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That singing of thy wars and dreadful fight,

My notes may thuņder out thy conqu’ring might;
And 'twixt the golden stars cut out her tow'ring flight.

The Mighty General mov'd with the news

Of those four famous Knights so near decay,
With hasty speed the conqu’ring foe pursues ;
At last he spies where they were led away,

Forc'd to obey the victor's proud commands:

Soon did he rush into the middle bands,
And cut the slavish cords from their captived hands.

And for the Knights were faint, he quickly sent

To Penitence, whom Phæbus taught his art;
Which she had eak'd with long experiment :
For many a soul and many a wounded heart

Had she restor'd, and brought to life again ;

The broken spirit, with grief and horror slain,
That oft reyivid, yet died as oft with smarting pain.

For she in sey'ral baths their wounds did steep;

The first of rue which purg'd the foul infection,
And cur'd the deepest wound, by wounding deep :
Then would she make another strange confection,

And mix it with Nepenthe sovereign;

Wherewith she quickly swag'd the rankling pain :
Thus she the knights rescu'd, and wash'd from sinful stain.

Mean time the fight now fiercer grows than ever. :

(For all his troops the Dragon hither drew)
The two Twin-Loves whom no place mought disserer ;

And Knowledge with his train begins anew

To strike fresh summons up and hot alarms :

In midst great Fido, clad in sun-like arms,
With his unmatched force repairs all former harms.

So when the Sun shines in bright Taurus' head,

Returning tempests all with winter fill;
And still successive stornis fresh mustered,
The timely year in his first springings kill:

And oft it breathes awhile, then straight again

Doubly pours out his spite in smoking rain :
The country's vows and hopes swim on the drowned plain.

The lovely twins ride 'gainst the Cyprian bands,

Chasing their troops, now with no feigned flight:
Their broken shafts lie scattered on the sands,
Themselves for fear quite vanish'd out of sight :

Against these conquerors Hypocrisy,

And Cosmo's hated bands, with Ecthros fly, And all that rout do march, and bold the twins defy.

Elpinus, mighty enemies assail ;

But Doubt of all the other most infested ;
That oft his fainting courage 'gan to fail,
More by his craft than odds of force molested ;
For oft the treachour chang'd his weapon light,

ind sudden alter'd his first kind of fight; And oft himself and shape transformd with cunning slight.

So that great river, with Alcides striving

In Oeneus' court for the Ætolian maid,
To divers shapes his fluent limbs contriving,

From manly form in serpent's frame he stay'd,

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Sweeping with speckled breast the dusty land ;

Then like a bull with horns did armed stand : His hanging dewlap trail'd along the golden sand.

XVII. Such shapes and changing fashions much dismay'd him,

That oft he stagger'd with unusual fright; And but his brother Fido oft did aid him, There had he fell in unacquainted fight :

But he would still his wavering strength maintain,

And chace that monster through the sandy plain
Which from him fled apace, but oft return'd again.

Yet him more strong and cunning foes withstand,

Whom he with greater skill and strength defied :
Foul Ignorance, with all her owl-ey'd band ;
Oft-starting Fear, Distrust ne'er satisfied,

And fond Suspect, and thousand other foes ;

Whom far he drives with his unequal blows,
And with his flaming sword their fainting army mows.

As when blood-guilty Earth for vengeance cries,

(If greatest things with less we may compare)
The mighty Thunderer through the air flies,
While snatching whirlwinds open ways prepare :

Dark clouds spread out their sable curtains o'er him;

And angels on their flaming wings up bore him ; Mean time the guilty Heav'ns for fear fly fast before him.

There while he on the wind's proud pinions rides,

Down with his fire some lofty mount he throws,
And fills the low vale with its ruin'd sides;

Or on some church his three-fork'd dart bestows,

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(Which yet his sacred worship, foul mistakes,)

Down falls the spire, the body fearful quakes ;
Nor sure to fall or stand, with doubtful trembling shakes.

With Fido, Knowledge went, who order'd right

His mighty bands : so now his scatter'd troops
Make head again, filling their broken fight;
While with new change the Dragon's army droops,

And from the following victors headlong run :

Yet still the Dragon frustrates what is done ;
And eas'ly makes them lose what they so hardly won.

Out of his gorge a hellish smoke he drew

That all the field with foggy mist enwraps :
As when Tiphæus from his paunch doth spew
Black smothering flames, roll'd in loud thunder claps ;

The pitchy vapours choke the shining ray,

And bring dull night upon the smiling day:
The wavering Ætna shakes and fain would run away.

Yet could his bat-ey'd legions eas’ly see

In this dark Chaos :—they the seed of night :
But these not so, who night and darkness flee ;
For they the sons of day, and joy in light :

But Knowledge soon began a way devise

To bring again the day, and clear their eyes :
So open’d Fido's shield, and golden vail unties.

Of one pure Diamond, celestial fair,

That heav'nly shield by cunning hand was made;
Whose light divine, spread through the misty air,

To brightest morn would turn the western shade

And lightsome day beget before his time i

Framed in Heaven, without all earthly crime, Dipp'd in the fiery Sun, which burnt the baser slime.

As when from fenny moors the lumpish clouds

With rising steams damp the bright morning's face ;
At length the piercing Sun his team unshrouds,
And with his arrows the idle fog doth chase :

The broken mist lies melted all in tears :

So this bright shield the dismal darkness tears, And giving back the day, dissolves their former fears.

Which when afar, the fiery Dragon spies

His slights deluded with so little pain ;
To his last refuge now at length he flies :
Long time his pois'nous gorge he seem'd to strain ;

And now with loathly sight, he up doth speed

From stinking paunch, a most deformed crew; That Heav'n itself did fly from their most ugly view.

The first that crept from his detested maw,

Was Hamartia *, foul, deformed wight;
More foal, deform'd, the Sun yet never saw;
Therefore she hates the all-betraying light :

A woman seem'd she in her upper part :

To which she could such lying gloss impart,
That thousands she had slain with her deceiving art.

The rest (tho' hid) in serpent's forma array'd,

With iron scales, like to a plaited mail ;
Over her back her knotty tail display'd,

Along the empty air did lofty sail;

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* Sin.

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