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• Thou, wretched man, of death hast greatest need, which whenas Una saw, through every vaine
As in a swowne: but, soone reliv'd againe,
Out of his hand she spatcht the cursed knife,
And to him said; “ Fie, fie, faint hearted knight,
Why then doest thou, O man of sin, desire “ Come; come away, fraile, feeble, fleshly wight, To draw thy dayes fortlı to their last degree? Ne let vaine words bewitch thy many hart, Is not the measure of thy sinfull hire
Ne divelish thoughts dismay thy constant spright: High heaped up with huge iniquitee,
In heavenly mercies hast thou not a part ? Against the day of wrath, to burden thee?
Why shouldst thou then despeire, that chosen art? Is not enough, that to this lady mild
Where iustice growes, there grows eke greater grace, Thou falsed hast thy faith with periuree,
The which doth quench the brond of bellish smart, And sold thy selfe to serve Duessa vild,
And that accurst hand-writing doth deface: With whom in all abuse thou hast thy selfe defild ? Arise, sir Knight; arise, and leave this cursed place." “ Is not he just, that all this doth behold
So up he rose, and thence amounted streight. From highest Heven, and beares an equall eie ? Which when the carle beheld, and saw his guest Shall he thy sins up in his knowledge fold, Would safe depart, for all his subtile sleight; And guilty be of thine impietie?
He chose an halter from among the rest, Is not his law, Let every sinner die,
And with it hong himselfe, unbid, unblest. Die shall all flesh? What then must needs be donne, kBut death he could not worke himselfe thereby; Is it not better to doe willinglie,
For thousand times he so himselfe had drest, Then linger till the glas be all out ronne ?
Yet nathëlesse it could not dve him die, Death is the end of woes: die soone, O Paries sonne.” Till he should die his last, that is, eternally.
the ugly vew of his deformed if disperse,
The knight was much enmoved with his speach,
CANTO X. 'That all his manly powres it
Her faithfull knight faire Una brings • As he were charmed with enchaunted rimes;
To House of Holinesse; That oftentimes he quakt, and fainted oftentimes.
Where he is taught repentaunce, and
The way to hevenly blesse.
What man is he, that boasts of fleshly might
Which, all so soone as it doth come to fight
Or from the fielde most cowardly doth fly!
But all the good is Gods, both power and eke will.
That this her knight was feeble, and too faint; By righteous sentence of th' Almighties law. And all his sinewes woxen wake and raw, Then gan the villein him to overcraw,
Through long enprisonment, and hard constraint, And brought unto him swords, ropes, poison, fire, Which he endured in his late restraint, And all that might him to perdition draw;
That yet he was unfitt for bloody fight. And bad him choose, what death he would desire: Therefore to cherish him with diets daint, For death was dew to him, that bad provokt Gods She cast to bring him, where he chearen might, ire.
Till he recovered had his late decayed plight. But, whenas none of them he saw him take, There was an auncient house not far away, He to him raught a dagger sharpe and kc ne, Renowmd throughout the world for sacred lore And gave it him in hand: his hand did quake And pure unspotted life: so well, they say, And tremble like a leafe of aspin greene,
It governd was, and guided evermore, And troubled blood through his pale face was seene Through wisedome of a matrone grave and hore; To come and goe, with tidings from the heart, Whose onely joy was to relieve the needes As it a ronning messenger had beene.
Of wretched soules, and helpe the helpelesse pore : At last, resolv'd to work his finall smart,
All night she spent in bidding of her bedes, He lifted up his hand, that backe againe did start. And all the day in doing good and godly deedes.
