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Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

The Faerie Queene, Book 1, Canto 1 (1596)


[Fol. A1v] THE FAERIE
QVEENE.


Disposed into twelue bookes,
Fashioning
XII. Morall vertues.


LONDON
Printed for Wiliam Ponsonbie.

.


TO
THE MOST HIGH,
MIGHTIE
And
MAGNIFICENT
EMPRESSE RENOW-
MED FOR PIETIE, VER-
TVE, AND ALL GRATIOVS
GOVERNMENT ELIZABETH BY
THE GRACE OF GOD QVEENE
OF ENGLAND FRAVNCE AND
IRELAND AND OF VIRGI-
NIA, DEFENDOVR OF THE
FAITH, &c. HER MOST
HVMBLE SERVAVNT
EDMVND SPENSER
DOTH IN ALL HV-
MILITIE DEDI-
CATE, PRE-
SENT
AND CONSECRATE THESE
HIS LABOVRS TO LIVE
WITH THE ETERNI-
TIE OF HER
FAME.


[Fol. A2r; p. 1] THE FIRST
BOOKE OF THE
FAERIE QVEENE.
Contayning
THE LEGENDE OF THE
KNIGHT OF THE RED CROSSE,
OR
OF HOLINESSE.


Canto 0
 1

              1LO I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,
              2As time her taught in lowly Shepheards weeds,
              3Am now enforst a far vnfitter taske,
              4For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
              5And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds;
              6Whose prayses hauing slept in silence long,
              7Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
              8To blazon broad emongst her learned throng:
              9Fierce warres and faithfull loues shall moralize my song.

 2

            10Helpe then, ô holy Virgin chiefe of nine,
            11Thy weaker Nouice to performe thy will,
            12Lay forth out of thine euerlasting scryne
            13The antique rolles, which there lye hidden still,
            14[Fol. A2v; p. 2] Of Faerie knights and fairest Tanaquill,
            15Whom that most noble Briton Prince so long
            16Sought through the world, and suffered so much ill,
            17That I must rue his vndeserued wrong:
            18O helpe thou my weake wit, and sharpen my dull tong.

 3

            19And thou most dreaded impe of highest Ioue,
            20Faire Venus sonne, that with thy cruell dart
            21At that good knight so cunningly didst roue,
            22That glorious fire it kindled in his hart,
            23Lay now thy deadly Heben bow apart,
            24And with thy mother milde come to mine ayde:
            25Come both, and with you bring triumphant Mart,
            26In loues and gentle iollities arrayd,
            27After his murdrous spoiles and bloudy rage allayd.

 4

            28And with them eke, ô Goddesse heauenly bright,
            29Mirrour of grace and Maiestie diuine,
            30Great Lady of the greatest Isle, whose light
            31Like Phœbus lampe throughout the world doth shine,
            32Shed thy faire beames into my feeble eyne,
            33And raise my thoughts too humble and too vile,
            34To thinke of that true glorious type of thine,
            35The argument of mine afflicted stile:
            36The which to heare, vouchsafe, ô dearest dred a-while.

[Fol. A3r; p. 3] Canto 1

The Patron of true Holinesse,
Foule Errour doth defeate:
Hypocrisie him to entrappe,
Doth to his home entreate.

 1

              1A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
              2Y cladd in mightie armes and siluer shielde,
              3Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
              4The cruell markes of many' a bloudy fielde;
              5Yet armes till that time did he neuer wield:
              6His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
              7As much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
              8Full iolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
              9As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.

 2

            10But on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore,
            11The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
            12For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore,
            13And dead as liuing euer him ador'd:
            14Vpon his shield the like was also scor'd,
            15For soueraine hope, which in his helpe he had:
            16Right faithfull true he was in deede and word,
            17But of his cheere did seeme too solemne sad,
            18Yet nothing did he dread, but euer was ydrad.

 3

            19Vpon a great aduenture he was bond,
            20That greatest Gloriana to him gaue,
            21That greatest Glorious Queene of Faerie lond,
            22To winne him worship, and her grace to haue,
            23[Fol. A3v; p. 4] Which of all earthly things he most did craue;
            24And euer as he rode, his hart did earne
            25To proue his puissance in battell braue
            26Vpon his foe, and his new force to learne;
            27Vpon his foe, a Dragon horrible and stearne.

