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Thou falsed1 hast thy faith with periuree,

And sold thy selfe to serve Duessa vild,

With whom in all abuse thou hast thy selfe defild?


"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,
That as a swords poynt through his hart did perse,
And in his conscience made a secrete breach,
Well knowing trew all that he did reherse,
And to his fresh remembraunce did reverse:
The ugly vew of his deformed crimes;
That all his manly powres it did disperse,
As 3 he were charmed with inchaunted rimes;
That oftentimes he quakt, and fainted oftentimes.


In which amazement when the Miscreaunt

Perceived him to waver weake and fraile,
Whiles trembling horror did his conscience daunt,
And hellish anguish did his soule assaile;
To drive him to despaire, and quite to quaile,
Hee shewd him painted in a table 4 plaine

1 Falsed, broken.

2 Reverse, cause to return. VOL. I.


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.


The sight whereof so throughly him dismaid,
That nought but death before his eies he saw,
Aud ever burning wrath before him laid,
By righteous sentence of th' Almighties law.
Then gan the Villein him to overcraw,1
And brought unto him swords, ropes, poison, fire,
And all that might him to perdition draw;

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,
He to him raught2 a dagger sharpe and keene,
And gave it him in hand: his hand did quake
And tremble like a leafe of aspin greene,

And troubled blood through his pale face was seene
To come and goe, with tidings from the heart,
As 3 it a ronning messenger had beene.

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
The crudled cold ran to her well of life,
As in a swowne: but, soone reliv'd 5 againe,
Out of his hand she snatcht the cursed knife,
And threw it to the ground, enraged rife,
And to him said; "Fie, fie, faint-hearted Knight,

1 Overcraw, overcrow, assume a superiority over.

2 Raught, reached.

Crudled, curdled.

3 As, as if.

Reliv'd, brought to life again.

What meanest thou by this reprochfull strife?

Is this the battaile, which thou vauntst to fight With that fire-mouthed Dragon, horrible and bright?


"Come; come away, fraile, feeble, fleshly wight, Ne let vaine words bewitch thy manly hart, Ne divelish thoughts dismay thy constant spright: In heavenly mercies hast thou not a part? 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 amounted1 streight.
Which when the Carle beheld, and saw his guest
Would safe depart, for all his subtile sleight;
He chose an halter from among the rest,
And with it hong himselfe, unbid, unblest.
But death he could not worke himselfe thereby;
For thousand times he so himselfe had drest,2
Yet nathëlesse it could not doe him die,

'Till he should die his last, that is, eternally.*

1 Amounted, departed.

2 Drest, treated.

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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.


Her faithfull Knight faire Una brings
To house of Holinesse;

Where he is taught repentaunce, and

The way to hevenly blesse.


WHAT man is he, that boasts of fleshly might
And vaine assurance of mortality,

Which, all so soone as it doth come to fight
Against spirituall foes, yields by and by,
Or from the fielde most cowardly doth fly!
Ne let the man ascribe it to his skill,
That thorough grace hath gained victory:
If any strength we have, it is to ill;

But all the good is Gods, both power and eke will.


By that which lately hapned, Una saw

That this her Knight was feeble, and too faint;
And all his sinewes woxen weake and raw,
Through long emprisonment, and hard constraint,
Which he endured in his late restraint,
That yet he was unfitt for bloody fight.
Therefore to cherish him with diets daint,1

She cast to bring him, where he chearen 2 might, Till he recovered had his late decayed plight.

1 Daint, delicate.

2 Chearen, be cheered.


There was an auncient House not far


Renowmd throughout the world for sacred lore
And pure unspotted life: so well, they say,
It governd was, and guided evermore,
Through wisedome of a Matron grave and hore;
Whose onely ioy was to relieve the needes

Of wretched soules, and helpe the helpelesse pore:
All night she spent in bidding of her bedes,
And all the day in doing good and godly deedes.


Dame Cælia men did her call, as thought
From heaven to come, or thether to arise;
The mother of three Daughters, well upbrought
In goodly thewes,' and godly exercise:
The eldest two, most sober, chast, and wise,
Fidelia and Speranza, Virgins were;

Though spousd, yet wanting wedlocks solemnize;
But faire Charissa to a lovely fere 2

Was lincked, and by him had many pledges dere.


Arrived there, the dore they find fast lockt;
For it was warely watched night and day,
For feare of many foes; but, when they knockt,
The porter opened unto them streight way.
He was an aged syre, all hory gray,

With lookes full lowly cast, and gate full slow,

1 Thewes, accomplishments.

IV. 1.

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2 Fere, husband.

III. 8. — Bidding of her bedes.] In prayers and devotional exercises. Dame Calia, &c.] Calia means heavenly. Fidelia, Speranza, and Charissa, as their names indicate, are Faith, Hope, and Charity.

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