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So, having solaced themselves a space
With pleasaunce of the breathing fields yfed,1
They backe retourned to the princely place;
Whereas an errant Knight in armes ycled,
And heathnish shield, wherein with letters red
Was writt Sans ioy, they new arrived find:
Enflam'd with fury and fiers hardyhed,
He seemd in hart to harbour thoughts unkind,
And nourish bloody vengeaunce in his bitter mind.


Who, when the shamed shield of slaine Sansfoy
He spide with that same Fary champions page,
Bewraying him that did of late destroy
His eldest brother; burning all with rage,

He to him lept, and that same envious 3 gage
Of victors glory from him snatcht away :

But th' Elfin Knight, which ought that warlike wage,5
Disdaind to loose the meed he wonne in fray;

And, him rencountring fierce, reskewd the noble pray.


Therewith they gan to hurtlen6 greedily,
Redoubted battaile ready to darrayne,7

And clash their shields, and shake their swerds on hy;
That with their sturre they troubled all the traine:
Till that great Queene, upon eternall paine

1 Yfed, fed, or refreshed.

2 Bewraying, betraying.

3 Enrious, inspiring envy.
4 Ought, possessed.


5 Wage, pledge, or prize.

6 Hurtlen, encounter each other.

7 Darrayne, prepare.

Sans ioy,] i. e. without happiness.

XXXIX. 1.-Shamed shield.] The propriety of this epithet is explained in stanza XLI.

Of high displeasure that ensewen might,
Commaunded them their fury to refraine;
And, if that either to that shield had right,
In equall lists they should the morrow next it fight.


"Ah, dearest Dame," quoth then the Paynim bold, "Pardon the error of enraged wight,

Whome great griefe made forgett the raines to hold
Of reasons rule, to see this recreaunt Knight,
(No Knight, but treachour1 full of false despight
And shameful treason,) who through guile hath slayn
The prowest Knight that ever field did fight,

Even stout Sansfoy, (O who can then refrayn?)
Whose shield he beares renverst, the more to heap disdayn.



"And, to augment the glorie of his guile,
His dearest love, the faire Fidessa, loe
Is there possessed of the traytour vile;
Who reapes the harvest sowen by his foe,
Sowen in bloodie field, and bought with woe:
That-brothers hand shall dearely well requight,

So be, O Queene, you equall favour showe."
Him litle answerd th' angry Elfin Knight;

He never meant with words, but swords, to plead his right:


But threw his gauntlet, as a sacred pledg,

His cause in combat the next day to try:

So been they parted both, with harts on edg
To be aveng'd each on his enimy.

Treachour, traitor. 2 Prowest, bravest. 3 Renverst, reversed.


XLI. 9. — Renverst.] When a knight was degraded, his arms were reversed.


That night they pas in ioy and iollity,
Feasting and courting both in bowre and hall;
For steward was excessive Gluttony,

That of his plenty poured forth to all:

Which doen, the chamberlain Slowth did to rest them call.


Now whenas darksome Night had all displayd
Her coleblacke curtein over brightest skye;
The warlike youthes, on dayntie couches layd,
Did chace away sweet sleepe from sluggish eye,
To muse on meanes of hoped victory.

But whenas Morpheus had with leaden mace
Arrested all that courtly company,

Uprose Duessa from her resting place,

And to the Paynims lodging comes with silent pace:



Whom broad awake she findes, in troublous fitt,
Fore-casting, how his foe he might annoy;
And him amoves with speaches seeming fitt,
"Ah deare Sansioy, next dearest to Sansfoy,
Cause of my new griefe, cause of my new ioy;
Ioyous, to see his ymage in mine eye,

And greevd, to thinke how foe did him destroy
That was the flowre of grace and chevalrye;
Lo, his Fidessa, to thy secret faith I flye.”


With gentle wordes he can her fayrely greet,
And bad say on the secrete of her hart:
Then, sighing soft; "I learne that litle sweet
Oft tempred is," quoth she, "with muchell 3 smart:
For, since my brest was launcht with lovely dart

1 Amoves, moves.
2 Can, began.

3 Muchell, much.

• Lovely dart, dart of love.

Of deare Sansfoy, I never ioyed howre,

But in eternall woes my weaker hart
Have wasted, loving him with all my powre,
And for his sake have felt full many an heavy stowre.1


"At last, when perils all I weened past,

And hop'd to reape the crop of all my care,
Into new woes unweeting? I was cast

By this false faytor,3 who unworthie ware
His worthie shield, whom he with guilefull snare
Entrapped slew, and brought to shamefull grave:
Me silly maid away with him he bare,
And ever since hath kept in darksom cave;
For that I would not yeeld that to Sansfoy I gave.


"But since faire sunne hath sperst that lowring clowd,
And to my loathed life now shewes some light,
Under your beames I will me safely shrowd
From dreaded storme of his disdainfull spight:
To you th' inheritance belonges by right

Of brothers prayse, to you eke longes 4 his love.
Let not his love, let not his restlesse spright,

Be unreveng'd, that calles to you above

From wandring Stygian shores, where it doth endlesse move."


Thereto said he, "Faire dame, be nought dismaid
For sorrowes past; their griefe is with them gone.
Ne yet of present perill be affraid :

For needlesse feare did never vantage none;
And helplesse hap it booteth not to mone.

1 Storore, peril.

* Unweeting, unknowing.

3 False faytor, deceiver.


Longos, belongs.

Dead is Sansfoy, his vitall paines are past,
Though greeved ghost for vengeance deep do grone:
He lives, that shall him pay his dewties last,
And guiltie Elfin blood shall sacrifice in hast."


"O, but I feare the fickle freakes," quoth shee, "Of fortune false, and oddes of armes in field.” "Why, dame," quoth he, "what oddes can ever bee, Where both doe fight alike, to win or yield?" "Yea, but," quoth she, "he beares a charmed shield, And eke enchaunted armes, that none can perce; Ne none can wound the man, that does them wield." "Charmd or enchaunted," answerd he then ferce, "I no whitt reck; ne you the like need to reherce.


"But, faire Fidessa, sithens fortunes guile,
Or enimies powre, hath now captived you,
Returne from whence ye came, and rest a while,
Till morrow next, that I the Elfe subdew,
And with Sansfoyes dead dowry you endew."
"Ay me, that is a double death," she said,
"With proud foes sight my sorrow to renew:
Where ever yet I be, my secret aide

Shall follow you." So, passing forth, she him obaid.*

Sithens, since.

* Here we find the Red-cross Knight so deluded by the wiles of Duessa, as to become a courtier in the house of Pride, though he cannot be so untrue to his original nature as to feel contented. So far astray has a single rash act led him.

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