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Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

The Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto 10 (1596)


[Fol. I5r; p. 135] Canto 10

Her faithfull knight faire Vna brings
to house of Holinesse,
Where he is taught repentance, and
the way to heauenly blesse.

i
              1WHat man is he, that boasts of fleshly might,
              2And vaine assurance of mortality,
              3Which all so soone, as it doth come to fight,
              4Against spirituall foes, yeelds by and by,
              5Or from the field most cowardly doth fly?
              6Ne let the man ascribe it to his skill,
              7That thorough grace hath gained victory.
              8If any strength we haue, it is to ill,
              9But all the good is Gods, both power and eke will.

ii
            10By that, which lately hapned, Vna saw,
            11That this her knight was feeble, and too faint;
            12And all his sinews woxen weake and raw,
            13Through long enprisonment, and hard constraint,
            14Which he endured in his late restraint,
            15That yet he was vnfit for bloudie fight:
            16Therefore to cherish him with diets daint,
            17She cast to bring him, where he chearen might,
            18Till he recouered had his late decayed plight.

iii
            19There was an auntient house not farre away,
            20Renowmd throughout the world for sacred lore,
            21And pure vnspotted life: so well they say
            22It gouernd was, and guided euermore,
            23[Fol. I5v; p. 136] Through wisedome of a matrone graue and hore;
            24Whose onely ioy was to relieue the needes
            25Of wretched soules, and helpe the helpelesse pore:
            26All night she spent in bidding of her bedes,
            27And all the day in doing good and godly deedes.

iv
            28Dame Cælia men did her call, as thought
            29From heauen to come, or thither to arise,
            30The mother of three daughters, well vpbrought
            31In goodly thewes, and godly exercise:
            32The eldest two most sober, chast, and wise,
            33Fidelia and Speranza virgins were,
            34Though spousd, yet wanting wedlocks solemnize;
            35But faire Charissa to a louely fere
            36Was lincked, and by him had many pledges dere.

v
            37Arriued there, the dore they find fast lockt;
            38For it was warely watched night and day,
            39For feare of many foes: but when they knockt,
            40The Porter opened vnto them streight way:
            41He was an aged syre, all hory gray,
            42With lookes full lowly cast, and gate full slow,
            43Wont on a staffe his feeble steps to stay,
            44Hight Humiltá.  They passe in stouping low;
            45For streight & narrow was the way, which he did show.

vi
            46Each goodly thing is hardest to begin,
            47But entred in a spacious court they see,
            48Both plaine, and pleasant to be walked in,
            49Where them does meete a francklin faire and free,
            50And entertaines with comely courteous glee,
            51His name was Zele, that him right well became,
            52For in his speeches and behauiour hee
            53Did labour liuely to expresse the same,
            54And gladly did them guide, till to the Hall they came.

vii
            55[Fol. I6r; p. 137] There fairely them receiues a gentle Squire,
            56Of milde demeanure, and rare courtesie,
            57Right cleanly clad in comely sad attire;
            58In word and deede that shew'd great modestie,
            59And knew his good to all of each degree,
            60Hight Reuerence.  He them with speeches meet
            61Does faire entreat; no courting nicetie,
            62But simple true, and eke vnfained sweet,
            63As might become a Squire so great persons to greet.

viii
            64And afterwards them to his Dame he leades,
            65That aged Dame, the Ladie of the place:
            66Who all this while was busie at her beades:
            67Which doen, she vp arose with seemely grace,
            68And toward them full matronely did pace.
            69Where when that fairest Vna she beheld,
            70Whom well she knew to spring from heauenly race,
            71Her hart with ioy vnwonted inly sweld,
            72As feeling wondrous comfort in her weaker eld.

ix
            73And her embracing said, ô happie earth,
            74Whereon thy innocent feet doe euer tread,
            75Most vertuous virgin borne of heauenly berth,
            76That to redeeme thy woefull parents head,
            77From tyrans rage, and euer-dying dread,
            78Hast wandred through the world now long a day;
            79Yet ceasest not thy wearie soles to lead,
            80What grace hath thee now hither brought this way?
            81Or doen thy feeble feet vnweeting hither stray?