Dame Cælia men did her call, as thought
Thy selfe to see, and tyred limbes to rest, From Heaven to come, or thether to arise; O matrone sage,” quoth she, “I hether came; The mother of three daughters, well upbrought And this good knight his way with me addrest, In goodly thewes, and godly exercise :
Ledd with thy prayses, and broad-blazed fame, The eldest two, most sober, chast, and wise, That up to Heven is blowne.” The auncient dame Fidelia and Speranza, virgins were;
Him goodly greeted in her modest guyse, Though spousd, yet wanting wedlocks solemnize; And enterteynd them both, as best berame, But faire Charissa to a lovely fere
With all the court'sies that she could devyse, Was lincked, and by him had many pledges dere! Ne wanted ought to shew her bounteous or wise. Arrived there, the dore they find fast lockt;
Thus as they gan of sondrie thinges devise, For it was tvarely watched night and day,
Loe! two most goodly virgins camè in place, For feare of many foes; but, when they knockt,
Ylinked arme in arme, in lovely wise; The porter opened unto them streight way.
With countenance demure, and modest grace, He was an aged syre, all hory gray,
They pumbred even steps and equall pace: With lookes full lowly cast, and gate full slow,
Of which the eldest, that Fidelia hight, Wont on a staffe his feeble steps to stay,
Like sunny beames threw from her christall face Hight Humilta. They passe in, stouping low;
That could have dazd the rash beholders sight, For streight and narrow was the way which he did And round about her head did sbine like Hevens show.
light. Each goodly thing is hardest to begin;
She was araied all in lilly white, But, entred in, a spatious court they see,
And in her right hand bore a cup of gold, Both plaine and pleasaunt to be walked in;
With wine and water fild up to the hight, Where them does meete a francklin faire and free, in which a serpent did himselfe enfold, And entertaines with comely courteous glee;
That horrour made to all that did behold; His name was Zele, that him right well became:
But she no whitt did chaunge her constant mood : For in his speaches and behaveour hee
And in her other hand she fast did hold Did labour lively to expresse the same, (came.
A booke, that was both signd and seald with blood; And gladly did them guide, till to the hall they Wherein darke things were writt, hard to be under
stood. There fayrely them receives a gentle squyre, Of myld demeanure and rare courtesee,
Her younger sister, that Speranza hight, Right cleanly clad in comely sad attyre;
Was clad in blew, that her beseemed well; In word and deede that shewd great modestee,
Not all so cbearefull seemed she of sight, And knew his good to all of each degree;
As was her sister; whether dread did dwelt Hight Reverence: he them with speaches meet
Or anguish in her hait, is hard to tell: Does faire entreat; no courting nicetee,
Upon her arme a silver anchor lay, But simple, trew, and eke unfained sweet,
Whereon she leaned ever, as befell; As might become a squyre so great persons to greet.
And ever up to Heren, as she did pray,
Her stedfast eyes were bent, ne swarved other way. And afterwardes them to his daine he leades,
They, seeing Una, towardes her gan wend, That aged dame, the lady of the place,
Who them encounters with like courtesee; Who all this while was busy at her beades;
Many kind speeches they betweene them spend, Which doen, she up arose with seemely grace, And toward them full matronely did pace.
