Abbildungen der Seite

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 ardrest, la goodly tbewes, 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 daine Fidelia and Speranza, virgins were;

Him goodly greeted in her modest gurse, Though spousd, yet wanting wedlocks solemnize; And enterteynd them both, as best became, But faire Charissa to a lovely fere

With all the court'sies that she could devyse, Was lincked, and by him bad 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 warely watched night and day,

Loe! two most goodly virgins came 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 numbred 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 Humiltà. They passe in, stouping low;

That could hare dazd the rash beholders sight, For streight and narrow was the way which he did And round about her head did shine like Hevins show.

light. Each goodly thing is bardest to begin;

She was arajed 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; lo word and deede that shewd great modestee,

Not all so chearefull seemed she of sight, And knew his good to all of each degree;

As was her sister; whether dread did dwell Hight Reverence: he them with speaches meet

Or anguish in her hart, is hard to tell : Does faire entreat ; no courting nicetee,

Upon her arme a silver anchor lay,
But simple, trew, and eke unfained sweet,

Whereor 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 dame 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;
Whicht doen, she up arose with seemely grace,

Many kind speeches they betweene them spend, And toward them full matronely did pace.

And greatly ioy each other for to see: Wbere, when that fairest Una she beheld,

Then to the knight with shamefast modestie Whom well she knew to spring from hevenly race,

They turne themselves, at Unaes meeke request,

And him salute with well beseeming glee; Pher heart with joy unwonted inly sweld,

Who faire them quites, as him be seemed bet, As feeling wondrous comfort in her weaker eld:

And goodly gan discourse of many a noble gest. And, her embracing, said; “ ( happy earth, Then Una thus; “But 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 1 “ Ab! 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 sinne more, Yat ceassest not thy weary soles to lead;

That her to see should be but troublesome.” What grace hath thee now hether brought this way?

“ Indeed," quotl she, “that should her trouble sore; Or doen thy feeble feet unwceting hether stray ? But thankt be God, and her encrease for evermore! * Straunge thing it is an errant knight to see Then said the aged Cælia; “ Deare daine, Here in this place; or any other wight,

And you, good sir, I wote that of youre toyle That hether 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, , per

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: O! foolish men, why hast ye to your own decay?” | His name was meeke Obedience rigbtfully areda.

Now when their wearie limbes with kindly rest, But yet the cause and root of all his ill,
And bodies were refresht with dew repast,

Inward corruption and infected sin,
Fayre Una gan Fidelia fayre request,

Not purg'd nor heald, behind remained stil,
To have her knight into her schoolehoas plaste, And festring sore did ranckle yett within,
That of her heavenly learning he might taste, Close creeping twixt the marow and the skin:
And heare the wisedom of her wordes divine. Which to extirpe, be laid him privily
She graunted; and that knight so much agraste, Downe in a darksome lowly place far in,
That she him taught celestiall discipline, (shine. Whereas he meant his corrosives to apply,
And opened his dull eyes, that light mote in them And with streight diet tame his stubborbe malady.
And that her sacred booke, with blood ywritt. In ashes and sackcloth he did array
That none could reade except she did them teach, His daintie corse, proud humors to abate;
She unto him disclosed every whitt;

And dieted with fasting every day,
And heavenly documents thereout did preach, The swelling of his wonndes to mitigate;
That weaker witt of man could never reach;

And made him pray both earely and eke late:
Of God; of grace; of iustice'; of free-will;

And ever, as superfluous flesh did rott, That wonder was to heare her goodly speach : Amendment readie still at hand did wayt, For she was hable with her wordes to kill,

To pluck it out with pincers fyrie whott, And rayse againe to life the hart that she did thrill. That soone in him 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 bis 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 fouds 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 sin 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 bis owne synewes eat. To such perfection of all hevenly grace,

His owne deare Una, hearing evermore
That wretched world he gan for to abhore,
And morta]l life gan loath as thing forlore;

His ruefull shriekes and growings, often tore
Greevd with remembrance of his wicked wayes,

Her guiltlesse garments and her golden heare,

For pitty of his payne and anguish sore:
And prickt with anguish of his sinnes so sore,
That he desirde to end his wretched dayes :

Yet all with patience wisely she did beare;
So much the dart of sinfull guilt the soule dismayes! For well she wist his cryme could els be never cleare.

