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Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

The Faerie Queene, Book III, Canto 6

(excerpt)


THE THIRD BOOKE OF THE FAERIE QUEENE
Contayning
THE LEGENDE OF BRITOMARTIS
OR OF CHASTITIE

CANTO VI

The birth of faire Belphoebe and
     Of Amoret is told.
The Gardins of Adonis fraught
     With pleasures manifold.

i
              1Well may I weene, faire Ladies, all this while
              2Ye wonder, how this noble Damozell
              3So great perfections did in her compile,
              4Sith that in salvage forests she did dwell,
              5So farre from court and royall Citadell,
              6The great schoolmistresse of all curtesy:
              7Seemeth that such wild woods should far expell
              8All civill usage and gentility,
              9And gentle sprite deforme with rude rusticity.

ii
            10But to this faire Belphoebe in her berth
            11The heavens so favourable were and free,
            12Looking with myld aspect upon the earth,
            13In th'Horoscope of her nativitee,
            14That all the gifts of grace and chastitee
            15On her they poured forth of plenteous horne;
            16Jove laught on Venus from his soveraigne see,
            17And Phoebus with faire beames did her adorne,
            18And all the Graces rockt her cradle being borne.

iii
            19Her berth was of the wombe of Morning dew,
            20And her conception of the joyous Prime,
            21And all her whole creation did her shew
            22Pure and unspotted from all loathly crime,
            23That is ingenerate in fleshly slime.
            24So was this virgin borne, so was she bred,
            25So was she trayned up from time to time,
            26In all chast vertue, and true bounti-hed
            27Till to her dew perfection she was ripened.

iv
            28Her mother was the faire Chrysogonee,
            29The daughter of Amphisa, who by race
            30A Faerie was, yborne of high degree,
            31She bore Belphoebe, she bore in like cace
            32Faire Amoretta in the second place:
            33These two were twinnes, and twixt them two did share
            34The heritage of all celestiall grace.
            35That all the rest it seem'd they robbed bare
            36Of bountie, and of beautie, and all vertues rare.

v
            37It were a goodly storie, to declare,
            38By what straunge accident faire Chrysogone
            39Conceiv'd these infants, and how them she bare,
            40In this wild forrest wandring all alone,
            41After she had nine moneths fulfild and gone:
            42For not as other wemens commune brood,
            43They were enwombed in the sacred throne
            44Of her chaste bodie, nor with commune food,
            45As other wemens babes, they sucked vitall blood.

vi
            46But wondrously they were begot, and bred
            47Through influence of th'heavens fruitfull ray,
            48As it in antique bookes is mentioned.
            49It was upon a Sommers shynie day,
            50When Titan faire his beames did display,
            51In a fresh fountaine, farre from all mens vew,
            52She bath'd her brest, the boyling heat t'allay;
            53She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew,
            54And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

vii
            55Till faint through irkesome wearinesse, adowne
            56Upon the grassie ground her selfe she layd
            57To sleepe, the whiles a gentle slombring swowne
            58Upon her fell all naked bare displayd;
            59The sunne-beames bright upon her body playd,
            60Being through former bathing mollifide,
            61And pierst into her wombe, where they embayd
            62With so sweet sence and secret power unspide,
            63That in her pregnant flesh they shortly fructifide.

viii
            64Miraculous may seeme to him, that reades
            65So straunge ensample of conception;
            66But reason teacheth that the fruitfull seades
            67Of all things living, through impression
            68Of the sunbeames in moyst complexion,
            69Doe life conceive and quickned are by kynd:
            70So after Nilus inundation,
            71Infinite shapes of creatures men do fynd,
            72Informed in the mud, on which the Sunne hath shynd.

ix
            73Great father he of generation
            74Is rightly cald, th'author of life and light;
            75And his faire sister for creation
            76Ministreth matter fit, which tempred right
            77With heate and humour, breedes the living wight.
            78So sprong these twinnes in wombe of Chrysogone,
            79Yet wist she nought thereof, but sore affright,
            80Wondred to see her belly so upblone,
            81Which still increast, till she her terme had full outgone.