x
            82Strange thing it is an errant knight to see
            83Here in this place, or any other wight,
            84That hither turnes his steps.  So few there bee,
            85That chose the narrow path, or seeke the right:
            86[Fol. I6v; p. 138] All keepe the broad high way, and take delight
            87With many rather for to go astray,
            88And be partakers of their euill plight,
            89Then with a few to walke the rightest way;
            90O foolish men, why haste ye to your owne decay?

xi
            91Thy selfe to see, and tyred limbs to rest,
            92O matrone sage (quoth she) I hither came,
            93And this good knight his way with me addrest,
            94Led with thy prayses and broad-blazed fame,
            95That vp to heauen is blowne.  The auncient Dame
            96Him goodly greeted in her modest guise,
            97And entertaynd them both, as best became,
            98With all the court'sies, that she could deuise,
            99Ne wanted ought, to shew her bounteous or wise.

xii
          100Thus as they gan of sundry things deuise,
          101Loe two most goodly virgins came in place,
          102Ylinked arme in arme in louely wise,
          103With countenance demure, and modest grace,
          104They numbred euen steps and equall pace:
          105Of which the eldest, that Fidelia hight,
          106Like sunny beames threw from her Christall face,
          107That could haue dazd the rash beholders sight,
          108And round about her head did shine like heauens light.

xiii
          109She was araied all in lilly white,
          110And in her right hand bore a cup of gold,
          111With wine and water fild vp to the hight,
          112In which a Serpent did himselfe enfold,
          113That horrour made to all, that did behold;
          114But she no whit did chaunge her constant mood:
          115And in her other hand she fast did hold
          116A booke, that was both signd and seald with blood,
          117Wherein darke things were writ, hard to be vnderstood.

xiv
          118[Fol. I7r; p. 139] Her younger sister, that Speranza hight,
          119Was clad in blew, that her beseemed well;
          120Not all so chearefull seemed she of sight,
          121As was her sister; whether dread did dwell,
          122Or anguish in her hart, is hard to tell:
          123Vpon her arme a siluer anchor lay,
          124Whereon she leaned euer, as befell:
          125And euer vp to heauen, as she did pray,
          126Her stedfast eyes were bent, ne swarued other way.

xv
          127They seeing Vna, towards her gan wend,
          128Who them encounters with like courtesie;
          129Many kind speeches they betwene them spend,
          130And greatly ioy each other well to see:
          131Then to the knight with shamefast modestie
          132They turne themselues, at Vnaes meeke request,
          133And him salute with well beseeming glee;
          134Who faire them quites, as him beseemed best,
          135And goodly gan discourse of many a noble gest.

xvi
          136Then Vna thus; But she your sister deare,
          137The deare Charissa where is she become?
          138Or wants she health, or busie is elsewhere?
          139Ah no, said they, but forth she may not come:
          140For she of late is lightned of her wombe,
          141And hath encreast the world with one sonne more,
          142That her to see should be but troublesome.
          143Indeede (quoth she) that should her trouble sore,
          144But thankt be God, and her encrease so euermore.

xvii
          145Then said the aged Cœlia, Deare dame,
          146And you good Sir, I wote that of your toyle,
          147And labours long, through which ye hither came,
          148Ye both forwearied be: therefore a whyle
          149[Fol. I7v; p. 140] I read you rest, and to your bowres recoyle.
          150Then called she a Groome, that forth him led
          151Into a goodly lodge, and gan despoile
          152Of puissant armes, and laid in easie bed;
          153His name was meeke Obedience rightfully ared.

