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THE THIRDE BOOKE OF
THE FAERIE QUEENE
CONTAYNING THE LEGEND OF BRITOMARTIS,
The birth of fayre Belphœbe and
ELL may I weene, faire Ladies, all this while Ye wonder how this noble Damozell So great perfections did in her compile, Sith that in salvage forests she did dwell, So farre from court and royall Citadell, The great schoolmaistresse of all courtesy: Seemeth that such wilde woodes should far expell All civile usage and gentility,
And gentle sprite deforme with rude rusticity.
But to this faire Belphœbe in her berth
The hevens so favorable were and free, Looking with myld aspect upon the earth In th' Horoscope of her nativitee, That all the gifts of grace and chastitee On her they poured forth of plenteous horne: Jove laught on Venus from his soverayne see, And Phoebus with faire beames did her adorne, And all the Graces rockt her cradle being borne
Her berth was of the wombe of Morning dew,
[share These two were twinnes, and twixt them two did The heritage of all celestiall grace;
That all the rest it seemd they robbed bare Of bounty, and of beautie, and all vertues rare.
It were a goodly storie to declare
By what straunge accident faire Chrysogone Conceiv'd these infants, and how them she bare In this wilde forrest wandring all alone, After she had nine moneths fulfild and gone : For not as other wemens commune brood They were enwombed in the sacred throne Of her chaste bodie; nor with commune food, As other wemens babes, they sucked vitall blood:
But wondrously they were begot and bred