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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 bought?
In perilous fight, she never ioyed day;
A perilous fight! when he with force her brought
From twentie knights that did him all assay ?;
Yet fairely well he did them all dismay,

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8 Dismay, overpower.

1 Bought, ransomed.
2 Assay, assail.

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

By way of sport, as oft in maskes is knowen, Conveyed quite away to living wight unknowen.

4

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 sterve 2
Through cruell knife that her deare heart did

kerve 8:
And now she is with her upon
Marching in lovely 4 wise, that could deserve

No spot of blame, though spite did oft assay To blot her5 with dishonor of so faire a pray.

the way

4

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

o

1 Besledded, assisted.

Sterve, die.
8 Kerve, carve, cut.

4 Lovely, affectionate.
5 I. 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 her? 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 4 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 5 to her she purposo made

i Quaint, nice.

8 I. e. defender of her safety. 2 1. e. Britomart.

4 Lever, rather. 5 Otherwhiles otherwhiles, sometimes sometimes. 6 Purpos, discourse.

VII. 4. Wounded mind.] Arthegall. H.

Wounded that is, with love for

Of love, and otherwhiles of lustfulnesse, That much she feard his mind would grow to some

excesse.

.

8 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.

9 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 shee,
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.

10 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;

And sayd, her love to lose she was full loth, But either he should neither of them have, or both.

11 So foorth they went, and both together giusted;

But that same younker soone was overthrowne,
And made repent that he had rashly lusted
For thing unlawfull that was not his owne:
Yet since he seemed valiant, though unknowne,
She, that no lesse was courteous then stout,
Cast how to salve, that both the custome showne ?

Were kept, and yet that Knight not locked out; That seem'd full hard taccord two things so far in dout.

8

12 The seneschall was cal’d to deeme: the right

Whom she requir'd, that first fayre Amoret
Might be to her allow'd, as to a knight
That did her win and free from chalenge set:
Which straight to her was yeelded without let :
Then, since that strange Knights love from him was

quitted,
She claim'd that to herselfe, as ladies det,

He as a knight might iustly be admitted; So none should be out shut, sith all of 5 loves were

fitted.

13 With that, her glistring helmet she unlaced ;

Which doft, her golden lockes, that were upbound

1 Salve, secure.
2 Showne, published.
3 Deeme, judge.

4 Quitted, taken.
5 Of, with.

XII. 1. — Seneschall.] The household steward, or master of the ceremonies. H.

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