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But, soone as he began to lay about
With his rude yron flaile, they gan to flie,
Both armed Knights and eke unarmed rout:
Yet Talus after them apace did plie,
Wherever in the darke he could them spie;
That here and there like scattred sheepe they lay.
Then, backe returning where his Dame did lie,
He to her told the story of that fray,
And all that treason there intended did bewray.
Wherewith though wondrous wroth, and inly burning
To be avenged for so fowle a deede,
Yet being forst t’abide the daies returning,
She there remain'd; but with right wary heede,
Least any more such practise should proceede.
Now mote know (that which to Britomart
Unknowen was) whence all this did proceede;
And for what cause so great mischievous smart
Was ment to her that never evill ment in hart.
The goodman of this house was Dolon hight;
A man of subtill wit and wicked minde,
That whilome in his youth had hene a Knight,
And armes had borne, but little good could finde,
And much lesse honour by that warlike kinde
Of life: for he was nothing valorous,
But with slie shiftes and wiles did underminde
All noble Knights, which were adventurous,
And many brought to shame by treason treacherous.
He had three sonnes, all three like fathers sonnes,
Like treacherous, like full of fraud and guile,
Of all that on this earthly compasse wonnes :
The eldest of the which was slaine erewhile
By Artegall, through his owne guilty wile ;
His name was Guizor; whose untimely fate
many treasons vile His father Dolon had deviz'd of late With these his wicked sons, and shewd his cankred hate.
For sure he weend that this his present guest
Was Artegall, by many tokens plaine ;
But chiefly by that Yron Page he ghest,
Which still was wont with Artegall remaine ;
And therefore ment him surely to have slaine :
But by Gods grace, and her good heedinesse,
She was preserved from their traytrous traine.
Thus she all night wore out in watchfulnesse,
Ne suffred slothfull sleepe her eyelids to oppresse.
The morrow next, so soone as dawning houre
Discovered had the light to living eye,
She forth ysșew'd out of her loathed bowre,
With full intent t'avenge that villany
On that vilde man and all his family:
And, comming down to seeke them where they wond,
Nor sire, nor sonnes, nor any could she spie;
Each rowme she sought, but them all empty fond: They all were fled for feare; but whether, nether kond.
She saw it vaine to make there lenger stay,
But tooke her steede; and thereon mounting light
Gan her addresse unto her former way.
She had not rid the mountenance of a flight,
But that she saw there present in her sight
Those two false brethren on that perillous bridge,
On which Pollente with Artegall did fight.
Streight was the passage, like a ploughed ridge, That, if two met, the one mote needs fall o'er the lidge.
There they did thinke themselves on her to wreake:
Who as she nigh unto them drew, the one
These vile reproches gan unto her speake;
“ Thou recreant false traytor, that with lone
Of armes hast knighthood stolne, yet Knight art none,
No more shall now the darkenesse of the night
Defend thee from the vengeance of thy fone;
But with thy bloud thou shalt appease the spright Of Guizor by thee slaine and murdred by thy slight.”
Strange were the words in Britomartis eare ;
Yet stayd she not for them, but forward fared,
Till to the perillous bridge she came ; and there
Talus desir'd that he might have prepared
The way to her, and those two losels scared :
But she thereat was wroth, that for despight
The glauncing sparkles through her bever glared,
And from her eies did flash out fiery light,
Like coles that through a silver censer sparkle bright.
She stayd not to advise which way to take ;
But, putting spurres unto her fiery beast,
Thorough the midst of them she way did make.
The one of them, which most her wrath increast,
Uppon her speare she bore before her breast,
Till to the bridges further end she past;
Where falling downe his challenge he releast :
The other over side the bridge she cast
Into the river, where he drunke his deadly last.
As when the flashing levin haps to light
Uppon two stubborne oakes, which stand so neare
That way betwixt them none appeares in sight;
The engin, fiercely flying forth, doth teare
Th’one from the earth, and through the aire doth beare;
The other it with force doth overthrow
Uppon one side, and from his rootes doth reare:
So did the Championesse those two there strow,
And to their sire their carcasses left to bestow.
Britomart comes to Isis Church,
Where shee strange visions sees :
She fights with Radigund, her slaies,
And Artegall thence frees.
Nought is on earth more sacred or divine,
That gods and men doe equally adore,
Then this same Vertue that doth right define:
Forth'hevens themselves, whence mortal men implore
Right in their wrongs, are rul’d by righteous lore
Of highest love, who doth true iustice deale
To his inferiour gods, and evermore
Therewith containes his heavenly commonweale: The skill whereof to princes hearts he doth reveale.
Well therefore did the antique world invent
That Iustice was a god of soveraine grace,
And altars unto him and temples lent,
And heavenly honours in the highest place;
Calling him great Osyris, of the race
Of th' old Ægyptian kings that whylome were ;
With fayned colours shading a true case;
For that Osyris, whilest he lived here,
The iustest man alive and truest did