xviii
          154Now when their wearie limbes with kindly rest,
          155And bodies were refresht with due repast,
          156Faire Vna gan Fidelia faire request,
          157To haue her knight into her schoolehouse plaste,
          158That of her heauenly learning he might taste,
          159And heare the wisedome of her words diuine.
          160She graunted, and that knight so much agraste,
          161That she him taught celestiall discipline,
          162And opened his dull eyes, that light mote in them shine.

xix
          163And that her sacred Booke, with bloud ywrit,
          164That none could read, except she did them teach,
          165She vnto him disclosed euery whit,
          166And heauenly documents thereout did preach,
          167That weaker wit of man could neuer reach,
          168Of God, of grace, of iustice, of free will,
          169That wonder was to heare her goodly speach:
          170For she was able, with her words to kill,
          171And raise againe to life the hart, that she did thrill.

xx
          172And when she list poure out her larger spright,
          173She would commaund the hastie Sunne to stay,
          174Or backward turne his course from heauens hight;
          175Sometimes great hostes of men she could dismay,
          176Dry-shod to passe, she parts the flouds in tway;
          177And eke huge mountaines from their natiue seat
          178She would commaund, themselues to beare away,
          179And throw in raging sea with roaring threat.
          180Almightie God her gaue such powre, and puissance great.

xxi
          181[Fol. I8r; p. 141] The faithfull knight now grew in litle space,
          182By hearing her, and by her sisters lore,
          183To such perfection of all heauenly grace,
          184That wretched world he gan for to abhore,
          185And mortall life gan loath, as thing forlore,
          186Greeu'd with remembrance of his wicked wayes,
          187And prickt with anguish of his sinnes so sore,
          188That he desirde, to end his wretched dayes:
          189So much the dart of sinfull guilt the soule dismayes.

xxii
          190But wise Speranza gaue him comfort sweet,
          191And taught him how to take assured hold
          192Vpon her siluer anchor, as was meet;
          193Else had his sinnes so great, and manifold
          194Made him forget all that Fidelia told.
          195In this distressed doubtfull agonie,
          196When him his dearest Vna did behold,
          197Disdeining life, desiring leaue to die,
          198She found her selfe assayld with great perplexitie.

xxiii
          199And came to Cœlia to declare her smart,
          200Who well acquainted with that commune plight,
          201Which sinfull horror workes in wounded hart,
          202Her wisely comforted all that she might,
          203With goodly counsell and aduisement right;
          204And streightway sent with carefull diligence,
          205To fetch a Leach, the which had great insight
          206In that disease of grieued conscience,
          207And well could cure the same; His name was Patience.

xxiv
          208Who comming to that soule-diseased knight,
          209Could hardly him intreat, to tell his griefe:
          210Which knowne, and all that noyd his heauie spright,
          211Well searcht, eftsoones he gan apply reliefe.
          212[Fol. I8v; p. 142] Of salues and med'cines, which had passing priefe,
          213And thereto added words of wondrous might:
          214By which to ease he him recured briefe,
          215And much asswag'd the passion of his plight,
          216That he his paine endur'd, as seeming now more light.

xxv
          217But yet the cause and root of all his ill,
          218Inward corruption, and infected sin,
          219Not purg'd nor heald, behind remained still,
          220And festring sore did rankle yet within,
          221Close creeping twixt the marrow and the skin.
          222Which to extirpe, he laid him priuily
          223Downe in a darkesome lowly place farre in,
          224Whereas he meant his corrosiues to apply,
          225And with streight diet tame his stubborne malady.

xxvi
          226In ashes and sackcloth he did array
          227His daintie corse, proud humors to abate,
          228And dieted with fasting euery day,
          229The swelling of his wounds to mitigate,
          230And made him pray both earely and eke late:
          231And euer as superfluous flesh did rot
          232Amendment readie still at hand did wayt,
          233To pluck it out with pincers firie whot,
          234That soone in him was left no one corrupted iot.

