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The faithfull Knight in equall field
THE noble hart that harbours vertuous thought, And is with childe of glorious great intent, Can never rest, untill it forth have brought Th' eternall brood of glorie excellent. Such restlesse passion did all night torment The flaming corage of that Faery Night, Devizing, how that doughtie turnament With greatest honour he atchieven might: Still did he wake, and still did watch for dawning light.
At last, the golden oriental gate
Of greatest heaven gan to open fayre;
And Phoebus, fresh as brydegrome to his mate,
For with that Pagan proud he combatt will that day.
And forth he comes into the commune hall;
To weet what end to straunger Knights may fall.
And many bardes, that to the trembling chord
And many chroniclers, that can record
Old loves, and warres for Ladies doen by many a Lord.
Soon after comes the cruell Sarazin,
In woven maile all armed warily;
And sternly lookes at him, who not a pin
And in the wine a solemne oth they bynd T'observe the sacred lawes of armes, that are assynd.
At last forth comes that far renowmed Queene.
The warlike feates of both those Knights to see.
Duessa placed is, and on a tree
Sansfoy his shield is hangd with bloody hew: Both those, the lawrell girlonds to the victor dew.
A shrilling trompett sownded from on hye,
And unto battaill bad themselves addresse:
V. 9. Both those, the lawrell girlonds.] Both Duessa and the shield of Sansfoy are to be the rewards of the victor.
Their shining shieldes about their wrestes1 they tye,
Deepe dinted furrowes in the battred mayle:
The Sarazin was stout and wondrous strong,
Both stricken stryke, and beaten both doe beat;
And helmets, hewen deepe, shew marks of eithers might.
So th' one for wrong, the other strives for right:
2 Blesse, blaze.
1 Wrestes, wrists.
Gryfon, commonly spelled griffin, a fabulous animal, with the body
of a lion and the wings of an eagle.
4 Ravine, prey.
5 Souce, strike, as a bird strikes his prey.
VIII. 2. -As when, &c.] The construction is, "As when a gryfon, seized of his pray, encountreth in his flight a fiers dragon making his idle way through middest ayre, which dragon would rend away his rightful ravine," &c.
The wise southsayer, seeing so sad sight,
Th' amazed vulgar telles of warres and mortal fight.
So th' one for wrong, the other strives for right;
In tender flesh, that streames of blood down flow;
Great ruth in all the gazers harts did grow,
At last the Paynim chaunst to cast his eye,
And said; "Ah! wretched sonne of wofull syre,
And, sluggish german,2 doest thy forces slake
"Go, caytive Elfe, him quickly overtake,
2 German, brother.
1 Earst, before.
3 Quit, rescued.
X. 8. And, sluggish german, &c.] He is addressing himself"And, sluggish german, doest [thou] thy forces slake?"
End of the doubtfull battaile deemed tho
The lookers on; and lowd to him gan call The false Duessa, "Thine the shield, and I, and all!"
Soone as the Faerie heard his Ladie speake,
And quickning faith, that earst1 was woxen weake,
Tho' mov'd with wrath, and shame, and ladies sake,
And with so' exceeding furie at him strake,
And to him said; "Goe now, proud miscreant, Thyselfe thy message do to german 4 deare; Alone he, wandring, thee too long doth want: Goe say, his foe thy shield with his doth beare." Therewith his heavie hand he high gan reare, Him to have slaine; when lo! a darkesome clowd Upon him fell; he no where doth appeare, But vanisht is. The Elfe him calls alowd, But answer none receives; the darknes him does shrowd.
In haste Duessa from her place arose,
And to him running said; "O prowest 5 Knight,
That ever Ladie to her love did chose,
1 Earst, before. 2 Tho, then. 3 Cast, resolved.