A Vision vpon this conceipt of the Faery Queene.
ME thought I saw the graue where Laura lay
Within that Temple, where the vestall flame
Was wont to burne, and passing by that way,
To see that buried dust of liuing fame,
Whose tombe faire loue, and fairer vertue kept,
All suddenly I saw the Faery Queene:
At whose approch the soule of Petrarke wept,
And from thenceforth those graces were not seene.
For they this Queene attended, in whose steed
Obliuion laid him downe on Lauras herse:
Hereat the hardest stones were seene to bleed,
And grones of buried ghostes the heuens did perse.
Where Homers spright did tremble all for griefe,
And curst th'accesse of that celestiall theife.
THe prayse of meaner wits this worke like profit brings,
As doth the Cuckoes song delight when Philumena sings.
If thou hast formed right true vertues face herein:
Vertue her selfe can best discerne, to whom they writen bin.
If thou hast beauty praysd, let her sole looks diuine
Iudge if ought therein be amis, and mend it by her meine.
If Chastitie want ought, or Temperaunce her dew,
Behold her Princely mind aright, and write thy Queene anew.
Meane while she shall perceiue, how far her vertues sore
Aboue the reach of all that liue, or such as wrote of yore:
And thereby will excuse and fauour thy good will:
Whose vertue can not be exprest, but by an Angels quill.
Of me no lines are lou'd, nor letters are of price,
Of all which speak our English tongue, but those of thy deuice.
To the learned Shepeheard.
COllyn I see by thy new taken taske,
some sacred fury hath enricht thy braynes,
That leades thy muse in hautie verse to maske,
and loath the layes that longs to lowly swaynes.
That lifts thy notes from Shepheardes vnto kinges
So like the liuely Larke that mounting singes.
Thy louely Rosolinde seemes now forlorne,
and all thy gentle flocks forgotten quight,
Thy chaunged hart now holdes thy pypes in scorne,
those prety pypes that did thy mates delight.
Those trustie mates, that loued thee so well,
VVhom thou gau'st mirth: as they gaue thee the bell.
Yet as thou earst with thy sweete roundelayes,
didst stirre to glee our laddes in homely bowers:
So moughtst thou now in these refyned layes,
delight the daintie eares of higher powers.
And so mought they in their deepe skanning skill
Alow and grace our Collyns flowing quill.
And fare befall that Faery Queene of thine,
in whose faire eyes loue linckt with vertue sites:
Enfusing by those bewties fyers deuine,
such high conceites into thy humble wits,
As raised hath poore pastors oaten reede,
From rustick tunes, to chaunt heroique deedes.
So mought thy Redcrosse knight with happy hand
victorious be in that faire Ilands right:
Which thou dost vaile in Type of Faery land
Elyzaes blessed field, that Albion hight.
That shieldes her friends, and warres her mightie foes,
Yet still with people, peace, and plentie flowes.
But (iolly Shepheard) though with pleasing style,
thou feast the humour of the Courtly traine:
Let not conceipt thy setled sence beguile,
ne daunted be through enuy or disdaine.
Subiect thy dome to her Empyring spright,
From whence thy Muse, and all the world takes light.
FAyre Thamis streame, that from Ludds stately towne,
Runst paying tribute to the Ocean seas,
Let all thy Nymphes and Syrens of renowne
Be silent, whyle this Bryttane Orpheus playes:
Nere thy sweet bankes, there liues that sacred crowne,
Whose hand strowes Palme and neuer-dying bayes.
Let all at once with thy soft murmuring sowne
Present her with this worthy Poets prayes.
For he hath taught hye drifts in Shepeherdes weedes,
And deepe conceites now singes in Faeries deedes.
GRaue Muses march in triumph and with prayses,
Our Goddesse here hath giuen you leaue to land:
And biddes this rare dispenser of your graces
Bow downe his brow vnto her sacred hand.
Desertes findes dew in that most princely doome,
In whose sweete brest are all the Muses bredde:
So did that great Augustus erst in Roome
With leaues of fame adorne his Poets hedde.
Faire be the guerdon of your Faery Queene,
Euen of the fairest that the world hath seene.
WHen stout Achilles heard of Helen's rape
And what reuenge the States of Greece deuisd:
Thinking by sleight the fatall warres to scape,
In womens weedes him selfe he then disguisde.
