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By view whereof, it plainly may appeare, Yet farre more faire be those bright Cherubins,
That still as euery thing doth vpward tend, Which all with golden wings are ouerdight,
And further is from earth, so still more cleare And those eternall burning Seraphins,
And faire it growes, till to his perfect end Which from their faces dart out fierie light;
Of purest beautie, it at last ascend:

Yet fairer then they both,and much more bright Ayre more then water, fire much more thenayre, Be th’Angels and Archangels, which attend And heauen then fire appeares more pure and On Gods owne person, without rest or end. fayre.

These thus in faire each other farre excelling, Looke thou no further, but affixe thine eye 50 As to the Highest they approch more neare, On that bright shynie round still mouing Masse, Yet is that Highest farre beyond all telling, The house of blessed Gods, which men call Skye, Fairer then all the rest which there appeare, All sowd with glistring stars more thicke then Though all their beauties ioynd together were: grasse,

How then can mortall tongue hope to expresse, Whereof each other doth in brightnesse passe ; The image of such endlesse perfectnesse? But those two most, which ruling night and day, Cease then my tongue, and lend vnto my mynd As King and Queene, the heauens Empire sway. Leaue to bethinke how great that beautie is, And tell me then, what hast thou euer seene,

Whose vtmost parts so beautifull i fynd : That to their beautie may compared bee,

How much more those essentiall parts of his, Or can the sight that is most sharpe and keene, His truth, his loue, his wisedome, and his blis, Endure their Captains flaming head to see ? 60 His grace, his doome, his mercy and his might, How much lesse those, much higher in degree, By which he lends vs of himselfe a sight. And so much fairer, and much more then these, Those vnto all he daily doth display, As these are fairer then the land and seas ? And shew himselfe in th’image of his grace, For farre aboue these heauens which here we see, Be seene, of all his creatures vile and base,

As in a looking glasse, through which he may
Be others farre exceeding these in light,
Not bounded, not corrupt, as these same bee, His glorious face which glistereth else so bright,

That are vnable else to see his face,
But infinite in largenesse and in hight,
Vnmouing, vncorrupt, and spotlesse bright,

That th’Angels selues can not endure his sight.
That need no Sunne t’illuminate their spheres, But we fraile wights, whose sight cannot sus-
But their owne natiue light farre passing theirs. taine
And as these heauens still by degrees arize, 71

The Suns bright beames, when he on vs doth

shyne, Vntill they come to their first Mouers bound,

But that their points rebutted backe againe That in his mightie compasse doth comprize,

Are duld, how can we see with feeble eyne, And carrie all the rest with him around, So those likewise doe by degrees redound,

The glory of that Maiestie diuine,

In sight of whom both Sun and Moone are And rise more faire, till they at last ariue

darke, To the most faire, whereto they all do striue. Compared to his least resplendent sparke ? Faire is the heauen, where happy soules haue The meanes therefore which vnto vs is lent, place,

Him to behold, is on his workes to looke, In full enioyment of felicitie,

Which he hath made in beauty excellent, Whence they doe still behold the glorious face And in the same, as in a brasen booke, 130 Of the diuine eternall Maiestie ;

81 To reade enregistred in euery nooke More faire is that, where those Idees on hie,

His goodnesse, which his beautie doth declare. Enra nged be, which Plato so admyred, And pure Intelligences from God inspyred.

Thence gathering plumes of perfect speculation, Yet fairer is that heauen, in which doe raine To impe the wings of thy high flying mynd, The soueraine Powres and mightie Potentates, Mount vpaloft through heauenly contemplation, Which in their high protections doc containe From this darke world, whose damps the soule All mortall Princes, and imperiall States ; do blynd, And fayrer yet, whereas the royall Seates And like the natiue brood of Eagles kynd, And heauenly Dominations are set, 90 On that bright Sunne of glorie fixe thine eyes, From whom all earthly gouernance is fet. Clear'd from grosse mists of fraile infirmities.

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Humbled with feare and awfull reuerence, 141 And on her head a crowne of purest gold 190 Before the footestoole of his Maiestie,

Is set, in signe of highest soueraignty, Throw thy selfe downe with trembling inno- And in her hand a scepter she doth hold, cence,

With which she rules the house of God on hy, Ne dare looke vp with corruptible eye And menageth the euer-mouing sky, On the dred face of that great Deity,

And in the same these lower creatures all, For feare, lest if he chaunce to looke on thee, Subiected to her powre imperiall. Thou turne to nought,and quite confounded be. But lowly fall before his mercie seate,

Both heauen and earth obey vnto her will, Close couered with the Lambes integrity, 149

And all the creatures which they both containe : From the iust wrath of his auengefull threate, For of her fulnesse which the world doth fill, That sits vpon the righteous throne on hy:

