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"We may not chaunge," quoth he, "this evill plight,
Till we be bathed in a living Well:
That is the terme prescribed by the spell."
“O how,” sayd he, "mote I that Well out find,
That may restore you to your wonted well 1?
"Time and suffised fates to former kynd 2
Shall us restore; none else from hence may us unbynd."
The false Duessa, now Fidessa hight,
Heard how in vaine Fradubio did lament,
And knew well all was true. But the good Knight,
Full of sad feare and ghastly dreriment,3
When all this speech the living tree had spent,
The bleeding bough did thrust into the ground,
That from the blood he might be innocent,
And with fresh clay did close the wooden wound:
Then turning to his Lady, dead with feare her fownd.
Her seeming dead he fownd with feigned feare,
As all unweeting of that well she knew;
And paynd himselfe with busie care to reare
Her out of carelesse swowne. Her eyelids blew,
And dimmed sight with pale and deadly hew,
At last she up gan lift; with trembling cheare
Her up he tooke, (too simple and too trew,)
And oft her kist. At length, all passed feare,
He set her on her steede, and forward forth did beare.
1 Well, well-being.
2 Kynd, nature.
3 Dreriment, sorrow.
4 Unweeting, unknowing.
Of these enchanted lovers we hear no more. Upton conjectures that their disenchantment would have been effected in some subsequent book, had the poem been completed.
Forsaken Truth long seekes her Love,
And makes the lyon mylde;
Marres blind Devotions mart, and fals
In hand of leachour vylde.
NOUGHT is there under heaven's wide hollownesse,
That moves more deare compassion of mind,
Then beautie brought t' unworthie wretchednesse
Through envies snares, or fortunes freakes unkind.
I, whether lately through her brightnes blynd,
Or through alleageance, and fast fealty,
Which I do owe unto all womankynd,
Feele my hart perst with so great agony,
When such I see, that all for pitty I could dy.
And now it is empassioned1 so deepe,
For fairest Unaes sake, of whom I sing,
That my frayle eies these lines with teares do steepe,
To think how she through guyleful handeling,
Though true as touch, though daughter of a king,
Though faire as ever living wight was fayre,
Though nor in word nor deede ill meriting,
1 Empassioned, moved.
I. 1. Nought, &c.] In this canto the adventures of Una are resumed, from the ninth stanza of the preceding canto.
II. 5. True as touch,] i. e. true as the touchstone by which other
substances are tried
Is from her Knight divorced in despayre,
And her dew loves deryv'd1 to that vyle Witches shayre.
Yet she, most faithfull Ladie, all this while
Forsaken, wofull, solitarie mayd,
Far from all peoples preace, as in exile,
In wildernesse and wastfull deserts strayd,
To seeke her Knight; who, subtily betrayd
Through that late vision which th' Enchaunter wrought, Had her abandond: She, of nought affrayd,
Through woods and wastnes wide him daily sought; Yet wished tydinges none of him unto her brought.
One day, nigh wearie of the yrkesome way,
From her unhastie beast she did alight;
And on the grasse her dainty limbs did lay
In secrete shadow, far from all mens sight;
From her fayre head her fillet she undight,3
And layd her stole aside: Her angels face,
As the great eye of heaven, shyned bright,
And make a sunshine in the shady place;
Did ever mortall eye behold such heavenly grace.
It fortuned, out of the thickest wood
A ramping lyon rushed suddenly,
Hunting full greedy after salvage blood:
1 Deryo'd, transferred. 2 Preace, press or throng. Undight, took off.
V. 2.. A ramping lyon.] Upton conjectures the lion to be the English monarch, the defender of the faith. He seems rather to represent a manly and courageous people like the English, and the homage he pays to Una betokens the respect which would be felt by such a people to beauty and innocence.
Soone as the royall Virgin he did spy,
With gaping mouth at her ran greedily,
To have attonce devourd her tender corse :
But to the pray when as he drew more ny,
His bloody rage aswaged with remorse,
And, with the sight amazd, forgat his furious forse.
Instead thereof he kist her wearie feet,
And lickt her lilly hands with fawning tong;
As1 he her wronged innocence did weet.2
O how can beautie maister the most strong,
And simple truth subdue avenging wrong!
Whose yielded pryde and proud submission,
Still dreading death, when she had marked long,
Her hart gan melt in great compassion;
And drizling teares did shed for pure affection.
"The lyon, lord of everie beast in field,”
Quoth she, "his princely puissance doth abate,
And mightie proud to humble weake does yield,
Forgetfull of the hungry rage, which late
Him prickt, in pittie of my sad estate: -
But he, my lyon, and my noble lord,
How does he find in cruell hart to hate
Her, that him lov'd, and ever most adord
As the god of my life? why hath he me abhord?”
Redounding 3 teares did choke th' end of her plaint,
Which softly ecchoed from the neighbour wood;
And, sad to see her sorrowfull constraint,
The kingly beast upon her gazing stood;
1 As, as if.
2 Weet, understand. 3 Redounding, flowing.
With pittie calmd, downe fell his angry mood.
At last, in close hart shutting up her payne,
Arose the Virgin borne of heavenly brood,
And to her snowy palfrey got agayne,
To seeke her strayed Champion if she might attayne.
The lyon would not leave her desolate,
But with her went along, as a strong gard
Of her chast person, and a faythfull mate
Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard:
Still, when she slept, he kept both watch and ward;
And, when she wakt, he wayted diligent,
With humble service to her will prepard:
From her fayre eyes he took commandement,
And ever by her lookes conceived her intent.
Long she thus traveiled through deserts wyde,
By which she thought her wandring Knight shold pas,
Yet never shew of living wight espyde;
Till that at length she found the troden gras,
In which the tract of peoples footing was,
Under the steepe foot of a mountaine hore:
The same she followes, till at last she has
A damzel spyde slow-footing her before,
That on her shoulders sad a pot of water bore.
To whom approching she to her gan call,
To weet, if dwelling place were nigh at hand;
But the rude wench her answerd nought at all;
She could not heare, nor speake, nor understand:
1 Weet, learn.
X. 9.- Shoulders sad,] i. e. sad on account of the weight of her burden.