Page images
PDF
EPUB

“When end,” quoth she, “ should cause us take

such paine, But that same end, which every living wight Should make his marke, high Heaven to attaine ? Is not from hence the way, that leadeth right To that most glorious House, that glistreth bright With burning starres and everliving fire, Whereof the keies are to thy hand behight By wise Fidelia? She doth thee require, To shew it to this knight, according his desire.”

“ Thrise happy man,” said then the father grave,
“Whose staggering steps thy steady hand duth lead,
And shewes the way his sinfull soule to save !
Who better can the way to Heaven aread
Then thou thyselfe, that was both borne and bred
In hevenly throne, where thousand angels shine ?
Thou doest the praiers of the righteous sead
Present before the Majesty Divine,
And his avenging wrath to clemency incline.

“ Yet, since thou bidst, thy pleasure shal be donne.
Then come, thou man of Earth, and see the way,
That never yet was seene of Faries sonne;
That never leads the traveiler astray,
But, after labors long and sad delay,
Brings them to ioyous rest and endlesse blis.
Bnt first thou must a season fast and pray,
Till from her bands the spright assoiled is, [tis."
And have her strength recur'd from fraile infirmi-

That done, he leads him to the highest mount;
Such one, as that same mighty man of God,
That blood-red billowes like a walled front

On either side disparted with bis rod,
Till that his army dry-foot through them yod,
Dwelt forty daies upon; where, writt in stone
With bloody letters by the hand of God,
The bitter doome of death and balefull mone
He did receive, whiles flashing fire about him shone:

Or like that sacred hill, whose head full hie,
Adornd with fruitfull olives all arownd,
Is, as it were for endlesse memory
Of that deare Lord who oft thereon was fownd,
For ever with a flowring girlond crownd:
Or like that pleasaunt mount, that is for ay
Through famous poets verse each where renownd,
On which the thrise three learned ladies play [lay.
Their hevenly notes, and make full many a lovely

From thence, far off he unto him did shew
A little path, that was both steepe and long,
Which to a goodly citty led his vew ;
Whose wals and towres were builded high and

strong
Of perle and precious stone, that earthly tong
Cannot describe, nor wit of man can tell ;
Too high a ditty for my simple song !
The citty of the Greate King hight 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 friend does with his frend,

vod

,

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.

tone

one

ie,

"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, [dam."
More dear unto their God then younglings to their

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

“ Till now," said then the knight, “I weened well,
That great Cleopolis where I have beene,
In which that fairest Faery 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 :
But now by proofe all otherwise I weene ;
For this great citty that does far surpas, (of glas.',
And this bright angels towre quite dims that towre

ing

i doc?

Most trew," then said the holy aged man;
“ Yet is Cleopolis, for earthly frame,
The fairest peece 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, 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 suitt of earthly conquest shonne,
And wash thy hands from guilt of bloody field:
For blood can nought but sin, and wars but sor-

rows, yield.

“ 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 doe 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."

“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 faine And ladies love to leave, so dearely bought ?" What need of armes, where peace doth ay re

maine,"

Said he, “and battailes none are to be fought?
As for loose loves, they' are vaine, and vanish into

nought.”

[ocr errors]

“O let me not,” quoth he," then turne ágaine
Backe to the world, whose ioyes 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 bave her freely quitt.”

“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, 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.

“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.

« PreviousContinue »