Edmund Spenser.

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In curteous usage and unstained hewe. 120

Who, being nimbler ioynted than the rest,
And more industrious, gathered more store
Of the fields honour than the others best;
Which they in secret harts envying sore,
Tolde Venus, when her as the worthiest 125
She praisd', that Cupide (as they heard before)
Did lend her secret aide in gathering
Into her lap the children of the Spring,

Whereof the goddesse gathering iealous feare, -
Not yet unmindfull how not long agoe 130
Her sonne to Psyche secrete love did beare,
And long it close conceal'd, till mickle woe
Thereof arose, and manie a rufull teare, -
Reason with sudden rage did overgoe;
And, giving hastie credit to th'accuser, 135
Was led away of them that did abuse her.

Eftsoones that damzel by her heavenly might
She turn'd into a winged butterflie,
In the wide aire to make her wandring flight;
And all those flowres, with which so plenteouslie 140
Her lap she filled had, that bred her spight,
She placed in her wings, for memorie
Of her pretended crime, though crime none were:
Since which that flie them in her wings doth beare.

Thus the fresh Clarion, being readie dight, 145
Unto his iourney did himselfe addresse,
And with good speed began to take his flight:
Over the fields, in his franke* lustinesse;
And all the champion** he soared light;
And all the countrey wide he did possesse, 150
Feeding upon their pleasures bounteouslie,
That none gainsaid, nor none did him envie.
[* _Franke_, free.]
[** _Champion_, champaign.]

The woods, the rivers, and the medowes green.
With his aire-cutting wings he measured wide,
Ne did he leave the mountaines bare unseene, 155
Nor the ranke grassie fennes delights untride.
But none of these, how ever sweete they beene,
Mote please his fancie nor him cause t'abide:
His choicefull sense with everie change doth flit;
No common things may please a wavering wit. 160

To the gay gardins his unstaid desire
Him wholly caried, to refresh his sprights:
There lavish Nature, in her best attire,
Powres forth sweete odors and alluring sights;
And Arte, with her contending, doth aspire 165
T'excell the naturall with made delights:
And all that faire or pleasant may be found
In riotous excesse doth there abound.
There he arriving round about doth flie,
From bed to bed, from one to other border; 170
And takes survey, with curious busie eye,
Of every flowre and herbe there set in order;
Now this, now that, he tasteth tenderly,
Yet none of them he rudely doth disorder,
Ne with his feete their silken leaves deface, 175
But pastures on the pleasures of each place.

And evermore with most varietie,
And change of sweetnesse, (for all change is sweete,)
He casts his glutton sense to satisfie;
Now sucking of the sap of herbe most meete, 180
Or of the deaw which yet on them does lie,
Now in the same bathing his tender feete:
And then he pearcheth on some braunch thereby,
To weather him, and his moyst wings to dry.

And then againe he turneth to his play, 185
To spoyle the pleasures of that paradise;
The wholsome saulge*, and lavender still gray,
Ranke-smelling rue, and cummin good for eyes,
The roses raigning in the pride of May,
Sharpe isope, good for greene wounds remedies, 190
Faire marigoldes, and bees-alluring thime,
Sweete marioram, and daysies decking prime:
[* _Saulge_, sage.]

Coole violets, and orpine growing still,
Embathed balme, and chearfull galingale,
Fresh costmarie, and breathfull camomill, 195
Dull poppie, and drink-quickning setuale*,
Veyne-healing verven, and hed-purging dill,
Sound savorie, and bazil hartie-hale,
Fat colworts, and comfórting perseline**,
Colde lettuce, and refreshing rosmarine. 200
[* _Setuale_, valerian.]
[** _Perseline_, purslain.]

And whatso else of vertue good or ill
Grewe in this gardin, fetcht from farre away,
Of everie one he takes and tastes at will,
And on their pleasures greedily doth pray.
Then when he hath both plaid, and fed his fill, 205
In the warme sunne he doth himselfe embay*,
And there him rests in riotous suffisaunce
Of all his gladfulnes and kingly ioyaunce.
[* _Embay_, bathe.]

What more felicitie can fall to creature
Than to enioy delight with libertie, 210
And to be lord of all the workes of Nature,
To raine in th'aire from earth to highest skie,
To feed on flowres and weeds of glorious feature,
To take whatever thing doth please the eie?
Who rests not pleased with such happines, 215
Well worthie he to taste of wretchednes.

