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He at his entrance charg'd his powrefull speare
At Artegall, in middest of his pryde,

And therewith smote him on his Umbriere

So sore, that tombling backe he downe did slyde Over his horses taile above a stryde;

Whence litle lust he had to rise againe :

Which Cambell seeing much the same envyde, And ran at him with all his might and maine; But shortly was likewise seene lying on the plaine. Whereat full inly wroth was Triamond,

And cast t' evenge the shame doen to his freend; But by his friend himselfe eke soone he fond In no lesse neede of helpe then him, he weend. All which when Blandamour from end to end Beheld, he woxe therewith displeased sore, And thought in mind it shortly to amend: His speare he feutred, and at him it bore, But with no better fortune then the rest afore.

Full many others at him likewise ran,




But all of them likewise dismounted were; Ne certes wonder, for no powre of man Could bide the force of that enchaunted speare, The which this famous Britomart did beare; With which she wondrous deeds of arms atchieved And overthrew what ever came her neare, That all those stranger knights full sore agrieved, And that late weaker band of chalengers relieved.

Like as in sommers day, when raging heat


Doth burne the earth and boyled rivers drie, That all brute beasts, forst to refrain fro meat, Doe hunt for shade, where shrowded they may lie, And, missing it, faine from themselves to flie; All travellers tormented are with paine: A watry cloud doth overcast the skie, And poureth forth a sudden shoure of raine, That all the wretched world recomforteth againe.

So did the warlike Britomart restore

The prize to knights of Maydenhead that day,
Which else was like to have bene lost, and bore
The prayse of prowesse from them all away.
Then shrilling trompets loudly gan to bray,
And bad them leave their labours and long toyle
To joyous feast and other gentle play,


Where beauties prize shold win that pretious spoyle: Where I with sound of trompe will also rest awhyle.


The Ladies for the girdle strive
of famous Florimell:
Scudamour, comming to Cares House,
doth sleepe from him expell.


T hath bene through all ages ever seene,
That with the praise of armes and chevalrie
The prize of beautie still hath joyned beene;

And that for reasons speciall privitee,
For either doth on other much relie:

For he, me seemes, most fit the faire to serve,
That can her best defend from villenie;

And she most fit his service doth deserve,

That fairest is, and from her faith will never swerve.

So fitly now here commeth next in place,
After the proofe of prowesse ended well,
The controverse of beauties soveraine grace;
In which to her that doth the most excell,
Shall fall the girdle of faire Florimell;
That many wish to win for glorie vaine,
And not for vertuous use, which some doe tell
That glorious belt did in it selfe containe,


Which Ladies ought to love, and seeke for to obtaine.

That girdle gave the vertue of chast love,
And wivehood true, to all that did it beare;
But whosoever contrarie doth prove,
Might not the same about her middle weare,
But it would loose, or else a sunder teare.
Whilome it was (as Faeries wont report)
Dame Venus girdle, by her steemed deare
What time she usd to live in wively sort,
But layd aside when so she usd her looser sport.


Her husband Vulcan whylome for her sake,
When first he loved her with heart entire,
This pretious ornament, they say, did make,
And wrought in Lemno with unquenched fire;
And afterwards did for her loves first hire
Give it to her, for ever to remaine,
Therewith to bind lascivious desire,

And loose affections streightly to restraine;
Which vertue it for ever after did retaine.

The same one day, when she her selfe disposd
To visite her beloved Paramoure,

The God of warre, she from her middle loosd,
And left behind her in her secret bowre
On Acidalian mount, where many an howre
She with the pleasant Graces wont to play.
There Florimell, in her first ages flowre,


Was fostered by those Graces, (as they say) [away. And brought with her from thence that goodly belt


That goodly belt was Cestus hight by name,
And as her life by her esteemed deare:
No wonder then, if that to winne the same
So many Ladies sought, as shall appeare;
For pearelesse she was thought that did it beare.
And now by this their feast all being ended,
The judges, which thereto selected were,
Into the Martian field adowne descended [tended.
To deeme this doutfull case, for which they all con-

But first was question made, which of those Knights
That lately turneyd had the wager wonne?
There was it judged, by those worthie wights,
That Satyrane the first day best had donne ;
For he last ended, having first begonne.
The second was to Triamond behight,

For that he sav'd the victour from fordonne:
For Cambell victour was in all mens sight,
Till by mishap he in his foemens hand did light.

The third dayes prize unto that straunger Knight, 8 Whom all men term'd Knight of the Hebene speare, To Britomart was given by good right;

For that with puissant stroke she downe did beare The Salvage Knight that victour was whileare, And all the rest which had the best afore,

And to the last unconquer'd did

For last is deemed best. To her therefore
The fayrest Ladie was adjudgd for Paramore.
But thereat greatly grudged Arthegall,

And much repynd, that both of victors meede
And eke of honour she did him forestall:
Yet mote he not withstand what was decreede;
But inly thought of that despightfull deede
Fit time t' awaite avenged for to bee.
This being ended thus, and all agreed,
Then next ensew'd the Paragon to see

Of beauties praise, and yeeld the fayrest her due fee.


Then first Cambello brought into their view
His faire Cambina, covered with a veale;
Which, being once withdrawne, most perfect hew
And passing beautie did eftsoones reveale,
That able was weake harts away to steale.
Next did Sir Triamond unto their sight
The face of his deare Canacee unheale;

Whose beauties beame eftsoones did shine so bright, That daz'd the eyes of all as with exceeding light.

And after her did Paridell produce

His false Duessa, that she might be seene;
Who with her forged beautie did seduce
The hearts of some that fairest her did weene,
As diverse wits affected divers beene.

Then did Sir Ferramont unto them shew
His Lucida, that was full faire and sheene:
And after these an hundred Ladies moe


Appear'd in place, the which each other did outgoe.

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