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Her faithful knight fayre Una brings
What man is he that boasts of Aeshly might, Dame Cælia men did her call, as thought
From heaven to come, or thether to arise; Which all so soone as it doth come to fight The mother of three daughters, well upbrought Against spirituall foes, yields by and by,
In goodly thewes, and godly exercise :
Fidelia and Speranza, virgins were,
But faire Charissa to a lovely fere But all the good is God's, both powre and eke Was lincked, and by him had many pledges dere. will.
Arrived there, the dore they find fast lockt; By that which lately hapned, Una saw
For it was warely watched night and day, That this her knight was feeble, and too faint, For feare of many foes; but when they knockt, And all his finewes woxen weake and raw, The porter opened unto them streight way. Through long enprisonment and hard confraint, He was an aged syre, ail hory gray, Which he endured in his late restraint,
With lookes full lowly cast, and gate full now, That yet he was unfitt for bloody fight ;
Wont on a staffe his feeble steps to stay, Therefore to cherish him with diets daint, Hight Humilta. They passe in, stouping low, She cast to bring him where he chearen might, For streight and narrow was the way which he did Till he recovered had his late decayed plight.
Where them docs meete a francklin faire and free,
Did labour lively to express the same, All night she spent in bidding of her bedes, And gladly did them guide, till to the hall they And all the day in doing good and godly deedes.
1111. There fayrely them receives a gentle fquyre, She was araied all in lilly white, Of myld demeanure and rare courtesce,
And in her right hand bore a cup of gold, Right cleanly clad in comely fad atryre,
With wine and water fild up to the hight, In word and deede that shewd grcat modeftec, In which a ferpent did himselfe enfold, And knew his good to all of each degree,
That horrour made to all that did behold; Hight Reverence : be them with speaches meet But she no white did chaunge her constant mood; Does faire entreat; no courring nicetee,
And in her other hand she fait did hold Bat fimale, trew, and eke unfained sweet, A booke, that was both signd and seald with blood, As might become a squyte fo great perfons to wherein darke things were writt, hard to be ungreet.
Was clad in blew, that her befeemed well;
And ever up to heven, as she did pray,
IX. And her embracing faid, "O happy earth, They seeing Una, towardes her gan wend, * Whereon thy innocent feet doe ever tread! Who them encounters with like courtesee; " Moft vertuous virgin, borne of hevenly berth, Many kind speeches they betweene them spend, " That, to redeeme thy woefull parents head And greatly ioy each other for to see: * From eyrant rage, and ever-dyiog dread, Then to the knight with fhamefast modestie * Haft wandred through the world now long a day, They turne themselves, at Unaós meeke request,
Yett ceafleft not thy weary soles to lead : And him salute with well-beseeming glee, * What grace hath thee now hether brought this Who faire them quites, as him beseemed best,
And goodly gan discourse of many a noble geft. " Or does thy feeble feet unweeting hether stray?
Then Una thus, “ But the your fifter deare, * Suraurge thing it is an errant knight to see “ The deare Chariffa, where is fhie become? " Here in this place, or any other wight
“ Or wants the health, or busie is elsewhere?" * That hether turnes his steps; fo few there bee “ Ah! no," said they, “ but forth she may not "That chose the narrow path, ot seeke the right : “ For the of late is lightned of her wombe, (come; "All keepe the bread high way, and take delight" And hath encreas the world with one sonne "With many rather for to goe astray,
“ more, " And be partakers of their evil plight,
“ That her to fee should be but troublesome.” Thed with a few to walke the rightest waj. “ Indeed,” quoth she," that should her trouble fore; * O foolih Men! why hast ye to your own decay?" “ But thankt be God, and her encrease so ever
is more." Thy felfe to fee, and tyred linibes to rest, "O Matrone sage !" quoth she; " I hether came; Then said the aged Cælia, “ Deare Dame,
And this good night his way with me addrest, “ And you, good Sir, I wote that of your cnylc * Ledd with thy prayfes and broad blazed fame, “ And labors long, through which ye hether camég * That up to heven is blowne.” The auncieut " Ye both forwcaried be; therefore a whyle dame,
“ I read you rest, and to your bowres recoyle." Hm goodly greeted in her modest gayse, Then called the a groome, that forth him ledd And enterteynd them both, as best became, Into a goodly lodge, and gan defpoile With all the court'fies that the could devyse, Of puiffant armies, and laid in calie bedd; Ne wanted ought to thew her bounteous or wise. His name was Mecke Obedience rightfully aredd.