xxvii
          235And bitter Penance with an yron whip,
          236Was wont him once to disple euery day:
          237And sharpe Remorse his hart did pricke and nip,
          238That drops of bloud thence like a well did play;
          239And sad Repentance vsed to embay,
          240His bodie in salt water smarting sore,
          241The filthy blots of sinne to wash away.
          242So in short space they did to health restore
          243The man that would not liue, but earst lay at deathes dore.

xxviii
          244[Fol. K1r; p. 143] In which his torment often was so great,
          245That like a Lyon he would cry and rore,
          246And rend his flesh, and his owne synewes eat.
          247His owne deare Vna hearing euermore
          248His ruefull shriekes and gronings, often tore
          249Her guiltlesse garments, and her golden heare,
          250For pitty of his paine and anguish sore;
          251Yet all with patience wisely she did beare;
          252For well she wist, his crime could else be neuer cleare.

xxix
          253Whom thus recouer'd by wise Patience,
          254And trew Repentance they to Vna brought:
          255Who ioyous of his cured conscience,
          256Him dearely kist, and fairely eke besought
          257Himselfe to chearish, and consuming thought
          258To put away out of his carefull brest.
          259By this Charissa, late in child-bed brought,
          260Was woxen strong, and left her fruitfull nest;
          261To her faire Vna brought this vnacquainted guest.

xxx
          262She was a woman in her freshest age,
          263Of wondrous beauty, and of bountie rare,
          264With goodly grace and comely personage,
          265That was on earth not easie to compare;
          266Full of great loue, but Cupids wanton snare
          267As hell she hated, chast in worke and will;
          268Her necke and breasts were euer open bare,
          269That ay thereof her babes might sucke their fill;
          270The rest was all in yellow robes arayed still.

xxxi
          271A multitude of babes about her hong,
          272Playing their sports, that ioyd her to behold,
          273Whom still she fed, whiles they were weake & young,
          274But thrust them forth still, as they wexed old:
          275[Fol. K1v; p. 144] And on her head she wore a tyre of gold,
          276Adornd with gemmes and owches wondrous faire,
          277Whose passing price vneath was to be told;
          278And by her side there sate a gentle paire
          279Of turtle doues, she sitting in an yuorie chaire.

xxxii
          280The knight and Vna entring, faire her greet,
          281And bid her ioy of that her happie brood;
          282Who them requites with court'sies seeming meet,
          283And entertaines with friendly chearefull mood.
          284Then Vna her besought, to be so good,
          285As in her vertuous rules to schoole her knight,
          286Now after all his torment well withstood,
          287In that sad house of Penaunce, where his spright
          288Had past the paines of hell, and long enduring night.

xxxiii
          289She was right ioyous of her iust request,
          290And taking by the hand that Faeries sonne,
          291Gan him instruct in euery good behest,
          292Of loue, and righteousnesse, and well to donne,
          293And wrath, and hatred warely to shonne,
          294That drew on men Gods hatred, and his wrath,
          295And many soules in dolours had fordonne:
          296In which when him she well instructed hath,
          297From thence to heauen she teacheth him the ready path.

xxxiv
          298Wherein his weaker wandring steps to guide,
          299An auncient matrone she to her does call,
          300Whose sober lookes her wisedome well descride:
          301Her name was Mercie, well knowne ouer all,
          302To be both gratious, and eke liberall:
          303To whom the carefull charge of him she gaue,
          304To lead aright, that he should neuer fall
          305In all his wayes through this wide worldes waue,
          306That Mercy in the end his righteous soule might saue.

xxxv
          307[Fol. K2r; p. 145] The godly Matrone by the hand him beares
          308Forth from her presence, by a narrow way,
          309Scattred with bushy thornes, and ragged breares,
          310Which still before him she remou'd away,
          311That nothing might his ready passage stay:
          312And euer when his feet encombred were,
          313Or gan to shrinke, or from the right to stray,
          314She held him fast, and firmely did vpbeare,
          315As carefull Nourse her child from falling oft does reare.