And greatly ioy each o her for to see:
Then to the knight with shamefast modestie
They turne themselves, at Unaes meeke request,
And him salute with well beseeming glee; Her heart with joy unwonted inly sweld,
Who faire them quites, as him beseemed best, As fecling wondrous comfort in her weaker eld:
And goodly gan discourse of many a noble gest, And, her embracing, said; “ O happy earth, Then Una thus; “ Bnt she, your sister deare, Whereon thy innocent feet doe ever tread! The deare Charissa, where is she become? Most vertuous virgin, borne of hevenly berth,
Or wants she health, or busie is elswhere?" (come; That, to redeeme thy woeful parents head
" Ah! no,” said they, “ but forth she may not From tyrans rage and ever-dying dread,
For she of late is lightned of her wombe, Hast wandred through the world now long a day, And hath encreast the world with one sonne more, Yett ceassest not thy weary soles to lead;
That her to see should be but troublesoine.” What grace hath thee now hether brought this way? “ Indeed,"quoth she," that should her trouble sore; Or doen thy feeble feet unweeting hether stray? But thankt be God, and her encrease for evernzore! " Straunge thing it is an errant knight to see Theni said the aged Cælia; “ Deare dame, Here in this place; or any other wight,
And you, good sir, I wote that of youre toyle That het her turnes his steps: so few there bee, And labors long, through which ye hether came, That chose the narrow path, or seeke the right! Ye both forwearied be: therefore a whyle All keepe the broad high way, and take delight I read you rest, and to your bowres recoyle.” With many rather for to goe astray,
Then called she a groome, that forth him ledd And be partakers of their evill plight,
Into a goodly lodge, and gan despoile Then with a few to walke the rightest way: Of puissant armes, and laid in easie bedd: 0! foolish men, why bast ye to your own decay?" His name was meeke Obedience rightfully aredd,
Now when their wearie limbes with kindly rest, But yet the cause and root of all his ill,
Inward corruption and infected sin,
Not purg'd nor heald, behind remained still,
And dieted with fasting every day,
And ever, as superfluous flesh did rott,
To pluck it out with pincers fyrie whott, And rayse againe to life the hart that she did thrill. That soone in bim was lefte no one corrupted iott. And, when she list poure out her larger spright; And bitter Penaunce, with an yron whip, She would commaund the hasty Sunne to stay, Was wont him once to disple every day: Or backward turne his course from Hevens hight: And sharp Remorse his hart did prick and nip, Sometimes great hostes of men she could dismay; That drops of blood thence like a well did play: Dry-shod to passe she parts the flouds in tway; And sad Repentance used to embay And eke huge mountaines from their native seat
His body in salt water smarting sore, She would commaund themselves to beare away, The filthy blottes of sio to wash away. And throw in raging sea with roaring threat:
So in short space they did to health restore (dore. Almightie God her gave such powre and puissaunce The man that would not live, but erst lay at deathes great.
In which his torment often was so great, The faithfull knight now grew in little space,
That, like a lyon, he would cry and rore; By hearing her, and by her sisters lore,
And rend his flesh; and his owne synewes eat. To such perfection of all hevenly grace,
His owne deare Una, hearing evermore
His ruefull shriekes and growings, often tore
Her guiltlesse garments and her golden heare,
For pitty of his payne and anguish sore:
Yet all with patience wisely she did beare;
Whom, thus recover'd by wise Patience But wise Speranza gave him comfort sweet,
And trew Repentaunce, they to Una brought; And taught him how to take assured hold
Who, ioyous of his cured conscience, Upon her silver anchor, as was meet;
Him dearely kist, and fayrely eke besoåght
Himselfe to chearish, and consuming thought
To put away out of his carefull brest.
By this Charissa, late in child-bed brought, When him his dearest Una did behold
Was woxen strong, and left her fruitfull nest: Disdeining life, desiring leave to dye,
To her fayre Una brought this unacquainted guest. She found her selfe assayld with great perplexity; And came to Cælia to declare her smart;
She was a woman in her freshest age, Who well acquainted with that commune plight,
Of wondrous beauty, and of bounty rare, Which sinfull horror workes in wounded hart,
With goodly grace and comely personage,
That was on Earth not easie to compare;
Full of great love; but Cupids wanton spare
As Hell she hated; chaste in worke and will; To fetch a leach, the which had great insight
Her necke and brests were ever open bare, In that disease of grieved conscience, [tience.
That ay thercof her babes might sucke their fill;
Adornd with gemmes and owches wondrous fayre,
Of turtle doves, she sitting in an yvory chayre.
