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Which when the valiant Elfe perceiv'd, he lept
As lyon fierce upon the flying pray,
And with his trenchand blade her boldly kept
From turning backe, and forced her to stay:
Therewith enrag'd she loudly gan to bray,
And turning fierce her speckled taile advaunst,
Threatning her angrie sting, him to dismay;
Who, nought aghast, his mightie hand enhaunst;
The stroke down from her head unto her shoulder glaunst.
Much daunted with that dint her sence was dazd;
Yet kindling rage her selfe she gathered round,
And all attonce her beastly bodie raizd
With doubled forces high above the ground:
Tho, wrapping up her wrethed sterne arownd,
Lept fierce upon his shield, and her huge traine
All suddenly about his body wound,
That hand or foot to stirr he strove in vaine.
God helpe the man so wrapt in Errours endlesse traine!
His lady, sad to see his sore constraint,
Cride out, “Now, now , Sir Knight, shew what ye bee;
Add faith unto your force, and be not faint;
Strangle her, els she sure will strangle thee."
That when he heard, in great perplexitie,
His gall did grate for griefe and high disdaine;
And, knitting all his force, got one hand free,
Wherewith he grypt her gorge with so great paine,
That soone to loose her wicked bands did her constraine.
Therewith she spewd out of her filthie maw
A floud of poyson horrible and blacke,
Full of great lumps of flesh and gobbets raw,
Which stunk so vildly, that it forst him slacke
His grasping hold, and from her turne him backe:
Her vomit full of bookes and papers was,
With loathly frogs and toades, which eyes did lacke,
And creeping sought way in the weedy gras,
Her filthie parbreake all the place defiled has.
XXI. As when old father Nilus gins to swell With timely pride above the Aegyptian vale, His fattie waves doe fertile slime outwell, And overflow each plaine and lowly dale; But, when his later spring gins to avale, Huge heapes of mudd he leaves, wherin there breed Ten thousand kindes of creatures, partly male And partly female, of his fruitful seed: Such ugly monstrous shapes elswhere may no man reed.
The same so sore annoyed has the knight,
That, wel- nigh choked with the deadly stinke,
His forces faile, ne can no lenger fight.
Whose corage when the feend perceivd to shrinke,
She poured forth out of her hellish sinke
Her fruitfull cursed spawne of serpents small,
(Deformed monsters, fowle, and blacke as inke,)
Which swarming all about his legs did crall,
And him encombred sore, but could not hurt at all.
As gentle shepheard in sweete eventide,
When ruddy Phebus gins to welke in west,
High on an hill, his flocke to vewen wide,
Markes which doe byte their hasty supper best;
A cloud of cumbrous gnattes doe him molest,
All striving to infixe their feeble stinges,
That from their noyance he no where can rest,
But with his clownish hands their tender wings
He brusheth oft, and oft doth mar their murmurings:
Thus ill bestedd, and fearefull more of shame
Then of the certeine perill he stood in,
Halfe furious unto his foe he came,
Resolvd in minde all suddenly to win,
Or soone to lose, before he once would lin;
And stroke at her with more then manly force,
That from her body, full of filthie sin,
He raft her hatefull heade without remorse;
A streame of cole-black blood forth gushed from her corse.
Her scattred brood, soone as their parent deare
They saw so rudely falling to the ground,
Groning full deadly all with troublous feare
Gathred themselves about her body round,
Weening their wonted entrance to have found
At her wide mouth; but, being there withstood,
They flocked all about her bleeding wound,
And sucked up their dying mothers bloud,
Making her death their life, and eke her hurt their good.
That détestable sight him much amazde,
To see th' unkindly impes, of heaven accurst,
Devoure their dam; on whom while so he gazde,
Having all satisfide their bloudy thurst,
Their bellies swolne he saw with fulnesse burst,
And bowels gushing forth: well worthy end
Of such, as drunke her life the which them nurst.
Now needeth him no lenger labour spend,
His foes have slaine themselves, with whom he should con-
His lady seeing all, that chaunst, from farre,
Approcht in hast to greet his victorie,
And saide: “Faire knight, borne under happie starre,
Who see your vanquisht foes before you lye;
Well worthie be you of that armory,
Wherein ye have great glory wonne this day,
And proov'd your strength on a strong enimie,
Your first adventure; many, such I pray,
And henceforth ever wish that like succeed it may!”
Then mounted he upon his steede againe,
And with the lady backward sought to wend:
That path he kept, which beaten was most plaine,
Ne ever would to any by-way bend;
But still did follow one unto the end,
The which at last out of the wood them brought.
So forward on his way (with God to frend)
He passed forth, and new adventure sought;
Long way he traveiled, before he heard of ought.
At length they chaunst to meet upon the way
An aged sire, in long blacke weedes yclad,
His feete all bare, his beard all hoarie gray,
And by his belt his booke he hanging had;
Sober he seemde, and very sagely sad;
And to the ground his eyes were lowly bent,
Simple in shew, and voide of malice bad;
And all the way he prayed, as he went,
And often knockt his brest, as one that did repent.
He faire the knight saluted, louting low,
Who faire him quited, as that courteous was;
And after asked him, if he did know
Of straunge adventures, which abroad did pas.
“Ah! my dear sonne," quoth he, “how should, alas!
Silly old man, that lives in hidden cell,
Bidding his beades all day for his trespás,
Tydings of warre and worldly trouble tell?
With holy father sits not with such thinges to mell.
“But if of daunger, which hereby doth dwell,
And homebredd evil ye desire to heare,
Of a straunge man I can you tidings tell,
That wasteth all this countrie farre and neare."
“Of such,” saide he, “I chiefly doe inquere;
And shall thee well rewarde to shew the place,
In which that wicked wight his dayes doth weare:
For to all knighthood it is foule disgrace,
That such a cursed creature lives so long a space."
“Far hence," quoth he, “in wastful wildernesse
His dwelling is, by which no living wight
May ever passe, but thorough great distresse."
“Now," saide the ladie, “draweth toward night;
And well I wote, that of your later fight
Ye all forwearied be; for what so strong,
But, wanting rest, will also want of might?
The sunne, that measures heaven all day long,
At night doth baite his steedes the ocean waves emong.
“ Then with the sunne take, sir, your timely rest,
And with new day new worke at once begin;
Untroubled night, they say, gives counsell best.”
“Right well, Sir Knight, ye have advised bin,"
Quoth then that aged man; “the way to win
Is wisely to advise. Now day is spent:
Therefore with me ye may take up your in
For this same night.” The knight was well content:
So with that godly father to his home they went.
A little lowly hermitage it was,
Downe in a dale, hard by a forest's side,
Far from resort of people, that did pas
In traveill to and froe; a little wyde