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 besought Els has his sinnes so great and manifold

Himselfe to chearish, and consuming thought Made him forget all that Fidelia told. In this distressed doubtfull agony,

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, She found her selfe assayld with great perplexity; To her fayre Una brought this unacquainted guest. 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, Her wisely comforted all that she might,

That was on Earth not easie to compare; With goodly counsell and advisement right;

Full of great love; but Cupids wanton spare And streightway sent with carefull diligence,

As Hell she hated; chaste in worke and will; To fetch a leach, the wbich bad great insight

Her necke and brests were ever open bare, In that disease of grieved conscience, (tience. That ay thereof her babes might sucke their fill; And well could cure the same; his name was Pa- The rest was all in yellow robes arayed still. Who, comming to that sowle-diseased knight, A multitude of babes about her hong, Could hardly him intreat to tell his grief:

Playing their sportes, that ioyd her to behold; Which knowne, and all, that noyd his heavie spright, Whom still she fed, whiles they were weake and Well searcht, eftsoones hę gan apply relief

young, Of salves and med cines, which had passing prief; But thrust them forth still as they wexed old: And thereto added wordes of wondrous might : And on her head she wore a tyre of gold, By which to ease he him recured brief,

Adornd wita gemmes and owches wondrous fayre, And much aswag'd the passion of his plight, Whose passing price uneath was to be told : That he bis paine endur'd, as seeming now more And by her syde there sate a gentle payre light.

Of turtle doves, she sitting in an yvory chayre.

The knight and Una entring fayre her greet, | 'The third had of their wardrobe custody,
And bid ber joy of that ber happy brood :

In which were not rich tyres, nor garments gay,
Who them requites with court'sies seeming meet, The plumes of pride, and winges of vanity,
And entertaynes with friendly chearefull mood. But clothës meet to keep keene cold away,
Then Una her besoughi, to be so good

And naked nature seemely to array; As in her vertuous rules to schoole her knight, With which bare wretched wights he dayly clad, Now after all bis torinent well withstood

The images of God in eartbly clay;
In that sad House of Penaunce, where his spright And, if that no spare clothes to give he had,
Had past the paines of Hell and long-enduring uight. His owne cote he would cut, and it distribute glad.
She was right joyous of her iust reqrest;

The fourth appointed by his office was
And, taking by the hand that Faeries sonne, Poore prisoners to relieve with grations ayd,
Gan him instruct in everie good behest,

And captives to redeeme with price of bras
Of love; and righteousnes; and well to donne; From Turkes and Sarazins, which them had stayd ;
And wrath and hatred warëly to shonne,

And though they faulty were, yet well be 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 stow re, From thence to Heaven she teacheth him the ready The faulty soules from thence brought to his hea

venly bowre. Wherein bis weaker wandring steps to guyde, An auncient matrone she to her does call,

The fist had charge sick persons to attend, Whose sober lookes her wisedome well deseryde; 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 ar.ght, that he should never fall

All is but lost, that living we bestow, In all his waies through this wide worldës wave; If not well ended at our dying 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 Forth from her presence, by a narrow way, The sixt had charge of them now being dead, Seat red with bushy thornes and ragged breares, In spemely sort their corses to engrave, Which still before him she remov'd away,

And deck with dainty flowres their brydall bed, That Lothing might his ready passage stay: That to their heavenly Spouse both sweet and brave And ever when nis feet encombred were,

They might appeare, when be their soules shall save. Or gan to shrinke, or from the right to stray, The wondrous workmanship of Gods owne mould, She held bim fast, and tirmely did upbeare;

Whose face he made all beastes to feare, and gave As carefull course 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! Eftssones anto an holy hospitall,

