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again; and then the dragon, rising in the air, came down with a swoop upon them, and carried both horse and man across the plain. Clutched in the dragon's grasp, the knight attempted to thrust his spear into the neck of the monster, but it slipped off the smooth scales, and striking close under his left wing, then wide outspread, it inflicted a deep wound, from which poured a river of black blood all over the land. The beast could fly no longer, but fell to the earth with its prey. The knight again tried to thrust his sword between the scales of brass, but to no purpose; and the dragon, finding he could not Ay, in grief and anguish “loudly brayed, that like was never heard,” whilst he sent from his mouth a blast of fire, that singed the face and beard of the knight, so that he stepped backwards, and in doing so fell into a well. The dragon, seeing his foe disappear, raised his huge body, and clapped his wings in all the pride of victory. When Una from her hill saw this, “Great woe and sorrow did her soul assay,” but her prayers might still help her knight ; and all the night long she continued in prayer to God for him. When morning rose

“Up rose that gentle virgin from her place,

And lookéd all about, if she might spy
Her lovéd knight to move his manly pace,
For she had great doubts of his safety,

Since late she saw him fall before his enemy.
“At last she saw where he upstarted brave
Out of the well wherein he drenchéd lay;
As eagle fresh out of the ocean wave,
Where he hath left his plumes all hoary gray,
And decked himself with feathers youthly gay,
Like eyas-hawk up mounts into the skies,
His newly budded pinions to assay,
Ard marvels at himself still as he Aies,

So new, this new-born knight to battle new did rise.”
The well into which the knight had fallen at the close

of the day before was the well of Life (the grace of God), and this water could cleanse, heal, and renew all things. So fresh was he, that the fiend doubted whether it were not another knight; and so strengthened was his arm, that with one blow he vounded the dragon's head, and made him yell with pain. The monster then tried to sting his foe, and in the combat the knight hewed off five joints of the dragon's tail. All day long the fierce struggle raged, and, when the Red Cross Knight was almost spent, his strength was again renewed by fruit from the Tree of Life. The second evening fell, and Una, uncertain of his safety, again spent the night in prayer for him. The next morning the dragon tried a new mode of attack; he rushed on the knight with his jaws wide open, intending to swallow him at once, when the knight, seizing the opportunity, ran his sword down the monster's throat, and killed him :

“ So down he fell, as a huge rocky cliff,

Whose false foundation waves have washed away,
With dreadful poise is from the main land rift,
And rolling down great Neptune doth dismay,
So down he fell, and like a heaped mountain lay.

“ The knight himself even trembled at his fall,

So huge and horrible a mass it seemed ;
And his dear lady, that beheld it all,
Durst not approach for dread, which she misdeemed.
But yet at last, when as the direful fiend
She saw not stir, off shaking vain affright,
She nigher drew, and saw that joyous end,
Then God she praised, and thanked her faithful knight
That had achieved so great a conquest by His might."

Una's father and mother were now set free, and there were great rejoicings in the land. Then followed the betrothal of the Red Cross Knight and Una; but for a moment this was interrupted by the arrival of a messenger bringing letters to the king, declaring that the knight was a false miscreant, who had forsaken his true lady Fidessa. The messenger turned out to be the old enchanter Archimago, still trying to separate Una and the Red Cross Knight; but he was now taken prisoner, and shut up in the deepest dungeon, and bound with iron chains. The knight abode some time with his bride ; but he did not forget that there was still work to be done in the world, and that he was bound to the service of Gloriana, and must still fight the good fight against error and sin. And thus ends the first book of the “Faerie Queene"

“Now, strike your sails, ye jolly mariners,

For we be come into a quiet road,
Where we must land some of our passengers,
And light this weary vessel of her load.
Here she a while may make her safe abode,
Till she repaired have her tackles spent,
And wants supplied. And then again abroad,
On the long voyage whereto she is bent ;
Well may she speed, and fairly finish her intent."

a

CHAPTER VIII.

ELIZABETHAN LITERATURE=PLAYS AND PLAY-WRITERS

(1564-1616). The reign of Queen Elizabeth is not only remarkable for the vigorous life of the older forms of literature, but also for the introduction and growth of forms new in England. The most powerful of these was the drama, or play.

The acting of stories and the assuming of different characters is one of the first amusements of childhood; and this natural fondness for imitating life had found expression in England long before the Elizabethan time. As early as the twelfth century, stories from the Bible and legends of saints were represented in the churches, and were called miracle plays. Latin was the language first used in these plays; but before long they were acted in English by the tradespeople of a town, and the stage was set up in the street, or in some public open place. Somewhat later the acting of allegories, or moralities, as they were called, became a very favourite entertainment. But both the miracle plays and the moralities were constructed different principles from the Elizabethan play, and as forms of literature are quite distinct from it. The form of the Elizabethan play was taken from the ancient Greek and Latin plays, and the English drama owes its rise at this time to the revival of learning and the study of Greek and Latin plays at the universities. According to the Greeks, a play must be the story of some one action, which is to be worked out so as to show its

on

consequent results.

In order to know what the necessary consequences of certain actions would be, a play-writer must discover and understand the laws which govern life; for if he were ignorant of these he might make the effects of an action quite different from what they would be in real life, and the whole play would be a blunder. When the action which forms the subject of a play is such that the necessary consequences of it must be disastrous, the play is called a tragedy; and when the action is such as must be followed Dy happy results, the play is called a comedy. The method of treating the subject, the characters in the play, and the style, would in the first case be serious and earnest, and in the second lively and hopeful. The greatest play-writers have been those who could take a story of life in which things seemed to go wrong, and show in the working of it out how all was in perfect obedience to the highest laws of life. Such a play-writer was the Greek Æschylus; and to this height Shakespeare attained. But there was this difference between them : the Greeks scarcely rose above the discovery of the laws governing life, which they called Destiny or Necessity; whereas Shakespeare saw that they were the laws of God our Father, by which all things work together for good, and he could therefore trust even beyond

his sight.

After the revival of learning in Europe, Greek and Latin plays were not only studied at the universities, but were often acted on great occasions; and on the model of these, new Latin plays were sometimes written. The practice spread from the universities to the public schools ; and on breaking-up days, a Latin play would be acted by the boys for the gratification, if not for the amusement, of the visitors. The first English play was written by a schoolmaster, Nicholas Udall. Between the years 1534 and 1541 he was head

master of Eton ; and although it is not quite certain that the play was written for his boys to

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