Guyon encountreth Britomart,
faire Florimell is chaced:
Duessaes traines and Malerastaes
champions are defaced.
T He famous Briton Prince and Faerie knight,
After long wayes and perilous paines endured,
HauingHaving their wearie limbes to perfect plight
Restord, and sory wounds right well recured,
Of the faire Alma greatly were procured,
To make there lenger soiournesojourne and abode;
But when thereto they might not be allured,
From seeking praise, and deeds of armes abrode,
They courteous conge tooke, and forth together yode.
But the captiu’dcaptiv’d Acrasia he sent,
Because of trauelltravell long, a nigher way,
With a strong gard, all reskew to preuentprevent,
And her to Faerie court safe to conuayconvay,
That her for witnesse of his hard assay,
VntoUnto his Faerie Queene he might present:
But he himselfe betooke another way,
To make more triall of his hardiment,
And seeke aduenturesadventures, as he with Prince Arthur went.
Long so they trauelled through wastefull wayes,
Where daungers dwelt, and perils most did wonne,
To hunt for glorie and renowmed praise;
Full many Countries they did ouerronneoverronne,
From the vprisinguprising to the setting Sunne,
And many hard aduenturesadventures did atchieueatchieve;
Of all the which they honour euerever wonne,
Seeking the weake oppressed to relieuerelieve,
And to recouerrecover right for such, as wrong did grieuegrieve.
At last as through an open plaine they yode,
They spide a knight, that towards pricked faire,
And him beside an aged Squire there rode,
That seem’d to couch vnderunder his shield three-square,
As if that age bad him that burden spare,
And yield it those, that stouter could it wield:
He them espying, gan himselfe prepare,
And on his arme addresse his goodly shield
That bore a Lion passant in a golden field.
Which seeing good Sir Guyon, deare besought
The Prince of grace, to let him runne that turne.
He graunted: 5.3. then: thanthenthan the Faery quickly raught
His poinant speare, and sharpely gan to spurne
His fomy steed, whose fierie feete did burne
The verdant grasse, as he thereon did tread;
Ne did the other backe his foot returne,
But fiercely forward came withouten dread,
And bent his dreadfull speare against the others head.
They bene ymet, and both their points arriuedarrived,
But Guyon drouedrove so furious and fell,
That seem’d both shield & plate it would haue riued;
Nathelesse it bore his foe not from his sell,
But made him stagger, as he were not well:
But Guyon selfe, ere well he was aware,
Nigh a speares length behind his crouper fell,
Yet in his fall so well him selfe he bare,
That mischieuous mischance his life & limbes did spare.
Great shame and sorrow of that fall he tooke;
For neuernever yet, sith warlike armes he bore,
And shiueringshivering speare in bloudie field first shooke,
He found himselfe dishonored so sore.
Ah gentlest knight, that euerever armour bore,
Let not thee grieuegrieve dismounted to hauehave beene,
And brought to ground, that neuernever wast before;
For not thy fault, but secret powre vnseeneunseene,
That speare enchaunted was, which layd thee on the greene.
But weenedst thou what wight thee ouerthrewoverthrew,
Much greater griefe and shamefuller regret
For thy hard fortune 8.3. then: thanthenthan thou wouldst renew,
That of a single damzell thou wert met
On equall plaine, and there so hard beset;
EuenEven the famous Britomart it was,
Whom straunge aduentureadventure did from Britaine fet,
To seeke her louerlover (loue farre sought alas,)
Whose image she had seene in Venus looking glas.
Full of disdainefull wrath, he fierce vproseuprose,
For to reuengerevenge that foule reprochfull shame,
And snatching his bright sword began to close
With her on foot, and stoutly forward came;
Die rather would he, 9.5. then: thanthenthan endure that same.
Which when his Palmer saw, he gan to feare
His toward perill and vntowarduntoward blame,
Which by that new rencounter he should reare:
For death sate on the point of that enchaunted speare.
