Page images

Thus whilest all things in troublous uprore were, 16
And all men busie to suppresse the flame,
The loving couple neede no reskew feare,
But leasure had and liberty to frame
Their purpost flight, free from all mens reclame;
And Night, the patronesse of love-stealth fayre,
Gave them safe conduct, till to end they came.
So beene they gone yfere, a wanton payre
Of lovers loosely knit, where list them to repayre.

Soone as the cruell flames yslaked were,

Malbecco, seeing how his losse did lye,


Out of the flames which he had quencht whylere, Into huge waves of griefe and gealosye Full deepe emplonged was, and drowned nye Twixt inward doole and felonous despight: He rav'd, he wept, he stampt, he lowd did cry, And all the passions that in man may light Did him attonce oppresse, and vex his caytive spright.


Long thus he chawd the cud of inward griefe,
And did consume his gall with anguish sore:
Still when he mused on his late mischiefe,
So still the smart thereof increased more,
And seemd more grievous then it was before.
At last when sorrow he saw booted nought,
Ne griefe might not his love to him restore,
gan devise how her he reskew mought:
Ten thousand wayes he cast in his confused thought.

At last resolving, like a Pilgrim pore,

To search her forth where so she might be fond, And bearing with him treasure in close store, The rest he leaves in ground: So takes in bond To seeke her endlong both by sea and lond. Long he her sought, he sought her far and nere, And every where that he mote understond Of knights and ladies any meetings were; And of eachone he mett he tidings did inquere


But all in vaine: his woman was too wise

Ever to come into his clouch againe, And hee too simple ever to surprise The jolly Paridell, for all his paine. One day, as hee forpassed by the plaine With weary pace, he far away espide A couple, seeming well to be his twaine, Which hoved close under a forest side, As if they lay in wait, or els them selves did hide.


Well weened hee that those the same mote bee; 21
And as he better did their shape avize,

Him seemed more their maner did agree,
For th' one was armed all in warlike wize,
Whom to be Paridell he did devize;
And th' other, al yclad in garments light
Discolourd like to womanish disguise,
He did resemble to his lady bright;

And ever his faint hart much earned at the sight:

And ever faine he towards them would goe,
But yet durst not for dread approchen nie,
But stood aloofe, unweeting what to doe;
Till that prickt forth with loves extremity,
That is the father of fowle gealosy,

He closely nearer crept the truth to weet:
But, as he nigher drew, he easily

Might scerne that it was not his sweetest sweet, Ne yet her Belamour, the partner of his sheet:

But it was scornefull Braggadochio,

That with his servant Trompart hoverd there,
Sith late he fled from his too earnest foe:
Whom such whenas Malbecco spyed clere,
He turned backe, and would have fled arere,
Till Trompart, ronning hastely, him did stay,
And bad before his soveraine Lord appere.
That was him loth, yet durst he not gainesay,
And comming him before low louted on the lay



The Boaster at him sternely bent his browe,
As if he could have kild him with his looke,
That to the ground him meekely made to bowe,
And awfull terror deepe into him strooke,
That every member of his body quooke.


Said he, "Thou man of nought, what doest thou here
Unfitly furnisht with thy bag and booke,
Where I expected one with shield and spere
To prove some deeds of armes upon an equall pere?"

The wretched man at his imperious speach
Was all abasht, and low prostrating said:
"Good Sir, let not my rudenes be no breach
Unto your patience, ne be ill ypaid;

For I unwares this way by fortune straid,
A silly Pilgrim driven to distresse,


That seeke a Lady "-There he suddein staid, And did the rest with grievous sighes suppresse, While teares stood in his eies, few drops of bitternesse.

"What Lady, man?" (said Trompart) "take good hart, And tell thy griefe, if any hidden lye:

Was never better time to shew thy smart
Then now that noble succor is thee by,
That is the whole worlds commune remedy."
That chearful word his weak heart much did cheare,
And with vaine hope his spirits faint supply,
That bold he sayd; "O most redoubted Pere!
Vouchsafe with mild regard a wretches cace to heare."

Then sighing sore, "It is not long," (saide hee) 27
"Sith I enjoyd the gentlest Dame alive;
Of whom a knight, no knight at all perdee,
But shame of all that doe for honor strive,
By treacherous deceipt did me deprive :
Through open outrage he her bore away,
And with fowle force unto his will did drive;
Which al good knights, that armes do bear this day,
Are bownd for to revenge, and punish if they may.

And you, most noble Lord, that can and dare 28
Redresse the wrong of miserable wight,
Cannot employ your most victorious speare
In better quarell then defence of right,
And for a Lady gainst a faithlesse knight :
So shall your glory bee advaunced much,
And all faire Ladies magnify your might,
And eke my selfe, albee I simple such,

Your worthy paine shall wel reward with guerdon rich."

With that out of his bouget forth he drew


Great store of treasure, therewith him to tempt; But he on it lookt scornefully askew, As much disdeigning to be so misdempt, Or a war-monger to be basely nempt; And sayd; "Thy offers base I greatly loth, And eke thy words uncourteous and unkempt: I tread in dust thee and thy money both, [wroth. That, were it not for shame "-So turned from him


But Trompart, that his maistres humor knew
In lofty looks to hide an humble minde,
Was inly tickled with that golden vew,
And in his eare him rownded close behinde :
Yet stoupt he not, but lay still in the winde,
Waiting advauntage on the pray to sease,
Till Trompart, lowly to the grownd inclinde,
Besought him his great corage to appease,
And pardon simple man that rash did him displease.

Big looking like a doughty Doucepere,


At last he thus; "Thou clod of vilest clay, I pardon yield, and with thy rudenes beare; But weete henceforth, that all that golden pray, And all that els the vaine world vaunten may, I loath as doung, ne deeme my dew reward: Fame is my meed, and glory vertuous pray: But minds of mortall men are muchell mard And mov'd amisse with massy mucks unmect regard

"And more: I graunt to thy great misery


Gratious respect; thy wife shall backe be sent: And that vile knight, who ever that he bee, Which hath thy lady reft and knighthood shent, By Sanglamort my sword, whose deadly dent The blood hath of so many thousands shedd, I sweare, ere long shall dearely it repent; Ne he twixt heven and earth shall hide his hedd, But soone he shalbe fownd, and shortly doen be dedd." The foolish man thereat woxe wondrous blith, As if the word so spoken were halfe donne, And humbly thanked him a thousand sith That had from death to life him newly wonne. Tho forth the Boaster marching brave begonne His stolen steed to thunder furiously,

As if he heaven and hell would over-ronne, And all the world confound with cruelty; That much Malbecco joyed in his jollity. Thus long they three together traveiled,



Through many a wood and many an uncouth way, To seeke his wife that was far wandered: But those two sought nought but the present pray, To weete, the treasure which he did bewray, On which their eies and harts were wholly sett, With purpose how they might it best betray; For, sith the howre that first he did them lett The same behold, therwith their keene desires were whett.

It fortuned, as they together far'd,

They spide where Paridell came pricking fast Upon the plaine; the which him selfe prepar'd To giust with that brave straunger knight a cast, As on adventure by the way he past. Alone he rode without his Paragone; For, having filcht her bells, her up he cast To the wide world, and lett her fly alone: He nould be clogd. So had he served many one.


« PreviousContinue »