“The Truth Will Set You Free” (Today’s Faerie Queene reflection)
I’ve told you that the Red Cross Knight is trying to save a woman named Una. I haven’t told you that she’s actually a symbol for Truth in this book.
Spenser isn’t obnoxiously didactic like Bunyan is in Pilgrim’s Progress (blech), so allegory doesn’t smother this story. The Faerie Queene stands on its own. But when you do pause to think about how the narrative works on a deeper level, it’s truly incredible.
After the knight (who stands for “holiness”) fails Una in just about every possible way—she finds a way to save and redeem him. He would have died lost without her. But Truth comes to his rescue when his own strength has failed.
I love this story so much. Gosh, I love this story.
P.S. Here’s a little piece of my transposition of an introductory section to Canto 8 of Book One. Maybe it will encourage you today.
“Is it even possible to count the dangers prowling around a person who is trying to do what is right? Trouble makes him stumble every day! If it weren’t for heavenly grace to uphold him—if it weren’t for steadfast truth to ransom him —he would become a slave to his own sin every time he allowed his own foolish pride or weakness to take over. But the heaven’s love and truth are firm; her care is constant. Were it not for this, the Red Cross Knight would have died in bonds. Instead, Una goes forth, guiding the prince, to deliver her knight from captivity.”
(Art: “Una and the Lion,” from Spensers Faerie Queene, 1880 (oil on canvas), Riviere, Briton)