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Strong Diamond, but not fo ftout a Knight;
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,
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
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.
UPTON. XLIII. 9.
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.
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
There on a day a noble youthly Knight,
Seeking adventures in the falvage wood,
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
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
There she them found all fitting round about
The direfull Distaffe standing in the mid,
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,
Well worthie thou to be of love accurst, And eke thy childrens thrids to be afunder
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
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.