And hasting towards him gan faire perswade,
Not to prouokeprovoke misfortune, nor to weene
His speares default to mend with cruell blade;
For by his mightie Science he had seene
The secret vertue of that weapon keene,
That mortall puissance mote not withstond:
Nothing on earth mote alwaies happie beene.
Great hazard were it, and aduentureadventure fond,
To loose long gotten honour with one euillevill hond.
By such good meanes he him discounselled,
From prosecuting his reuengingrevenging rage;
And eke the Prince like treaty handeled,
His wrathfull will with reason to asswage,
And laid the blame, not to his carriage,
But to his starting steed, that swaru’dswarv’d asyde,
And to the ill purueyancepurveyance of his page,
That had his furnitures not firmely tyde:
So is his angry courage fairely pacifyde.
Thus reconcilement was betweene them knit,
Through goodly temperance, and affection chaste,
And either vowd with all their power and wit,
To let not others honour be defaste,
Of friend or foe, who euerever it embaste,
Ne armes to beare against the others syde:
In which accord the Prince was also plaste,
And with that golden chaine of concord tyde.
So goodly all agreed, they forth yfere did ryde.
O goodly vsageusage of those antique times,
In which the sword was seruantservant vntounto right;
When not for malice and contentious crimes,
But all for praise, and proofe of manly might,
The martiall brood accustomed to fight:
Then honour was the meed of victorie,
And yet the vanquished had no despight:
Let later age that noble vseuse enuieenvie,
Vile rancour to auoid, and cruell surquedrie.
Long they thus trauelled in friendly wise,
Through countries waste, and eke well edifyde,
Seeking aduenturesadventures hard, to exercise
Their puissance, whylome full dernely tryde:
At length they came into a forrest wyde,
Whose hideous horror and sad trembling sound
Full griesly seem’d: Therein they long did ryde,
Yet tract of liuingliving creatures none they found,
Saue Beares, Lions, & Buls, which romed them around.
All suddenly out of the thickest brush,
VponUpon a milke-white Palfrey all alone,
A goodly Ladie did foreby them rush,
Whose face did seeme as cleare as Christall stone,
And eke through feare as white as whales bone:
Her garments all were wrought of beaten gold,
And all her steed with tinsell trappings shone,
Which fled so fast, that nothing mote him hold,
And scarse them leasure gauegave, her passing to behold.
Still as she fled, her eye she backward threw,
As fearing euillevill, that pursewd her fast;
And her faire yellow locks behind her flew,
Loosely disperst with puffe of eueryevery blast:
All as a blazing starre doth farre outcast
His hearie beames, and flaming lockes dispred,
At sight whereof the people stand aghast:
But the sage wisard telles, as he has red,
That it importunes death and dolefull drerihed.
So as they gazed after her a while,
Lo where a griesly Foster forth did rush,
Breathing out beastly lust her to defile:
His tyreling iade he fiercely forth did push,
Through thicke and thin, both ouerbanke and bush
In hope her to attaine by hooke or crooke,
That from his gorie sides the bloud did gush:
Large were his limbes, and terrible his looke,
And in his clownish hand a sharp bore speare he shooke.
Which outrage when those gentle knights did see,
Full of great enuieenvie and fell gealosy,
They stayd not to auiseavise, who first should bee,
But all spurd after fast, as they mote fly,
To reskew her from shamefull villany.
The Prince and Guyon equally byliuebylive
Her selfe pursewd, in hope to win thereby
Most goodly meede, the fairest Dame aliuealive:
But after the foule foster Timias did striuestrive.
The whiles faire Britomart, whose constant mind,
Would not so lightly follow beauties chace,
Ne reckt of Ladies LoueLove, did stay behind,
And them awayted there a certaine space,
To weet if they would turne backe to that place:
But when she saw them gone, she forward went,
As lay her iourneyjourney, through that perlous Pace,
With stedfast courage and stout hardiment;
Ne euillevill thing she fear’d, ne euillevill thing she ment.
