Spencer's The Faerie Queene
Book II Canto X
A chronicle of Briton kings,
from Brute to Vthers rayne.
And rolles of Elfin Emperours,
till time of Gloriane.
Who now shall giue vnto me words and sound,
Equall vnto this haughtie enterprise?
Or who shall lend me wings, with which from ground
Lowly verse may loftily arise,
And lift it selfe vnto the highest skies?
More ample spirit, then hitherto was wount,
Here needes me, whiles the famous auncestries
Of my most dreaded Soueraigne I recount,
By which all earthly Princes she doth farre surmount.
Ne vnder Sunne, that shines so wide and faire,
Whence all that liues, does borrow life and light,
Liues ought, that to her linage may compaire,
Which though from earth it be deriued right,
Yet doth it selfe stretch forth to heauens hight,
And all the world with wonder ouerspred;
A labour huge, exceeding farre my might:
How shall fraile pen, with feare disparaged,
Conceiue such soueraine glory, and great bountihed?
Argument worthy of Moeonian quill,
Or rather worthy of great Phoebus rote,
Whereon the ruines of great Ossa hill,
And triumphes of Phlegræan Ioue he wrote,
That all the Gods admird his loftie note.
But if some relish of that heauenly lay
His learned daughters would to me report,
To decke my song withall, I would assay,
Thy name, ô: soueraine Queene, to blazon farre away.
Thy name ô: soueraine Queene, thy realme and race,
From this renowmed Prince deriued arre,
Who mightily vpheld that royall mace,
Which now thou bear'st, to thee descended farre
From mightie kings and conquerours in warre,
Thy fathers and great Grandfathers of old,
Whose noble deedes aboue the Northerne starre
Immortall fame for euer hath enrold;
As in that old mans booke they were in order told.
The land, which warlike Britons now possesse,
And therein haue their mightie empire raysd,
In antique times was saluage wildernesse,
Vnpeopled, vnmanurd, vnprou'd, vnpraysd,
Ne was it Island then, ne was it paysd
Amid the Ocean waues, ne was it sought
Of marchants farre, for profits therein praysd,
But was all desolate, and of some thought
By sea to haue bene frõ the Celticke mayn-land brought.
Ne did it then deserue a name to haue,
Till that the venturous Mariner that way
Learning his ship from those white rocks to saue,
Which all along the Southerne sea-coast lay,
Threatning vnheedie wrecke and rash decay,
For safeties sake that same his sea-marke made,
And named it Albion. But later day
Finding in it fit ports for fishers trade,
Gan more the same frequent, and further to inuade.
But farre in land a saluage nation dwelt,
Of hideous Giants, and halfe beastly men,
That neuer tasted grace, nor goodnesse felt,
But like wild beasts lurking in loathsome den,
And flying fast as Roebucke through the fen,
All naked without shame, or care of cold,
By hunting and by spoiling liued then;
Of stature huge, and eke of courage bold,
That sonnes of men amazd their sternnesse to behold.
But whence they sprong, or how they were begot,
Vneath is to assure; vneath to wene
That monstrous error, which doth some assot,
That Dioclesians fiftie daughters shene
Into this land by chaunce haue driuen bene,
Where companing with feends and filthy Sprights,
Through vaine illusion of their lust vnclene,
They brought forth Giants and such dreadfull wights,
As farre exceeded men in their immeasurd mights.
They held this land, and with their filthinesse
Polluted this same gentle soyle long time:
That their owne mother loathd their beastlinesse,
And gan abhorre her broods vnkindly crime,
All were they borne of her owne natiue slime,
Vntill that Brutus anciently deriu'd
From royall stocke of old Assaracs line,
Driuen by fatall error, here arriu'd,
And them of their vniust possession depriu'd.
But ere he had established his throne,
And spred his empire to the vtmost shore,
He fought great battels with his saluage fone;
In which he them defeated euermore,
And many Giants left on groning flore;
That well can witnesse yet vnto this day
The westerne Hogh, besprincled with the gore
Of mightie Göemot, whom in stout fray
Corineus conquered, and cruelly did slay.
