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To the right honourable Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord high Chauncelor of England. &c.
THhose prudent heads, that with theire counsels wise
Whylom the Pillours of th’earth did sustaine,
And taught ambitious Rome to tyrannise,
And in the neck of all the world to rayne,
Oft from those grauegrave affaires were wont abstaine,
With the sweet Lady Muses for to play:
So Ennius the elder Africane,
So Maro oft did Cæsars cares allay.
So you great Lord, that with your counsell sway
The burdeine of this kingdom mightily,
With like delightes sometimes may eke delay,
The rugged brow of carefull Policy:
And to these ydle rymes lend litle space,
Which for their titles sake may find more grace.
To the most honourable and excellent Lo. the Earle of Essex. Great Maister of the Horse to her Highnesse, and knight of the Noble order of the Garter. &c.etc.
MAagnificke Lord, whose vertues exellent
Doe merit a most famous Poets witt,
To be thy liuingliving praises instrument,
Yet doe not sdeigne, to let thy name be writt
In this base Poeme, for thee far vnfittunfitt.
Nought is thy worth disparaged thereby,
But when my Muse, whose fethers nothing flitt
Doe yet but flagg, and lowly learne to fly
With bolder wing shall dare alofte to sty
To the last praises of this Faery Queene,
Then shall it make more famous memory
Of thine Heroicke parts, such as they beene:
Till then vouch safe thy noble countenaunce,
To these first labours needed furtheraunce,
To the right Honourable the Earle of Oxenford, Lord high Chamberlayne of England. &c.etc.
REeceiue Receive most Noble Lord in gentle gree,
The vnripeunripe fruit of an vnreadyunready wit:
Which by thy countenaunce doth crauecrave to bee
Defended from foule EnuiesEnvies poisnous bit.
Which so to doe may thee right well befit,
Sith th’antique glory of thine auncestry
VnderUnder a shady vele is therein writ,
And eke thine owne long liuingliving memory,
Succeeding them in true nobility:
And also for the louelove, which thou doest beare
To th’Heliconian ymps, and they to thee,
They vntounto thee, and thou to them most deare:
Deare as thou art vntounto thy selfe, so louelove
That louesloves &and honours thee, as doth behouebehove.
To the right honourable the Earle of Northumberland.
THhe sacred Muses hauehave made alwaies clame
To be the Nourses of nobility,
And Registres of euerlastingeverlasting fame,
To all that armes professe and cheualrychevalry.
Then by like right the noble Progeny,
Which them succeed in fame and worth, are tyde
T’embrace the seruiceservice of sweete Poetry,
By whose endeuoursendevours they are glorifide,
And eke from all, of whom it is enuideenvide,
To patronize the authour of their praise,
Which giuesgives them life, that els would soone hauehave dide,
And crownes their ashes with immortall baies.
To thee therefore right noble Lord I send
This present of my paines, it to defend.
To the right Honourable the Earle of Ormond and Ossory.
Receiue REeceive most noble Lord a simple taste
Of the wilde fruit, which saluagesalvage soyl hath bred,
Which being through long wars left almost waste,
With brutish barbarisme is ouerspreddoverspredd:
And in so faire a land, as may be redd,
Not one Parnassus, nor one Helicone
Left for sweete Muses to be harboured,
But where thy selfe hast thy brauebrave mansione;
There in deede dwel faire Graces many one.
And gentle Nymphes, delights of learned wits,
And in thy person without Paragone
All goodly bountie and true honour sits,
Such therefore, as that wasted soyl doth yield,
ReceiueReceive dear Lord in worth, the fruit of barren field.
To the right honourable the Lo. Ch. Howard, Lo. high Admiral of England, knight of the noble order of the Garter, and one of her MaiestiesMajesties priuieprivie Counsel. &c.etc.
ANnd ye, brauebrave Lord, whose goodly personage,
And noble deeds each other garnishing,
Make you ensample to the present age,
Of th’old Heroes, whose famous ofspring
The antique Poets wont so much to sing,
In this same Pageaunt hauehave a worthy place,
Sith those huge castles of Castilian king,
That vainly threatned kingdomes to displace,
Like flying douesdoves ye did before you chace;
And that proud people woxen insolent
Through many victories, didst first deface:
Thy praises euerlastingeverlasting monument
Is in this verse engrauenengraven semblably,
That it may liuelive to all posterity.
To the most renowmed and valiant Lord, the Lord Grey of Wilton, knight of the Noble order of the Garter, &c.etc.
MOost Noble Lord the pillor of my life,
And Patrone of my Muses pupillage,
Through whose large bountie poured on me rife,
In the first season of my feeble age,
I now doe liuelive, bound yours by vassalage:
Sith nothing euerever may redeeme, nor reauereave
Out of your endlesse debt so sure a gage,
Vouchsafe in worth this small guift to receauereceave,
Which in your noble hands for pledge I leaueleave,
Of all the rest, that I am tyde t’account:
Rude rymes, the which a rustick Muse did weaueweave
In sauadgesavadge soyle, far from Parnasso mount,
And roughly wrought in an vnlearnedunlearned Loome:
The which vouchsafe dear Lord your fauorablefavorable doome.
To the right noble and valorous knight, Sir Walter Raleigh, Lo. Wardein of the Stanneryes, and liefenaunt of Cornewaile.
TOo thee that art the sommers Nightingale,
Thy souerainesoveraine Goddesses most deare delight,
Why doe I send this rusticke Madrigale,
That may thy tunefull eare vnseasonunseason quite?
Thou onely fit this Argument to write,
In whose high thoughts Pleasure hath built her bowre,
And dainty louelove learnd sweetly to endite.
My rimes I know vnsauoryunsavory and sowre,
To tast the streames, that like a golden showre
Flow from thy fruitfull head, of thy louesloves praise,
Fitter perhaps to thonder Martiall stowre,
When so thee list thy lofty Muse to raise:
Yet till that thou thy Poeme wilt make knowne,
Let thy faire Cinthias praises bee thus rudely showne.
To the most vertuous, and beautifull Lady, the Lady Carew.
NEe may I, without blot of endlesse blame,
You fairest Lady leaueleave out of this place,
But with remembraunce of your gracious name,
Wherewith that courtly garlond most ye grace,
And deck the world, adorne these verses base:
Not that these few lines can in them comprise
Those glorious ornaments of heuenly grace,
Wherewith ye triumph ouerover feeble eyes,
And in subdued harts do tyranyse:
For thereunto doth need a golden quill,
And siluersilver leauesleaves, them rightly to deuisedevise,
But to make humble present of good will:
Which whenas timely meanes it purchase may,
In ampler wise it selfe will forth display.
E. S.
To all the gratious and beautifull Ladies in the Court.
THhe Chian Peincter, when he was requirde
To pourtraict Venus in her perfect hew,
To make his worke more absolute, desird
Of all the fairest Maides to hauehave the vew.
Much more me needs to draw the semblant trew,
Of beauties Queene, the worlds sole wonderment,
To sharpe my sence with sundry beauties vew,
And steale from each some part of ornament.
If all the world to seeke I ouerwentoverwent,
A fairer crew yet no where could I see,
Then that brauebrave court doth to mine eie present,
That the worlds pride seemes gathered there to bee.
Of each a part I stole by cunning thefte:
ForgiueForgive it me faire Dames, sith lesse ye hauehave not lefte.
E. S.
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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.)


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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