The knight and Una entring fayre her greet, The third had of their wardrobe custody,
In which were not rich tyres, nor garments gay,
And naked nature scemely to array; As in her vertnous rules to schoole her knight, With which bare wretched wights he dayly clad, Now after all his torment well withstood
The images of God in earthly clay;
The fourth appointed by his office was
And captives to redeeme with price of bras
And though they faulty were, yet well he wayd, That drew on men Gods hatred and his wrath, That God to us forgiveth every howre And many soules in dolours had fordonne;
Much more then that why they in bands were layd; In which when him she well instructed hath, [path. And he, that harrowd Hell with heavie stowre, From thence to Heaven she teacheth him the ready The faulty soules from thence brought to bis hea
venly bowre. Wherein bis weaker wandring steps to guyde, An auncient matrone she to her does call,
The fift had charge sick persons to attend, Whose sober lookes her wisedome well descryde; And comfort those in point of death which lay; Her name was Mercy; well knowne over all For them most needeth comfort in the end, To be both gratious and eke liberall:
When Sin, and Hell, and Death, doe most dismay To whom the carefull charge of him she gave,
The feeble soule departing hence away. To leade aright, that he should never fall
All is but lost, that living we bestow, lu all his waies through this wide worldës wave; If not well ended at our dymg day. That Mercy in the end his righteous soule mightsave. O man! have mind of that last bitter throw;
For as the tree does fall, so lyes it ever low. The godly matrone by the hand him beares Fortb from her presence, by a narrow way, The sixt had charge of them now being dead, Scattred with bushy thornes and ragged breares, In seemely sort their corses to engrave, Which still before him she remov'd away,
And deck with dainty foures their brydall bed, That nothing might his ready passage stay: That to their heavenly Spouse both sweet and brave And ever when his feet encombred were,
They might appeare, when he their soules shall save. Or gan to shrinke, or from the right to stray, The wondrous workmanship of Gods owne mould, She held him fast, and firmely did upbeare; Whose face he made all beastes to feare, apd gave As carefull nourse her child from falling oft does all in his hand, even dead we honour should. reare.
Ah, dearest God, me graunt, I dead be not defould ! Eftsoones unto an holy hospitall,
The seventh, now after death and buriall done, That was foreby the way, she did him bring; Had charge the tender orphans of the dead In which seven bead-men, that had vowed all And wydowes ayd, least they should be undore: Their life to service of bigh Heavens King,
In face of iudgement he their right would plead, Did spend their dajes in doing godly thing ; Ne ought the powre of mighty men did dread Their gates to all were open evermore,
In their defence; nor would for gold or fee That by the wearie way were traveiling;
Be wonne their rightfull causes downe to tread: And one sate wayting ever them before,
And, when they stood in most necessitee, To call in commers-by, that needy were and pore. He did supply their want, and gave them ever free. The first of them, that eldest was and best, There when the Elfin knight arrived was, Of all the house had charge and governement, The first and chiefest of the seven, whose care As guardian and steward of the rest:
Was guests to welcome, towardes him did pas; His office was to give entertainement
Where seeing Mercie, that his steps upbare And lodging unto all that came and went;
And alwaies led, to her with reverence rare Not unto such as could him feast againe,
He humbly louted in meeke lowlinesse, And double quite for that he on them spent ;
And seemely welcome for her did prepare: But such, as wapt of barbour did constraine: For of their order she was patronesse, Those for Gods sake his dewty was to entertaine. Albe Charissa were their chiefest founderesse. The second was an almner of the place:
There she awhile him stayes, himselfe to rest, His office was the hungry for to feed,
That to the rest more hable he might bee: Aud thristy give to drinke; a worke of grace: During which time, in every good behest, He feard not once himselfe to be in need,
And godly worke of almes and charitee, Ne card to hoord for those whom he did breede: Shee him instructed with great industree. The grace of God he layd up still in store,
Shortly therein so perfect he became, Which as a stocke he left unto his seede :
That, from the first unto the last degree, He had enough; what need him care for more ? His mortall life he learned had to frame And had he lesse, yet some be would give to the pore. In boly righteousnesse, without rebuke or blame.
Thence forward by that painfull way they pas That done, he leads him to the highest mount;
That blood-red billowes like a walled front
On either side disparted with his rod, Wherein an aged holy man did lie,
Till that his army dry-foot through them yod, That day and night said his devotion,
Dwelt forty daies upon; where, writt in stone Ne other worldly busines did apply :
With bloody letters by the hand of God, His name was Hevenly Contemplation;
The bitter doome of death and balefull mone Of God and goodnes was his meditation.