And eke that ample Pit, yet farre renownd,
For the large leape, which Debon did compell
Coulin to make, being eight lugs of grownd;
Into the which returning backe, he fell:
But those three monstrous stones doe most excell
Which that huge sonne of hideous Albion,
Whose father Hercules in Fraunce did quell,
Great Godmer threw, in fierce contention,
At bold Canutus; but of him was slaine anon.
In meed of these great conquests by them got,
Corineus had that Prouince vtmost west,
To him assigned for his worthy lot,
Which of his name and memorable gest
He called Cornewaile, yet so called best:
And Debons shayre was, that is Deuonshyre:
But Canute had his portion from the rest,
The which he cald Canutium, for his hyre;
Now Cantium, which Kent we commenly inquire.
Thus Brute this Realme vnto his rule subdewd,
And raigned long in great felicitie,
Lou'd of his friends, and of his foes eschewd,
He left three sonnes, his famous progeny,
Borne of faire Inogene of Italy;
Mongst whom he parted his imperiall state,
And Locrine left chiefe Lord of Britany.
At last ripe age bad him surrender late
His life, and long good fortune vnto finall fate.
Locrine was left the soueraine Lord of all;
But Albanact had all the Northrene part,
Which of himselfe Albania he did call;
And Camber did possesse the Westerne quart,
Which Seuerne now from Logris doth depart:
And each his portion peaceably enioyd,
Ne was there outward breach, nor grudge in hart,
That once their quiet gouernment annoyd,
But each his paines to others profit still employd.
Vntill a nation straung, with visage swart,
And courage fierce, that all men did affray,
Which through the world th&etilde; swarmd in euery part,
And ouerflow'd all countries farre away,
Like Noyes great flood, with their importune sway,
This land inuaded with like violence,
And did themselues through all the North display:
Vntill that Locrine for his Realmes defence,
Did head against them make, and strong munificence.
He them encountred, a confused rout,
Foreby the Riuer, that whylome was hight
The auncient Abus, where with courage stout
He them defeated in victorious fight,
And chaste so fiercely after fearfull flight,
That forst their Chieftaine, for his safeties sake,
(Their Chieftaine Humber named was aright)
Vnto the mightie streame him to betake,
Where he an end of battell, and of life did make.
The king returned proud of victorie,
And insolent wox through vnwonted ease,
That shortly he forgot the ieopardie,
Which in his land he lately did appease,
And fell to vaine voluptuous disease:
He lou'd faire Ladie Estrild, lewdly lou'd,
Whose wanton pleasures him too much did please.
That quite his hart from Guendolene remou'd,
Frõ Guendolene his wife, though alwaies faithfull prou'd.
The noble daughter of Corineus
Would not endure to be so vile disdaind,
But gathering force, and courage valorous,
Encountred him in battell well ordaind,
In which him vanquisht she to fly constraind:
But she so fast pursewd, that him she tooke,
And threw in bands, where he till death remaind;
Als his faire Leman, flying through a brooke,
She ouerhent, nought moued with her piteous looke.
But both her selfe, and eke her daughter deare,
Begotten by her kingly Paramoure,
The faire Sabrina almost dead with feare,
She there attached, farre from all succoure;
The one she slew in that impatient stoure,
But the sad virgin innocent of all,
Adowne the rolling riuer she did poure,
Which of her name now Seuerne men do call:
Such was the end, that to disloyall loue did fall.
Then for her sonne, which she to Locrin bore,
Madan was young, vnmeet the rule of sway,
In her owne hande the crowne she kept in store,
Till ryper yeares he raught, and stronger stay:
During which time her powre she did display
Through all this realme, the glorie of her sex,
And first taught men a woman to obay:
But when her sonne to mans estate did wex,
She it surrendred, ne her selfe would lenger vex.
Tho Madan raignd, vnworthie of his race:
For with all shame that sacred throne he fild:
Next Memprise, as vnworthy of that place,
In which being consorted with Manild,
For thirst of single kingdome him he kild.
But Ebranck salued both their infamies
With noble deedes, and warreyd on Brunchild
In Henault, where yet of his victories
Braue moniments remaine, which yet that land enuies.
An happie man in his first dayes he was,
And happie father of faire progeny:
For all so many weekes as the yeare has,
So many children he did multiply;
Of which were twentie sonnes, which did apply,
Their minds to praise, and cheualrous desire:
Those germans did subdew all Germany,
Of whom it hight; but in the end their Sire
With foule repulse from Fraunce was forced to retire.
