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Are now transformed into hardest stone;
And if then those may any worse be red,
3 Let none then blame me, if, in discipline
When Iustice was not for most meed out-hyred, But simple Truth did rayne, and was of all admyred.
4 For that which all men then did vertue call,
Is now cald vice; and that which vice was hight,
And so doe make contrarie constitution
5 For whoso list into the heavens looke, And search the courses of the rowling spheares,
1 Use, custom.
2 Pight, placed.
V. 1. - For whoso list, &c.] In this and the succeeding stanza, the effects of the precession of the equinoxes are correctly stated.
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
6 And eke the Bull hath with his bow-bent horne
So hardly butted those two Twinnes of love,
And all his creatures from their course astray; Till they arrive at their last ruinous decay.
i Ne is that same great glorious lampe of light,
That doth enlumine all these lesser fyres,
The points where the ecliptic cuts the equator have retrograde motion from east to west of about fifty seconds in a year. The equinoctial points were first fixed in the time of Hipparchus, since which time they have gone back nearly thirty degrees, which is the space occupied by each sign in the zodiac, so that the sun is now in the constellation Aries at the period of the year when he was formerly in Taurus, in Taurus when he was formerly in Gemini, &c. H.
For since the terme of fourteene hundred yeres,
Nigh thirtie minutes to the southerne lake;
2 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, l'oure 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.
y 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-recul, 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 diininution, 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. — Foure times, &c.] Herodotus states that the priests of Egypt informed him that the sun had, during the space of eleven thousand three lıundred 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 ;
was knowne, no dreadfull trompets
sound; 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;
To sit in his owne seate, his cause to end,
11 Dread soverayne Goddesse, that doest highest sit
In seate of iudgement in th’ Almighties stead,
As thy great iustice praysed over all ;
1 Bedight, arranged, ordered.
2 Read, subject.
XI. 1. - Dread soverayne Goddesse, &c.] Addressed to Queen Elizal.eth. H.
Artegall trayn'd in Iustice lore
Irenaes quest pursewed;
His Ladies bloud embrewed.
: Though vertue then were held in highest price,
That cropt the branches of the sient 2 base,
2 Such first was Bacchus, that with furious might
All th' east, before untam’d, did over-ronne,
1 Intreat, treat.
2 Sient, scion.