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And all about the glistring walles were hong
With warlike spoiles and with victorious prayes
Of mightie Conquerours and Captaines strong,
Which were whilome captived in their dayes
To cruell love, and wrought their owne decayes.
Their swerds and speres were broke, and hauberques
And their proud girlonds of tryumphant bayes
Troden in dust with fury insolent,
To shew the victors might and mercilesse intent.
The warlike Mayd, beholding earnestly
The goodly ordinaunce of this rich Place,
Did greatly wonder; ne could satisfy
Her greedy eyes with gazing a long space :
But more she mervaild that no footings trace
Nor wight appeard, but wastefull emptinesse
And solemne silence over all that place:
Straunge thing it seem'd, that none was to possesse
So rich purveyaunce, ne them keepe with carefulnesse.
And, as she lookt about, she did behold
How over that same dore was likewise writ,
Be bolde, be bolde, and every where, Be bold;
That much she muz'd, yet could not construe it
By any ridling skill, or commune wit.
At last she spyde at that rowmes upper end
Another yron dore, on which was writ,
Be not too bold; whereto though she did bend
Her earnest minde, yet wist not what it might intend.
Thus she there wayted untill eventyde,
Yet living creature none she saw appeare.
And now sad shadowes gan the world to hyde
From mortall vew, and wrap in darkenes dreare;
Yet nould she d'off her weary armes, for feare
Of secret daunger, ne let sleepe oppresse
Her heavy eyes with natures burdein deare,
But drew her selfe aside in sickernesse,
And her welpointed wepons did about her dresse.
The maske of Cupid, and th' enchaunted
Chamber are displayd;
Whence Britomart redeemes faire
Amoret through charmes decayd.
HO, when as chearelesse Night ycovered had
Fayre heaven with an universall clowd,
That every wight disınayd with darkenes sad
In silence and in sleepe themselves did shrowd,
She heard a shrilling Trompet sound alowd,
Signe of nigh battaill, or got victory:
Nought therewith daunted was her courage prowd, But rather stird to cruell enmity,
Expecting ever when some foe she might descry.
With that an hideous storme of winde arose,
With dreadfull thunder and lightning atwixt,
And an earthquake, as if it streight would lose
The worlds foundations from his centre fixt:
A direfull stench of smoke and sulphure mixt
Ensewd, whose noyaunce fild the fearefull sted
From the fourth howre of night untill the sixt;
Yet the bold Britonesse was nought ydred,
Though much emmov'd, but stedfast still persevered.
All suddeinly a stormy whirlwind blew
Throughout the house, that clapped every dore, With which that yron wicket open flew, As it with mighty levers had bene tore ; And forth yssewd, as on the readie flore Of some Theatre, a grave personage That in his hand a braunch of laurell bore, With comely haveour and count'nance sage, Yclad in costly garments fit for tragicke Stage.
Proceeding to the midst he stil did stand,
As if in minde he somewhat had to say;
And to the vulgare beckning with his hand,
In signe of silence, as to heare a play,
By lively actions he gan bewray
Some argument of matter passioned:
Which doen, he backe retyred soft away,
And, passing by, his name discovered,
Ease, on his robe in golden letters cyphered.
The noble Mayd still standing all this vewd,
And merveild at his straunge intendiment.
With that a joyous fellowship issewd
Of Minstrales making goodly meriment,
With wanton Bardes, and Rymers impudent;
All which together song full chearefully
A lay of loves delight with sweet concent:
After whom marcht a jolly company,
In manner of a maske, enranged orderly.
The whiles a most delitious harmony
In full straunge notes was sweetly heard to sound, That the rare sweetnesse of the melody
The feeble sences wholy did confound,
And the frayle soule in deepe delight nigh drownd: And, when it ceast, shrill trompets lowd did bray, That their report did far away rebound; And, when they ceast, it gan againe to play, The whiles the maskers marched forth in trim aray.
The first was Fansy, like a lovely Boy
Of rare aspect, and beautie without peare,
Matchable ether to that ympe of Troy,
Whom Jove did love and chose his cup to beare;
Or that same daintie lad, which was so deare
To great Alcides, that, when as he dyde
He wailed womanlike with many a teare,
And every wood and every valley wyde [cryde. He filld with lylas name; the Nymphes eke Hylas
His garment nether was of silke nor say,
But paynted plumes in goodly order dight,
Like as the sunburnt Indians do aray
Their tawney bodies in their proudest plight:
As those same plumes so seemd he vaine and light,
That by his gate might easily appeare ;
For still he far'd as dauncing in delight,
And in his hand a windy fan did beare,
That in the ydle ayre he mov'd still here and theare.
And him beside marcht amorous Desyre,
Whe seemd of ryper yeares then th' other Swayne,
Yet was that other swayne this elders syre,
And gave him being, commune to them twayne:
His garment was disguysed very vayne,
And his embrodered Bonet sat awry :
Twixt both his hands few sparks he close did strayne,
Which still he blew and kindled busily,
That soone they life conceiv'd, and forth in flames did fly.
Next after him went Doubt, who was yclad
In a discolour'd cote of straunge disguyse,
That at his backe a brode Capuccio had,
And sleeves dependaunt Albanese-wyse :
He lookt askew with his mistrustfull eyes,
And nycely trode, as thornes lay in his way,
Or that the flore to shrinke he did avyse;
And on a broken reed he still did stay
His feeble steps, which shrunck when hard thereon he
With him went Daunger, cloth'd in ragged weed 11
Made of Beares skin, that him more dreadfull made:
Yet his owne face was dreadfull, ne did need
Straunge horrour to deforme his griesly shade:
A net in th' one hand, and a rusty blade
In th' other was; this Mischiefe, that Mishap:
With th' one his foes he threatned to invade,
With th' other he his friends ment to enwrap;
For whom he could not kill he practizd to entrap.
Next him was Feare, all arm'd from top to toe,
Yet thought himselfe not safe enough thereby,
But feard each shadow moving too or froe;
And, his owne armes when glittering he did spy
Or clashing heard, he fast away did fly;
As ashes pale of hew, and winged heeld,
And evermore on Daunger fixt his eye,
Gainst whom he alwayes bent a brasen shield,
Which his right hand unarmed fearefully did wield.
With him went Hope in rancke, a handsome Mayd, 13
Of chearefull looke and lovely to behold:
In silken samite she was light arayd,
And her fayre lockes were woven up in gold:
She alway smyld, and in her hand did hold
An holy water Sprinckle, dipt in deowe,
With which she sprinckled favours manifold
On whom she list, and did great liking sheowe,
Great liking unto many, but true love to feowe.
And after them Dissemblaunce and Suspect
Marcht in one rancke, yet an unequall paire;
For she was gentle and of milde aspect,
Courteous to all and seeming debonaire,
Goodly adorned and exceeding faire :
Yet was that all but paynted and pourloynd, [haire;
And her bright browes were deckt with borrowed
Her deeds were forged, and her words false coynd,
And alwaies in her hand two clewes of silke she twynd.
But he was fowle, ill favoured, and grim,
Under his eiebrowes looking still askaunce;
And ever, as Dissemblaunce laught on him,
He lowrd on her with daungerous eyeglaunce,
Shewing his nature in his countenaunce:
His rolling eies did never rest in place,
But walkte each where for feare of hid mischaunce, Holding a lattis still before his face,
Through which he stil did peep as forward he did pace.