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1 THE waies, through which my weary steps I guyde In this delightfull land of Faëry,

Are so exceeding spacious and wyde,

And sprinckled with such sweet variety
Of all that pleasant is to eare or eye,

That I, nigh ravisht with rare thoughts delight,
My tedious travell doe forget thereby ;

And, when I gin to feele decay of might,

It strength to me supplies and chears my dulled spright.

2 Such secret comfort and such heavenly pleasures,
Ye, sacred Imps, that on Parnasso dwell,
And there the keeping have of Learnings threasures,
Which doe all worldly riches farre excell,
Into the mindes of mortall men doe well,1
And goodly fury2 into them infuse.

1 Well, cause to flow.

2 Fury, inspiration.

Guyde ye my footing, and conduct me well

In these strange waies where never foote did use, Ne none can find but who was taught them by the Muse!

3 Revele to me the sacred noursery

Of Vertue, which with you doth there remaine, Where it in silver bowre does hidden ly

From view of men and wicked worlds disdaine; Since it at first was by the gods with paine1 Planted in earth, being deriv'd at furst From heavenly seedes of bounty soveraine, And by them long with carefull labour nurst, Till it to ripenesse grew, and forth to honour burst.

4 Amongst them all growes not a fayrer flowre
Then is the bloosme2 of comely Courtesie;
Which though it on a lowly stalke doe bowre,
Yet brancheth forth in brave nobilitie,

And spreds itselfe through all civilitie :

Of which though present age doe plenteous seeme, Yet, being matcht with plaine antiquitie,

Ye will them all but fayned showes esteeme, Which carry colours faire that feeble eies misdeeme1:

5 But, in the triall of true Curtesie,

Its now so farre from that which then it was,
That it indeed is nought but forgerie,
Fashion'd to please the eies of them that pas,

1 Paine, difficulty.

2 Bloosme, blossom, flower.

8 Bowre, lodge.

4 Misdeeme, misjudge

Which see not perfect things but in a glas: Yet is that glasse so gay that it can blynd The wisest sight, to thinke gold that is bras: But Vertues seat is deepe within the mynd, And not in outward shows but inward thoughts defynd.

6 But where shall I in all antiquity

So faire a patterne finde, where may be seene The goodly praise of princely Curtesie, As in Yourselfe, O soveraine Lady Queene? In whose pure minde, as in a mirrour sheene, It showes, and with her brightnesse doth inflame The eyes of all which thereon fixed beene; But meriteth indeede an higher name: Yet so, from low to high, uplifted is your fame.

7 Then pardon me, most dreaded Soveraine,
That from Yourselfe I doe this vertue bring,
And to Yourselfe doe it returne againe :
So from the ocean all rivers spring,
And tribute backe repay as to their king:
Right so from you all goodly vertues well
Into the rest which round about you ring,
Faire lords and ladies which about you dwell,
And doe adorne your court where courtesies excell.

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