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LOue, lift me vp vponupon thy golden wings,
From this base world vntounto thy heauensheavens hight,
Where I may see those admirable things,
Which there thou workest by thy souerainesoveraine might,
Farre aboueabove feeble reach of earthly sight,
That I thereof an heauenlyheavenly Hymne may sing
Vnto the god of Loue, high heauensheavens king.
Many lewd layes (ah woe is me the more)
In praise of that mad fit, which fooles call louelove,
I hauehave in th’ heat of youth made heretofore,
That in light wits did loose affection mouemove.
But all those follies now I do reprouereprove,
And turned hauehave the tenor of my string,
The heauenlyheavenly prayses of true louelove to sing.
And ye that wont with greedy vaine desire
To reade my fault, and wondring at my flame,
To warme your seluesselves at my wide sparckling fire,
Sith now that heat is quenched, quench my blame,
And in her ashes shrowd my dying shame:
For who my passed follies now pursewes,
Beginnes his owne, and my old fault renewes.
BEfore this worlds great frame, in which al things
Are now containd, found any being place,
Ere flitting Time could wag his eyas wings
About that mightie bound, which doth embrace
The rolling Spheres, &and parts their houres by space,
That high eternall powre, which now doth mouemove
In all these things, mou’dmov’d in it selfe by louelove.
It lou’dlov’d it selfe, because it self was faire;
(For faire is lou’dlov’d;) and of it selfe begot
Like to it selfe his eldest sonne and heire,
Eternall, pure, and voide of sinfull blot,
The firstling of his ioyjoy, in whom no iotjot
Of louesloves dislike, or pride was to be found,
Whom he therefore with equall honour crownd.
With him he raignd, before all time prescribed,
In endlesse glorie and immortall might,
Together with that third from them deriuedderived,
Most wise, most holy, most almightie Spright,
Whose kingdomes throne no thought of earthly wight
Can cõprehẽdcomprehend, much lesse my trẽblingtrembling verse
With equall words can hope it to reherse.
Yet ô most blessed Spirit, pure lampe of light,
Eternall spring of grace and wisedome trew,
Vouchsafe to shed into my barren spright,
Some little drop of thy celestiall dew,
That may my rymes with sweet infuse embrew,
And giuegive me words equall vntounto my thought,
To tell the marueilesmarveiles by thy mercie wrought.
Yet being pregnant still with powrefull grace,
And full of fruitfull louelove, that louesloves to get
Things like himselfe, and to enlarge his race,
His second brood though not in powre so great,
Yet full of beautie, next he did beget
An infinite increase of Angels bright,
All glistring glorious in their Makers light.
To them the heauensheavens illimitable hight,
Not this round heauẽheauenheavẽheaven, which we frõfrom hence behold,
Adornd with thousand lamps of burning light,
And with ten thousand gemmes of shyning gold,
He gauegave as their inheritance to hold,
That they might serueserve him in eternall blis,
And be partakers of those ioyesjoyes of his.
There they in their trinall triplicities
About him wait, and on his will depend,
Either with nimble wings to cut the skies,
When he them on his messages doth send,
Or on his owne dread presence to attend,
Where they behold the glorie of his light,
And caroll Hymnes of louelove both day and night.
Both day and night is vntounto them all one,
For he his beames doth still to them extend,
That darknesse there appeareth neuernever none,
Ne hath their day, ne hath their blisse an end,
But that their termelesse time in pleasure spend,
Ne euerever should their happinesse decay,
Had not they dar’d their Lord to disobay.
But pride impatient of long resting peace,
Did puffe them vp with greedy bold ambition,
That they gan cast their state how to increase,
AboueAbove the fortune of their first condition,
And sit in Gods owne seat without commission:
The brightest Angell, eueneven the Child of light
Drew millions more against their God to fight.
Th’ Almighty seeing their so bold assay,
Kindled the flame of his consuming yre,
And with his onely breath them blew away
From heauensheavens hight, to which they did aspyre,
To deepest hell, and lake of damned fyre;
Where they in darknesse and dread horror dwell,
Hating the happie light from which they fell.
So that the next off-spring of the Makers louelove,
Next to himselfe in glorious degree,
Degendering to hate fell from aboueabove
Through pride; (for pride and louelove may ill agree)
And now of sinne to all ensample bee:
How then can sinfull flesh it selfe assure,
Sith purest Angels fell to be impure?
But that eternall fount of louelove and grace,
Still flowing forth his goodnesse vntounto all,
Now seeing left a waste and emptie place
In his wyde Pallace, through those Angels fall,
Cast to supply the same, and to enstall
A new vnknowenunknowen Colony therein,
Whose root from earths base groundworke shold begin.
Therefore of clay, base, vile, and next to nought,
Yet form’d by wondrous skill, and by his might:
According to an heauenlyheavenly patterne wrought,
Which he had fashiond in his wise foresight,
He man did make most beautifull and fayre,
Endewd with wisedomes riches, heauenlyheavenly, rare.
Such he him made, that he resemble might
Himselfe, as mortall thing immortall could;
Him to be Lord of eueryevery liuingliving wight,
He made by louelove out of his owne like mould,
In whom he might his mightie selfe behould:
For louelove doth louelove the thing belou’dbelov’d to see,
That like it selfe in louelylovely shape may bee.
But man forgetfull of his makers grace,
No lesse 120. then: thanthenthan Angels, whom he did ensew,
Fell from the hope of promist heauenlyheavenly place,
Into the mouth of death to sinners dew,
And all his off-spring into thraldome threw:
Where they for euerever should in bonds remaine,
Of neuernever dead, yet euerever dying paine.
Till that great Lord of LoueLove, which him at first
Made of meere louelove, and after liked well,
Seeing him lie like creature long accurst,
In that deepe horror of despeyred hell,
Him wretch in doole would let no lenger dwell,
But cast out of that bondage to redeeme,
And pay the price, all were his debt extreeme.
Out of the bosome of eternall blisse,
In which he reigned with his glorious fyre,
He downe descended, like a most demisse
And abiectabject thrall, in fleshes fraile attyre,
That he for him might pay sinnes deadly hyre,
And him restore vntounto that happie state,
In which he stood before his haplesse fate.
In flesh at first the guilt committed was,
Therefore in flesh it must be satisfyde:
Nor spirit, nor Angell, though they man surpas,
Could make amends to God for mans misguyde,
But onely man himselfe, who self did slyde.
So taking flesh of sacred virgins wombe,
For mans deare sake he did a man become.
And that most blessed bodie, which was borne