xxxvi
          316Eftsoones vnto an holy Hospitall,
          317That was fore by the way, she did him bring,
          318In which seuen Bead-men that had vowed all
          319Their life to seruice of high heauens king
          320Did spend their dayes in doing godly thing:
          321Their gates to all were open euermore,
          322That by the wearie way were traueiling,
          323And one sate wayting euer them before,
          324To call in-commers by, that needy were and pore.

xxxvii
          325The first of them that eldest was, and best,
          326Of all the house had charge and gouernement,
          327As Guardian and Steward of the rest:
          328His office was to giue entertainement
          329And lodging, vnto all that came, and went:
          330Not vnto such, as could him feast againe,
          331And double quite, for that he on them spent,
          332But such, as want of harbour did constraine:
          333Those for Gods sake his dewty was to entertaine.

xxxviii
          334The second was as Almner of the place,
          335His office was, the hungry for to feed,
          336And thristy giue to drinke, a worke of grace:
          337He feard not once him selfe to be in need,
          338[Fol. K2v; p. 146] Ne car'd to hoord for those, whom he did breede:
          339The grace of God he layd vp still in store,
          340Which as a stocke he left vnto his seede;
          341He had enough, what need him care for more?
          342And had he lesse, yet some he would giue to the pore.

xxxix
          343The third had of their wardrobe custodie,
          344In which were not rich tyres, nor garments gay,
          345The plumes of pride, and wings of vanitie,
          346But clothes meet to keepe keene could away,
          347And naked nature seemely to aray;
          348With which bare wretched wights he dayly clad,
          349The images of God in earthly clay;
          350And if that no spare cloths to giue he had,
          351His owne coate he would cut, and it distribute glad.

xl
          352The fourth appointed by his office was,
          353Poore prisoners to relieue with gratious ayd,
          354And captiues to redeeme with price of bras,
          355From Turkes and Sarazins, which them had stayd,
          356And though they faultie were, yet well he wayd,
          357That God to vs forgiueth euery howre
          358Much more then that, why they in bands were layd,
          359And he that harrowd hell with heauie stowre,
          360The faultie soules from thence brought to his heauenly bowre.

xli
          361The fift had charge sicke persons to attend,
          362And comfort those, in point of death which lay;
          363For them most needeth comfort in the end,
          364When sin, and hell, and death do most dismay
          365The feeble soule departing hence away.
          366All is but lost, that liuing we bestow,
          367If not well ended at our dying day.
          368O man haue mind of that last bitter throw;
          369For as the tree does fall, so lyes it euer low.

xlii
          370[Fol. K3r; p. 147] The sixt had charge of them now being dead,
          371In seemely sort their corses to engraue,
          372And deck with dainty flowres their bridall bed,
          373That to their heauenly spouse both sweet and braue
          374They might appeare, when he their soules shall saue.
          375The wondrous workemanship of Gods owne mould,
          376Whose face he made, all beasts to feare, and gaue
          377All in his hand, euen dead we honour should.
          378Ah dearest God me graunt, I dead be not defould.

xliii
          379The seuenth now after death and buriall done,
          380Had charge the tender Orphans of the dead,
          381And widowes ayd, least they should be vndone:
          382In face of iudgement he their right would plead,
          383Ne ought the powre of mighty men did dread
          384In their defence, nor would for gold or fee
          385Be wonne their rightfull causes downe to tread:
          386And when they stood in most necessitee,
          387He did supply their want, and gaue them euer free.

xliv
          388There when the Elfin knight arriued was,
          389The first and chiefest of the seuen, whose care
          390Was guests to welcome, towardes him did pas:
          391Where seeing Mercie, that his steps vp bare,
          392And alwayes led, to her with reuerence rare
          393He humbly louted in meeke lowlinesse,
          394And seemely welcome for her did prepare:
          395For of their order she was Patronesse,
          396Albe Charissa were their chiefest founderesse.

xlv
          397There she awhile him stayes, him selfe to rest,
          398That to the rest more able he might bee:
          399During which time, in euery good behest
          400And godly worke of Almes and charitee
          401[Fol. K3v; p. 148] She him instructed with great industree;
          402Shortly therein so perfect he became,
          403That from the first vnto the last degree,
          404His mortall life he learned had to frame
          405In holy righteousnesse, without rebuke or blame.

