Her faithfull knight faire Una brings
to house of Holinesse,
Where he is taught repentance, and
the way to heavenly blesse.
What man is he, that boasts of fleshly might
And vaine assurance of mortality,
Which all so soone as it doth come to fight
Against spirituall foes, yeelds by and by,
Or from the field most cowardly doth fly? 5
Ne let the man ascribe it to his skill,
That thorough grace hath gained victory.
If any strength we have, it is to ill,
But all the good is Gods, both power and eke will.
But that, which lately hapned, Una saw, 10
That this her knight was feeble, and too faint;
And all his sinews woxen weake and raw,
Through long enprisonment, and hard constraint,
Which he endured in his late restraint,
That yet he was unfit for bloudy fight: 15
Therefore to cherish him with diets daint,
She cast to bring him, where he chearen might.
Till he recovered had his late decayed plight.
There was an auntient house[*] not farre away,
Renowmd throughout the world for sacred lore, 20
And pure unspotted life: so well they say
It governd was, and guided evermore,
Through wisedome of a matrone grave and hore
Whose onely joy was to relieve the needes
Of wretched soules, and helpe the helpelesse pore: 25
All night she spent in bidding of her bedes,
And all the day in doing good and godly deedes.
Dame Coelia[*] men did her call, as thought
From heaven to come, or thither to arise,
The mother of three daughters, well upbrought 30
In goodly thewes, and godly exercise:
The eldest two, most sober, chast, and wise,
Fidelia[*] and Speranza virgins were,
Though spousd, yet wanting wedlocks solemnize:
But faire Charissa[*] to a lovely fere 35
Was lincked, and by him had many pledges dere.
Arrived there, the dore they find fast lockt;
For it was warely watched night and day,
For feare of many foes: but when they knockt,
The Porter opened unto them streight way: 40
He was an aged syre, all hory gray,
With lookes full lowly cast, and gate full slow,
Wont on a staffe his feeble steps to stay,
Hight Humilta.[*] They passe in stouping low;
For streight and narrow was the way which he did show. 45
Each goodly thing is hardest to begin,
But entred in a spacious court they see,
Both plaine, and pleasant to be walked in,
Where them does meete a francklin faire and free,
And entertaines with comely courteous glee, 50
His name was Zele, that him right well became,
For in his speeches and behaviour hee
Did labour lively to expresse the same,
And gladly did them guide, till to the Hall they came.