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"The fourth appointed by his office was,

Poore prisoners to relieue with gratious ayd,

And captiues to redeeme with price of bras,

From Turkes and Sarazins, which them had stays."

(Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, Book 1, 10.40)


Can you paraphrase these lines?

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The person described here is one of the seven bead-men These seven do good deeds, as Spenser says here.

Eftsoones unto an holy hospitall,

That was foreby the way, she did him bring,
In which seven bead-men, that had vowed all
Their life to service of high heavens King,
Did spend their daies in doing godly thing: 320
Their gates to all were open evermore,
That by the wearie way were traveiling,
And one sate wayting ever them before,
To call in commers by, that needy were and pore.
Here's my attempt at paraphrasing your verse. I could be wrong.

"The fourth bead-man's task was to help prisoners, and to buy back hostages who were being held as prisoners by the Turks and Saracens."

Clive

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alibey1917Can you paraphrase these lines?

You are testing English Forward, aren't you? Only the moldiest of scholars can read that raw. It was deliberately archaic even back in 1590 when it was written, and the letters "j" and "v" were not in his alphabet, they being rendered as "i" and "u", respectively. The hard "j" is rendered soft "g". There is more. But I'll give it a go.

alibey1917"The fourth appointed by his office was,

The fourth knight, I guess, had the duty of ("was appointed by his office to")

alibey1917Poore prisoners to relieue with gratious ayd,

relieving ("to relieue", to ease the suffering of) poor prisoners with gracious (gratious) aid (ayd),

alibey1917And captiues to redeeme with price of bras,

and to ransom ("redeem") captives ("captiues") with money ("price of" brass, "bras"), (brass is a word for money in some local dialects even today)

alibey1917From Turkes and Sarazins, which them had stays."

from Turks ("Turkes") and Saracens ("Sarazins", Arab Moslems).

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alibey1917fourth appointed by his office

seven bead-men (Bead is an allusion to the Catholic rosary, a chain of beads to be manipulated in prayers) seven men of prayer, corresponding to the Seven Deadly Sins of the House of Pride. They represent good works: (1) entertainment of strangers; (2) food to the needy; (3) clothing to the naked; (4) relief to prisoners; (5) comfort to the sick; (6) burial of the dead, and (7) care of widows and orphans.

alibey1917price of bras,

ransom money

alibey1917From Turkes and Sarazins,

In the sixteenth century thousands of Christians were held captive in Turkish prisons, and many of these were ransomed.

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Comments  
alibey1917And captiues to redeeme with price of bras,
From Turkes and Sarazins, which them had stays."

I suppose the "bras"/"stays" pun, which is quite amusing to modern eyes, could not have been intentional at that time?

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 anonymous's reply was promoted to an answer.
GPYI suppose the "bras"/"stays" pun, which is quite amusing to modern eyes,

In keeping with the title "Faerie Queen".... One word that is missing might be "gay."
Oh dear how the language changes.

 AlpheccaStars's reply was promoted to an answer.
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"Stays" is a typo. It's "stayd", detained.

anonymous

"Stays" is a typo. It's "stayd", detained.

How disappointing.

No, friend, I'm not testing you, I just have to translate these lines to Turkish, because they are in the book I'm translating (This Orient Isle- Elizabethan England and the Islamic World by Jerry Brotton). And I'm not a native speaker, so I couldn't read that raw, but thanks to you and other friends, I can understand them now. There are no words to express my gratitude, really. Thank you all so much.

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