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3 So oft as I with state of present time, Let none then blame me, if in discipline The image of the antique world compare, Of vertue and of ciuill vses lore, When as mans age was in his freshest prime, I doe not forme them to the common line And the first blossome of faire vertue bare, Of present dayes, which are corrupted sore, Such oddes I finde twixt those, and these which But to the antique vse, which was of yore, are,
When good was onely for it selfe desyred, Asthat, through long continuance of his course, And all men sought their owne, and none no Me seemes the world is runne quite out of more ; square,
When Iustice was not for most meed outhyred, From the first point of his appointed sourse, But simple Truth did rayne, and was of all And being once amisse growes daily wourse and admyred.
For that which all men then did vertue call, For from the golden age, that first was named, Is now cald vice; and that which vice was It's now at earst become a stonie one;
hight, And men themselues, the which at first were Is now hight vertue, and so vs'd of all: framed
Right now is wrong, and wrong that was is Of earthly mould, and form’d of flesh and bone, right, Are now transformed into hardest stone: As all things else in time are chaunged quight. Such as behind their backs (so backward bred) Ne wonder ; for the heauens reuolution Were throwne by Pyrrha and Deucalione : Is wandred farre from where it first was pight, And if then those may any worse be red, And so doe make contrarie constitution They into that ere long will be degendered. Of all this lower world, toward his dissolution.
5 For who so list into the heauens looke, Most sacred vertue she of all the rest, And search the courses of the rowling spheares, Resembling God in his imperiall might; Shall find that from the point, where they first Whose soueraine powre is herein most exprest, tooke
That both to good and bad he dealeth right, Theirsettingforth, in these few thousand yeares And all his workes with Iustice hath bedight. They all are wandred much; that plaine That powre he also doth to Princes lend, appeares.
And makes them like himselfe in glorious sight, For that same golden fleecy Ram, which bore To sit in his owne seate, his cause to end, Phrixus and Helle from their stepdames feares, And rule his people right, as he doth recomHath now forgot, where he was plast of yore, mend. And shouldred hath the Bull, which fayre Europa bore.
Dread Souerayne Goddesse, that doest highestsit 6 And eke the Bull hath with his bow-bent horne
In seate of iudgement, in th’Almighties stead,
And with magnificke might and wondrous wit So hardly butted those two twinnes of loue,
Doest to thy people righteous doome aread, That they haue crusht the Crab, and quite him
That furthest Nations filles with awfull dread, Into the great Nemcan lions groue. [borne
Pardon the boldnesse of thy basest thrall, So now all range, and doe at randon roue
That dare discourse of so diuine a read,
As thy great iustice praysed ouer all:
Artegall trayn'd in Iustice lore
Irenaes quest pursewed,
He doeth auenge on Sanglier He is declyned from that marke of theirs,
his Ladies bloud embrewed. Nigh thirtie minutes to the Southerne lake ;
SOSOC-NICO That makes me feare in time he will vs quite forsake. 8
Though vertue then were held in highest price, And if to those Ægyptian wisards old, Whichin Star-read werewont hauebestinsight, Yet then likewise the wicked seede of vice
In those old times, of which I doe intreat, Faith may be giuen, it is by them told, That since the time they first tooke the Sunnes Began to spring which shortly grew full great,
And with their boughes the gentle plants did hight,
beat. Foure times his place he shifted hath in sight, But euermore some of the vertuous race And twice hath risen, where he now doth West, Rose vp, inspired with heroicke heat, And wested twice, where he ought rise aright. That cropt the branches of the sient base, But most is Mars amisse of all the rest, And next to him old Saturne, that was wont be And with strong hand their fruitfull rancknes
did deface. best.
9 For during Saturnes ancient raigne it's sayd, Such first was Bacchus, that with furious might That all the world with goodnesse did abound: All th’East before vntam'd did ouerronne, All loued vertue, no man was affrayd And wrong repressed, and establisht right, Of force, ne fraud in wight was to be found: Which lawlesse men had formerly fordonne. No warre was knowne, no dreadfull trompets There Iustice first her princely rule begonne. sound,
Next Hercules his like ensample shewed, Peace vniuersallrayn'dmongst men and beasts, Who all the West with equall conquest wonne, And all things freely grew out of the ground: Andmonstrous tyrants with his clubsubdewed; Iustice sate high ador'd with solemne feasts, The club of Iustice dread, with kingly powre And to all people did diuide her dred beheasts. I endewed.
