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A cloud of smoothering smoke, and sulphure seare,1
Out of his stinking gorge 2 forth steemed still,
That all the ayre about with smoke and stench did fill.


His blazing eyes, like two bright shining shieldes, Did burne with wrath, and sparkled living fyre: As two broad beacons, sett in open fieldes, Send forth their flames far off to every shyre,3 And warning give, that enemies conspyre With fire and sword the region to invade ; So flam'd his eyne with rage and rancorous yre: But far within, as in a hollow glade, Those glaring lampes were sett, that made a dreadfull shade.


So dreadfully he towardes him did pas, Forelifting up aloft his speckled brest, And often bounding on the brused gras, As for great ioyance of his new come guest. Eftsooneshe gan advance his haughty crest; As chauffed bore his bristles doth upreare; And shoke his scales to battaile ready drest, (That made the Redcrosse Knight nigh quake for feare,) As bidding bold defyaunce to his foeman neare.


The Knight gan fayrely couch his steady speare,
And fiersely ran at him with rigorous might:
The pointed steele, arriving rudely theare,
His harder hyde would nether perce nor bight,
But, glauncing by, foorth passed forward right:
Yet, sore amoved with so puissant push,

1 Scare, burning.

⚫ Gorge, throat.

3 Shyre, region; literally, county.


Eftsooncs, immediately.

The wrathfull Beast about him turned light,

And him so rudely, passing by, did brush With his long tayle, that horse and man to ground did rush.


Both horse and man up lightly rose againe,
And fresh encounter towardes him addrest:
But th' ydle stroke yet backe recoyld in vaine,
And found no place his deadly point to rest.
Exceeding rage enflam'd the furious Beast,
To be avenged of so great despight;

For never felt his im'perceable brest
So wondrous force from hand of living wight;
Yet had he prov'd the powre of many a puissant Knight.


Then, with his waving wings displayed wyde,
Himselfe up high he lifted from the ground,
And with strong flight did forcibly divyde
The yielding ayre, which nigh too feeble found
Her flitting parts, and element unsound,
To beare so great a weight: He, cutting way

With his broad sayles, about him soared round;
At last, low stouping with unweldy sway,

Snatcht up both horse and man, to beare them quite away.


Long he them bore above the subject plaine,
So far as ewghen2 bow a shaft may send;
Till struggling strong did him at last constraine
To let them downe before his flightës end:
As hagard3 hauke, presuming to contend

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1 Flitting, fleeting or light. Ewghen, made of yew. Hagard, wild.

XIX. 1. The subject plaine.] The plain which lay beneath them. Subject is used in the sense of subjectus.

With hardy fowle above his hable might,1 His wearie pounces all in vaine doth spend To trusse 3 the pray too heavy for his flight; Which, comming down to ground, does free itselfe by fight.


He so disseized of his gryping grosse,

The Knight his thrillant 4 speare again assayd

In his bras-plated body to embosse,5

And three mens strength unto the stroake he layd; Wherewith the stiffe beame quaked, as affrayd, And glauncing from his scaly necke did glyde Close under his left wing, then broad displayd: The percing steele there wrought a wound full wyde, That with the uncouth 6 smart the Monster lowdly cryde.


He cryde, as raging seas are wont to rore,

When wintry storme his wrathful wreck does threat;
The rolling billowes beate the ragged shore,


As they the earth would shoulder from her seat;
And greedy gulfe does gape, as he would eat
His neighbour element in his revenge:



Then gin the blustring brethren boldly threat
To move the world from off his stedfast henge,
And boystrous battaile make, each other to avenge.


The steely head stuck fast still in his flesh,
Till with his cruell clawes he snatcht the wood,
And quite asunder broke: Forth flowed fresh

1 Hable might, proper might.

2 Pounces, claws.

3 Trusse, bear aloft.

▲ Thrillant, piercing, sharp.

Embosse, enclose.

6 Uncouth, strange.

7 As, as if.

8 Henge, hinge.


XX. 1. — He so disseized, &c.] Literally, he so dispossessed of his great grasping, or the large object he had grasped. Disseized is a law term, meaning dispossessed.

A gushing river of blacke gory blood,

That drowned all the land, whereon he stood;
The streame thereof would drive a water-mill :
Trebly augmented was his furious mood

With bitter sence of his deepe rooted ill,

That flames of fire he threw forth from his large nosethrill.


His hideous tayle then hurled he about,
And therewith all enwrapt the nimble thyes
Of his froth-fomy steed, whose courage stout
Striving to loose the knott that fast him tyes,
Himselfe in streighter bandes too rash implyes,1
That to the ground he is perforce constraynd
To throw his ryder: who can quickly ryse
From off the earth, with durty blood distaynd,
For that reprochfull fall right fowly he disdaynd;


And fercely tooke his trenchand blade in hand,
With which he stroke so furious and so fell,

That nothing seemd the puissaunce could withstand:
Upon his crest the hardned yron fell;

But his more hardned crest was armd so well,
That deeper 3 dint therein it would not make;
Yet so extremely did the buffe him quell,
That from thenceforth he shund the like to take,
But, when he saw them come, he did them still forsake.1


The Knight was wroth to see his stroke beguyld,
And smot againe with more outrageous might;

1 Implyes, entangles.
2 Trenchand, cutting.

XXII. his body. VOL. I.


Deepe rooted ill.] The spear-head, which still remained


3 Deeper, deep.

4 Forsake, avoid.

But backe againe the sparcling steele recoyld,
And left not any marke where it did light,
As if in adamant rocke it had beene pight.1
The Beast, impatient of his smarting wound
And of so fierce and forcible despight,

Thought with his winges to stye2 above the ground; But his late wounded wing unserviceable found.


Then, full of grief and anguish vehement,
He lowdly brayd, that like was never heard ;
And from his wide devouring oven sent

A flake of fire, that, flashing in his beard,
Him all amazd, and almost made afeard:
The scorching flame sore swinged 3 all his face,
And through his armour all his body seard,+
That he could not endure so cruell cace,
But thought his armes to leave, and helmet to unlace.


Not that great champion of the antique world, Whom famous poetes verse so much doth vaunt, And hath for twelve huge labours high extold, So many furies and sharpe fits did haunt, When him the poysoned garment did enchaunt, With Centaures blood and bloody verses charmd; As did this Knight twelve thousand dolours daunt, Whom fyrie steele now burnt, that erst 5 him armd; That erst him goodly armd, now most of all him harmd.

1 Pight, placed or thrust.
4 Seard, burned.

2 Stye, mount. 3 Swinged, singed. 5 Erst, before.

XXVII. 6. With Centaures blood, &c.] This alludes to the wellknown classical story of the garment sent by Dejanira to Hercules, which had been steeped in the blood of the Centaur Nessus, and which occasioned the death of Hercules.

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