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Strong feeling has here banished all antique and affected expression: there is no fancy in this gloomy painting. It appears, from recently-discovered documents, that Spenser was sometimes employed in inferior state missions, a task then often devolved on poets and dramatists. At length an important appointment came. Lord Grey of Wilton was sent to Ireland as lord-deputy, and Spenser accompanied him in the capacity of secretary. They remained there two years, when the deputy was recalled, and the poet also returned to England. In June 1586, Spenser obtained from the crown a grant of 3028 acres in the county of Cork, out of the forfeited lands of the Earl of Desmond, of which Sir Walter Raleigh had previously, for his military services in Ireland, obtained 12,000 acres. The poet was obliged to reside on his estate, as this was one of the conditions of the grant, and he accordingly repaired to Ireland, and took up his abode in Kilcolman Castle, near Doneraile, which had been one of the ancient strongholds or appanages of the Earls of Desmond. The poet's castle stood in the midst of a large plain, by the side of a lake; the river Mulla ran through his grounds, and a chain of mountains at a distance

Kilcolman Castle.

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approved of his friend's poem; and he persuaded Spenser, when he had completed the three first books, to accompany him to England, and arrange for their publication. The Faery Queen appeared in January 1589-90, dedicated to her majesty, in that strain of adulation which was then the fashion of the age. To the volume was appended a letter to Raleigh, explaining the nature of the work, which the author said was a continued allegory, or dark conceit.' He states his object to be to fashion a gentleman, or noble person, in virtuous and gentle discipline, and that he had chosen Prince Arthur for his hero. He conceives that prince to have beheld the Faery Queen in a dream, and been so enamoured of the vision, that, on awaking, he resolved to set forth and seek her in Faery Land. The poet further 'devises' that the Faery Queen shall keep her annual feast twelve days, twelve several adventures happening in that time, and each of them being undertaken by a knight. The adventures were also to express the same number of moral virtues. The first is that of the Redcross Knight, expressing Holiness; the second Sir Guyon, or Temperance; and the third, Britomartis, a lady knight,' representing Chastity. There was thus a blending of chivalry and religion in the design of the Faery Queen. Spenser had imbibed (probably from Sidney) a portion of the Platonic doctrine, which overflows in Milton's Comus, and he looked on chivalry as a sage and serious thing. Besides his personification of the abstract virtues, the poet made his allegorical personages and their adventures represent historical characters and events. The queen, Gloriana, and the huntress Belphoebe, are both symbolical of Queen Elizabeth; the adventures of the Redcross Knight shadow forth the history of the Church of England; the distressed knight is Henry IV.; and Envy is intended to glance at the unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots. The stanza of Spenser is the Italian ottava rima, now familiar in English poetry; but he added an Alexandrine, or long line, which gives a full and sweeping close to the verse. The poet's diction is rich and abundant. He introduced, however, a number of obsolete expressions, new grafts of old and withered words,' for which he was censured by his contemporaries and their successors, and in which he was certainly not copied by Shakspeare. His 'Gothic subject


*The Platonism of Spenser is more clearly seen in his hymns on Love and Beauty, which are among the most passionate and exquisite of his productions. His account of the spirit of love is not unlike Ovid's description of the creation of man: the soul, just severed from the sky, retains part of its heavenly power

And frames her house, in which she will be placed,
Fit for herself.'

seemed to bulwark in the romantic retreat. Here he wrote most of the Faery Queen, and received the visits of Raleigh, whom he fancifully styled 'the Shepherd of the Ocean;' and here he brought home his wife, the Elizabeth' of his sonnets, welcoming her with that noble strain of pure and fervent passion, which he has styled the Epithalamium, and which forms the most magnificent 'spousal verse' But he speculates furtherin the language. Kilcolman Castle is now a ruin; its towers almost level with the ground; but the spot must ever be dear to the lovers of genius. Raleigh's visit was made in 1589, and, according to the figurative language of Spenser, the two illustrious friends, while reading the manuscript of the Faery Queen,

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So every spirit, as it is most pure,
And hath in it the more of heavenly light,
So it the fairer body doth procure
To habit in, and it more fairly dight
With cheerful grace and amiable sight;
For of the soul the body form doth take;
For soul is form, and doth the body make.'

