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Ne was there Knight ne was there Lady found
In Faery Court, but him did deare embrace
For his faire usage and conditions sound,
The which in all mens liking gayned place,
And with the greatest purchast greatest grace ;
Which he could wisely use, and well apply,
To please the best, and th' evill to embase :
For he loathd leasing and base flattery,
And loved simple truth and stedfast honesty.
And now he was in travell on his way,
Uppon an hard adventure sore bestad,
Whenas by chaunce he met uppon a day
With Artegall, returning yet halfe sad
From his late conquest which he gotten had :
Who whenas each of other had a sight,
They knew themselves, and both their persons
When Calidore thus first ; “ Haile, noblest Knight Of all this day on ground that breathen living spright!
“ Now tell, if please you, of the good successe Which
have had in your late enterprize."
To whom Sir Artegall gan to expresse
His whole exploite and valorous emprize,
In order as it did to him arize.
“ Now, happy man,” said then Sir Calidore,
“ Which have, so goodly as ye can devize,
Atchiev'd so hard a quest, as few before ;
That shall you most renowmed make for evermore.
" But where ended have, now I begin
To tread an endlesse tracé; withouten guyde
Or good direction how to enter in,
Or how to issue forth in waies untryde,
In perils strange, in labours long and wide ;
In which although good fortune me befall,
Yet shall it not by none be testifyde."
“What is that quest," quoth then Sir Artegall, “ That you into such perils presently doth call ?"
“ The Blattant Beast,” quoth he, “I doe pursew,
And through the world incessantly doe chase, Till I him overtake, or else subdew : Yet know I not or how or in what place To find him out, yet still I forward trace.” “ What is that Blattant Beast then?” he replide. “ It is a Monster bred of hellishe race,”
Then answered he, “which often hath annoyd Good Knights and Ladies true, and many else destroyd.
“ Of Cerberus whilome he was begot
And fell Chimæra, in her darkesome den,
Through fowle commixture of his filthy blot ;
Where he was fostred long in Stygian fen,
Till he to perfect ripenesse grew; and then
Into this wicked world he forth was sent
To be the plague and scourge of wretched men :
Whom with vile tongue and venemous intent
He sore doth wound, and bite, and cruelly torment.”
“ Then, since the Salvage Island I did leave,”
Sayd Artegall, “ I such a Beast did see,
The which did seeme a thousand tongues to have,
That all in spight and malice did agree,
With which he bayd and loudly barkt at mee,
As if that he attonce would me devoure:
But I, that knew myselfe from perill free,
Did nought regard his malice nor his powre;
But he the more his wicked poyson forth did poure.”
“ That surely is that Beast,” saide Calidore,
“Which I pursue, of whom I am right glad To heare these tidings which of none afore Through all my weary travell I have had : Yet now some hope your words unto me add.” “Now God you speed,” quoth then Sir Artegall, “ And keepe your body from the daunger drad ; For ye
have much adoe to deale withall !” So both tooke goodly leave, and parted severall.
Sir Calidore thence travelled not long,
Whenas by chaunce a comely Squire he found,
That thorough some more mighty enemies wrong
Both hand and foote unto a tree was bound;
Who, seeing him from farre, with piteous sound
Of his shrill cries him called to his aide:
To whom approching, in that painefull stound
When he him saw, for no demaunds he staide,
But first him losde, and afterwards thus to him said;
Unhappy Squire, what hard mishap thee brought
Into this bay of perill and disgrace?
What cruell hand thy wretched thraldome wrought,
And thee captyved in this shamefull place ?"
To whom he answered thus; “ My haplesse case
Is not occasiond through my misdesert,
But through misfortune, which did me abase
Unto this shame, and my young hope subvert,
Ere that I in her guilefull traines was well expert.
“ Not farre from hence, uppon yond rocky hill,
Hard by a streight there stands a Castle strong,
Which doth observe a custome lewd and ill,
And it hath long mayntaind with mighty wrong:
For may no Knight nor Lady passe along
way, (and yet they needs must passe
way, By reason of the streight, and rocks among,)
But they that Ladies lockes doe shave away, [pay.” And that Knights beard, for toll which they for passage
“ A shamefull use as ever I did heare,”
Sayd Calidore, “and to be overthrowne.
But by what meanes did they at first it reare,
And for what cause ? tell if thou have it knowne."
Sayd then that Squire ; “ The Lady, which doth owne
This Castle, is by name Briana hight;
Then which a prouder Lady liveth none :
She long time hath deare lov'd a doughty Knight, And sought to win his love by all the meanes she might.
“ His name is Crudor ; who, through high disdaine
And proud despight of his selfe-pleasing mynd,
Refused hath to yeeld her love againe,
Untill a mantle she for him doe fynd
With beards of Knights and locks of Ladies lynd:
Which to provide, she hath this Castle dight,
And therein hath a Seneschall assynd,
Cald Maleffort, a man of mickle might,
Who executes her wicked will with worse despight.
He, this same day as I that way
With a faire Damzell my beloved deare,
In execution of her lawlesse doome
Did set uppon us flying both for feare;
For little bootes against him hand to reare:
Me first he tooke unhable to withstond,
And while he her pursued every where,
Till his returne unto this tree he bond ;
Ne wote I surely whether he ber yet have fond.”
Thus whiles they spake they heard a ruefull shrieke
Of one loud crying, which they streightway ghest
That it was she the which for helpe did seeke.
Tho, looking up unto the cry to lest,
They saw that Carle from farre with hand unblest
Hayling that Mayden by the yellow heare,
That all her garments from her snowy brest,
And from her head her lockes he nigh did teare,
Ne would he spare for pitty, nor refraine for feare.