Which blot his sonne succeeding in his seat,
The second Brute, the second both in name,
And eke in semblance of his puissance great,
Right well recur'd, and did away that blame
With recompence of euerlasting fame.
He with his victour sword first opened,
The bowels of wide Fraunce, a forlorne Dame,
And taught her first how to be conquered;
Since which, with sundrie spoiles she hath beene ransacked.
Let Scaldis tell, and let tell Hania,
And let the marsh of Estham bruges tell,
What colour were their waters that same day,
And all the moore twixt Eluersham and Dell,
With bloud of Henalois, which therein fell.
How oft that day did sad Brunchildis see
The greene shield dyde in dolorous vermell?
That not Scuith guiridh it mote seeme to bee
But rather y Scuith gogh, signe of sad crueltee.
His sonne king Leill by fathers labour long,
Enioyd an heritage of lasting peace,
And built Cairleill, and built Cairleon strong.
Next Huddibras his realme did not encrease,
But taught the land from wearie warres to cease.
Whose footsteps Bladud following in arts
Exceld at Athens all the learned preace,
From whence he brought them to these saluage parts,
And with sweet science mollifide their stubborne harts.
Ensample of his wondrous faculty,
Behold the boyling Bathes at Cairbadon,
Which seeth with secret fire eternally,
And in their entrails, full of quicke Brimston,
Nourish the flames, which they are warm'd vpon,
That to their people wealth they forth do well,
And health to euery forreine nation:
Yet he at last contending to excell
The reach of men, through flight into fond mischief fell.
Next him king Leyr in happie peace long raind,
But had no issue male him to succeed,
But three faire daughters, which were well vptraind,
In all that seemed fit for kingly seed:
Mongst whom his realme he equally decreed
To have diuided. Tho when feeble age
Nigh to his vtmost date he saw proceed,
He cald his daughters; and with speeches sage
Inquyrd, which of them most did loue her parentage.
The eldest Gonorill gan to protest,
That she much more then her owne life him lou'd:
And Regan greater loue to him profest,
Then all the world, when euer it were proou'd;
But Cordeill said she lou'd him, as behoou'd:
Whose simple answere, wanting colours faire
To paint it forth, him to displeasance moou'd,
That in his crowne he counted her no haire,
But twixt the other twaine his kingdome whole did shaire.
So wedded th'one to Maglan king of Scots,
And th'other to the king of Cambria,
And twixt them shayrd his realme by equall lots:
But without dowre the wise Cordelia
Was sent to Aganip of Celtica.
Their aged Syre, thus eased of his crowne,
A priuate life led in Albania,
With Gonorill, long had in great renowne,
That nought him grieu'd to bene from rule deposed downe.
But true it is, that when the oyle is spent,
The light goes out, and weeke is throwne away;
So when he had resigned his regiment,
His daughter gan despise his drouping day,
And wearie waxe of his continuall stay.
Tho to his daughter Rigan he repayrd,
Who him at first well vsed euery way;
But when of his departure she despayrd,
Her bountie she abated, and his cheare empayrd.
The wretched man gan then auise too late,
That loue is not, where most it is profest,
Too truely tryde in his extreamest state;
At last resolu'd likewise to proue the rest,
He to Cordelia him selfe addrest,
Who with entire affection him receau'd,
As for her Syre and king her seemed best;
And after all an army strong she leau'd,
To war on those, which him had of his realme bereau'd.
So to his crowne she him restor'd againe,
In which he dyde, made ripe for death by eld,
And after wild, it should to her remaine:
Who peaceably the same long time did weld:
And all mens harts in dew obedience held:
Till that her sisters children, woxen strong
Through proud ambition, against her rebeld,
And ouercommen kept in prison long,
Till wearie of that wretched life, her selfe she hong.
Then gan the bloudie brethren both to raine:
But fierce Cundah gan shortly to enuie
His brother Morgan, prickt with proud disdaine,
To haue a pere in part of soueraintie,
And kindling coles of cruell enmitie,
Raisd warre, and him in battell ouerthrew:
Whence as he to those woodie hils did flie,
Which hight of him Glamorgan, there him slew:
Then did he raigne alone, when he none equall knew.
