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To tbe moji vertsous and beautiful Lady, the Lady
To all tbe gratious and beautifull Ladies in the Court.
No may 1, without blot of endlesle blame,
Tue Chian peinder, when he was requird
THE LEGEND OF THE KNİGHT OF THE RED-CROSSE, OR OF HOLINESSE,
Jil. Lo I, the man whose Muse whylome did maske And thou most dreaded impe of highest Jove, As time her taught, in lowly thepheards weeds, Faire Venus' sonne, that with thy cruell dart Am now enforft a farre unfitter taske,
At that good knight fo cunningly didit rove, For trumpets (temne to chaunge mine oaten reeds, That glori us fire it kindled in his hart, And fing of knights and ladies gentle deeds, Lay now thy deadly heben bowe apart, Whose praises having slept in filence long, And with thy mother mylde come to mine agde; Me all too meane the sacred Mufe areeds Come both, and with you bring triumphant Mart, To blazon broade amongst her learned throng : In loves and gentle jolities arraid, [layd. Fierce warres and faithful loves shall moralize my After his murdrous spoyles and bloody rage alsong.
And with them eke, O goddesse heavenly bright, Help then, O holy Virgin! chiefe of Nyne, Mirrour of grace and majestie divine, Thy weaker novice to perform thy will;
Great Ladie of the greatest Me, whose light Lay forth out of chine everlasting scryne
Like Phæbus lampe throughout the world doth The antique rolles which there lye hidden still, Shed thy faire beames into my feeble eyne, (shine, Of Faerie knights and fayreft Tanaquill,
And raise my thoughtes, too humble and too vile, Whom that mott poble Briton prince so long To think of that true glorious type of thine, Sought through the world, and suffered so much ill, ; The argument of mine afflicted filc; That I must rue his undeserved wrong :
The which to hear vouchsafe, O dearest dread! O helpe thou my wcake wit, and harpen my
tong. Tou, II.
FAERY QUE EN E.
CAN TO I.
The patron of true Holinesse
As one that inly mourned; so was she sad,
heir scepters stretcht from east to westerne fhore
And on his brest a bloodie crosse he bore,
A lovely ladie rode him faire beside,
Fiche therein shrouded from the tempest dred, But forth unto the darksoni hole he went,
Pointed with mortal iting : of her there bred
There dam upstart out of her den effraide, Ied with delight they thus beguile the way, And rushed forth, hurling her hideous taile Ertill the bluftring storme is overblowne ; About her cursed head, whose folds displaid, kan weeping to returne, whence they did fray, Were ftretcht now forth at length without entraile They cannot finde that path, which first was showne, She lookt about, and feing one in mayle, Det ander too and fro in waies unknowne Armed co point, fought backe to turnc againe ; Forskelt from end then, when they neereft weene, For light she hated as the deadly bale, That makesthem doubt their wits be nottheir owne: Ay wont in desert darkness to remaine, (plaine. Lo many pathes, so many turnings seene, [beene. Where plain nove might her see, nor she see any That which of them to take in diverse doubt they
Which when the valiant elfe perceiv’d, he lept A: laft resolving forward still to fare,
As lyon fierce upon the flying pray, Til that some end they find, or in or out, And with his trenchand blade her boldly kept That path they take that beaten seemd most bare, From turning backe, and forced her to stay : od like to lead the labyrinth about;
Therewith enrag'd the loudly gan to bray, Vich when by tract they hunted had throughout, And turning fierce, her speckled taile advaunst, A agth it brought them to a hollowe cave Threatening her angry fting him to dismay; And the thickest woods. The champion itout Who nought aghaft his mightie hand enhaunit;
hrobes dismounted from his courser brave, The stroke down from her head unto her shoulder had to the dwarfe awhile his needles spere he gave. glaunft.
XII. * Be wel aware," quoth then that ladie milde, Much daunted with that dint her fence was dazd, L4 fedden mischiefe ye too rash provoke : Yet kindling rage, herselfe she gathered round, The danger hid, the place unknowne and wilde, And all at once her beastlie bodie raizd * Breedes dreadfull doubts : oft fire is without With doubled forces high above the ground: smoke,
Tho wrapping up her wreathed iterne arowod, * And perill without show: therefore your stroke, Lept fierce upon his shield, and her huge traine
Knight, with-hold, till further tryall made." Il suddenly about his body wound, * Ah, Ladie," fayd he, “ shame were to revoke Thai hand or foot to stirr he ftrove in vaine.
