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When I sawe this, as fast as myght be
Adowne I came, and did then unlace
His seventh helmet, ryght ryche for to see,
And hym beheaded in a ryght shorte space.
And then full soone there came to the place
Perceveraunce and my verlet also;
Alas! they sayde, we were for you ryght wo.
But we were glad when ye had forsaken
The lowe vale, and up the craggy fayre
For your advauntage the hye waye had taken.
Thus as we talked we did se ladies fayre,
Seven in number, that were debonayre,
Upon white palfreys eche of them dyd ryde,
For us ryght gentylly from the castell syde.
The first of them was named Stedfastnes;
And the seconde Amerous Purveyaunce;
The thirde was Joye after great heavines;
The fourth of them was dame Continuaunce;
And the fift of them called dame Plesaunce;
The syxte was called Report Famous;
The seventh, Amitie to lovers dolorous.
And ryght anone, with all humilitie,
They lyght adowne, and then incontinent
Eche after other they came unto me;
I kyssed them with all my whole entente.
Hayle, knyght! they sayde, so clere and excellent,
Whiche of this gyaunt, our hydeous enemy,
So worthely hath wonne the victory.
Ladies, he sayde, I am muche unworthy
So to accept your great prayse and fame.
They prayed me to kepe them company:
I will, quod I, or elles I were to blame.
They prayed me to shewe them my name.
La Graunde Amoure it is, I sayde, in dede;
And then sayde they, No wonder though ye spede.
No doubte it is but ye shall obtayne
La Bell Pucell so ryght fayre and clere;
We were with her exiled by Disdayne,
And then besyeged in this castell here,
With this great gyaunt, more then a whole yeare;
And you this nyght, if it do you please,
In this pore castell shall take your ease.
I thanked them, and so I rode anone
Into the castell of olde foundacion,
Walled about with the blacke touche stone.
I toke there then my recreacion,
Among these ladies with commendacion;
And when tyme came that they thought best,
To a royall bedde I was brought to rest.
After my wery and troublous travayle
I toke my ease tyll that it was day;
Then up arose without any fayle,
And made me ready for to ride my waye.
But then anone into the chamber gaye
The seven ladies came with Perceveraunce,
Saiyng they would geve me attendaunce,
And bryng me to La Bell Pucell,
Where that she is in her court royall;
And lykewyse as Phebus doth hye excell
In bryghtnes truely the fayre starres all,
So in beauty and vertue speciall
She doth excede any earthly creature,
That is nowe made by fayre dame Nature.
We brake our fast, and we made us ready
To La Bell Pucell on our way to ryde;
My stede was brought, I lept up shortly,
So did the ladies, they would nothyng abyde.
Thus forth we rode at the morowe tyde
Out of the castell with all joye and pleasure,
Forth on our way at all adventure.
HOW HE MADE OBLACYON TO THE GODES PALLAS, AND SAYLED OVER THE TEMPESTUOUS FLODE.
So long we rode over hill and valey,
Tyll that we came into a wyldernes,
On every syde there wylde beastes laye,
Ryght straunge and fierce in sundry likenes;
It was a place of dissolute darkenes.
The ladies and I were in feare and doubt,
Tyll at the last that we were gotten out
Of the great woode upon a craggy roche,
When cleare Dyana in the Scorpion
Agaynst fayre Phebus began to approche,
For to be at her whole opposition,
We sawe from farre a goodly region,
Where stode a palayce hye and precious,
Beyonde an haven full tempestuous.
Then sayd Perceveraunce; Beholde ye
Yonder is the palays gay and glorious
Of La Bell Pucelles great humilitie;
A place of pleasure most solacious.
But then we spied a fende fallicious,
Beyond the haven at sure entres
Blowyng out fyre by marvelous wydnes.
The fyre was great, it made the ylande lyght,
He rored loude, it semeth lyke the thonder;
But, as me thought, he was of great myght,
To knowe his likenes we were farre asonder;
But of the fyre we did often wonder;
We asked Perceveraunce what that it myght be.
Alas! quod she, with fraude and subtiltie
Of dame Strangenes and of dame Disdayne
When La Bell Pucell did them so abjecte,
Because that they myght not revert agayne,
With mortall Envie they did then conjecte
To make a fende in lykewyse to directe
Syr Graunde Amoure, with the fervent fyre
Of evill treason to let his desyre.
For dame Disdayne, the crafty sorceres,
With arte magyke hath wrought full craftely
Of the vii. metalles a dragon doubtles,
And dame Strangenes, by her nygromancy,
Hath closed therin a fende ryght subtilly,
That the fyre encenseth by great outrage.
But Graunde Amoure shall it well asswage.
Benethe this roche there is well fortified
An olde temple, to the laude and glory
dame Pallas it was so edified;
We will ryde unto it full lyghtly,
And do oblacion unto her truely;
She wyll us tell by good experience
Howe we may scape the brennynge vyolence.
So to the temple of dame Pallas
Anone we rode, and did lyght adowne.
Of depured cristall her whole ymage was,
The temple walles were ryght olde and browne;
And then ryght sone before her hyghe renowne
Prostrate we fell mekely to the grounde,
And sodaynly we were cast in a sounde.
Thus as we laye in a deadly chaunce,
We thought to her we made peticion,
And all in Englyshe with long circumstaunce
She shewed us all the whole condicion
Of the marveylous serpentes operacion,
And did shewe us a perfyte remedy
To withstande all the crafte of sorcery.