 4

            28A louely Ladie rode him faire beside,
            29Vpon a lowly Asse more white then snow,
            30Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide
            31Vnder a vele, that wimpled was full low,
            32And ouer all a blacke stole she did throw,
            33As one that inly mournd:  so was she sad,
            34And heauie sat vpon her palfrey slow:
            35Seemed in heart some hidden care she had,
            36And by her in a line a milke white lambe she lad.

 5

            37So pure an innocent, as that same lambe,
            38She was in life and euery vertuous lore,
            39And by descent from Royall lynage came
            40Of ancient Kings and Queenes, that had of yore
            41Their scepters stretcht from East to Westerne shore,
            42And all the world in their subiection held;
            43Till that infernall feend with foule vprore
            44Forwasted all their land, and them expeld:
            45Whom to auenge, she had this Knight from far compeld.

 6

            46Behind her farre away a Dwarfe did lag,
            47That lasie seemd in being euer last,
            48Or wearied with bearing of her bag
            49Of needments at his backe.  Thus as they past,
            50The day with cloudes was suddeine ouercast,
            51And angry Ioue an hideous storme of raine
            52Did poure into his Lemans lap so fast,
            53That euery wight to shrowd it did constrain,
            54And this faire couple eke to shroud themselues were fain.

[Fol. A4r; p. 5] 7

            55Enforst to seeke some couert nigh at hand,
            56A shadie groue not far away they spide,
            57That promist ayde the tempest to withstand:
            58Whose loftie trees yclad with sommers pride,
            59Did spred so broad, that heauens light did hide,
            60Not perceable with power of any starre:
            61And all within were pathes and alleies wide,
            62With footing worne, and leading inward farre:
            63Faire harbour that them seemes;  so in they entred arre.

 8

            64And foorth they passe, with pleasure forward led,
            65Ioying to heare the birdes sweete harmony,
            66Which therein shrouded from the tempest dred,
            67Seemd in their song to scorne the cruell sky.
            68Much can they prayse the trees so straight and hy,
            69The sayling Pine, the Cedar proud and tall,
            70The vine-prop Elme, the Poplar neuer dry,
            71The builder Oake, sole king of forrests all,
            72The Aspine good for staues, the Cypresse funerall.

 9

            73The Laurell, meed of mightie Conquerours
            74And Poets sage, the Firre that weepeth still,
            75The Willow worne of forlorne Paramours,
            76The Eugh obedient to the benders will,
            77The Birch for shaftes, the Sallow for the mill,
            78The Mirrhe sweete bleeding in the bitter wound,
            79The warlike Beech, the Ash for nothing ill,
            80The fruitfull Oliue, and the Platane round,
            81The caruer Holme, the Maple seeldom inward sound.

 10

            82Led with delight, they thus beguile the way,
            83Vntill the blustring storme is ouerblowne;
            84When weening to returne, whence they did stray,
            85The[y] cannot finde that pathe, which first was showne,
            86[Fol. A4v; p. 6]But wander too and fro in wayes vnknowne,
            87Furthest from end then, when they neerest weene,
            88That makes them doubt, their wits be not their owne:
            89So many pathes, so many turnings seene,
            90That which of them to take, in diuerse doubt they been.

 11

            91At last resoluing forward still to fare,
            92Till that some end they finde or in or out,
            93That path they take, that beaten seemd most bare,
            94And like to lead the labyrinth about;
            95Which when by tract they hunted had throughout,
            96At length it brought them to a hollow caue,
            97Amid the thickest woods.  The Champion stout
            98Eftsoones dismounted from his courser braue,
            99And to the Dwarfe a while his needlesse spere he gaue.

 12

          100Be well aware, quoth then that Ladie milde,
          101Least suddaine mischiefe ye too rash prouoke:
          102The danger hid, the place vnknowne and wilde,
          103Breedes dreadfull doubts:  Oft fire is without smoke,
          104And perill without show:  therefore your stroke,
          105Sir knight with-hold, till further triall made.
          106Ah Ladie (said he) shame were to reuoke
          107The forward footing for an hidden shade:
          108Vertue giues her selfe light, through darkenesse for to wade.

