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She has taken up her two little

babes, Kissd them baith cheek and chin: “O fair ye weel, my ain two babes,

For I'll never see you again.”


She set her foot upon the ship,


1. "O where have you been, my long,

long love, This long seven years and mair?” "O I'm come to seek my former vows

Ye granted me before.”

No mariners could she behold; But the sails were o the taffetie,

And the masts o the beaten gold.


2. "O hold your tongue of your former

For they will breed sad strife;
O hold your tongue of your former

For I am become a wife.”

She had not sailed a league, a

A league but barely three,
When dismal grew his countenance,
And drumlie 5 grew his ee.


3. He turned him right and round

And the tear blinded his ee:

They had not saild a league, a

A league but barely three,

1 long

1 lost



5 sinister

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II. Then up and started our goodwife,

Gied three skips on the floor: "Goodman, you've spoken the fore

most word,

Get up and bar the door." 2 agreement : whoever

dred year,

It's no be barrd for me." 1 housewifery

4 scald



SPENSER's Faerie Queene was written for the cultured circle that surrounded Queen Elizabeth and was dedicated to the Queen, “ to live with the eternitie of her fame.” The poet's purpose was unquestionably to extol England by giving his country an exalted poem similar to the epics of Virgil, Ariosto, and others that had dignified Italy. It was an age of energy and enthusiasm with its share of venturesome and achieving heroes. Spenser did not, however, mirror directly contemporary events but rather chose to go back to the idealism of the days of knighthood, and, detaching them from any specific time or place, to represent through them the spiritual values of the national character. The scheme was ambitious; there were to be twelve books, each embodying one of twelve moral virtues in the person of a knight. Only six were completed.

While the fundamental purpose back of the Faerie Queene was of epic proportions, the poem is much closer in structure and spirit to the romances of chivalry. The background is picturesque and indefinite, despite the accuracy of line and color; it is a land of the imagination, giving none of the sense of actual place that is in the Beowulf. The characters are shadowy, idealized figures that can only with difficulty be kept distinct. The structure is episodic, without definite beginning or ending; and the action is of much less importance than the emotion that accompanies it or the wealth of picturesque details with which it is described. These qualities are characteristic of the romance, rather than the epic; and in view of its purpose and conception the Faerie Queene can perhaps best be designated as an allegorical romance.

The poem was composed while Edmund Spenser was in Ireland as secretary to the Lord Deputy of that island. His association with a race that was then living in wretched poverty and rising in insurrection showed him the need for the development of the spiritual in man. His Faerie Queene is an allegory; the characters not only represent virtues and vices, but also refer directly to personages of the time. It is not the high ethical quality that is valued most in the poem, however, but the imaginative qualities and its great artistry that justified Charles Lamb in calling Spenser " the poet's poet.” In him are to be found the warmth and color that are of the Renaissance, a passionate love of luxuriant beauty, and a richness of fancy. He is a truly great romantic poet.

ous man,


EDMUND SPENSER (1552 ?-1599) suspition of present time. In which I

have followed all the antique Poets hisTHE FAERIE QUEENE

toricall; first Homere, who in the Persons

of Agamemnon and Ulysses hath enA LETTER OF THE AUTHORS, sampled a good governour and a vertu

the one in his Ilias, the other in Expounding His Whole Intention in the his Odysseis: then Virgil, whose like inCourse of This Worke: Which, for

tention was to doe in the person of That It Giveth Great Light to the

Aeneas: after him Ariosto comprised Reader, for the Better Understanding

them both in his Orlando: and lately Is Hereunto Annexed.

Tasso dissevered them againe, and formed both parts in two persons, namely that part which they in Philosophy call

Ethice, or vertues of a private man, colSIR WALTER RALEIGH, KNIGHT, oured in his Rinaldo; the other named

Politice in his Godfredo. By ensample of LORD WARDEIN OF THE STANNERYES, AND which excellente Poets, I labour to pourHER MAIESTIES LIEFETENAUNT OF

traict in Arthure, before he was king, the THE COUNTY OF CORNEWAYLL.

