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But, ere he could reforme it thoroughly,

He through occasion called was away
To Faerie Court, that of necessity
His course of Iustice he was forst to stay,
And Talus to revoke from the right way,
In which he was that Realme for to redresse:
But Envies cloud still dimmeth Vertues ray!

So, having freed Irena from distresse,
He tooke his leave of her there left in heavinesse.

Tho, as he backe returned from that Land,

And there arriv'd againe whence forth he set,
He had not passed farre upon the strand,
Whenas two old ill-favour'd Hags he met,
By the way-side being together set,
Two griesly Creatures ; and, to that their faces
Most foule and filthie were, their garments yet,

Being all rag'd and tatter'd, their disgraces
Did much the more av ment, and made most ugly cases.


The one of them, that elder did appeare,

With her dull eyes did seeme to looke askew,
That her mis-shape much helpt; and her foule heare
Hung loose and loathsomely; thereto her hew
Was wan and leane, that all her teeth arew
And all her bones might through her cheekes be red;
Her lips were, like raw lether, pale and blew:

And as she spake, therewith she slavered ;
Yet spake she seldom; but thought more, the lesse she sed:


Her hands were foule and durtie, never washt

In all her life, with long nayles over-raught, [scratcht
Like puttocks clawes; with th' one of which she
Her cursed head, although it itched naught;
The other held a snake with venime fraught,
On which she fed and gnawed hungrily,
As if that long she had not eaten ought ;

That round about her iawes one might descry
The bloudie gore and poyson dropping lothsomely.


Her name was Envie, knowen well thereby;

Whose nature is to grieve and grudge at all
That ever she sees doen prays-worthily;
Whose sight to her is greatest crosse may fall,
And vexeth so, that makes her eat her gall :
For, when she wanteth other thing to eat,
She feedes on her owne maw unnaturall,

And of her owne foule entrayles makes her meat; Meat fit for such a Monsters monsterous dyeat:


And if she hapt of any good to heare,

That had to any happily betid,
Then would she inly fret, and grieve, and teare
Her flesh for felnésse, which she inward hid :
But if she heard of ill that any did,
Or harme that any had, then would she make
Great cheare, like one unto a banquet bid;

And in anothers losse great pleasure take,
As she had got thereby and gayned a great stake.


The other nothing better was then shee;

Agreeing in bad will and cancred kynd,
But in bad maner they did disagree:
For whatso Envie good or bad did fynd
She did conceale, and murder her owne mynd;
But this, whatever evill she conceived,
Did spred abroad and throw in th’ open wynd:

Yet this in all her words might be perceived,
That all she sought was mens good name to have bereaved.


For, whatsoever good by any sayd

Or doen she heard, she would streightwayes invent
How to deprave or slaunderously upbrayd,
Or to misconstrue of a mans intent,
And turne to ill the thing that well was ment:
Therefore she used often to resort
To common haunts, and companies frequent,

To hearke what any one did good report,
To blot the same with blame, or wrest in wicked sort :


And if that


ill she heard of any, She would it eeke, and make much worse by telling, And take great ioy to publish it to many; That every matter worse was for her melling: Her name was hight Detraction, and her dwelling Was neare to Envie, even her neighbour next; A wicked Hag, and Envy selfe excelling

In mischiefe ; for herselfe she onely vext; But this same both herselfe and others eke perplext.


Her face was ugly, and her mouth distort,

Foming with poyson round about her gils,
In which her cursed tongue full sharpe and short
Appear'd like aspis sting, that closely kils,
Or cruelly does wound whomso she wils :
A distaffe in her other hand she had,
Upon the which she litle spinnes, but spils ;

And faynes to weave false tales and leasings bad,
To throw amongst the good, which others had disprad.


These two now had themselves combynd in one,

And linckt together gainst Sir Artegall ;
For whom they wayted as his mortall fone,
How they might make him into mischiefe fall,
For freeing from their snares Irena thrall :
Besides, unto themselves they gotten had
A Monster, which the Blatant Beast men call,

A dreadfull Feend of gods and men ydrad,
Whom they by slights allur'd and to their purpose lad.


Such were these Hags, and so unhandsome drest :

Who when they nigh approching had espyde
Sir Artegall return’d from his late quest,
They both arose, and at him loudly cryde,
As it had bene two shepheards curres had scryde
A ravenous wolfe amongst the scattered flockes :
And Envie first, as she that first him eyde,

Towardes him runs, and with rude flaring lockes About her eares does beat her brest and forhead knockes.

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Then from her mouth the gobbet she does take,

The which whyleare she was so greedily
Devouring, even that halfe-gnawen snake,
And at him throws it most despightfully:
The cursed serpent, though she hungrily
Earst chawd thereon, yet was not all so dead,
But that some life remayned secretly;

And, as he past afore withouten dread,
Bit him behind, that long the marke was to be read.

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Then th' other comming neare gan him revile,

And fouly rayle, with all she could invent;
Saying that he had, with unmanly guile
And foule abusion, both his honour blent,
And that bright sword, the sword of Iustice lent,
Had stayned with reprochfull crueltie
In guiltlesse blood of many an innocent:

As for Grandtorto, him with treacherie
And traynes having surpriz'd he fouly did to die.


Thereto the Blatant Beast, by them set on,

At him began aloud to barke and bay
With bitter rage and fell contention ;
That all the woods and rockes nigh to that way
Began to quake and tremble with dismay;
And all the aire rebellowed againe ;
So dreadfully his hundred tongues did bray:

And evermore those Hags themselves did paine
To sharpen him, and their owne cursed tongs did straine.

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