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Her faithfull Knight faire Una brings
To house of Holinesse ;
Where he is taught repentaunce, and
WHAT man is he, that boasts of fleshly might
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.
She cast to bring him, where he chearen might, Till he recovered had his late decayed plight.
1 Daint, delicate.
2 Chearen, be cheered.
There was an auncient House not far away,
Of wretched soules, and helpe the helpelesse pore:
Dame Cælia men did her call, as thought
The eldest two, most sober, chast, and wise,
Though spousd, yet wanting wedlocks solemnize;
Arrived there, the dore they find fast lockt;
With lookes full lowly cast, and gate full slow,
1 Thewes, accomplishments.
2 Fere, husband.
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.
Wont on a staffe his feeble steps to stay,
Hight1 Humilta. They passe in, stouping low;
For streight and narrow was the way which he did show.
Each goodly thing is hardest to begin ;
Where them does meete a francklin 2 faire and free,
His name was Zele, that him right well became:
For in his speaches and behaveour hee
And gladly did them guide, till to the hall they came.
There fayrely them receives a gentle squyre,
As might become a squyre so great persons to greet.
'Hight, named. 2 Francklin, a country gentleman.
V. 9. For streight and narrow, &c.] "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life."-MATT. vii. 14.
VII. 5. — Knew his good, &c.] Knew how to behave suitably.
And toward them full matronely did pace. Where, when that fairest Una she beheld, Whom well she knew to spring from hevenly race, Her heart with ioy unwonted inly sweld, As feeling wondrous comfort in her weaker eld1:
And, her embracing, said; "O happy earth,
Hast wandred through the world now long a day,
Yett ceassest not thy weary soles to lead ; What grace hath thee now hether brought this way? Or doen thy feeble feet unweeting 2 hether stray?
"Straunge thing it is an errant Knight to see
And be partakers of their evill plight,
Then with a few to walke the rightest way :
"Thy selfe to see, and tyred limbes to rest,
1 Eld, age.
2 Unweeting, unknowing. IX. 5.- Ever-dying dread.] The perpetual fear of death.
That up to heven is blowne." The auncient Dame Him goodly greeted in her modest guyse, And enterteynd them both, as best became, With all the court'sies that she could devyse, Ne wanted ought to shew her bounteous or wise.
Thus as they gan of sondrie thinges devise,
With countenaunce demure, and modest grace,
Like sunny beames threw from her christall face That could have dazd 2 the rash beholders sight, And round about her head did shine like hevens light.
She was araied all in lilly white,
And in her right hand bore a cup of gold,
In which a serpent did himselfe enfold,
1 Hight, was called.
That.] That is put for that which.
XIII. 1. She was araied, &c.] Faith is dressed in white, of which color are the robes of saints and angels, and this is expressive of her celestial purity. She holds in her hand the New Testament, to which is applied the expression used by St. Peter of St. Paul's Epistles, 2 PET. iii. 16.
2 Dazd, dazzled.
XIII. 4.-A serpent.] The serpent was emblematic of health; and the restoring and healing power of Faith is here alluded to. The reader will recollect the brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness, and the application of it by our Savior, JOHN iii. 14.