« PreviousContinue »
56 As he thereon stood gazing, he might see
The blessed angels to and fro descend
From highest heaven in gladsome companee,
And with great joy into that citie wend,
As commonly as friend 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.
57 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 sinfull 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 citie sam, More dear unto their God than younglings to their dam. 58 Till now, said then the knight, I weened well,
That great Cleopolis where I have beene,
In which that fairest Faerie Queene doth dwell,
The fairest citie was, that might be seene;
And that bright towre all built of christall clene,
Panthea, seemd the brightest thing that was:
But now by proofe all otherwise I weene;
For this great citie that does far surpas, And this bright angels towre quite dims that towre of glas. 59 Most trew, then said the holy aged man;
Yet is Cleopolis, for earthly frame,
The fairest peece that eye 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 heavenly borne, and heaven may justly vaunt.
60 And thou, faire 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.
But when thou famous victory hast wonne,
And high emongst all knights hast hong thy shield,
Thenceforth the suit of earthly conquest shonne,
And wash thy hands from guilt of bloody field: For blood can nought but sin, and wars but sorrows yield. 61 Then seek this path, that I to thee presage,
Which after all to heaven shall thee send;
Then peaceably thy painefull pilgrimage
To yonder same Hierusalem do bend,
Where is for thee ordaind a blessed end :
For thou emongst those saints, whom thou doest see
Shall 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. 62 Unworthy wretch (quoth he) of so great grace,
How dare I thinke such glory to attaine ?
These that have it attaind, were in like cace,
(Quoth he) as wretched, and liv'd in like paine.
But deeds of armes must I at last be faine
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. 63 O let me not (quoth he) then turne againe
Backe to the world, whose joyes so fruitlesse are ;
But let me here for aye in peace remaine,
Or streight way on that last long voyage fare,
That nothing may my present hope empare.
That may not be, (said he) ne maist thou yit
Forgo that royall maides bequeathed care,
Who did her cause into thy hand commit,
Till from her cursed foe thou have her freely quit.
64 Then shall I soone (quoth he) so God me grace,
Abet that virgins cause disconsolate,
And shortly back returne unto this place,
To walke this way in pilgrims poore estate.
But now aread, old father, why of late
Didst thou behight me borne of English blood,
Whom all a Faeries sonne doen nominate ?
That word shall I (said he) avouchen good,
Sith to thee is unknowne the cradle of thy brood.
65 For well I wote thou springst from ancient race
Of Saxon kings, 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 Faerie 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.
66 Thence she thee brought into this Faerie 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 ploughmans state to byde,
Whereof Georgos he gave thee to name;
Till prickt with courage, and thy forces pryde,
To Faerie court thou cam'st to seek for fame, And prove thy puissaunt armes, as seemes thee best became. 67 O holy Sire (quoth he) how shall I quight
The many favours I with thee have found,
That hast my name and nation red aright,
And taught the way that does to heaven bound?
This said, adowne he looked to the ground
To have returnd, but dazed were his eyne
Through passing brightnesse, which did quite confound
His feeble sence, and too exceeding shyne.
So darke are earthly things compard to things divine.
68 At last whenas himselfe he gan to find,
To Una back he cast him to retire ;
Who him awaited still with pensive mind.
Great thankes and goodly meed to that good syre
He thens departing gave for his paines hyre.
So came to Una, who him joyd to see,
And after little rest, gan him desyre
Of her adventure mindfull for to bee.
So leave they take of Caelia, and her daughters three.
The knight with that old Dragon fights
two dayes incessantly :
The third him overthrowes, and gayns
most glorious victory.
i High time now gan it wex for Una faire
To thinke of those her captive parents deare,
And their forwasted kingdome to repaire :
Whereto whenas they now approched neare,
With hartie wordes her knight she gan to cheare,
And in her modest manner thus bespake;
Deare knight, as deare as ever knight was deare,
That all these sorrowes suffer for my sake,
High heaven behold the tedious toyle ye for me take.
2 Now are we come unto my native soyle,
And to the place where all our perils dwell ;
Here haunts that feend, and does his dayly spoyle ;
Therefore henceforth be at your keeping well,
And ever ready for your foeman fell.
The sparke of noble courage now awake,
And strive your excellent selfe to excell:
That shall ye evermore renowmed make
Above all knights on earth, that batteill undertake.
3 [And pointing forth, Lo, yonder is said she)
The brasen towre, in which my parents deare
For dread of that huge feend emprisond be;
Whom I from far see on the walles appeare,
Whose sight my feeble soule doth greatly cheare:
And on the top of all I do espye
The watchman wayting tydings glad to heare,
That O my parents might I happily
Unto you bring, to ease you of your misery.]