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Ful louder than dide Hasdrubales wyf, And seyde, sire, if that I were as ye, Whan that hir housbond hadde lost his lyf, Yet sholde I seyn (as wis god helpe me), And that the Romayns hadde brend Car- Turneth agayn, ye proude cherles alle ! tage;

A verray pestilence up-on yow falle! She was so ful of torment and of rage, 600 Now am I come un-to this wodes syde, That wilfully into the fyr she sterte, Maugree your heed, the cok stial heer And brende hir-selven with a stedfast herte.

abyde; O woful henves, right so cryden ye,

I wol him ete in feith, and that anon.' As, whan that Nero brende the citee The fox answerde, 'in feith, it shal be Of Rome, cryden senatoures wyves,

don,' For that hir housbondes losten alle hir lyves; And as he spak that word, al sodeinly Withouten gilt this Nero hath hem slayn. This cok brak from his mouth deliverly, 650 Now wol I torne to iny tale agayn:

And heighe up-on a tree he fleigh anon. This sely widwe, and eek hir doghtres And whan the fox saugh that he was two,

ygon, Herden thise hennes crye and maken wo, 610 Allas !' quod be, 'O Chauntecleer, allas! And out at dores sterten they anoon, I have to yow,' quod he, 'y-doon trespas, And syen the fox toward the grove goon, In-as-muche as I maked yow aferd, And bar upon his bak the cok away; Whan I yow bente, and broglite out of the Áud cryden, Out! harrow! and weylaway! yerd; Ha, ba, the fox !' and after him they ran, But, sire, I dide it in no wikke entente; And eek with staves many another inan; Com doun, aud I shal telle yow what I Ran Colle our dogge, and Talbot, and Ger

mente. land,

I shal seye sooth to yow, god help me so.' And Malkin, with a distaf in hir hand; • Nay than,' quod he, “I shrewe us bothe Ran cow and calf, and eek the verray

two, hogges

And first I shrewe my-self, bothe blood So were they fered for berking of the and bones, dogges

If thou bigyle me ofter than ones. And shouting of the men and wimmen eke, Thou shalt na-more, thurgh thy flaterye, They ronne so, hem thou hir herte Do me to singe and winke with myn yë. breke.

For he that winketh, whan he sholde see, They yelleden as feendes doon in helle; Al wilfully, god lat him never thee!' The dokes cryden as men wolde bem quelle; • Nay,' quod the fox, “but god yeve him The gees for fere flowen over the trees;

meschaunce, Out of the hyve cam the swarm of bees;

That is so undiscreet of governaunce, So hidous was the noyse, a ! benedicite ! That Iangleth whau he sholde holde his Certes, he lakke Straw, and bis meynee,

pees.' Ne made never shoutes half so shrille, Lo, swich it is for to be recchelees, 670 Whan that they wolden any Fleuning And necligent, and truste on flaterye. kille,

630 But ye that holden this tale a folye, As thilke-day was maad upon

the fox. As of a fox, or of a cok and ben, Of bras thay broghten bemes, and of box, Taketh the moralitee, good men. Of horn, of boon, in whiche they blewe and For seint Paul seith, that al that writen is, pouped,

To our doctryne it is y-write, y-wis. And therwithal thay shryked and they | Taketh the fruyt, and lat the chaf be louped;

stille. It semed as that heven sholde falle.

Now, gode god, if that it be thy wille, Now, gode men, I pray yow herkneth alle ! As seith my lord, so make us alle good Lo, how fortune turneth sodeinly

men; The hope and pryde eek of hir enemy! And bringe us to his heighe blisse. This cok, that lay upon the foxes bak,

Amen. In al his drede, un-to the fox he spak, 640 Here is ended the Nonne Preestes Tale

620

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680

EDMUND SPENSER

THE FAERIE QUEENE | To blazon broade emongst her learned

throng: Fierce warres and faithfull loves shall mor

alize my song

DISPOSED INTO TWELVE BOOKS,

FASHIONING

II

XII MORALL VERTUES

LONDON
PRINTED FOR WILLIAM PONSONBIE

1590

Helpe then, O holy virgin, chiefe of nyne,
Thy weaker novice to performe tlıy will;
Lay forth out of thine everlasting scryne
The antique rolles, which there lye hidden

still,
Of Faerie knights, and fayrest Tanaquill,
Whom that most noble Briton Prince so long
Sought through the world, and suffered so

much ill,
That I must rue his undeserved wrong:
O helpe thou my weake wit, and sharpen my

dull tong

TO THE
MOST MIGHTIE AND
MAGNIFICENT EMPRESSE

ELIZABETH,
BY THE GRACE OF GOD,
QUEENE OF ENGLAND,

FRANCE AND IRELAND
DEFENDER OF THE FAITH &C.
HER MOST HUMBLE SERVANT:

ED. SPENSER

III

(Dedication of the edition of 1590.]

