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Is not short payne well borne, that bringes long ease, And layes the soule to sleepe in quiet grave? Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas, Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please."
The Knight much wondred at his suddeine wit,
Ne may a man prolong, nor shorten, it:
"Is not His deed, whatever thing is donne
In heaven and earth? Did not He all create
Are written sure, and have their certein date.
Or shunne the death ordaynd by destinie?
When houre of death is come, let none aske whence, nor why.
"The lenger life, I wote 6 the greater sin;
1 Sted, station.
2 Bed, orders.
3 Points, appoints.
4 Roome, place.
5 Droome, drum.
• Wote, deem.
For life must life, and blood must blood, repay.
Is not enough thy evill life forespent?
"Then doe no further goe, no further stray;
All which, and thousands mo,3 do make a loathsome life.
"Thou, wretched man, of death hast greatest need, If in true ballaunce thou wilt weigh thy state; For never Knight, that dared warlike deed, More luckless dissaventures 4 did amate 5: Witnes the dungeon deepe, wherein of late Thy life shutt up for death so oft did call ; And though good lucke prolonged hath thy date, Yet death then would the like mishaps forestall, Into the which hereafter thou maist happen fall.
Why then doest thou, O man of sin, desire
1 Ensewen, follow. 2 Rife, abundantly.
3 Mo, more.
Thou falsed1 hast thy faith with periuree,
"Is not he iust, that all this doth behold
From highest heven, and beares an equall eie?
Shall He thy sins up in His knowledge fold,
And guilty be of thine impietie?
Is not His law, Let every sinner die,
Die shall all flesh? What then must needs be donne?
Is it not better to doe willinglie,
Then linger till the glas be all out ronne?
Death is the end of woes: Die soone, O Faries sonne."
The Knight was much enmoved with his speach,
In which amazement when the Miscreaunt
3 As, as if.
4 Table, picture.
The damned ghosts, that doe in torments waile, And thousand feends, that doe them endlesse paine With fire and brimstone, which for ever shall remaine. L.
The sight whereof so throughly him dismaid,
By righteous sentence of th' Almighties law.
And brought unto him swords, ropes, poison, fire,
And bad him choose, what death he would desire: For death was due to him, that had provokt Gods ire.
But whenas none of them he saw him take,
At last, resolv'd to work his finall smart,
He lifted up his hand, that backe againe did start.
Which whenas Una saw, through every vaine
1 Overcraw, overcrow, assume a superiority over.
Reliv'd, brought to life again.
What meanest thou by this reprochfull strife?
"Come; come away, fraile, feeble, fleshly wight,
Why shouldst thou then despeire, that chosen art? Where justice growes, there growes eke greater grace, The which doth quench the brond of hellish smart, And that accurst hand-writing doth deface: Arise, sir Knight; arise, and leave this cursed place."
So up he rose, and thence amounted 1 streight.
1 Amounted, departed.
2 Drest, treated.
LIV. 5.- Unbid.] This word may mean either without being di rected by any one,' or, without praying, i. e. without bidding his beads,' as used in the third stanza of the next canto.
The powerful description of Despair, in this canto, is the portion of the poem which is said to have been submitted, in manuscript, to Sir Philip Sydney, and of which he testified his admiration in the liberal manner already related in the Life of Spenser. The story is, however, very improbable, and (as has been said) seeks to compliment the poet at the expense of the common sense of the patron.