His sonne Riuallo his dead roome did supply,
In whose sad time bloud did from heauen raine:
Next great Gurgustus, then faire Cæcily
In constant peace their kingdomes did containe,
After whom Lago, and Kinmarke did raine,
And Gorbogud, till farre in yeares he grew:
Then his ambitious sonnes vnto them twaine
Arraught the rule, and from their father drew,
Stout Ferrex and sterne Porrex him in prison threw.
But ô:, the greedy thirst of royall crowne,
That knowes no kinred, nor regardes no right,
Stird Porrex vp to put his brother downe;
Who vnto him assembling forreine might,
Made warre on him, and fell him selfe in fight:
Whose death t'auenge, his mother mercilesse,
Most mercilesse of women, VVyden hight,
Her other sonne fast sleeping did oppresse,
And with most cruell hand him murdred pittilesse.
Here ended Brutus sacred progenie,
Which had seuen hundred yeares this scepter borne,
With high renowme, and great felicitie?
The noble braunch from th'antique stocke was torne
Through discord, and the royall throne forlorne:
Thenceforth this Realme was into factions rent,
Whilest each of Brutus boasted to be borne,
That in the end was left no moniment
Of Brutus, nor of Britons glory auncient.
Then vp arose a man of matchlesse might,
And wondrous wit to menage high affaires,
Who stird with pitty of the stressed plight
Of this sad Realme, cut into sundry shaires
By such, as claymd themselues Brutes rightfull haires,
Gathered the Princes of the people loose,
To taken counsell of their common cares;
Who with his wisedom won, him streight did choose
Their king, and swore him fealty to win or loose.
Then made he head against his enimies,
And Ymner slew, or Logris miscreate;
Then Ruddoc and proud Stater, both allyes,
This of Albanie newly nominate,
And that of Cambry king confirmed late,
He ouerthrew through his owne valiaunce;
Whose countreis he redus'd to quiet state,
And shortly brought to ciuill gouernaunce,
Now one, which earst were many, made through variaunce.
Then made he sacred lawes, which some men say
Were vnto him reueald in vision,
By which he freed the Traueilers high way,
The Churches part, and Ploughmans portion,
Restraining stealth, and strong extortion;
The gracious Numa of great Britanie:
For till his dayes, the chiefe dominion
By strength was wielded without pollicie;
Therefore he first wore crowne of gold for dignitie.
Donwallo dyde (for what may liue for ay?)
And left two sonnes, of pearelesse prowesse both;
That sacked Rome too dearely did assay,
The recompence of their periured oth,
And ransackt Greece well tryde, wh&etilde; they were wroth;
Besides subiected Fraunce, and Germany,
Which yet their prayses speake, all be they loth,
And inly tremble at the memory
Of Brennus and Bellinus, kings of Britany.
Next them did Gurgunt, great Bellinus sonne
In rule succeede, and eke in fathers prayse;
He Easterland subdewd, and Danmarke wonne,
And of them both did foy and tribute raise,
The which was dew in his dead fathers dayes:
He also gaue to fugitiues of Spayne,
Whom he at sea found wandring from their wayes,
A seate in Ireland safely to remayne,
Which they should hold of him, as subiect to Britayne.
After him raigned Guitheline his hayre,
The iustest man and trewest in his dayes,
Who had to wife Dame Mertia the fayre,
A woman worthy of immortall prayse,
Which for this Realme found many goodly layes,
And wholesome Statutes to her husband brought;
Her many deemd to haue beene of the Fayes,
As was Aegerie, that Numa tought;
Those yet of her be Mertiã lawes both nam'd & thought.
Her sonne Sisillus after her did rayne,
And then Kimarus, and then Danius;
Next whom Morindus did the crowne sustaine,
Who, had he not with wrath outrageous,
And cruell rancour dim'd his valorous
And mightie deeds, should matched haue the best:
As well in that same field victorious
Against the forreine Morands he exprest;
Yet liues his memorie, though carcas sleepe in rest.
Fiue sonnes he left begotten of one wife,
All which successiuely by turnes did raine;
First Gorboman a man of vertuous life;
Next Archigald, who for his proud disdaine,
Deposed was from Princedome soueraine,
And pitteous Elidure put in his sted;
Who shortly it to him restord againe,
Till by his death he it recouered;
But Peridure and Vigent him disthronized.