Spenser afterwards wrote two religious hymns, to counteract the effect of those on love and beauty, but though he spiritualises his passion, he does not abandon his early belief, that the fairest body encloses the fairest mind: he still says

For all that's good is beautiful and fair.' The Grecian philosophy was curiously united with Puritanism in both Spenser and Milton. Our poet took the fable of his great poem from the style of the Gothic romance, but the deep sense of beauty which pervades it is of classical origin, elevated and purified by strong religious feeling.

and story' had probably, as Mr Campbell conjectures, made him lean towards words of the olden time,' and his antiquated expression, as the same critic finely remarks, is beautiful in its antiquity, and, like the moss and ivy on some majestic building, covers the fabric of his language with romantic and venerable associations.' The Faery Queen was enthusiastically received. It could scarcely, indeed, be otherwise, considering how well it was adapted to the court and times of the Virgin Queen, where gallantry and chivalry were so strangely mingled with the religious gravity and earnestness induced by the Reformation, and considering the intrinsic beauty and excellence of the poem. The few first stanzas, descriptive of Una, were of themselves sufficient to place Spenser above the whole hundred poets that then offered incense to Elizabeth.*

16th January 1599. He was buried near the tomb of Chaucer in Westminster Abbey, the Earl of Essex defraying the expense of the funeral, and his hearse attended (as Camden relates) by his brother poets, who threw 'mournful elegies' into his grave. A monument was erected over his remains thirty years afterwards by Anne, countess of Dorset. His widow, the fair Elizabeth, whose bridal bower at Kilcolman he had decked with such gay garlands' of song, probably remained in Ireland, where two sons of the unfortunate poet long resided.

Spenser is the most luxuriant and melodious of all our descriptive poets. His creation of scenes and objects is infinite, and in free and sonorous versification he has not yet been surpassed. His lofty rhyme' has a swell and cadence, and a continuous sweetness, that we can find nowhere else. The queen settled a pension of £50 per annum on In richness of fancy and invention he can scarcely Spenser, and he returned to Ireland. His smaller be ranked below Shakspeare, and he is fully as oripoems were next published-The Tears of the Muses, ginal. His obligations to the Italian poets (Ariosto Mother Hubbard, &c., in 1591; Daphnaida, 1592; and supplying a wild Gothic and chivalrous model for Amoretti and the Epithalamium (relating his court- the Faery Queen, and Tasso furnishing the texture ship and marriage) in 1595. His Elegy of Astrophel, of some of its most delicious embellishments) still on the death of the lamented Sidney, appeared leave him the merit of his great moral design-the about this time. In 1596, Spenser was again in conception of his allegorical characters-his exubeLondon to publish the fourth, fifth, and sixth books rance of language and illustration-and that original of the Faery Queen. These contain the legend of structure of verse, powerful and harmonious, which Cambel and Triamond, or Friendship; Artegal, or he was the first to adopt, and which must ever bear Justice; and Sir Caledore, or Courtesy. The double his name. His faults arose out of the fulness of his allegory is continued in these cantos as in the pre- riches. His inexhaustible powers of circumstantial vious ones: Artegal is the poet's friend and patron, description betrayed him into a tedious minuteness, Lord Grey; and various historical events are re- which sometimes, in the delineation of his personified lated in the knight's adventures. Half of the ori-passions, becomes repulsive, and in the painting of ginal design was thus finished; six of the twelve adventures and moral virtues were produced; but unfortunately the world saw only some fragments more of the work. It has been said that the remaining half was lost, through the disorder and abuse' of a servant sent forward with it to England. This is highly improbable. Spenser, who came to London himself with each of the former portions, would not have ventured the largest part with a careless servant. But he had not time to complete his poetical and moral gallery. There was an interval of six years between his two publications, and he lived only three years after the second. During that period, too, Ireland was convulsed with rebellion. The English settlers, or 'undertakers,' of the crown lands, were unpopular with the conquered natives of Ireland. They were often harsh and oppressive; and even Spenser is accused, on the authority of existing legal documents, of having sought unjustly to add to his possessions. He was also in office over the Irish (clerk of the council of Munster); he had been recommended by the queen (1598) for the office of sheriff of Cork; and he was a strenuous advocate for arbitrary power, as is proved by a political treatise on the state of Ireland, written by him in 1596 for the government of Elizabeth, but not printed till the reign of Charles I. The poet was, therefore, a conspicuous object for the fury of the irritated and barbarous natives, with whom 'revenge was virtue.' The storm soon burst forth. In October 1598, an insurrection was organised in Munster, following Tyrone's rebellion, which had raged for some years in the province of Ulster. The insurgents attacked Kilcolman, and having robbed and plundered, set fire to the castle. Spenser and his wife escaped; but either in the confusion incidental to such a calamity, or from inability to render assistance, an infant child of the poet ('new-born,' according to Ben Jonson) was left behind, and perished in the flames. The poet, impoverished and broken-hearted, reached London, and died in about three months, in King Street, Westminster, on the

