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The faithfull knight in equall field
subdewes his faithlesse foe, Whom false Duessa saves, and for
his cure to hell does goe.
The noble hart, that harbours vertuous thought,
And is with child of glorious great intent,
Can never rest, untill it forth have brought
Th' eternall brood of glorie excellent.
Such restlesse passion did all night torment
The flaming corage of that Faery knight,
Devizing, how that doughtie turnament
With greatest honour he atchieven might;
Still did he wake, and still did watch for dawning light.
At last the golden Orientall gate,
Of greatest heaven gan to open faire,
And Phoebus fresh, as bridegrome to his mate,
Came dauncing forth, shaking his deawie haire :
And hurls his glistring beams through gloomy aire.
Which when the wakeful Elfe perceiv'd, streightway
He started up, and did him selfe prepaire,
In sunbright armes, and battailous array:
For with that Pagan proud he combat will that day.
And forth he comes into the commune hall,
Where earely waite him many a gazing eye,
To weet what end to straunger knights may fall.
There many Minstrales maken melody,
To drive away the dull melancholy,
And many Bardes, that to the trembling chord
Can tune their timely voyces cunningly,
many Chroniclers that can record
Old loves, and warres for Ladies doen by many a Lord.
Soone after comes the cruell Sarazin,
In woven maileo all armed warily,
And sternly lookes at him, who not a pin
Does care for looke of living creatures eye.
They bring them wines of Greece and Araby,
And daintie spices fetcht from furthest Ynd, o
To kindle heat of corage privily :
And in the wine a solemne oth they bynd
T observe the sacred lawes of armes, that are assynd.
At last forth comes that far renowmed Queene,
With royall pomp and Princely majestie ;
She is ybrought unto a paled greene, o
And placed under stately canapee,
The warlike feates of both those knights to see.
On th’ other side in all mens open vew
Duessa placed is, and on a tree
Sans-foy hiso shield is hangd with bloody hew:
Both thoseo the lawrell girlonds to the victor dew.
A shrilling trompet sownded from on hye,
And unto battaill bad them selves addresse :
Their shining shieldes about their wrestes they tye,
And burning blades about their heads do blesse,
The instruments of wrath and heavinesse :
With greedy force each other doth assayle,
And strike so fiercely, that they do impresse
Deepe dinted furrowes in the battred mayle;
The yron walles to ward their blowes are weak and fraile.
The Sarazin was stout, and wondrous strong,
And heaped blowes like yron hammers great;
For after bloud and vengeance he did long.
The knight was fiers, and full of youthly heat,
And doubled strokes, like dreaded thunders threat:
For all for prayse and honour he did fight.
Both stricken strike, and beaten both do beat,
That from their shields forth flyeth firie light,
And helmets hewen deepe show marks of eithers might.
So th' one for wrong, the other strives for right;
As when a Gryfono seized of his pray,
A Dragon fiers encountreth in his flight,
Through widest ayre making his ydle way,
That would his rightfull ravine rend away ;
With hideous horror both together smight,
And souce so sore that they the heavens affray:
The wise Soothsayer seeing so sad sight,
Th' amazed vulgar tels of warres and mortall fight.
So th' one for wrong, the other strives for right,
And each to deadly shame would drive his foe:
The cruell steele so greedily doth bight
In tender flesh that streames of bloud down flow,
With which the armes, that earst so bright did show,
Into a pure vermillion now are dyde :
Great ruth in all the gazers harts did grow,
Seeing the gored woundes to gape so wyde,
That victory they dare not wish to either side.
At last the Paynim chaunst to cast his eye,
His suddein eye, flaming with wrathful fyre,
Upon his brothers shield, which hong thereby :
Therewith redoubled was his raging yre,
And said, Ah wretched sonne of wofull syre,
Doest thou sit wayling by blacke Stygian lake,
Whilest here thy shield is hangd for victors hyre,
And sluggish germano doest thy forces slake
To after-send his foe, that him may overtake?
Goe caytive Elfe, him quickly overtake,
And soone redeeme from his long wandring woe;
Goe guiltie ghost, to him my message make,
That I his shield have quit from dying foe.
Therewith upon his crest he stroke him so,
That twise he reeled, readie twise to fall;
End of the doubtfull battell deemed tho
The lookers on, and lowd to him gan call
The false Duessa, Thine the shield, and I, and all.
Soone as the Faerie heard his Ladie speake, o
Out of his swowning dreame he gan awake,
And quickning faith, that earst was woxen weake,
The creeping deadly cold away did shake :
Tho mov’d with wrath, and shame, and Ladies sake,
Of all attonce he cast avengd to bee,
And with so' exceeding furie at him strake,
That forced him to stoupe upon his knee;
Had he not stouped so, he should have cloven bee.
And to him said, Goe now proud Miscreant,
Thy selfe thy message do to german deare;
Alone he wandring thee too long doth want:
Goe say, his foe thy shield with his doth beare.
Therewith his heavie hand he high gan reare,
Him to have slaine; when loe a darkesome clowdo
Upon him fell : he no where doth appeare,
115 But vanisht is. The Elfe him calls alowd, But answer none receives : the darkness him does shrowd.
In haste Duessa from her place arose,
And to him running said, O prowest knight,
That ever Ladie to her love did chose,
Let now abate the terror of your might,
And quench the flame of furious despight,
And bloudie vengeance; lo th' infernall powres,
Covering your foe with cloud of deadly night,
Have borne him hence to Plutoes balefull bowres.
The conquest yours, I yours, the shield, the glory yours.