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For th' antique world excesse and pryde did hate: Such proud luxurious pompe is swollen up but late.


Then, when with meates and drinkes of
Their fervent appetites they quenched had,
That auncient Lord gan fit occasion finde,
Of straunge adventures, and of perils sad
Which in his travell him befallen had,
For to demaund of his renowmed guest:

Who then with utt'rance grave, and count'nance sad,
From poynt to poynt, as is before exprest,
Discourst his voyage long, according his request


Great pleasure, mixt with pittiful regard,
That godly King and Queene did passionate,2
Whyles they his pittifull adventures heard ;
That oft they did lament his lucklesse state,
And often blame the too importune 3 fate
That heapd on him so many wrathfull wreakes 4;
(For never gentle Knight, as he of late,


So tossed was in fortunes cruell freakes ;)

And all the while salt teares bedeawd the hearers cheaks.


Then sayd that royall pere in sober wise;

"Deare sonne, great beene the evils which bore
From first to last in your late enterprise,
That I no'te whether praise or pitty more:
For never living man, I weene, so sore

1 According, granting.

2 Passionate, feelingly express.


3 Importune, cruel.

4 Wreakes, afflictions.

XVII. 4.- That I no'te, &c.] That I do not know whether to praise or pity them more.

In sea of deadly daungers was distrest:
But since now safe ye seised have the shore,
And well arrived are, (High God be blest!)
Let us devize of ease and everlasting rest."


"Ah dearest Lord," said then that doughty Knight,
'Of ease or rest I may not yet devize;
For by the faith, which I to armes have plight,
I bownden am streight after this emprize,

As that your Daughter can ye well advize,
Backe to retourne to that great Faery Queene,
And her to serve sixe yeares in warlike wize,

Gainst that proud Paynim King that works her teene1: Therefore I ought crave pardon, till I there have beene."


"Unhappy falls that hard necessity,"

Quoth he, "the troubler of my happy peace,
And vowed foe of my felicity;

Ne I against the same can justly preace.2

But since that band ye cannot now release,
Nor doen undo, (for vowes may not be vayne,)
Soone as the terme of those six yeares shall cease,
Ye then shall hether backe retourne agayne,

The marriage to accomplish vowd betwixt you twayn:


"Which, for my part, I covet to performe,
In sort 3 as through the world I did proclame,
That whoso kild that Monster most deforme,
And him in hardy battayle overcame,

1 Teene, harm.

2 Preace, remonstrate. 3 In sort, inasmuch as.

XVIII. 8.- Gainst that proud Paynim King.] See the seventh stanza of the preceding canto.

Should have mine onely Daughter to his Dame,
And of my kingdome heyre apparaunt bee:
Therefore since now to thee perteynes the same,
By dew desert of noble chevalree,

Both Daughter and eke Kingdome lo! I yield to thee.”


Then forth he called that his Daughter fayre,
The fairest Un', his onely Daughter deare,
His onely Daughter and his onely hayre;
Who forth proceeding with sad sober cheare,
As bright as doth the morning starre appeare
Out of the east, with flaming lockes bedight,
To tell that dawning day is drawing neare,
And to the world does bring long-wished light:

So faire and fresh that Lady shewd herselfe in sight:


So faire and fresh, as freshest flowre in May;
For she had layd her mournefull stole aside,
And widow-like sad wimple throwne away,
Wherewith her heavenly beautie she did hide,
Whiles on her wearie iourney she did ride;
And on her now a garment she did weare
All lilly white, withoutten spot or pride,
That seemd like silke and silver woven neare;
But neither silke nor silver therein did appeare.


The blazing brightnesse of her beauties beame,
And glorious light of her sunshyny face,

To tell, were as to strive against the streame:
My ragged rimes are all too rude and bace

XXII. 3.- Wimple.] This word is generally used to denote a plaited linen cloth worn by nuns about the neck; it also means a hood.

Her heavenly lineaments for to enchace. Ne wonder; for her own deare loved Knight, All' were she daily with himselfe in place, Did wonder much at her celestial sight: Oft had he seene her faire, but never so faire dight.


So fairely dight when she in presence came, She to her Syre made humble reverence, And bowed low, that her right well became, And added grace unto her excellence : Who with great wisedome and grave eloquence Thus gan to say-But, eare he thus had sayd, With flying speede, and seeming great pretence, Came running in, much like a man dismayd, A Messenger with letters, which his message sayd.


All in the open hall amazed stood

At suddeinnesse of that unwary 2 sight, And wondred at his breathlesse hasty mood: But he for nought would stay his passage right, Till fast before the King he did alight; Where falling flat great humblesse 3 he did make, And kist the ground whereon his foot was pight 4; Then to his handes that writt5 he did betake, Which he disclosing, read thus, as the paper spake;


"To thee, most mighty King of Eden fayre,
Her greeting sends in these sad lines addrest
The wofull Daughter and forsaken Heyre
Of that great Emperour of all the West;

1 All, although.

2 Unwary, unexpected.

3 Humblesse, reverence.

4 Pight, placed.

5 Writt, written paper.

And bids thee be advized for the best,
Ere thou thy Daughter linck, in holy band
Of wedlocke, to that new unknowen Guest :
For he already plighted his right hand
Unto another love, and to another land.


"To me, sad Mayd, or rather Widow sad,
He was affyaunced long time before,
And sacred pledges he both gave, and had,
False erraunt Knight, infamous, and forswore!
Witnesse the burning altars, which he swore,
And guilty heavens of his bold periury;
Which though he hath polluted oft of yore,
Yet I to them for judgement iust doe fly,
And them coniure t' avenge this shamefull iniury!

"Therefore since mine he is, or free or bond,
Or false or trew, or living or else dead,
Withhold, O soverayne Prince, your hasty hond
From knitting league with him, I you aread1;
Ne weene my right with strength adowne to tread,
Through weaknesse of my widowhed or woe:
For Truth is strong her rightfull cause to plead,
And shall finde friends, if need requireth soe.
So bids thee well to fare, thy neither friend nor foe,




When he these bitter byting wordes had red,
The tydings straunge did him abashed make,
That still he sate long time astonished,

Aread, advise.

2 Well to fare, farewell.

XXVII. 5.- Which, &c.] By which.

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