But this deuise Vlysses soone did spy,
And brought him forth, the chaunce of warre to try.
When Spencer saw the fame was spredd so large
Through Faery land of their renowned Queene:
Loth that his Muse should take so great a charge,
As in such haughty matter to be seene,
To seeme a Shepeheard then he made his choice,
But Sidney heard him sing, and knew his voice.
And as Vlysses brought faire Thetis sonne
From his retyred life to menage armes:
So Spencer was by Sidneys speaches wonne,
To blaze her fame not fearing future harmes:
For well he knew, his Muse would soone be tyred
In her high praise, that all the world admired.
Yet as Achilles in those warlike frayes,
Did win the palme from all the Grecian Peeres:
So Spencer now to his immortall prayse,
Hath wonne the Laurell quite from all his feres.
What though his taske exceed a humaine witt
He is excus'd, sith Sidney thought it fitt.
TO looke vpon a worke of rare deuise
The which a workman setteth out to view,
And not to yield it the deserued prise,
That vnto such a workmanship is dew,
Doth either proue the iudgement to be naught
Or els doth shew a mind with enuy fraught.
To labour to commend a peece of worke,
Which no man goes about to discommend,
Would raise a iealous doubt that there did lurke
Some secret doubt, whereto the prayse did tend.
For when men know the goodnes of the wyne,
Tis needlesse for the hoast to haue a sygne.
Thus then to shew my iudgement to be such
As can discern of colours blacke, and white,
As alls to free my minde from enuies tuch,
That neuer giues to any man his right,
I here pronounce this workmanship is such,
As that no pen can set it forth too much.
And thus I hang a garland at the dore,
Not for to shew the goodnes of the ware:
But such hath beene the custome heretofore,
And customes very hardly broken are.
And when your tast shall tell you this is trew,
Then looke you giue your hoast his vtmost dew.
To the right honourable Sir
topher Hatton, Lord High Chauncelor
of England. &c.
THose prudent heads, that with theire counsels wise
Whylom the Pillours of th'earth did sustaine,
And taught ambitious Rome to tyrannise,
And in the neck of all the world to rayne,
Oft from those graue affaires were wont abstaine,
With the sweet Lady Muses for to play:
So Ennius the elder Africane
So Maro oft did Cæsars cares allay.
So you great Lord, that with your counsell sway
The burdeine of this kingdom mightily,
With like delightes sometimes may eke delay,
The rugged brow of carefull Policy:
And to these ydle rymes lend litle space,
Which for their titles sake may find more grace.
MAgnificke Lord, whose vertues excellent
Doe merit a most famous Poets witt,
To be thy liuing praises instrument,
Yet doe not sdeigne, to let thy name be writt
In this base Poeme, for thee far vnfitt.
Nought is thy worth disparaged thereby,
But when my Muse, whose fethers nothing flitt
Doe yet but flagg, and lowly learne to fly
With bolder wing shall dare alofte to sty
To the last praises of this Faery Queene,
Then shall it make more famous memory
Of thine Heroicke parts, such as they beene:
Till then vouchsafe thy noble countenaunce,
To these first labours needed furtheraunce.
REceiue most Noble Lord in gentle gree,
The vnripe fruit of an vnready wit:
Which by thy countenaunce doth craue to bee
Defended from foule Enuies poisnous bit.
Which so to doe may thee right well befit,
Sith th'antique glory of thine auncestry
Vnder a shady vele is therein writ,
And eke thine owne long liuing memory,
Succeeding them in true nobility:
And also for the loue, which thou doest beare
To th'Heliconian ymps, and they to thee,
They vnto thee, and thou to them most deare:
Deare as thou art unto thy selfe, so loue
That loues & honours thee, as doth behoue.
The sacred Muses haue made alwaies clame
To be the Nourses of nobility,
And Registres of euerlasting fame
To all that armes professe and cheualry.
Then by like right the noble Progeny,
Which them succeed in fame and worth, are tyde
T'embrace the seruice of sweete Poetry,
By whose endeuours they are glorifide,
And eke from all, of whom it is enuide,
To patronize the authour of their praise,
Which giues them life, that els would soone haue dide,
And crownes their ashes with immortall baies.
