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Did labour lively to expresse the same, [came. And gladly did them guide, till to the hall they
There fayrely them receives a gentle squyre,
Of myld demeanure and rare courtesee,
Right cleanly clad in comely sad attyre ;
In word and deede that shewd great modestee,
And knew his good to all of each degree;
Hight 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 afterwards them to his dame he leades,
That aged dame, the lady of the place,
Who all this while was busy at her beacles;
Which doen, she up arose with seemely grace,
And toward thein full matronely did pace.
Where, when that fairest Una she beheld,
Whom well she knew to spring from bevenly race,
Her heart with ioy unwonted inly sweld,
As feeling wondrous comfort in her weaker eld:
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 hether stray?
" Straunge thing it is an errant knight to see to tra Here in this place; or any other wight,
That hether turnes his steps: so few there bee, the you 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, ai Dai And be partakers of their evill plight,
Then with a few to walke the rightest way: Diado 0! 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,
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 countenance demure, and modest grace,
They numbred even steps and equall pace :
Of which the eldest, that Fidelia hight,
Like sunny beames threw from her christall face,
That could have dazd the rash beholders sight,
And round about her head did shine like Hevens
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
A booke, that was both signd and seald with blood,
Wherein darke things were writt, hard to be under-
Her younger sister, that Speranza hight,
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 stedfast 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.
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
For she of late is lightned of her wombe,
And hath encreast the world with one sonne more,
That her to see should be but troublesome.”
“Indeed,” quoth she, “that should her trouble sore ;
But thankt be God, and her encrease for ever-.
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 recoyle.”
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 beavenly learning he might taste,
And heare the wisedom of her wordes divine.
She graunted; and that knight so much agraste,
That she him taught celestiall discipline, (shine.
And opened his dull eyes, that light mote in them
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 ;
Of God; of grace; of iustice ; 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 poure out her larger sprighi,
She would commaund the hasty Sunne to stray,
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 command themselves to beare away,
And throw in raging sea with roaring threat: [great.
Almightie God her gave such powre and puissaunce
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 ;
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 has his sinnes so great and manifold
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 Cælia to declare her smart;
Who well acquainted with that commune plight,
Which sinfull horror workes in wounded hart,
'ler wisely comforted all that she might,