jil. Ttas as they gan of fondriç thinges devise, Now when their wéarie limbes with kindly rest, Loe two most goodly virgins came in place, And bodies were refresht with dew repaft, Ylitiked arme in arme, in lovely wise;
Fayre Una gan Fidelia fayre request, With countenance demure and modest grace To have her knight into her schoole-hous plafte, They Dumbred even steps and equall pace; That of her heavenly learning he might taste, Of which the eldest, that Fidelia hight,
And heard the wisedom of her wordes divine. Like funny beames threw from her christall face, She graunted, and that knight so much agrafte, That could have dazd the rafh beholders fight, That the him taught celestial discipline, And sound about her lead did shine like heven's And opened his dull eyes, that light mote in their light.
fhine. VOL, I,
And that her sacred booke, with blood ywritt, But yet the cause and root of all his ill,
Not purg'd nor heald, behind remained still,
Which to extirpe, he laid him privily That wonder was to hear her goodly speach ; Downe in a darksome lowly place far in, For she was hable with her wordes to kill,
Whereas he meant his corrosives to apply, And rayse againe to life the hart that she did And with streight diet tame his stubborne malady. thrill.
In ashes and fackcloth he did array
And dieted with faiting every day,
And bitter Penaunce, with an yron whip,
Was wont him once to disple every day;
That drops of blood thence like a well did play: To such perfection of all hevenly grace,
And lad Repentaunce used to embay That wretched world he gan for to abhore, His body in falt water smarting fore, And mortall life gan loath, as thing forlore, The filthy blottes of sin to wash away: Greevd with remembrance of his wicked wayes, So in fhort space they did to health restore And prickt with anguish of his finnes so sore, The man that would not live, but erst lay at deathe That he defirde to end his wretched dayes;
dore. So much the dart of linfull guilt the foule dismayes.
In which his torment often was so great, But wise Speranza gave him comfort sweet, That like a lyon he would cry and rore, And taught him how to take assured hold
And rend his flesh, and his own synewes eat. Upon her silver anchor, as was meet ;
His owne deare Una hearing evermore Els has his finnes so great and manifold
His ruefull shriekes and gronings, often tore Made him forget all that Fidelia told.
Her guiltlesse garments and her golden heare, In this distressed doubtfull agony,
For pitty of his payne and anguish fore; When him his dearest na did behold,
Yet all with patience wisely she did beare, Disdeining life, deliring leave to dye,
For well the wist his cryme could els be never clears She found her selfe aflayld with great perplexity ;
Whom thus recover'd by wise Patience, And came to Cælia to declare her smart,
And trew Repentaunce, they to Una brought; Who well acquainted with that commune plight, Who ioyous of his cured conscience, Which sinfull horror workeş in wounded hart, Him dearely kilt, and fayrely eke besought Her wisely comforted all that she might,
Himselfe to chearish, and consuming thought With goodly counsell and advisemene right ; To put away out of his carefull breit. And freightway sent with carefull diligence, By this Charissa, late in child-bed brought, To fetch a leach, the which had great insight Was woxen strong, and left her fruitfull neft : In that disease of grieved contcience,
To her fayre Una brought this unacquainted gueft, And well could cure the same; his name was Pa.!.. tience :
She was a woman in her freshest age,
Of wondrous beauty and of bounty rare, Who comming to that sowle-diseased knight, With goodly grace and comely personage, Could hardly him intreat to tell his grief;
That was on earth, not easie to compare ;
The rest was all in yellow robes arayed ftill.