Without all blemish or reprochfull blame,
He freely gauegave to be both rent and torne
Of cruell hands, who with despightfull shame
Reuyling him, that them most vile became,
At length him nayled on a gallow tree,
And slew the iustjust, by most vniustunjust decree.
O huge and most vnspeakableunspeakable impression
Of louesloves deepe wound, that pierst the piteous hart
Of that deare Lord with so entyre affection,
And sharply launching eueryevery inner part,
Dolours of death into his soule did dart;
Doing him die, that neuernever it deserueddeserved,
To free his foes, that from his heast had sweruedswerved.
What hart can feele least touch of so sore launch,
Or thought can think the depth of so deare wound?
Whose bleeding sourse their streames yet neuernever staunch,
But stil do flow, &and freshly stil redound,
To heale the sores of sinfull soules vnsoundunsound,
And clense the guilt of that infected cryme,
Which was enrooted in all fleshly slyme.
O blessed well of louelove, ô floure of grace,
O glorious Morning starre, ô lampe of light,
Most liuelylively image of thy fathers face,
Eternall King of glorie, Lord of might,
Meeke lambe of God before all worlds behight,
How can we thee requite for all this good?
Or what can prize that thy most precious blood?
Yet nought thou ask’st in lieu of all this louelove,
But louelove of vs for guerdon of thy paine.
Ay me; what can vs lesse then that behouebehove?
Had he required life of vs againe,
Had it beene wrong to aske his owne with gaine?
He gauegave vs life, he it restored lost;
Then life we least, that vs so litle cost.
But he our life hath left vntounto vs free,
Free that was thrall, and blessed that was band;
Ne ought demaunds, but that we louingloving bee,
As he himselfe hath lou’dlov’d vs afore hand,
And bound therto with an eternall band,
Him first to louelove, that vs so dearely bought,
And next, our brethren to his image wrought.
Him first to louelove, great right and reason is,
Who first to vs our life and being gauegave;
And after when we fared had amisse,
Vs wretches from the second death did sauesave;
And last the food of life, which now we hauehave,
EuenEven himselfe in his deare sacrament,
To feede our hungry soules vntounto vs lent.
Then next to louelove our brethren, that were made
Of that selfe mould, and that selfe makers hand,
That we, and to the same againe shall fade,
Where they shall hauehave like heritage of land,
How euerever here on higher steps we stand;
Which also were with selfe same price redeemed
That we, how euerever of vs light esteemed.
And were they not, yet since that louingloving Lord
Commaunded vs to louelove them for his sake,
EuenEven for his sake, and for his sacred word,
Which in his last bequest he to vs spake,
We should them louelove, &and with their needs partake;
Knowing that whatsoere to them we giuegive,
We giuegive to him, by whom we all doe liuelive.
Such mercy he by his most holy reede
VntoUnto vs taught, and to approve it trew,
Ensampled it by his most righteous deede,
Shewing vs mercie miserable crew,
That we the like should to the wretches shew,
And love our brethren; thereby to approueapprove,
How much himselfe that louedloved vs, we louelove.
Then rouze thy selfe, ô earth, out of thy soyle,
In which thou wallowest like to filthy swyne,
And doest thy mynd in durty pleasures moyle,
VnmindfullUnmindfull of that dearest Lord of thyne;
Lift vp to him thy heauieheavie clouded eyne,
That thou his souerainesoveraine bountie mayst behold,
And read through louelove his mercies manifold.
Beginne from first, where he encradled was
In simple cratch, wrapt in a wad of hay,
Betweene the toylefull Oxe and humble Asse,
And in what rags, and in how base aray,
The glory of our heauenlyheavenly riches lay,
When him the silly Shepheards came to see,
Whom greatest Princes sought on lowest knee.
From thence reade on the storie of his life,
His humble carriage, his vnfaultyunfaulty wayes,
His cancred foes, his fights, his toyle, his strife,
His paines, his pouertiepovertie, his sharpe assayes,
Through which he past his miserable dayes,
Offending none, and doing good to all,
Yet being malist both of great and small.
And looke at last how of most wretched wights,
He taken was, betrayd, and false accused,
How with most scornefull taunts, &and fell despights
He was reuyldrevyld, disgrast, and foule abused,
How scourgd, how crownd, how buffeted, how brused;
And lastly how twixt robbers crucifyde,
With bitter wounds through hands, through feet & syde.and syde.
Then let thy flinty hart that feeles no paine,
Empierced be with pittifull remorse,
And let thy bowels bleede in eueryevery vaine,
At sight of his most sacred heauenlyheavenly corse,
So torne and mangled with malicious forse,
And let thy soule, whose sins his sorrows wrought,
Melt into teares, and grone in grieuedgrieved thought.
With sence whereof whilest so thy softened spirit
Is inly toucht, and humbled with meeke zeale,
Through meditation of his endlesse merit,
Lift vp thy mind to th’author of thy weale,
And to his souerainesoveraine mercie doe appeale;
Learne him to louelove, that louedloved thee so deare,
And in thy brest his blessed image beare.
With all thy hart, with all thy soule and mind,
Thou must him louelove, and his beheasts embrace,
All other louesloves, with which the world doth blind
Weake fancies, and stirre vp affections base,
Thou must renounce, and vtterlyutterly displace,
And giuegive thy selfe vntounto him full and free,
That full and freely gauegave himselfe to thee.
Then shalt thou feele thy spirit so possest,
And rauishtravisht with deuouringdevouring great desire
Of his deare selfe, that shall thy feeble brest
Inflame with louelove, and set thee all on fire
With burning zeale, through eueryevery part entire,
That in no earthly thing thou shalt delight,
But in his sweet and amiable sight.
Thenceforth all worlds desire will in thee dye,
And all earthes glorie on which men do gaze,
Seeme durt and drosse in thy pure sighted eye,
Compar’d to that celestiall beauties blaze,
Whose glorious beames all fleshly sense doth daze
With admiration of their passing light,
Blinding the eyes and lumining the spright.
Then shall thy rauishtravisht soule inspired bee
With heauẽly thoughts, farre aboueabove humane skil,
And thy bright radiant eyes shall plainely see
Th’Idee of his pure glorie present still,
Before thy face, that all thy spirits shall fill
With sweete enragement of celestiall louelove,
Kindled through sight of those faire things aboueabove.
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The toggles above every page allow you to determine both the degree and the kind of editorial intervention present in the text as you read it. They control, as well, the display of secondary materials—collational notes, glosses, and links to commentary.