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          406Thence forward by that painfull way they pas,
          407Forth to an hill, that was both steepe and hy;
          408On top whereof a sacred chappell was,
          409And eke a litle Hermitage thereby,
          410Wherein an aged holy man did lye,
          411That day and night said his deuotion,
          412Ne other worldly busines did apply;
          413His name was heauenly Contemplation;
          414Of God and goodnesse was his meditation.

xlvii
          415Great grace that old man to him giuen had;
          416For God he often saw from heauens hight,
          417All were his earthly eyen both blunt and bad,
          418And through great age had lost their kindly sight,
          419Yet wondrous quick and persant was his spright,
          420As Eagles eye, that can behold the Sunne:
          421That hill they scale with all their powre and might,
          422That his frayle thighes nigh wearie and fordonne
          423Gan faile, but by her helpe the top at last he wonne.

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          424There they do finde that godly aged Sire,
          425With snowy lockes adowne his shoulders shed,
          426As hoarie frost with spangles doth attire
          427The mossy braunches of an Oke halfe ded.
          428Each bone might through his body well be red,
          429And euery sinew seene through his long fast:
          430For nought he car'd his carcas long vnfed;
          431His mind was full of spirituall repast,
          432And pyn'd his flesh, to keepe his body low and chast.

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          433[Fol. K4r; p. 149] Who when these two approching he aspide,
          434At their first presence grew agrieued sore,
          435That forst him lay his heauenly thoughts aside;
          436And had he not that Dame respected more,
          437Whom highly he did reuerence and adore,
          438He would not once haue moued for the knight.
          439They him saluted standing far afore;
          440Who well them greeting, humbly did requight,
          441And asked, to what end they clomb that tedious height.

l
          442What end (quoth she) should cause vs take such paine,
          443But that same end, which euery liuing wight
          444Should make his marke, high heauen to attaine?
          445Is not from hence the way, that leadeth right
          446To that most glorious house, that glistreth bright
          447With burning starres, and euerliuing fire,
          448Whereof the keyes are to thy hand behight
          449By wise Fidelia? she doth thee require,
          450To shew it to this knight, according his desire.

li
          451Thrise happy man, said then the father graue,
          452Whose staggering steps thy steady hand doth lead,
          453And shewes the way, his sinfull soule to saue.
          454Who better can the way to heauen aread,
          455Then thou thy selfe, that was both borne and bred
          456In heauenly throne, where thousand Angels shine?
          457Thou doest the prayers of the righteous sead
          458Present before the maiestie diuine,
          459And his auenging wrath to clemencie incline.

lii
          460Yet since thou bidst, thy pleasure shalbe donne.
          461Then come thou man of earth, and see the way,
          462That neuer yet was seene of Faeries sonne,
          463That neuer leads the traueiler astray,
          464[Fol. K4v; p. 150] But after labours long, and sad delay,
          465Bring them to ioyous rest and endlesse blis.
          466But first thou must a season fast and pray,
          467Till from her bands the spright assoiled is,
          468And haue her strength recur'd from fraile infirmitis.

liii
          469That done, he leads him to the highest Mount;
          470Such one, as that same mighty man of God,
          471That bloud-red billowes like a walled front
          472On either side disparted with his rod,
          473Till that his army dry-foot through them yod,
          474Dwelt fortie dayes vpon ; where writ in stone
          475With bloudy letters by the hand of God,
          476The bitter doome of death and balefull mone
          477He did receiue, whiles flashing fire about him shone.

