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There an huge heape of singulfes did oppresse
His strugling soule, and swelling throbs empeach
His foltring toung with pangs of drerinesse,
Choking the remnant of his plaintife speach,
As if his dayes were come to their last reach:
Which when she heard, and saw the ghastly fit
Threatning into his life to make a breach,


Both with great ruth and terrour she was smit, Fearing least from her cage the wearie soule would flit


Tho stouping downe she him amoved light;
Who, therewith somewhat starting, up gan looke,
And seeing him behind a stranger knight,
Whereas no living creature he mistooke,
With great indignaunce he that sight forsooke,
And, downe againe himselfe disdainefully
Abjecting, th' earth with his faire forhead strooke:
Which the bold Virgin seeing gan apply

Fit medcine to his griefe, and spake thus courtesly.

"Ah gentle knight! whose deepe conceived griefe 14
Well seemes t'exceede the powre of patience,
Yet, if that hevenly grace some good reliefe
You send, submit you to high providence ;
And ever in your noble hart prepense,
That all the sorrow in the world is lesse
Then vertues might and values confidence:
For who nill bide the burden of distresse,
Must not here thinke to live; for life is wretchednesse.

“Therefore, faire Sir, doe comfort to you take, 15 And freely read what wicked felon so

Hath outrag'd you, and thrald your gentle make.
Perhaps this hand may helpe to ease your woe,
And wreake your sorrow on your cruell foe;
At least it faire endevour will apply."

Those feeling words so neare the quicke did goe,
That up his head he reared easily,

And leaning on his elbowe these few words lett fly.


"What boots it plaine that cannot be redrest,
And sow vaine sorrow in a fruitlesse eare,
Sith powre of hand, nor skill of learned brest,
Ne worldly price, cannot redeeme my deare
Out of her thraldome and continuall feare:
For he, the tyrant, which her hath in ward
By strong enchauntments and blacke Magicke leare,
Hath in a dungeon deepe her close embard,
And many dreadfull feends hath pointed to her gard.

"There he tormenteth her most terribly,


And day and night afflicts with mortall paine, Because to yield him love she doth deny, Once to me yold, not to be yolde againe : But yet by torture he would her constraine Love to conceive in her disdainfull brest; Till so she doe, she must in doole remaine, Ne may by living meanes be thence relest: What boots it then to plaine that cannot be redrest ?"

With this sad hersall of his heavy stresse

The warlike Damzell was empassiond sore,


And sayd; "Sir knight, your cause is nothing lesse
Then is your sorrow certes, if not more.
For nothing so much pitty doth implore
As gentle Ladyes helplesse misery:
But yet, if please ye listen to my lore,
I will, with proofe of last extremity,

Deliver her fro thence, or with her for you dy."


"Ah! gentlest knight alive," (sayd Scudamore) 19
What huge heroicke magnanimity
Dwells in thy bounteous brest! what couldst thou
If shee were thine, and thou as now am I?
O! spare thy happy daies, and them apply
To better boot; but let me die that ought:
More is more losse; one is enough to dy."

"Life is not lost," (said she)" for which is bought Endlesse renowm, that, more then death, is to be sought."

Thus shee at length persuaded him to rise,
And with her wend to see what new successe
Mote him befall upon new enterprise.


His armes, which he had vowed to disprofesse, She gathered up and did about him dresse, And his forwandred steed unto him gott: So forth they both yfere make their progresse, And march not past the mountenaunce of a shott, Till they arriv'd whereas their purpose they did plott.

There they dismounting drew their weapons bold, 21
And stoutly came unto the Castle gate,

Whereas no gate they found them to withhold,
Nor ward to waite at morne and evening late;
But in the Porch, that did them sore amate,
A flaming fire, ymixt with smouldry smoke
And stinking sulphure, that with griesly hate
And dreadfull horror did all entraunce choke,
Enforced them their forward footing to revoke.
Greatly thereat was Britomart dismayd,


Ne in that stownd wist how her selfe to beare; For daunger vaine it were to have assayd That cruell element, which all things feare, Ne none can suffer to approchen neare: And, turning backe to Scudamour, thus sayd: "What monstrous enmity provoke we heare? Foolhardy as th' Earthes children, the which made Batteill against the Gods, so we a God invade.

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Daunger without discretion to attempt
Inglorious and beastlike is: therefore, Sir knight,
Aread what course of you is safest dempt,
And how we with our foe may come to fight."
"This is" (quoth he) " the dolorous despight,
Which earst to you I playnd: for neither may
This fire be quencht by any witt or might,
Ne yet by any meanes remov'd away;

So might be th'enchauntments which the same do stay.

"What is there ells but cease these fruitlesse paines, And leave me to my former languishing?

Faire Amorett must dwell in wicked chaines,

And Scudamore here die with sorrowing."


'Perdy not so," (saide shee) "for shameful thing Yt were t' abandon noble chevisaunce


For shewe of perill, without venturing:
Rather let try extremities of chaunce,
Then enterprised praise for dread to disavaunce."
Therewith, resolv'd to prove her utmost might,
Her ample shield she threw before her face,
And her swords point directing forward right
Assayld the flame; the which eftesoones gave place,
And did it selfe divide with equall space,
That through she passed: as a thonder bolt
Perceth the yielding ayre, and doth displace
The soring clouds into sad showres ymolt;
So to her yold the flames, and did their force revolt.

Whom whenas Scudamour saw past the fire
Safe and untoucht, he likewise gan assay
With greedy will and envious desire,

And bad the stubborne flames to yield him way:
But cruell Mulciber would not obay

His threatfull pride, but did the more augment His mighty rage, and with imperious sway Him forst, (maulgre) his fercenes to relent, And backe retire, all scorcht and pittifully brent.

With huge impatience he inly swelt,

More for great sorrow that he could not pas
Then for the burning torment which he felt;
That with fell woodnes he effierced was,

And wilfully him throwing on the gras



Did beat and bounse his head and brest ful sore: The whiles the Championesse now decked has The utmost rowme, and past the foremost dore; The utmost rowme abounding with all precious store:

For round about the walls yclothed were
With goodly arras of great majesty,

Woven with gold and silke, so close and nere
That the rich metall lurked privily,

As faining to be hidd from envious eye;
Yet here, and there, and every where, unwares
It shewd it selfe and shone unwillingly;


Like to a discolourd Snake, whose hidden snares Through the greene gras his long bright burnisht back declares.

And in those Tapets weren fashioned

Many faire pourtraicts, and many a faire feate; And all of love, and al of lusty-hed,



As seemed by their semblaunt, did entreat : And eke all Cupids warres they did repeate, And cruell battailes, which he whilome fought Gainst all the Gods to make his empire great; Besides the huge massacres, which he wrought On mighty kings and kesars into thraldome brought. Therein was writt how often thondring Jove Had felt the point of his hart percing dart, And, leaving heavens kingdome, here did rove In straunge disguize, to slake his scalding smart; Now, like a Ram, faire Helle to pervart, Now, like a Bull, Europa to withdraw : Ah! how the fearefull Ladies tender hart Did lively seeme to tremble, when she saw

The huge seas under her t' obay her servaunts law. Soone after that, into a golden showre


Him selfe he chaung'd, faire Danaë to vew ;
And through the roofe of her strong brasen towre
Did raine into her lap an hony dew;

The whiles her foolish garde, that litle knew
Of such deceipt, kept th' yron dore fast bard,
And watcht that none should enter nor issew:
Vaine was the watch, and bootlesse all the ward,
Whenas the God to golden hew himselfe transfard.

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