At last as nigh out of the wood she came,
A stately Castle farre away she spyde,
To which her steps directly she did frame.
That Castle was most goodly edifyde,
And plaste for pleasure nigh that forrest syde:
But faire before the gate a spatious plaine,
Mantled with greene, it selfe did spredden wyde,
On which she saw sixe knights, that did darraine
Fierce battell against one, with cruell might and maine.
Mainly they all attonce vponupon him laid,
And sore beset on eueryevery side around,
That nigh he breathlesse grew, yet nought dismaid,
Ne euerever to them yielded foot of ground
All had he lost much bloud through many a wound,
But stoutly dealt his blowes, and eueryevery way
To which he turned in his wrathfull stound,
Made them recoile, and fly from dred decay,
That none of all the sixe before, him durst assay.
Like dastard Curres, that hauinghaving at a bay
The saluagesalvage beast embost in wearie chace,
Dare not aduentureadventure on the stubborne pray,
Ne byte before, but rome from place to place,
To get a snatch, when turned is his face.
In such distresse and doubtfull ieopardyjeopardy,
When Britomart him saw, she ran a pace
VntoUnto his reskew, and with earnest cry,
Bad those same sixe forbeare that single enimy.
But to her cry they list not lenden eare,
Ne ought the more their mightie strokes surceasse,
But gathering him round about more neare,
Their direfull rancour rather did encreasse;
Till that she rushing through the thickest preasse,
Perforce disparted their compacted gyre,
And soone compeld to hearken vntounto peace:
Tho gan she myldly of them to inquyre
The cause of their dissention and outrageous yre.
Whereto that single knight did answere frame;
These sixe would me enforce by oddes of might,
To chaunge my liefe, and louelove another Dame,
That death me liefer were, 24.4. then: thanthenthan such despight,
So vntounto wrong to yield my wrested right:
For I louelove one, the truest one on ground,
Ne list me chaunge; she th’Errant Damzell hight,
For whose deare sake full many a bitter stownd,
I hauehave endur’d, and tasted many a bloudy wound.
Certes (said she) 25.1. then: thanthenthan bene ye sixe to blame,
To weene your wrong by force to iustifie:
For knight to leaueleave his Ladie were great shame,
That faithfull is, and better were to die.
All losse is lesse, and lesse the infamie,
Then losse of louelove to him, that louesloves but one;
Ne may louelove be compeld by maisterie;
For soone as maisterie comes, sweet louelove anone
Taketh his nimble wings, and soone away is gone.
Then spake one of those sixe, There dwelleth here
Within this castle wall a Ladie faire,
Whose souerainesoveraine beautie hath no liuingliving pere,
Thereto so bounteous and so debonaire,
That neuernever any mote with her compaire.
She hath ordaind this law, which we approueapprove,
That eueryevery knight, which doth this way repaire,
In case he hauehave no Ladie, nor no louelove,
Shall doe vntounto her seruiceservice neuernever to remoueremove.
But if he hauehave a Ladie or a LoueLove,
Then must he her forgoe with foule defame,
Or else with vsus by dint of sword approueapprove,
That she is fairer, 27.4. then: thanthenthan our fairest Dame,
As did this knight, before ye hither came.
Perdie (said Britomart) the choise is hard:
But what reward had he, that ouercameovercame?
He should aduauncedadvaunced be to high regard,
(Said they) and hauehave our Ladies louelove for his reward.
Therefore a read Sir, if thou hauehave a louelove.
LoueLove hauehave I sure, (quoth she) but Lady none;
Yet will I not fro mine owne louelove remoueremove,
Ne to your Lady will I seruiceservice done,
But wreake your wrongs wrought to this knight a-lone,
And proueprove his cause. With that her mortall speare
She mightily auentredaventred towards one,
And downe him smot, ere well aware he weare,
Then to the next she rode, & downe the next did beare.
Ne did she stay, till three on ground she layd,
That none of them himselfe could reare againe;
The fourth was by that other knight dismayd,
All were he wearie of his former paine,
That now there do but two of six remaine;
Which two did yield, before she did them smight.
