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74 ST. GEOBGE AND THE DKAGOX.
When this the people understood, n
They cryed out most piteouslye, The dragon's breath infects their blood,
That every day in heaps they dye ; Among them such a plague is bred, as
The living scarce could bury the dead.
No means there were, as they could hear, For to appease the dragon's rage,
But to present some virgin clear,
Whose blood his fury might asswage; in
Each day he would a maiden eat,
For to allay his hunger great.
This thing by art the wise men found,
Which truly must observed be ; Wherefore, throughout the city round, «
A virgin pure of good degree Was, by the king's commission, still Taken up to serve the dragon's will.
Thus did the dragon every day
Untimely crop some virgin flowr, so
Till all the maids were worn away,
And none were left him to devour ; Saving the king's fair daughter bright, Her father's only heart's delight.
Then came the officers to the king, ss
That heavy message to declare,