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sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love. and for an helmet the hope of salvation."
“A gentle knight was pricking on the plain,
Yclad in mightie arms and silver shield,
Full jolly knight he seem'd, and fair did sit,
The steed ridden by the knight represents ths human passions and desires which carry us well
o n our way when under due restraint; and in this sense skill in horsemanship ranks high among tl attainments of a faerie knight. The dragon again which the Red Cross Knight has undertaken th: chief enterprise in pursuit of which he meets wit all the others, is called in the twentieth chapter Revelation “the dragon, that old serpent, which the devil.” In this enterprise the faerie knight champion of Truth, lowly and pure, patient desire, dispassionate and slow of pace, wherefore sh has a snow-white ass for “ palfrey slow.” She is th > guide and companion of Innocence, typified by milk-white lamb, herself as guileless, and descende from the angels who knew man in Paradise. She : * not named until a counterfeit image is made to sury plant her, and then (in the 45th stanza) she is firs called, because truth is simple and single, Una :
“A lovely lady rode him fair beside,
Seeméd in heart some hidden care she had, And by her in a line a milk-white lamb she lad.
“So púre an innocent as that same lamb
Forwasted ? all their land, and them expelled:
The dwarf that follows, lagging far behind the spiritual part, represents the flesh and its needs: when the allegory is read as personal, the dwarf 3 represents simply the flesh of man ; when it is read as national, the dwarf stands for the body of the people :
“ Behind her far away a dwarf did lag,
That lazy seem'd in being ever last,
That every wight to shroud it did constrain,
THE RED CROSS KNIGHT. From the first Edition of the “ Faerie Queene" (Books I., II., III.), 1590.
“ Upon a great adventure he was bond
That greatest Gloriana to him gave, That greatest glorious queen of fairy lond, To win him worship, and her grace to have, Which of all earthly things he most did crave; And even as he rode, his heart did earn To prove his puissance in battle brave Upon his foe, and his new force to learn ; l'pon his foe, a dragon horrible and stearn."
The day being thus troubled, they seek shelter in a wood;—the wood of the world, as the wood is at the opening of Dante's “Divine Comedy,” as the
? Forwasted, utterly wasted.
3 Jove, Jupiter, god of the upper air, here represents the sky, as when in Shakespeare's "Coriolanus" Menenius Agrippa, throwing kan cap into the air, says, " Take my cap, Jupiter!" (act ii., soene 1).
1 Earn, yearn.
wood is in Milton's “ Comus.” There is a catalogue | Every knight in his labour for the glory of God of trees, typical of the uses of life by sea and land, reaches a point at which his human endeavours “the sailing pine, the cedar proud and tall," at all would fall short, but for the intervention of the grace stages of life : infancy that needs support, “the vine of God, typified by the intervention of Prince Arthur. prop elm ;" youth full of the fresh sap of life, “the To all the aid comes, preluded by words distinctly poplar never dry ;” man in mature strength at home showing its significance; to all but one, and that is as master in the world, “the builder-oak, sole king “ Britomart or Chastity,” of whom Spenser held, as of forests all ;” age needing a staff until the grave Milton after him, “She that has that is clad in
is ready, “the aspen good for staves, the cypress complete steel," and that over it . funeral." These lines open the thought, and the trees in the next stanza proceed to suggest glory and tears,
“ — no evil thing that walks by night arts of war, and arts of peace, healing of wounds, and In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen,
war again, all uses of life, and that which is for us Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost 12 to mould, and that which we may seek in vain to
That breaks his magic chains at curfew time, Son mould, for it is often rotten at the core. Losing
No goblin, or swart faerie of the mine, 20 themselves among the pleasant ways of the world, Hath hurtful power." De they take the most beaten path, which brings them D. to the cave of Error. Truth warns the knight of Of Error, when sorely wounded, we are told that bis his peril; the dwarf (the flesh) finches, the knight “her vomit full of books and papers was;" and when
(the spirit) is eager, and by the light of his the foulness of this caused the Red Cross Knight to heyat spiritual helps (a light the brood of Error cannot shrink, she cast forth her spawn of serpents small,
bear, nor Error herself, for light she hated as the “ deforméd monsters, foul, and black as ink :" which deadly bale) the knight can see the monster as she view of distasteful publications was shared by Elizais :
beth, when she endeavoured to hunt down their “ This is the wandring wood, this Error's den,
writers and printers. A monster vile, whom God and man does hate:
Successful in his first adventure, and praised as Therefore I rede, beware. “Fly, fly,' quoth then
worthy of The fearful dwarf, 'this is no place for living men.'