A multitude of babes about her hong,
Playing their sportes, that ioyd her to behold
#'hom ftill the fed, whiles they were weake and As guardian and steward of the rest : young,
His office was to give entertainement But thrust them forth still as they wexed old : And lodging unto all that came and went; And on her head she wore a tyre of gold, Not unto such as could him feast againe, Arond with gemmes and owches wondrous fayre, And doable quite for that he on them spent, 'hose paling price uneath was to be told; But such as want of harbour did coutraile; Acd by her lyde there fate a gentle payre Thote for God's fake his dewty was to entertaine. Di turtle doves, the fitting in an yvory chayre.
The second was as almner of the place : The knight and Una entring, fayre her greet, His office was the hungry for to feed, Ard bid her ioy of that her happy brood; And christy give to drinke, a worke of grace : who them requites with court'fies seeming mect, He fcard not once himselfe to be in need, And entertaçoes with friendly chearefull mood. Ne car'd to hoord for those whom he did breede : Thun Una her belought to be so good,
The grace of God he layd up fill in store, As ia her vertuous rules to schoole her knight, Which as a stocke he left unto his feede ; Now after all his tornient well withstood
He had enough, what need him care for more? In that sad house of Penaunce, where his fpright And had he lesse, get some he would give to the Had past the painesof hell and long-enduring night.
pore. XXXIII. She was right ioyous of her iust request;
The third had of their wardrobe custody, And taking by the hand that Faeries fonne, In which were not rich tyres nor garment: gay, Gehirn instruct in everie good behest
(The plumes of Pride and winges of Vanity) Oficve, and righteousnes, and well to donge, But clothes meet to keep keene cold away, Ani wrath and hatred warely to fhonne,
Ad naked nature seemely to aray: Tt at drew on men God's hatred and his wrath, With which bare wretched wighes he dayly clad, Aod many soules in dolours had fordonne : The images of God in earthly clay; n which when him the well instructed hath, And if that no spare clothes to give he had, tom tbence to heaven she teacheth him che ready His owne cote he would cut, and it distribute glad. path. XXXIV.
The fourth appointed by his office was Therein his weaker wandring steps to guyde, Poore prisoners to relieve with gratious ayd, Dauncient matrone she to her does call,
And captives to redeeme with price of bras Those sober lookes her wisedome well descryde; From Turkes and Sarazins, which them had stayd ; jer name was Mercy, well knowne over all And though they faulty were, yet well he wayd, o be both gratious and eke liberall.;
That God to us forgiveth every howre b whom the carefull charge of him she gave, Much more then that why they in bands were o leade aright, that he should never fall
layd; all his waics through this wide worldes wave, And he that harrowd hell with heavie stowre, Let Mercy in the end his righteous foule might | The faultysoules from thence brought to his hevenfave.
ly bowre. XXXV. Le godly matrone by the hand him beares The fist had charge sick persons to attend, crth from her presence, by a narrow way, And comfort those in point of death which lay; Erted with bulhy thornes and rayged breares, For them most needeth comfort in the end, Rich üill before him fhe remov'd away,
When fin, and hell, and death, doe molt dismay hat nothing might his ready passage stay; The feeble foule departing hence away. id ever when his feet encombred were,
All is but lost that living we beitow, rgan to shrinke, or from the right to stray, If not well ended at our dying day. te held him faft, and firmely did upbeare, O Man! have mind of that last bitter throw; w carefuli nourse her child from falling oft does For as the tree docs fall, fo lyes it ever low. reare.
The fixt had charge of them now being dead, toobes onto an hely hospitall,
Is seemely sort their corses to engrave, i at was foreby the way, she did him bring, And deck with dainty flowres their brydall bed,
which seven bead-men, that had vowed all That to their hevenly spouse botn (wect and brave teir life to service of nigh heaven's King, They might appeare, when he their foules finall hd spend their daies in doing godly thing :
save. tar gates to all were open evermore
The wondrous workmanship of God's owr.e mould, sa by the wearie way were traveiling,
Whose face he made all bcaties to feare, and gave Ind one fate wayting ever them before,
All in his hand, even dead we honour should. lo call in commerseby, that needy were and pore. Ah, deareft God: me graunt I dead be not defould!
XLIII. The first of them, that eldest was and best, The seventh, now after death and buriall done, He all the house bad charge and governement, Had charge the tender orphans of the dead,
And wydowes ayd, least they should be undone : They him faluted landing far afore,
“ What end," quoth the. “ should cause us ta He did supply their want, and gave them ever free.