 13

          109Yea but (quoth she) the perill of this place
          110I better wot then you, though now too late,
          111To wish you backe returne with foule disgrace,
          112Yet wisedome warnes, whilest foot is in the gate,
          113To stay the steppe, ere forced to retrate.
          114This is the wandring wood, this Errours den,
          115A monster vile, whom God and man does hate:
          116Therefore I read beware.  Fly fly (quoth then
          117The fearfull Dwarfe:)  this is no place for liuing men.

[Fol. A5r; p. 7] 14

          118But full of fire and greedy hardiment,
          119The youthfull knight could not for ought be staide,
          120But forth vnto the darksome hole he went,
          121And looked in:  his glistring armor made
          122A litle glooming light, much like a shade,
          123By which he saw the vgly monster plaine,
          124Halfe like a serpent horribly displaide,
          125But th'other halfe did womans shape retaine,
          126Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile disdaine.

 15

          127And as she lay vpon the durtie ground,
          128Her huge long taile her den all ouerspred,
          129Yet was in knots and many boughtes vpwound,
          130Pointed with mortall sting.  Of her there bred
          131A thousand yong ones, which she dayly fed,
          132Sucking vpon her poisonous dugs, eachone
          133Of sundry shapes, yet all ill fauored:
          134Soone as that vncouth light vpon them shone,
          135Into her mouth they crept, and suddain all were gone.

 16

          136Their dam vpstart, out of her den effraide,
          137And rushed forth, hurling her hideous taile
          138About her cursed head, whose folds displaid
          139Were stretcht now forth at length without entraile.
          140She lookt about, and seeing one in mayle
          141Armed to point, sought backe to turne againe;
          142For light she hated as the deadly bale,
          143Ay wont in desert darknesse to remaine,
          144Where plaine none might her see, nor she see any plaine.

 17

          145Which when the valiant Elfe perceiu'ed, he lept
          146As Lyon fierce vpon the flying pray,
          147And with his trenchand blade her boldly kept
          148From turning backe, and forced her to stay:
          149[Fol. A5r; p. 8] Therewith enrag'd she loudly gan to bray,
          150And turning fierce, her speckled taile aduaunst,
          151Threatning her angry sting, him to dismay:
          152Who nought aghast, his mightie hand enhaunst:
          153The stroke down from her head vnto her shoulder glaunst.

 18

          154Much daunted with that dint, her sence was dazd,
          155Yet kindling rage, her selfe she gathered round,
          156And all attonce her beastly body raizd
          157With doubled forces high aboue the ground:
          158Tho wrapping vp her wrethed sterne arownd,
          159Lept fierce vpon his shield, and her huge traine
          160All suddenly about his body wound,
          161That hand or foot to stirre he stroue in vaine:
          162God helpe the man so wrapt in Errours endlesse traine.

 19

          163His Lady sad to see his sore constraint,
          164Cride out, Now now Sir knight, shew what ye bee,
          165Add faith vnto your force, and be not faint:
          166Strangle her, else she sure will strangle thee.
          167That when he heard, in great perplexitie,
          168His gall did grate for griefe and high disdaine,
          169And knitting all his force got one hand free,
          170Wherewith he grypt her gorge with so great paine,
          171That soone to loose her wicked bands did her constraine.

 20

          172Therewith she spewd out of her filthy maw
          173A floud of poyson horrible and blacke,
          174Full of great lumpes of flesh and gobbets raw,
          175Which stunck so vildly, that it forst him slacke
          176His grasping hold, and from her turne him backe:
          177Her vomit full of bookes and papers was,
          178With loathly frogs and toades, which eyes did lacke,
          179And creeping sought way in the weedy gras:
          180Her filthy parbreake all the place defiled has.

[Fol. A6r; p. 9] 21

          181As when old father Nilus gins to swell
          182With timely pride aboue the Aegyptian vale,
          183His fattie waues do fertile slime outwell,
          184And ouerflow each plaine and lowly dale:
          185But when his later ebbe gins to auale,
          186Huge heapes of mudd he leaues, wherein there breed
          187Ten thousand kindes of creatures, partly male
          188And partly female of his fruitfull seed;
          189Such vgly monstrous shapes elswhere may no man reed.