x
            82Whereof conceiving shame and foule disgrace,
            83Albe her guiltlesse conscience her cleard,
            84She fled into the wildernesse a space,
            85Till that unweeldy burden she had reard,
            86And shund dishonor, which as death she feard:
            87Where wearie of long travell, downe to rest
            88Her selfe she set, and comfortably cheard;
            89There a sad cloud of sleepe her overkest,
            90And seized every sense with sorrow sore opprest.

xi
            91It fortuned, faire Venus having lost
            92Her little sonne, the winged god of love,
            93Who for some light displeasure, which him crost,
            94Was from her fled, as flit as ayerie Dove,
            95And left her blisfull bowre of joy above,
            96(So from her often he had fled away,
            97When she for ought him sharpely did reprove,
            98And wandred in the world in strange aray,
            99Disguiz'd in thousand shapes, that none might him bewray.)

xii
          100Him for to seeke, she left her heavenly hous,
          101The house of goodly formes and faire aspects,
          102Whence all the world derives the glorious
          103Features of beautie, and all shapes select,
          104With which high God his workmanship hath deckt;
          105And searched every way, through which his wings
          106Had borne him, or his tract she mote detect:
          107She promist kisses sweet, and sweeter things
          108Unto the man, that of him tydings to her brings.

xiii
          109First she him sought in Court, where most he used
          110Whylome to haunt, but there she found him not;
          111But many there she found, which sore accused
          112His falsehood, and with foule infamous blot
          113His cruell deedes and wicked wyles did spot:
          114Ladies and Lords she every where mote heare
          115Complayning, how with his empoysned shot
          116Their wofull harts he wounded had whyleare,
          117And so had left them languishing twixt hopt and feare.

xiv
          118She then the Citties sought from gate to gate,
          119And every one did aske, did he him see;
          120And every one her answerd, that too late
          121He had him seene, and felt the crueltie
          122Of his sharpe darts and whot artillerie;
          123And every one threw forth reproches rife
          124Of his mischievous deedes, and said, That hee
          125Was the disturber of all civill life,
          126The enimy of peace, and author of all strife.

xv
          127Then in the countrey she abroad him sought,
          128And in the rurall cottages inquired,
          129Where also many plaints to her were brought,
          130How he their heedlesse harts with love had fyred,
          131And his false venim through their veines inspyred;
          132And eke the gentle shepheard swaynes, which sat
          133Keeping their fleecie flockes, as they were hyred,
          134She sweetly heard complaine, both how and what
          135Her sonne had to them doen; yet she did smile thereat.

xvi
          136But when in none of all these she him got,
          137She gan avize, where else he mote him hyde:
          138At last she her bethought, that she had not
          139Yet sought the salvage woods and forrests wyde,
          140In which full many lovely Nymphes abyde,
          141Mongst whom might be, that he did closely lye,
          142Or that the love of some of them him tyde:
          143For thy she thither cast her course t'apply,
          144To search the secret haunts of Dianes company.

xvii
          145Shortly unto the wastefull woods she came,
          146Whereas she found the Goddesse with her crew,
          147After late chace of their embrewed game,
          148Sitting beside a fountaine in a rew,
          149Some of them washing with the liquid dew
          150From offtheir dainty limbes the dustie sweat,
          151And soyle which did deforme their lively hew;
          152Others lay shaded from the scorching heat;
          153The rest upon her person gave attendance great.

xviii
          154She having hong upon a bough on high
          155Her bow and painted quiver, had unlaste
          156Her silver buskins from her nimble thigh,
          157And her lancke loynes ungirt, and brests unbraste,
          158After her heat the breathing cold to taste;
          159Her golden lockes, that late in tresses bright
          160Embreaded were for hindring of her haste,
          161Now loose about her shoulders hong undight,
          162And were with sweet Ambrosia all besprinckled light.

