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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
The blessed Angels to and fro descend
From highest heven in gladsome companee,
And with great ioy into that Citty wend,
As commonly as frend does with his frend.
Whereat he wondred much, and gan enquere,
What stately building durst so high extend
Her lofty towres unto the starry sphere,
And what unknowen nation there empeopled were.3


"Faire Knight," quoth he, "Hierusalem that is, The New Hierusalem, that God has built

For those to dwell in, that are chosen his,
His chosen people purg'd from sinful guilt
With pretious blood, which cruelly was spilt
On cursed tree, of that unspotted Lam,
That for the sinnes of al the world was kilt:
Now are they Saints all in that Citty sam,4

More dear unto their God then 5 younglings to their dam."


"Till now," said then the Knight, "I weened well,
That great Cleopolis where I have beene,
In which that fairest Fary Queene doth dwell,
The fairest citty was that might be seene;
And that bright towre, all built of christall clene,
Panthea, seemd the brightest thing that was:

1 Hight, was called.

2 Commonly, lovingly.

3 Empeopled were, dwelt.
4 Sum, same.


Then, than.

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,
That covett in th' immortall booke of fame

To be eternized, that same to haunt,

And doen their service to that soveraigne Dame,
That glory does to them for guerdon graunt:

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
Which after all to heaven shall thee send;
Then peaceably thy painefull pilgrimage
To yonder same Hierusalem doe bend,

1 Peece, structure.

2 Ymp, youth. 3 Fordonne, distressed.
4 Suitt, pursuit.
Presage, point out.

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,
Shalt be a Saint, and thine owne Nations Frend
And Patrone: Thou Saint George shalt called bee,
Saint George of mery England, the signe of victoree."


"Unworthy wretch," quoth he, "of so great grace,
How dare I thinke such glory to attaine!"
"These, that have it attaynd, were in like cace,"
Quoth he, "as wretched, and liv'd in like paine."
"But deeds of armes must I at last be faine1
And Ladies love to leave, so dearely bought?"

"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
Backe to the world, whose ioys so fruitlesse are;
But let me here for aie in peace remaine,

Or streightway on that last long voiage fare,
That nothing may my present hope empare."
"That may not be," said he, " ne maist thou yitt
Forgoe that royal Maides bequeathed care,
Who did her cause into thy hand committ,
Till from her cursed foe thou have her freely quitt."


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,
To walke this way in Pilgrims poore estate.
But now aread,1 old Father, why of late
Didst thou behight 2 me borne of English blood,
Whom all a Faeries sonne doen nominate?"
"That word shall I," said he, "avouchen good,
Sith 3 to thee is unknowne the cradle of thy brood.


"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,
And in an heaped furrow did thee hyde;
Where thee a ploughman all unweeting fond,
As he his toylesome teme that way did guyde,
And brought thee up in ploughman's state to byde,
Whereof Georgos he thee gave to name;

1 Aread, declare.
2 Behight, call.

Sith, since.

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
The many favours I with thee have fownd,
That hast my Name and Nation redd aright,
And taught the way that does to heaven bownd 3!"
This saide, adowne he looked to the grownd
To have returnd, but dazed were his eyne

Through passing brightnes, which did quite confound.
His feeble sence, and too exceeding shyne.4

So darke are earthly thinges compard to things divine!


At last, whenas himselfe he gan to fynd,
To Una back he cast him 5 to retyre;

Who him awaited still with pensive mynd.
Great thankes, and goodly meed, to that good Syre
He thens departing gave for his paynes hyre.

So came to Una, who him ioyd to see;

And, after little rest, gan him desyre
Of her Adventure myndfull for to bee.
So leave they take of Cælia and her Daughters three.

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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.

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