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The structure, the music of Spenser's peculiar verse, is not

less admirable It combines the stately suspense and sweeping magnificence of blank verse with the melody, the sweetness, and varied cadences of rhyme. His stanza is that which the greatest among the modern poets have talked of as monotonous and cumbrous, and adopted when they would excel themselves. It is the very air, the native melody to which his thoughts and fancies should be set.


[From the Faerie Queene.]

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In her faire eyes two living lamps did flame,
Kindled above at th' heavenly Maker's light,
And darted fyrie beames out of the same,
So passing persant, and so wondrous bright,
That quite bereav'd the rash beholders sight :
In them the blinded god his lustfull fyre
To kindle oft assayd, but had no might;
For, with dredd majestie and awfull yre,
She broke his wanton darts, and quenched base


Her yvorie forhead, full of bountie brave,
Like a broad table did itselfe dispred,
For Love his loftie triumphes to engrave,
And write the battailes of his great godhed :
All good and honour might therein be red ;
For there their dwelling was. And, when she

Sweete wordes, like dropping honey, she did shed;
And twixt the perles and rubins softly brake
A silver sound, that heavenly musicke seemd to


Upon her eyelids many Graces sate,
Under the shadow of her even browes,
Working belgardes and amorous retrate ;
And everie one her with a grace endowes,
And everie one with meekenesse to her bowes :
So glorious mirrhour of celestiall grace,
And soveraine moniment of mortall vowes,
How shall frayle pen descrive her heavenly face,
For feare, through want of skill, her beauty to


So faire, and thousand thousand times more faire,
She seemd, when she presented was to sight ;
And was yclad, for heat of scorching aire,
All in a silken Camus lily white,
Purfled upon with many a folded plight,
Which all above besprinckled was throughout
With golden aygulets, that glistred bright,
Like twinckling starres ; and all the skirt about
Was hemd with golden fringe.

And in her hand a sharpe bore-speare she held,
And at her backe a bow, and quiver gay
Stuft with steel-headed dartes, wherewith she queld
The salvage beastes in her victorious play,
Knit with a golden bauldricke which forelay
Athwart her snowy brest, and did divide
Her daintie paps; which, like young fruit in May,
Now little gan to swell, and being tide
Through her thin weed their places only signifide.

Her yellow lockes, crisped like golden wyre,
About her shoulders weren loosely shed,

And, when the winde emongst them did inspyre,
They waved like a penon wyde despred,
And low behinde her backe were scattered :
And, whether art it were or heedlesse hap,
As through the flouring forrest rash she fled,
In her rude heares sweet flowres themselves did lap,
And flourishing fresh leaves and blossomes did


Such as Diana by the sandy shore
Of swift Eurotas, or on Cynthus greene,
Where all the nymphes have her unwares forlore,
Wandreth alone with bow and arrowes keene,
To seeke her game: or as that famous queene
Of Amazons, whom Pyrrhus did destroy,
The day that first of Priame she was seene,
Did shew herselfe in great triumphant joy,
To succour the weake state of sad afflicted Troy.


[From the Faerie Queene.]

EFTSOONES they heard a most melodious sound,
Of all that mote delight a daintie eare,
Such as attonce might not on living ground,
Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere :
Right hard it was for wight which did it heare,
To read what manner musicke that mote bee ;
For all that pleasing is to living eare
Was there consorted in one harmonee ;
Birdes, voices, instruments, windes, waters, all

agree :

The joyous birdes, shrouded in chearefull shade,
Their notes unto the voice attempred sweet,
Th’ angelical soft trembling voyces made
To th' instruments divine respondence meet;
The silver-sounding instruments did meet
With the base murmure of the waters fall ;
The waters fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call ;
The gentle warbling wind low answered to all.

There, whence that musick semed heard to bee,
Was the faire witch herselfe now solacing
With a new lover, whom, through sorcerie
And witchcraft, she from farre did thether bring :
There she had him now laid a slombering
In secret shade after long wanton joyes ;
Whilst round about them pleasauntly did sing
Many faire ladies and lascivious boyes,
That ever mixt their song with light licentious


And all that while right over him she hong
With her false eyes fast fixed in his sight,
As seeking medicine whence she was stong,
Or greedily depasturing delight;
And oft inclining downe with kisses light,
For feare of waking him, his lips bedewd,
And through his humid eyes did sucke his spright,
Quite molten into lust and pleasure lewd ;
Wherewith she sighed soft, as if his case she


The whiles some one did chaunt this lovely lay ;
Ah ! see, whoso fayre thing doest faine to see,
In springing flowre the image of thy day!

Ah! see the virgin rose, how sweetly shee
Doth first peepe foorth with bashfull modestee,
That fairer seemes the lesse ye see her may !
Lo ! see soone after how more bold and free
Her bared bosome she doth broad display;
Lo ! see soone after how she fades and falls away!

So passeth, in the passing of a day,
Of mortall life the leafe, the bud, the flowre ;
Ne more doth florish after first decay,
That earst was sought to deck both bed and bowre)
Of many a lady, and many a paramowre !
Gather therefore the rose whilest yet is prime,
For soone comes age that will her pride deflowre :
Gather the rose of love whilest yet is time,
Whilest loving thou mayst loved be with equall

crime. (a)

He ceast; and then 'gan all the quire of birdes
Their divers notes tattune unto his lay,
As in approvaunce of his pleasing wordes.
The constant payre heard all that he did say,
Yet swarved not, but kept their forward way
Through many covert groves, and thickets close,
In which they creeping did at last display
That wanton lady with her lover lose,
Whose sleepie head she in her lap did soft dispose.

Upon a bed of roses she was layd,
As faint through heat, or dight to pleasant sin ;
And was arayd, or rather disarayd,
All in a vele of silke and silver thin,
That hid no whit her alabaster skin,

(a) Zest.

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