359. HE THAT HARROWD HELL. The Harrowing of Hell was the mediaeval belief in the descent of Christ to hell to redeem the souls of Old Testament saints, and to despoil the powers of darkness. It is the subject of an old miracle play.
374. The reference is to the resurrection from the dead.
378. I DEAD BE NOT DEFOULD, that I (when) dead be not defiled. This prayer was answered, for the poet received honorable burial in Westminster Abbey.
381. AND WIDOWES AYD, i.e. had charge (to) aid widows, etc.
382. IN FACE OF JUDGEMENT, before the judgment-seat.
422-423. HIS ... HER, Redcross Knight...mercy.
430. FOR NOUGHT HE CAR’D, for he cared nought that his body had been long unfed.
470. THAT SAME MIGHTY MAN OF GOD, Moses. See Exodus, xiv, 16, xxiv, and xxxiv.
471. THAT BLOOD-RED BILLOWES, of the Red Sea.
478. THAT SACRED HILL, the mount of Olives.
483. THAT PLEASAUNT MOUNT, mount Parnassus, the seat of the nine Muses (l. 485), the patronesses of the arts and of learning. Sacred and profane literature are beautifully blended in the thoughts of the contemplative man.
489. A GOODLY CITIE, the Celestial City, Heaven. The description is suggested by that in Revelation, xxi, 10 seq.
515. THAT GREAT CLEOPOLIS, London, “the city of glory.”
519. PANTHEA, probably Westminster Abbey, in which Elizabeth’s ancestors were buried.
524. FOR EARTHLY FRAME, for an earthly structure.
549. SAINT GEORGE OF MERY ENGLAND. St. George became the patron Saint of England in 1344, when Edward III consecrated to him the Order of the Garter. Church and Percival say that merry means pleasant and referred originally to the country, not the people. Cf. Mereweather.
lxii. Observe that lines 1, 2, 5, 6 are spoken by the Knight, the rest by Contemplation.
565. BEQUEATHED CARE, the charge intrusted to thee (by Una).
579. AND MANY BLOODY BATTAILES, etc., and fought many bloody pitched battles.
585. CHAUNGELINGS. The belief in the power of fairies to substitute their elf-children for human babies is frequently referred to in writers of Spenser’s time. In the Seven Champions the witch Kalyb steals away St. George, the son of Lord Albert of Coventry, soon after his birth.
591. GEORGOS, from the Greek [Greek: georgos], an earth tiller, farmer. Spenser borrows the story in this stanza from that of Tages, son of Earth, who was similarly found and brought up. Ovid’s Metamorphoses, xv, 553.