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THE RED CROSS KNIGHT ENCOUNTERS AND SLAYS

THE DRAGON.

By this the northerne wagoner had set
His sevenfold teme behind the stedfast starre
That was in ocean waves yet never wet,
But firme is fixt, and sendeth light from farre
To all that in the wide deepe wandring arre;
And chearefull chaunticlere with his note shrill
Had warned once, that Phoebus fiery carre
In hast was climbing up the easterne hill,
Full envious that Night so long his roome did fill :

B

When those accursed messengers of hell,
That feigning Dreame, and that faire-forged spright,
Came to their wicked maister, and gan tell
Their bootelesse paines, and ill-succeeding night:
Who, all in rage to see his skilfull might
Deluded so, gan threaten hellish paine
And sad Prosérpines wrath, them to affright.
But, when he saw his threatning was but vaine,
He cast about, and searcht his baleful bokes againe.

Eftsoones he tooke that miscreated Faire,
And that false other spright, on whom he spred
A seeming body of the subtile aire,
Like a young squire, in loves and lustyhed
His wanton daies that ever loosely led,
Without regard of armes and dreaded fight;
Those two he tooke, and in a secrete bed,
Covered with darkenes and misdeeming night,
Them both together laid, to ioy in vaine delight.

Forthwith he runnes with feigned-faithfull hast
Unto his guest, who, after troublous sights
And dreames, gan now to take more sound repast;
Whom suddenly he wakes with fearful frights,
As one aghast with feends or damned sprights,
And to him calls ; " Rise, rise, unhappy swaine,
That here wex old in sleepe, whiles wicked wights
Have knit themselves in Venus shameful chaine :
Come, see where your false lady doth her honor staine."

All in a maze he suddenly up start
With sword in hand, and with the old man went;
Who soone him brought into a secret part,
Where that false couple were full closely ment
In wanton lust and leud embracëment:
Which when he saw, he burnt with gealous fire ;
The eie of reason was with rage yblent ;
And would have slaine them in his furious ire,
But hardly was restrained of that aged sire.

Retourning to his bed in torment great,
And bitter angush of his guilty sight,
He could not rest; but did his stout heart eat,
And wast his inward gall with deepe despight,
Yrkesome of life, and too long lingring night.
At last faire Hesperus in highest skie

And spent his lampe, and brought forth dawning light;
Then up he rose, and clad him hastily;
The dwarfe him brought his steed: so both away do fly.

Now when the rosy-fingered Morning faire,
Weary of aged Tithones saffron bed,
Had spread her purple robe through deawy aire :
And the high hils Titan discovered ;
The royall virgin shooke off drousyhed :
And, rising forth out of her baser bowre,
Lookt for her knight, who far away was fled,
And for her dwarfe, that wont to waite each howre :-
Then gan she wail and weepe to see that woeful stow

And after him she rode with so much speede,
As her slowe beast could make; but all in vaine :
For him so far had borne his light-foot steede,
Pricked with wrath and fiery fierce disdaine,
That him to follow was but fruitlesse paine :
Yet she her weary limbes would never rest;
But every hil and dale, each wood and plaine,
Did search, sore grieved in her gentle brest,
He so ungently left her, whom she loved best.

But subtill Archimago, when his guests
He saw divided into double parts,
And Una wandring in woods and forrésts,
(Th' end of his drift,) he praised his divelish arts,
That had such might over true meaning harts :
Yet rests not so, but other meanes doth make,
How he may worke unto her further smarts :
For her he hated as the hissing snake,
And in her many troubles did most pleasure take.

He then devisde himselfe how to disguise ;
For by his mighty science he could take
As many formes and shapes in seeming wise,
As ever Proteus to himselfe could make :
Sometime a fowle, sometime a fish in lake,
Now like a foxe, now like a dragon fell;
That of himselfe he ofte for feare would quake,
And oft would flie away. O who can tell
The bidden powre of herbes, and might of magick spell !

But now seemde best the person to put on
Of that good knight, his late beguiled guest :

B

In mighty armes he was yclad anon,
And silver shield; upon his coward brest
A bloody crosse, and on his craven crest
A bounch of heares discolourd diversly.
Full iolly knight he seemde, and wel addrest;
And, when be sate uppon his courser free,
Saint George himselfe ye would have deemed him to be.

But he, the knight, whose semblaunt he did beare,
The true Saint George, was wandred far away,
Still flying from his thoughts and gealous feare:
Will was his guide, and griefe led him astray.
At last him chaunst to meete upon the way
A faithlesse Sarazin, all armde to point,
In whose great shield was writ with letters gay
Sans foy; full large of limbe and every ioint
He was, and cared not for God or man a point.

Hee had a faire companion of his way,
A goodly lady clad in scarlot red,
Purfled with gold and pearle of rich assay ;
And like a Persian mitre on her hed
Shee wore, with crowns and owches garnished,
The which her lavish lovers to her gave :
Her wanton palfrey all was overspred
With tinsell trappings, woven like a wave,
Whose bridle rung with golden bels and bosses brave.

With faire disport, and courting dalliaunce,
She intertainde her lover all the way:
But, when she saw the knight his speare advaunce,
Shee soone left off her mirth and wanton play,
And bad her knight addresse him to the fray;
His foe was nigh at hand. He, prickte with pride,
And hope to winne his ladies hearte that day,
Forth spurred fast; adowne his coursers side
The red bloud trickling staind the way, as he did ride.

The knight of the Redcrosse, when him he spide
Spurring so hote with rage dispiteous,
Gan fairely couch his speare, and towards ride
Soone meete they both, both fell and furious,
That, daunted with their forces hideous,
Their steeds doe stagger, and amazed stand ;
And eke themselves, too rudely rigorous,
Astonied with the stroke of their owne hand,
Doe backe rebutte, and cach to other yealdeth land.

As when two rams, stird with ambitious pride,
Fight for the rule of the rich-fleeced flocke,
Their horned fronts so fierce on either side
Doe meete, that, with the terror of the shocke
Astonied, both stand sencelesse as a blocke,
Forgetfull of the hanging victory :
So stood these twaine, unmoved as a rocke,
Both staring fierce, and holding idëly
The broken reliques of their former cruelty.

The Sarazin, sore daunted with the buffe,
Snatcheth his sword, and fiercely to him flies;
Who well it wards, and quyteth cuff with cuft:
Each others equall puissaunce envíes,
And through their iron sides with cruell spies
Does seeke to perce; repining courage yields
No foote to foe: the flashing fiër flies,
As from a forge, out of their burning shields ;
And streams of purple bloud new die the verdant fields.

“ Curse on that crosse," quoth then the Sarazin,
That keeps thy body from the bitter fitt;
Dead long ygoe, I wrote, thou haddest bin,
Had not that charme from thee forwarned itt :
But yet I warne thee now assured sitt,
And hide thy head.” Therewith upon his crest
With rigor so outrageous he smitt,
That a large share it hewd out of the rest,
And glauncing down his shield from blame him fairly blest.

Who, thereat wondrous wroth, the sleeping spark
Of native vertue gan eftsoones revive ;
And, at his haughty helmet making mark,
So hugely stroke, that it the steele did rive,
And cleft his head : he, tumbling downe alive,
With bloudy mouth his mother earth did kis,
Greeting his grave : his grudging ghost did str.se
With the fraile flesh; at last it flitted is,
Whither the soules doe fly of men, that live amis.

The lady, when she saw her champion fall,
Like the old ruines of a broken towre,
Staid not to waile his woefull funerall;
But from him fed away with all her powre :
Who after her as hastily gan scowre,
Bidding the dwarfe with him to bring away

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