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But when she had with such unquiet fits
Herself there close afflicted long in vaine,
Yet found no easement in her troubled wits,
She unto Talus forth return’d againe,
By change of place seeking to ease her paine ;
And gan enquire of him with mylder mood
The certaine cause of Artegals detaine,
And what he did, and in what state he stood,
And whether he did woo, or whether he were woo'd.
" Ah wellaway!" sayd then the Yron Man,
“ That he is not the while in state to woo;
But lies in wretched thraldome, weake and wan,
Not by strong hand compelled thereunto,
But his owne doome, that none can now undoo.”
Sayd I not then,” quoth she, “ ere-while aright, That this is thinge compacte betwixt you two
Me to deceive of faith unto me plight, Since that he was not forst, nor overcome in fight?”
With that he gan at large to her dilate
The whole discourse of his captivance sad,
In sort as ye have heard the same of late:
All which when she with hard enduraunce had
Heard to the end, she was right sore bestad,
With sodaine stounds of wrath and grief attone;
Ne would abide, till she had aunswere made ;
But streight herselfe did dight, and armor don, And mounting to her steede bad Talus guide her on.
So forth she rode uppon her ready way,
To seeke her Knight, as Talus her did guide:
Sadly she rode, and never word did say
Nor good nor bad, ne ever lookt aside,
But still right downe; and in her thought did hide
The felnesse of her heart, right fully bent
To fierce avengement of that womans pride,
Which had her Lord in her base prison pent,
And so great honour with so fowle reproch had blent.
So as she thus melancholicke did ride,
Chawing the cud of griefe and inward paine,
She chaunst to meete toward the even-tide
A Knight, that softly paced on the plaine,
As if himselfe to solace he were faine:
Well shot in yeares he seem’d, and rather bent
To peace then needlesse trouble to constraine ;
As well by view of that his vestiment,
As by his modest semblant, that no evill ment.
He comming neare gan gently her salute
With curteous words, in the most comely wize;
Who though desirous rather to rest mute,
Then termes to entertaine of common guize,
Yet rather then she kindnesse would despize,
She would herselfe displease, so him requite.
the other further to devize Of things abrode, as next to hand did light, And many things demaund, to which she answer'd light:
For little lust had she to talke of ought,
Or ought to heare that mote delightfull bee;
Her minde was whole possessed of one thought,
That gave none other place. Which when as hee
By outward signes (as well he might) did see,
He list no lenger to use lothfull speach,
But her besought to take it well in gree,
Sith shady dampe had dimd the heavens reach,
To lodge with him that night, unles good cause empeach.
The Championesse, now seeing night at dore,
Was glad to yeeld unto his good request;
And with him went without gaine-saying more.
Not farre away, but little wide by west,
His dwelling was, to which he him addrest;
Where soone arriving they received were
In seemely wise, as them beseemed best;
For he their Host them goodly well did cheare,
And talk’t of pleasant things the night away to weare.
Thus passing th' evening well, till time of rest,
Then Britomart unto a bowre was brought;
Where groomes awayted her to have undrest:
But she ne would undressed be for ought,
Ne doffe her armes, though he her much besought:
For she had vow'd, she sayd, not to forgo
Those warlike weedes, till she revenge had wrought
Of a late wrong uppon a mortall foe;
Which she would sure performe betide her wele or wo.
Which when their Host perceiv'd, right discontent
In minde he grew, for feare least by that art
He should his purpose misse, which close he ment:
Yet taking leave of her he did depart:
There all that night remained Britomart,
Restlesse, recomfortlesse, with heart deepe-grieved,
Not suffering the least twinckling sleepe to start
Into her eye, which th' heart mote have relieved; But if the least appear’d, her eyes she streight reprieved.
Ye guilty eyes,” sayd she, “ the which with guyle
My heart at first betrayd, will ye betray
My life now too, for which a little whyle
Ye will not watch? false watches, wellaway!
I wote when ye did watch both night and day
your losse ; and now needes will ye sleepe? Now
have made my heart to wake alway, Now will ye sleepe? ah! wake, and rather weepe To thinke of your nights want, that should yee waking
Thus did she watch, and weare the weary night
In waylfull plaints, that none was to appease ;
Now walking soft, now sitting still upright,
As sundry chaunge her seemed best to ease.
Ne lesse did Talus suffer sleepe to seaze
His eye-lids sad, but watcht continually,
Lying without her dore in great disease ;
Like to a spaniell wayting carefully
Least any should betray his Lady treacherously.
What time the native belman of the night,
The bird that warned Peter of his fall,
First rings his silver bell t' each sleepy wight,
That should their mindes up to devotion call,
She heard a wondrous noise below the hall :
All sodainely the bed, where she should lie,
By a false trap was let adowne to fall
Into a lower roome, and by and by
The loft was raysd againe, that no man could it spie.
With sight whereof she was dismayd right sore,
Perceiving well the treason which was ment:
Yet stirred not at all for doubt of more,
But kept her place with courage confident,
Wayting what would ensue of that event.
It was not long before she heard the sound
Of armed men comming with close intent
Towards her chamber; at which dreadfull stound She quickly caught her sword, and shield about her bound.
With that there came unto her chamber dore
Two Knights all armed ready for to fight;
And after them full
A raskall rout, with weapons rudely dight:
Whom soone as Talus spide by glims of night,
He started up, there where on ground he lay,
And in his hand his thresher ready keight:
They, seeing that, let drive at him streightway,
And round about him preace in riotous aray.