 22

          190The same so sore annoyed has the knight,
          191That welnigh choked with the deadly stinke,
          192His forces faile, ne can no longer fight.
          193Whose corage when the feend perceiu'd to shrinke,
          194She poured forth out of her hellish sinke
          195Her fruitfull cursed spawne of serpents small,
          196Deformed monsters, fowle, and blacke as inke,
          197Which swarming all about his legs did crall,
          198And him encombred sore, but could not hurt at all.

 23

          199As gentle Shepheard in sweete euen-tide,
          200When ruddy Phœbus gins to welke in west,
          201High on an hill, his flocke to vewen wide,
          202Markes which do byte their hasty supper best;
          203A cloud of combrous gnattes do him molest,
          204All striuing to infixe their feeble stings,
          205That from their noyance he no where can rest,
          206But with his clownish hands their tender wings
          207He brusheth oft, and oft doth mar their murmurings.

 24

          208Thus ill bestedd, and feare full more of shame,
          209Then of the certaine perill he stood in,
          210Halfe furious vnto his foe he came,
          211Resolv'd in minde all suddenly to win,
          212[Fol. A6v; p. 10] Or soone to lose, before he once would lin;
          213And strooke at her with more then manly force,
          214That from her body full of filthie sin
          215He raft her hatefull head without remorse;
          216A streame of cole black bloud forth gushed from her corse.

 25

          217Her scattred brood, soone as their Parent deare
          218They saw so rudely falling to the ground,
          219Groning full deadly, all with troublous feare,
          220Gathred themselues about her body round,
          221Weening their wonted entrance to haue found
          222At her wide mouth:  but being there withstood
          223They flocked all about her bleeding wound.
          224And sucked vp their dying mothers blood,
          225Making her death their life, and eke her hurt their good.

 26

          226That detestable sight him much amazde,
          227To see th'vnkindly Impes of heauen accurst,
          228Deuoure their dam;  on whom while so he gazd,
          229Hauing all satisfide their bloudy thurst,
          230Their bellies swolne he saw with fulnesse burst,
          231And bowels gushing forth:  well worthy end
          232Of such as drunke her life, the which them nurst;
          233Now needeth him no lenger labour spend,
          234His foes haue slaine themselues, with whom he should contend.

 27

          235His Ladie seeing all, that chaunst, from farre
          236Approcht in hast to greet his victorie,
          237And said, Faire knight, borne vnder happy starre,
          238Who see your vanquisht foes before you lye:
          239Well worthy be you of that Armorie,
          240Wherein ye haue great glory wonne this day,
          241And proou'd your strength on a strong enimie,
          242Your first aduenture:  many such I pray,
          243And henceforth euer wish, that like succeed it may.

[Fol. A7r; p. 11] 28

          244Then mounted he vpon his Steede againe,
          245And with the Lady backward sought to wend;
          246That path he kept, which beaten was most plaine,
          247Ne euer would to any by-way bend,
          248But still did follow one vnto the end,
          249The which at last out of the wood them brought.
          250So forward on his way (with God to frend)
          251He passed forth, and new aduenture sought;
          252Long way he trauelled, before he heard of ought.

 29

          253At length they chaunst to meet vpon the way
          254An aged Sire, in long blacke weedes yclad,
          255His feete all bare, his beard all hoarie gray,
          256And by his belt his booke he hanging had;
          257Sober he seemde, and very sagely sad,
          258And to the ground his eyes were lowly bent,
          259Simple in shew, and voyde of malice bad,
          260And all the way he prayed, as he went,
          261And often knockt his brest, as one that did repent.

 30

          262He faire the knight saluted, louting low,
          263Who faire him quited, as that courteous was:
          264And after asked him, if he did know
          265Of straunge aduentures, which abroad did pas.
          266Ah my deare Sonne (quoth he) how should, alas,
          267Silly old man, that liues in hidden cell,
          268Bidding his beades all day for his trespas,
          269Tydings of warre and worldly trouble tell?
          270With holy father sits not with such things to mell.

