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Too high a ditty for my simple song!
The Citty of the Greate King hight1 it well, Wherein eternall peace and happinesse doth dwell.
As he thereon stood gazing, he might see
"Faire Knight," quoth he, "Hierusalem that is, The New Hierusalem, that God has built
For those to dwell in, that are chosen his,
More dear unto their God then 5 younglings to their dam."
"Till now," said then the Knight, "I weened well,
1 Hight, was called.
2 Commonly, lovingly.
3 Empeopled were, dwelt.
6 Clene, pure.
LV. 7. — Too high a ditty.] Too lofty a theme or subject.
But now by proofe all otherwise I weene; For this great Citty that does far surpas, And this bright Angels towre quite dims that towre of glas
"Most trew," then said the holy aged man; "Yet is Cleopolis, for earthly frame,
The fairest peece1 that eie beholden can ;
And well beseemes all Knights of noble name,
To be eternized, that same to haunt,
And doen their service to that soveraigne Dame,
For she is hevenly borne, and heaven may iustly vaunt.
"And thou, fayre ymp, sprong out from English race, How ever now accompted Elfins sonne,
Well worthy doest thy service for her grace,
To aide a Virgin desolate fordonne.3
But when thou famous victory hast wonne,
And high emongst all Knights hast hong thy shield, Thenceforth the suitt of earthly conquest shonne, And wash thy hands from guilt of bloody field: For blood can nought but sin, and wars but sorrows, yield.
"Then seek this path that I to thee presage,5
1 Peece, structure.
2 Ymp, youth. 3 Fordonne, distressed.
LIX. 9. And heaven may iustly vaunt.] May justly boast of her heavenly origin.
LX. 3.- Her grace,] i. e. the Faerie Queene's.
Where is for thee ordaind a blessed end:
For thou emongst those Saints, whom thou doest see,
"Unworthy wretch," quoth he, "of so great grace,
"What need of armes, where peace doth ay remaine,' Said he," and battailes none are to be fought?
As for loose loves, they are vaine, and vanish into nought."
"O let me not," quoth he, "then turne againe
Or streightway on that last long voiage fare,
1 Faine, compelled.
2 Quitt, delivered.
LXI. 8.- Saint George.] The Saint George of history was a native of Cilicia, who flourished in the time of the Emperor Julian, and was adopted as the patron saint of England, on account of the supernatural aid he was supposed to have rendered the crusaders. The St. George of romance was a native of England, of royal lineage, conveyed away by an enchantress, soon after his birth; and when grown up, he slew a dragon, in Lybia.
"Then shall I soone," quoth he, "so God me grace,
Abett that Virgins cause disconsolate,
And shortly back returne unto this place,
"For well I wote thou springst from ancient race Of Saxon kinges, that have with mightie hand, And many bloody battailes fought in place, High reard their royall throne in Britane land, And vanquisht them, unable to withstand: From thence a Faery thee unweeting reft, There as thou slepst in tender swadling band, And her base Elfin brood there for thee left: Such, men do chaungelings call, so chaung'd by Faeries theft.
"Thence she thee brought into this Faery lond,
1 Aread, declare.
4 Unweeting, unknowing.
LXIV. 9.- The cradle of thy brood.] The source or race from which you spring.
LXVI. 6. — Georgos.] This is a Greek word, signifying a farmer. Spenser has here introduced the story of Tages, who was found by a
Till prickt with courage, and thy forces pryde, To Fary court thou cam'st to seek for fame, [came." And prove thy puissant armes, as seemes thee best be
"O holy Sire," quoth he, "how shall I quight1
Through passing brightnes, which did quite confound.
So darke are earthly thinges compard to things divine!
At last, whenas himselfe he gan to fynd,
Who him awaited still with pensive mynd.
So came to Una, who him ioyd to see;
And, after little rest, gan him desyre
3 Bound, lead.
Cast him, purposed.
farmer in Etruria, under a clod which his plough had turned up. The rustic education of the Red-cross Knight accounts for Spenser's calling him a "clownish young man in his letter to Sir W. Raleigh, prefixed to the poem. LXVII. 5.
looked to the ground
To have returnd.] He looked down to the ground with the purpose of returning.
LXVIII. 5. For his paynes hyre.] Recompense for his services.