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Let none then blame me, if in discipline
Of vertue and of civill uses lore,

I doe not forme them to the common line
Of present dayes, which are corrupted sore,
But to the antique use which was of yore,
When good was onely for it selfe desyred,
And all men sought their owne, and none no more;
When Justice was not for most meed outhyred,
But simple Truth did rayne, and was of all admyred.

For that which all men then did vertue call,

Is now cald vice; and that which vice was hight,
Is now hight vertue, and so us'd of all:
Right now is wrong, and wrong that was is right;
As all things else in time are chaunged quight:
Ne wonder; for the heavens revolution

Is wandred farre from where it first was pight,
And so doe make contrarie constitution
Of all this lower world, toward his dissolution.

For who so list into the heavens looke,


And search the courses of the rowling spheares,
Shall find that from the point where they first tooke
Their setting forth, in these few thousand yeares
They all are wandred much; that plaine appeares :
For that same golden fleecy Ram, which bore
Phrixus and Helle from their stepdames feares,
Hath now forgot where he was plast of yore,
And shouldred hath the Bull which fayre Europa bore:
And eke the Bull hath with his bow-bent horne 6
So hardly butted those two twinnes of Jove,
That they have crusht the Crab, and quite him borne
Into the great Nemæan lions grove.

So now all range, and doe at randon rove
Out of their proper places farre away,

And all this world with them amisse doe move,
And all his creatures from their course astray,

Till they arrive at their last ruinous decay.


Ne is that same great glorious lampe of light,
That doth enlumine all these lesser fyres,
In better case, ne keepes his course more right,
But is miscaried with the other Spheres:
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 were wont have best insight, Faith may be given, it is by them told


That since the time they first tooke the Sunnes hight,
Foure times his place he shifted hath in sight,
And twice hath risen where he now doth West,
And wested twice where he ought rise aright:
But most is Mars amisse of all the rest,

And next to him old Saturne, that was wont be best.

For during Saturnes ancient raigne it's sayd
That all the world with goodnesse did abound;
All loved vertue, no man was affrayd

Of force, ne fraud in wight was to be found;


No warre was knowne, no dreadfull trompets sound;
Peace universall rayn'd mongst men and beasts,
And all things freely grew out of the ground:
Justice sate high ador'd with solemne feasts,
And to all people did divide her dred beheasts:
Most sacred vertue she of all the rest,

Resembling God in his imperiall might;
Whose soveraine powre is herein most exprest,
That both to good and bad he dealeth right,
And all his workes with Justice hath bedight.
That powre he also doth to Princes lend,
And makes them like himselfe in glorious sight
To sit in his own seate, his cause to end,

And rule his people right, as he doth recommend.

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Dread Soverayne Goddesse, that doest highest sit 11
In seate of judgement in th' Almighties stead,
And with magnificke might and wondrous wit
Doest to thy people righteous doome aread,
That furthest Nations filles with awfull dread,
Pardon the boldnesse of thy basest thrall,
That dare discourse of so divine a read
As thy great justice, praysed over all;
The instrument whereof loe! here thy Artegall.



Artegall trayn'd in Justice lore
Irenaes quest pursewed;
He doth avenge on Sanglier
his Ladies bloud embrewed.

HOUGH vertue then were held in highest price,

In those old times of which I doe entreat, 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 base, [deface. And with strong hand their fruitfull rancknes did Such first was Bacchus, that with furious might 2 All th' East, before untam'd, did over ronne, And wrong repressed, and establisht right, Which lawlesse men had formerly fordonne: There Justice first her princely rule begonne. Next Hercules his like ensample shewed

Who all the West with equall conquest wonne, And monstrous tyrants with his club subdewed: The club of Justice dread with kingly powre endewed. And such was he of whom I have to tell,


The Champion of true Justice, Artegall : Whom (as ye lately mote remember well) An hard adventure, which did then befall, Into redoubted perill forth did call; That was, to succour a distressed Dame Whom a strong tyrant did unjustly thrall, And from the heritage, which she did clame, Did with strong hand withhold; Grantor to was his


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.

For Artegall in justice 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 justice them instructed well


Whiles through the world she walked in this sort, 6
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 justice there him taught.

There she him taught to weigh both right and wrong 7
In equall ballance with due recompence,
And equitie to measure out along
According to the line of conscience,
When so it needs with rigour to dispence:
Of all the which, for want there of mankind,
She caused him to make experience

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

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