Ah (said she then) now may ye all see plaine,
That truth is strong, and trew louelove most of might,
That for his trusty seruauntsservaunts doth so strongly fight.
Too well we see, (said they) and proueprove too well
Our faulty weaknesse, and your matchlesse might:
For thy faire Sir, yours be the Damozell,
Which by her owne law to your lot doth light,
And we your liege men faith vntounto you plight.
So vnderneathunderneath her feet their swords they shard,
And after her besought, well as they might,
To enter in, and reape the dew reward:
She graunted, and 30.9. then: thanthenthan in they all together far’d.
Long were it to describe the goodly frame,
And stately port of Castle IoyeousJoyeous,
(For so that Castle hight by commune name)
Where they were entertaind with curteous
And comely glee of many gracious
Faire Ladies, and of many a gentle knight,
Who through a Chamber long and spacious,
Eftsoones them brought vntounto their Ladies sight,
That of them cleeped was the Lady of delight.
But for to tell the sumptuous aray
Of that great chamber, should be labour lost:
For liuingliving wit, I weene, cannot display
The royall riches and exceeding cost,
Of eueryevery pillour and of eueryevery post;
Which all of purest bullion framed were,
And with great pearles and pretious stones embost,
That the bright glister of their beames cleare
Did sparckle forth great light, and glorious did appeare.
These straunger knights through passing, forth were led
Into an inner rowme, whose royaltee
And rich purueyancepurveyance might vneathuneath be red;
Mote Princes place be seeme so deckt to bee.
Which stately manner when as they did see,
The image of superfluous riotize,
Exceeding much the state of meane degree,
They greatly wondred, whence so sumptuous guize
Might be maintaynd, and each gan diuerselydiversely deuizedevize.
The wals were round about apparelled
With costly clothes of Arras and of Toure,
In which with cunning hand was pourtrahed
The louelove of Venus and her Paramoure
The faire Adonis, turned to a flowre,
A worke of rare deuicedevice, and wondrous wit.
First did it shew the bitter balefull stowre,
Which her assayd with many a feruentfervent fit,
When first her tender hart was with his beautie smit.
Then with what sleights and sweet allurements she
Entyst the Boy, as well that art she knew,
And wooed him her Paramoure to be;
Now making girlonds of each flowre that grew,
To crowne his golden lockes with honour dew;
Now leading him into a secret shade
From his Beauperes, and from bright heauensheavens vew,
Where him to sleepe she gently would perswade,
Or bathe him in a fountaine by some couertcovert glade.
And whilst he slept, she ouerover him would spred
Her mantle, colour’d like the starry skyes,
And her soft arme lay vnderneathunderneath his hed,
And with ambrosiall kisses bathe his eyes;
And whilest he bath’d, with her two crafty spyes,
She secretly would search each daintie lim,
And throw into the well sweet Rosemaryes,
And fragrant violets, and Pances trim,
And euerever with sweet Nectar she did sprinkle him.
So did she steale his heedelesse hart away,
And ioydjoyd his louelove in secret vnespydeunespyde.
But for she saw him bent to cruell play,
To hunt the saluagesalvage beast in forrest wyde,
Dreadfull of daunger, that mote him betyde,
She oft and oft aduiz’dadviz’d him to refraine
From chase of greater beasts, whose brutish pryde
Mote breede him scath vnwaresunwares: but all in vaine;
For who can shun the chaunce, that dest’ny doth ordaine?
Lo, where beyond he lyeth languishing,
Deadly engored of a great wild Bore,
And by his side the Goddesse grouelinggroveling
Makes for him endlesse mone, and euermoreevermore
With her soft garment wipes away the gore,
Which staines his snowy skin with hatefull hew:
But when she saw no helpe might him restore,
Him to a dainty flowre she did transmew,
Which in that cloth was wrought, as if it liuelylively grew.