In wretched prison long he did remaine,
Till they outraigned had their vtmost date,
And then therein reseized was againe,
And ruled long with honorable state,
Till he surrendred Realme and life to fate.
Then all the sonnes of these fiue brethren raynd
By dew successe, and all their Nephewes late,
Euen thrise eleuen descents the crowne retaynd,
Till aged Hely by dew heritage it gaynd.
He had two sonnes, whose eldest called Lud
Left of his life most famous memory,
And endlesse moniments of his great good:
The ruin'd wals he did reædifye
Of Troynouant, gainst force of enimy,
And built that gate, which of his name is hight,
By which he lyes entombed solemnly.
He left two sonnes, too young to rule aright,
Androgeus and Tenantius, pictures of his might.
Whilst they were young, Cassibalane their Eme
Was by the people chosen in their sted,
Who on him tooke the royall Diademe,
And goodly well long time it gouerned,
Till the prowd Romanes him disquieted,
And warlike Caesar, tempted with the name
Of this sweet Island, neuer conquered,
And enuying the Britons blazed fame,
(O hideous hunger of dominion) hither came.
Yet twise they were repulsed backe againe,
And twise renforst, backe to their ships to fly,
The whiles with bloud they all the shore did staine,
And the gray Ocean into purple dy:
Ne had they footing found at last perdie,
Had not Androgeus, false to natiue soyle,
And enuious of Vncles soueraintie,
Betrayd his contrey vnto forreine spoyle:
Nought else, but treason, from the first this lãd did foyle.
So by him Caesar got the victory,
Through great bloudshed, and many a sad assay,
In which him selfe was charged heauily
Of hardy Nennius, whom he yet did slay,
But lost his sword, yet to be seene this day.
Thenceforth this land was tributarie made
T'ambitious Rome, and did their rule obay,
Till Arthur all that reckoning did defray;
Yet oft the Briton kings against them strongly swayd.
Next him Tenantius raigned, then Kimbeline,
What time th'eternall Lord in fleshly slime
Enwombed was, from wretched Adams line
To purge away the guilt of sinfull crime:
O ioyous memorie of happy time,
That heauenly grace so plenteously displayd;
(O too high ditty for my simple rime.)
Soone after this the Romanes him warrayd;
For that their tribute he refusd to let be payd.
Good Claudius, that next was Emperour,
An army brought, and with him battell fought,
In which the king was by a Treachetour
Disguised slaine, ere any thereof thought:
Yet ceased not the bloudy fight for ought;
For Aruirage his brothers place supplide,
Both in his armes, and crowne, and by that draught
Did driue the Romanes to the weaker side,
That they to peace agreed. So all was pacifide.
Was neuer king more highly magnifide,
Nor dred of Romanes, then was Aruirage,
For which the Emperour to him allide
His daughter Genuiss' in marriage:
Yet shortly he renounst the vassalage
Of Rome againe, who hither hastly sent
Vespasian, that with great spoile and rage
Forwasted all, till Genuissa gent
Perswaded him to ceasse, and her Lord to relent.
He dyde; and him succeeded Marius,
Who ioyd his dayes in great tranquillity,
Then Coyll, and after him good Lucius,
That first receiued Christianitie,
The sacred pledge of Christes Euangely;
Yet true it is, that long before that day
Hither came Ioseph of Arimathy,
Who brought with him the holy grayle, (they say)
And preacht the truth, but since it greatly did decay.
This good king shortly without issew dide,
Whereof great trouble in the kingdome grew,
That did her selfe in sundry parts diuide,
And with her powre her owne selfe ouerthrew,
Whilest Romanes dayly did the weake subdew:
Which seeing stout Bunduca, vp arose,
And taking armes, the Britons to her drew;
With whom she marched streight against her foes,
And them vnwares besides the Seuerne did enclose.
There she with them a cruell battell tride,
Not with so good successe, as she deseru'd;
By reason that the Captaines on her side,
Corrupted by Paulinus, from her sweru'd:
Yet such, as were through former flight preseru'd,
Gathering againe, her Host she did renew,
And with fresh courage on the victour seru'd:
But being all defeated, saue a few,
Rather then fly, or be captiu'd her selfe she slew.
