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1 THE rugged forhead, that with grave foresight
Welds kingdomes causes and affaires of state,
My looser rimes, I wote, doth sharply wite1
For praising love as I have done of late,
And magnifying lovers deare debate;
By which fraile youth is oft to follie led,
Through false allurement of that pleasing baite,
That better were in vertues discipled,

Then with vaine poemes weeds to have their fancies


2 Such ones il iudge of love, that cannot love, Ne in their frosen hearts feele kindly flame:

I. 1.

1 Wite, blame.

The rugged forhead.] The Lord Treasurer Burleigh is supposed to be hinted at in these verses.


Forthy they ought not thing unknowne reprove,

Ne naturall affection faultlesse blame

For fault of few that have abusd the same:

For it of honor and all vertue is

The roote, and brings forth glorious flowres of fame, That crowne true lovers with immortall blis, The meed of them that love, and do not live amisse.

3 Which who so list looke backe to former ages,
And call to count the things that then were donne,
Shall find that all the workes of those wise sages,
And brave exploits which great heroës wonne,
In love were either ended or begunne:
Witnesse the Father of Philosophie,2

Which to his Critias, shaded oft from sunne,
Of love full manie lessons did apply,

The which these Stoicke censours cannot well deny.

4 To such therefore I do not sing at all;

But to that sacred Saint my soveraigne Queene,
In whose chast breast all bounties naturall
And treasures of true love enlocked beene,
Bove all her sexe that ever yet was seene:
To her I sing of love, that loveth best,
And best is lov'd of all alive I weene;

To her this song most fitly is addrest,

The Queene of love, and Prince of peace from heaven blest.

Which that she may the better deigne to heare,
Do thou, dred Infant, Venus dearling dove,

1 Forthy, therefore. 2 I. e. Socrates. 8 Bountie, goodness.

From her high spirit chase imperious feare,
And use of awfull maiestie remove:

In sted thereof with drops of melting love, Deawd with ambrosiall kisses, by thee gotten From thy sweete smyling mother from above, Sprinckle her heart, and haughtie courage soften, That she may hearke to love, and reade this lesson often.

V. 3.-Imperious feare.] Feare here means that which inspires fear in others. H.

V. 5. With drops of melting love, &c.] Elizabeth, when this portion of the poem was published, was over sixty years old. H.


Fayre Britomart saves Amoret:
Duessa discord breedes

Twixt Scudamour and Blandamour:

Their fight and warlike deedes.

1 OF lovers sad calamities of old
Full many piteous stories doe remaine,
But none more piteous ever was ytold
Then that of Amorets hart-binding chaine,
And this of Florimels unworthie paine:
The deare compassion of whose bitter fit
My softened heart so sorely doth constraine,
That I with teares full oft doe pittie it,
And oftentimes doe wish it never had bene writ.

2 For, from the time that Scudamour her bought1 In perilous fight, she never ioyed day;

A perilous fight! when he with force her brought From twentie knights that did him all assay 2; Yet fairely well he did them all dismay,3

1 Bought, ransomed.

2 Assay, assail.

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8 Dismay, overpower.

II. 3. A perilous fight.] Of the manner in which Scudamore won Amoret, we are informed hereafter, in the tenth canto of this book. H.

And with great glorie both the Shield of Love
And eke the Ladie selfe he brought away;

Whom having wedded, as did him behove,
A new unknowen mischiefe did from him remove.

3 For that same vile Enchauntour Busyran, The very selfe same day that she was wedded, Amidst the bridale feast, whilest every man Surcharg'd with wine were heedlesse and ill-hedded, All bent to mirth before the bride was bedded, Brought in that Mask of Love which late was showen;

And there the ladie ill of friends bestedded,1

By way of sport, as oft in maskes is knowen, Conveyed quite away to living wight unknowen.

4 Seven moneths he so her kept in bitter smart, Because his sinfull lust she would not serve. Untill such time as noble Britomart

Released her, that else was like to sterve2 Through cruell knife that her deare heart did kerve3:


And now she is with her upon the way Marching in lovely wise, that could deserve No spot of blame, though spite did oft assay To blot her with dishonor of so faire a pray.

5 Yet should it be a pleasant tale, to tell The diverse usage, and demeanure daint,

1 Bestedded, assisted.

2 Sterve, die.

8 Kerve, carve, cut.

4 Lovely, affectionate.

5 I. e. Britomart.

6 Demeanure daint, delicate conduct.

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