So was that chamber clad in goodly wize,
And round about it many beds were dight,
As whilome was the antique worldes guize,
Some for vntimelyuntimely ease, some for delight,
As pleased them to vseuse, that vseuse it might:
And all was full of Damzels, and of Squires,
Dauncing and reuelingreveling both day and night,
And swimming deepe in sensuall desires,
And Cupid still emongst them kindled lustfull fires.
And all the while sweet Musicke did diuidedivide
Her looser notes with Lydian harmony;
And all the while sweet birdes thereto applide
Their daintie layes and dulcet melody,
Ay caroling of louelove and iollityjollity,
That wonder was to heare their trim consort.
Which when those knights beheld, with scornefull eye,
They sdeigned such lasciuiouslascivious disport,
And loath’d the loose demeanure of that wanton sort.
Thence they were brought to that great Ladies vew,
Whom they found sitting on a sumptuous bed,
That glistred all with gold and glorious shew,
As the proud Persian Queenes accustomed:
She seemd a woman of great bountihed,
And of rare beautie, sauingsaving that askaunce
Her wanton eyes, ill signes of womanhed,
Did roll too highly, and too often glaunce,
Without regard of grace, or comely amenaunce.
Long worke it were, and needlesse to deuizedevize
Their goodly entertainement and great glee:
She caused them be led in curteous wize
Into a bowre, disarmed for to bee,
And cheared well with wine and spiceree:
The Redcrosse Knight was soone disarmed there,
But the brauebrave Mayd would not disarmed bee,
But onely vented vpup her vmbriereumbriere,
And so did let her goodly visage to appere.
As when faire Cynthia, in darkesome night,
Is in a noyous cloud enuelopedenveloped,
Where she may find the substaunce thin and light,
Breakes forth her siluersilver beames, and her bright hed
DiscouersDiscovers to the world discomfited;
Of the poore traueller, that went astray,
With thousand blessings she is heried;
Such was the beautie and the shining ray,
With which faire Britomart gauegave light vntounto the day.
And eke those six, which lately with her fought,
Now were disarmd, and did them seluesselves present
VntoUnto her vew, and company vnsoght;
For they all seemed curteous and gent,
And all sixe brethren, borne of one parent,
Which had them traynd in all ciuiliteecivilitee,
And goodly taught to tilt and turnament;
Now were they liegemen to this Lady free,
And her knights seruiceservice ought, to hold of her in fee.
The first of them by name Gardante hight,
A iollyjolly person, and of comely vew;
The second was Parlante, a bold knight,
And next to him IocanteJocante did ensew;
Basciante did him selfe most curteous shew;
But fierce Bacchante seemd too fell and keene;
And yet in armes Noctante greater grew:
All were faire knights, and goodly well beseene,
But to faire Britomart they all but shadowes beene.
For she was full of amiable grace,
And manly terrour mixed therewithall,
That as the one stird vpup affections bace,
So th’other did mens rash desires apall,
And hold them backe, that would in errour fall;
As he, that hath espide a vermeill Rose,
To which sharpe thornes and breres the way forstall,
Dare not for dread his hardy hand expose,
But wishing it far off, his idle wish doth lose.
Whom when the Lady saw so faire a wight.
All ignoraunt of her contrary sex,
(For she her weend a fresh and lusty knight)
She greatly gan enamoured to wex,
And with vaine thoughts her falsed fancy vex:
Her fickle hart conceiuedconceived hasty fire,
Like sparkes of fire, which fall in sclender flex,
That shortly brent into extreme desire,
And ransackt all her veines with passion entire.
Eftsoones she grew to great impatience
And into termes of open outrage brust,
That plaine discouereddiscovered her incontinence,
Ne reckt she, who her meaning did mistrust;
For she was giuengiven all to fleshly lust,
And poured forth in sensuall delight,
That all regard of shame she had discust,
And meet respect of honour put to flight:
So shamelesse beauty soone becomes a loathy sight.