The seventh, now after death and buriall done, That was foreby the way, she did him bring; Kad charge the tender orphans of the dead In which seven bead-men, that had vowed all And wydowes ayd, least they should be undone: Their life to serv ce of high Heavens King,

In face of iudgement he their right would plead, Did spend their daies 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 bim feast againe,

He humbly louted in meeke lowlinésse, And double quite for that he on them spent ;

And seemely welcome for her did prepare: But sach, as want of harbour did constraine:

For of their order she was patronesse, Tbose for Gods sake his dewty was to entertaine. Albe Charissa were their chiefest founderesse. The second was an almger 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: And 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 be lesse, yet some he would give to the pore. In holy righteousnesse, without rebuke or blame.


Thence forward by that painfull way they pas That done, he leads him to the highest mount;
Forth to an hill, that was both steepe and hy; Such one, as that same mighty man of God,
On top whereof a sacred chappell was,

That blood-red billowes like a walled front
And eke a litle hermitage thereby,

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 eiep both blunt and bad, Is, 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 Powring girlond crownd : As eagles eie, that can behold the Supne.

Or like that pleasaunt 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 hevenly potes, aud make full many a lovely

From thence, far off he unto him did shew
There they doe finde that godly aged sire,

A little path, that was both steepe and long,
With snowy lockes adowne his shoulders shed; Which to a goodly citty led his vew;
As hoary frost with spangles doth attire

Whose wals and towres were builded bigh 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 car'd his carcas long unfed; 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 stood gazing, he might see
Who, when these two approching he aspide, The blessed angels to and fro descend
At their first presence grew agrieved sore,

From highest Heven in gladsome compance,
That forst bim lay his hevenly thoughts aside; And with great joy into that citty wend,
And had he not that dame respected more,

As commonly as frend does with his frend. Whom highly he did reverence and adore,

Whereat be wondred much, and gan enquere, He would not once have moved for the knight. What stately building durst so bigh 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,
Bụt that same end, which every living wight
Should make his marke, high Heaven to attaine?

His chosen people purg'd from sinful guilt

With pretions blood, which cruelly was spilt Is not from hence the way, that leadeth right

On cursed tree, of that unspotted Lam,
To that most glorious House, that glistreth bright

That for the sinnes of al the world was kilt:
With burning starres and everliving fire,
Whereof the keies are to thy hand behight

Now are they saints all in that citty sam, [dam."

More dear unto their God then younglings to their By wise Fidelia? She doth thee require, 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 covett in th' immortall booke of fame But, after labors long and sad delay,

To be eternized, that same to haunt, Brings them to joyous rest and endlesse blis. And doen their service to that soveraigne dame, But first thou must a season fast and pray, That gory does to them for guerdon graunt: Till from her bands the spright assoiled

! is, (tis.” For she is hevenly borne, and Heaven may justly And bave ber strength recur'd from fra le infirmi.


* And thoa, faire ymp, sprong out from English race," O holy sire,” quoth he,“ how shall I quight How ever now accompted Elfins sonne,

The many favours I with thee have fownd, Well Forthy doest thy service for her grace, That hast my name and nation redd aright, To aide a virgin desolate fordonne.

And taught the way that does to Heaven bownd!" But when thou famous victory hast wonne, This saide, adowne he looked to the grownd And high emongst all knights hast hong thy shield, To have returnd, but dazed were his eyne Thenceforth the suitt of earthly conquest shonne, Through passing brightnes, which did quite confound And wash thy hands from guilt of bloody field : His feeble sence, and too exceeding shyne. (vine! For blood can nought but sin, and wars but sor- So darke are earthly thinges compard to thinges di.

rows, yield. * Then seek this path that I to thee presage,

At last, whenas bimself he gan to fynd, Which after all to Hearen shall thee send;

To Una back he cast him to retyre ; Then peaceably thy painefull pilgrimage

Who him awaited still with pensive mynd. To yooder same Hierusalem doe hend,

Great thankes, and goodly meed, to that good syre Where is for thee ordaind a blessed end:

He thens departing gave for his paynes hyre. For thon emongst thuse saints, whom thou doest see,

So came to Una, who him ioyd to see; Shall be a saint, and nine owne nations frend

And, after litle rest, gan bim desyre

Of her adventure mindfull for to bee. And patrone: thou Saint George shalt called bee, Szet George of mery England, the signe of victoree.” So leave they take of Cælia and her daughters three. * Coworthy wretch," quoth he, "of so great grace, How dare I thinke such glory to attaine!” " These, that have it attaynd, were in like caee,” Quoth he, “as wretched, and liv'd in like paine."

