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Fayre Una to the Redcrosse Knight
Betrouthed is with ioy:
Though false Duessa, it to barre,
Her false sleightes doe imploy.
BEHOLD I see the haven nigh at hand,
To which I meane my wearie course to bend ;
Vere the maine shete, and beare up with the land,
The which afore is fayrly to be kend,1
And seemeth safe from storms that may offend:
There this fayre Virgin wearie of her way
Must landed bee, now at her iourneyes end:
There eke my feeble barke a while may stay,
Till mery 2 wynd and weather call her thence away.
Scarsely had Phoebus in the glooming east
Yett harnessed his fyrie-footed teeme,
Ne reard above the earth his flaming creast;
When the last deadly smoke aloft did steeme,
That signe of last outbreathed life did seeme
Unto the watchman on the castle-wall,
Who thereby dead that balefull Beast did deeme,
1 Kend, discerned.
I. 3. Vere the maine shete, &c.] Change the direction or inclination of the mainsail, and make for the land.
And to his Lord and Lady lowd gan call,
To tell how he had seene the Dragons fatall fall.
Uprose with hasty ioy, and feeble speed,
That aged syre, the Lord of all that land,
And looked forth, to weet1 if trew indeed
Those tydinges were as he did understand:
Which whenas trew by tryall he out fond,
He badd to open wyde his brasen gate,
Which long time had beene shut, and out of hond 2
Proclaymed ioy and peace through all his state;
For dead now was their Foe, which them forrayed3 late.
Then gan triumphant trompets sownd on hye,
That sent to heven the ecchoed report
Of their new ioy, and happie victory
Gainst him, that had them long opprest with tort,4
And fast imprisoned in sieged fort.
Then all the people, as in solemne feast,
To him assembled with one full consórt,
Reioycing at the fall of that great Beast,
From whose eternall bondage now they were releast.
Forth came that auncient Lord, and aged Queene,
Arayd in antique robes downe to the grownd,
And sad habiliments right well beseene":
A noble crew about them waited rownd
Of sage and sober
and sober peres, all gravely gownd;
Whom far before did march a goodly band
Of tall young men, all hable armes to sownd,6
2 Out of hond, forthwith.
3 Forrayed, ravaged.
4 Tort, injury.
5 Beseene, becoming, appropriate. Sound, to make use of.
But now they laurell braunches bore in hand; Glad signe of victory and peace in all their land.
Unto that doughtie Conquerour they came,
And, him before themselves prostrating low,
Their Lord and Patrone loud did him proclame,
And at his feet their lawrell boughes did throw.
Soone after them, all dauncing on a row,
The comely virgins came, with girlands dight,
As fresh as flowres in medow greene doe grow,
When morning deaw upon their leaves doth light;
And in their hands sweet timbrells all upheld on hight.
And, them before, the fry of children yong
Their wanton sportes and childish mirth did play,
And to the maydens sownding tymbrels song
In well attuned notes a ioyous lay,
And made delightfull musick all the way,
Untill they came, where that faire Virgin stood:
As fayre Diana in fresh sommers day
Beholdes her nymphes enraung'd in shady wood,
Some wrestle, some do run, some bathe in christall flood;
So she beheld those maydens meriment
With chearefull vew; who, when to her they came, Themselves to ground with gracious humblesse1 bent, And her ador'd by honorable name,
Lifting to heven her everlasting fame:
Then on her head they sett a girlond greene,
And crowned her twixt earnest and twixt game: Who, in her self-resemblance well beseene, Did seeme, such as she was, a goodly Maiden Queene.
1 Humblesse, humility.
And after all the raskall many 1 ran,
Heaped together in rude rablement,
To see the face of that victorious Man,
Whom all admired as from heaven sent,
And gaz'd upon with gaping wonderment.
But when they came where that dead Dragon lay,
Stretcht on the ground in monstrous large extent,
The sight with ydle feare did them dismay,
Ne durst approch him nigh, to touch, or once assay.
Some feard and fledd; some feard, and well it faynd;
One, that would wiser seeme than all the rest,
Warnd him not touch, for yet perhaps remaynd
Some lingring life within his hollow brest,
Or in his wombe might lurke some hidden nest
Of many dragonettes, his fruitfull seede;
Another saide, that in his eyes did rest
Yet sparckling fyre, and badd thereof take heed;
Another said, he saw him move his eyes indeed.
One mother, whenas her foolehardy chyld
Did come too neare, and with his talants play,
Halfe dead through feare, her litle babe revyld,
And to her gossibs 2 gan in counsell say;
"How can I tell, but that his talants may
Yet scratch my sonne, or rend his tender hand?"
So diversly themselves in vaine they fray 3;
1 Raskall many, common multitude.
2 Gossibs, companions. 3 Fray, alarm.
X. 1. Some feard, and well it faynd.] Some were afraid, and yet pretended not to be.
Whiles some more bold to measure him nigh stand, Το prove how many acres he did spred of land.
Thus flocked all the folke him rownd about;
The whiles that hoarie King, with all his traine,
Being arrived where that Champion stout
After his Foes defeasaunce1 did remaine,
Him goodly greetes, and fayre does entertayne
With princely gifts of yvory and gold,
And thousand thankes him yeeldes for all his paine. Then when his Daughter deare he does behold, Her dearely doth imbrace, and kisseth manifold.
And after to his pallace he them bringes,
With shaumes, and trompets, and with clarions sweet; And all the way the ioyous people singes,
And with their garments strowes the paved street;
Whence mounting up, they fynd purveyaunce meet
Of all, that royall princes court became ;
And all the floore was underneath their feet
Bespredd with costly scarlott of great name,2
On which they lowly sitt, and fitting purpose 3 frame.
What needes me tell their feast and goodly guize,+
In which was nothing riotous nor vaine?
What needes of dainty dishes to devize,
Of comely services, or courtly trayne?
My narrow leaves cannot in them contayne
The large discourse of roiall princes state.
Yet was their manner then but bare and playne;
3 Purpose, discourse.
4 Guize, manner of entertainment.