Textual Changes

The vagaries of early modern printing often required that lines or words be broken. Toggling Modern Lineation on will reunite divided words and set errant words in their lines.

Off: That a large share it hewd out of the rest, (blest. And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely (FQ I.ii.18.8-9) On: That a large share it hewd out of the rest, And glauncing downe his shield, from blame him fairely blest.

Toggling Expansions on will undo certain early modern abbreviations.

Off: Sweet slõbring deaw, the which to sleep them biddes: (FQ I.i.36.4)

Toggling Modern Characters on will convert u, v, i, y, and vv to v, u, j, i, and w. (N.B. the editors have silently replaced ſ with s, expanded most ligatures, and adjusted spacing according contemporary norms.)

Off: And all the world in their subiection held, Till that infernall feend with foule vprore (FQ I.i.5.6-7) On: And all the world in their subjection held, Till that infernall feend with foule uprore

Toggling Lexical Modernizations on will conform certain words to contemporary orthographic standards.

Off: But wander too and fro in waies vnknowne (FQ I.i.10.5) On: But wander to and fro in waies vnknowne.

Toggling Emendations on will correct obvious errors in the edition on which we base our text and modernize its most unfamiliar features.

Most lothsom, filthie, foule, and full of vile disdaine (FQ I.i.14.9) 14.9. Most lothsom] this edn.; Mostlothsom 1590

(The text of 1590 reads Mostlothsom, while the editors’ emendation reads Most lothsom.)


Toggling Collation Notes on will highlight words that differ among printings.

And shall thee well rewarde to shew the place, (FQ I.i.31.5) 5. thee] 1590; you 15961609

(The text of 1590 reads thee, while the texts of 1596 and 1609 read you.)

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Toggling Stanza Numbers on will show the number of the stanza within each canto.

Toggling Glosses on will show the definitions of unfamiliar words or phrases.

To my long approoved and singular good frende, Master G.H. (Letters I.1) 1. long aprooved: tried and true, found trustworthy over a long period