liv
          478Or like that sacred hill, whose head full hie,
          479Adornd with fruitfull Oliues all arownd,
          480Is, as it were for endlesse memory
          481Of that deare Lord, who oft thereon was fownd,
          482For euer with a flowring girlond crownd:
          483Or like that pleasaunt Mount, that is for ay
          484Through famous Poets verse each where renownd,
          485On which the thrise three learned Ladies play
          486Their heauenly notes, and make full many a louely lay.

lv
          487From thence, far off he vnto him did shew
          488A litle path, that was both steepe and long,
          489Which to a goodly Citie led his vew;
          490Whose wals and towres were builded high and strong
          491Of perle and precious stone, that earthly tong
          492Cannot describe, nor wit of man can tell;
          493Too high a ditty for my simple song;
          494The Citie of the great king hight it well,
          495Wherein eternall peace and happinesse doth dwell.

lvi
          496[Fol. K5r; p. 151] As he thereon stood gazing, he might see
          497The blessed Angels to and fro descend
          498From highest heauen, in gladsome companee,
          499And with great ioy into that Citie wend,
          500As commonly as friend does with his frend.
          501Whereat he wondred much, and gan enquere,
          502What stately building durst so high extend
          503Her loftie towres vnto the starry sphere,
          504And what vnknowen nation there empeopled were.

lvii
          505Faire knight (quoth he) Hierusalem that is,
          506The new Hierusalem, that God has built
          507For those to dwell in, that are chosen his,
          508His chosen people purg'd from sinfull guilt,
          509With piteous bloud, which cruelly was spilt
          510On cursed tree, of that vnspotted lam,
          511That for the sinnes of all the world was kilt:
          512Now are they Saints all in that Citie sam,
          513More deare vnto their God, then younglings to their dam.

lviii
          514Till now, said then the knight, I weened well,
          515That great Cleopolis, where I haue beene,
          516In which that fairest Faerie Queene doth dwell
          517The fairest Citie was, that might be seene;
          518And that bright towre all built of christall cleene,
          519Panthea, seemd the brightest thing, that was:
          520But now by proofe all otherwise I weene;
          521For this great Citie that does far surpas,
          522And this bright Angels towre quite dims that towre of glas.

lix
          523Most trew, then said the holy aged man ;
          524Yet is Cleopolis for earthly fame,
          525The fairest peece, that eye beholden can :
          526And well beseemes all knights of noble name,
          527[Fol. K5v; p. 152] That couet in th'immortall booke of fame
          528To be eternized, that same to haunt,
          529And doen their seruice to that soueraigne Dame,
          530That glorie does to them for guerdon graunt :
          531For she is heauenly borne, and heauen may iustly vaunt.

lx
          532And thou faire ymp, sprong out from English race,
          533How euer now accompted Elfins sonne,
          534Well worthy doest thy seruice for her grace,
          535To aide a virgin desolate foredonne.
          536But when thou famous victorie hast wonne,
          537And high emongst all knights hast hong thy shield,
          538Thenceforth the suit of earthly conquest shonne,
          539And wash thy hands from guilt of bloudy field :
          540For bloud can nought but sin, & wars but sorrowes yield.

lxi
          541Then seeke this path, that I to thee presage,
          542Which after all to heauen shall thee send ;
          543Then peaceably to thy painefull pilgrimage
          544To yonder same Hierusalem do bend,
          545Where is for thee ordaind a blessed end:
          546For thou emongst those Saints, whom thou doest see,
          547Shalt be a Saint, and thine owne nations frend
          548And Patrone: thou Saint George shalt called bee,
          549Saint George of mery England, the signe of victoree.

lxii
          550Vnworthy wretch (quoth he) of so great grace,
          551How dare I thinke such glory to attaine?
          552These that haue it attaind, were in like cace
          553(Quoth he) as wretched, and liu'd in like paine.
          554But deeds of armes must I at last be faine,
          555And Ladies loue to leaue so dearely bought?
          556What need of armes, where peace doth ay remaine,
          557(Said he) and battailes none are to be fought?
          558As for loose loues are vaine, and vanish into nought.