And thou, most dreaded impe of highest

Jove,
Faire Venus sonne, that with thy cruell dart
At that good knight so cunningly didst rove,
That glorious fire it kindled in his hart,
Lay now thy deadly heben bowe apart,
And with thy mother mylde come to mine

ayde:
Come both, and with you bring triumphant

Mart,
In loves and gentle jollities arraid,
After his murdrous spoyles and bloudie rage

allayd.

THE FIRST BOOKE
OF THE FAERIE QUEENE

CONTAYNING

THE LEGEND OF THE KNIGHT

OF THE RED CROSSE

IV

1

OR

And with them eke, O Goddesse heavenly
OF HOLINESSE

bright,
Mirrour of grace and majestie divine,

Great Ladie of the greatest Isle, whose Lo! I the man, whose Muse whylome did

light maske,

Like Phæbus lampe throughout the world As time her taught, in lowly shephards doth shine, weeds,

Shed thy faire beames into my feeble eyne, Am now enforst, a farre unfitter taske, And raise my thoughtes, too humble and For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine oaten

too vile, reeds,

To thinke of that true glorious type of thine, And sing of knights and ladies gentle deeds; The argument of mine afflicted stile: Whose praises having slept in silence long, The which to heare vouchsafe, O dearest Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds dread, a while.

CANTO I

The patrone of true Holinesse

Foule Errour doth defeate : Hypocrisie, bim to entrapre,

Doth to his home entreate.

Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide Under a vele, that wimpled was full low, And over all a blacke stole shee did throw: As one that inly mournd, so was she sad, And heavie sate upon her palfrey slow: Seemed in heart some hidden care she had; And by her in a line a milkewhite lambe

she lad.

I

V

A GENTLE knight was pricking on the

plaine, Ycladd in mightie armes and silver shielde, Wherein old dints of deepe woundes did

remaine, The cruell markes of many'a bloody fielde; Yet armes till that time did he never wield: His angry steede did chide his foming

bitt, As much disdayning to the curbe to yield: Full jolly knight he seemd, and faire did

sitt, As one for knightly giusts and fierce en

counters fitt.

II

So pure and innocent, as that same lambe, She was in life and every vertuous lore, And by descent from royall lynage came Of ancient kinges and queenes, that had of

yore Their scepters stretcht from east to west

erne shore, And all the world in their subjection held, Till that infernall feend with foule uprore Forwasted all their land, and them expeld: Whom to avenge, she had this knight from far compeld.

VI Behind her farre away a dwarfe did lag, That lasie seemd, in being ever last, Or wearied with bearing of her bag Of needments at his backe. Thus as they

past, The day with cloudes was suddeine overcast, And angry

Jove an hideous storme of raine Did poure into his lemans lap so fast, That everie wight to shrowd it did constrain, And this faire couple eke to shroud them

selves were fain.

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VII

III

Upon a great adventure he was bond,
That greatest Gloriana to him gave,
That greatest glorious queene of Faery

Lond,
To winne him worshippe, and her grace to

have, Which of all earthly thinges he most did

crave; And ever as he rode his hart did earne To prove his puissance in battell brave Upon his foe, and his new force to learne; Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stearne.

Enforst to seeke some covert nigh at hand, A shadie grove not farr away they spide, That promist ayde the tempest to withstand: Whose loftie trees, yclad with sommers

pride, Did spred so broad, that heavens light did

hide, Not perceable with power of any starr: And all within were pathes and alleies wide, With footing worne, and leading inward

farr: Faire harbour that them seemes, so in they

entred ar.

VIII

IV

A lovely ladie rode him faire beside, Upon a lowly asse more white then snow,

And foorth they passe, with pleasure for.

ward led, Joying to heare the birdes sweete harmony,

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The laurell, meed of mightie conquerours
And poets sage, the firre that weepeth still,
The willow worne of forlorne paramours,
The eugh obedient to the benders will,
The birch for shaftes, the sallow for the mill,
The mirrhe sweete bleeding in the bitter

wound,
The warlike beech, the ash for nothing ill,
The fruitfull olive, and the platane round,
The carver holme, the maple seeldom in-

ward sound.