But what on earth can long abide in state?
Or who can him assure of happie day?
Sith morning faire may bring fowle evening late,
And least mishap the most blisse alter may! 220
For thousand perills lie in close awaite
About us daylie, to worke our decay;
That none, except a God, or God him guide,
May them avoyde, or remedie provide.

And whatso heavens in their secret doome 225
Ordained have, how can fraile fleshly wight
Forecast, but it must needs to issue come?
The sea, the aire, the fire, the day, the night,
And th'armies of their creatures, all and some*,
Do serve to them, and with importune might 230
Warre against us, the vassals of their will.
Who then can save what they dispose to spill?
[* _All and some_, one and all.]

Not thou, O Clarion, though fairest thou
Of all thy kinde, unhappie happie flie,
Whose cruell fate is woven even now 235
Of loves owne hand, to worke thy miserie!
Ne may thee helpe the manie hartie vow,
Which thy olde sire with sacred pietie
Hath powred forth for thee, and th'altars sprent*
Nought may thee save from heavens avengëment! 240
[* _Sprent_, sprinkled.]

It fortuned (as heavens had behight*)
That in this gardin where yong Clarion
Was wont to solace him, a wicked wight,
The foe of faire things, th'author of confusion,
The shame of Nature, the bondslave of spight, 245
Had lately built his hatefull mansion;
And, lurking closely, in awayte now lay,
How he might anie in his trap betray.
[* _Behight_, ordained.]

But when he spide the ioyous butterflie
In this faire plot dispacing* too and fro, 250
Fearles of foes and hidden ieopardie,
Lord! how he gan for to bestirre him tho,
And to his wicked worke each part applie!
His heart did earne** against his hated foe,
And bowels so with rankling poyson swelde, 255
That scarce the skin the strong contagion helde.
[* _Dispacing_, ranging about.]
[** _Earne_, yearn.]

The cause why he this flie so maliced*
Was (as in stories it is written found)
For that his mother which him bore and bred,
The most fine-fingred workwoman on ground, 260
Arachne, by his meanes was vanquished
Of Pallas, and in her owne skill confound**,
When she with her for excellence contended,
That wrought her shame, and sorrow never ended.
[* _Maliced_, bore ill-will to.]
[** _Confound_, confounded.]

For the Tritonian goddesse, having hard 265
Her blazed fame, which all the world had fil'd,
Came downe to prove the truth, and due reward
For her prais-worthie workmanship to yeild:
But the presumptuous damzel rashly dar'd
The goddesse selfe to chalenge to the field, 270
And to compare with her in curious skill
Of workes with loome, with needle, and with quill.

Minerva did the chalenge not refuse,
But deign'd with her the paragon* to make:
So to their worke they sit, and each doth chuse 275
What storie she will for her tapet** take.
Arachne figur'd how love did abuse
Europa like a bull, and on his backe
Her through the sea did beare; so [email protected] seene,
That it true sea and true bull ye would weene. 280
[* _Paragon_, comparison.]
[** _Tapet_, tapestry.]
[@ _Lively_, life-like.]

Shee seem'd still backe unto the land to looke,
And her play-fellowes aide to call, and feare
The dashing of the waves, that up she tooke
Her daintie feete, and garments gathered neare:
But Lord! how she in everie member shooke, 285
When as the land she saw no more appeare,
But a wilde wildernes of waters deepe:
Then gan she greatly to lament and weepe.

Before the bull she pictur'd winged Love,
With his yong brother Sport, light fluttering 290
Upon the waves, as each had been a dove;
The one his bowe and shafts, the other spring*
A burning teade** about his head did move,
As in their syres new love both triumphing;
And manie Nymphes about them flocking round, 295
And manie Tritons which their homes did sound.
[* _Spring_, springal, youth.]
[** _Teade_, torch.]

And round about her-worke she did empale*
With a faire border wrought of sundrie flowres,
Enwoven with an yviewinding trayle:
A goodly worke, full fit for kingly bowres, 300
Such as Dame Pallas, such as Envie pale,
That al good things with venemous tooth devowres,
Could not accuse. Then gan the goddesse bright
Her selfe likewise unto her worke to dight.
[* _Empale_, inclose.]

She made the storie of the olde debate 305
Which she with Neptune did for Athens trie:
Twelve gods doo sit around in royall state,
And love in midst with awfull maiestie,
To iudge the strife betweene them stirred late:
Each of the gods by his like visnomie* 310
Eathe** to be knowen; but love above them all,
By his great lookes and power imperiall.
[* _Visnomie_, countenance.]
[** _Eathe_, easy.]