image of a brave knight, perfected in the

twelve private morall vertues, as Aristotle Sir, knowing how doubtfully all Alle- hath devised; the which is the purpose of gories may be construed, and this booke these first twelve bookes: which if I finde of mine, which I have entituled the to be well accepted, I may be perhaps Faery Queene, being a continued Alle- encoraged to frame the other part of gory, or darke conceit, I haue thought polliticke vertues in his person, after that good, as well for avoyding of gealous hee came to be king. opinions and misconstructions, as also for To some, I know, this Methode will your better light in reading thereof, (be- seeme displeasaunt, which had rather ing so by you commanded,) to discover have good discipline delivered plainly in unto you the general intention and

way of precepts, or sermoned at large, as meaning, which in the whole course there- they use, then thus clowdily enwrapped of I have fashioned, without expressing in Allegoricall devises. But such, me of any particular purposes, or by acci- seeme, should be satisfide with the use dents, therein occasioned. The generall of these dayes, seeing all things accounted end therefore of all the booke is to fash- by their showes, and nothing esteemed of, ion a gentleman or noble person in vertu- that is not delightfull and pleasing to ous and gentle discipline: Which for that commune sence. For this cause is XenoI conceived shoulde be most plausible phon preferred before Plato, for that the and pleasing, being coloured with an his- one, in the exquisite depth of his judgetoricall fiction, the which the most part ment, formed a Commune welth, such as of men delight to read, rather for variety it should be; but the other in the person of matter then for profite of the en- of Cyrus, and the Persians, fashioned a sample, I chose the historye of King governement, such as might best be: So Arthure, as most fitte for the excellency much more profitable and gratious is docof his person, being made famous by trine by ensample, then by rule. So haue many mens former workes, and also I laboured to doe in the person of Arfurthest from the daunger of envy, and thure: whome I conceive, after his long

education by Timon, to whom he was by not such, as of an Historiographer. For Merlin delivered to be brought up, so an Historiographer discourseth of afsoone as he was borne of the Ladyfayres orderly as they were donne, acIgrayne, to have seene in a dream or counting as well the times as the actions; vision the Faery Queen, with whose ex- but a Poet thrusteth into the middest, cellent beauty ravished, he awaking re- even where it most concerneth him, and solved to seeke her out; and so being

there recoursing to the thinges forepaste, by Merlin armed, and by Timon and divining of thinges to come, maketh throughly instructed, he went to seeke a pleasing Analysis of all. her forth in Faerye land. In that Faery

The beginning therefore of my history, Queene I meane glory in my generall in- if it were to be told by an Historiogtention, but in my particular I conceive rapher should be the twelfth booke, the most excellent and glorious person of

which is the last; where I devise that the our soveraine the Queene, and her king- Faery Queene kept her Annuall feaste dome in Faery land. And yet, in some xii. dayes; uppon which xii. severall places els, I doe otherwise shadow her. dayes, the occasions of the xii. severall For considering she beareth two persons,

adventures hapned, which, being underthe one of a most royall Queene or Em- taken by xii. severall knights, are in presse, the other of a most vertuous and these xii. books severally hardled and beautifull Lady, this latter part in some

discoursed. The first was this. In the places I doe expresse in Belphæbe, fash- beginning of the feast, there presented ioning her name according to your owne

him selfe a tall clownishe younge man, excellent conceipt of Cynthia, (Phæbe who falling before the Queene of Faries and Cynthia being both names of Diana.) desired a boone (as the manner then was) So in the person of Prince Arthure I which during that feast she might not resette forth magnificence in particular; fuse; which was that hee might have the which vertue, for that (according to atchievement of any adventure, which Aristotle and the rest) it is the perfection during that feaste should happen: that of all the rest, and conteineth in it them being graunted, he rested him on the all, therefore in the whole course I men- floore, unfitte through his rusticity for tion the deedes of Arthure applyable to a better place. Soone after entred a that vertue, which I write of in that faire Ladye in mourning weedes, riding booke. But of the xii. other vertues, I on a white Asse, with a dwarfe behind her make xii. other knights the patrones, for leading a warlike steed, that bore the the more variety of the history: Of Armes of a knight, and his speare in the which these three bookes contayn three. dwarfes hand. Shee, falling before the

The first of the knight of the Red- Queene of Faeries, complayned that her crosse, in whome I expresse Holynes: The father and mother, an ancient King and seconde of Sir Guyon, in whome I sette Queene, had bene by an huge dragon forth Temperaunce: The third of Brito

many years shut up in a brasen Castle, martis, a Lady Knight, in whome I pic- who thence suffred them not to yssew; ture Chastity. But, because the begin- and therefore besought the Faery Queene ning of the whole worke seemeth abrupte, to assygne her some one of her knights to and as depending upon other antecedents, take on him that exployt. Presently that it needs that ye know the occasion of clownish person, upstarting, desired that these three knights seuerall adventures. adventure: whereat the Queene much For the Methode of a Poet historical is wondering, and the Lady much gaine

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