natural objects led him to group together trees and
plants, and assemble sounds and instruments, which
were never seen or heard in unison out of Faery
Land. The ingenuity and subtlety of his intellect
tempted him to sow dark meanings and obscure
allusions across the bright and obvious path of his
allegory. This peculiarity of his genius was early
displayed in his Shepherd's Calendar; and if Bur-
leigh's displeasure could have cured the poet of the
habit, the statesman might be half forgiven his illi-
berality. His command of musical language led
him to protract his narrative to too great a length,
till the attention becomes exhausted, even with its
very melody, and indifference succeeds to languor.
Had Spenser lived to finish his poem, it is doubtful
whether he would not have diminished the number
of his readers. His own fancy had evidently begun
to give way, for the last three books have not the
same rich unity of design, or plenitude of imagina-
tion, which fills the earlier cantos with so many in-
teresting, lofty, and ethereal conceptions, and steeps
them in such a flood of ideal and poetical beauty.
The two first books (of Holiness and Temperance)
are, like the two first of Paradise Lost, works of con-
summate taste and genius, and superior to all the
others. We agree with Mr Hazlitt, that the alle-
gory of Spenser is in reality no bar to the enjoy.uent
of the poem. The reader may safely disregard the
symbolical applications. We may allow the poet,
like his own Archimago, to divide his characters
into double parts,' while one only is visible at a
time. While we see Una, with her heavenly looks,
That made a sunshine in the shady place,
or Belphœbe flying through the woods, or Britomart
seated amidst the young warriors, we need not stop
to recollect that the first is designed to represent the
true church, the second Queen Elizabeth, or the third
an abstract personification of Chastity. They are ex-
quisite representations of female loveliness and truth,
unmatched save in the dramas of Shakspeare. The
allegory of Spenser leaves his wild enchantments,

his picturesque situations, his shady groves and lofty A lovely lady rode him fair beside, trees,

