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HOWE HE VAINQUYSHED A GYAUNT WITH SEVEN HEADES, AND WAS RECEIVED OF VI. LADYES.
WHEN mornyng came, up anone I rose,
And armed me as fast as I myght,
Forth for to travaile unto my purpose.
I toke my leave and on my stede I lyght;
Thankyng dame Comforte of her chere that nyght;
So, with Perceveraunce, in my company,
Forth on the way we rode full merely
Over the hethe, tyll we sawe from farre
A royall castell ryght strongly fortified,
Bulwarkes about accustomed for warre;
On a craggy roche it was so edified,
Walled with gate so clerely purified,
To whiche we rode, and drewe nere and nere,
Till in our syght did openly appeare
A myghty gyaunt, xv. fote of length,
With heades seven, and armed full sure;
He semed well to be a man of strength.
Then quod Perceveraunce: Ye must put in ure
This daye your power, in honour to endure,
Against this gyaunt your mortall enemy.
Be of good cheare, you shall have victory.
Besydes this gyaunt, upon every tree
I did se hang many a goodly shelde
Of noble knyghtes, that were of hye degre,
Whiche he had slayne and murdred in the fielde.
From farre this gyaunt I ryght well behelde;
And towarde hym as I rode my waye,
On his first head I sawe a banner gay,
Wherin was written Dissimulation,
Whose nature false is full of flatery,
That, onder a fayned commendacion,
Can cloke a mocke and fraude full subtilly;
So doth he love deceyve oft pryvely,
For the blinde love doth perceyve ryght nought
That under hony the poyson is wrought.
And on the seconde heade was a banner blewe,
In whiche was written, in letters ryght white,
Delay my name is, that can long eschue
As true lover with my fatall respite,
That love for love shall not him acquite;
For evermore I lye oft in a wayte,
Love to delay and cast hym from consayte.
On the thirde head, in a banner square,
All of reade was wrytten Discomfort,
Causyng a lover for to drowne in care,
That he of love shall have no report,
But loke hye his hart to transport,
And I my selfe shall him so assayle
That he in love shall nothyng prevayle.
On the fourth head, on the helmet crest
There was a stremer ryght white, large and long,
Wheron was written with vyse of the best,
My name is Variaunce, that ever among
The mynde of love doth chaunge with great wrong,
That a true lover can not be certayne
Love for his mede right stedfast to retayne.
And yet aloft on the fift helmet
In a blacke banner was written Envy,
Whose hart ever inwardly is fret
When Graund Amour should attayne his lady.
He museth oft in hym selfe inwardly,
To let the lady for to set her harte
On Graund Amour for to release his smarte.
In a russet banner on the sixt heade
There was wrytten this worde, Detraction,
That can open in a covert stede
His subtile male replete with treason,
To cause a lady to have suspection
Unto her true lover wyth his bytter tale,
That she her love from him than dyd hale.
On the vii. hede, in a baner of ryches,
Was wrytten, with letters all of Grewe,
My name truly is called Doublenes,
Whyche I do owe unto all ladyes true,
At a tyme unware my dette shal be dewe,
To Graunde Amoure for to make him repente,
That he his love on La Bell Pucell spente.
Whan in my minde I had well agregate
Every thinge that I in hym had sene,
Bothe of his head and of his hye estate,
I called for helpe unto the heaven quene.
The day was fayre, the sunne was bright and shene; Besyde a ryver and a craggy roche
This gyaunt was whyche spyed me approche.
He hurtled aboute, and kest his shelde afore,
And toke his axe of myghty fortytude,
That was of length xx. fote and more,
Whiche he had used by longe consuetude
To daunte true lovers and theyr power exclude.
I toke my spere and did it well charge,
And with hardines I made my force enlarge.,
I toke my course and to the gyaunt ranne,
On his seconde head brekyng than asunder
My mighty spere, that he to rore began
Wyth so base a crye that I had great wonder;
His seven heades so rored lyke the thunder.
Ryght frome my stede I light to the grounde,
And drewe Clara Prudence, that was hole and sounde.
The mighty gyaunte his axe did up lyfte,
Upon my head that the stroke should fall.
But I of him was ful ware, and swyfte;
I lept asyde, so that the stroke wythall
In the grounde lyghted besyde a stone wall,
Thre fote and more, and anone than I
Dyd lepe unto hym, strykinge full quyckly.
But above me he had suche altytude
That I at him coulde have no ful stroke.
He stroke at me with many strokes rude,
And called me boye, and gave me many a mocke.
At the last he sayd: I shall geve the a knocke
That wyth thy braynes I shall the trees depaynte.
Abyde, quod I, thou shalt be fyrst ful faynte.
And right anone I bye me spyed
On the rockes syde xii. steppes ful sure,
And than right fast I uppon theim hyed
That we were bothe about one stature :
My strength I doubled, and put so in ure
The great strokes, that I cut of anone
Syxe of his heades, levynge him but one.
Whan he felt him selfe hurt so grevously,
He stretched hym up and lyft his axe a lofte,
Strikinge at me with strokes wondersly;
But I ful swyftly dyd geve backe ful oft.
For to devoyde his great strokes unsoft.
When he sawe thys, he thought him forlore;
Wyth a hedious voyce he began to rore.
The battayle dured betwene us right long,
Tyll I sawe Phebus declinyng full lowe.
I avaunced my swerde that was sure and strong,
And with my myght I gave hym suche a blowe
On his seventh heade, that he dyd overthrowe.
When he was downe he gan to crye and yell,
Ful lyke a serpent or a fende of hell.