In canto 9, Spenser lays on the allegorical personages thickly. There's never a doubt about who an individual might be. Una takes the knight to the house of Cælia, with her daughters the Graces, Fidelia, Speranza, and Charissa (Faith, Hope, and Charity).
Then we meet the various servants who attend on Heaven: Humilitá, Zele, Reverence (Humility, Zeal, Reverence). But the real journey in this part of the poem, where—finally—no one is in peril, is the education of the Redcrosse Knight, who (though our allegory of the soul seeking holiness) needs to be prepared. In a way, this is the didactic poem I feared.
But it isn't all being taught by three fair maidens (and you know that Charity is going to cut you some slack on the grading). In order to heal, purge, and purify him so that he can learn from the three, they send the knight to Patience who actually gets to work straightaway. He's got three colleagues, and sure, they say this is for your own good, but
And bitter Penaunce, with an yron whip,I don't know. Those three sound as bad as the vices the knight was battling in earlier cantos. Finally, they let up, and the knight gets to meet Mercy. But, wait, there's more.
Was wont him once to disple every day:
And sharp Remorse his hart did prick and nip,
That drops of blood thence like a well did play:
And sad Repentance used to embay
His blamefull body in salt water sore,
The ﬁlthy blottes of sin to wash away
After the torture from Penance, Remorse, and Repentance, the poor knight still isn't cured, but goes
Eftsoones unto an holy Hospitall,Happily, no torture here. Gotta rest up after the iron whip, the bloodletting, and the salt in the wounds. Instead, at the hospital, the knight is given a look at
That was foreby the way, she did him bring;
The new Hierusalem, that God has built,
|It's in Berlin. I'm not sure why.|
thou Saint George shalt called bee,So, we're not done with the book (I turned the page), but we've hit a point that seems to be devoid of further adventure. What next for our knight?
Saint George of mery England, the signe of victoree.’
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