They all partake, and do in state remaine, 200 His throne is built

As their great Maker did at first ordaine,
Eternity,

vpon More firme and durable then steele or brasse, Through obseruation of her high beheast, Or the hard diamond, which them both doth By which they first were made, and still in

creast. passe. His scepter is the rod of Righteousnesse, The fairenesse of her face no tongue can tell, With which he bruseth all his foes to dust, For she the daughters of all wemens race, And the great Dragon strongly doth represse, And Angels eke, in beautie doth excell, Vnder the rigour of his iudgement iust; Sparkled on her from Gods owne glorious face, His seate is Truth, to which the faithfull trust; And more increast by her owne goodly grace, From whence proceed her beames so pure and that it doth farre exceed all humane thought, bright,

160

Ne can on earth compared be to ought. That all about him sheddeth glorious light. Light farreexceeding that bright blazingsparke, Ne could that Painter (had he liued yet) Which darted is from Titans flaming head, Which pictured Venus with so curious quill, That with his beames enlumineth the darke That all posteritie admyred it, And dampish aire, wherby al things are red : Haue purtrayd this, for all his maistring skill; Whose nature yet so much is maruelled Ne she her selfe, had she remained still, Of mortall wits, that it doth much amaze And were as faire, as fabling wits do fayne, The greatest wisards, which thereon do gaze. Could once come neare this beauty souerayne. But that immortall light which there doth shine, Is many thousand times more bright, more

But had those wits the wonders of their dayes, cleare,

Or that sweete Teian Poet which did spend

170 More excellent, more glorious, more diuine,

His plenteous vaine in setting forth her prayse, Through which to God all mortall actions here, Seene but a glims of this, which I pretend, And euen the thoughts of men, do plaine How wondrously would he her face commend,

Aboue that Idole of his fayning thought, appeare For from th'eternall Truth it doth proceed,

That all the world shold with his rimes be Through heauenly vertue, which her beames

fraught ? doe breed.

How then dare I, the nouice of his Art, With the great glorie of that wondrous light,

Presume to picture so diuine a wight, His throne is all encompassed around, And hid in his owne brightnesse from the sight Whose beautie filles the heauens with her light,

Or hope t'expresse her least perfections part, Of all that looke thereon with eyes vnsound:

And darkes the earth with shadow of her sight? And vnderneath his feet are to be found

180 Ah gentle Muse thou art too weake and faint, Thunder, and lightning, and tempestuous fyre, The pourtraict of so heauenly hew to paint. The instruments of his auenging yre. There in his bosome Sapience doth sit, Let Angels which her goodly face behold The soueraine dearling of the Deity,

And see at will, her soueraigne praises sing, Clad like a Queene in royall robes, most fit And those most sacred mysteries vnfold, For so great powre and peerelesse maiesty. Of that faire loue of mightie heauens king. And all with gemmes and iewels gorgeously Enough is me t'admyre so heauenly thing, Adornd, that brighter then the starres appeare, And being thus with her huge loue possest, Andmake her natiue brightnes seem more cleare. In th’only wonder of her selfe to rest.

But who so may, thrise happie man him hold, and that faire lampe, which vseth to enflame Of all on earth, whom God so much doth grace, The hearts of men with selfe consuming fyre, And lets his owne Beloued to behold: 241 Thenceforth seemes fowle, and full of sinfull For in the view of her celestiall face,

blame; All ioy, all blisse, all happinesse haue place, And all that pompe, to which proud minds Ne ought on earth can want vnto the wight, aspyre Who of her selfe can win the wishfull sight. By name of honor, and so much desyre,

Seemes to them basenesse, and all riches drosse, For she out of her secret threasury, Plentie of riches forth on him will powre,

And all mirth sadnesse, and all lucre losse. 280 Euen heauenly riches, which there hidden ly So full their eyes are of that glorious sight, Within the closet of her chastest bowre, And senses fraught with such satietie, Th'eternall portion of her precious dowre, 250 That in nought else on earth they can deWhich mighty God hath giuen to her free, light, And to all those which thereof worthy bee. But in th'aspect of that felicitie, None thereof worthy be, but those whom shee Which they haue written in their inward ey; Vouchsafeth to her presence to receaue,

On which they feed, and in their fastened And letteth them her louely face to see,

mynd Wherof such wondrous pleasures they conceaue,

All happie ioy and full contentment fynd. And sweete contentment, that it doth bereaue Ah then my hungry soule, which long hast fed Their soule of sense, through infinite delight, And them transport from flesh into the spright. And with false beauties flattring bait misled,

On idle fancies of thy foolish thought, 289 In which they see such admirable things, 260 Hast after vaine deceiptfull shadowes sought, As carries them into an extasy,

Which all are fled, and now haue left thee And heare such heauenly notes, and carolings, nought, Of Gods high praise, that filles the brasen sky, But late repentance through thy follies prief; And feele such ioy and pleasure inwardly,

Ah ceasse to gaze on matter of thy grief. That maketh them all worldly cares forget, And onely thinke on that before them set.

