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Beschreibung des Verlags
Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine, Y cladd in mightie armes and siluer shielde, Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine, The cruell markes of many’ a bloudy fielde; Yet armes till that time did he neuer wield: His angry steede did chide his foming bitt, As much disdayning to the curbe to yield: Full iolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt, As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.
But on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore, The deare remembrance of his dying Lord, For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore, And dead as liuing euer him ador’d: Vpon his shield the like was also scor’d, For soueraine hope, which in his helpe he had: Right faithfull true he was in deede and word, But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad; Yet nothing did he dread, but euer was ydrad.
Vpon a great aduenture he was bond, That greatest Gloriana to him gaue, That greatest Glorious Queene of Faerie lond, To winne him worship, and her grace to haue, Which of all earthly things he most did craue; And euer as he rode, his hart did earne To proue his puissance in battell braue Vpon his foe, and his new force to learne; Vpon his foe, a Dragon horrible and stearne.
A louely Ladie rode him faire beside, Vpon a lowly Asse more white then snow, Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide Vnder a vele, that wimpled was full low, And ouer all a blacke stole she did throw, As one that inly mournd: so was she sad, And heauie sat vpon her palfrey slow: Seemed in heart some hidden care she had, And by her in a line a milke white lambe she lad.
So pure and innocent, as that same lambe, She was in life and euery vertuous lore, And by descent from Royall lynage came Of ancient Kings and Queenes, that had of yore Their scepters stretcht from East to Westerne shore, And all the world in their subiection held; Till that infernall feend with foule vprore Forwasted all their land, and them expeld: Whom to auenge, she had this Knight from far cd.
Behind her farre away a Dwarfe did lag, That lasie seemd in being euer last, Or wearied with bearing of her bag Of needments at his backe. Thus as they past, The day with cloudes was suddeine ouercast, And angry Ioue an hideous storme of raine Did poure into his Lemans lap so fast, That euery wight to shrowd it did constrain, And this faire couple eke to shroud th&etilde;selues were fain.
Enforst to seeke some couert nigh at hand, A shadie groue not far away they spide, That promist ayde the tempest to withstand: Whose loftie trees yclad with sommers pride, Did spred so broad, that heauens light did hide, Not perceable with power of any starre: And all within were pathes and alleies wide, With footing worne, and leading inward farre: Faire harbour that them seemes; so in they entred arre.
And foorth they passe, with pleasure forward led, Ioying to heare the birdes sweete harmony, Which therein shrouded from the tempest dred, Seemd in their song to scorne the cruell sky.
Much can they prayse the trees so straight and hy, The sayling Pine, the Cedar proud and tall, The vine-prop Elme, the Poplar neuer dry, The builder Oake, sole king of forrests all, The Aspine good for staues, the Cypresse funerall.
The Laurell, meed of mightie Conquerours And Poets sage, the Firre that weepeth still, The Willow worne of forlorne Paramours, The Eugh obedient to the benders will, The Birch for shaftes, the Sallow for the mill, The Mirrhe sweete bleeding in the bitter wound, The warlike Beech, the Ash for nothing ill, The fruitfull Oliue, and the Platane round, The caruer Holme, the Maple seeldom inward sound.
Led with delight, they thus beguile the way, Vntill the blustring storme is ouerblowne; When weening to returne, whence they did stray, They cannot finde that path, which first was showne, But wander too and fro in wayes vnknowne, Furthest from end then, when they neerest weene, That makes them doubt, their wits be not their owne: So many pathes, so many turnings seene, That which of them to take, in diuerse doubt they been.
At last resoluing forward still to fare, Till that some end they finde or in or out, That path they take, that beaten seemd most bare, And like to lead the labyrinth about; Which when by tract they hunted had throughout, At length it brought them to a hollow caue, Amid the thickest woods. The Champion stout Eftsoones dismounted from his courser braue, And to the Dwarfe a while his needlesse spere he gaue.
Be well aware, quoth then that Ladie milde, Least suddaine mischiefe ye too rash prouoke: The danger hid, the place vnknowne and wilde, Breedes dreadfull doubts: Oft fire is without smoke, And perill without show: therefore your stroke Sir knight with-hold, till further triall made.