 31

          271But if of daunger which hereby doth dwell,
          272And homebred euill ye desire to heare,
          273Of a straunge man I can you tidings tell,
          274That wasteth all this countrey farre and neare.
          275[Fol. A7v; p. 12] Of such (said he) I chiefly do inquere,
          276And shall you well reward to shew the place,
          277In which that wicked wight his dayes doth weare:
          278For to all knighthood it is foule disgrace,
          279That such a cursed creature liues so long a space.

 32

          280Far hence (quoth he) in wastfull wildernesse
          281His dwelling is, by which no liuing wight
          282May euer passe, but thorough great distresse.
          283Now (sayd the Lady) draweth toward night,
          284And well I wote, that of your later fight
          285Ye all for wearied be:  for what so strong,
          286But wanting rest will also want of might?
          287The Sunne that measures heauen all day long,
          288At night doth baite his steedes the Ocean waues emong.

 33

          289Then with the Sunne take Sir, your timely rest,
          290And with new day new worke at once begin:
          291Vntroubled night they say giues counsell best.
          292Right well Sir knight ye haue aduised bin,
          293(Quoth then that aged man; ) the way to win
          294Is wisely to aduise:  now day is spent;
          295Therefore with me ye may take vp your In
          296For this same night.  The knight was well content:
          297So with that godly father to his home they went.

 34

          298A little lowly Hermitage it was,
          299Downe in a dale, hard by a forests side,
          300Far from resort of people, that did pas
          301In trauell to and froe:  a little wyde
          302There was an holy Chappell edifyde,
          303Wherein the Hermite dewly wont to say
          304His holy things each morne and euentyde:
          305Thereby a Christall streame did gently play,
          306Which from a sacred fountaine welled forth alway.

[Fol. A8r; p. 13] 35

          307Arriued there, the little house they fill,
          308Ne looke for entertainement, where none was:
          309Rest is their feast, and all things at their will;
          310The noblest mind the best contentment has.
          311With faire discourse the euening so they pas:
          312For that old man of pleasing wordes had store,
          313And well could file his tongue as smooth as glas;
          314He told of Saintes and Popes, and eue[r]more
          315He strowd an Aue-Mary after and before.

 36

          316The drouping Night thus creepeth on them fast,
          317And the sad humour loading their eye liddes,
          318As messenger of Morpheus on them cast
          319Sweet slombring deaw, the which to sleepe them biddes.
          320Vnto their lodgings then his guestes he riddes:
          321Where when all drownd in deadly sleepe he findes,
          322He to his study goes, and there amiddes
          323His Magick bookes and artes of sundry kindes,
          324He seekes out mighty charmes, to trouble sleepy mindes.

 37

          325Then choosing out few wordes most horrible,
          326(Let none them read) thereof did verses frame,
          327With which and other spelles like terrible,
          328He bad awake blacke Plutoes griesly Dame,
          329And cursed heauen, and spake reprochfull shame
          330Of highest God, the Lord of life and light;
          331A bold bad man, that dar'd to call by name
          332Great Gorgon, Prince of darknesse and dead night,
          333At which Cocytus quakes, and Styx is put to flight.

 38

          334And forth he cald out of deepe darknesse dred
          335Legions of Sprights, the which like little flyes
          336Fluttring about his euer damned hed,
          337A-waite whereto their seruice he applyes,
          338[Fol. A8v; p. 14] To aide his friends, or fray his enimies:
          339Of those he chose out two, the falsest twoo,
          340And fittest for to forge true-seeming lyes;
          341The one of then he gaue a message too,
          342The other by him selfe staide other worke to doo.

 39

          343He making speedy way through spersed ayre,
          344And through the world of waters wide and deepe,
          345To Morpheus house doth hastily repaire.
          346Amid the bowels of the earth full steepe,
          347And low, where dawning day doth neuer peepe,
          348His dwelling is;  there Tethys his wet bed
          349Doth euer wash, and Cynthia still doth steepe
          350In siluer deaw his euer-drouping hed,
          351Whiles sad Night ouer him her mantle black doth spred.