(Not pierceable by power of any star), his Masque of Cupid, and Bower of Bliss, and all the witcheries of his gardens and wildernesses, without the slightest ambiguity or indistinctness. There is no haze over his finest pictures. We seem to walk in the green alleys of his broad forests, to hear the stream tinkle and the fountain fall, to enter his caves of Mammon and Despair, to gaze on his knights and ladies, or to join in his fierce combats and crowded allegorical processions. There is no perplexity, no intercepted lights, in those fine images and personifications. They may be sometimes fantastic, but they are always brilliant and distinct. When Spenser fails to interest, it is when our coarser taste becomes palled with his sweetness, and when we feel that his scenes want the support of common probability and human passions. We surrender ourselves up for a time to the power of the enchanter, and witness with wonder and delight his marvellous achievements; but we wish to return again to the world, and to mingle with our fellow-mortals in its busy and passionate pursuits. It is here that Shakspeare eclipses Spenser; here that he builds upon his beautiful groundwork of fancy-the high and durable structure of conscious dramatic truth and living reality. Spenser's mind was as purely poetical, and embraced a vast range of imaginary creation. The interest of real life alone is wanting. Spenser's is an ideal world, remote and abstract, yet affording, in its multiplied scenes, scope for those nobler feelings and heroic virtues which we love to see even in transient connexion with human nature. The romantic character of his poetry is its most essential and permanent feature. We may tire of his allegory and 'dark conceit,' but the general impression remains; we never think of the Faery Queen without recalling its wondrous scenes of enchantment and beauty, and feeling ourselves lulled, as it were, by the recollected music of the poet's verse, and the endless flow and profusion of his fancy.

[Una and the Redcross Knight.]

A gentle knight was pricking on the plain,
Yelad in mighty arms and silver shield,
Wherein old dints of deep wounds did remain,
The cruel marks of many a bloody field;
Yet arms till that time did he never wield:
His angry steed did chide his foaming bit,
As much disdaining to the curb to yield:
Full jolly knight he seem'd, and fair did sit,
As one for knightly jousts and fierce encounters fit.

And on his breast a bloody cross he bore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge he wore,
And dead (as living) ever him adored:
Upon his shield the like was also scored,
For sovereign hope, which in his help he had :
Right faithful true he was in deed and word;
But of his cheer did seem too solemn sad:
Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad.

Upon a great adventure he was bound,
That greatest Gloriana to him gave,
(That greatest glorious queen of fairy lond,)
To win him worship, and her grace to have,
Which of all earthly things he most did crave;
And ever as he rode his heart did yearn
To prove his puissance in battle brave
Upon his foe, and his new force to learn ;
Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stern.

Upon a lowly ass more white than snow;
Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide
Under a veil that wimpled was full low,
And over all a black stole she did throw,
As one that inly mourn'd: so was she sad,
And heavy sat upon her palfrey slow;
Seemed in heart some hidden care she had,
And by her in a line a milk-white lamb she led.
So pure and innocent, as that same lamb,
She was in life and every virtuous lore,
And by descent from royal lineage came
Of ancient kings and queens, that had of yore
Their sceptres stretcht from east to western shore,
And all the world in their subjection held;
Till that infernal fiend with foul uproar
Forewasted all their land and them expell'd:
Whom to avenge, she had this knight from far com-

Behind her far away a dwarf did lag,
That lazy seem'd in being ever last,
Or wearied with bearing of her bag
Of needments at his back. Thus as they past
The day with clouds was sudden overcast,
And angry Jove an hideous storm of rain
Did pour into his leman's lap so fast,
That every wight to shroud it did constrain,
And this fair couple eke to shroud themselves were fain.
Enforced to seek some covert nigh at hand,
A shady grove not far away they spied,
That promised aid the tempest to withstand;
Whose lofty trees, yclad with summer's pride,
Did spread so broad, that heaven's light did hide,
Nor pierceable with power of any star:
And all within were paths and alleys wide,
With footing worn, and leading inward far:
Fair harbour, that them seems; so in they entered are.
And forth they pass, with pleasure forward led,
Joying to hear the birds' sweet harmony,
Which therein shrouded from the tempest dread,
Seem'd in their song to scorn the cruel sky.
Much can they praise the trees so straight and high,
The sailing Pine, the Cedar proud and tall,
The vine-prop Elm, the Poplar never dry,
The builder Oak, sole king of forests all,
The Aspin good for staves, the Cypress funeral.
The Laurel, meed of mighty conquerors
And poets sage, the Fir that weepeth still,
The Willow, worn of forlorn paramours,
The Yew obedient to the bender's will,
The Birch for shafts, the Sallow for the mill,
The Myrrh sweet bleeding in the bitter wound,
The warlike Beech, the Ash for nothing ill,
The fruitful Olive, and the Plantain round,
The carver Holme, the Maple seldom inward sound:
Led with delight, they thus beguile the way,
Until the blustering storm is overblown,
When, weening to return, whence they did stray,
They cannot find that path which first was shown,
But wander to and fro in ways unknown,
Furthest from end then, when they nearest ween,
That makes them doubt their wits be not their own:
So many paths, so many turnings seen,

