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WITH A GLOSSARY.
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE, RYDER'S COURT,
R. GRIFFIN AND CO., GLASGOW; AND W. CURRY, JUN., AND CO., DUBLIN,
LETTER OF THE AUTHOR'S,
EXPOUNDING HIS WHOLE INTENTION IN THE COURSE OF THIS WORKE; WHICH, FOR THAT IT GIVETH GREAT LIGHT TO THE READER, FOR THE BETTER
UNDERSTANDING IS HEREUNTO ANNEXED.
TO THE RIGHT NOBLE AND VALOROUS
SIR WALTER RALEIGH, knight,
LO. WARDEIN OF THE STANNERYES AND HER MAIESTIES LIEFTENAUNT OF THE COUNTY OF CORNEWAYLL.
KNOWING how doubtfully all Allegories may be construed, and this booke of mine, which I have entituled The Faery Queene, being a continued Allegory, or darke Conceit, I have thought good, as well for avoyding of gealous opinions and misconstructions, as also for your better light in reading thereof, (being so by you commanded,) to discover unto you the general intention and meaning, which in the whole course thereof I have fashioned, without expressing of any particular purposes, or by-accidents, therein occasioned. The general end, therefore, of all the booke, is to fashion a gentleman or noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline; which for that I conceived shoulde be most plausible and pleasing, being coloured with an historical fiction, the which the most part of men delight to read, rather for variety of matter then for profite of the ensample, I chose the Historye of King Arthure, as most fitte for the excellency of his person, being made famous by many mens former workes, and also furthest from the daunger of envy, and suspition of present time. In which I have followed all the antique poets historicall; first Homere, who in the persons of Agamemnon and Ulysses hath ensampled a good governour and a vertuous man, the one in his Ilias, the other in his Odysseis; then Virgil, vhose like intention was to doe in the person of Æneas; after him Ariosto comprised them both in his Orlando; and lately Tasso dissevered them again, and formed both parts in two persons, namely, that part which they in philosophy call Ethice, or Vertues of a private man, coloured in his Rianaldo; the other
named Politice, in his Godfredo. By ensample of which excellente poets. I labour to pourtraict in Arthure, before he was king, the image of a brave knight, perfected in the twelve private Morall Vertues, as Aristotle hath devised; the which is the purpose of these first twelve bookes: which if I finde to be well accepted, I may be perhaps encoraged to frame the other part of Polliticke Vertues in his person, after that hee came to be king. To some I know this methode will seem displeasaunt, which had rather have good discipline delivered plainly in way of precepts, or sermoned at large, as they use, then thus clowdily enwrapped 14 allegorical devises. But such, me seeme, should be sfide with the use of these days, seeing all things accounted by their showes, and nothing esteemed of, that is not delightfull and pleasing to commune sence. For this cause is Xenophon preferred before Plato, for that the one, in the exquisite depth of his iudgement, formed a communewelth, such as it should be; but the other, in the person of Cyrus, and the Persians, fashioned a government, such as might best be: so much more profitable and gratious is doctrine by ensample then by rule. So have I laboured to do in the person of Arthure whom I conceive, after his long education by Timon, to whom he was by Merlin delivered to be brought up, so soone as he was borne of the Lady Igrayne, to have seene in a dream or vision the Faery Queene, with whose excellent beauty ravished, he awaking resolved to seeke her out, and so being by Merlin armed, and by Timon throughly instructed, he went to seeke her forth in Faerve Land. In that Faery Queene I meane Glory