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The battell twixt three brethren with
Cambell for Canacee:
Cambina with true friendships bond
doth their long strife agree.
! WHY doe wretched men so much desire
To draw their dayes unto the utmost date,
And doe not rather wish them soone expire,
Knowing the miserie of their estate,
And thousand perills which them still awate,
Tossing them like a boate amid the mayne,
That every houre they knocke at deathes gate?
And he that happie seemes, and least in payne,
Yet is as nigh his end as he that most doth playne.
Therefore this Fay I hold but fond and vaine,
The which, in seeking for her children three
Long life, thereby did more prolong their paine⚫
Yet whilest they lived none did ever see
More happie creatures then they seem'd to bee;
Nor more ennobled for their courtesie,
That made them dearely lov'd of each degree;
Ne more renowmed for their chevalrie,
That made them dreaded much of all men farre and nie.
These three that hardie chalenge tooke in hand,
For Canacee with Cambell for to fight.
The day was set, that all might understand,
And pledges pawnd the same to keepe a right:
That day, the dreddest day that living wight
Did ever see upon this world to shine,
So soone as heavens window shewed light,
These warlike Champions, all in armour shine,
Assembled were in field the chalenge to define.
The field with listes was all about enclos'd,
To barre the prease of people farre away;
And at th' one side sixe judges were dispos'd,
To view and deeme the deedes of armes that day
And on the other side, in fresh aray,
Fayre Canacee upon a stately stage
Was set, to see the fortune of that fray,
And to be seene, as his most worthie wage
That could her purchase with his lives adventur'd gage.
Then entred Cambell first into the list,
With stately steps and fearelesse countenance,
As if the conquest his he surely wist.
Soone after did the brethren three advance
In brave aray and goodly amenance,
With scutchins gilt and banners broad displayd;
And, marching thrise in warlike ordinance,
Thrise lowted lowly to the noble Mayd, [playd. The whiles shril trompets and loud clarions sweetly
Which doen, the doughty chalenger came forth,
All arm'd to point, his chalenge to abet:
Gainst whom Sir Priamond, with equall worth
And equall armes, himselfe did forward set.
A trompet blew; they both together met
With dreadfull force and furious intent,
Carelesse of perill in their fiers affret,
As if that life to losse they had forelent,
And cared not to spare that should be shortly spent.
Right practicke was Sir Priamond in fight,
And throughly skild in use of shield and speare; Ne lesse approved was Cambelloes might, Ne lesse his skill in weapons did appeare; That hard it was to weene which harder were. Full many mightie strokes on either side Were sent, that seemed death in them to beare; But they were both so watchfull and well eyde, That they avoyded were, and vainely by did slyde.
Yet one, of many, was so strongly bent
By Priamond, that with unluckie glaunce Through Cambels shoulder it unwarely went, That forced him his shield to disadvaunce. Much was he grieved with that gracelesse chaunce; Yet from the wound no drop of bloud there fell, But wondrous paine, that did the more enhaunce His haughtie courage to advengement fell: [swell. Smart daunts not mighty harts, but makes them more to With that, his poynant speare he fierce aventred With doubled force close underneath his shield, That through the mayles into his thigh it entred, And, there arresting, readie way did yield For bloud to gush forth on the grassie field; That he for paine himselfe not right upreare, But too and fro in great amazement reel'd; Like an old Oke, whose pith and sap is seare, At puffe of every storme doth stagger here and theare.
Whom so dismayd when Cambell had espide,
Againe he drove at him with double might,
That nought mote stay the steele, till in his side
The mortall point most cruelly empight;
Where fast infixed, whilest he sought by slight
It forth to wrest, the staffe a sunder brake,
And left the head behinde: with which despight
He all enrag'd his shivering speare did shake,
And charging him a fresh thus felly him bespake.
"Lo! faitour, there thy meede unto thee take,
The meede of thy mischalenge and abet.
Not for thine owne, but for thy sisters sake,
Have I thus long thy life unto thee let:
But to forbeare doth not forgive the det."
The wicked weapon heard his wrathfull vow,
And, passing forth with furious affret,
Pierst through his bever quite into his brow, That with the force it backward forced him to bow,
Therewith a sunder in the midst it brast,
And in his hand nought but the troncheon left;
The other halfe, behind yet sticking fast,
Out of his headpeece Cambell fiercely reft,
And with such furie backe at him it heft,
That making way unto his dearest life,
His weasand pipe it through his gorget cleft.
Thence streames of purple bloud issuing rife
Let forth his wearie ghost, and made an end of strife.
His wearie ghost assoyld from fleshly band
Did not, as others wont, directly fly
Unto her rest in Plutoes griesly land;
Ne into ayre did vanish presently,.
Ne chaunged was into a starre in sky;
But through traduction was eftsoones derived,
Like as his mother prayd the Destinie,
Into his other brethren that survived,
In whom he liv'd a new, of former life deprived.
Whom when on ground his brother next beheld, 14
Though sad and sorie for so heavy sight,
Yet leave unto his sorrow did not yeeld,
But rather stir'd to vengeance and despight,
Through secret feeling of his generous spright,
Rusht fiercely forth the battell to renew,
As in reversion of his brothers right;
And chalenging the Virgin as his dew,
His foe was soone addrest: the trompets freshly blew.
With that they both together fiercely met,
As if that each ment other to devoure;
And with their axes both so sorely bet,
That nether plate nor mayle, whereas their powre
They felt, could once sustaine the hideous stowre,
But rived were like rotten wood a sunder;
Whilest through their rifts the ruddie bloud did
And fire did flash, like lightning after thunder, That fild the lookers on attonce with ruth and wonder.
As when two Tygers prickt with hungers rage
Have by good fortune found some beasts fresh spoyle,
On which they weene their famine to asswage,
And gaine a feastfull guerdon of their toyle,
Both falling out doe stirre up strifefull broyle,
And cruell battell twixt themselves doe make,
Whiles neither lets the other touch the soyle,
But either sdeignes with other to partake:
So cruelly these Knights strove for that Ladies sake.
Full many strokes, that mortally were ment,
The whiles were interchaunged twixt them two;
Yet they were all with so good wariment
Or warded, or avoyded and let goe,
That still the life stood fearelesse of her foe;
Till Diamond, disdeigning long delay
Of doubtfull fortune wavering to and fro,
Resolv'd to end it one or other way,
And heav'd his murdrous axe at him with mighty sway.
The dreadfull stroke, in case it had arrived
Where it was ment, (so deadly it was ment)
The soule had sure out of his body rived,
And stinted all the strife incontinent :
But Cambels fate that fortune did prevent;
For, seeing it at hand, be swarv'd asyde,
And so gave way unto his fell intent;
Who, missing of the marke which he had eyde,
Was with the force nigh feld, whilst his right foot did
As when a Vulture greedie of his pray,
Through hunger long that hart to him doth lend, Strikes at an Heron with all his bodies sway, That from his force seemes nought may it defend; The warie fowle, that spies him toward bend His dreadfull souse, avoydes it, shunning light, And maketh him his wing in vaine to spend; That with the weight of his owne weeldlesse might He falleth nigh to ground, and scarse recovereth flight.