That which of them to take, in divers doubt they been.

[Adventure of Una with the Lion.]

Yet she, most faithful lady, all this while
Forsaken, woeful, solitary maid,
Far from all people's prease, as in exile,
In wilderness and wasteful deserts strayed,
To seck her knight; who, subtily betrayed

Through that late vision which th' enchanter wrought,
Had her abandoned; she of nought afraid
Through woods and wasteness wide him daily sought;
Yet wished tidings none of him unto her brought.

One day, nigh weary of the irksome way,
From her unhasty beast she did alight;
And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay,
In secret shadow, far from all men's sight;
From her fair head her fillet she undight,
And laid her stole aside: her angel's face,
As the great eye of Heaven, shined bright,
And made a sunshine in the shady place;

Did never mortal eye behold such heavenly grace.

It fortuned, out of the thickest wood
A ramping lion rushed suddenly,
Hunting full greedy after savage blood:
Soon as the royal virgin he did spy,
With gaping mouth at her ran greedily,

To have at once devour'd her tender corse :
But to the prey when as he drew more nigh,
His bloody rage assuaged with remorse,

And with the sight amazed forgat his furious force.

Instead thereof he kiss'd her weary feet,
And lick'd her lily hands with fawning tongue;
As he her wronged innocence did weet.
O how can beauty master the most strong,
And simple truth subdue avenging wrong!
Whose yielded pride and proud submission,
Still dreading death, when she had marked long,
Her heart gan melt in great compassion,
And drizzling tears did shed for pure affection.

"The lion, lord of every beast in field,'
Quoth she, 'his princely puissance doth abate,
And mighty proud to humble weak does yield,
Forgetful of the hungry rage, which late
Him prick'd, in pity of my sad estate:
But he, my lion, and my noble lord,
How does he find in cruel heart to hate
Her that him loved, and ever most adored,

As the God of my life? why hath he me abhorred !'

Redounding tears did choke th' end of her plaint,
Which softly echoed from the neighbour wood;
And, sad to see her sorrowful constraint,
The kingly beast upon her gazing stood:
With pity calm'd down fell his angry mood.
At last, in close heart shutting up her pain,
Arose the virgin born of heav'nly brood,
And to her snowy palfrey got again,

To seek her strayed champion if she might attain.

The lion would not leave her desolate,
But with her went along, as a strong guard
Of her chaste person, and a faithful mate
Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard:

Still when she slept, he kept both watch and ward;
And when she waked, he waited diligent,
With humble service to her will prepared ;
From her fair eyes he took commandément,
And ever by her looks conceived her intent.

[The Bower of Bliss.]

There the most dainty paradise on ground
Itself doth offer to his sober eye,
In which all pleasures plenteously abound,
And none does others happiness envy;
The painted flowers, the trees upshooting high,
The dales for shade, the hills for breathing space,
The trembling groves, the crystal running by;
And that which all fair works doth most aggrace,
The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place.