xix
          163Soone as she Venus saw behind her backe,
          164She was asham'd to be so loose surprized,
          165And woxe halfe wroth against her damzels slacke,
          166That had not her thereof before avized,
          167But suffred her so carelesly disguized
          168Be overtaken. Soone her garments loose
          169Upgath'ring, in her bosome she comprized,
          170Well as she might, and to the Goddesse rose,
          171Whiles all her Nymphes did like a girlond her enclose.

xx
          172Goodly she gan faire Cytherea greet,
          173And shortly asked her, what cause her brought
          174Into that wildernesse for her unmeet,
          175From her sweete bowres, and beds with pleasures fraught:
          176That suddein change she strange adventure thought.
          177To whom halfe weeping, she thus answered,
          178That she her dearest sonne Cupido sought,
          179Who in his frowardnesse from her was fled;
          180That she repented sore, to have him angered.

xxi
          181Thereat Diana gan to smile, in scorne
          182Of her vaine plaint, and to her scoffmg sayd;
          183Great pittie sure, that ye be so forlorne
          184Of your gay sonne, that gives ye so good ayd
          185To your disports: ill mote ye bene apayd.
          186But she was more engrieved, and replide;
          187Faire sister, ill beseemes it to upbrayd
          188A dolefull heart with so disdainfull pride;
          189The like that mine, may be your paine another tide.

xxii
          190As you in woods and wanton wildernesse
          191Your glory set, to chace the salvage beasts,
          192So my delight is all in joyfulnesse,
          193In beds, in bowres, in banckets, and in feasts:
          194And ill becomes you with your loftie creasts,
          195To scorne the joy, that Jove is glad to seeke;
          196We both are bound to follow heavens beheasts,
          197And tend our charges with obeisance meeke:
          198Spare, gentle sister, with reproch my paine to eeke.

xxiii
          199And tell me, if that ye my sonne have heard,
          200To lurk emongst your Nymphes in secret wize;
          201Or keepe their cabins: much I am affeard,
          202Lest he like one of them him selfe disguize,
          203And turne his arrowes to their exercize:
          204So may he long himselfe full easie hide:
          205For he is faire and fresh in face and guize,
          206As any Nymph (let not it be envyde.)
          207So saying every Nymph full narrowly she eyde.

xxiv
          208But Phoebe therewith sore was angered,
          209And sharply said; Goe Dame, goe seeke your boy,
          210Where you him lately left, in Mars his bed;
          211He comes not here, we scorne his foolish joy,
          212Ne lend we leisure to his idle toy:
          213But if I catch him in this company,
          214By Stygian lake I vow, whose sad annoy
          215The Gods doe dread, he dearely shall abye:
          216Ile clip his wanton wings, that he no more shall fly.

xxv
          217Whom when as Venus saw so sore displeased,
          218She inly sory was, and gan relent,
          219What she had said: so her she soone appeased,
          220With sugred words and gentle blandishment,
          221Which as a fountaine from her sweet lips went,
          222And welled goodly forth, that in short space
          223She was well pleasd, and forth her damzels sent,
          224Through all the woods, to search from place to place,
          225If any tract of him or tydings they mote trace.

xxvi
          226To search the God of love, her Nymphes she sent
          227Throughout the wandring forrest every where:
          228But after them her selfe eke with her went
          229To seeke the fugitive, both farre and nere.
          230So long they sought, till they arrived were
          231In that same shadie covert, whereas lay
          232Faire Crysogone in slombry traunce whilere:
          233Who in her sleepe (a wondrous thing to say)
          234Unwares had borne two babes, as faire as springing day.

xxvii
          235Unwares she them conceiv'd, unwares she bore:
          236She bore withouten paine, that she conceived
          237Withouten pleasure: ne her need implore
          238Lucinaes aide: which when they both perceived,
          239They were through wonder nigh of sense bereaved,
          240And gazing each on other, nought bespake:
          241At last they both agreed, her seeming grieved
          242Out of her heavy swowne not to awake,
          243But from her loving side the tender babes to take.

