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¶ A Vision vponupon this conceipt of the Faery Queene.
MEe thought I saw the grauegrave, where Laura lay,
Within that Temple, where the vestall flame
Was wont to burne, and passing by that way,
To see that buried dust of liuingliving fame,
Whose tumbe faire louelove, and fairer vertue kept,
All suddeinly I saw the Faery Queene:
At whose approch the soule of Petrarke wept,
And from thenceforth those graces were not seene.
For they this Queene attended, in whose steed
ObliuionOblivion laid him downe on Lauras herse:
Hereat the hardest stones were seene to bleed,
And grones of buried ghostes the heuenshevens did perse.
Where Homers spright did tremble all for griefe,
And curst th’accesse of that celestiall theife.
Another of the same.
THhe prayse of meaner wits this worke like profit brings,
As doth the Cuckoes song delight whēwhen Philumena sings.
If thou hast formed right true vertues face herein:
Vertue her selfe can best discerne, to whom they writen bin.
If thou hast beauty praysd, let her sole lookes diuinedivine
IudgeJudge if ought therein be amis, and mend it by her eine.
If Chastitie want ought, or Temperaunce her dew,
Behold her Princely mind aright, and write thy Queene anew.
Meane while she shall perceiueperceive, how far her vertues sore
AboueAbove the reach of all that liuelive, or such as wrote of yore:
And thereby will excuse and fauourfavour thy good will:
Whose vertue can not be exprest, but by an Angels quill.
Of me no lines are lou’dlov’d, nor letters are of price,
Of all which speak our English tongue, but those of thy deuicedevice.
W. R.
To the learned Shepeheard.
COollyn I see by thy new taken taske,
some sacred fury hath enricht thy braynes,
That leades thy muse in haughty verse to maske,
and loath the layes that longs to lowly swaynes.
That lifts thy notes from Shepheardes vntounto kinges,
So like the liuelylively Larke that mounting singes.
Thy louelylovely Rosolinde seemes now forlorne,
and all thy gentle flockes forgotten quight,
Thy chaunged hart now holdes thy pypes in scorne,
those prety pypes that did thy mates delight.
Those trusty mates, that louedloved thee so well,
Whom thou gau’stgav’st mirth: as they gauegave thee the bell.
Yet as thou earst with thy sweete roundelayes,
didst stirre to glee our laddes in homely bowers:
So moughtst thou now in these refyned layes,
delight the daintie eares of higher powers.
And so mought they in their deepe skanning skill
Alow and grace our Collyns flowing quyll.
And fare befall that Faery Queene of thine,
in whose faire eyes louelove linckt with vertue sittes:
Enfusing by those bewties fyers deuynedevyne,
such high conceites into thy humble wittes,
As raised hath poore pastors oaten reede,
From rustick tunes, to chaunt heroique deedes.
So mought thy Redcrosse knight with happy hand
victorious be in that faire Ilands right:
Which thou dost vayle in Type of Faery land
Elyzas blessed field, that Albion hight.
That shieldes her friendes, and warres her mightie foes,
Yet still with people, peace, and plentie flowes.
But (iollyjolly shepeheard) though with pleasing style,
thou feast the humour of the Courtly trayne:
Let not conceipt thy setled sence beguile,
ne daunted be through enuyenvy or disdaine.
SubiectSubject thy dome to her Empyring spright,
From whence thy Muse, and all the world takes light.
Hobynoll.
FAayre Thamis streame, that from Ludds stately towne,
Runst paying tribute to the Ocean seas,
Let all thy Nymphes and Syrens of renowne
Be silent, whyle this Bryttane Orpheus playes:
Nere thy sweet bankes, there liueslives that sacred crowne,
Whose hand strowes Palme and neuernever-dying bayes,
Let all at once, with thy soft murmuring sowne
Present her with this worthy Poets prayes.
For he hath taught hye drifts in shepeherdes weedes,
And deepe conceites now singes in Faeries deedes.
R. S.
Graue GRrave Muses march in triumph and with prayses,
Our Goddesse here hath giuengiven you leaueleave to land:
And biddes this rare dispenser of your graces
Bow downe his brow vntounto her sacred hand.
Desertes findes dew in that most princely doome,
In whose sweete brest are all the Muses bredde:
So did that great Augustus erst in Roome
With leauesleaves of fame adorne his Poets hedde.
Faire be the guerdon of your Faery Queene,
EuenEven of the fairest that the world hath seene.
H. B.
VVW Hhen stout Achilles heard of Helens rape
And what reuengerevenge the States of Greece deuisddevisd:
Thinking by sleight the fatall warres to scape,
In womans weedes him selfe he then disguisde:
But this deuisedevise VlyſſesUlyſſesVlyssesUlysses vlyſſesulyſſesvlyssesvlysses soone did spy,
And brought him forth, the chaunce of warre to try.
When Spencer saw the fame was spredd so large,
Through Faery land of their renowned Queene:
Loth that his Muse should take so great a charge,
As in such haughty matter to be seene,
To seeme a shepeheard then he made his choice,
But Sydney heard him sing, and knew his voice.
And as VlyssesUlysses brought faire Thetis sonne
From his retyred life to menage armes:
So Spencer was by Sidneys speaches wonne,
To blaze her fame not fearing future harmes:
For well he knew, his Muse would soone be tyred
In her high praise, that all the world admired.
Yet as Achilles in those warlike frayes,
Did win the palme from all the Grecian Peeres:
So Spencer now to his immortall prayse,
Hath wonne the Laurell quite from all his feres.
What though his taske exceed a humaine witt,
He is excus’d, sith Sidney thought it fitt.
W. L.
TOo looke vponupon a worke of rare deuisedevise
The which a workman setteth out to view,
And not to yield it the deserueddeserved prise,
That vntounto such a workmanship is dew.
Doth either proueprove the iudgementjudgement to be naught
Or els doth shew a mind with enuyenvy fraught.
To labour to commend a peece of worke,
Which no man goes about to discommend,
Would raise a iealousjealous doubt that there did lurke,
Some secret doubt, whereto the prayse did tend.
For when men know the goodnes of the wyne,
T’is needlesse for the hoast to hauehave a sygne.
Thus then to shew my iudgementjudgement to be such
As can discerne of colours blacke, and white,
As alls to free my minde from enuiesenvies tuch,
That neuernever giuesgives to any man his right,
I here pronounce this workmanship is such,
As that no pen can set it forth too much.
And thus I hang a garland at the dore,
Not for to shew the goodnes of the ware:
But such hath beene the custome heretofore,
And customes very hardly broken are.
And when your tast shall tell you this is trew,
Then looke you giuegive your hoast his vtmostutmost dew.
Ignoto.
6.5. VlyſſesUlyſſesVlyssesUlysses ] 1590 state 2; vlyſſesulyſſesvlyssesvlysses 1590 state 1
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Introduction

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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.

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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

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

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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.)

Apparatus

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

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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