Page images
PDF
EPUB

With his vile tongue, which many had defamed, And many causelesse caused to be blamed : So did he eeke long after this remaine, Untill that, (whether wicked fate so framed Or fault of men,) he broke his yron chaine, And got into the world at liberty againe.

$9 Thenceforth more mischiefe and more scath1 he wrought

To mortall men then he had done before; Ne ever could, by any, more be brought Into like bands, ne maystred any more: Albe that, long time after Calidore, The good Sir Pelleas him tooke in hand, And after him Sir Lamoracke of yore, And all his brethren borne in Britaine land; Yet none of them could ever bring him into band.

40 So now he raungeth through the world againe,
And rageth sore in each degree and state;
Ne any is that may him now restraine,
He growen is so great and strong of late,
Barking and biting all that him doe bate,"
Albe they worthy blame, or cleare of crime;
Ne spareth he most learned wits to rate,
Ne spareth he the gentle poets rime;
But rends, without regard of person or of time.

8

Ne may this homely verse, of many meanest,
Hope to escape his venemous despite,

8 Albe they, whether they be.

1 Scath, injury.
2 Bate, bait.

More then my former writs, all were they cleanest
From blamefull blot, and free from all that wite,1
With which some wicked tongues did it backebite,
And bring into a mighty Peres displeasure,
That never so deserved to endite.2

Therfore do you, my rimes, keep better measure, And seeke to please; that now is counted wisemens threasure.

1 Wite, blame.

2 Endite, indict, accuse.

XLI. 6. Mighty Peres displeasure.] This probably the Lord Treasurer Burleigh, who is well known to have been unfriendly to the poet. He is supposed to have been offended with Spenser's satire upon Bishop Aylmer (Ellmor), under the name of Morell, in the seventh eclogue of the Shepherd's Calendar. H.

TWO CANTOS

OF MUTABILITIE:

WHICH, BOTH FOR FORME AND MATTER, APPEARE TO BE PARCELL OF SOME FOLLOWING BOOKE OF

THE FAERIE QUEENE,

UNDER

THE LEGEND OF CONSTANCIE.*

CANTO VI.

Proud Change, not pleasd in mortall things
Beneath the moone to raigne,

Pretends as well of gods as men

To be the soveraine.

1 WHAT man that sees the ever-whirling wheele Of Change, the which all mortall things doth sway, But that therby doth find, and plainly feele,

How Mutability in them doth play
Her cruell sports to many mens decay1?

1 Decay, destruction.

*These two cantos, and the fragment of the third, were not published during Spenser's life. They appeared for the first time in the folio edition of the Faerie Queene, published in 1609, without any further preface or explanation than is given above. H.

Which that to all may better yet appeare, I will rehearse that whylome I heard say, How she at first herselfe began to reare Gainst all the gods, and th' empire sought from them to beare.

2 But first, here falleth fittest to unfold
Her antique race and linage ancient,
As I have found it registred of old
In Faery Land mongst records permanent.
She was, to weet, a daughter by descent
Of those old Titans that did whylome strive
With Saturnes sonne for heavens regiment1;
Whom though high Iove of kingdome did deprive,
Yet many of their stemme long after did survive:

8 And many of them afterwards obtain'd
Great power of love, and high authority:
As Hecate, in whose almighty hand
He plac't all rule and principality,

To be by her disposed diversly

To gods and men, as she them list divide;

And drad Bellona, that doth sound on hie

Warres and allarums unto nations wide,

That makes both heaven and earth to tremble at her

pride.

4 So likewise did this Titanesse aspire
Rule and dominion to herselfe to gaine;
That as a goddesse men might her admire,

1 Regiment, government.

And heavenly honours yield, as to them twaine: And first, on earth she sought it to obtaine; Where she such proofe and sad examples shewed Of her great power to many ones great paine, That not men onely (whom she soone subdewed), But eke all other creatures, her bad dooings rewed.

For she the face of earthly things so changed,
That all which Nature had establisht first

In good estate, and in meet order ranged,
She did pervert, and all their statutes burst:
And all the worlds faire frame (which none yet
durst

Of gods or men to alter or misguide)

She alter'd quite; and made them all accurst That God had blest, and did at first provide In that still happy state for ever to abide.

6 Ne shee the lawes of Nature onely brake, But eke of Iustice, and of Policie ;

And wrong of right, and bad of good did make, And death for life exchanged foolishlie :

Since which, all living wights have learn❜d to die, And all this world is woxen daily worse.

O pittious worke of Mutabilitie,

By which we all are subiect to that curse,

And death, in stead of life, have sucked from our nurse!

7 And now, when all the earth she thus had brought
To her behest and thralled to her might,
She gan to cast in her ambitious thought
T' attempt the empire of the heavens hight,

« PreviousContinue »