xxviii
          244Up they them tooke, each one a babe uptooke,
          245And with them carried, to be fostered;
          246Dame Phoebe to a Nymph her babe betooke,
          247To be upbrought in perfect Maydenhed,
          248And of her selfe her name Belphoebe red:
          249But Venus hers thence farre away convayd,
          250To be upbrought in goodly womanhed,
          251And in her litle loves stead, which was strayd,
          252Her Amoretta cald, to comfort her dismayd.

xxix
          253She brought her to her joyous Paradize,
          254Where most she wonnes, when she on earth does dwel.
          255So faire a place, as Nature can devize:
          256Whether in Paphos, or Cytheron hill,
          257Or it in Gnidus be, I wote not well;
          258But well I wote by tryall, that this same
          259All other pleasant places doth excell,
          260And called is by her lost lovers name,
          261The Gardin of Adonis, farre renowmd by fame.

xxx
          262In that same Gardin all the goodly flowres,
          263Wherewith dame Nature doth her beautifie,
          264And decks the girlonds of her paramoures,
          265Are fetcht: there is the first seminarie
          266Of all things, that are borne to live and die,
          267According to their kindes. Long worke it were,
          268Here to account the endlesse progenie
          269Of all the weedes, that bud and blossome there;
          270But so much as doth need, must needs be counted here.

xxxi
          271It sited was in fruitfull soyle of old,
          272And girt in with two walles on either side;
          273The one of yron, the other of bright gold,
          274That none might thorough breake, nor over-stride:
          275And double gates it had, which opened wide,
          276By which both in and out men moten pas;
          277Th'one faire and fresh, the other old and dride:
          278Old Genius the porter of them was,
          279Old Genius, the which a double nature has.

xxxii
          280He letteth in, he letteth out to wend,
          281All that to come into the world desire;
          282A thousand thousand naked babes attend
          283About him day and night, which doe require,
          284That he with fleshly weedes would them attire:
          285Such as him list, such as eternall fate
          286Ordained hath, he clothes with sinfull mire,
          287And sendeth forth to live in mortall state,
          288Till they againe returne backe by the hinder gate.

xxxiii
          289After that they againe returned beene,
          290They in that Gardin planted be againe;
          291And grow afresh, as they had never seene
          292Fleshly corruption, nor mortall paine.
          293Some thousand yeares so doen they there remaine;
          294And then of him are clad with other hew,
          295Or sent into the chaungefull world againe,
          296Till thither they returne, where first they grew:
          297So like a wheele around they runne from old to new.

xxxiv
          298Ne needs there Gardiner to set, or sow,
          299To plant or prune: for of their owne accord
          300All things, as they created were, doe grow,
          301And yet remember well the mightie word,
          302Which first was spoken by th'Almightie lord,
          303That bad them to increase and multiply:
          304Ne doe they need with water of the ford,
          305Or of the clouds to moysten their roots dry;
          306For in themselves eternall moisture they imply.

xxxv
          307Infinite shapes of creatures there are bred,
          308And uncouth formes, which none yet ever knew,
          309And every sort is in a sundry bed
          310Set by it selfe, and ranckt in comely rew:
          311Some fit for reasonable soules t'indew,
          312Some made for beasts, some made for birds to weare,
          313And all the fruitfull spawne of fishes hew
          314In endlesse rancks along enraunged were,
          315That seem'd the Ocean could not containe them there.

xxxvi
          316Daily they grow, and daily forth are sent
          317Into the world, it to replenish more;
          318Yet is the stocke not lessened, nor spent,
          319But still remaines in everlasting store,
          320As it at first created was of yore.
          321For in the wide wombe of the world there lyes,
          322In hatefull darkenesse and in deepe horrore,
          323An huge eternall Chaos, which supplyes
          324The substances of natures fruitfull progenyes.

