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For since the terme of fourteene hundred yeres, That learned Ptolomae his hight did take, He is declyned from that marke of theirs Nigh thirtie minutes to the southerne lake; That makes me feare in time he will us quite forsake
And if to those Ægyptian wisards old
(Which in star-read 1 were wont have best insight) Faith may be given, it is by them told
That since the time they first tooke the sunnes
Foure times his place he shifted hath in sight,
And next to him old Saturne, that was wont be best.
9 For during Saturnes ancient raigne it's sayd That all the world with goodnesse did abound; All loved vertue, no man was affrayd
1 Star-read, knowledge of the stars.
VII. 8. · Nigh thirtie minutes, &c.] This refers to the diminution of the obliquity of the ecliptic, by which the sun recedes from the pole, and approaches the equator. The quantity of this diminution, however, is incorrectly stated, and it is probable that "thirtie" is a misprint for thirteen, which was very nearly the exact amount in Spenser's time. H.
·Foure times, &c.] Herodotus states that the priests of Egypt informed him that the sun had, during the space of eleven thousand three hundred and forty years, four times altered his regular course, having been twice observed to rise where he now sets, and to go down twice where he now rises. H.
Of force, ne fraud in wight was to be found;
Peace universall rayn'd mongst men and beasts: And all things freely grew out of the ground: Iustice sate high ador'd with solemne feasts, And to all people did divide her dred beheasts;
10 Most sacred Vertue she of all the rest,
11 Dread soverayne Goddesse, that doest highest sit
The instrument whereof, loe here thy Artegall.
1 Bedight, arranged, ordered.
2 Read, subject.
XI. 1.-Dread soverayne Goddesse, &c.] Addressed to Queen Elizabeth. H.
Artegall trayn'd in Iustice lore
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 de
2 Such first was Bacchus, that with furious might
1 Intreat, treat.
2 Sient, scion.
And monstrous tyrants with his club subdewed; The club of Iustice dread, with kingly powre endewed.
3 And such was he of whom I have to tell,
4 Wherefore the lady, which Irena hight,
Chose Artegall to right her to restore;
For that to her he seem'd best skild in righteous lore.
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.
5 For Artegall in iustice was upbrought
And all the depth of rightfull doome was taught
For, till the world from his perfection fell
Astræa here mongst earthly men did dwell,
6 Whiles through the world she walked in this sort,
To wend with her: so thence him farre she
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
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,
VI. 7. Into a cave, &c.]
The allegory means that medita-
tion and philosophy are requisite for a lawgiver.