One would have thought (so cunningly the rude
And scorned parts were mingled with the fine)
That nature had for wantonness ensued
Art, and that art at nature did repine;
So striving each th' other to undermine,
Each did the other's work more beautify;
So differing both in wills, agreed in fine:
So all agreed through sweet diversity,
This garden to adorn with all variety.
And in the midst of all a fountain stood
Of richest substance that on earth might be,
So pure and shiny, that the silver flood
Through every channel running one might see;
Most goodly it with curious imagery

Was overwrought, and shapes of naked boys,
Of which some seem'd with lively jollity
To fly about, playing their wanton toys,

While others did embaye themselves in liquid joys.
And over all, of purest gold, was spread
A trail of ivy in his native hue :
For, the rich metal was so coloured,
That wight, who did not well advis'd it view,
Would surely deem it to be ivy true:
Low his lascivious arms adown did creep,
That themselves dipping in the silver dew,
Their fleecy flowers they fearfully did steep,
Which drops of crystal seem'd for wantonness to weep.
Infinite streams continually did well
Out of this fountain, sweet and fair to see,
The which into an ample laver fell,
And shortly grew to so great quantity,
That like a little lake it seem'd to be;
Whose depth exceeded not three cubits height,
That through the waves one might the bottom see,
All par'd beneath with jasper shining bright,
That seem'd the fountain in that sea did sail upright.

And all the margin round about was set
With shady laurel trees, thence to defend
The sunny beams, which on the billows beat,
And those which therein bathed might offend.


Eftsoons they heard a most melodious sound,
Of all that might delight a dainty ear,
Such as at once might not on living ground,
Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere:
Right hard it was for wight which did it hear,
To read what manner music that might be:
For all that pleasing is to living ear,
Was there consorted in one harmony;

Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree.

The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade,
Their notes unto the voice attemper'd sweet;
Th' angelical soft trembling voices made
To th' instruments divine respondence meet;
The silver sounding instruments did meet
With the base murmur of the water's fall:
The water's fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call:
The gentle warbling wind low answered to all.
The while, some one did chaunt this lovely lay;
'Ah see, whoso fair thing thou dost fain to see,
In springing flower the image of thy day;
Ah see the virgin rose, how sweetly she
Doth first peep forth with bashful modesty,
That fairer seems, the less ye see her may;
Lo, see soon after, how more bold and free
Her bared bosom she doth broad display;
Lo, see soon after, how she fades and falls away!
So passeth, in the passing of a day,

Of mortal life, the leaf, the bud, the flower,
Nor more doth flourish after first decay,
That erst was sought to deck both bed and bower
Of many a lady, and many a paramour;

Gather therefore the rose, while yet is prime,
For soon comes age, that will her pride deflower:
Gather the rose of love, while yet is time,
While loving thou mayst loved be with equal crime.'

[The Squire and the Dove.]

Well said the wise man, now prov'd true by this,
Which to this gentle squire did happen late;
That the displeasure of the mighty is
Than death itself more dread and desperate:
For nought the same may calm, nor mitigate,
Till time the tempest do thereof allay

With sufferance soft, which rigour can abate,
And have the stern remembrance wip'd away
Of bitter thoughts, which deep therein infixed lay.
Like as it fell to this unhappy boy,
Whose tender heart the fair Belphoebe had
With one stern look so daunted, that no joy
In all his life, which afterwards he lad,
He ever tasted; but with penance sad,
And pensive sorrow, pin'd and wore away,

Nor ever laugh'd, nor once show'd countenance glad;
But always wept and wailed night and day,
As blasted blossom, through heat, doth languish and

Till on a day (as in his wonted wise

His dole he made) there chanc'd a turtle-dove
To come, where he his dolours did devise,
That likewise late had lost her dearest love;
Which loss her made like passion also prove.
Who seeing his sad plight, her tender heart
With dear compassion deeply did emmove,
That she gan moan his underserved smart,

And with her doleful accent, bear with him a part.

She, sitting by him, as on ground he lay,
Her mournful notes full piteously did frame,
And thereof made a lamentable lay,

So sensibly compiled, that in the same

Him seemed oft he heard his own right name.

