The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser

Sonnets

Addressed, by the Author of the Faerie Queene, to Various Noblemen, &c.

To the right honourable Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord High Chauncelor of England. &c.

THose 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 graue 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.

MAgnificke Lord, whose vertues excellent

Doe merit a most famous Poets witt,

To be thy liuing praises instrument,

Yet doe not sdeigne, to let thy name be writt

In this base Poeme, for thee far vnfitt.

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 vouchsafe thy noble countenaunce,

To these first labours needed furtheraunce.

To the right Honourable the Earle of Oxenford, Lord high Chamberlayne of England. &c.

REceiue most Noble Lord in gentle gree,

The vnripe fruit of an vnready wit:

Which by thy countenaunce doth craue to bee

Defended from foule Enuies poisnous bit.

Which so to doe may thee right well befit,

Sith th’antique glory of thine auncestry

Vnder a shady vele is therein writ,

And eke thine owne long liuing memory,

Succeeding them in true nobility:

And also for the loue, which thou doest beare

To th’Heliconian ymps, and they to thee,

They vnto thee, and thou to them most deare:

Deare as thou art unto thy selfe, so loue

That loues & honours thee, as doth behoue.

To the right honourable the Earle of Northumberland.

The sacred Muses haue made alwaies clame

To be the Nourses of nobility,

And Registres of euerlasting fame

To all that armes professe and cheualry.

Then by like right the noble Progeny,

Which them succeed in fame and worth, are tyde

T’embrace the seruice of sweete Poetry,

By whose endeuours they are glorifide,

And eke from all, of whom it is enuide,

To patronize the authour of their praise,

Which giues them life, that els would soone haue 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 most noble Lord a simple taste

Of the wilde fruit, which saluage soyl hath bred,

Which being through long wars left almost waste,

With brutish barbarisme is ouerspredd:

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 braue 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,

Receiue 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 Maiesties priuie Counsel. &c.

ANd ye, braue 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 haue a worthy place,

Sith those huge castles of Castilian king,

That vainly threatned kingdomes to displace,

Like flying doues ye did before you chace;

And that proud people woxen insolent

Through many victories, didst first deface:

Thy praises euerlasting monument

Is in this verse engr[a]uen semblab[l]y,

That it may liue to all posterity.

To the most renowmed and valiant Lord, the Lord Grey of Wilton, knight of the Noble order of the Garter, &c.

MOst 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 liue, bound yours by vassalage:

Sith nothing euer may redeeme, nor reaue

Out of your endlesse debt so sure a gage,

Vouchsafe in worth this small guift to receaue,

Which in your noble hands for pledge I leaue,

Of all the rest, that I am tyde t’account:

Rude rymes, the which a rustick Muse did weane

In sauadge soyle, far from Parnasso mount,

And roughly wrought in an vnlearned Loome:

The which vouchsafe dear Lord your fauorable doome.

To the right noble and valorous knight, Sir Walter Raleigh,Lo. Wardein of the Stanneryes, and lief[t]enaunt of Cornwaile.

TO thee that art the sommers Nightingale,

Thy soueraine Goddesses most deare delight,

Why doe I send this rusticke Madrigale,

That may thy tunefull eare vnseason quite?

Thou onely fit this Argument to write,

In whose high thoughts Pleasure hath built her bowre,

And dainty loue learnd sweetly to endite.

My rimes I know vnsauory and sowre,

To taste the streames, that like a golden showre

Flow from thy fruitfull head, of thy loues praise,

Fitter perhaps to thonder Martiall stowre,

When so thee list thy lofty Muse to raise:

Yet till that thou Poeme wilt make knowne,

Let thy faire Cinthias praises bee thus rudely showne.

E. S.

To the most vertuous, and beautifull Lady, the Lady Carew.

NE may I, without blot of endlesse blame,

You fairest Lady leaue 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 ouer feeble eyes,

And in subdued harts do tyranyse:

For thereunto doth need a golden quill,

And siluer leaues, them rightly to deuise,

But to make humble present of good will:

Which whenas timely meanes it purchase may,

In ampler wise it self will forth display.

E. S.

To all the gratious and beautifull Ladies in the Court.

THe 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 haue 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 ouerwent,

A fairer crew yet no where could I see,

Then that braue court doth to mine eie present,

That the worlds pride seemes gathered there to bee.

Of each part I stole by cunning thefte:

Forgiue it me faire Dames, sith lesse ye haue not lefte.

E. S.

To the right honourable the Lo. Burleigh, Lo. high Threasurer of England.

TO you right noble Lord, whose carefull brest

To menage of most graue affaires is bent,

And on whose mightie shoulders most doth rest

The burdein of this kingdomes gouernement,

As the wide compasse of the firmament,

On Atlas mighty shoulders is vpstayed;

Vnfitly I these ydle rimes present,

The labour of lost time, and wit vnstayd:

Yet if their deeper sence be inly wayd,

And the dim vele, with which from comune vew

Their fairer parts are hid, aside be layd.

