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Stout Priamond, but not so strong to strike;

Strong Diamond, but not fo ftout a Knight;
But Triamond was stout and strong alike:
On horsebacke used Triamond to fight,
And Priamond on foote had more delight;
But horse and foote knew Diamond to wield:
With curtaxe used Diamond to smite,

And Triamond to handle fpeare and shield, Butspeare and curtaxe both usd Priamond in field.


These three did love each other dearely well,

And with fo firme affection were allyde,
As if but one foule in them all did dwell,
Which did her powre into three parts divyde;
Like three faire branches budding farre and

wide, That from one roote deriv'd their vitall fap: And, like that roote that doth her life divide,

Their mother was; and had full blessed hap These three fo noble babes to bring forth at

one clap.

XLIII. 3. As if but one foule in them all did dwell,] This is the moral and allegory of the fable, thus covertly mentioned by our poet according to his manner. There is but one foul in true love and friendhip. Φιλία επί μία ψυχή εν δυοίν σώμασιν.


at one clup.] That is, Lat, uno i&tu. CHURCH. So Shakspeare, in K. Lear, where the king's knights are discharged : A. i. S. iv. " What, fifty of my followers, at a clap! within a fortnight?" TODD.

at once,


Their mother was a Fay, and had the skill

Of secret things, and all the powres of nature, Which she by art could use unto her will, And to her service bind each living creature, Through secret understanding of their feature. Thereto she was right faire, whenfo her face She list discover, and of goodly stature;

But she, as Fayes are wont, in privie place Did spend her dayes, and lov'd in forests wyld

to space.


There on a day a noble youthly Knight,

Seeking adventures in the falvage wood,
Did by great fortune get of her the fight,
As she fate carelesse by a cristall flood

XLIV. 1. Their mother was a Fay,] The Fay Agape seems imaged from the Fay Feronia in Virgil, Æn. viii. 564, who had procured for her son three fouls; and thrice he was to be Nain before destroyed.

“ Nascenti cui tres animas Feronia mater

“ (Horrendum dictu) dederat." Virgil says moreover of the Fay Feronia, “ Viridi gaudens Feronia luco.” Æn. vii. 800. Which is exactly what Spenser says of the Fay Agape,

“ But the, as Fays are wont, in privie place

Did spend her dayes, and lov’d in forests wyld to space.” Compare F. Q. iii. iv. 19. UPTON. XLIV. 5.

feature.] Fashion, make. See F. Q. iii. vi. 37. CHURCH. XLIV.9.

to space.] To walk, or roam about. Lat. Sputior. TODD. XLV. 4. As she fate carelese by a cristall flood,

Combing her golden lockes, &c.] Thus Dulcippa is forcibly carried away by the knight of the two beads, Seven VOL, V.


Combing her golden lockes, as feemd her

good; And unawares upon her laying hold, That strove in vaine him long to have with

stood, Oppressed her, and there (as it is told) Got these three lovely babes, that prov'd three champions bold :

XLVI. Which she with her long foftred in that wood,

Till that to ripeneffe of mans state they grew : Then, shewing forth signes of their fathers

blood, They loved armes, and knighthood did enfew, Seeking adventures where they anie knew. Which when their mother faw, she


to dout Their safetie; least by searching daungers

new, And rash provoking perils all about, Their days mote be abridged through their

corage stout.

XLVII. Therefore desirous th' end of all their dayes

To know,and them t'enlarge with long extent, Champ. b. 2. ch. 16. “ So sitting down upon a green banke under the shaddow of a myrtle tree, the pulled a golden cawl from her head, wherein her hair was wrapped, and taking out from her crystalline breast an ivory comb, the began to combe her hair, &c.” Milton's image of Ligea, in Comus, was drawn, and improved, from some romantick description of this kind.


By wondrous skill and


wayes To the Three Fatall Sisters House she went. Farre under ground from tract of living went, Downe in the bottome of the deepe Abysse, Where Demogorgon in dull darknefle pent

Farre from the view of gods and heavens bliss The hideous Chaos keepes, their dreadfull

dwelling is.


There she them found all fitting round about

The direfull Distaffe standing in the mid,
And with unwearied fingers drawing out
The lines of life, from living knowledge hid.
Sad Clotho held the rocke, the whiles the

By griesly Lachesis was fpun with paine,
That cruell Atropos eftsoones undid,

With cursed knife cutting the twist in twaine : Most wretched men, whose dayes depend on

thrids so vaine !


She, them faluting there, by them sate still

Beholding how the thrids of life they span:

XLVII. 4. - the Three Fatall Sisters House] Concerning this house, compare Ovid, Met. xv. 808. Aud Ariosto, C. xxxiv. 88. UPTON. XLVII. 5.

from tract of living went,] Of the way or path of any living creature. So Chaucer, Troil, and Cref. j. 786..“ a privy went." See Junius. Upton.

XLVII. 9. The hideous Chaos keepes,] That is, presides over Chaos. See F. Q. i. i. 27. CHURCH.

And when at last she had beheld her fill,
Trembling in heart, and looking pale and wan,
Her cause of comming she to tell began.
To whom fierce Atropos; “ Bold Fay, that

Come see the secret of the life of man,

Well worthie thou to be of love accurst, And eke thy childrens thrids to be afunder

burst !"


Whereat she fore affrayd yet her befought

To graunt her boone, and rigour to abate, That she might see her childrens thrids forth

brought, And know the measure of their utmost date To them ordained by eternall Fate : Which Clotho graunting shewed her the same. That when she saw, it did her much amate

To see their thrids fo thin, as fpiders frame, And eke so short, that seemd their ends out

shortly came.


She then began them humbly to intreate

To draw them longer out, and better twine, That fo their lives might be prolonged late :

LI. 1. She then begun them humbly to intreate,

To draw them longer out,] Martial, Epigr. iv. 29. “ Ultima volventes oravit pensa sorores,

“ Ut traherent parvâ ftamina pulla morâ.". Upton.

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