O famous moniment of womens prayse,
Matchable either to Semiramis,
Whom antique history so high doth raise,
Or to Hypsiphil' or to Thomiris:
Her Host two hundred thousand numbred is;
Who whiles good fortune fauoured her might,
Triumphed oft against her enimis;
And yet though ouercome in haplesse fight,
She triumphed on death, in enemies despight.
Her reliques Fulgent hauing gathered,
Fought with Seuerus, and him ouerthrew;
Yet in the chace was slaine of them, that fled:
So made them victours, whom he did subdew.
Then gan Carausius tirannize anew,
And gainst the Romanes bent their proper powre,
But him Allectus treacherously slew,
And took on him the robe of Emperoure:
Nath'lesse the same enioyed but short happy howre:
For Asclepiodate him ouercame,
And left inglorious on the vanquisht playne,
Without or robe, or rag, to hide his shame.
Then afterwards he in his stead did rayne;
But shortly was by Coyll in battell slaine:
Who after long debate, since Lucies time,
Was of the Britons first crownd Soueraine:
Then gan this Realme renewe her passed prime:
He of his name Coylchester built of stone and lime.
Which when the Romanes heard, they hither sent
Constantius, a man of mickle might,
With whom king Coyll made an agreement,
And to him gaue for wife his daughter bright,
Faire Helena, the fairest liuing wight;
Who in all godly thewes, and goodly prayse
Did far excell, but was most famous hight
For skill in Musicke of all in her dayes,
Aswell in curious instruments, as cunning layes.
Of whom he did great Constantine beget,
Who afterward was Emperour of Rome;
To which whiles absent he his mind did set,
Octauius here lept into his roome,
And it vsurped by vnrighteous doome:
But he his title iustifide by might,
Slaying Traherne, and hauing ouercome
The Romane legion in dreadfull fight:
So settled he his kingdome, and confirmd his right.
But wanting issew male, his daughter deare
He gaue in wedlocke to Maximian,
And him with her made of his kingdome heyre,
Who soone by meanes thereof the Empire wan,
Till murdred by the friends of Gratian;
Then gan the Hunnes and Picts inuade this land,
During the raigne of Maximinian;
Who dying left none heire them to withstand,
But that they ouerran all parts with easie hand.
The weary Britons, whose war-hable youth
Was by Maximian lately led away,
With wretched miseries, and woefull ruth,
Were to those Pagans made an open pray,
And dayly spectacle of sad decay:
Whom Romane warres, which now foure hundred yeares,
And more had wasted, could no whit dismay;
Till by consent of Commons and of Peares,
They crownd the second Constantine with ioyous teares,
Who hauing oft in battell vanquished
Those spoilefull Picts, and swarming Easterlings,
Long time in peace his Realme established,
Yet oft annoyd with sundry bordragings
Of neighbour Scots, and forrein Scatterlings,
With which the world did in those dayes abound:
Which to outbarre, with painefull pyonings
From sea to sea he heapt a mightie mound,
Which from Alcluid to Panwelt did that border bound.
Three sonnes he dying left, all vnder age;
By meanes whereof, their vncle Vortigere
Vsurpt the crowne, during their pupillage;
Which th'Infants tutors gathering to feare,
Them closely into Armorick did beare:
For dread of whom, and for those Picts annoyes,
He sent to Germanie, straunge aid to reare,
From whence eftsoones arriued here three hoyes
Of Saxons, whom he for his safetie imployes.
Two brethren were their Capitains, which hight
Hengist and Horsus, well approu'd in warre,
And both of them men of renowmed might;
Who making vantage of their ciuill iarre,
And of those forreiners, which came from farre,
Grew great, and got large portions of land,
That in the Realme ere long they stronger arre,
Then they which sought at first their helping hand,
And Vortiger enforst the kingdome to aband.
But by the helpe of Vortimere his sonne,
He is againe vnto his rule restord,
And Hengist seeming sad, for that was donne,
Receiued is to grace and new accord,
Through his faire daughters face, & flattring word;
Soone after which, three hundred Lordes he slew
Of British bloud, all sitting at his bord;
Whose dolefull moniments who list to rew,
Th'eternall markes of treason may at Stonheng vew.