"— that armoury
Wherein ye have great glory won this day,"
The youthful knight could not for aught be stayed, the knight retraces the way with his companions,
and presently enters upon the sequence of adventures And looked in : his glistring armour made
which typify the course of Christianity in England. A little glooming light, much like a shade,
They begin with the Church in its primitive days, By which he saw the ugly monster plain,
entered already by Archimago, father of wiles, the Half like a serpent horribly displayed,
devil, of whom, in his dealings with men, Hypocrisy But th' other half did woman's shape retain,
is the first attribute. It is Spenser's allegory of the Most loathsome, filthy, foul, and full of vile disdain.
rise of what he, in those days of fierce conflict, un“And as she lay upon the dirty ground,
doubtingly represented as the “ diabolical faith :”— Her huge long tail her den all overspred, Yet was in knots and many boughts 2 upwound,
“At length they chanced to meet upon the way Pointed with mortal sting. Of her there bred
An aged sire, in long black weeds yclad,
His feet all bare, his beard all hoary gray,
And by his belt his book he hanging had;
Sober he seem'd, and very sagely sad,
And to the ground his eyes were lowly bent,
Simple in shew, and void of malice bad,
And all the way he prayéd, as he went,
And often knocked his breast, as one that did repent.” ture that in each book opens its subject. In his combat with the monster, and encircled by her huge The travellers, courteously saluted, accepted a train—"God help the man so wrapt in Error's endless | night's lodging in the hermitage. When there, train !”—Truth cries to the knight, “ Add faith upon Spenser represents through them a church in the your force, and be not faint,” and this represents first stage of its decline to superstition : what is a main feature in the larger allegory, need of the help of God through which alone the strength of
“ A little lowly hermitage it was, man can finally prevail. Prince Arthur represents
Down in a dale, hard by a forest's side, this in the plan of the whole poem. It is he who
Far from resort of people, that did pass bears the irresistible shield of the grace of God.
In travel to and fro; a little wide
Wherein the hermit duly wont to say 1 Rede, counsel.
His holy things each morn and even-tide: 2 Boughts, bends, folds, from "bugan,” to bend; whence also the geographical term “bight.”
Thereby a crystal stream did gently play, 3 Uncouth, unknown, unaccustomed.
Which from a sacred fountain welléd forth alway.
“ Arrivéd there, the little house they fill,
Ne look for entertainment where none was:
He told of saints and popes, and evermore
Truth was with Sansfoy, who “ cared not for God or man a point;" he was in danger of being overpowered by want of faith: and in that day of trial it was only through the death of Christ that Christianity was able to outlive the peril :
«« «Curse on that cross,' quoth then the Sarazin,
• That keeps thy body from the bitter fit; ? Dead long ago I wote thou haddest been Had not that charm from thee forwarned 3 it.'”
Infidelity was, indeed, overthrown, but the Christian Knight put Infidelity's companion in the place of Una. Of Sansfoy it was said :
During the night, Archimago sent a lying spirit to bring from Morpheus—god of the unsubstantial life of dreams—“ a tit false dream, that can delude the sleeper's sent.”? Another lying spirit Archimago fashioned in the shape of Una, to be a deceiving semblance of pure truth. Both appealed coarsely to the senses; and the Devil, Archimago, is thus made the author of a false and sensuous show of religion. The Red Cross Knight was dismayed, misdoubted the corrupt lady that yet feigned to be his, and missed the firm voice of his guide and comforter :
“He had a fair companion of his way,
A goodly lady clad in scarlet red,
With tinsel trappings, woven like a wave,
««Why, dame,' quoth he, what hath thee thus dismayed? What frays ye, that were wont to comfort me afraid ?'”
Still showing, from his own point of view, the state to which the Church was brought before the Reformation, Spenser proceeds in the second canto to represent simple Truth as maligned by evil arts, and the Red Cross Knight stirred to forsake her. “The Dwarf him brought his steed, so both away do fly," and at her slow pace deserted Truth (Una) follows man carried away by his swift passions.
In the “wanton palfrey” and other touches of this description there is still Puritan reference to what Spenser regarded as the sensuous pomp of the Church of Rome. Yielding herself to the Red Cross Knight, this lady derives herself clearly from Rome, as
"Born the sole daughter of an Emperor,
He that the wide west under his rule has,
There we have what Spenser regarded as the diabolical faith personified to Spenser's mind. Besides, the Knight, who represents the heavenward conflict, has taken Falsehood for Truth-Falsehood, the paramour of Unbelief. His first conflict after he had deserted
Fit, thrust, from the Italian “fitta," a thrust or stab; probably formed from "figgere,” to pierce. A fit in disease is from another root, Old French "fiede," intermittent; a fit or jytte, meaning song, is from First-English "fyttian," to sing. Fit in the sense of it of clothes, fit and proper, is from the Latin "factus."