 40

          352Whose double gates he findeth locked fast,
          353The one faire fram'd of burnisht Yuory,
          354The other all with siluer ouercast;
          355And wakefull dogges before them farre do lye,
          356Watching to banish Care their enimy,
          357Who oft is wont to trouble gentle sleepe.
          358By them the Sprite doth passe in quietly,
          359And vnto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deepe
          360In drowsie fit he findes:  of nothing he takes keepe.

 41

          361And more, to lulle him in his slumber soft,
          362A trickling streame from high rocke tumbling downe
          363And euer-drizling raine vpon the loft,
          364Mixt with a murmuring winde, much like the sowne
          365Of swarming Bees, did cast him in a swowne:
          366No other noyse, nor peoples troublous cryes,
          367As still are wont t'annoy the walled towne,
          368Might there be heard:  but carelesse Quiet lyes,
          369Wrapt in eternall silence farre from enemyes.

[Fol. B1r; p. 15] 42

          370The messenger approching to him spake,
          371But his wast wordes returnd to him in vaine:
          372So sound he slept, that nought mought him awake.
          373Then rudely he him thrust, and pusht with paine,
          374Whereat he gan to stretch:  but he againe
          375Shooke him so hard, that forced him to speake.
          376As one then in a dreame, whose dryer braine
          377Is tost with troubled sights and fancies weake,
          378He mumbled soft, but would not all his silence breake.

 43

          379The Sprite then gan more boldly him to wake,
          380And threatned vnto him the dreaded name
          381Of Hecate:  whereat he gan to quake,
          382And lifting vp his lumpish head, with blame
          383Halfe angry asked him, for what he came.
          384Hither (quoth he) me Archimago sent,
          385He that the stubborne Sprites can wisely tame,
          386He bids thee to him send for his intent
          387A fit false dreame, that can delude the sleepers sent.

 44

          388The God obayde, and calling forth straight way
          389A diuerse dreame out of his prison darke,
          390Deliuered it to him, and downe did lay
          391His heauie head, deuoide of carefull carke,
          392Whose sences all were straight benumbd and starke.
          393He backe returning by the Yuorie dore,
          394Remounted vp as light as chearefull Larke,
          395And on his litle winges the dreame he bore
          396In hast vnto his Lord, where he him left afore.

 45

          397Who all this while with charmes and hidden artes,
          398Had made a Lady of that other Spright,
          399And fram'd of liquid ayre her tender partes
          400So liuely, and so like in all mens sight,
          401[Fol. B1v; p. 16] That weaker sence it could haue rauisht quight:
          402The maker selfe for all his wondrous witt,
          403Was nigh beguiled with so goodly sight:
          404Her all in white he clad, and ouer it
          405Cast a blacke stole, most like to seeme for Vna fit.

 46

          406Now when that ydle dreame was to him brought,
          407Vnto that Elfin knight he bad him fly,
          408Where he slept soundly void of euill thought,
          409And with false shewes abuse his fantasy,
          410In sort as he him schooled priuily:
          411And that new creature borne without her dew,
          412Full of the makers guile, with vsage sly
          413He taught to imitate that Lady trew,
          414Whose semblance she did carrie vnder feigned hew.

 47

          415Thus well instructed, to their worke they hast,
          416And comming where the knight in slomber lay,
          417The one vpon his hardy head him plast,
          418And made him dreame of loues and lustfull play,
          419That nigh his manly hart did melt away,
          420Bathed in wanton blis and wicked ioy:
          421Then seemed him his Lady by him lay,
          422And to him playnd, how that false winged boy,
          423Her chast hart had subdewd, to learne Dame pleasures toy.

 48

          424And she her selfe of beautie soueraigne Queene,
          425Faire Venus seemde vnto his bed to bring
          426Her, whom he waking euermore did weene,
          427To be the chastest flowre, that ay did spring
          428On earthly braunch, the daughter of a king,
          429Now a loose Leman to vile seruice bound:
          430And eke the Graces seemed all to sing,
          431Hymen iõ Hymen, dauncing all around,
          432Whilst freshest Flora her with Yuie girlond crownd.

[Fol. B2r; p. 17] 49

          433In this great passion of vnwonted lust,
          434Or wonted feare of doing ought amis,
          435He started vp, as seeming to mistrust,
          436Some secret ill, or hidden foe of his:
          437Lo there before his face his Lady is,
          438Vnder blake stole hyding her bayted hooke,
          439And as halfe blushing offred him to kis,
          440With gentle blandishment and louely looke,
          441Most like that virgin true, which for her knight him took.