XIII

x Led with delight, they thus beguile the way, Untill the blustring storme is overblowne; When, weening to returne whence they did

stray, They cannot finde that path, which first was

showne, But wander too and fro in waies unknowne, Furthest from end then, when they neerest

weene, That makes them doubt, their wits be not

their owne: So many pathes, so many turnings seene, That which of them to take, in diverse

doubt they been.

• Yea, but,' quoth she, “the perill of this

place I better wot then you; though nowe too late To wish you backe returne with foule dis

grace, Yet wisedome warnes, whilest foot is in the

gate, To stay the steppe, ere forced to retrate. This is the wandring wood, this Errours den, A monster vile, whom God and man does

hate: Therefore I read beware.' • Fly, fly!' quoth

then The fearefull dwarfe: "this is no place for

living men.'

XIV

XI

But full of fire and greedy hardiment,
The youthfull knight could not for ought

be staide,
But forth unto the darksom hole he went,
And looked in: his glistring armor made
A litle glooming light, much like a shade,
By which he saw the ugly monster plaine,
Halfe like a serpent horribly displaide,
But th' other halfe did womans shape re-

taine, Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile

disdaine.

At last resolving forward still to fare,

Till that some end they finde, or in or out, | That path they take, that beaten seemd most

bare, And like to lead the labyrinth about; Which when by tract they hunted had

throughout, At length it brought them to a hollowe cave, Amid the thickest woods. The champion

stout Eftsoones dismounted from his courser

brave, And to the dwarfe a while his needlesse

spere he gave.

XV And as she lay upon the durtie ground, Her huge long taile her den all overspred, Yet was in knots and many boughtes up

wound, Pointed with mortall sting. Of her there

bred

XVI

plaid

XX

XVII

XIX A thousand yong ones, which she dayly fed, Sucking upon her poisnous dugs, eachone His lady, sad to see his sore constraint, Of sundrie shapes, yet all ill favored: Cride out, •Now, now, sir knight, sbew Soone as that uncouth light upon them shone,

what ye bee: Into her mouth they crept, and suddain all Add faith unto your force, and be 'not faint: were gone.

Strangle her, els she sure will strangle

thee.'

That when he heard, in great perplexitie, Their dam upstart, out of her den effraide, His gall did grate for griefe and high disAnd rushed forth, hurling her hideous taile daine; About her cursed head, whose folds dis- And knitting all his force, got one hand free,

Wherewith he grypt her gorge with so great Were stretcht now forth at length with

paine, out entraile.

That soone to loose her wicked bands did She lookt about, and seeing one in mayle,

her constraine. Armed to point, sought backe to turne

againe; For light she hated as the deadly bale, Therewith she spewd out of her filthie maw Ay wont in desert darknes to remaine, A floud of poyson horrible and blacke, Where plain none might her see, nor she Full of great lumps of flesh and gobbets see any plaine.

raw, Which stunck so vildly, that it forst him

slacke Which when the valiant Elfe perceiv'd, he His grasping hold, and from her turne him lept

backe: As lyon fierce upon the flying pray,

Her vomit full of bookes and papers was, And with his trenchand blade her boldly With loathly frogs and toades, which eyes kept

did lacke, From turning backe, and forced her to stay: And creeping sought way in the weedy gras: Therewith enrag'd she loudly gan to bray, Her filthie parbreake all the place defiled And turning fierce, her speckled taile ad

has. vaunst, Threatning her angrie sting, him to dismay:

As when old father Nilus gins to swell Who, nought aghast, his mightie hand en- With timely pride above the Aegyptian vale, haunst:

His fattie waves doe fertile slime outwell, The stroke down from her head unto her And overflow each plaine and lowly dale: shoulder glaunst.

But when his later spring gins to avale,

Huge heapes of mudd he leaves, wherin XVIII

there breed Much daunted with that dint, her sence was Ten thousand kindes of creatures, partly dazd,

male Yet kindling rage her selfe she gathered And partly femall, of his fruitful seed; round,

Such ugly monstrous sbapes elswher may And all attonce her beastly bodie raizd

no man reed. With doubled forces high above the ground: Tho, wrapping up her wrethed sterne

XXII arownd,

The same so sore annoyed has the knight, Lept fierce upon his shield, and her huge That, welnigh choked with the deadly stinke, traine

His forces faile, ne can no lenger fight. All suddenly about his body wound, Wbose corage when the feend perceivd to That hand or foot to stirr he strove in

shrinke, vaine:

She poured forth out of her hellish sinke God helpe the man so wrapt in Errours Her fruitfull cursed spawne of serpents endlesse traine.

small,

XXI

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