The forward footing for an hidden shade : God helpe the man fo wrapt in Errour's endlesse * Pirene gives herself light through darknesse for traine. * to wade.
His lady, sad to see his fore constraint, [ye bec; * Yea buz,” quoth she, “ the peril of this place Cride out,"
Now, now, Sir Knight, shew what "I better wot then you, though nowe too late “ Add faith unto your force, and be not faint :
you bucke returne with foul disgrace; “ Strargle her, els the sure will strangle thee." * la sisedome wardes, whileft foot is in the gate, That when he heard, in great perplexitie, " To Say the fteppe, ere forced to retrate. His gall did grate for griefe and high disdaine, This is the Wandring Wood, the Errour's den, And knitting all his force, got one hand free, å tanker vile, whom God and man does hate: Wherewith he gripe her gorge with so great paine, Therefore I read beware.” “Fiy, fiy," quoth then That soon to loole her wicked bands did her cons. The learefull dwarfe; “ this is no place for living Atraine. men." XIV.
Therewith she spewd out of her filihie maw Bu fell of fire and greedy hardiment,
A floud of poysun horrible and blacke, Tke youthful knighi could not for ought be fiaide, Full of great lumps of fich and gobbets raw,
Which iunct so vildly, that it forft him lackc
His grasping hold, and from her turne him backe: Now needeth him no lenger labour spend,
His fces have slaine themselves, with whom he With loathly frogs and toad", which eyes did lacke,
should contend. And creeping sought way in the weedy gras :
Approcht in haft to greet his victorie,
Ardfaide, “Faire Knight, borne under happiestarre, With timcly pride above the Acgyptian vale, " Who see your vanquisht foes before you lye, His fattie waves doe fertile flime outwell,
“ Well worthie be you of that armory, And overflow each plaine and lowly dale; “ Wherein you have great glory wonpe this day, But when his later spring gins to avale, [breed “ And proov'd your strength on a strong enimie, Huge heaps of mudd he leaves, wherein there “ Your first adventure: many such I pray, Ten thousand kindcs of creatures, parily male “ And henceforth ever with that like succeed it And partly femall, of his fruitful feed;
“ may." Such ugly monstrous shapes elsewhere may no man
Then mounted he upon his steede againe,
And with the lady, backward sought to wend : The same so forc annoyed has the knight, That path he kept which beaten was most plaine, That wel nigh choked with the deadly stinke, Ne ever would to any by-way bend; His forces faile, ne can no lenger fight.
But still did follow one into the end, Whose corage when the feend perceivd to fhrinke, The which at last out of the wood them brought: She poured forth out of her hellith sinke
So forward on his way (with God to frend) Her fruitfull cursed spawne of serpents small, He passed forth, and new adventure sought : Deformed monsters, fowle, and blacke as inke, Long way he traveiled before he heard of ought. Which swarming all about his legs did crall, And him encombred fore, but could not hurt at all. At length they chaunft to meet upon the way
An aged fire, in long blacke weedes yciad, A gentle shephard in sweete eventide,
His fcete all bare, his beard all hoarie gray, When ruddy Phæbus gins to welke in west, And by his belt his booke he hanging had; High on an hill, his flocke to vewen wide, Sober he seemde, and very fagely lad, Marles which doe byte their hafty fupper best; And to the ground his eyes were lowly bent, A cloud of cumbrous knattes doe him molest, Simple in shew, and voide of malice bad; All striving to infixe their feeble stinges,
And all the way he prayed as he went, That from their noyance he no where can rest, And often knocke his brest, as one that did repent. But with his clownish hands their tender wings He brusheth oft, and oft doth mar their murmurings. He faire the knight faluted, louting low,
Who faire him quited, as that courteous was ; Thus ill heftedd, and fearfull more of shame And after asked him, if he did know Then of the certeine perill he food in,
Of ftraunge adventures which abroad did pas ? Halfe furious unto his foe he came,
“ Ah! my dear Sonne," quoth he, “how should, (Resolvd in minde all suddenly to win,
Tydings of warre and worldly trouble tell?
Her fcatered brood, foone as their parent deare
“ But if of daurger, which hereby doth dwell,
That dereftable sight him much amazd,
“ Far hence," quoth he,“ in waftfull wildernesse “ His dwelling is, by which no living wight
May ever passe, but thorough great diitreffe."
Ye all forwearied be : for what so strong,