Perhaps not vaine the might appeare to you.

Such as they be, vouchsafe them to receaue,

And wipe their faults out of your censure graue.

E. S.

To the right honourable the Lord of Hunsdon, high Chamberlaine to her Maiesty.

REnowmed Lord, that for your worthinesse

And noble deeds haue your deserued place,

High in the fauour of that Empresse,

The worlds sole glory and her sexes grace,

Here eke of right haue you a worthie place,

Both for your nearnes to that Faerie Queene,

And for your owne high merit in like cace,

Of which, apparaunt proofe was to be sene,

When that tumultuous rage and fearfull deene

Of Northerne rebels ye did pacify,

And their disloiall powre defaced clene,

The record of enduring memory.

Liue Lord for euer in this lasting verse,

That all posteritie thy honor may reherse.

E. S.

To the right honourable the Lord of Buckhurst, one of her Maiesties priuie Counsell.

IN vain I thinke right honourable Lord,

By this rude rime to memorize thy name;

Whose learned Muse hath writ her owne record,

In golden verse, worthy immortal fame:

Thou much more fit (were leasure to the same)

Thy gracious Souerain praises to compile.

And her imperiall Maiestie to frame,

In loftie numbers and heroicke stile,

But sith thou maist not so, giue leaue a while

To baser wit his power therein to spend,

Whose grosse defaults thy daintie pen may file,

And vnaduised ouersights amend.

But euermore vouchsafe it to maintaine

Against vile Zoilus backbightings vaine.

To the right honourable Sir Fr. Walsingham, knight, principall Secretary to her Maiesty, and of her honourable Priuy Counsell.

THat Mantuane Poetes incompared spirit,

Whose girland now is set in highest place,

Had not Mecænas for his worthy merit,

It first aduaunst to great Augustus grace,

Might long perhaps haue lien in silence bace,

Ne bene so much admir’d of later age.

This lowly Muse, that learns like steps to trace,

Flies for like aide vnto your Patronage;

That as the great Mecenas of this age,

As wel to al that ciuil artes professe

As those that are inspired with Martial rage,

And craues protection of her feeblenesse:

Which if ye yield, perhaps ye may her rayse

In bigger times to sound your liuing prayse.

To the right noble LORD and most valiaunt Captaine, Sir Iohn Norris knight, Lord President of Mounster.

WHo euer gaue more honourable prize

To the sweet Muse, then did the Martiall crew

That their braue deeds she might immortalize

In her shril tromp, and sound their praises dew?

Who then ought more to fauour her, then you

Moste noble Lord, the honor of this age,

And Precedent of all that armes ensue?

Whose warlike prowess and manly courage

Tempred with reason and aduizement sage

Hath fild sad Belgiacke with victorious spoile,

In Fraunce and Ireland left a famous gage,

And lately shakt the Luistanian soile.

Sith then each where thou hast dispredd thy fame,

Loue him, that hath eternized your name.

E. S.

To the right honourable and most vertuous Lady, the Countesse of Pe[m]broke.

REmembraunce of that most Heroicke Spirit,

The heuens pride, the glory of our daies,

Which now triumpheth through immortall merit

Of his braue vertues crownd with lasting baies,

Of heuenlie blis and euerlasting praises;

Who first my Muse did lift out of the flore,

To sing his sweet delights in lowlie laies;

Bids me most noble Lady to adore

His goodly image liuing euermore,

In the diuine resemblaunce of your face,

Which with your vertues ye embellish more,

And natiue beauty deck with heuenlie grace.

For his, and for your owne especial sake,

Vouchsafe from him this toke[n] in good worth to take.

E. S.

To the right honourable the Earle of Cumberland.

REdoubted Lord, in whose corageous mind

The flowre of cheualry now bloosming faire,

Doth promise fruite worthy the noble kind

Which of their praises haue left you the haire;

To you this humble present I prepare,

For loue of vertue and of Martiall praise;

To which though nobly ye inclined are,

As goodlie well ye shew’d in late assaies,

Yet braue ensample of long passed daies,

In which trew honor ye may fashioned see,

To like desire of honor may ye raise,

And fill your mind with magnanimitee.

Receiue it, Lord, therefore, as it was ment,

For honor of your name and high descent.

E. S.

TO
THE MOST HIGH,
MIGHTIE
and
MAGNIFICENT
EMPRESSE RENOVV-
NED FOR PIETIE, VER-
TVE, AND ALL GRATIOVS
GOVERNMENT ELIZABETH BY
THE GRACE OF GOD QVEENE
OF ENGLAND FRAVNCE AND
IRELAND AND OF VIRGI-
NIA, DEFENDOVR OF THE
FAITH, &. HER MOST
HVMBLE SERVANT
EDMVND SPENSER
DOTH IN ALL HV-
MILITIE DEDI-
CATE, PRE-
SENT
AND CONSECRATE THESE
HIS LABOVRS TO LIVE
VVITH THE ETERNI-
TIE OF HER
FAME.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/spenser/edmund/faerie/preface3.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:30