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THE SIXTE BOOKE OF THE FAERIE QVEENEQUEENE. Contayning THE LEGEND OF S.CALIDORE OR OF COVRTESIECOURTESIE.
[1]
THeThe waies, through which my weary steps I guyde,
In this delightfull land of Faery,
Are so exceeding spacious and wyde,
And sprinckled with such sweet variety,
Of all that pleasant is to eare or eye,
That I nigh rauishtravisht with rare thoughts delight,
My tedious trauelltravell doe forget thereby;
And when I gin to feele decay of might,
tI strength to me supplies, &and chears my dulled spright.
[2]
Such secret comfort, and such heauenlyheavenly pleasures,
Ye sacred imps, that on Parnasso dwell,
And there the keeping hauehave of learnings threasures,
Which doe all worldly riches farre excell,
Into the mindes of mortall men doe well,
And goodly fury into them infuse;
Guyde ye my footing, and conduct me well
In these strange waies, where neuernever foote did vseuse,
Ne none can find, but who was taught them by the Muse.
[3]
ReueleRevele to me the sacred noursery
Of vertue, which with you doth there remaine,
Where it in siluersilver bowre does hidden ly
From view of men, and wicked worlds disdaine.
Since it at first was by the Gods with paine
Planted in earth, being deriu’dderiv’d at furst
From heauenlyheavenly seedes of bounty soueraine,
And by them long with carefull labour nurst,
Till it to ripenesse grew, and forth to honour burst.
[4]
Amongst them all growes not a fayrer flowre,
Then is the bloosme of comely courtesie,
Which though it on a lowly stalke doe bowre,
Yet brancheth forth in brauebrave nobilitie,
And spreds it selfe through all ciuilitiecivilitie:
Of which though present age doe plenteous seeme,
Yet being matcht with plaine Antiquitie,
Ye will them all but fayned showes esteeme,
Which carry colours faire, that feeble eies misdeeme.
[5]
But in the triall of true curtesie,
Its now so farre from that, which then it was,
That it indeed is nought but forgerie,
Fashion’d to please the eies of them, that pas,
Which see not perfet things but in a glas:
Yet is that glasse so gay, that it can blynd
The wisest sight, to thinke gold that is bras.
But vertues seat is deepe within the mynd,
And not in outward shows, but inward thoughts defynd.
[6]
But where shall I in all Antiquity
So faire a patterne finde, where may be seene
The goodly praise of Princely curtesie,
As in your selfe, O souerainesoveraine Lady Queene,
In whose pure minde, as in a mirrour sheene
It showes, and with her brightnesse doth inflame
The eyes of all, which thereon fixed beene;
But meriteth indeede an higher name:
Yet so from low to high vplifteduplifted is your name.
[7]
Then pardon me, most dreaded SoueraineSoveraine
That from your selfe I doe this vertue bring,
And to your selfe doe it returne againe:
So from the Ocean all riuersrivers spring,
And tribute backe repay as to their King.
Right so from you all goodly vertues well
Into the rest, which round about you ring,
Faire Lords and Ladies, which about you dwell,
And doe adorne your Court, where courtesies excell.
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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

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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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