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A LETTER OF THE AUTHOR'S
Expounding bis whole intention in the course of this Worke; which, for that it giueth
great light to the Reader, for the better underfanding is bereunto annexed.
TO THE RIONT NOBLE AND VALOROUS
SIR WALTER RALEIGH, KNT.
Lord Warden of the Stanneryes and her Maiestie's lieftenaunt of the Country of
Sn, knowing how doubtfully all Allegories may of present time. In which I haue followed all tfie be construed, and this booke of mine, which I antique pocts historicall; first Homere, who in have entituled The Faery Queene, being a conti- the persons of Agamemnon and Ulyffes hath ennued Allegory, or darke conceit, I haue thought sampled a good gouernour and a vertuous man, good, as well for auoyding of gealous opinions and the one in his Ilias, the other in his Odysseis; then míconstructions, as also for your better light in Virgil, whose like intention was to doe in the per trading thereof, (being so by you commanded) Son of Aneas;
after him Ariosto comprised them to discouer unto you
the general intention and both in his Orlando; and lately Taffo disfeuered meaning, which in the whole courfe thereof i them again, and formed both parts in two perbave fashioned, without expressing of any par- fons, namely, that part which they in philosophy ticular purposes, or bye-accidents, therein occa call Ethico or Vertues of a private man, colourLened
. The general end, therefore, of all the ed in his Rinaldo ; the other named Politice, in booke
, is to fanion a gentleman or noble person his Godfredo. By ensample of which excellente in vertuous and gentle
discipline ; which, for that poets, I labour to pourtraia in Arthure, before I conceived, should be moft plaulible and pleasing, he was king, the image of a braue knight, pera being coloured with an historical fi Aion, the which fedted in the ewelue private morall vertues, as the most part of men delighe to read, rather for Aristotle hath deuifed; the which is the purpose variety of matter, then for profite of the ensam- of thefe first twelue bookes : which if I finde to be ple, I chose the historye of King Arthure, as most welt accepted, I may be perhaps encouraged to fitte for the excellency of his person, being made frame the other part of politicke vertues in his famous by many mens former workes, and also person, after that hee came to be king. To fome furskelt from the daunger of suy, and suspicion i know this fasthode will seem displeafaunt, wbieta
had rather haue good discipline deliuered plainly deuise that the Faery Queene kept her annoal in way of precepts, or fermoned at large, as they feaste xii days; uppon which xii feuerall dayes, use, then thus clowdily enwrapped in allegorical the occasions of the xii seuerall aduentures hapdeuiles. But such, me feeme, should be satisfide ned, which being undertaken by xii seueral knights, with he use of these days, seeing all things ac aregin thefe xii books seuerally handled and discounted by their showes, and nothing esteemed coursed. The first was this : In the beginning of of, that is not delightful and pleasing to commune the feast, there presented himselfe a tall clownisc scence. For this cause is Xenophon preferred be- young man, who falling before the Queene of fore Plato, for that the one, in the exquisite depth Faeries desired a boone (as the manner then was) of his judgment, formed a commune-wealth, such which during that feast fe might not refuse ; , as it should be; but the other in the person of Cy- | which was that he might haue the atchicument Tus, and the Persians, fashioned a gouerment such of any aduenture, which during that feafte ihould as might best be; so much more profitable and happen. That being graunited, he refted him on gratiou« is doctrine by enfamule then by rule. So the floore, unfitte through his rufticity for a bet. haue 1 laboured to doe in the person of Arthure : ter place. Soone after entred a faire ladye in whom I conceiue, after his long education by Ti- mourning wcedes, riding on a white asse, with a mon, to whom he was by Merlin deliuered to be dwarfe behind her leading a warlıke steed, that brought up, fo foone as he was borne of the Lady bore the arms of a knight, and his speare in the Igrayne, to haue feene in a dreamı or vision dwarse's hand. Shee falling before the Queene the Faery Queene, with whose excellent beauty of Faeries, complayned that her father anu mother, rauished, he awaking refolued to feeke her out; an ancient king and queene, had bene by an huge and so being by Mcrlin armed, and by Timon dragon many years fhut up in a brafen castle, who throughly inftruited, he went to feeke her torth thence suffered them not to yflew : and therefore in Facry land. In that Faery Quecne I mcane befought the Faery Queene to assygnc her fome Glory in my generall intention, but in my pariis one of her knights to take upon him that exployi. cular I conceiue the most excellent and glorious Presently that clownish person upstarting, desired person of our foueraine the Queene, and her kings that aduenture: whereat the Queene much wondom in Faery Land. And yet in fome places els, dering, and the lady much guinelaying, yet he I do otherwise thalow her. For considering the earnestly importuned his desire. In the end the beareth two persons, the one of a most royal | lady told hin, that unless that armour which the Queene or Empreffe, the other of a molt vertuous brought would serue him, (that is the armour of and beautifull lady, this latter part in some places a Christian man specified by St. Paule, v. Ephes.) I doe expresie in Belphebe, fathioning her name that he could not fucceed in that enterprise : according to your owne excellen conceipt of Cyn- which being forthwith put upon him with dew thia : Phabe and Cynthia being both names of furnitures thereunto, he seemed the goodliest man Diana. So in the person of Prince Arthure I sette in al that company, and was well liked of the laforth magnificence in particular, which vertuc for dy. And estesoones taking on him knighthood, that (according to Aristotle and the rest) it is the and mounting on that strange courfer, he went perfcction of all the rest, and contcineth in it forth with her on that adventure : where beginthem all, therelore in the whole couríc I mention ncth the first booke, viz. the deeds of Arthure applyable to that vertue, which I write of in that booke. But of the xii
A gentle knight was pricking on the playne, &c. other vertues, I make xii other knights the pa The second day there came in a palmer bear
for the more variery of the history: of ing an infant with bloody hands, whose parents which these three bookes contayn three.