And looke at last vp to that soueraine light,

From whose pure beams al perfect beauty Ne from thenceforth doth any fleshly sense, springs, Or idle thought of earthly things remaine : That kindleth loue in every godly spright, But all that earst seemd sweet, seemes now Euen the loue of God, which loathing brings offense,

269 Of this vile world, and these gay seeming And all that pleased earst, now seemes to paine. things; Their ioy, their comfort, their desire, their gaine, With whose sweete pleasures being so possest, Is fixed all on that which now they see, Thy straying thoughts henceforth for euer All other sights but fayned shadowes bee.

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A Spousall Verfe made by

Edm. Spenser.
IN HONOVR OF THE DO V- .
ble mariage of the two Honorable & vertuous
Ladies,the Ladie Elizabeth and the Ladie Katherine
Somerset, Daughters to the Right Honourable the
Eacle of Worcester and espoused to the two worthie
Genclemen M. Henry Gilford, and

M.Waliam Peter Esquyers.

AT LONDON.
Printed for VVillem Ponsonby

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Seem'd foule to them, and bad his billowes spare Alme was the day, and through the trem- To wet their silken feathers, least they might

Soyle their fayre plumes with water not so fayre. Sweete breathing Zephyrus did softly play And marre their beauties bright,

51 A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay That shone as heauens light, HotTitans beames, which then did glyster fayre: Against their Brydale day, which was not long: When I whom sullein care,

Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my Through discontent of my long fruitlesse stay Song. In Princes Court, and expectation vayne Of idle hopes, which still doe fly away, Eftsoones the Nymphes, which now had Like empty shaddowes, did aflict my brayne, Flowers their fill, Walkt forth to ease my payne

10 Ran all in haste, to see that siluer brood, Along the shoare of siluer streaming Themmes, As they came floating on the Christal Flood. Whose rutty Bancke, the which his Riuer hemmes, Whom when they sawe, they stood amazed still, Was paynted all with variable flowers, Their wondring eyes to fill,

59 Andallthe meadesadornd with daintie gemmes, Them seem'd they neuer saw a sight so fayre, Fit to decke maydens bowres,

Of Fowles so louely, that they sure did deeme And crowne their Paramours,

Them heauenly borne, or to be that same payre Against the Brydale day, which is not long : Which through the Skie draw Venus siluer Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my Teeme, Song.

For sure they did not seeme

To be begot of any earthly Seede, There, in a Meadow, by the Riuers side, But rather Angels or of Angels breede : A Flocke of Nymphes I chaunced to espy, 20 Yet were they bred of Somers-heat they say, All louely Daughters of the Flood thereby, Insweetest Season, when each Flower and weede With goodly greenish locks all loose vntyde,

The earth did fresh aray, As each had bene a Bryde,

So fresh they seem'd as day,

70 And each one had a little wicker basket, Euen as their Brydale day, which was not long: Made of fine twigs entrayled curiously,

Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my In which they gathered flowers to fill their flasket: Song. And with fine Fingers, cropt full feateously

5 The tender stalkes on hye.

Then forth they all out of their baskets drew, Of euery sort, which in that Meadow grew, Great store of Flowers, the honour of the field, They gathered some; the Violet pallid blew, That to the sense did fragrant odours yeild, The little Dazie, that at euening closes, 31 All which vpon those goodly Birds they threw, The virgin Lillie, and the Primrose trew, And all the Waues did strew, With store of vermeil Roses,

That like old Peneus Waters they did seeme, To decke their Bridegromes posies,

When downe along by pleasant Tempes shore Against the Brydale day, which was not long : Scattred with Flowres, through Thessaly they Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my streeme,

80 Song.

That they appearethrough Lillies plenteous store, 3

Like a Brydes Chamber flore: With that, I saw two Swannes of goodly hewe, Two of those Nymphes, meane while, two GarCome softly swimming downe along the Lee; lands bound, Two fairer Birds I yet did neuer see: Of freshest Flowres which in that Mead they The snow which doth the top of Pindus strew, found, Did neuer whiter shew,

41 The which presenting all in trim Array, Nor Joue himselfe when he a Swan would be Their snowie Foreheads therewithall they For loue of Leda, whiter did appeare:

crownd,
Yet Leda was they say as white as he, Whilst one did sing this Lay,
Yet not so white as these, nor nothing neare; Prepar'd against that Day,
So purely white they were,

Against their Brydale day, which was not long: That euen the gentle streame, the which them Sweete Themmes runne softly, till I end my bare,

Song.

90

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