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And thrise in vaine to draw it did assay;

It booted nought to thinke to robbe him of his pray.


Tho,1 when he saw no power might prevaile,
His trusty sword he cald to his last aid,
Wherewith he fiersly did his foe assaile,
And double blowes about him stoutly laid,
That glauncing fire out of the yron plaid;
As sparckles from the andvile use to fly,
When heavy hammers on the wedg are swaid;
Therewith at last he forst him to unty
One of his grasping feete, him to defend thereby.


The other foote, fast fixed on his shield,

Whenas no strength nor stroks mote him constraine
To loose, ne yet the warlike pledg to yield;
He smott thereat with all his might and maine,
That nought so wondrous puissance might sustaine:
Upon the ioynt the lucky steele did light,

And made such way, that hewd it quite in twaine;
The paw yett missed not his minisht 2 might,
But hong still on the shield, as it at first was pight.3


For griefe thereof and divelish despight,
From his infernall fournace fourth he threw
Huge flames, that dimmed all the hevens light,
Enrold in duskish smoke and brimstone blew:
As burning Aetna from his boyling stew

Doth belch out flames, and rockes in peeces broke,
And ragged ribs of mountaines molten new,
Enwrapt in coleblacke clowds and filthy smoke,

That al the land with stench, and heven with horror, choke.

1 Tho, then. 2 Minisht, diminished.

3 Pight, fastened.


The heate whereof, and harmefull pestilence,
So sore him noyd,1 that forst him to retire
A little backeward for his best defence,
To save his body from the scorching fire,
Which he from hellish entrailes did expire.2

It chaunst, (Eternall God that chaunce did guide,)
As he recoiled backeward, in the mire

His nigh forwearied feeble feet did slide,

And downe he fell, with dread of shame sore terrifide.

There grew a goodly Tree him faire beside,
Loaden with fruit and apples rosy redd,
As they in pure vermilion had been dide,
Whereof great vertues over all were redd 5:
For happy life to all which thereon fedd,
And life eke everlasting did befall :


Great God it planted in that blessed stedd
With his Almighty hand, and did it call

The Tree of Life, the crime of our first Fathers fall.


In all the world like was not to be fownd,

Save in that soile, where all good things did grow,
And freely sprong out of the fruitfull grownd,
As incorrupted Nature did them sow,

Noyd, annoyed
2 Expire, breathe out.
3 As, as if.

4 Over all, every where.

5 Redd, declared.

• Stedd, place.

XLVI. 9.- The Tree of Life, the crime, &c.] Crime may be here used in the sense of reproach, and the meaning be, that the tree of life, which Adam might have eaten, had he remained innocent, reproached him for his fall; or it may mean that the great evil of Adam's crime was the loss of the tree of life to him and his posterity.

Till that dredd Dragon all did overthrow.
Another like faire Tree eke grew thereby,
Whereof whoso did eat, eftsoones1 did know
Both good and ill: O mournfull memory!

That Tree through one Mans fault hath doen us all to dy!


From that first Tree forth flowd, as from a well,
A trickling streame of balme, most soveraine
And dainty deare, which on the ground still fell,
And overflowed all the fertile plaine,

As3 it had deawed bene with timely raine:
Life and long health that gracious ointment gave;
And deadly wounds could heale; and reare againe
The senceless corse appointed for the grave:

Into that same he fell, which did from death him save.


For nigh thereto the ever-damned Beast

Durst not approch, for he was deadly 4 made,
And al that life preserved did detest;

Yet he it oft adventur'd to invade.

By this the drouping Day-light gan to fade,
And yield his rowme to sad succeeding Night,
Who with her sable mantle gan to shade
The face of earth and wayes of living wight,
And high her burning torch set up in heaven bright.


When gentle Una saw the second fall

Of her deare Knight, who, weary of long fight
And faint through losse of blood, moov'd not at all,
But lay, as in a dreame of deepe delight,

1 Eftsoones, 3 As, as if.


2 Dainty deare, precious. 4 Deadly, for deadly or destructive purposes.

Besmeard with pretious balme, whose vertuous might
Did heale his woundes, and scorching heat alay;
Againe she stricken was with sore affright,
And for his safetie gan devoutly pray,

And watch the noyous 1 night, and wait for ioyous day.


The ioyous day gan early to appeare;
And fayre Aurora from the deawy bed
Of aged Tithone gan herselfe to reare
With rosy cheekes, for shame as blushing red:
Her golden locks, for hast, were loosely shed
About her eares, when Una her did marke
Clymbe to her charet, all with flowers spred,
From heven high to chace the chearelesse darke;
With mery note her lowd salutes the mounting larke.


Then freshly up arose the doughty Knight,
All healed of his hurts and woundës wide,
And did himselfe to battaile ready dight;
Whose early Foe awaiting him beside
To have devourd, so soone as day he spyde,
When now he saw himself so freshly reare,
As if late fight had nought him damnifyde,"
He woxe dismaid, and gan his fate to feare;
Nathlesse with wonted rage he him advaunced neare;


And in his first encounter, gaping wyde,

He thought attonce him to have swallowd quight,
And rusht upon him with outragious pryde;
Who him rencounting fierce, as hauke in flight,
Perforce rebutted 3 back: The weapon bright,
Taking advantage of his open iaw,

1 Noyous, baleful. 2 Damnifyde, injured.

3 Rebutted, repelled.

Ran through his mouth with so importune 1 might,
That deepe emperst his darksom hollow maw,
And, back retyrd, his life blood forth withall did draw.


So downe he fell, and forth his life did breath,
That vanisht into smoke and cloudës swift;
So downe he fell, that th' earth him underneath
Did grone, as feeble so great load to lift;
So downe he fell, as an huge rocky clift,
Whose false 3 foundacion waves have washt
With dreadfull poyse is from the mayneland rift,
And, rolling downe, great Neptune doth dismay:
So downe he fell, and like an heaped mountaine lay.


The Knight himselfe even trembled at his fall,
So huge and horrible a masse it seemd;

And his deare Lady, that beheld it all,
Durst not approch for dread which she misdeemd;
But yet at last, whenas the direfull Feend
She saw not stirre, off-shaking vaine affright
She nigher drew, and saw that ioyous end:

Then God she praysd, and thankt her faithfull Knight, That had atchievde so great a conquest by his might.*

1 Impórtune, extreme.
2 Retyrd, drawn.

3 False, infirm.

4 Poyse, force or weight.

LV. 4.- For dread, which she misdeemd.] For fear lest the dragon should revive, which fear was groundless.

* The refreshing and restoring influences of the well, and the tree of life, experienced by the knight in his encounter with the dragon, are susceptible of an obvious allegorical interpretation. In the legendary history of St. George, he is strengthened with the fruit of a goodly tree, which no venomous creature could approach.

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