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With whome King Coyll made an agreëment,
And to him gave for wife his daughter bright,
Fayre Helena, the fairest living wight,
Who in all godly thewes and goodly praise
Did far excell, but was most famous hight?

For skil in musicke of all in her daies,
As well in curious instruments as cunning laies 3 :

Of whom he did great Constantine begett,
Who afterward was emperour

of Rome;
To which whiles absent he his mind did sett, 4
Octavius here lept into his roome,
And it usurped by unrighteous doome:
But he his title iustifide by might,
Slaying Traherne, and having overcome

The Romane legion in dreadfull fight:
So settled he his kingdome, and confirmd his right:

But, wanting yssew male, his daughter deare

in wedlocke to Maximian,
And him with her made of his kingdome heyre,
Who soone by meanes thereof the Empire wan,
Till murdred by the freends of Gratian.
Then gan the Hunnes and Picts invade this Land,
During the raigne of Maximinian;

Who dying left none heire them to withstand; But that they overran all parts with easy


Thewes, gifts, faculties.
Laies, songs, or vocal music.

2 Hight, reputed.
4 Sett, apply.

mother of Constantine) was named Helena, and is said by some writers to have been a British princess.

LXII. The weary Britons, whose war-hable youth Was by Maximian lately ledd away, With wretched miseryes and woefull ruth Were to those Pagans made an open pray, And daily spectacle of sad decay: Whome Romane warres, which now fowr hundred yeares And more had wasted, could no whit dismay ;

Til, by consent of Commons and of Peares,
They crownd the second Constantine with ioyous teares:

Who having oft in batteill vanquished
Those spoylefull Picts, and swarming Easterlings,
Long time in peace his Realme established,
Yet oft annoyd with sondry bordragings
Of neighbour Scots, and forrein scatterlings 3
With which the world did in those dayes abound:
Which to outbarte, with painefull pyonings 4

From sea to sea he heapt a mighty mound,
Which from Alcluid to Panwelt did that border bownd.

Three sonnes he dying left, all under age;
By meanes whereof their uncle Vortigere
Usurpt the crowne during their pupillage;
Which th' infants tutors gathering to feare,

1 War-hable, able to serve in war.
? Bordragings, border forays.
3 Scatterlings, vagrants.

* Pyonings, works of pioneers. 5 To feare, to-fere, together.

LXII. 9. The second Constantine.] A common soldier of the name of Constantine was made emperor in Britain at the beginning of the fifth century.

LXIII. 2.- Easterlings.] The northern nations.



Them closely into Armorick did beare:
For dread of whom, and for those Picts annoyes,
He sent to Germany straunge aid to reare ;

From whence estsoones arrived here three hoyes ?
Of Saxons, whom he for his safety imployes.

Two brethren were their capitayns, which hight 3
Hengist and Horsus, well approv'd in warre,
And both of them men of renowmed might;
Who making vantage of their civile iarre,
And of those forreyners which came from farre,
Grew great, and got large portions of land,
That in the Realme ere long they stronger arre

Then they which sought at first their helping hand, And Vortiger en forst the Kingdome to aband.5

But, by the helpe of Vortimere his sonne,
He is againe unto his rule restord;
And Hengist, seeming sad for that was donne,
Received is to grace and new accord,
Through his faire daughters face and flattring word.


Eftsoones, immediately. * Hoyes, boats.

Hight, were named.

4 Then, than.
Aband, abandon.


LXIV. 5. Armorick.] Armorica, or Brittany, in France.

LXV. 2. Hengist and Horsus.] Hengist and Horsa were two noted Saxon chiefs, who, about the middle of the fifth century, were invited by Vortiger, a British chief, to assist his people in repelling the invasion of the Picts and Scots, and afterwards established themselves in Britain, and founded the Saxon dynasty.

LXVI. 5. Through his faire daughters face, &c.] Vortiger is said to have fallen in love with Rowena, the daughter of Hengist, and married her, by which alliance the Saxons were materially aided in obtaining a permanent foothold in Britain. Hengist, too, is said to

Soone after which, three hundred lords he slew
Of British blood, all sitting at his bord;

Whose dolefull moniments who list to rew,
Th' eternall marks of treason may at Stonheng vew.

LXVII. By this the sonnes of Constantine, which fled, Ambrose and Uther, did ripe yeares attayne, And, here arriving, strongly challenged The crowne which Vortiger did long detayne; Who, flying from his guilt, by them was slayne: And Hengist eke soone brought to shamefull death. Thenceforth Aurelius peaceably did rayne,

Till that through poyson stopped was his breath ; So now entombed lies at Stoneheng by the heath.

After him Uther, which Pendragon hight,?
Succeeding — There abruptly did it end,
Without full point, or other cesure 3 right;
As if the rest some wicked hand did rend,
Or th' author selfe could not at least 4 attend

i List to rewo, wishes to pity.
? Hight, was named.

3 Cesure, (cesura, Lat.) stop.

4 Least, last.

have invited the British chieftains to a feast, and treacherously slain them all, except Vortiger. The truth of both of these accounts is matter of dispute among historians. It is certain that there were devastating wars between the Saxons and Britons, in which the latter were commanded sometimes by Vortiger, and sometimes by his son Vortimer. See Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons, vol. i. pp. 253– 265.

LXVII. 6. — And Hengist, &c.] The events in this stanza are fabulous. Hengist founded the kingdom of Kent, which he transmitted to his posterity.

LXVIII. 2. There abruptly did it end.] The history is brought down to Uther Pendragon, the father of Arthur, and there ends. Prince Arthur was at that time ignorant of his parentage.

To finish it: that so untimely breach
The Prince himselfe halfe seemed to offend;

Yet secret pleasure did offence empeach,
And wonder of antiquity long stopt his speach.

At last, quite ravisht with delight to heare
The royall ofspring of his native land,
Cryde out; “Dear Countrey! O how dearely deare
Ought thy remembraunce and perpetuall band
Be to thy foster childe, that from thy hand
Did commun breath and nouriture receave!
How brutish is it not to understand

How much to Her we owe, that all us gave;
That gave unto us all whatever good we have!”

But Guyon all this while his booke did read,
Ne yet has ended : for it was a great
And ample volume, that doth far exceаd
My leasure so long leaves here to repeat:
It told how first Prometheus did create
A man, of many parts from beasts deryv'd,
And then stole fire from heven to animate

His worke, for which he was by love depryv'd
Of life himselfe, and hart-strings of an aegle ryv'd.

That man so made he called Elfe, to weet
Quick, the first author of all Elfin kynd;
Who, wandring through the world with wearie feet,

· Empeach, prevent.

2 Of, by.

3 Ryo'd,


LXX. 9. Of life himselfe.] Prometheus was not deprived of life by Jupiter, unless Spenser uses the word in the sense of the enjoyment of life.

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