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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 might, Till he recovered had his late decayed plight.

1 Daint, delicate.

2 Chearen, be cheered.


There was an auncient House not far away,
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.

2 Fere, husband.

III. 8.
IV. 1..

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 ;
But, entred in, a spatious court they see,
Both plaine and pleasaunt to be walked in ;

Where them does meete a francklin 2 faire and free,
And enterteines with comely courteous glee;

His name was Zele, that him right well became:

For in his speaches and behaveour hee
Did labour lively to expresse the same,

And gladly did them guide, till to the hall they came.


There fayrely them receives a gentle squyre,
Of myld demeanure and rare courtesee,
Right cleanly clad in comely sad 3
In word and deede that shewd great modestee,
And knew his good to all of each degree;
Hight1 Reverence: He them with speaches meet
Does faire entreat; no courting nicetee,
But simple, trew, and eke unfained sweet,

As might become a squyre so great persons to greet.

And afterwardes them to his Dame he leades,
That aged Dame, the Lady of the place,
Who all this while was busy at her beades;
Which doen, shee up arose with seemely grace,

3 Sad,

'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,
Whereon thy innocent feet doe ever tread!
Most vertuous Virgin, borne of hevenly berth,
That, to redeeme thy woefull Parents head
From tyrans rage and ever-dying dread,

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
Here in this place; or any other wight,
That hether turnes his steps: So few there bee,
That chose the narrow path, or seeke the right!
All keepe the broad high way, and take delight
With many rather for to goe astray,

And be partakers of their evill plight,

Then with a few to walke the rightest way :
O! foolish men, why hast ye to your own decay?"


"Thy selfe to see, and tyred limbes to rest,
O Matrone sage," quoth she, "I hether came;
And this good Knight his way with me addrest,
Ledd with thy prayses, and broad-blazed fame,

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,
Loe! two most goodly Virgins came in place,
Ylinked arme in arme, in lovely wise;

With countenaunce demure, and modest grace,
They numbred even steps and equall pace:
Of which the eldest, that Fidelia hight,1

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.

XII. 8.


She was araied all in lilly white,

And in her right hand bore a cup of gold,
With wine and water fild up to the hight,

In which a serpent did himselfe enfold,
That horrour made to all that did behold;
But she no whitt did chaunge her constant mood:
And in her other hand she fast did hold

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.

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