he complained to haue bene layne by an enchaunThe first of the Knight of the Red-crosse, in tresle called Acrafia : and therefore craved of the whom I exprefle Holyneffe: the seconde of Sir Faery Queene to appoint him fome knight to perGuyon, in whom I feite forth tem; eraunce: the forme that aduenture, which being afligned to Sir third of Britomartis, a lady-knight, in whom I Guyon, he presently went forth with that same picture chastity. But because the beginning of palmer : which is the beginning of the second the whole wo:'fecmeth abrupte, a:das depend-booke, and the whole subiect thercof. The third ing upon other antecedents, it needs : haye know' day there came in a groume, who complained bethe occasion of these three knighes seuerall aducn fore the Faery Queenc, that a vile encharter called
For the methode of a poet historical is not Busirune had in hard a most faire lady called ASuch, asof an historiagrapher. Foran hift riographer | moretta, whom he kept in most gricuous dirdiscourleth of affayrs orderly as they were donne, ment, because she would not yield him the pleaaccounting as well the times as the actions; but a fure of her body. Whereupon Sir Sendamour the pect thrusteth into the middelt, cuen where it lover of that lady prelently tooke on him that admost concerneth bim, and there recoursing to the uenture. But being unable to performe it by reathinges forepaste, and diuining of thinges to come; , son of the hard enchaunements, after long forrJw, maketh a pleating analytis of all.
in the end net with Britomartis, who lucconred The beginning, therefore, of my history, if it him; and refewed his love. were to be told by an historiographer, the uld be Put, by occafion hereof, niany other aduertures the twelfth bocke, which is the lant, where I are interindled, but rather as accidents, diua ina
tendments : as the loue of Britomart, the ouer- uing the continuance of your honourable fauour throw of Marinell, the misery of Florimell, the towards me, and th' eternall establishment of yoar vertuousness of Belphæbe, che lafciuiousnes of Hel- happiness, I humbly take leauc: lenora; and many the like.
Thus much, Sir, I haue briefly ouerronne to direct your understanding to the wel-head of the
Yours moft humbly affectionate, history, that from thence gathering the whole intention of the conceit, ye may as in a handful
ED. SPENSER gripe al the cisccurse, which otherwise may hap
23. Ian. 1589. pily secm tedious and confused. So humbly cra
To the Most High, Mightie, and Magnificent
Renowmed for Pictie, Vertve, and all Graciovs Government,
V E R S E S
AUTHOR OF THE FAERY QUE EN E.
A Vifior opon tbis Concept of the Faery Queene. And thereby will excuse and fauour thy good will,
Whose vertue cannot be expreft, but by an angel's Me thought I saw the graue where Laura lay,
quill. Within that temple, where the vestal flame Of me no lines are lou'd, nor letters are of price, Was wont to burne, and paffing by that way
Of all which speak our English tongue, but those To see that buried duft of liuing fame,
of thy deuice.
To the Learned Sbepheard.
That leades thy Muse in haughty verse to maske, And grones of buried ghoftes the heuens did
And loath the layes that long to lowly swaynes; perse;
That lifts thy notes from thepheards unto kinges, Where Homer's spright did tremble all for griefe, So like the liuely lark that mounting finges. And curft the accessc of that celestial thiete.
Thy louely Rosalinde seemes now forlorne,
And all thy gentle fuckes torgotten quight,
Thy chaunged hart now holdes thy pypes ir
scorne, Tee prayse of meaner wits this Worke like profit Those prety pypes that did thy mates delight; brings,
[lings. Those trusty mates, that loued thee so well, As doth the cuckoe's fong delight when Philumena Whom thou gau'st mirth, as they gaue chce the If thou haft formed right true Vertue's face herein, bell. Vertuc herselfe can best discerne, to whom they written bin.
Yet as thou earst with thy sweet roundelayes, I thou hast beautie prayfd, let her fole looks di Didst stirre to glee our laddes in homely bowers, nine
So moughtst thou now in these refyned layes, ladge oughe therein be amis, and mend it by Delight the daintie cares of higher powers ; hereine.
And so mought they, in their deep scanning skill, If chastitie want ought, or temperance her dew, Alow and grace our Collyn's flowing quill. Behold her princely mind aright, and write thy Queen anew.
[fore And fire befall that Faery Queen of thine, Mean while she shall perceiue how far her vertues In whose faire eyes Loue linckt with Vertue fittes Aboue the reach of all that liuc, or such as wrote Enfusing by those bewties fyers deuine
Such high conceits into thy humble wittes,