8 And such was he, of whom I haue to tell, Thus she him trayned, and thus she him taught The Champion of true Iustice Arlegall, In all the skill of deeming wrong and right, Whom (as ye lately mote remember well) Vntill the ripenesse of mans yeares he raught; An hard aduenture, which did then befall, Thateuen wildebeastsdid fearehisawfullsight, Into redoubted perill forth did call;
And men admyr'd his ouerruling might; That was to succour a distressed Dame, Ne any liu'd on ground, that durst withstand Whom a strong tyrant did vniustly thrall, His dreadfull heast, much lesse him match in And from the heritage, which she did clame, fight, Did with strong hand withhold: Grantorto was Or bide the horror of his wreakfull hand, his name.
When so he list in wrath lift vp his steely brand. 4 Wherefore the Lady, which Irena hight,
9 Did to the Faery Queene her way addresse,
Which steely brand, to make him dreaded more, To whom complayning her afflicted plight,
She gaue vnto him, gotten by her slight She her besought of gratious redresse. And earnest search, where it was kept in store That soueraine Queene, that mightie Em
In loues eternall house, vnwist of wight,
Since he himselfe it vs’d in that great fight peresse, Whose glorie is to aide all suppliants pore,
Against the Titans, that whylome rebelled And of weake Princes to be Patronesse,
Gainst highest heauen; Chrysaor it was hight; Chose Artegall to right her to restore ;
Chrysaor that all other swords excelled, For that to her he seem'd best skild in righteous Well prou'd in that same day, when loue those lore.
Gyants quelled. 5 For Artegall in iustice was vpbrought
For of most perfect metall it was made, Euen from the cradle of his infancie,
Tempred with Adamant amongst the same,
And garnisht all with gold vpon the blade Andallthe depth of rightfull doome was taught
In goodly wise, whereof it tooke his name, By faire Astræa, with great industrie, Whilest here on earth she liued mortallie.
And was of no lesse vertue, then of fame. For till the world from his perfection fell
For there no substance was so firme and hard, Into all filth and foule iniquitie,
But it would pierce or cleaue, where soit came; Astræa here mongst earthly men did dwell,
Ne any armour could his dint out ward, And in the rules of iustice them instructed well. But wheresoeuer it did light, it throughly shard. 6
Now when the world with sinne gan to abound, Whiles through the world she walked in thissort, Astræa loathing lenger here to space Vpon a day she found this gentle childe,
Mongst wicked men, in whom notruthshe found, Amongst his peres playing his childish sport: Return'd to heauen, whence she deriu'd her Whom seeing fit, and with no crime defilde,
race ; She did allure with gifts and speaches milde, where she hath now an euerlasting place, To wend with her. So thence him farre she Mongst those twelue signes, which nightly we Into a caue from companie exilde, [brought
[chace; In which she noursled him, tillyeares he raught, The heauens bright-shining baudricke to enAndall the discipline of iustice therehimtaught. And is the Virgin, sixt in her degree,
And next her selfe her righteous ballance hang. 7 There she him taught to weigh both right and
ing bee. wrong
But when she parted hence, she left her groome In equall ballance with due recompence, An yron man, which did on her attend And equitie to measure out along,
Alwayes, to execute her stedfast doome, According to the line of conscience,
And willed him with Artegall to wend, When so it needs with rigour to dispence. And doe what euer thing he did intend. Of all the which, for want there of mankind, His name was Talus, made of yron mould, She caused him to make experience
Immoueable, resistlesse, without end. Vpon wyld beasts, which she in woods did find, Who in his hand an yron flale did hould, With wrongfull powre oppressing others of With which he thresht out falshood, and did their kind.
18 He now went with him in this new inquest, Which when his Ladie saw, she follow'd fast,
Him for to aide, if aide he chaunst to neede, And on him catching hold, gan loud to crie
Andat one strokecroptoff her head with scorne,
Aread (sayd he) which way then did he make ? To whom as they approched, they espide And by what markes may he be knowne againe? A sorie sight, as euer seene with eye ; To hope (quoth he) him soone to ouertake, An headlesse Ladie lying him beside, That hence so long departed, is but vaine : In her owne blood all wallow'd wofully, But yet he pricked ouer yonder plaine, That her gay clothes did in discolour die. And as I marked, bore vpon his shield, Much was he moued at that ruefull sight; By which it's easie him to know againe, And flam'd with zeale of vengeance inwardly, A broken sword within a bloodie field; He askt, who had that Dame so fouly dight ; Expressing well his nature, which the same did Or whether his owne hand, or whether other wield. wight? 15
No sooner sayd, but streight he after sent Ah woe is me, and well away (quoth hee) His yron page, who him pursew'd so light, Bursting forth teares,likesprings outofa banke, As that it seem'd aboue the ground he went : That euer I this dismall day did see :
For he was swift as swallow in her flight, Full farre was I from thinking such a pranke ; And strong as Lyon in his Lordly might. Yet litle losse it were, and mickle thanke, It was not long, before he ouertooke If I should graunt that I haue doen the same, Sir Sanglier ; (so cleeped was that Knight) That Imotedrinke the cup,whereofshedranke: Whom at the first he ghessed by his looke, But that I should die guiltie of the blame, And by the other markes, which of his shield he The which another did, who now is fled with tooke. shame. 16
He bad him stay, and backe with him retire ; Who was it then (sayd Artegall) that wrought? Who full of scorne to be commaunded so, And why ? doe it declare vnto me trew. The Lady to alight did eft require, A knight (said he) if knight he may be thought, Whilest he reformed that vnciuill fo: That did his hand in Ladies bloud embrew, And streight at him with all his force did go. And for no cause,
shew. Who mou'd no more therewith, then when a This day as I in solace sate hereby
rocke With a fayre loue, whose losse I now do rew, Is lightly stricken with some stones throw; There came this knight, hauing in companie But to him leaping, lent him such a knocke, This lucklesse Ladie, which now here doth That on the ground he layd him like a senceheadlesse lie.