xxxvii
          325All things from thence doe their first being fetch,
          326And borrow matter, whereof they are made,
          327Which when as forme and feature it does ketch,
          328Becomes a bodie, and doth then invade
          329The state of life, out of the griesly shade.
          330That substance is eterne, and bideth so,
          331Ne when the life decayes, and forme does fade,
          332Doth it consume, and into nothing go,
          333But chaunged is, and often altred to and fro.

xxxviii
          334The substance is not chaunged, nor altered,
          335But th'only forme and outward fashion;
          336For every substance is conditioned
          337To change her hew, and sundry formes to don,
          338Meet for her temper and complexion:
          339For formes are variable and decay,
          340By course of kind, and by occasion;
          341And that faire flowre of beautie fades away,
          342As doth the lilly fresh before the sunny ray.

xxxix
          343Great enimy to it, and to all the rest,
          344That in the Gardin of Adonis springs,
          345Is wicked Time, who with his scyth addrest,
          346Does mow the flowring herbes and goodly things,
          347And all their glory to the ground downe flings,
          348Where they doe wither, and are fowly mard:
          349He flyes about, and with his flaggy wings
          350Beates downe both leaves and buds without regard,
          351Ne ever pittie may relent his malice hard.

xl
          352Yet pittie often did the gods relent,
          353To see so faire things mard, and spoyled quight:
          354And their great mother Venus did lament
          355The losse of her deare brood, her deare delight;
          356Her hart was pierst with pittie at the sight,
          357When walking through the Gardin, them she saw,
          358Yet no'te she find redresse for such despight.
          359For all that lives, is subject to that law:
          360All things decay in time, and to their end do draw.

xli
          361But were it not, that Time their troubler is,
          362All that in this delightfull Gardin growes,
          363Should happie be, and have immortall blis:
          364For here all plentie, and all pleasure flowes,
          365And sweet love gentle fits emongst them throwes,
          366Without fell rancor, or fond gealosie;
          367Franckly each paramour his leman knowes,
          368Each bird his mate, ne any does envie
          369Their goodly meriment, and gay felicitie.

xlii
          370There is continuall spring, and harvest there
          371Continuall, both meeting at one time:
          372For both the boughes doe laughing blossomes beare,
          373And with fresh colours decke the wanton Prime,
          374And eke attonce the heavy trees they clime,
          375Which seeme to labour under their fruits lode:
          376The whiles the joyous birdes make their pastime
          377Emongst the shadie leaves, their sweet abode,
          378And their true loves without suspition tell abrode.

xliii
          379Right in the middest of that Paradise,
          380There stood a stately Mount, on whose round top
          381A gloomy grove of mirtle trees did rise,
          382Whose shadie boughes sharpe steele did never lop,
          383Nor wicked beasts their tender buds did crop,
          384But like a girlond compassed the hight,
          385And from their fruitfull sides sweet gum did drop,
          386That all the ground with precious deaw bedight,
          387Threw forth most dainty odours, and most sweet delight.

xliv
          388And in the thickest covert of that shade,
          389There was a pleasant arbour, not by art,
          390But of the trees owne inclination made,
          391Which knitting their rancke braunches part to part,
          392With wanton yvie twyne entrayld athwart,
          393And Eglantine, and Caprifole emong,
          394Fashiond above within their inmost part,
          395That neither Phoebus beams could through them throng,
          396Nor Aeolus sharp blast could worke them any wrong.

xlv
          397And all about grew every sort of flowre,
          398To which sad lovers were transformd of yore;
          399Fresh Hyacinthus, Phoebus paramoure,
          400And dearest love,
          401Foolish Narcisse, that likes the watry shore,
          402Sad Amaranthus, made a flowre but late,
          403Sad Amaranthus, in whose purple gore
          404Me seemes I see Amintas wretched fate,
          405To whom sweet Poets verse hath given endlesse date.

