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For since the terme of fourteene hundred yeres, That learned Ptolomæe 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 1 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.

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

1 Star-read, knowledge of the stars.

VII. 8.- · Nigh thirtie minutes, &c.] This refers to the diminution of the obliquity of the ecliptic, by which the sun recedes from the pole, and approaches the equator. The quantity of this diminution, however, is incorrectly stated, and it is probable that "thirtie" is a misprint for thirteen, which was very nearly the exact amount in Spenser's time. H.

VIII. 5. 1

·Foure times, &c.] Herodotus states that the priests of Egypt informed him that the sun had, during the space of eleven thousand three hundred and forty years, four times altered his regular course, having been twice observed to rise where he now sets, and to go down twice where he now rises. H.

Of force, ne fraud in wight was to be found;
No warre was knowne, no dreadfull trompets


Peace universall rayn'd mongst men and beasts: And all things freely grew out of the ground: Iustice sate high ador'd with solemne feasts, And to all people did divide her dred beheasts;

10 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 iustice hath bedight.1
That powre he also doth to princes lend,
And makes them like himselfe in glorious sight
To sit in his owne seate, his cause to end,
And rule his people right, as he doth recommend.

11 Dread soverayne Goddesse, that doest highest sit
In seate of iudgement 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,2
As thy great iustice praysed over all;

The instrument whereof, loe here thy Artegall.

1 Bedight, arranged, ordered.

2 Read, subject.

XI. 1.-Dread soverayne Goddesse, &c.] Addressed to Queen Elizabeth. H.


Artegall trayn'd in Iustice lore
Irenaes quest pursewed;
He doeth avenge on Sanglier
His Ladies bloud embrewed.

THOUGH vertue then were held in highest price, In those old times of which I doe intreat,1

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 sient2 base,

And with strong hand their fruitfull rancknes did de


2 Such first was Bacchus, that with furious might
All th' east, before untam'd, did over-ronne,
And wrong repressed, and establisht right
Which lawlesse men had formerly fordonne:
There Iustice first her princely rule begonne.
Next Hercules his like ensample shewed,
Who all the west with equall conquest wonne,

1 Intreat, treat.

2 Sient, scion.

And monstrous tyrants with his club subdewed; The club of Iustice dread, with kingly powre en


3 And such was he of whom I have to tell,
The Champion of true Iustice, Artegall:
Whom (as ye lately mote remember well)
An hard adventure which did them befall
Into redoubted perill forth did call ;
That was, to succour a distressed dame
Whom a strong tyrant did uniustly thrall,
And from the heritage which she did clame
Did with strong hand withhold; Grantorto1 was his


4 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.

1 I. e. Great Wrong.

III. 2. Artegall.] Arthur, Lord Grey of Wilton, who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and to whom Spenser was Secretary. H.

IV. 1.

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Irena.] Irena, or Irene, is an anagram of lerne

the ancient name of Ireland. CHURCH.

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5 For Artegall in iustice 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 iustice them instructed well.

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

There she him taught to weigh both right and


In equall ballance with due recompence,

And equitie to measure out along

According to the line of conscience,

Whenso it needs with rigour to dispence:

Of all the which, for want there of mankind,
She caused him to make experience

VI. 7.- Into a cave, &c.] The allegory means that meditation and philosophy are requisite for a lawgiver.


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