By this the sonnes of Constantine, which fled,
Ambrose and Vther did ripe years attaine,
And here arriuing, strongly challenged
The crowne, which Vortiger did long detaine:
Who flying from his guilt, by them was slaine,
And Hengist eke soone brought to shamefull death.
Thenceforth Aurelius peaceably did rayne,
Till that through poyson stopped was his breath;
So now entombed lyes at Stoneheng by the heath.
After him Vther, which Pendragon hight,
Succeding There abruptly it did end,
Without full point, or other Cesure right,
As if the rest some wicked hand did rend,
Or th'Authour selfe could not at least attend
To finish it: that so vntimely breach
The Prince him selfe halfe seemeth to offend,
Yet secret pleasure did offence empeach,
And wonder of antiquitie long stopt his speach.
At last quite rauisht with delight, to heare
The royall Ofspring of his natiue land,
Cryde out, Deare countrey, ô: how dearely deare
Ought thy remembraunce, and perpetuall band
Be to thy foster Childe, that from thy hand
Did commun breath and nouriture receaue?
How brutish is it not to vnderstand,
How much to her we owe, that all vs gaue,
That gaue vnto vs all, what euer good we haue.
But Guyon all this while his booke did read,
Ne yet has ended: for it was a great
And ample volume, that doth far excead
My leasure, so long leaues here to repeat:
It told, how first Prometheus did create
A man, of many partes from beasts deriued,
And then stole fire from heauen, to animate
His worke, for which he was by Ioue depriued
Of life him selfe, and hart-strings of an Ægle riued.
That man so made, he called Elfe, to weet
Quick, the first authour of all Elfin kind:
Who wandring through the world with wearie feet,
Did in the gardins of Adonis find
A goodly creature, whom he deemd in mind
To be no earthly wight, but either Spright,
Or Angell, th'authour of all woman kind;
Therefore a Fay he her according hight,
Of whom all Faeryes spring, and fetch their lignage right.
Of these a mightie people shortly grew,
And puissaunt kings, which all the world warrayd,
And to them selues all Nations did subdew:
The first and eldest, which that scepter swayd,
Was Elfin; him all India obayd,
And all that now America men call:
Next him was noble Elfinan, who layd
Cleopolis foundation first of all:
But Elfiline enclosd it with a golden wall.
His sonne was Elfinell, who ouercame
The wicked Gobbelines in bloudy field:
But Elfant was of most renowmed fame,
Who all of Christall did Panthea build:
Then Elfar, who two brethren gyants kild,
The one of which had two heads, th'other three:
Then Elfinor, who was in Magick skild;
He built by art vpon the glassy See
A bridge of bras, whose sound heaues thunder seem'd to bee.
He left three sonnes, the which in order raynd,
And all their Ofspring, in their dew descents,
Euen seuen hundred Princes, which maintaynd
With mightie deedes their sundry gouernments;
That were too long their infinite contents
Here to record, ne much materiall:
Yet should they be most famous moniments,
And braue ensample, both of martiall,
And ciuill rule to kings and states imperiall.
After all these Elficleos did rayne,
The wise Elficleos in great Maiestie,
Who mightily that scepter did sustayne,
And with rich spoiles and famous victorie,
Did high aduaunce the crowne of Faery:
He left two sonnes, of which faire Elferon
The eldest brother did vntimely dy;
Whose emptie place the mightie Oberon
Doubly supplide, in spousall, and dominion.
Great was his power and glorie ouer all,
Which him before, that sacred seate did fill,
That yet remaines his wide memoriall:
He dying left the fairest Tanaquill,
Him to succeede therein, by his last will:
Fairer and nobler liueth none this howre,
Ne like in grace, ne like in learned skill;
Therefore they Glorian call that glorious flowre,
Long mayst thou Glorian liue, in glory and great powre.
Beguild thus with delight of nouelties,
And naturall desire of countreys state,
So long they red in those antiquities,
That how the time was fled, they quite forgate,
Till gentle Alma seeing it so late,
Perforce their studies broke, and them besought
To thinke, how supper did them long awaite.
So halfe vnwilling from their bookes them brought,
And fairely feasted, as so noble knights she ought.
On to Canto XI
Back to Canto IX
Back to Book II Index