 50

          442All cleane dismayd to see so vncouth sight,
          443And halfe enraged at her shamelesse guise,
          444He thought haue slaine her in his fierce despight:
          445But hasty heat tempring with sufferance wise,
          446He stayde his hand, and gan himselfe aduise
          447To proue his sense, and tempt her faigned truth.
          448Wringing her hands in wemens pitteous wise,
          449Tho can she weepe, to stirre vp gentle ruth,
          450Both for her noble bloud, and for her tender youth.

 51

          451And said, Ah Sir, my liege Lord and my loue,
          452Shall I accuse the hidden cruell fate,
          453And mightie causes wrought in heauen aboue,
          454Or the blind God, that doth me thus amate,
          455For hoped loue to winne me certaine hate?
          456Yet thus perforce he bids me do, or die.
          457Die is my dew:  yet rew my wretched state
          458You, whom my hard auenging destinie
          459Hath made iudge of my life or death indifferently.

 52

          460Your owne deare sake forst me at first to leaue
          461My Fathers kingdome, There she stopt with teares;
          462Her swollen hart her speach seemd to bereaue,
          463And then againe begun, My weaker yeares
          464[Fol. B2v; p. 18] Captiu'd to fortune and frayle worldly feares,
          465Fly to your faith for succour and sure ayde:
          466Let me not dye in langour and long teares.
          467Why Dame (quoth he) what hath ye thus dismayd?
          468What frayes ye, that were wont to comfort me affrayd?

 53

          469Loue of your selfe, she said, and deare constraint
          470Lets me not sleepe, but wast the wearie night
          471In secret anguish and vnpittied plaint,
          472Whiles you in carelesse sleepe are drowned quight.
          473Her doubtfull words made that redoubted knight
          474Suspect her truth:  yet since no'vntruth he knew,
          475Her fawning loue with foule disdainefull spight
          476He would not shend, but said, Deare dame I rew,
          477That for my sake vnknowne such griefe vnto you grew.

 54

          478Assure your selfe, it fell not all to ground;
          479For all so deare as life is to my hart,
          480I deeme your loue, and hold me to you bound;
          481Ne let vaine feares procure your needlesse smart,
          482Where cause is none, but to your rest depart.
          483Not all content, yet seemd she to appease
          484Her mournefull plaintes, beguiled of her art,
          485And fed with words, that could not chuse but please,
          486So slyding softly forth, she turnd as to her ease.

 55

          487Long after lay he musing at her mood,
          488Much grieu'd to thinke that gentle Dame so light,
          489For whose defence he was to shed his blood.
          490At last dull wearinesse of former fight
          491Hauing yrockt a sleepe his irkesome spright,
          492That troublous dreame gan freshly tosse his braine,
          493With bowres, and beds, and Ladies deare delight:
          494But when he saw his labour all was vaine,
          495With that misformed spright he backe returnd againe.

Notes

1] Old spelling is retained except for ligatured letters, which are normalized. Contractions and abbreviations are expanded and underlined. Italics and original lineation are retained, but not small capitals and the text of catchwords, signatures, and running titles. Irregularities in spacing are ignored. Reference citations are by signatures and page numbers, and by editorial canto, stanza, and verse line numbers. Emendations are noted. Hung words are reattached to the end of the lines to which they belong.

85] They: "The" in original.

305] gently: "genlty" in original.

314] euermore: "euemore" in original.

373] thrust: "trust" in original.


Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Facsimile: Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene 1596, Volume 1, Introduction by Graham Hough (London: Scolar Press, 1976). PR 2358 A2H6 1976 Robarts Library. Electronic Text from Ian Lancashire, in collaboration with John Bradley, Willard McCarty, Michael Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge, Using TACT with Electronic Texts: A Guide to Text-Analysis Computing Tools, Version 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996). CD-ROM. QA 76.9.T48 L36.
First publication date: 1596
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996
Recent editing: 1:2002/6/28

Rhyme: ababbcbcc


Other poems by Edmund Spenser