
Where at his feet, with sorrowfull demayne
And deadly hew, an armed corse did lye,
In whose dead face he redd great magnanimity.

Said he then to the Palmer; "Reverend Syre,
What great misfortune hath betidd this Knight?
Or did his life her fatall date expyre,
Or did he fall by treason, or by fight?
However, sure I rew his pitteous plight.”
"Not one, nor other," sayd the Palmer grave,
"Hath him befalne; but cloudes of deadly night
Awhile his heavy eylids cover'd have,
And all his sences drowned in deep sencelesse wave:

Palmer," said he, "no Knight so rude, I weene,
As to doen outrage to a sleeping ghost:
Ne was there ever noble corage seene,
That in advauntage would his puissaunce bost:
Honour is least, where oddes appeareth most.
May bee, that better reason will aswage
The rash revengers heat. Words, well dispost,
Have secrete powre t'appease inflamed rage:
If not, leave unto me thy Knights last patronage."

"Which those his cruell foes, that stand hereby,
Making advantage, to revenge their spight,
Would him disarme and treaten shamefully;
Unworthie usage of redoubted Knight!
you, faire Sir, whose honourable sight
Doth promise hope of helpe and timely grace,
Mote I beseech to succour his sad plight,
And by your powre protect his feeble cace?
First prayse of knighthood is, fowle outrage to deface."






Tho, turning to those brethren, thus bespoke;
"Ye warlike payre, whose valorous great might,
It seemes, just wronges to vengeaunce doe provoke,
To wreake your wrath on this dead-seeming Knight,
Mote ought allay the storme of your despight,
And settle patience in so furious heat?
Not to debate the chalenge of your right,
But for his carkas pardon I entreat,
Whom fortune hath already laid in lowest seat."

To whom Cymochles said; "For what art thou,
That mak'st thyselfe his dayes-man, to prolong
The vengeaunce prest? Or who shall let me now
On this vile body from to wreak my wrong,
And make his carkas as the outcast dong?
Why should not that dead carrion satisfye
The guilt, which, if he lived had thus long,
His life for dew revenge should deare abye?
The trespass still doth live, albee the person dye."

"Indeed," then said the Prince, "the evill donne
Dyes not, when breath the body first doth leave;
But from the grand syre to the Nephewes sonne
And all his seede the curse doth often cleave,
Till vengeaunce utterly the guilt bereave:
So streightly God doth judge. But gentle Knight,
That doth against the dead his hand upreare,
His honour staines with rancour and despight,
And great disparagment makes to his former might."




Pyrochles gan reply the second tyme,

And to him said; "Now, felon, sure I read, How that thou art partaker of his cryme: Therefore by Termagaunt thou shalt be dead." With that, his hand, more sad than lomp of lead, Uplifting high, he weened with Morddure, His owne good sword Morddure, to cleave his head. The faithfull steele such treason no'uld endure, But, swarving from the marke, his Lordes life did assure.


Yet was the force so furious and so fell,
That horse and man it made to reele asyde:
Nath'lesse the Prince would not forsake his sell,
(For well of yore he learned had to ryde,)
But full of anger fiersly to him cryde ;

"False traitour, miscreaunt, thou broken hast
The law of armes, to strike foe undefide:
But thou thy treasons fruit I hope, shalt taste
Right sowre, and feele the law, the which thou hast de-


With that his balefull speare he fiercely bent

Against the Pagans brest, and therewith thought
His cursed life out of her lodg have rent:



But, ere the point arrived where it ought,
That seven-fold shield, which he from Guyon brought,
He cast between to ward the bitter stownd:

Now was the Prince in daungerous distresse,

Wanting his sword, when he on foot should fight:
His single speare could doe him small redresse
Against two foes of so exceeding might,
The least of which was match for any Knight.
And now the other, whom he earst did daunt,
Had reard himselfe againe to cruel fight
Three times more furious and more puissaunt,
Unmindfull of his wound, of his fate ignoraunt.

Through all those foldes the steelehead passage wrought, And through his shoulder perst; wherwith to ground He groveling fell, all gored in his gushing wound.


Which when his brother saw, fraught with great griefe
And wrath, he to him leaped furiously,
And fowly saide; "By Mahoune, cursed thiefe,
That direfull stroke thou dearely shalt aby."
Then, hurling up his harmefull blade on hy,
Smote him so hugely on his haughtie crest,
That from his saddle forced him to fly :
Els mote it needes downe to his manly brest

Have cleft his head in twaine, and life thence dispossest.


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