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Then good Sir Claribell him thus bespake:
That as we ride together on our way,
All that adventure which ye did assay
For that faire Ladies love: past perils well apay."
So gan the rest him likewise to require;
To take on him that paine: whose great desire
Scudamour doth his conquest tell
Great Venus Temple is describ'd;
RUE he it said, what ever man it sayd, 1
For every dram of hony therein found,
For since the day that first with deadly wound My heart was launcht, and learned to have loved, I never joyed howre, but still with care was moved.
"And yet such grace is given them from above,
So all that ever yet I have endured
I count as nought, and tread downe under feet, Since of my love at length I rest assured,
That to disloyalty she will not be allured.
"Long were to tell the travell and long toile
Through which this shield of love I late have wonne, And purchased this peerelesse beauties spoile, That harder may be ended, then begonne : But since ye so desire, your will be donne. Then hearke, ye gentle knights and Ladies free, My hard mishaps that ye may learne to shonne; For though sweet love to conquer glorious bee, Yet is the paine thereof much greater then the fee.
"What time the fame of this renowmed prise Flew first abroad, and all mens eares possest, having armes then taken, gan avise
To winne me honour by some noble gest, And purchase me some place amongst the best. I boldly thought, (so young mens thoughts are bold) That this same brave emprize for me did rest, And that both shield and she whom I behold Might be my lucky lot; sith all by lot we hold. "So on that hard adventure forth I went,
And to the place of perill shortly came : That was a temple faire and auncient, Which of great mother Venus bare the name, And farre renowmed, through exceeding fame, Much more then that which was in Paphos built, Or that in Cyprus, both long since this same, Though all the pillours of the one were guilt, And all the others pavement were with yvory spilt. "And it was seated in an Island strong,
Abounding all with delices most rare,
And wall'd by nature gainst invaders wrong,
On stately pillours fram'd after the Doricke guize.
"And for defence thereof on th' other end
"Before that Castle was an open plaine,
And in the midst thereof a piller placed;
On which this shield, of many sought in vaine, The shield of Love, whose guerdon me hath graced, Was hangd on high with golden ribbands laced: And in the marble stone was written this, With golden letters goodly well enchaced; Blessed the man that well can use his blis: Whose ever be the shield, fair Amoret be his. "Which when I red, my heart did inly earne, And pant with hope of that adventures hap; Ne stayed further newes thereof to learne, But with my speare upon the shield did rap, That all the castle ringed with the clap. Streight forth issewd a Knight all arm'd to proofe, And bravely mounted to his most mishap; Who, staying nought to question from aloofe, Ran fierce at me that fire glaunst from his horses hoofe.
"Whom boldly I encountred (as I could)
And by good fortune shortly him unseated.
And taking downe the shield with me did it retaine.
"So forth without impediment I past,
Till to the Bridges utter gate I came;
The which I found sure lockt and chained fast.
I knockt, but no man aunswred me by name;
I cald, but no man answred to my clame : Yet I persever'd still to knocke and call; Till at the last I spide within the same. Where one stood peeping through a crevis small, To whom I cald aloud, halfe angry therewithall.
"That was to weet the Porter of the place,
Unto whose trust the charge thereof was lent:
Th' one forward looking, th' other backeward bent,
Which hath in charge the ingate of the yeare:
As if some proved perill he did feare,
Or did misdoubt some ill whose cause did not appeare.
"On th' one side he, on th' other sate Delay,
Bearing the shield which I had conquerd late, He kend it streight, and to me opened wide. So in I past, and streight he closd the gate : But being in, Delay in close awaite, Caught hold on me, and thought my steps to stay, Feigning full many a fond excuse to prate, And time to steale, the threasure of mans day, Whose smallest minute lost no riches render may.
"But by no meanes my way I would forslow