xlvi
          406There wont faire Venus often to enjoy
          407Her deare Adonis joyous company,
          408And reape sweet pleasure of the wanton boy;
          409There yet, some say, in secret he does ly,
          410Lapped in flowres and pretious spycery,
          411By her hid from the world, and from the skill
          412Of Stygian Gods, which doe her love envy;
          413But she her selfe, when ever that she will,
          414Possesseth him, and of his sweetnesse takes her fill.

xlvii
          415And sooth it seemes they say: for he may not
          416For ever die, and ever buried bee
          417In balefull night, where all things are forgot;
          418All be he subject to mortalitie,
          419Yet is eterne in mutabilitie,
          420And by succession made perpetuall,
          421Transformed oft, and chaunged diverslie:
          422For him the Father of all formes they call;
          423Therefore needs mote he live, that living gives to all.

xlviii
          424There now he liveth in eternall blis,
          425Joying his goddesse, and of her enjoyd:
          426Ne feareth he henceforth that foe of his,
          427Which with his cruell tuske him deadly cloyd:
          428For that wilde Bore, the which him once annoyd,
          429She firmely hath emprisoned for ay,
          430That her sweet love his malice mote avoyd,
          431In a strong rocky Cave, which is they say,
          432Hewen underneath that Mount, that none him losen may.

xlix
          433There now he lives in everlasting joy,
          434With many of the Gods in company,
          435Which thither haunt, and with the winged boy
          436Sporting himselfe in safe felicity:
          437Who when he hath with spoiles and cruelty
          438Ransackt the world, and in the wofull harts
          439Of many wretches set his triumphes hye,
          440Thither resorts, and laying his sad darts
          441Aside, with faire Adonis playes his wanton parts.

l
          442And his true love faire Psyche with him playes,
          443Faire Psyche to him lately reconcyld,
          444After long troubles and unmeet upbrayes,
          445With which his mother Venus her revyld,
          446And eke himselfe her cruelly exyld:
          447But now in stedfast love and happy state
          448She with him lives, and hath him borne a chyld,
          449Pleasure, that doth both gods and men aggrate,
          450Pleasure, the daughter of Cupid and Psyche late.

li
          451Hither great Venus brought this infant faire,
          452The younger daughter of Chrysogonee,
          453And unto Psyche with great trust and care
          454Committed her, yfostered to bee,
          455And trained up in true feminitee:
          456Who no lesse carefully her tendered,
          457Then her owne daughter Pleasure, to whom shee
          458Made her companion, and her lessoned
          459In all the lore of love, and goodly womanhead.

Notes

1] In the book of Chastity, the climactic adventure is the rescue of Amoret ("th' ensample of true love" and "feminitee") from the House of Busirane (courtly lust) by Britomart (Chastity). Belphoebe, who resembles the virgin Diana the huntress and is also a "mirror" of the "rare chastitee" of Queen Elizabeth, is worshipped by Arthur's squire Timias. In this canto Spenser not only accounts for the qualities of Belphoebe and Amoret but creates a cosmological myth of generation.

3] compile: acquire.

18] Graces. "three sisters, the daughters of Jupiter (whose names are Aglaia, Thalia, Euphrosyne . . .), otherwise called Charites, that is thanks. Whom the Poets feyned to be the Goddesses of al bountie and comelines'' (E.K.). Cf. "Aprill," line 109, and VI, x, xxii-xxiii.

20] Prime: sunrise.

26] bounti-hed: generosity.

28] Chrysogonee: "golden-horn."

29] Amphisa: "double nature," i.e., both mortal and supernatural.

64] This stanza is a paraphrase of Ovid, Metamorphoses, I, 417-31.

75] his faire sister: the moon. Plutarch, in his essay on Isis and Osiris, calls the moon the mother of the world.

76] tempred right/With heate and humour: "ubi temperiem sumpsere umorque calorque concipiunt" (Ovid, Metamorphoses, I, 430).

99] bewray: find out.

147] embrewed: blood-stained.

157] lancke: slender.

