Edmund Spenser -“The Faerie Queene” (ctd.)

In the house of seven bead-men, Redcrosse recuperates and is taught all the good deeds he should perform. Then he is led by Mercy to the top of a high mountain where a blind hermit, named Contemplation, resides. Hermit is blind to the things of this world but spiritually enlightened. Again Spenser uses the Catholic tropes – an ever fasting, impoverished hermit who voluntarily removed himself from the world – to create a Protestant allegorical figure, the good counterpart of Archimago. The hermit is not too happy to have guests, since they interfere with his prayers, but he loves and respects Mercy too much to turn her away. He asks them what brought them to this place and Mercy says she wants him to show Redcrosse the way to heaven. The hermit answers that she can do it herself, having been born in heaven, but since they ask, he cannot refuse. But first Redcrosse needs to fast and pray for some time “till from her [whose? he mentions earth six lines earlier, maybe he means that? I hate Spenser’s confusing pronouns) bands the spright assailed is [the spirit is released]/And have her [again, whose?] strength recured [recovered] from fraile infirmitis” [I like this spelling, it makes it look like a recognized medical condition].


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