Before them stands the god of seas in place,
Clayming that sea-coast citie as his right,
And strikes the rockes with his three-forked mace;
Whenceforth issues a warlike steed in sight, 316
The signe by which he chalengeth the place;
That all the gods which saw his wondrous might
Did surely deeme the victorie his due:
But seldom seene, foreiudgement proveth true. 320

Then to herselfe she gives her Aegide shield,
And steel-hed speare, and morion * on her hedd,
Such as she oft is seene in warlicke field:
Then sets she forth, how with her weapon dredd
She smote the ground, the which streight foorth did yield 325
A fruitfull olyve tree, with berries spredd,
That all the gods admir'd; then all the storie
She compast with a wreathe of olyves hoarie.
[* _Morion_, steel cap.]

Emongst those leaves she made a butterflie,
With excellent device and wondrous slight, 330
Fluttring among the olives wantonly,
That seem'd to live, so like it was in sight:
The velvet nap which on his wings doth lie,
The silken downe with which his backe is dight,
His broad outstretched homes, his hayrie thies, 335
His glorious colours, and his glistering eies.

Which when Arachne saw, as overlaid *
And mastered with workmanship so rare,
She stood astonied long, ne ought gainesaid;
And with fast fixed eyes on her did stare, 340
And by her silence, signe of one dismaid,
The victorie did yeeld her as her share;
Yet did she inly fret and felly burne,
And all her blood to poysonous rancor turne:
[* _Overlaid_, overcome.]

That shortly from the shape of womanhed, 345
Such as she was when Pallas she attempted,
She grew to hideous shape of dryrihed*,
Pined with griefe of follie late repented:
Eftsoones her white streight legs were altered
To crooked crawling shankes, of marrowe empted, 350
And her faire face to foule and loathsome hewe,
And her fine corpes to a bag of venim grewe.
[* _Dryrihed_, sadness, unsightliness.]

This cursed creature, mindfull of that olde
Enfestred grudge the which his mother felt,
So soone as Clarion he did beholde, 355
His heart with vengefull malice inly swelt;
And weaving straight a net with mame a folde
About the cave in which he lurking dwelt,
With fine small cords about it stretched wide,
So finely sponne that scarce they could be spide, 360

Not anie damzell which her vaunteth most
In skilfull knitting of soft silken twyne,
Nor anie weaver, which his worke doth boast
In dieper, in damaske, or in lyne*,
Nor anie skil'd in workmanship embost, 365
Nor anie skil'd in loupes of fingring fine,
Might in their divers cunning ever dare
With this so curious networks to compare.
[* _Lyne_, linen.]

Ne doo I thinke that that same subtil gin
The which the Lemnian god framde craftilie, 370
Mars sleeping with his wife to compasse in,
That all the gods with common mockerie
Might laugh at them, and scorne their shamefull sin,
Was like to this. This same he did applie
For to entrap the careles Clarion, 375
That rang'd each where without suspition.

Suspition of friend, nor feare of foe,
That hazarded his health, had he at all,
But walkt at will, and wandred too and fro,
In the pride of his freedome principall*: 380
Litle wist he his fatall future woe,
But was secure; the liker he to fall.
He likest is to fall into mischaunce,
That is regardles of his governaunce.
[* _Principall_, princely.]

Yet still Aragnoll (so his foe was hight) 385
Lay lurking covertly him to surprise;
And all his gins, that him entangle might,
Drest in good order as he could devise.
At length the foolish flie, without foresight,
As he that did all daunger quite despise, 390
Toward those parts came flying careleslie,
Where hidden was his hatefull enemie.

Who, seeing him, with secret ioy therefore
Did tickle inwardly in everie vaine;
And his false hart, fraught with all treasons store, 395
Was fil'd with hope his purpose to obtaine:
Himselfe he close upgathered more and more
Into his den, that his deceiptfull traine
By his there being might not be bewraid,
Ne anie noyse, ne anie motion made. 400

Like as a wily foxe, that, having spide
Where on a sunnie banke the lambes doo play,
Full closely creeping by the hinder side,
Lyes in ambushment of his hoped pray,
Ne stirreth limbe, till, seeing readie tide*, 405
He rusheth forth, and snatcheth quite away
One of the litle yonglings unawares;
So to his worke Aragnoll him prepares.
[* _Tide_, time.]

