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My greyhoundes leped and my stede did sterte,
My spere I toke and did loke aboute;
Wyth hardy courage I did arme me herte;
At last I saw a sturdy giaunt stoute,
Twelve fote of length to fere a great route,
Thre hedes he had, and he armed was
Both hedes and body all about with bras.
Upon his first head in his helmet crest
There stode a fane of the silke so fyne,
Where was wrytten, with letters of the best,
My name is Falshed, I shall cause enclyne
My neyghbours goods for to make them myne:
Alway I get theyr lande or substaunce,
With subtyll fraude, deceyte, or variaunce.
And whan a knyght with noble chyvalry
Of La Bell Pucell should attayne the grace,
Wyth my great falshed I werke so subtylly
That in her herte he hath no place:
Thus of his purpose I do let the cace.
This is I my power and my condicion,
Love to remove by great illusion.
And of the second head, in a silken tassell,
There I saw wrytten: Ymaginacion;
My crafty wytte is withouten fayle
Love for to bring in perturbacion;
Where La Bell Pucell wold have affeccion
To Graund Amour, I shall a tale devyse
To make her hate him and him to dispyse.
By my false wytte so muche imaginative
The trouth full ofte I bring in disease;
Whereas was peace I cause to be stryfe;
I wyll suffer no man for to lyve in ease;
For if by fortune he wyll be displease,
I shall of him ymagin such a tale,
That out of joy it shall turne into bale.
And on the thirde hede, in a stremer grene,
There was written: My name is Perjury;
In many a towne I am knowen as I wene,
Where as I lyst I do great injury,
And do forswere my selfe full wrongfully:
Of all thinges I do hate conscience.
But I love lucre with all diligence.
Betwene two lovers I do make debate;
I will so swere, that they thinke I am true;
For ever falshed with his owne estate
To a lady cometh, and sayeth to eschew
An inconvenience that ye do not rue;
Your love is nought ymaginacion knoweth;
I swere in lykewise and anon she troweth.
That we have sayd is of very trouth,
Her love she casteth right clene out of minde;
That with her love she is wonderly wroth;
With fayned kindnes we do her so blynde,
Than to her lover she is full unkinde.
Thus our thre powers were joyned in one,
In this mighty giaunt many dayes agone.
And whan that I had sene every thinge,
My spere I charged that was very great,
And to this giaunt so fyersly coming
I toke my course, that I with him mette,
Breking my spere upon his first helmet.
And right anone adowne my stede I lyght,
Drawing my swerde that was fayre and bryght,
Iclyped Clara Prudence, that was fayre and sure.
At the giaunt I stroke with all my vyolence,
But he my strokes might right well endure
He was so great and huge of puysaunce;
His glave he did agaynst me advaunce,
Whiche was foure fote and more of cuttyng;
And as he was his stroke dischargyng,
Because his stroke wys hevy to beare
I lept asyde from hym full quickly,
And to him I ran without any feare.
Whan he had discharged agayne full lightly,
He rored loude, and sware I should abye,
But what for that? I stroke at him fast,
And he at me, but I was not agast.
But as he faught he had a vauntage,
He was right hye and I under him low;
Tyll at the last, with lusty courage
Upon the side I gave him such a blow
That I right nere did him overthrow,
But right anone he did his might enlarge,
That upon me he did such a stroke discharge,
That unneth I might make resistaunce
Agayng his power, for he was so stronge.
I dyd defend me agaynst his vyolence,
And thus the battayll dured right longe;
Yet evermore I did thinke amonge
Of La Belle Pucell, whom I shold attayne
After my battayles, to release my payne.
And as I loked I saw than overale
Fayre golden Phebus with his beames read,
Than up my courage I began to hale,
Which nigh before was agone and dead.
My swerde so entred that the giaunt blede,
And with my strokes I cut of anone
One of his legges amiddes the thye bone.
Than to the ground he adowne did fall,
And upon me he gan to loure and glum,
Enforcing him so for to ryse withall,
But that I shortly unto hem did cum,
With his thre hedes he spytte all his venum,
And I with my swerde, as fast a coude be,
With all my force cut of his hedes thre.
Whan I had so obteyned the victory,
Unto me than my verlet well sayd:
You have demaunded well and worthely:
My greyhoundes lepte and my stede than brayde,
And than from ferre I saw, well arayed,
To me come ryding thre ladyes swete;
Forth than I rode and did wyth them mete.
The fyrst of them was called Veryte,
And the second Good Operacion,
The thirde and cleped Fydelyte:
All they at ones wyth good opinion
Did geve to me great laudacion,
And me beseched with her hert entere
Wyth them to rest and to make good chere.
I graunted them, and than backeward we rode
The mighty giaunt to se and behold,
Whose huge body was more than five carte lode,
Which lay there bleding that was almost colde;
They for his death did thanke me many a fold,
For he to them was enmy mortall,
Wherfore his thre hedes they toke in special.
And than Verite, on the first fane,
Did sette aloft of Falshoed the hede,
And Good Operacion in lykewise had tane
Of Ymaginacion that full sore than bledde
His hede alofte upon his baner rede.
And in likewise Fydelite had served
Perjuries hede, as he had well deserved.
And with swete songes and swete armony
Before me they rode to their fayre castell;
So forth I rode, with great joy and glory,
Unto the place where these ladies did dwell,
Sette on a rocke beside a spryng or a well,
And fayre Observaunce, the goodly portres,
Did us receyve with solempe gladnes.