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From her high spirit chase imperious feare, And use of awfull maiestie remove: In sted thereof with drops of melting love, Deawd with ambrosiall kisses, by thee gotten From thy sweete smyling mother from above, Sprinckle her heart, and haughtie courage soften, That she may hearke to love, and reade this lesson often.

V. 3.- Imperious feare.] Feare here means that which inpires fear in others. H.

V. 5. With drops of melting love, &c.] Elizabeth, when this portion of the poem was published, was over sixty years old. H.

CANTO I.

Fayre Britomart saves Amoret:
Duessa discord breedes

Twixt Scudamour and Blandamonr:
Their fight and warlike deedes..

1 OF lovers sad calamities of old
Full many piteous stories doe remaine,
But none more piteous ever was ytold
Then that of Amorets hart-binding chaine,
And this of Florimels unworthie paine:
The deare compassion of whose bitter fit
My softened heart so sorely doth constraine,
That I with teares full oft doe pittie it,
And oftentimes doe wish it never had bene writ.

2 For, from the time that Scudamour her bought1 In perilous fight, she never ioyed day;

A perilous fight! when he with force her brought From twentie knights that did him all assay 2; Yet fairely well he did them all dismay,3

1 Bought, ransomed.

2 Assay, assail.

8 Dismay, overpower.

II. 3. A perilous fight.] Of the manner in which Scudamore won Amoret, we are informed hereafter, in the tenth canto of this 200k. H.

And with great glorie both the Shield of Love And eke the Ladie selfe he brought away ; Whom having wedded, as did him behove, A new unknowen mischiefe did from him remove.

3 For that same vile Enchauntour Busyran,
The very selfe same day that she was wedded,
Amidst the bridale feast, whilest every man
Surcharg'd with wine were heedlesse and ill-hedded,
All bent to mirth before the bride was bedded,
Brought in that Mask of Love which late was

showen;

And there the ladie ill of friends bestedded,1 By way of sport, as oft in maskes is knowen, Conveyed quite away to living wight unknowen.

♦ Seven moneths he so her kept in bitter smart, Because his sinfull lust she would not serve. Untill such time as noble Britomart

Released her, that else was like to sterve2

Through cruell knife that her deare heart did kerve3:

And now she is with her upon the way Marching in lovely wise, that could deserve No spot of blame, though spite did oft assay To blot her with dishonor of so faire a pray.

5 Yet should it be a pleasant tale, to tell The diverse usage, and demeanure daint,

1 Bestedded, assisted. * Sterve, die.

Kerve, carve, cut.

4 Lovely, affectionate.

51. e. Britomart.

6 Demeanure daint, delicate conduct.

That each to other made, as oft befell: For Amoret right fearefull was and faint, Lest she with blame her honor should attaint, That everie word did tremble as she spake, And everie looke was coy and wondrous quaint, And everie limbe that touched her2 did quake; Yet could she not but curteous countenance to her make.

6 For well she wist, as true it was indeed,

That her lives lord and patrone of her health
Right well deserved, as his duefull meed,

Her love, her service, and her utmost wealth:
All is his iustly that all freely dealth.

Nathlesse her honor dearer then her life

She sought to save, as thing reserv'd from stealth Die had she lever with Enchanters knife Then to be false in love, profest a virgine wife.

7 Thereto her feare was made so much the greater,
Through fine abusion of that Briton mayd;
Who, for to hide her fained sex the better
And maske her wounded mind, both did and sayd
Full many things so doubtfull to be wayd,
That well she wist not what by them to gesse:
For otherwhiles to her she purpos made

6

1 Quaint, nice.

2 1. e. Britomart.

3 I. e. defender of her safety. 4 Lever, rather.

Otherwhiles-otherwhiles, sometimes - sometimes.

Purpos, discourse.

VII. 4. -Wounded mind.] Wounded that is, with love fo Arthogall. H.

Of love, and otherwhiles of lustfulnesse,

That much she feard his mind would grow to some

excesse.

His will she feard; for him she surely thought
To be a man, such as indeed he seemed;
And much the more, by that he lately wrought,
When her from deadly thraldome he redeemed,
For which no service she too much esteemed:
Yet dread of shame and doubt of fowle dishonor
Made her not yeeld so much as due she deemed.
Yet Britomart attended duly on her,

As well became a knight, and did to her all honor.

• It so befell one evening that they came Unto a Castell, lodged there to bee,

Where many a knight, and many a lovely dame,
Was then assembled deeds of armes to see:
Amongst all which was none more faire then shec,
That many of them mov'd to eye her sore.

The custome of that place was such, that hee,
Which had no love nor lemman there in store,

Should either winne him one, or lye without the dore.

16 Amongst the rest there was a iolly Knight,
Who, being asked for his love, avow'd
That fairest Amoret was his by right,
And offred that to iustifie alowd.
The warlike Virgine, seeing his so prowd
And boastfull chalenge, wexed inlie wroth,
But for the present did her anger shrowd;

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