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The gentle Lady, loose at randon lefte,
The greene-wood long did walke, and wander wide
At wilde adventure, like a forlorne wefte;
Till on a day the Satyres her espide
Straying alone withouten groome or guide:
Her up they tooke, and with them home her ledd,
With them as housewife ever to abide,
To milk their gotes, and make them cheese and bregd; And every one as commune good her handeled:
That shortly she Malbecco has forgott,
And eke Sir Paridell, all were he deare;
Who from her went to seeke another lott,
And now by fortune was arrived here,
Where those two guilers with Malbecco were.
Soone as the old man saw Sir Paridell,
He fainted, and was almost dead with feare,
Ne word he had to speake his griefe to tell,
But to him louted low, and greeted goodly well;
And, after, asked him for Hellenore:
"I take no keepe of her," (sayd Paridell)
"She wonneth in the forrest there before."
So forth he rode as his adventure fell;
The whiles the Boaster from his loftie sell
Faynd to alight, something amisse to mend;
But the fresh Swayne would not his leasure dwell,
But went his way: whom when he passed kend,
He up remounted light, and after faind to wend.
"Perdy, nay," (said Malbecco) "shall ye not;
But let him passe as lightly as he came :
For litle good of him is to be got,
And mickle perill to bee put to shame.
But let us goe to seeke my dearest Dame,
Whom he hath left in yonder forest wyld;
For of her safety in great doubt I ame,
Least salvage beastes her person have despoyld: Then all the world is lost, and we in vaine have toyld.
They all agree, and forward them addrest:
"Ah! but," (said crafty Trompart) "weete ye well, That yonder in that wastefull wildernesse
Huge monsters haunt, and many dangers dwell; Dragons, and Minotaures, and feendes of hell, And many wilde woodmen which robbe and rend All traveilers: therefore advise ye well,
Before ye enterprise that way to wend. One may his journey bring too soone to evill end."
Malbecco stopt in great astonishment,
And with pale eyes fast fixed on the rest,
Their counsell crav'd in daunger imminent.
Said Trompart; "You, that are the most opprest
With burdein of great treasure, I thinke best
Here for to stay in safetie behynd:
My Lord and I will search the wide forest.”
That counsell pleased not Malbeccoes mynd,
For he was much afraid him selfe alone to fynd.
"Then is it best," (said he) "that ye doe leave
Your treasure here in some security,
Either fast closed in some hollow greave,
Or buried in the ground from jeopardy,
Till we returne againe in safety:
As for us two, least doubt of us ye have,
Hence farre away we will blyndfolded ly,
Ne privy bee unto your treasures grave." [brave. It pleased; so he did. Then they march forward
Now, when amid the thickest woodes they were, 43
They heard a noyse of many bagpipes shrill,
And shrieking Hububs them approching nere,
Which all the forest did with horrour fill.
That dreadfull sound the bosters hart did thrill
With such amazment, that in hast he fledd,
Ne ever looked back for good or ill;
And after him eke fearefull Trompart spedd: The old man could not fly, but fell to ground half dedd.
Yet afterwardes, close creeping as he might,
He in a bush did hyde his fearefull hedd.
The jolly Satyres, full of fresh delight,
Came dauncing forth, and with them nimbly ledd
Faire Helenore with girlonds all bespredd,
Whom their May-lady they had newly made:
She, proude of that new honour which they redd,
And of their lovely fellowship full glade,
Daunst lively, and her face did with a Lawrell shade.
The silly man that in the thickett lay
Saw all this goodly sport, and grieved sore;
Yet durst he not against it doe or say,
But did his hart with bitter thoughts engore,
To see th' unkindnes of his Hellenore.
All day they daunced with great lusty hedd,
And with their horned feet the greene gras wore,
The whiles their Gotes upon the brouzes fedd,
Till drouping Phoebus gan to hyde his golden hedd.
Tho up they gan their
mery pypes to trusse,
And all their goodly heardes did gather rownd;
But every Satyre first did give a busse
To Hellenore; so busses did abound. Now gan the humid vapour shed the grownd With perly deaw, and th' Earthes gloomy shade Did dim the brightnesse of the welkin rownd, That every bird and beast awarned made [invade. To shrowd themselves, whiles sleepe their sences did
Which when Malbecco saw, out of his bush
Upon his handes and feete he crept full light,
And like a Gote emongst the Gotes did rush;
That, through the helpe of his faire hornes on hight,
And misty dampe of misconceyving night,
And eke through likenesse of his gotish beard,
He did the better counterfeite aright:
So home he marcht emongst the horned heard,
That none of all the Satyres him espyde or heard.
At night, when all they went to sleepe, he vewd 48 Whereas his lovely wife emongst them lay, Embraced of a Satyre rough and rude,
Who all the night did minde his joyous play : Nine times he heard him come aloft ere day, That all his hart with gealosy did swell; But yet that nights ensample did bewray That not for nought his wife them loved so well, When one so oft a night did ring his matins bell. So closely as he could he to them crept,
When wearie of their sport to sleepe they fell,
And to his wife, that now full soundly slept,
He whispered in her eare, and did her tell,
That it was he which by her side did dwell;
And therefore prayd her wake to heare him plaine.
As one out of a dreame not waked well
She turnd her, and returned backe againe;
Yet her for to awake he did the more constraine.
At last with irkesom trouble she abrayd;
And then perceiving, that it was indeed
Her old Malbecco, which did her upbrayd
With loosenesse of her love and loathly deed,
She was astonisht with exceeding dreed,
And would have wakt the Satyre by her syde;
But he her prayd, for mercy or for meed,
To save his life, ne let him be descryde,
But hearken to his lore, and all his counsell hyde.
gan he her perswade to leave that lewd
And loathsom life, of God and man abhord,
And home returne, where all should be renewd
With perfect peace and bandes of fresh accord,
And she receivd againe to bed and bord,
As if no trespas ever had beene donne :
But she it all refused at one word,
And by no meanes would to his will be wonne, But chose emongst the jolly Satyres still to wonne.
Ile wooed her till day spring he espyde,
But all in vaine; and then turnd to the heard,
Who butted him with hornes on every syde,
And trode downe in the durt, where his hore beard
Was fowly dight, and he of death afeard.
Early, before the heavens fairest light
Out of the ruddy East was fully reard,
The heardes out of their foldes were loosed quight, And he emongst the rest crept forth in sory plight.
So soone as he the Prison dore did pas,
He ran as fast as both his feet could beare,
And never looked who behind him was,
Ne scarsely who before: like as a Beare,
That creeping close amongst the hives to reare
An hony-combe, the wakefull dogs espy,
And him assayling sore his carkas teare,
That hardly he with life away does fly,
Ne stayes, till safe him selfe he see from jeopardy.
Ne stayd he, till he came unto the place
Where late his treasure he entombed had;
Where when he found it not, (for Trompart bace
Had it purloyned for his maister bad)
With extreme fury he became quite mad,
And ran away, ran with him selfe away;
That who so straungely had him seene bestadd,
With upstart haire and staring eyes dismay,
From Limbo lake him late escaped sure would say.
High over hilles and over dales he fledd,
As if the wind him on his winges had borne;
Ne banck nor bush could stay him, when he spedd
His nimble feet, as treading still on thorne:
Griefe, and despight, and gealosy, and scorne,
Did all the way him follow hard behynd;
And he himselfe himselfe loath'd so forlorne,
So shamefully forlorne of womankynd,
That, as a Snake, still lurked in his wounded mynd.