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he presently went forth with that same palmer which is the beginning of the Second Booke, and the whole subiect thereof. The third day there came in a groome, who complained before the Faery Queene, that a vile enchaunter, called Busirane, had in hand a most faire lady, called Amoretta, whom he kept in most grievous torment, because she would not yield him the pleasure of her body. Whereupon Sir Scudamour, the lover of that lady, presently tooke on him that adventure. But being unable to performe it by reason of the hard enchauntments, after long sorrow, in the end met with Britomartis, who succoured him, and reskewed his Love.
But, by occasion hereof, many other adventures are intermedled ; but rather as accidents then intendments : as the Love of Britomart, the Overthrow of Marinell, the Misery of Florimell, the Vertuousnes of Belphæbe, the Lasciviousnes of Hellenora ; and many the like.
Thus much, Sir, I have briefly overronne to direct your understanding to the wel-head of the history; that, from thence gathering the whole intention of the conceit, ye may as in a handfull gripe al the discourse, which otherwise may happily seeme tedious and confused. So, humbly craving the continuaunce of your honourable favour towards me, and th' eternall establishment of your happines, I humbly take leave.
23. January, 1589.
Yours most humbly affectionate,
ADDRESSED TO THE AUTHOR.
A Vision upon this Conceipt of the Faery Queene.
ME thought I saw the grave where Laura lay,
Where Homers spright did tremble all for griefe, And curst th' accesse of that celestiall theife.
1 The first two of these complimentary poems are by Sir Walter Raleigh, and the third by Gabriel Harvey. The authors of the others are unknown. C.
Another of the same.
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 herselfe can best discerne to whom they writ
If thou hast Beauty praysd, let Her sole lookes divine Iudge if ought therein be amis, and mend it by Her
eine. If Chastitie want ought, or Temperaunce her dew, Behold Her Princely mind aright, and write thy
Queene anew. Meane while She shall perceive, how far Her vertues
Above the reach of all that live, or such as wrote of
yore: And thereby will excuse and favour thy good will; Whose vertue can not be exprest but by an Angels
quill. Of me no lines are lov’d, nor letters are of price, Of all which speak our English tongue, but those of thy To the learned Shepeheard.
COLLYN," I see, by thy new taken taske,
Some sacred fury hath enricht thy braynes, That leades thy Muse in haughty verse to maske,
And loath the layes that longs to lowly swaynes ; That lifts thy notes from Shepheardes unto Kinges : So like the lively larke that mounting singes.
Thy lovely Rosolinde seemes now forlorne,
And all thy gentle flockes forgotten quight: Thy chaunged hart now holdes thy pypes in scorne,
Those prety pypes that did thy mates delight; Those trusty mates, that loved thee so well; Whom thou gav'st mirth, as they gave thee the bell.2
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 quyll.
And faire befall that Faery Queene of thine!
In whose faire eyes Love linckt with Vertue sittes; Enfusing, by those bewties fyers devyne,
Such high conceites into thy humble wittes,
1 In these verses allusion is made to the Shepheards Calender, Spenser's first published work, in which he speaks of himself as Colin Clout. H. 2 1. e. palm.
As raised hath poore Pastors oaten reedes
So mought thy Redcrosse Knight with happy hand
Victorious be in that faire Ilands right, Which thou dost vayle in type of Faery land,
Elyzas blessed field, that Albion hight: That shieldes her friendes, and warres her mightie foes, Yet still with people, peace, and plentie flowes.
But, iolly shepeheard, though with pleasing style
Thou feast the humour of the courtly trayne, Let not conceipt thy setled sence beguile,
Ne daunted be through envy 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
1 Empyring, enkindling, inflaming.