To thee therefore right noble Lord I send
This present of my paines, it to defend.
REceiue most noble Lord a simple taste
Of the wilde fruit, which saluage soyl hath bred,
Which being through long wars left almost waste,
With brutish barbarisme is ouerspredd:
And in so faire a land, as may be redd,
Not one Parnassus, nor one Helicone
Left for sweete Muses to be harboured,
But where thy selfe hast thy braue mansione:
There in deede dwel faire Graces many one.
And gentle Nymphes, delights of learned wits;
And in thy person without Paragone
All goodly bountie and true honour sits,
Such therefore, as that wasted soyl doth yield,
Receiue dear Lord in worth, the fruit of barren field.
ANd ye, braue Lord, whose goodly personage,
And noble deeds each other garnishing,
Make you ensample to the present age,
Of th'old Heroes, whose famous ofspring
The antique Poets wont so much to sing,
In this same Pageaunt haue a worthy place,
Sith those huge castles of Castilian king,
That vainly threatned kingdomes to displace,
Like flying doues ye did before you chace;
And that proud people woxen insolent
Through many victories, didst first deface:
Thy praises euerlasting monument
Is in this verse engr[a]uen semblab[l]y,
That it may liue to all posterity.
MOst Noble Lord the pillor of my life,
And Patrone of my Muses pupillage,
Through whose large bountie poured on me rife,
In the first season of my feeble age,
I now doe liue, bound yours by vassalage:
Sith nothing euer may redeeme, nor reaue
Out of your endlesse debt so sure a gage,
Vouchsafe in worth this small guift to receaue,
Which in your noble hands for pledge I leaue,
Of all the rest, that I am tyde t'account:
Rude rymes, the which a rustick Muse did weane
In sauadge soyle, far from Parnasso mount,
And roughly wrought in an vnlearned Loome:
The which vouchsafe dear Lord your fauorable doome.
TO thee that art the sommers Nightingale,
Thy soueraine Goddesses most deare delight,
Why doe I send this rusticke Madrigale,
That may thy tunefull eare vnseason quite?
Thou onely fit this Argument to write,
In whose high thoughts Pleasure hath built her bowre,
And dainty loue learnd sweetly to endite.
My rimes I know vnsauory and sowre,
To taste the streames, that like a golden showre
Flow from thy fruitfull head, of thy loues praise,
Fitter perhaps to thonder Martiall stowre,
When so thee list thy lofty Muse to raise:
Yet till that thou Poeme wilt make knowne,
Let thy faire Cinthias praises bee thus rudely showne.
To the most vertuous, and beautifull
Lady, the Lady Carew.
NE may I, without blot of endlesse blame,
You fairest Lady leaue out of this place,
But with remembraunce of your gracious name,
Wherewith that courtly garlond most ye grace,
And deck the world, adorne these verses base:
Not that these few lines can in them comprise
Those glorious ornaments of heuenly grace,
Wherewith ye triumph ouer feeble eyes,
And in subdued harts do tyranyse:
For thereunto doth need a golden quill,
And siluer leaues, them rightly to deuise,
But to make humble present of good will:
Which whenas timely meanes it purchase may,
In ampler wise it self will forth display.
To all the gratious and beautifull
in the Court.
THe Chian Peincter, when he was requirde
To pourtraict Venus in her perfect hew,
To make his worke more absolute, desird
Of all the fairest Maides to haue the vew.
Much more me needs to draw the semblant trew,
Of beauties Queene, the worlds sole wonderment,
To sharpe my sence with sundry beauties vew,
And steale from each some part of ornament.
If all the world to seeke I ouerwent,
A fairer crew yet no where could I see,
Then that braue court doth to mine eie present,
That the worlds pride seemes gathered there to bee.
Of each part I stole by cunning thefte:
Forgiue it me faire Dames, sith lesse ye haue not lefte.
To the right honourable the Lo.
Burleigh, Lo. high Threasurer of England.
TO you right noble Lord, whose carefull brest
To menage of most graue affaires is bent,
And on whose mightie shoulders most doth rest
The burdein of this kingdomes gouernement,
As the wide compasse of the firmament,
On Atlas mighty shoulders is vpstayed;
Vnfitly I these ydle rimes present,
The labour of lost time, and wit vnstayd:
Yet if their deeper sence be inly wayd,
And the dim vele, with which from comune vew
Their fairer parts are hid, aside be layd.