Who now shall give unto my heavie eyes
A well of teares, that all may overflow? 410
Or where shall I finde lamentable cryes,
And mournfull tunes enough my griefe to show?
Helpe, O thou Tragick Muse, me to devise
Notes sad enough, t'expresse this bitter throw:
For loe, the drerie stownd* is now arrived, 415
That of all happines hath us deprived.
[* _Stownd_, hour.]

The luckles Clarion, whether cruell Fate
Or wicked Fortune faultles him misled,
Or some ungracious blast out of the gate
Of Aeoles raine* perforce him drove on hed**, 420
Was (O sad hap and howre unfortunate!)
With violent swift flight forth caried
Into the cursed cobweb, which his foe
Had framed for his finall overthroe.
[* _Raine_, kingdom.]
[** _On hed_, head-foremost.]

There the fond flie, entangled, strugled long, 425
Himselfe to free thereout; but all in vaine.
For, striving more, the more in laces strong
Himselfe he tide, and wrapt his wingës twaine
In lymie snares the subtill loupes among;
That in the ende he breathelesse did remaine, 430
And, all his yongthly* forces idly spent,
Him to the mercie of th'avenger lent.
[* _Yongthly_, youthful.]

Which when the greisly tyrant did espie,
Like a grimme lyon rushing with fierce might
Out of his den, he seized greedelie 435
On the resistles pray, and, with fell spight,
Under the left wing stroke his weapon slie
Into his heart, that his deepe-groning spright
In bloodie streames foorth fled into the aire,
His bodie left the spectacle of care. 440

* * * * *


Ver. 365. - _And Arte, with her contendlng._ Compare the description of
Aerasia's garden, Faerie Queene, II. xii. 59; and also v. 29. TODD.

Ver. 273. - _Minerva did_, &c. Much of what follows is taken from the
fable of Arachne in Ovid. JORTIN.

* * * * *





One day, whiles that my daylie cares did sleepe,
My spirit, shaking off her earthly prison,
Began to enter into meditation deepe
Of things exceeding reach of common reason;
Such as this age, in which all good is geason*,
And all that humble is and meane** debaced,
Hath brought forth in her last declining season,
Griefe of good mindes, to see goodnesse disgraced!
On which when as my thought was [email protected] placed,
Unto my eyes strange showes presented were,
Picturing that which I in minde embraced,
That yet those sights empassion$ me full nere.
Such as they were, faire Ladie%, take in worth,
That when time serves may bring things better forth.

[* _Geason_, rare.]
[** _Meane_, lowly.]
[@ _Throghly_, thoroughly.]
[$ _Empassion_, move.]
[% _Faire Ladie._ The names of the ladies to whom these Visions and
those of Petrarch (see p. 210, VII. 9) were inscribed have not been
preserved. C.]


In summers day, when Phoebus fairly shone,
I saw a Bull as white as driven snowe,
With gilden homes embowed like the moone,
In a fresh flowring meadow lying lowe:
Up to his eares the verdant grasse did growe,
And the gay floures did offer to be eaten;
But he with fatnes so did overflows,
That he all wallowed in the weedes downe beaten,
Ne car'd with them his daintie lips to sweeten:
Till that a Brize*, a scorned little creature,
Through his faire hide his angrie sting did threaten,
And vext so sore, that all his goodly feature
And all his plenteous pasture nought him pleased:
So by the small the great is oft diseased**.


Beside the fruitfull shore of muddie Nile,
Upon a sunnie banke outstretched lay,
In monstrous length, a mightie Crocodile,
That, cram'd with guiltles blood and greedie pray
Of wretched people travailing that way,
Thought all things lesse than his disdainfull pride.
I saw a little Bird, cal'd Tedula,
The least of thousands which on earth abide,
That forst this hideous beast to open wide
The greisly gates of his devouring hell,
And let him feede, as Nature doth provide,
Upon his iawes, that with blacke venime swell.
Why then should greatest things the least disdaine,
Sith that so small so mightie can constraine?

[* _Brize_, a gadfly.]
[** _Diseased_, deprived of ease.]

III. 7. - Tedula. Spenser appears to mean the bird Trochilos, which,
according to Aristotle, enters the mouth of the crocodile, and picks her
meat out of the monster's teeth. C.


The kingly bird that beares Ioves thunder-clap
One day did scorne the simple Scarabee*,
Proud of his highest service and good hap,
That made all other foules his thralls to bee.
The silly flie, that no redresse did see,
Spide where the Eagle built his towring nest,
And, kindling fire within the hollow tree,
Burnt up his yong ones, and himselfe distrest;
Ne suffred him in anie place to rest,
But drove in Ioves owne lap his egs to lay;
Where gathering also filth him to infest,
Forst with the filth his egs to fling away:
For which, when as the foule was wroth, said Iove,
"Lo! how the least the greatest may reprove."


