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Ne weene my right with strength adowne to tread, Through weakenesse of my widowhed or woe: For Truth is strong her rightfull cause to plead, And shall finde friends, if need requireth soe. So bids thee well to fare, thy neither friend nor foe, "FIDESSA."
29 When he these bitter byting wordes had red,
The tydings straunge did him abashed make,
That still he sate long time astonished,
As in great muse, ne word to creature spake.
At last his solemne silence thus he brake,
With doubtfull eyes fast fixed on his guest:
"Redoubted Knight, that for myne only sake
Thy life and honor late adventurest ;
Let nought be hid from me, that ought to be exprest.
30 "What meane these bloody vowes and idle threats,
Throwne out from womanish impatient mynd?
What hevens? what altars? what enraged heates,
Here heaped up with termes of love unkynd,
My conscience cleare with guilty bands would bynd?
High God be witnesse, that I guiltlesse ame!
But if yourselfe, Sir Knight, ye faulty fynd,
Or wrapped be in loves of former dame,
With cryme doe not it cover, but disclose the same."
31 To whom the Redcrosse Knight this answere sent : "My Lord, my King; be nought hereat dismayd, Till well ye wote1 by grave intendiment,2
2 Intendiment, understanding.
What woman, and wherefore, doth me upbrayd
With breach of love and loialty betrayd.
It was in my mishaps, as hitherward
I lately traveild, that unwares I strayd
Out of my way, through perils straunge and hard;
That day should faile me ere I had them all declard.
There did I find, or rather I was fownd
Of this false woman that Fidessa hight;
Fidessa hight the falsest dame on grownd,
Most false Duessa, royall richly dight,
That easy was t' inveigle weaker sight:
Who by her wicked arts and wiely skill,
Too false and strong for earthly skill or might,
Unwares me wrought unto her wicked will,
And to my foe betrayd, when least I feared ill.”
33 Then stepped forth the goodly royall Mayd,
And, on the ground herselfe prostrating low,
With sober countenaunce thus to him sayd:
"O, pardon me, my soveraine Lord, to sheow
The secret treasons, which of late I know
To have bene wrought by that false sorceresse:
Shee, onely she, it is, that earst did throw
This gentle Knight into so great distresse,
That death him did awaite in daily wretched-
34 "And now it seemes, that she suborned hath This crafty messenger with letters vaine,1
To worke new woe and improvided scath,1
By breaking of the band betwixt us twaine;
Wherein she used hath the practicke paine2
Of this false footman, clokt with simplenesse,
Whome if ye please for to discover plaine,
Ye shall him Archimago find, I ghesse,
The falsest man alive; who tries, shall find no
35 The King was greatly moved at her speach;
And, all with suddein indignation fraight,3
Bad on that Messenger rude hands to reach.
Eftsoones the gard, which on his state did wait,
Attacht that faytor 4 false, and bound him strait :
Who seeming sorely chauffed at his band,
As chained beare whom cruell dogs doe bait,
With ydle force did faine them to withstand;
And often semblaunce made to scape out of their
36 But they him layd full low in dungeon deepe,
And bound him hand and foote with yron chains ;
And with continual watch did warely keepe.
Who then would thinke, that by his subtile trains
He could escape fowle death or deadly pains?
Thus, when that Princes wrath was pacifide,
He gan renew the late forbidden bains,5
And to the Knight his daughter deare he tyde
With sacred rites and vowes for ever to abyde.
1 Improvided scath, unforeseen mischief.
2 Practicke paine, treacherous service.
& Fraight, fraught.
4 Faytor, deceiver.
5 Bains, banns.
37 His owne two hands the holy knotts did knitt,
That none but death for ever can divide ;
His owne two hands, for such a turne most fitt,
The housling1 fire did kindle and provide,
And holy water thereon sprinckled wide ;
At which the bushy teade 2 a groome did light,
And sacred lamp in secret chamber hide,
Where it should not be quenched day nor night,
For feare of evill fates, but burnen ever bright.
38 Then gan they sprinckle all the posts with wine,
And made great feast to solemnize that day :
They all perfumde with frankincense divine,
And precious odours fetcht from far away,
That all the house did sweat with great aray:
And all the while sweete musicke did apply
Her curious skill the warbling notes to play,
To drive away the dull meláncholy;
The whiles one sung a song of love and iollity.
39 During the which there was an heavenly noise Heard sownd through all the pallace pleasantly, Like as it had bene many an angels voice Singing before th' Eternall Maiesty,
In their trinall triplicities on hye:
1 Housling, sacramental.
4. A rite derived from the marriages of the an
XXXIX. 5. Trinall triplicities.] Some of the Christian Fathers have considered that there were various ranks and degrees among the angels in heaven. One of them divides them into three hierarchies, with various orders in each hierarchy: in
Yett wist no creature whence that hevenly sweet Proceeded, yet each one felt secretly,
Himselfe thereby refte of his sences meet, And ravished with rare impression in his sprite.
40 Great ioy was made that day of young and old,
And solemne feast proclaymd throughout the land,
That their exceeding merth may not be told:
Suffice it heare by signes to understand
The usuall ioyes at knitting of loves band.
Thrise happy man the Knight himselfe did hold,
Possessed of his Ladies hart and hand;
And ever, when his eie did her behold,
His heart did seeme to melt in pleasures manifold.
41 Her ioyous presence, and sweet company,
In full content he there did long enioy;
Ne wicked envy, ne vile gealosy,
His deare delights were hable to annoy :
Yet swimming in that sea of blisfull ioy,
He nought forgott how he whilome had sworne,
In case he could that monstrous Beast destroy,
Unto his Faery Queene backe to retourne;
The which he shortly did; and Una left to mourne.
42 Now, strike your sailes, yee iolly mariners,
For we be come unto a quiet rode,
Where we must land some of our passengers,
And light this weary vessell of her lode.
the first are seraphim, cherubim, and thrones; in the second, dominions, mights, and powers; in the third, principalities, archangels, and angels. H.