CANTO XI. “ Bot deeds of armes must I at last be faine And ladies love to leave, so dearely bought ?"

The knight with that old dragon fights “ What need of armes, where peace doth ay re

Two dayes incessantly: maine,"

The third, him overthrowes; and gayns Said be, “ and battailes none are to be fought?

Most glorious victory. As for loose loves, they' are vaine, and vanish into nought."

High time now gan it wex for Una fayre O let me not,” quotb he," then turne againe

To thinke of those her captive parents deare, Backe to the world, whose joyes so fruitlesse are; And their forwasted kingdom to repayre: Bat let me here for aie in peace remaine,

Whereto whenas they now approched neare, Or streightway on that last long voiage fare, With hartie wordes her knight she gan to cheare, That bothing may my present hope empare." And in her modest manner thus bespake; * That may not be," said he,“ ne maist thou yitt

“ Deare knight, as deare as ever knight was deare, Forgoe that royal maides bequeathed care, That all these sorrowes suffer for my sake, (take! Who did her cause into thy hand committ, High Heven behold the tedious toyle, ye for me Till from her cursed foe thou have her freely quitt.” Then sball I soone,” quoth he,“ so God me grace,

“ Now are we come unto my native soy le, Abett that virgins cause disconsolate,

And to the place where all our perilles dwell; And shortly back returne unto this place,

Here hauntes that feend, and does his daily spoyle; To walke tbis way in pilgrims poore estate.

Therefore henceforth bee at your keeping well, Bat oow aread, old father, why of late

And ever ready for your foeman fell: Didst thou behight me borne of English blood, The sparke of noble corage now awake, Whom all a Faeries sonne doen nominate?” And strive your excellent selfe to excell: * That Ford shall I," said he,“ avouchen good, l'hạt shall ye evermore renow med make Sith to thee is unknowne the cradle of thy brood. Above all knights on Earth, that batteill undertake." ti For well I wote thou springst from ancient race Of Saxon kinges, that have with mightie hand,

And pointing forth, “Lo! yonder is,” said she,

“ The brasen towre, in which my parents deare And many bloody battailes fought in place,

For dread of that huge feend emprisond be;
High reard their royall throne in Britane land,

Whom I from far see on the walles appeare,
Aod vanqnisht them, unable to withstand :
From thence a Faery thee unweeting reft,

Whose sight my feeble soule doth greatly cheare:

And on the top of all I do espye There as tbon slepst in tender swadling band,

The watchman wayting tydings glad to heare; And her base Elfin brood there for thee left : Sach, men do chaungelings call, so chaung'd by Unto you bring, to ease you of your misery!"

That, O my parents, m ght I happily Faeries theft * Thence she thee brought into this Faery lond, With that they heard a roaring hideous sownd, And in an beaped furrow did thee hyde;

That all the ayre with terror filled wyde, Where thee a ploughman all unweeting fond, And seemd uneath to shake the stedfast ground. As he his toylesome teme that way did guyde, Eftsoones that dreadful dragon they espyde, And brought thee up in ploughmans state to byde, Where stretcht he lay upon the sunny side Whereof Géorgos he thee gave to name;

Of a great hill, himselfe like a great bill: Til prickt with courage, and thy forces pryde, But, all so soone as he from far descryde To Fary court thou cam'st to seek for fame, Those glistring armes that Heveu with light did fill, And prove thy puissant armes, as seemes thee best He rousd himselfe full blyth, and hastned them inbecame."


« ZurückWeiter »