Toward the sea turning my troubled eye,
I saw the fish (if fish I may it cleepe**)
That makes the sea before his face to flye,
And with his flaggie finnes doth seeme to sweepe
The fomie waves out of the dreadfull deep;
The huge Leviathan, dame Natures wonder,
Making his sport, that manie makes to weep.
A Sword-fish small him from the rest did sunder
That, in his throat him pricking softly under,
His wide abysse him forced forth to spewe,
That all the sea did roare like heavens thunder,
And all the waves were stain'd with filthie hewe.
Hereby I learned have not to despise
Whatever thing seemes small in common eyes.

[* _Scarabee,_ beetle.]
[** _Cleepe,_ call.]


An hideous Dragon, dreadfull to behold,
Whose backe was arm'd against the dint of speare
With shields of brasse that shone like burnisht golde,
And forkhed sting that death in it did beare,
Strove with a Spider, his unequall peare,
And bad defiance to his enemie.
The subtill vermin, creeping closely* neare,
Did in his drinke shed poyson privilie;
Which, through his entrailes spredding diversly,
Made him to swell, that nigh his bowells brust,
And him enforst to yeeld the victorie,
That did so much in his owne greatnesse trust.
O, how great vainnesse is it then to scorne
The weake, that hath the strong so oft forlorne!**

[* _Closely,_ secretly.]
[** _Forlorne,_ ruined.]


High on a hill a goodly Cedar grewe,
Of wondrous length and straight proportion,
That farre abroad her daintie odours threwe;
Mongst all the daughters of proud Libanon,
Her match in beautie was not anie one.
Shortly within her inmost pith there bred
A litle wicked worme, perceiv'd of none,
That on her sap and vitall moysture fed:
Thenceforth her garland so much honoured
Began to die, O great ruth* for the same!
And her faire lockes fell from her loftie head,
That shortly balde and bared she became.
I, which this sight beheld, was much dismayed,
To see so goodly thing so soone decayed.

[* _Ruth,_ pity.]


Soone after this I saw an Elephant,
Adorn'd with bells and bosses gorgeouslie,
That on his backe did beare, as batteilant*,
A gilden towre, which shone exceedinglie;
That he himselfe through foolish vanitie,
Both for his rich attire and goodly forme,
Was puffed up with passing surquedrie**,
And shortly gan all other beasts to scorne,
Till that a little Ant, a silly worme,
Into his nosthrils creeping, so him pained,
That, casting downe his towres, he did deforme
Both borrowed pride, and native beautie stained.
Let therefore nought that great is therein glorie,
Sith so small thing his happines may varie.

[* _As batteilant,_ as if equipped for battle.]
[** _Surquedrie,_ presumption.]


Looking far foorth into the ocean wide,
A goodly Ship with banners bravely dight,
And flag in her top-gallant, I espide
Through the maine sea making her merry flight.
Faire blewe the wind into her bosome right,
And th'heavens looked lovely all the while,
That she did seeme to daunce, as in delight,
And at her owne felicitie did smile.
All sodainely there clove unto her keele
A little fish that men call Remora,
Which stopt her course, and held her by the heele,
That winde nor tide could move her thence away.
Straunge thing me seemeth, that so small a thing
Should able be so great an one to wring.


A mighty Lyon, lord of all the wood,
Having his hunger throughly satisfide
With pray of beasts and spoyle of living blood,
Safe in his dreadles den him thought to hide:
His sternesse was his prayse, his strength his pride,
And all his glory in his cruell clawes.
I saw a Wasp, that fiercely him defide,
And bad him battaile even to his iawes;
Sore he him stong, that it the blood forth drawes,
And his proude heart is fild with fretting ire:
In vaine he threats his teeth, his tayle, his pawes,
And from his bloodie eyes doth sparkle fire;
That dead himselfe he wisheth for despight.
So weakest may anoy the most of might!


What time the Romaine Empire bore the raine
Of all the world, and florisht most in might,
The nations gan their soveraigntie disdaine,
And cast to quitt them from their bondage quight.
So, when all shrouded were in silent night,
The Galles were, by corrupting of a mayde,
Possest nigh of the Capitol through slight,
Had not a Goose the treachery bewrayde.
If then a goose great Rome from ruine stayde,
And Iove himselfe, the patron of the place,

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