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CANTO VI.

Talus brings newes to Britomart

Of Artegals mishap:
She goes to seeke him; Dolon meetes,

Who seekes her to entrap.

I.

Some men, I wote, will deeme in Artegall

Great weaknesse, and report of him much ill,
For yeelding so himselfe a wretched thrall
To th’insolent commaund of Womens will;
That all his former praise doth fowly spill:
But he the man, that say or doe so dare,
Be well adviz'd that he stand stedfast still;

For never yet was wight so well aware,
But he at first or last was trapt in Womens snare.

II.

Yet in the streightnesse of that captive state

This gentle Knight himselfe so well behaved,
That notwithstanding all the subtill bait,
With which those Amazons his love still craved,
To his owne Love his loialtie he saved :
Whose character in th' adamantine mould
Of his true hart so firmely was engraved,

That no new Loves impression ever could
Bereave it thence: such blot his honour blemish should.

III.

Yet his owne Love, the noble Britomart,

Scarse so conceived in her iealous thought,
What time sad tydings of his balefull smart
In Womans bondage Talus to her brought;
Brought in untimely houre, ere it was sought :
For, after that the utmost date assynde
For his returne she waited had for nought,

She gan to cast in her misdoubtfull mynde
A thousand feares, that love-sicke fancies faine to fynde.

IV.

Sometime she feared least some hard mishap

Had him misfalne in his adventurous quest;
Sometime least his false foe did him entrap
In traytrous traine, or had unwares opprest;
But most she did her troubled mynd molest,
And secretly afflict with iealous feare,
Least some new Love had him from her possest;

Yet loth she was, since she no ill did heare,
To thinke of him so ill; yet could she not forbeare.

V.

One while she blam'd herselfe; another whyle

She him condemn'd as trustlesse and untrew:
And then, her griefe with errour to beguyle,
She fayn’d to count the time againe anew,
As if before she had not counted trew:
For houres, but dayes; for weekes that passed were,
She told but moneths, to make them seeme more few:

Yet, when she reckned them still drawing neare,
Each hour did seeme a moneth,

and
every

moneth a yeare.

VOL. III.

S

VI.

But, whenas yet she saw him not returne,

She thought to send some one to seeke him out;
But none she found so fit to serve that turne,
As her owne selfe, to ease herselfe of dout.
Now she deviz’d, amongst the warlike rout
Of errant Knights, to seeke her errant Knight;
And then againe resolv'd to hunt him out

Amongst loose Ladies lapped in delight:
And then both Knights envide, and Ladies eke did spight.

VII.

One day whenas she long had sought for ease

In every place, and every place thought best,
Yet found no place that could her liking please,
She to a window came, that opened west,
Towards which coast her Love his

way

addrest: There looking forth shee in her heart did find Many vain fancies working her unrest;

And sent her winged thoughts more swift then wind To beare unto her Love the message of her mind.

VIII.

There as she looked long, at last she spide

One comming towards her with hasty speede;
Well weend she then, ere him she plaine descride,
That it was one sent from her Love indeede:
Who when he nigh approacht, shee mote arede
That it was Talus, Artegall his Groome:
Whereat her hart was fild with hope and drede ;

Ne would she stay till he in place could come,
But ran to meete him forth to know his tidings somme.

IX.

Even in the dore him meeting, she begun;

“ And where is he thy Lord, and how far hence ?
Declare at once: and hath he lost or wun?”
The Yron Man, albe he wanted sence
And sorrowes feeling, yet, with conscience
Of his ill newes, did inly chill and quake,
And stood still mute, as one in great suspence ;

As if that by his silence he would make
Her rather reade his meaning then himselfe it spake.

X.

Till she againe thus sayd ; “ Talus, be bold,

And tell whatever it be, good or bad,
That from thy tongue thy hearts intent doth hold.”
To whom he thus at length; “ The tidings sad,
That I would hide, will needs I see be rad.
My Lord (your Love) by hard mishap doth lie
In wretched bondage, wofully bestad."

Ay me,” quoth she, “ what wicked destinie !
And is he vanquisht by his tyrant e nemy?"

66

XI.

“ Not by that Tyrant, his intended foe;

But by a Tyrannesse," he then replide,
" That him captived hath in haplesse woe.”

Cease thou, bad newes-man; badly doest thou hide
Thy Maisters shame, in harlots bondage tide ;
The rest myselfe too readily can spell.”
With that in rage she turn'd from him aside,

Forcing in vaine the rest to her to tell ; And to her chamber went like solitary cell.

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XII.

There she began to make her moanefull plaint

Against her Knight for being so untrew;
And him to touch with falshoods fowle attaint,
That all his other honour overthrew.
Oft did she blame herselfe, and often rew,
For yeelding to a straungers love so light,
Whose life and manners straunge she never knew;

And evermore she did him sharpely twight
For breach of faith to her, which he had firmely plight.

XIII.
And then she in her wrathfull will did cast

How to revenge that blot of honour blent,
To fight with him, and goodly die her last :
And then againe she did herselfe torment,
Inflicting on herselfe his punishment.
Awhile she walkt, and chauft ; awhile she threw
Herselfe uppon her bed, and did lament:

Yet did she not lament with loude alew,
As women wont, but with deepe sighes and singulfs few.

XIV.

Like as a wayward childe, whose sounder sleepe

Is broken with some fearefull dreames affright,
With froward will doth set himselfe to weepe,
Ne can be stild for all his nurses might,
But kicks, and squals, and shriekes for fell despight;
Now scratching her, and her loose locks misusing,
Now seeking darkenesse, and now seeking light,

Then craving sucke, and then the sucke refusing: Such was this Ladies fit in her Loves fond accusing.

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