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The Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto 12
by [?]


To me sad mayd, or rather widow sad, 235
He was affiaunced long time before,
And sacred pledges he both gave, and had,
False erraunt knight, infamous, and forswore:
Witnesse the burning Altars, which he swore,
And guiltie heavens of his bold perjury, 240
Which though he hath polluted oft of yore,
Yet I to them for judgement just do fly,
And them conjure t’avenge this shamefull injury.


Therefore since mine he is, or free or bond,
Or false or trew, or living or else dead, 245
Withhold, O soveraine Prince, your hasty hond
From knitting league with him, I you aread;
Ne weene my right with strength adowne to tread,
Through weaknesse of my widowhed, or woe;
For truth is strong her rightfull cause to plead, 250
And shall find friends, if need requireth soe.
So bids thee well to fare, Thy neither friend, nor foe, Fidessa.


When he these bitter byting wordes had red,
The tydings straunge did him abashed make,
That still he sate long time astonished, 255
As in great muse, ne word to creature spake.
At last his solemne silence thus he brake,
With doubtfull eyes fast fixed on his guest;
Redoubted knight, that for mine onely sake
Thy life and honour late adventurest, 260
Let nought be hid from me, that ought to be exprest.


What meane these bloody vowes, and idle threats,
Throwne out from womanish impatient mind?
What heavens? what altars? what enraged heates
Here heaped up with termes of love unkind, 265
My conscience cleare with guilty bands would bind?
High God be witnesse, that I guiltlesse ame.
But if your selfe, Sir knight, ye faultie find,
Or wrapped be in loves of former Dame,
With crime do not it cover, but disclose the same. 270


To whom the Redcrosse knight this answere sent
My Lord, my King, be nought hereat dismayd,
Till well ye wote by grave intendiment,
What woman, and wherefere doth me upbrayd
With breach of love, and loyalty betrayd. 275
It was in my mishaps, as hitherward
I lately traveild, that unwares I strayd
Out of my way, through perils straunge and hard;
That day should faile me, ere I had them all declard.


There did I find, or rather I was found 280
Of this false woman, that Fidessa hight,
Fidessa hight the falsest Dame on ground,
Most false Duessa, royall richly dight,
That easy was to invegle weaker sight:
Who by her wicked arts, and wylie skill, 285
Too false and strong for earthly skill or might,
Unwares me wrought unto her wicked will,
And to my foe betrayd, when least I feared ill.