lxiii
          559[Fol. K6r; p. 153] O let me not (quoth he) then turne againe
          560Backe to the world, whose ioyes so fruitlesse are ;
          561But let me here for aye in peace remaine,
          562Or streight way on that last long voyage fare,
          563That nothing may my present hope empare.
          564That may not be (said he) ne maist thou yit
          565Forgo that royall maides bequeathed care,
          566Who did her cause into thy hand commit,
          567Till from her cursed foe thou haue her freely quit.

lxiv
          568Then shall I soone, (quoth he) so God me grace,
          569Abet that virgins cause disconsolate,
          570And shortly backe returne vnto this place,
          571To walke this way in Pilgrims poore estate.
          572But now aread, old father, why of late
          573Didst thou behight me borne of English blood,
          574Whom all a Faeries sonne doen then nominate?
          575That word shall I (said he) auouchen good,
          576Sith to thee is vnknowne the cradle of thy brood.

lxv
          577For well I wote, thou springst from ancient race
          578Of Saxon kings, that haue with mightie hand
          579And many bloudie battailes fought in place
          580High reard their royall throne in Britane land,
          581And vanquisht them, vnable to withstand :
          582From thence a Faerie thee vnweeting reft,
          583There as thou slepst in tender swadling band,
          584And her base Elfin brood there for thee left.
          585Such men do Chaungelings call, so chaungd by Faeries theft.

lxvi
          586Thence she thee brought into this Faerie lond,
          587And in an heaped furrow did thee hyde,
          588Where thee a Ploughman all vnweeting fond,
          589As he his toylesome teme that way did guyde,
          590[Fol. K6v; p. 154] And brought thee vp in ploughmans state to byde,
          591Whereof Georgos he thee gaue to name;
          592Till prickt with courage, and thy forces pryde,
          593To Faery court thou cam'st to seeke for fame,
          594And proue thy puissaunt armes, as seemes thee best became.

lxvii
          595O holy Sire (quoth he) how shall I quight
          596The many fauours I with thee haue found,
          597That hast my name and nation red aright,
          598And taught the way that does to heauen bound?
          599This said, adowne he looked to the ground,
          600To haue returnd, but dazed were his eyne,
          601Through passing brightnesse, which did quite confound
          602His feeble sence, and too exceeding shyne.
          603So darke are earthly things compard to things diuine.

lxviii
          604At last whenas himselfe he gan to find,
          605To Vna back he cast him to retire;
          606Who him awaited still with pensiue mind.
          607Great thankes and goodly meed to that good syre,
          608He thence departing gaue for his paines hyre.
          609So came to Vna, who him ioyd to see,
          610And after litle rest, gan him desire,
          611Of her aduenture mindfull for to bee.
          612So leaue they take of Cœlia, and her daughters three.

Notes

1] Old spelling is retained except for ligatured letters, which are normalized. Contractions and abbreviations are expanded and underlined. Italics and original lineation are retained, but not small capitals and the text of catchwords, signatures, and running titles. Irregularities in spacing are ignored. Reference citations are by signatures and page numbers, and by editorial canto, stanza, and verse line numbers. Emendations are noted. Hung words are reattached to the end of the lines to which they belong.

176] Not in 1596.

321] Their: "There" in original.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Facsimile: Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene 1596, Volume 1, Introduction by Graham Hough (London: Scolar Press, 1976). PR 2358 A2H6 1976 Robarts Library. Electronic Text from Ian Lancashire, in collaboration with John Bradley, Willard McCarty, Michael Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge, Using TACT with Electronic Texts: A Guide to Text-Analysis Computing Tools, Version 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996). CD-ROM. QA 76.9.T48 L36.1976 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1596
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition:
Recent editing: 1:2002/6/30

Form: Spenserian Stanzas
Rhyme: ababbcbcc


Other poems by Edmund Spenser