Perhaps not vaine the might appeare to you.
Such as they be, vouchsafe them to receaue,
And wipe their faults out of your censure graue.
To the right honourable the Lord
Hunsdon, high Chamberlaine to her Maiesty.
REnowmed Lord, that for your worthinesse
And noble deeds haue your deserued place,
High in the fauour of that Empresse,
The worlds sole glory and her sexes grace,
Here eke of right haue you a worthie place,
Both for your nearnes to that Faerie Queene,
And for your owne high merit in like cace,
Of which, apparaunt proofe was to be sene,
When that tumultuous rage and fearfull deene
Of Northerne rebels ye did pacify,
And their disloiall powre defaced clene,
The record of enduring memory.
Liue Lord for euer in this lasting verse,
That all posteritie thy honor may reherse.
To the right honourable the Lord
Buckhurst, one of her Maiesties priuie Counsell.
IN vain I thinke right honourable Lord,
By this rude rime to memorize thy name;
Whose learned Muse hath writ her owne record,
In golden verse, worthy immortal fame:
Thou much more fit (were leasure to the same)
Thy gracious Souerain praises to compile.
And her imperiall Maiestie to frame,
In loftie numbers and heroicke stile,
But sith thou maist not so, giue leaue a while
To baser wit his power therein to spend,
Whose grosse defaults thy daintie pen may file,
And vnaduised ouersights amend.
But euermore vouchsafe it to maintaine
Against vile Zoilus backbightings vaine.
THat Mantuane Poetes incompared spirit,
Whose girland now is set in highest place,
Had not Mecænas for his worthy merit,
It first aduaunst to great Augustus grace,
Might long perhaps haue lien in silence bace,
Ne bene so much admir'd of later age.
This lowly Muse, that learns like steps to trace,
Flies for like aide vnto your Patronage;
That as the great Mecenas of this age,
As wel to al that ciuil artes professe
As those that are inspired with Martial rage,
And craues protection of her feeblenesse:
Which if ye yield, perhaps ye may her rayse
In bigger times to sound your liuing prayse.
To the right noble LORD and most
valiaunt Captaine, Sir Iohn Norris knight, Lord
President of Mounster.
WHo euer gaue more honourable prize
To the sweet Muse, then did the Martiall crew
That their braue deeds she might immortalize
In her shril tromp, and sound their praises dew?
Who then ought more to fauour her, then you
Moste noble Lord, the honor of this age,
And Precedent of all that armes ensue?
Whose warlike prowess and manly courage
Tempred with reason and aduizement sage
Hath fild sad Belgiacke with victorious spoile,
In Fraunce and Ireland left a famous gage,
And lately shakt the Luistanian soile.
Sith then each where thou hast dispredd thy fame,
Loue him, that hath eternized your name.
To the right honourable and most
vertuous Lady, the Countesse of Pe[m]broke.
REmembraunce of that most Heroicke Spirit,
The heuens pride, the glory of our daies,
Which now triumpheth through immortall merit
Of his braue vertues crownd with lasting baies,
Of heuenlie blis and euerlasting praises;
Who first my Muse did lift out of the flore,
To sing his sweet delights in lowlie laies;
Bids me most noble Lady to adore
His goodly image liuing euermore,
In the diuine resemblaunce of your face,
Which with your vertues ye embellish more,
And natiue beauty deck with heuenlie grace.
For his, and for your owne especial sake,
Vouchsafe from him this tok&etilde; in good worth to take.
To the right honourable the Earle
REdoubted Lord, in whose corageous mind
The flowre of cheualry now bloosming faire,
Doth promise fruite worthy the noble kind
Which of their praises haue left you the haire;
To you this humble present I prepare,
For loue of vertue and of Martiall praise;
To which though nobly ye inclined are,
As goodlie well ye shew'd in late assaies,
Yet braue ensample of long passed daies,
In which trew honor ye may fashioned see,
To like desire of honor may ye raise,
And fill your mind with magnanimitee.
Receiue it, Lord, therefore, as it was ment,
For honor of your name and high descent.