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CANTO I.

Artegall trayn'd in Iustice lore
Irenaes quest pursewed;
He doeth avenge on Sanglier
His Ladies bloud embrewed.

1 THOUGH vertue then were held in highest price, In those old times of which I doe intreat,1

Yet then likewise the wicked seede of vice
Began to spring; which shortly grew full great,
And with their boughes the gentle plants did beat :
But evermore some of the vertuous race

Rose up, inspired with heroicke heat,

That cropt the branches of the sient 2 base,

And with strong hand their fruitfull rancknes did deface.

a Such first was Bacchus, that with furious might
All th' east, before untam'd, did over-ronne.
And wrong repressed, and establisht right.
Which lawlesse men had formerly fordonne:
There Iustice first her princely rule begonne.
Next Hercules his like ensample shewed,
Who all the west with equall conquest wonne,

1 Intreat, treat.

2 Sient, scion.

And monstrous tyrants with his club subdewed; The club of Iustice dread, with kingly powre en

dewed.

3 And such was he of whom I have to tell,
The Champion of true Iustice, Artegall:
Whom (as ye lately mote remember well)
An hard adventure which did them befall
Into redoubted perill forth did call ;
That was, to succour a distressed dame
Whom a strong tyrant did uniustly thrall,
And from the heritage which she did clame
Did with strong hand withhold; Grantorto1 was his

name.

4 Wherefore the lady, which Irena hight,
Did to the Faery Queene her way addresse,
To whom complayning her afflicted plight,
She her besought of gratious redresse:
That soveraine queene, that mightie emperesse,
Whose glorie is to aide all suppliants pore,
And of weake princes to be patronesse,
Chose Artegall to right her to restore;
For that to her he seem'd best skild in righteous

lore.

VOL. III.

1 I. e. Great Wrong.

III 2. Artegall.] Arthur, Lord Grey of Wilton, who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and to whom Spenser was Secretary. H.

IV. 1. Irena.] Irena, or Irene, is an anagram of lerne, the ancient name of Ireland. CHURCH.

16

5 For Artegall in iustice was upbrought
Even from the cradle of his infancie,
And all the depth of rightfull doome was taught
By faire Astræa, with great industrie,
Whilest here on earth she lived mortallie:
For, till the world from his perfection fell
Into all filth and foule iniquitie,

Astræa here mongst earthly men did dwell, And in the rules of iustice them instructed well.

6 Whiles through the world she walked in this sort,
Upon a day she found this gentle childe
Amongst his peres playing his childish sport;
Whom seeing fit, and with no crime defilde,
She did allure with gifts and speaches milde
To wend with her: so thence him farre she

brought

Into a cave from companie exilde,

In which she noursled him, till yeares he raught; And all the discipline of iustice there him taught.

There she him taught to weigh both right and wrong

In equall ballance with due recompence,
And equitie to measure out along
According to the line of conscience,
Whenso it needs with rigour to dispence:
Of all the which, for want there of mankind,
She caused him to make experience

VI. 7. Into a care, &c.] The allegory means that medits tion and philosophy are requisite for a lawgiver.

UPTON.

Upon wyld beasts which she in woods did find With wrongfull powre oppressing others of their kind

• Thus she him trayned, and thus she him taught
In all the skill of deeming wrong and right,
Untill the ripenesse of mans yeares he raught;
That even wilde beasts did feare his awful sight,
And men admyr'd his over-ruling might;
Ne any liv'd on ground that durst withstand
His dreadfull heast,' much lesse him match in fight,
Or bide the horror of his wreakfull 2 hand,
Whenso he list in wrath lift up his steely brand:

Which steely brand, to make him dreaded more, She gave unto him, gotten by her slight And earnest search, where it was kept in store In Ioves eternall house, unwist of wight, Since he himselfe it us'd in that great fight Against the Titans, that whylome rebelled. Gainst highest heaven; Chrysaor it was hight; Chrysaor, that all other swords excelled, Well prov'd in that same day when Iove those gyants quelled:

10 For of most perfect metall it was made,
Tempred with adamant amongst the same,
And garnisht all with gold upon the blade.
In goodly wise, whereof it tooke his name,
And was of no lesse vertue then of fame:
For there no substance was so firme and hard,

8 1. e. Golden Sword.

1 Heast, hest, injunction.

* Wreakfull, avenging.

But it would pierce or cleave whereso it came;
Ne any armour could his dint out-ward;
But wheresoever it did light, it throughly shard.'

Now when the world with sinne gan to abound,
Astræa loathing lenger here to space 2

Mongst wicked men, in whom no truth she found,
Return'd to heaven, whence she deriv'd her race;
Where she hath now an everlasting place
Mongst those twelve signes which nightly we doe see
The heavens bright-shining baudricke to enchace;
And is the Virgin, sixt in her degree,

And next herselfe her righteous ballance hanging bee.

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12 But when she parted hence she left her groome,'
An yron man, which did on her attend
Alwayes, to execute her stedfast doome,
And willed him with Artegall to wend,
And doe whatever thing he did intend:
His name was Talus, made of yron m
Immoveable, resistlesse, without end;

mould,

Who in his hand an yron flale did hould, With which he thresht out falshood and did truth un

fould.

1 Shard, sheared, cut.

2 Space, walk.

8 Plural, as often in Spenser.

4 Groome, servant.

5 I. e. Power.

XI. 8.- Sixt in her degree.] From the fourteenth century ta the middle of the eighteenth, the year began on the 25th of March; hence August, in which the sun enters the constellation Vigo, was the sixth month.

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