lesse blocke. 17 He, whether mine seem'd fayrer in his eye, But ere he could elfe recure againe, Or that he wexed weary of his owne,
Him in his iron paw he seized had ; Would change with me; but I did it denye ; | That when he wak’t out of his warelesse paine, So did the Ladies botb, as may be knowne, He found him selfe, vnwist, so ill bestad, But he, whose spirit was with pride vpblowne, That lim he could not wag. Thence he him lad, Would not so rest contented with his right, Bound like a beast appointed to the stall: Buthauingfrom his courser her downe throwne, The sight whereof the Lady sore adrad,
Fro me reft mine away by lawlesse might, And fain'd to fly for feare of being thrall; i And on his steed her set, to beare her out of But he her quickly stayd, and forst to wend sight.
28 When to the place they came, where Artegall Whom when so willing Artegall perceaued ; By that same carefull Squire did then abide, Not so thou Squire, (he sayd) but thine I deeme He gently gan him to demaund of all, The liuing Lady, which from thee he reaued : That did betwixt him and that Squire betide. For worthy thou of her doest rightly seeme. Who with sterne countenance and indignant And you, Sir Knight, that loue so light pride
esteeme, Did aunswere, that of all he guiltlesse stood, As that ye would for little leaue the same, And his accuser thereuppon defide:
Take here your owne, that doth you best For neither he did shed that Ladies bloud, beseeme, Nor tooke away his loue, but his owne proper And with it beare the burden of defame; good.
Your owne dead Ladies head, to tell abrode 24 Well did the Squireperceive him selfetoo weake,
29 To aunswere his defiaunce in the field, But Sangliere disdained much his doome, And rather chose his challenge off to breake, And sternly gan repine at his beheast; Then toapprouehisrightwithspeareandshield. Ne would for ought obay, as did become, And rather guilty chose him selfe to yield. To beare that Ladies head before his breast. But Artegall by signes perceiving plaine, Vntill that Talus had his pride represt, That he it was not, which that Lady kild, And forced him, maulgre, it vp to reare. But that strange Knight, the fairer loue to Who when he saw it bootelesse to resist, gaine,
He tooke it vp, and thence with him did beare, Did cast about by sleight the truth thereout to As rated Spaniell takes his burden vp for feare. straine. 25
30 And sayd, Now sure this doubtfull causes right Much did that Squire Sir Artegall adore, Can hardly but by Sacrament be tride, For his great iustice, held in high regard ; Or else by ordele, or by blooddy fight; And as his Squire him offred euermore That ill perhaps mote fall to either side. To serue, for want of other meete reward, But if ye please, that I your cause decide, And wend with him on his aduenture hard. Perhaps I may all further quarrell end, But he thereto would by no meanes consent; So ye will sweare my iudgement to abide. But leauing him forth on his iourney far'd : Thereto they both did franckly condiscend, Ne wight with him but onely Talus went. And to his doome with listfull eares did both They two enough t'encounter an whole Regi. attend. 26
ment. Sith then (sayd he) ye both the dead deny, And both the liuing Lady claime your right,
Cant. II. Let both the dead and liuing equally
Artegall heares of Florimell,
Does race her castle qulght. dead.
XOXOCNICO 27 Well pleased with that doome was Sangliere, And offred streight the Lady to be slaine. Nought is more honorable to a knight, But that same Squire, to whom she was more Ne better doth beseeme braue cheualry, dere,
Then to defend the feeble in their right, When as he saw she should be cut in twaine, And wrong redresse in such as wend awry. Did yield, she rather should with him remaine Whilome those great Heroes got thereby Aliue, then to him selfe be shared dead ; Their greatest glory, for their rightfull deedes, And rather then his loue should suffer paine, And place deserued with the Gods on hy. He chose with shame to beare that Ladies head. Herein the noblesse of this knight exceedes, True loue despiseth shame, when life is cald in Who now to perils great for iustice sake prodread.