With that, he forth would pour so plenteous tears,
And beat his breast unworthy of such blame,
And knock his head, and rend his rugged hairs,

But, when as long he looked had in vain,
Yet saw her forward still to make her flight,
His weary eye return'd to him again,
Full of discomfort and disquiet plight,
That both his jewel he had lost so light,
And eke his dear companion of his care.
But that sweet bird departing, flew forth right
Through the wide region of the wasteful air,
Until she came where wonned his Belphœbe fair.
There found she her (as then it did betide)
Sitting in covert shade of arbors sweet,
After late weary toil, which she had tried
In savage chace, to rest as seem'd her meet.
There she alighting, fell before her feet,
And gan to her, her mournful plaint to make,
As was her wont: thinking to let her weet
The great tormenting grief, that for her sake
Her gentle squire through her displeasure did partake.
She, her beholding with attentive eye,
At length did mark about her purple breast
That precious jewel, which she formerly
Had known right well, with colour'd ribbon drest;
Therewith she rose in haste, and her addrest
With ready hand it to have reft away.
But the swift bird obey'd not her behest,
But swerv'd aside, and there again did stay;
She follow'd her, and thought again it to assay.

And ever when she nigh approach'd, the dove
Would flit a little forward, and then stay
Till she drew near, and then again remove;
So tempting her still to pursue the prey,
And still from her escaping soft away:
Till that at length, into that forest wide
She drew her far, and led with slow delay.
In the end, she her unto that place did guide,
Whereas that woful man in languor did abide.

He her beholding, at her feet down fell,
And kiss'd the ground on which her sole did tread,
And wash'd the same with water, which did well
From his moist eyes, and like two streams proceed;
Yet spake no word, whereby she might aread
What mister wight he was, or what he meant ;
But as one daunted with her presence dread,

That could have pierc'd the hearts of tigers and of Only few rueful looks unto her sent,

Thus long this gentle bird to him did use,

Withouten dread of peril to repair

Unto his wonne; and with her mournful muse
Him to recomfort in his greatest care,

That much did ease his mourning and misfare :
And every day, for guerdon of her song,
He part of his small feast to her would share ;
That, at the last, of all his woe and wrong,
Companion she became, and so continued long.
Upon a day, as she him sate beside,
By chance he certain miniments forth drew,
Which yet with him as relics did abide
Of all the bounty which Belphoebe threw
On him, while goodly grace she did him shew:
Amongst the rest, a jewel rich he found,
That was a ruby of right perfect hue,
Shap'd like a heart, yet bleeding of the wound,
And with a little golden chain about it bound.
The same he took, and with a ribbon new
(In which his lady's colours were) did bind
About the turtle's neck, that with the view
Did greatly solace his engrieved mind.
All unawares the bird, when she did find
Herself so deck'd, her nimble wings display'd,
And flew away, as lightly as the wind:
Which sudden accident him much dismay'd,
And looking after long, did mark which way she stray'd.

As messengers of his true meaning and intent.

Yet nathemore his meaning she ared,
But wondered much at his so uncouth case;
And by his person's secret seemlihed
Well ween'd, that he had been some man of place,
Before misfortune did his hue deface:

That being moved with ruth she thus bespake.
Ah! woful man, what heaven's hard disgrace,
Or wrath of cruel wight on thee ywrake,
Or self-disliked life, doth thee thus wretched make?

If heaven, then none may it redress or blame,
Since to his power we all are subject born:
If wrathful wight, then foul rebuke and shame
Be theirs, that have so cruel thee forlorn;
But if through inward grief, or wilful scorn
Of life it be, then better do avise.
For, he whose days in wilful woe are worn,
The grace of his Creator doth despise,
That will not use his gifts for thankless niggardise.
When so he heard her say, eftsoons he brake
His sudden silence, which he long had pent,
And sighing inly deep, her thus bespake;
Then have they all themselves against me bent:
For heaven (first author of my languishment)
Envying my too great felicity,

Did closely with a cruel one consent,
To cloud my days in doleful misery,

And make me loath this life, still longing for to die.

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