Faire Ladies, that to louelove captiuedcaptived arre,
And chaste desires do nourish in your mind,
Let not her fault your sweet affections marre,
Ne blot the bounty of all womankind;
’Mongst thousands good one wanton Dame to find:
Emongst the Roses grow some wicked weeds;
For this was not to louelove, but lust inclind;
For louelove does alwayes bring forth bounteous deeds,
And in each gentle hart desire of honour breeds.
Nought so of louelove this looser Dame did skill,
But as a coale to kindle fleshly flame,
GiuingGiving the bridle to her wanton will,
And treading vnderunder foote her honest name:
Such louelove is hate, and such desire is shame.
Still did she rouerove at her with crafty glaunce
Of her false eyes, that at her hart did ayme,
And told her meaning in her countenaunce;
But Britomart dissembled it with ignoraunce.
Supper was shortly dight and downe they sat,
Where they were seruedserved with all sumptuous fare,
Whiles fruitfull Ceres, and Lyus fat
Pourd out their plenty, without spight or spare:
Nought wanted there, that dainty was and rare;
And aye the cups their bancks did ouerflowoverflow,
And aye betweene the cups, she did prepare
Way to her louelove, and secret darts did throw;
But Britomart would not such guilfull message know.
So when they slaked had the feruentfervent heat
Of appetite with meates of eueryevery sort,
The Lady did faire Britomart entreat,
Her to disarme, and with delightfull sport
To loose her warlike limbs and strong effort,
But when she mote not thereunto be wonne,
(For she her sexe vnderunder that straunge purport
Did vseuse to hide, and plaine apparaunce shonne:)
In plainer wise to tell her grieuauncegrievaunce she begonne.
And all attonce discouereddiscovered her desire
With sighes, and sobs, and plaints, & piteous griefe,
The outward sparkes of her in burning fire;
Which spent in vaine, at last she told her briefe,
That but if she did lend her short reliefe,
And do her comfort, she mote algates dye.
But the chaste damzell, that had neuernever priefe
Of such malengine and fine forgerie,
Did easily beleeuebeleeve her strong extremitie.
Full easie was for her to hauehave beliefe,
Who by self-feeling of her feeble sexe,
And by long triall of the inward griefe,
Wherewith imperious louelove her hart did vexe,
Could iudgejudge what paines do louingloving harts perplexe.
Who meanes no guile, beguiled soonest shall,
And to faire semblaunce doth light faith annexe;
The bird, that knowes not the false fowlers call,
Into his hidden net full easily doth fall.
For thy she would not in discourteise wise,
Scorne the faire offer of good will profest;
For great rebuke it is, louelove to despise,
Or rudely sdeigne a gentle harts request;
But with faire countenaunce, as beseemed best,
Her entertaynd; nath’lesse she inly deemd
Her louelove too light, to wooe a wandring guest:
Which she misconstruing, thereby esteemd
That from like inward fire that outward smoke had steemd.
Therewith a while she her flit fancy fed,
Till she mote winne fit time for her desire,
But yet her wound still inward freshly bled,
And through her bones the false instilled fire
Did spred it selfe, and venime close inspire.
Tho were the tables taken all away,
And eueryevery knight, and eueryevery gentle Squire
Gan choose his dame with Basciomani gay,
With whom he meant to make his sport & courtly play.
Some fell to daunce, some fell to hazardry,
Some to make louelove, some to make meriment,
As diuersediverse wits to diuers things apply;
And all the while faire Malecasta bent
Her crafty engins to her close intent.
By this th’eternall lampes, wherewith high IoueJove
Doth light the lower world, were halfe yspent,
And the moist daughters of huge Atlas strouestrove
Into the Ocean deepe to driuedrive their weary drouedrove.
High time it seemed 58.1. then: thanthenthan for eueryevery wight
Them to betake vntounto their kindly rest;
Eftsoones long waxen torches weren light,
VntoUnto their bowres to guiden eueryevery guest:
Tho when the Britonesse saw all the rest
AuoidedAvoided quite, she gan her selfe despoile,
And safe commit to her soft fethered nest,
Where through long watch, & late dayes weary toile,
She soundly slept, & carefull thoughts did quite assoile.
