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In glistring gold and perelesse pretious stone;
Yet her bright blazing beautie did assay'
To dim the brightnesse of her glorious throne,
As envying her selfe, that too exceeding shone :


Exceeding shone, like Phoebus fayrest childe,
That did presume his fathers fyrie wayne,
And flaming mouthes of steedes unwonted wilde,
Through highest heaven with weaker hand to rayne;
Proud of such glory and advancement vayne,
While flashing beames do daze his feeble eyen,
He leaves the welkin 2 way most beaten playne,

And, rapt with whirling wheeles, inflames the skyen With fire not made to burne, but fayrely for to shyne.


So proud she shyned in her princely state,
Looking to heaven; for earth she did disdayne:
And sitting high; for lowly she did hate:
Lo, underneath her scornefull feete was layne
A dreadfull Dragon with an hideous trayne;
And in her hand she held a mirrhour bright,
Wherein her face she often vewed fayne,
And in her selfe-lov'd semblance took delight;
For she was wondrous faire, as any living wight.


Of griesly Pluto she the daughter was,
And sad Proserpina, the queene of hell;
Yet did she thinke her pearelesse worth to pas 3
That parentage, with pride so did she swell;
And thundring love, that high in heaven doth dwell
And wield the world, she claymed for her syre;

1 Assay, attempt.

2 Welkin, heavenly.

3 Pas, surpass.

Or if that any else did love excell;

For to the highest she did still aspyre;

Or, if ought higher were then that, did it desyre.


And proud Lucifera men did her call,

That made her selfe a Queene, and crownd to be;
Yet rightfull kingdome she had none at all,
Ne heritage of native soveraintie;

But did usurpe with wrong and tyrannie Upon the scepter, which she now did hold: Ne ruld her realme with lawes, but pollicie, And strong advizement of six Wisards old, That with their counsels bad her kingdome did uphold.


Soone as the Elfin Knight in presence came,
And false Duessa, seeming Lady fayre,

A gentle husher, Vanitie by name,

Made rowme, and passage for them did prepaire: So goodly brought them to the lowest stayre Of her high throne; where they, on humble knee Making obeysaunce, did the cause declare, Why they were come, her roiall state to see, To prove the wide report of her great maiestee.


With loftie eyes, halfe loth to looke so lowe,
She thancked them in her disdainefull wise;
Ne other grace vouchsafed them to showe
Of princesse worthy; scarse them bad arise.
Her Lordes and Ladies all this while devise
Themselves to setten forth to straungers sight:
Some frounce their curled heare in courtly guise;

1 Frounce, plait, or fold.

Some prancke1 their ruffes; and others trimly dight Their gay attyre: each others greater pride does spight.


Goodly they all that Knight doe entertayne, Right glad with him to have increast their crew; But to Duess' each one himselfe did payne All kindnesse and faire courtesie to shew; For in that court whylome 3 her well they knew: Yet the stout Faery mongst the middest crowd Thought all their glorie vaine in knightly vew, And that great Princesse too exceeding prowd, That to strange Knight no better countenance allowd.


Suddein upriseth from her stately place

The roiall Dame, and for her coche doth call:

All hurtlen forth; and she, with princely pace,
As faire Aurora, in her purple pall,

Out of the east the dawning day doth call,

So forth she comes; her brightnes brode doth blaze.
The heapes of people, thronging in the hall,
Doe ride each other, upon her to gaze:

Her glorious glitterand light doth all mens eies amaze.


So forth she comes, and to her coche does clyme,
Adorned all with gold and girlonds gay,

That seemd as fresh as Flora in her prime;
And strove to match, in roiall rich array,
Great Iunoes golden chayre; 5 the which, they say,

1 Prancke, adjust.

2 Payne, exert.

3 Whylome, formerly.

4 Hurtlen, rush.

5 Chayre, chariot.

XIV. 9.

Each others greater pride does spight.] Each one is annoyed by the greater attractions of another.

The gods stand gazing on, when she does ride
To loves high hous through hevens bras-paved way,
Drawne of fayre pecocks, that excell in pride,
And full of Argus eyes their tayles dispredden wide.


But this was drawne of six unequall beasts,
On which her six sage counsellours did ryde,
Taught to obay their bestiall beheasts,
With like conditions to their kindes applyde:
Of which the first, that all the rest did guyde,
Was sluggish Idlenesse, the nourse of sin;
Upon a slouthfull asse he chose to ryde,
Arayd in habit blacke, and amis1 thin;
Like to an holy monck, the service to begin.


And in his hand his portesse 2 still he bare,
That much was worne, but therein little redd;
For of devotion he had little care,

Still drownd in sleepe and most of his daies dedd:
Scarse could he once uphold his heavie hedd,
To looken whether it were night or day.

May seeme the wayne3 was very evil ledd,
When such an one had guiding of the way,
That knew not, whether right he went or else astray.


From worldly cares himselfe he did esloyne,
And greatly shunned manly exercise;

1 Amis, robe.

2 Portesse, breviary.


3 Wayne, chariot.

4 Esloyne, withdraw.

XVIII. 2.— Six sage counsellours.] Pride is one of the seven deadly sins, and her six counsellors are the other six. The description of these vices contains some of Spenser's most striking excellences and defects-his vivid coloring and matchless power of personification, and his occasional coarseness of expression.

From everie worke he chalenged essoyne,1
For contemplation sake: yet otherwise
His life he led in lawlesse riotise;
By which he grew to grievous malady :
For in his lustlesse 2 limbs, through evill guise,
A shaking fever raignd continually :
Such one was Idlenesse, first of this company.


And by his side rode loathsome Gluttony,
Deformed creature, on a filthie swyne ;.
His belly was upblowne with luxury,
And eke with fatnesse swollen were his eyne;
And like a crane his necke was long and fyne,
With which he swallowed up excessive feast,
For want whereof poore people oft did pyne:
And all the way, most like a brutish beast,
He spued up his gorge, that all did him deteast.



greene vine leaves he was right fitly clad; For other clothes he could not wear for heate: And on his head an yvie girland had,

From under which fast trickled downe the sweat:
Still as he rode, he somewhat still did eat,
And in his hand did beare a bouzing can,3
Of which he supt so oft, that on his seat
His dronken corse he scarse upholden can:

In shape and life more like a monster then a man.


Unfit he was for any worldly thing,
And eke unhable once to stirre or go;
Not meet to be of counsell to a king,

2 Lustlesse, feeble. 3 Bouzing can, a drinking-can.

1 Essoyne, excuse.

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