One CANTO of an ANCIENT POEM, CALLED The UNKNOWN KNIGHT or the TOURNAMENT.
1 The Matten belle han sounded long,
2 The Cocks han sang their morning songe,
3 When lo! the tuneful Clarions sound,
4 (Wherein all other noise was drown'd)
5 Did echo to the rooms around,
6 And greet the ears of Champyons stronge;
7 Arise, arise from downie bedde
8 For Sunne doth gin to shew his hedde!
9 Then each did don in seemlie gear,
10 What armour eche beseem'd to wear,
11 And on each sheelde devices shone,
12 Of wounded hearts and battles won,
13 All curious and nice echon;
14 With manie a tassild spear;
15 And mounted echeone on a steed
16 Unwote made Ladies hearts to blede.
17 Heraulds eche side the Clarions wound,
18 The Horses started at the sound;
19 The Knyghtes echeone did poynt the launce,
20 And to the combattes did advance;
21 From Hyberne, Scotland, eke from Fraunce;
22 Thyre prancyng horses tare the ground;
23 All strove to reche the place of fyghte,
24 The first to exercise their myghte —
25 O'Rocke upon his courser fleet,
26 Who swift as lightning were his feet,
27 First gain'd the lists and gatte him fame;
28 From West Hybernee Isle he came,
29 His myghte depictur'd in his*
* Probably alluding to the word Rock. name.
30 All dreded such an one to meet;
31 Bold as a mountain wolf he stood,
32 Upon his swerde sat grim dethe and bloude.
33 But when he threwe down his Asenglave,
34 Next came in Sir Botelier bold and brave,
35 The dethe of manie a Saraceen;
36 Theie thought him a Devil from Hells black pen,
37 Ne thinking that anie of mortalle menne
38 Could send so manie to the grave.
39 For his life to John Rumsee he render'd his thanks
40 Descended from Godred the King of the Manks.
41 Within his sure rest he settled his speare,
42 And ran at O'Rocke in full career;
43 Their launces with the furious stroke
44 Into a thousand shivers broke,
45 Even as the thunder tears the oak,
46 And scatters splinters here and there;
47 So great the shock, their senses did depart,
48 The bloude all ran to strengthen up the harte.
49 Syr Botelier Rumsie first came from his traunce,
50 And from the Marshall toke the launce;
51 O'Rocke eke chose another speere,
52 And ran at Syr Botelier full career;
53 His prancynge stede the ground did tare;
54 In haste he made a false advance;
55 Syr Botelier seeing, with myghte amain
56 Fellde him down upon the playne.
57 Syr Pigotte Novlin at the Clarions sound,
58 On a milk-white stede with gold trappings around,
59 He couchde in his rest, his silver-poynt speere,
60 And ferslie ranne up in full career;
61 But for his appearance he payed full deare,
62 In the first course laid on the ground;
63 Besmeer'd in the dust with his silver and gold,
64 No longer a glorious sight to behold.
65 Syr Botelier then having conquer'd his twayne,
66 Rode Conqueror off the tourneying playne;
67 Receivying a garland from Alice's hand,
68 The sayrest Ladye in the lande.
69 Syr Pigotte this viewed, and furious did stand,
70 Tormented in mind and bodily peyne,
71 Syr Botelier crown'd, most galantlie stode,
72 As some tall oak within the thick wode.
73 Awhile the shrill Clarions sounded the word;
74 Next rode in Syr John, of Adderleigh Lord,
75 Who over his back his thick shield did bryng,
76 In checkee of redde and silver sheeninge,
77 With steede and gold trappings beseeming a King,
78 A guilded fine Adder twyned round his swerde.
79 De Bretville advanced a man of great myghte
80 And couched his launce in his rest for the fyghte.
81 Ferse as the falling waters of the lough,
82 That tumble headlonge from the mountains browe,
83 Ev'n so they met in drierie sound,
84 De Bretville fell upon the ground,
85 The bloude from inward bruised wound,
86 Did out his stained helmet flowe;
87 As some tall bark upon the foamie main,
88 So laie De Bretville on the plain.
89 Syr John of the Dale or Compton hight,
90 Advanced next in lists of fyght,
91 He knew the tricks of tourneying full well,
92 In running race ne manne culd him excell,
93 Or how to wielde a sworde better tel.
94 And eke he was a manne of might;
95 On a black Stede with silver trappynges dyght
96 He darde the dangers of the tourneyd fighte.
97 Within their rests their speeres they set,
98 So furiously ech other met.
99 That Comptons well intended speere
100 Syr John his shield in pieces tare,
101 And wound his hand in furious geir;
102 Syr Johns stele Assenglave was wette:
103 Syr John then toe the marshal turned
104 His breast with meekle furie burn'd.
105 The tenders of the feelde came in,
106 And bade the Champyons not begyn;
107 Eche tourney but one hour should last,
108 And then one hour was gone and past.
END OF THE FYRST CANTO.