3 Forvarned, completely defended (“for," intensive prefis, as in | “forlorn "); "ww'ran," to defend.
Sent, now spelt "scent;" sense, from "sentio," "sensus."
He plucks a bough to make her a garland. Blood then flows from the broken branch, and the tree speaks. It is transformed Fradubio, who is bidden tell how he became thus misshapen :
“Her seeming dead he found with feignéd fear,
And oft her kiss'd. At length, all passéd fear, He set her on her steed, and forward forth did bear."
“ He oft finds medicine who his grief imparts,
But double griefs afflict concealing hearts."
Fradubio (whose name means, between doubt) was happy in love of Fralissa till Duessa came into his keeping. Both seemed fair; but when he would decide which was the fairer, Duessa, herself really foul but seeming fair, by her witchcraft caused Fralissa, really fair, to appear foul. Fradubio then turned wholly to Duessa, and Fralissa was transformed into the tree now by his side. Fradubio was happy, till on a day he chanced to see Duessa in her proper shape. He loathed her then, and was by her joined to the fate of Fralissa :
Meanwhile Una (forsaken Truth) is left to the waste places of the earth. In the next canto, the third, “ far from all people's press, as in exile,” she seeks her knight. Truth is not swift of travel, but wherever she may be, her face will make a sunshine in the shady place :
“One day, nigh weary of the irksome way,
From her unhasty beast she did alight,
And made a sunshine in the shady place;
“ Where now inclosed in wooden walls full fast,
Banished from living wights our weary days we waste. • But how long time,' said then the elfin knight,
Are you in this misforméd house to dwell?' “We may not change,' quoth he, 'this evil plight Till we be bathéd in a living well.””
" It fortunéd out of the thickest wood
A ramping lion rushéd suddenly,
His bloody rage assuaged with remorse,
“A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse—a well of living waters," says the Song of Solomon ; then applied as a song to the true Church of God. “ The Lord Jehovah," says Isaiah, “is my strength and my song, he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people.” Fradubio was not in doubt between the true faith and the false. The true faith could not have been called Fralissa (frail), and could not have been doomed to vegetative life until it had been bathed in itself. But there was a faith of the old world-a Fralissa true as Una, though in her own weaker way: the faith of Socrates and Plato; faith in immortality, devotion to high effort towards spiritual life; in Spenser's eyes more truly beautiful than that with which the Pope supplanted it. Fradubio is Platonist turned Roman Catholic, detecting the imposture of the faith that had supplanted his philosophy, and driven back upon himself to live beside his loved philosophy a vegetative life that cannot become again a moving working energy for man until it be imbued with Christian truth. Platonism, as ally of the Church reformers of the sixteenth century, was Fralissa, and each Christian Platonist was a Fradubio bathed in the living well :
“Instead thereof he kiss'd her weary feet,
And lick'd her lily hands with fawning tongue.
Her heart gan melt in great compassion,
It was a romance doctrine that the lion would not hurt a pure maiden, and in the “ Seven Champions of Christendom," a romance of Spenser's time, St. George recognised the virginity of Sabra by two lions fawning on her. But the lion that now comes into the allegory and attaches himself to Una with “yielded pride and proud submission,” represents Reason before the Reformation become the ally of religious Truth. The quickening of intellectual energies by those new conditions that produced the revival of learning, not only added to the strength and courage of man's intellect, but brought it in aid of the reaction, by doing what the lion in the allegory does—forcing the closed door of Ignorance and Superstition, and so opening the way to Truth :
“ The false Duessa, now Fidessa hight,
Heard how in vain Fradubio did lament,
And with fresh clay did close the wooden wound: Then turning to his lady, dead with fear her found.
“ The lion would not leave her desolate,
But with her went along, as a strong guard
1 Abessa as a name for ignorance was taken, I think, from the Italian “bessa," meaning foolish, doltish, silly, in fact expressing what is meant; a being prefixed for the sake of a resemblance to the word " abbess."
* Corcoca, the name for superstition ; Italian. “cuore ceco," or Latin "cor cæcum,” blind heart ; the heart in ancient times being taken to represent the mind or understanding.
3 Whereas, to where.
• Aldebaran, a Tauri, is the eye of the Bull, one of the twelre en stellations in the region of the ecliptic: and Cassiopeia, or the Cu or the Throne, is one of the constellations placed by Ptolemy in * Northern Hemisphere. Aldebaran is one of fonr bright stars to divide the heavens into four almost equal parts, bave been ca. royal stars, and were the four guardians of heaven according to *** ancient Persians. Aldebaran was then in the vernal equicos, guardian of the east.