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III.

His wife was Isis ; whom they likewise made

A goddesse of great powre and soverainty,
And in her person cunningly did shade
That part of Iustice which is Equity,
Whereof I have to treat here presently:
Unto whose Temple whenas Britomart
Arrived, shee with great humility

Did enter in, ne would that night depart;
But Talus mote not be admitted to her part.

IV.

There she received was in goodly wize

Of many priests, which duely did attend
Uppon the rites and daily sacrifize,
All clad in linnen robes with silver hemd;
And on their heads with long locks comely kemd
They wore rich mitres shaped like the moone,
To shew that Isis doth the moone portend;

Like as Osyris signifies the sunne :
For that they both like race in equall iustice runne.

V.

The Championesse them greeting, as she could,

Was thence by them into the Temple led;
Whose goodly building when she did behould
Borne uppon stately pillours, all dispred
With shining gold, and arched over hed,
She wondred at the workmans passing skill,
Whose like before she never saw nor red;

And thereuppon long while stood gazing still,
But thought that she thereon could never gaze her fill.

VI.

Thenceforth unto the Idoll they her brought;

The which was framed all of silver fine,
So well as could with cunning hand be wrought,
And clothed all in garments made of line,
Hemd all about with fringe of silver twine :
Uppon her head she wore a crowne of gold;
To shew that she had powre in things divine :

And at her feete a crocodile was rold,
That with her wreathed taile her middle did enfold.

VII.

One foote was set uppon the crocodile,

And on the ground the other fast did stand;
So meaning to suppresse both forged guile
And open force: and in her other hand
She stretched forth a long white sclender wand.
Such was the goddesse : whom when Britomart
Had long beheld, herselfe uppon the land

She did prostráte, and with right humble hart
Unto herselfe her silent

prayers

did impart.

VIII.

To which the Idoll as it were inclining

Her wand did move with amiable looke,
By outward shew her inward sence desining :
Who well perceiving how her wand she shooke,
It as a token of good fortune tooke.
By this the day with dampe was overcast,
And ioyous light the house of love forsooke :

Which when she saw, her helmet she unlaste,
And by the altars side herselfe to slumber plaste.

IX.

For other beds the priests there used none,

But on their mother Earths deare lap did lie,
And bake their sides uppon the cold hard stone,
Tenure themselves to sufferaunce thereby,
And proud rebellious flesh to mortify:
For, by the vow of their religion,
They tied were to stedfast chastity

And continence of life; that, all forgon,
They mote the better tend to their devotion.

Therefore they mote not taste of fleshly food,

Ne feed on ought the which doth bloud containe,
Ne drinke of wine ; for wine they say is blood,
Even the bloud of gyants, which were slaine
By thundring love in the Phlegrean plaine:
For which the Earth (as they the story tell)
Wroth with the gods, which to perpetuall paine

Had damn'd her sonnes which gainst them did rebell, With inward griefe and malice did against them swell:

XI.

And of their vitall bloud, the which was shed

Into her pregnant bosome, forth she brought
The fruitfull vine ; whose liquor blouddy red,
Having the mindes of men with fury fraught,
Mote in them stirre up old rebellious thought
To make new warre against the gods againe :
Such is the powre of that same fruit, that nought

The fell contagion may thereof restraine, .
Ne within reasons rule her madding mood containe.

VOL. III.

XII.

There did the warlike Maide herselfe repose,

Under the wings of Isis all that night;
And with sweete rest her heavy eyes did close,
After that long daies toile and weary plight:
Where whilest her earthly parts with soft delight
Of sencelesse sleepe did deeply drowned lie,
There did appeare unto her heavenly spright

A wondrous vision, which did close implie
The course of all her fortune and posteritie.

XIII.

Her seem'd, as she was doing sacrifize

To Isis, deckt with mitre on her hed
And linnen stole after those priestës guize,
All sodainely she saw transfigured
Her linnen stole to robe of scarlet red,
And moone- e-like mitre to a crowne of gold;
That even she herselfe much wondered

At such a chaunge, and ioyed to behold
Herselfe adorn’d with gems and iewels manifold.

XIV.

And, in the midst of her felicity,

An hideous tempest seemed from below
To rise through all the Temple sodainely,
That from the altar all about did blow
The holy fire, and all the embers strow
Uppon the ground; which, kindled privily,
Into outragious flames unwares did grow,

That all the Temple put in ieopardy
Of flaming, and herselfe in great perplexity.

XV.

With that the crocodile, which sleeping lay

Under the Idols feete in fearelesse bowre,
Seem'd to awake in horrible dismay,
As being troubled with that stormy stowre;
And gaping greedy wide did streight devoure
Both flames and tempest ; with which growen great,
And swolne with pride of his owne peerelesse powre,

He gan to threaten her likewise to eat ;
But that the goddesse with her rod him backe did beat.

XVI.

Tho, turning all his pride to humblesse meeke,

Himselfe before her feete he lowly threw,
And
gan
for
grace

and love of her to seeke: Which she accepting, he so neare her drew That of his

game

she soone enwombed grew, And forth did bring a lion of great might, That shortly did all other beasts subdew:

With that she waked full of fearefull fright, And doubtfully dismayd through that so uncouth sight.

XVII.

So thereuppon long while she musing lay,

With thousand thoughts feeding her fantasie ;
Untill she spide the lampe of lightsome day
Up-lifted in the porch of heaven hie:
Then up she rose fraught with melancholy,
And forth into the lower parts did pas,
Whereas the priestes she found full busily

About their holy things for morrow mas;
Whom she saluting faire, faire resaluted was:

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