He did receive, whiles flashing fire about him shone: Great grace that old man to him given had; Or like that sacred hill, whose head full hie, For God he often saw from Heavens hight:
Adornd with fruitfull olives all arownd, All were his earthly ejen both blunt and bad, Js, as it were for endlesse memory And through great age had lost their kindly sight, Of that deare Lord who oft thereon was fownd, Yet wondrous quick and persaunt was his spright, For ever with a flowring girlond crownd : As eagles eie, that can behold the Sunne.
Or like that pleasa unt mount, that is for ay That hill they scale with all their powre and might, Through famous poets verse each where renownd, That his fraile thighes, nigh weary and fordonne, On which the thrise three learned ladies play [lay. Gan faile; but, by her helpe, the top at last he Their bevenly notes, aud make full many a lovely
From thence, far off he unto him did shew
A little path, that was both steepe and long,
Whose wals and towres were builded high and strong The mossy braunches of an oke halfe ded.
Of perle and precious stone, that earthly tong Each bone might through his body well be red, Cannot describe, nor wit of man can tell; And every sinew seene, through his long fast: Too high a ditty for my simple song! For nought he card his carcas longxunfed; The citty of the Greate King hight it well, His mind was full of spirituall repast,
Wherein eternall peace and happinesse doth dwell. And pyn'd his flesh to keep his body low and chast.
As he thereon stooci gazing, he might see
From highest Heven in gladsome companee,
As commonly as frend does with his frend. Whom highly he did reverence and adore, Whereat he wondred much, and gan enquere, He would not once have moved for the knight.
What stately building durst so high extend They him saluted, standing far afore;
Her lofty towres unto the starry sphere, Who, well them greeting, humbly did requight, And what unknowen nation there empeopled were. And asked, to what end they clomb that tedious hight? " What end,” quoth she, “ should cause us take The New Hierusalem, that God has built
“ Faire knight,” quoth he, “ Hierusalem that is, such paine,
For those to dwell in, that are chosen his,
His chosen people purg'd from sinful guilt
With pretious blood, which cruelly was spilt
On cursed tree, of that unspotted Lam,
That for the sinnes of al the world was kilt:
Now are they saints all in that citty sam, [dam.” By wise Fidelia She doth thee require,
More dear unto their God then younglings to their To shew it to this knight, according his desire.”
“ Till now,” said then the knight, “ I weened well, “ Thrise happy man,” said then the father grave, That great Cleopolis where I have beene, “Whose staggering steps thy steady hand doth lead, In which that fairest Fary queene doth dwell, And shewes the way his sinfull soule to save!
The fairest citty was that might be seene; Who better can the way to Heaven aread
And that bright towre, all built of christall clene, Then thou thyselfe, that was both borne and bred Panthea, seemd the brightest thing that was: In hevenly throne, where thousand angels shine ? But now by proofe all otherwise I weene; Thou doest the praiers of the righteous sead
For this great citty that does far surpas, [of glas.” Present before the Maiesty Divine,
And this bright angels towre quite dims that towre And his avenging wrath to clemency incline.
“ Most trew," then said the holy aged man; “ Yet, since thou bidst, thy pleasure shal be donne. “ Yet is Cleopolis, for earthly frame, Then come, thou man of Earth, and see the way, The fairest peece that eie beholden can; That never yet was seene of Faries sonne;
And well beseemes all knights of noble name, That never leads the traveiler astray,
That cavett in th’immortall booke of fame But, after labors long and sad delay,
To be eternized, that same to haunt, Brings them to ioyous rest and endlesse blis. And doen their service to that soveraigne dame, But first thou must a season fast and pray, That glory does to them for guerdon graunt: Till from her bands the spright assoiled is, (tis." For she is hevenly borne, and Heaven may iustly And have her strength recurd from fra:le infirmi.