169] The picture of Diana surprised and angry is a reminiscence of the story of Actaeon, who, coming upon the virgin-huntress bathing, was turned into a stag and hunted to death by his own hounds. comprized: drew together.

172] Cytherea. Venus is so called because she had an important sanctuary in Cythera.

185] ill mote ye bene apayd: ill may you be requited.

210] in Mars his bed: a reference to the notorious love of Venus and Mars.

214] Stygian lake: in Hades.

238] Lucinaes aide: Lucina is the name for Juno in her aspect as goddess of childbirth.

248] red: called.

254] wonnes: lives.

256] Paphos, Cythera, and Gnidos were sanctuaries of the love-goddess.

265] seminarie: seed-place.

272] The walls and gates are conventional features of "earthly paradises" in classical and mediaeval tradition; the "gold" and "iron" may possibly refer to the first and last ages of man. The common source for the "double gates" and for the whole idea of a place of passage is the vision of Er in Plato's Republic, X.

278] Genius. See notes to F.Q., II, xii, xlvii.

293] Cf. Virgil, Æniad, VI, 743-51, where some few of the souls in Elysium "abide in the joyous fields" but most, "when they have rolled time's wheel through a thousand years," return to bodies. Spenser also has in mind the Pythagorean doctrine of transmigration, as set forth by Ovid, Metamorphoses, XV, 165-72.

301] See Genesis 1:28.

306] imply: contain.

323] Chaos: the rude unordered mass (rudis indigestaque moles), which Ovid (Metamorphoses, l, 5-9) describes as the primal condition of matter.

334] "Nothing perishes in the whole universe; it does but vary and renew its form." Ovid, Metamorphoses, XV, 254-55.

354] their great mother Venus: here the creator and preserver of all living things; this conception of Venus comes from a number of sources, but directly from Natalis Comes, Mythologiae.

367] Each lover openly enjoys his beloved.

373] the wanton Prime: the lush springtime.

380] a stateIy Mount. The Garden is the Earthly Paradise, with its mountain, a blend of the Garden of Eden with various classical elysiums, as described by Natalis Comes, Mythologiae, 3, 19.

393] Caprifole: honeysuckle.

396] Aeolus: god of the winds.

397] The myths of Hyacinthus, beloved of Apollo, who was killed accidentally by a discus, and of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection in water, pined away, and died, are recounted by Ovid, Metamorphoses, X, 162 ff. and III, 402 ff. Amaranthus means "unfading," hence a symbol of immortality.

403] purple gore. The plant love-lies-a-bleeding, of the genus amaranthus, has a purple-red bloom.

404] probably a reference to Thomas Watson's (the "sweet Poet") paraphrase of Tasso's Aminta (1585).

444] The myth of Venus' love for the youth Adonis, who was killed by a boar (xlviii, 5, below) is related by Ovid, Metamorphoses, X, 524 ff. Adonis, from whose blood the goddess caused the anemone to spring, was primarily a fertility-god, and his festival was celebrated by songs of mourning (cf. Ezekiel 8:14, where Adonis=Thammuz, and Milton, Paradise Lost, III, 446-52), and by the setting out of pots of rapidly withering plants, called ''the gardens of Adonis.'' upbrayes: reproaches.

449] The story of Cupid and Psyche, as told by Apuleius, Metamorphoses ("The Golden Ass"), IV-VI, and here curtly summarized, was usually allegorized as the trials of the soul (psyche) and her union with pure love to produce "eternal joy and gladness." aggrate: gratify.


Online text copyright © 2003, 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: Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, 2nd edn. (R. Field for W. Ponsonbie, 1596). STC 23082. Facsimile: The Faerie Queene 1596, Volume 1, Introduction by Graham Hough (London: Scolar Press, 1976). PR 2358 A2H6 1976 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1596
RPO poem editor: Millar MacLure
RP edition: 3RP 1: 106.
Recent editing: 1:2002/6/30

Form: Spenserian Stanzas
Rhyme: ababbcbcc


Other poems by Edmund Spenser