Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fairest Una

In honor of Saint George, whose feast day is today



From The Fairy Queen, Book I, Canto XII
~ Edmund Spenser (c.1552-1599)

[George has killed the dragon after a three days’ battle, and now the King presents his kingdom and his daughter to the victor…]

Then forth he calléd that his daughter fair,
The fairest Una his only daughter dear,
His only daughter, and his only heir;
Who forth proceeding with sad sober cheer,
As bright as doth the morning star appear
Out of the East, with flaming locks bedight,
To tell that dawning day is drawing near,
And to the world does bring long wishéd light;
So fair and fresh that Lady showed herself in sight.

So fair and fresh, as freshest flower in May;
For she had laid her mournful stole aside,
And widowlike sad wimple thrown away,
Wherewith her heavenly beauty she did hide,
Whiles on her weary journey she did ride;
And on her now a garment she did wear,
All lily white, withoutten spot, or pride,
That seemed like silk and silver woven near,
But neither silk nor silver therein did appear.

[…]

So fairly dight, when she in presence came,
She to her Sire made humble reverence,
And bowed low, that her right well became,
And added grace unto her excellence…

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