Now whenas all the world in silence deepe
Yshrowded was, and eueryevery mortall wight
Was drowned in the depth of deadly sleepe,
Faire Malecasta, whose engrieuedengrieved spright
Could find no rest in such perplexed plight,
Lightly arose out of her wearie bed,
And vnderunder the blacke vele of guilty Night,
Her with a scarlot mantle coueredcovered,
That was with gold and Ermines faire enuelopedenveloped.
Then panting soft, and trembling euerieeverie ioyntjoynt,
Her fearfull feete towards the bowre she mouedmoved;
Where she for secret purpose did appoynt
To lodge the warlike mayd vnwiselyunwisely louedloved,
And to her bed approching, first she prooued,
Whether she slept or wakt, with her soft hand
She softly felt, if any member mooued,
And lent her wary eare to vnderstandunderstand,
If any puffe of breath, or signe of sence she fond.
Which whenas none she fond, with easie shift,
For feare least her vnwaresunwares she should abrayd,
Th’embroderd quilt she lightly vpup did lift,
And by her side her selfe she softly layd,
Of eueryevery finest fingers touch affrayd;
Ne any noise she made, ne word she spake,
But inly sigh’d. At last the royall Mayd
Out of her quiet slomber did awake,
And chaungd her weary side, the better ease to take.
Where feeling one close couched by her side,
She lightly lept out of her filed bed,
And to her weapon ran, in minde to gride
The loathed leachour. But the Dame halfe ded
Through suddein feare and ghastly drerihed,
Did shrieke alowd, that through the house it rong,
And the whole family therewith adred,
Rashly out of their rouzed couches sprong,
And to the troubled chamber all in armes did throng.
And those six Knights that Ladies Champions,
And eke the Redcrosse knight ran to the stownd,
Halfe armd and halfe vnarmdunarmd, with them attons:
Where when confusedly they came, they fownd
Their Lady lying on the sencelesse grownd;
On th’other side, they saw the warlike Mayd
All in her snow-white smocke, with locks vnbowndunbownd,
Threatning the point of her auengingavenging blade,
That with so troublous terrour they were all dismayde.
About their Lady first they flockt arownd,
Whom hauinghaving laid in comfortable couch,
Shortly they reard out of her frosen swownd;
And afterwards they gan with fowle reproch
To stirrevp strife, and troublous contecke broch:
But by ensample of the last dayes losse,
None of them rashly durst to her approch,
Ne in so glorious spoile themseluesthemselves embosse;
Her succourd eke the Champion of the bloudy Crosse.
But one of those sixe knights, Gardante hight,
Drew out a deadly bow and arrow keene,
Which forth he sent with felonous despight,
And fell intent against the virgin sheene:
The mortall steele stayd not, till it was seene
To gore her side, yet was the wound not deepe,
But lightly rased her soft silken skin,
That drops of purple bloud thereout did weepe,
Which did her lilly smock with staines of vermeil steepe.
Wherewith enrag’d she fiercely at them flew,
And with her flaming sword about her layd,
That none of them foule mischiefe could eschew,
But with her dreadfull strokes were all dismayd:
Here, there, and eueryevery where about her swayd
Her wrathfull steele, that none mote it abide;
And eke the Redcrosse knight gauegave her good aid,
Ay ioyningjoyning foot to foot, and side to side,
That in short space their foes they hauehave quite terrifide.
Tho whenas all were put to shamefull flight,
The noble Britomartis her arayd,
And her bright armes about her body dight:
For nothing would she lenger there be stayd,
Where so loose life, and so vngentleungentle trade
Was vsdusd of Knights and Ladies seeming gent:
So earely ere the grosse Earthes gryesy shade
Was all disperst out of the firmament,
They tooke their steeds, & forth vpo[n] their iourney went.