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The Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto 10
by [?]


There fairely them receives a gentle Squire, 55
Of milde demeanure, and rare courtesie,
Right cleanly clad in comely sad attire;
In word and deede that shew’d great modestie,
And knew his good[*] to all of each degree,
Hight Reverence. He them with speeches meet 60
Does faire entreat; no courting nicetie,
But simple true, and eke unfained sweet,
As might become a Squire so great persons to greet.


And afterwards them to his Dame he leades,
That aged Dame, the Ladie of the place: 65
Who all this while was busy at her beades:
Which doen, she up arose with seemely grace,
And toward them full matronely did pace.
Where when that fairest Una she beheld,
Whom well she knew to spring from heavenly race, 70
Her hart with joy unwonted inly sweld,
As feeling wondrous comfort in her weaker eld.


And her embracing said, O happie earth,
Whereon thy innocent feet doe ever tread,
Most vertuous virgin borne of heavenly berth, 75
That, to redeeme thy woefull parents head,
From tyrans rage, and ever dying dread,[*]
Hast wandred through the world now long a day;[*]
Yet ceasest not thy weary soles to lead,[*]
What grace hath thee now hither brought this way? 80
Or doen thy feeble feet unweeting hither stray?


Strange thing it is an errant knight to see
Here in this place, or any other wight,
That hither turnes his steps. So few there bee
That chose the narrow path, or seeke the right: 85
All keepe the broad high way, and take delight
With many rather for to go astray,
And be partakers of their evill plight,
Then with a few to walke the rightest way;
O foolish men, why haste ye to your owne decay? 90


Thy selfe to see, and tyred limbes to rest,
O matrone sage (quoth she) I hither came;
And this good knight his way with me addrest,
Led with thy prayses and broad-blazed fame,
That up to heaven is blowne. The auncient Dame 95
Him goodly greeted in her modest guise,
And entertaynd them both, as best became,
With all the court’sies that she could devise,
Ne wanted ought, to shew her bounteous or wise.


Thus as they gan of sundry things devise, 100
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, 105
Like sunny beames threw from her christall face,
That could have dazd the rash beholders sight,
And round about her head did shine like heavens light.


She was araied all in lilly white,[*]
And in her right hand bore a cup of gold, 110
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 whit did chaunge her constant mood:
And in her other hand she fast did hold 115
A booke, that was both signd and seald with blood:
Wherin darke things were writ, hard to be understood.