Page images

3 He now went with him in this new inquest,
Him for to aide, if aide he chaunst to neede,
Against that cruell tyrant, which opprest
The faire Irena with his foule misdeede,
And kept the crowne in which she should succeed:
And now together on their way they bin,
Whenas they saw a Squire in squallid weed
Lamenting sore his sorowfull sad tyne1
With many bitter teares shed from his blubbred eyne

14 To whom as they approched, they espide
A sorie sight as ever seene with eye,
An headlesse ladie lying him beside,
In her owne blood all wallow'd wofully,
That her gay clothes did in discolour2 die.
Much was he moved at that ruefull sight;
And, flam'd with zeale of vengeance inwardly,
He askt who had that dame so fouly dight,
Or whether his owne hand, or whether other wight?

15" Ah! woe is me, and well away," quoth hee, Bursting forth teares like springs out of a banke, "That ever I this dismall day did see!

Full farre was I from thinking such a pranke; Yet litle losse it were, and mickle thanke, If I should graunt that I have doen the same, That I mote drinke the cup whereof she dranke, — But that I should die guiltie of the blame, The which another did, who now is fled with shame."

1 Tyne, wrong, misfortune.

Discolour, party-color.

♦ Pranke, mischievous or malicious act.

8 Dight, treated.

16 "Who was it then," sayd Artegall," that wrought? And why? doe it declare unto me trew." "A knight," said he, "if knight he may be thought, That did his hand in ladies bloud embrew,

And for no cause, but as I shall you shew.
This day as I in solace sate hereby

With a fayre Love whose losse I now do rew,
There came this knight, having in companie

This lucklesse ladie which now here doth headlesse


17" He, whether mine seem'd fayrer in his eye,
Or that he wexed weary of his owne,
Would change with me; but I did it denye,
So did the ladies both, as may be knowne:
But he, whose spirit was with pride upblowne,
Would not so rest contented with his right;
But, having from his courser her downe throwne,
Fro me reft mine away by lawlesse might,
And on his steed her set to beare her out of sight.

18 "Which when his ladie saw, she follow'd fast,
And, on him catching hold, gan loud to crie
Not so to leave her nor away to cast,

But rather of his hand besought to die:
With that his sword he drew all wrathfully,
And at one stroke cropt off her head with scorne,

In that same place whereas it now doth lie.
So he my Love away with him hath borne,

And left me here, both his and mine owne Love to


[ocr errors]

“Aread," sayd he; "which way then did he make?
And by what markes may he be knowne againe ?"
"To hope," quoth he, "him soone to overtake,
That hence so long departed, is but vaine:
But yet he pricked over yonder plaine,
And, as I marked, bore upon his shield,
By which it's easie him to know againe,
A broken sword within a bloodie field;
Expressing well his nature which the same did wield."

20 No sooner sayd, but streight he after sent
yron page, who him pursew'd so light,
As that it seem'd above the ground he went :
For he was swift as swallow in her flight,
And strong as lyon in his lordly might.
It was not long before he overtooke

Sir Sanglier, (so cleeped was that knight,)
Whom at the first he ghessed by his looke,
And by the other markes which of his shield he tooke

21 He bad him stay and backe with him retire;
Who, full of scorne to be commaunded so,
The Lady to alight did eft1 require,
Whilest he reformed that uncivill fo;

And streight at him with all his force did go:
Who mov❜d no more therewith, then when a rocke
Is lightly stricken with some stones throw;

1 Eft, at once.

XX. 7.-Sir Sanglier.] Sir Sanglier (the Wild Boar) is apparently meant for the cruel and profligate Shan O'Neal. C

But to him leaping lent him such a knocke,

That on the ground he layd him like a sencelesse blocke.

22 But, ere he could himselfe recure1 againe, Him in his iron paw he seized had;

That when he wak't out of his warelesse' paine, He found himselfe, unwist, so ill bestad,

That lim he could not wag: thence he him lad, Bound like a beast appointed to the stall: The sight whereof the Lady sore adrad, And fain'd to fly for feare of being thrall; But he her quickly stayd, and forst to wend withall.

23 When to the place they came where Artegall
By that same carefull squire did then abide,
He gently gan him to demaund of all

That did betwixt him and that squire betide:
Who with sterne countenance and indignant pride
Did aunswere, that of all he guiltlesse stood,
And his accuser thereuppon defide;

For neither he did shed that ladies bloud,

Nor tooke away his Love, but his owne proper good."

Well did the Squire perceive himselfe too weake To auns were his defiaunce in the field,

And rather chose his challenge off to breake Then to approve his right with speare and shield, And rather guilty chose himselfe to yield.

1 Recure, recover.

2 I. e. unconscious.

8 I. e. without knowing how.

4 Wag, move.

Adrad, feared.

6 Good, property

But Artegall by signes perceiving plaine That he it was not which that lady kild, But that strange knight, the fairer Love to gaine, Did cast about by sleight the truth thereout to straine ;

25 And sayd: "Now sure this doubtfull causes right
Can hardly but by sacrament1 be tride,
Or else by ordele, or by blooddy fight;
That ill perhaps mote fall to either side:
But if ye please that I your cause decide,
Perhaps I may all further quarrell end,
So ye will sweare my iudgement to abide."
Thereto they both did franckly condiscend,
And to his doome with listfull eares did both attend.


26" Sith then," sayd he, "ye both the dead deny,
And both the living lady claime your right,
Let both the dead and living equally
Devided be betwixt you here in sight,
And each of either take his share aright.
But looke, who does dissent from this my read,2
He for a twelve moneths day shall in despight
Beare for his penaunce that same ladies head;
To witnesse to the world that she by him is dead."

27 Well pleased with that doome was Sangliere, And offred streight the lady to be slaine : But that same Squire, to whom she was more dere,

11. e. by oath of purgation.

XXVII. 1.- Well pleased with that doome.] the judgment of Solomon. See 1 Kings iii. 16.

2 Read, decision.

A repetition of

« PreviousContinue »