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A Booke, that was both signd and seald with blood; Wherein darke things were writt, hard to be understood.


Her younger sister, that Speranza hight,1

Was clad in blew, that her beseemed well;
Not all so chearefull seemed she of sight,
As was her sister; whether dread did dwell
Or anguish in her hart, is hard to tell :
Upon her arme a silver anchor lay,
Whereon she leaned ever, as befell;

And ever up to heven, as she did pray,

Her steadfast eyes were bent, ne swarved other way.


They, seeing Una, towardes her gan wend,
Who them encounters with like courtesee;
Many kind speeches they betweene them spend,
And greatly ioy each other for to see:

Then to the Knight with shamefast modestie
They turne themselves, at Unaes meeke request,
And him salute with well beseeming glee;
Who faire them quites, as him beseemed best,
And goodly gan discourse of many a noble gest.3


Then Una thus; "But she, your sister deare,
The deare Charissa, where is she become?
Or wants she health, or busie is elswhere?"

"Ah! no," said they, "but forth she may not come ;
For she of late is lightned of her wombe,
And hath encreast the world with one sonne more,

1 Hight, was called.

Quites, salutes in return. 3 Gest, action.

XIV. 2. Was clad in blew.] Blue, the color of the heavens, has always been deemed the appropriate livery of Hope.

That her to see should be but troublesome."

"Indeed," quoth she, "that should her trouble sore; But thankt be God, and her encrease so evermore!"


Then said the aged Cælia; "Deare dame,
And you, good Sir, I wote that of youre toyle
And labors long, through which ye hether came,
Ye both forwearied be: therefore a whyle

I read you rest, and to your bowres 2 recoyle.3"
Then called she a groome, that forth him ledd
Into a goodly lodge, and gan despoile

Of puissant armes, and laid in easie bedd:

His name was meeke Obedience rightfully aredd.*


Now when their wearie limbes with kindly rest,
And bodies were refresht with dew repast,
Fayre Una gan Fidelia fayre request,
To have her Knight into her Schoolehous plaste,
That of her heavenly learning he might taste,
And heare the wisedom of her wordes divine.
She graunted; and that Knight so much agraste,5
That she him taught celestiall discipline,

And opened his dull eyes, that light mote in them shine.


And that her sacred Booke, with blood ywritt,

That none could reade except she did them teach,
She unto him disclosed every whitt ;

And heavenly documents thereout did preach,
That weaker witt of man could never reach;

1 Read, advise. Aredd, declared.

2 Bowres, chambers.

3 Recoyle, retire.

5 So much agraste, showed him so much grace. • Documents, instructions.

Of God; of Grace; of lustice; of Free-will;
That wonder was to heare her goodly speach:
For she was hable with her wordes to kill,
And rayse againe to life the hart that she did thrill.


And when she list pour out her larger spright, She would commaund the hasty sunne to stay, Or backward turne his course from hevens hight: Sometimes great hostes of men she could dismay ; Dry-shod to passe she parts the flouds in tway; And eke huge mountaines from their native seat She would commaund themselves to beare away, And throw in raging sea with roaring threat: Almightie God her gave such powre and puissaunce great.


The faithfull Knight now grew in little space,
By hearing her, and by her sisters lore,
To such perfection of all hevenly grace,
That wretched world he gan for to abhore,
And mortall life gan loath as thing forlore,1
Greevd with remembrance of his wicked wayes,
And prickt with anguish of his sinnes so sore,
That he desirde to end his wretched dayes:
So much the dart of sinfull guilt the soule dismayes!


But wise Speranza gave him comfort sweet,
And taught him how to take assured hold
Upon her silver anchor, as was meet;
Els had his sinnes so great and manifold

1 Forlore, deserted or forsaken.

XXI. 1. The faithfull Knight, &c.] In this and the following stanzas, Spenser depicts, with great force, the power of remorse, and its influence in producing repentance and reformation.

Made him forget all that Fidelia told.
In this distressed doubtfull agony,

When him his dearest Una did behold

Disdeining life, desiring leave to dye,
She found her selfe assayld with great perplexity;


And came to Calia to declare her smart ;
Who well acquainted with that commune1 plight,
Which sinfull horror workes in wounded hart,
Her wisely comforted all that she might,
With goodly counsell and advisement right;
And streightway sent with carefull diligence,
To fetch a leach, the which had great insight
In that disease of grieved conscience,

And well could cure the same; his name was Patience.


Who, comming to that sowle-diseased Knight,
Could hardly him intreat to tell his grief:

Which knowne, and all, that noyd 2 his heavie spright,
Well searcht, eftsoones 3 he gan apply relief
Of salves and med'cines, which had passing 4 prief5;
And thereto added wordes of wondrous might:

By which to ease he him recured brief,
And much aswag'd the passion of his plight,
That he his paine endur'd, as seeming now more light.


But yet the cause and root of all his ill,
Inward corruption and infected sin,

1 Commune, common.
2 Noyd, grieved.

3 Eftsoones, immediately.

XXIV. 8.— The passion of his plight.] The sufferings of his case.

4 Passing, surpassing.

5 Prief, proof or value.

6 Recured, restored.

Not purg'd nor heald, behind remained still,
And festring sore did ranckle yett within,
Close creeping twixt the marow and the skin:
Which to extirpe,1 he laid him privily
Downe in a darksome lowly place far in,
Whereas he meant his corrosives to apply,
And with streight diet tame his stubborne malady.


In ashes and sackcloth he did array

His daintie corse, proud humors to abate;
And dieted with fasting every day,

The swelling of his woundes to mitigate;
And made him pray both earely and eke late:
And ever, as superfluous flesh did rott,
Amendment readie still at hand did wayt,
To pluck it out with pincers fyrie whott,2
That soone in him was lefte no one corrupted iott.3



And bitter Penaunce, with an yron whip,
Was wont him once to disple every day:
And sharp Remorse his hart did prick and nip,


That drops of blood thence like a well did play:
And sad Repentance used to embay
His body in salt water smarting sore,
The filthy blottes of sin to wash away.

So in short space they did to health restore

The Man that would not live, but erst lay at deathes dore.



In which his torment often was so great,
That, like a lyon, he would cry and rore;

1 Extirpe, extirpate.

2 Whott, hot.

3 Iott, jot.



Disple, discipline.

5 Embay, bathe.

6 Erst, before.

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