6 such paine,
« But that same end, which every living wight There when the Elfin Knight arrived was, “ Should make his mai ke, high heaven to attair The first and chieftft of the seven, whose care “ Is not from hence the way that leadeth right Was guests to welcome, towardes him did pas, “ To that most glorious house, that glitreth brig Where seeing Mercie, that his steps upbare, “ With burning starres and ever-living fire, Ard alwaies led, to her with reverence rare " Whereof the keies are to thy hand behight Hc hun bly louted in miecke lowlinefle,
“ By wise Fidelia? Tee doth thee require And sermcly welcome for her did prepare ; “ To shew it to this knight, according his delire For of their order she was patronesle, Albe Charissa were their chiefert foundereffe, “ Thrice happy man!” said then the father gra
“ Whose Itaggering fteps thy feady hand de There she awhile him sayes, himselfe to rest, That to the rest niore hable he might bee'; “ And Thewes the way his fin full foule to save, During which time, in every good beheft, “Who better can the way to heaven aread And godly worke of almes and charitee,
" Then thou thyselfe, that was both borne and by Shee him instructed with great induftree : “ In hevenly throne, where thousand angels fhir Shortly therein so perfe & he became,
“ Thou doest the praiers of the righteous sead That from the first unto the last degree,
“ Present before the Maiesty divine, "His mostali life he learned had to frame
“ And his avenging wrath to clemency inclinc. In holy righteousnesle, without rebuke or blame.
“ Yer since thou bidit, thy pleasure faal be don Thence forward by that painfull way they pas “ Then come, thou Man of Earth! and see the v Forth to an hill, that was buch keepe and hyy “ That never yet was føene of Faries fonne, On top whereof a sacred chappell was,
“ That never leads the traveiler aftray; And eke a litle hermitage thereby,
“ But after labors long, and fad delay, Wherein an aged holy man did ly,
“ Brings them to jogous reft and endlesse blis. That day and night said his devotion,
“ But first thou mult a feason fast and pray, No other worldiy butincfs did apply;
“ Till from her bands che fyright assoiled is, His name was hevenly Contemplation;
" And have her strength recur'd from fraile Of God and goodnes was his meditation.
“ firmitis." Great grace that old man to him given had, That done, he leads them to the highest mount For God lie often law from heaven's hight; Such one as that fame mighty man of God, All were his earthly cien both blunt and bad, That blood-red billowes like a walled front And through great age had lost their kindly sight, ! On either fide disparted with his rod, Yet wondrous quick and perfunt was his fpright, Till that his army dry-foot through them yod, As cagles eie, that can behold the funne.
Dwele forty daies upon; where, writt in stone That hill they fcale with all their powre and mighe, With bloody letters by the hand of God, That his fraile thighes, nigh weary and ferdonne, The bitter - one of death ar.d balefull mone Gin fuile, but by her hclpe the top at last he wonne. He did receive, whiles Aashing fire about 1
fhone; There they do find that godly aged fire, With snowy lockes adowne his thoulders shed, Or like that facred hill, whose head full hie, As hoary frost with spangles doth attire
Adornd with fruitfull olives all arownd, The nofly braunches of an oke halfe ded.
Is, as it were for endlessc memory Each boue night through his body well be red, Of that dease Lord who oft thereun was fown And every sinew scene, through his long fait; For ever with a fluwring girlond crownd: For n ught he car'd his carcas long wted; Or like that plealaunt mount, that is for ay His inind was full of spiriruail repatt,
Thrvugh famous poets verse each where renow And I'ynd his ficth to keep lois body low and chart. On which the thrile three learned ladies play
Their hevenly noies, and make full many a lov Who whin these two approching he aspide,
lay. At their firit prefence grew agrieved tore, That fo ft him lay his hevenly thoughts afide; From thence, far off he unto him did shew mind had he not that date respected more, A little path that was both keepe and long, Whom highly he did reverence and adore,
Which to a goodly citry led his vew, (ftr He would go once hare, moved for the knighs. Whole wals and towics were builded high