20+ Best Edmund Spenser Poems

Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognized as one of the premier craftsmen of nascent Modern English verse, and is often considered one of the greatest poets in the English language.

If you’re searching for famous poems ever that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of most famous Christopher Marlowe poems, selected Yevgeny Yevtushenko poems and best known Richard Lovelace poems.

Famous Edmund Spenser Poems

Poem 93

TO whom his mother closely smiling sayd,
twixt earnest and twixt game:
See thou thy selfe likewise art lyttle made,
if thou regard the same.
And yet thou suffrest neyther gods in sky,
nor men in earth to rest:
But when thou art disposed cruelly,
theyr sleepe thou doost molest.
Then eyther change thy cruelty,
or giue lyke leaue vnto the fly.

Poem 92

VPon a day as loue lay sweetly slumbring,
all in his mothers lap:
A gentle Bee with his loud trumpet murm’ring,
about him flew by hap.
Whereof when he was wakened with the noyse,
and saw the beast so small:
Whats this (quoth he) that giues so great a voyce,
that wakens men withall.
In angry wize he flyes about,
and threatens all with corage stout.

Sonnet Lx

THey that in course of heauenly spheares are skild,
To euery planet point his sundry yeare:
in which her circles voyage is fulfild,
as Mars in three score yeares doth run his spheare
So since the winged God his planet cleare,
began in me to moue, one yeare is spent:
the which doth longer vnto me appeare,
then al those fourty which my life outwent.
Then by that count, which louers books inuent,
the spheare of Cupid fourty yeares containes:
which I haue wasted in long languishment,
that seemd the longer for my greater paines.
But let me loues fayre Planet short her wayes
this yeare ensuing, or else short my dayes.

Sonnet L

LOng languishing in double malady,
of my harts wound and of my bodies greife:
there came to me a leach that would apply
fit medicines for my bodies best reliefe.
Vayne man (quod I) that hast but little priefe:
in deep discouery of the mynds disease,
is not the hart of all the body chiefe?
and rules the members as it selfe doth please.
Then with some cordialls seeke first to appease,
the inward languour of my wounded hart,
and then my body shall haue shortly ease:
but such sweet cordialls passe Physitions art.
Then my lyfes Leach doe you your skill reueale,
and with one salue both hart and body heale.

Sonnet Xxix

See how the stubborne damzell doth depraue
my simple meaning with disdaynfull scorne:
and by the bay which I vnto her gaue,
accoumpts my selfe her captiue quite forlorne.
The bay (quoth she) is of the victours borne,
yielded them by the vanquisht as theyr meeds,
and they therewith doe poetes heads adorne,
to sing the glory of their famous deedes.
But sith she will the conquest challeng needs,
let her accept me as her faithfull thrall,
that her great triumph which my skill exceeds,
I may in trump of fame blaze ouer all.
Then would I decke her head with glorious bayes,
and fill the world with her victorious prayse.

Sonnet Lxxi

I Ioy to see how in your drawen work,
Your selfe vnto the Bee ye doe compare;
and me vnto the Spyder that doth lurke,
in close awayt to catch her vnaware.
Right so to your selfe were caught in cunning snare
of a deare foe, and thralled to his loue:
in whose streight bands ye now captiued are
so firmely, that ye neuer may remoue.
But as your worke is wouen all about,
with woodbynd flowers and fragrant Eglantine:
so sweet your prison you in time shall proue,
with many deare delights bedecked fyne.
And all thensforth eternall peace shall see.
betweene the Spyder and the gentle Bee.

The Shepheardes Calender: November

November: Ægloga vndecima. Thenot & Colin.

Thenot.
Colin my deare, when shall it please thee sing,
As thou were | wont songs of some iouisaunce?
Thy Muse to long slombreth in sorrowing,
Lulled a sleepe through loues misgouernaunce.
Now somewhat sing, whose endles souenaunce,
Emong the shepeheards swaines may aye remaine,
Whether thee list the loued lasse aduaunce,
Or honor Pan with hymnes of higher vaine.

Colin.
Thenot, now nis the time of merimake.
Nor Pan to herye, nor with loue to playe:
Sike myrth in May is meetest for to make,
Or summer shade vnder the cocked haye.
But nowe sadde Winter welked hath the day,
And Phoebus weary of his yerely tas-ke,
Ystabled hath his steedes in lowlye laye,
And taken vp his ynne in Fishes has-ke.
Thilke sollein season sadder plight doth aske:
And loatheth sike delightes, as thou doest prayse:
The mornefull Muse in myrth now list ne mas-ke,
As shee was wont in yougth and sommer dayes.
But if thou algate lust light virelayes,
And looser songs of loue to vnderfong
Who but thy selfe deserues sike Poetes prayse?
Relieue thy Oaten pypes, that sleepen long.

Thenot.
The Nightingale is souereigne of song,
Before him sits the Titmose silent bee:
And I vnfitte to thrust in [s]kilfull thronge,
Should Colin make iudge of my fooleree.
Nay, better learne of hem, that learned bee,
An han be watered at the Muses well:
The kindlye dewe drops from the higher tree,
And wets the little plants that lowly dwell.
But if sadde winters wrathe and season chill,
Accorde not with thy Muses meriment:
To sadder times thou mayst attune thy quill,
And sing of sorrowe and deathes dreeriment.
For deade is Dido, dead alas and drent,
Dido the greate shepehearde his daughter sheene:
The fayrest May she was that euer went,
Her like shee has not left behind I weene.
And if thou wilt bewayle my wofull tene:
I shall thee giue yond Cosset for thy payne:
And if thy rymes as rownd and rufull bene,
As those that did thy Rosalind complayne,
Much greater gyfts for guerdon thou shalt gayne,
Then Kidde of Cosset, which I thee bynempt:
Then vp I say, thou iolly shepeheard swayne,
Let not my small demaund be so contempt.

Colin.
Thenot to that I choose, thou doest me tempt,
But ah to well I wote my humble vaine,
And howe my rymes bene rugged and vnkempt:
Yet as I conne, my conning I will strayne.
Vp then Melpomene thou mounefulst Muse of nyne,
Such cause of mourning neuer hadst afore:
Vp grieslie ghostes and vp my rufull ryme,
Matter of myrth now shalt thou haue no more.
For dead she is, that myrth thee made of yore.
Didomy deare alas is dead,
Dead and lyeth wrapt in lead:
O heauie herse,
Let streaming teares be poured out in store:
O carefull verse.

Shepheards, that by your flocks on Kentish downes abyde,
Waile ye this wofull waste of natures warke:
Waile we the wight, whose presence was our pryde:
Waile we the wight, whose absence is our carke.
The sonne of all the world is dimme and darke:
The earth now lacks her wonted light,
And all we dwell in deadly night,
O heauie herse,
Breake we our pypes, that shrild as lowde as Larke,
O carefull verse.

Why do we longer liue, (ah why liue we so long)
Whose better dayes death hath shut vp in woe?
The fayrest floure our gyrlond all emong,
Is faded quite and into dust ygoe.
Sing now ye shepheards daughters, sing no moe
The songs that Colin made in her prayse,
But into weeping turne your wanton layes,
O heauie herse,
Now is time to dye. Nay time was long ygoe,
O carefull verse.

Whence is it, that the flouret of the field doth fade,
And lyeth buryed long in Winters bale:
Yet soone as spring his mantle hath displayd,
It floureth fresh, as it should neuer fayle?
But thing on earth that is of most auaile,
As vertues braunch and beauties budde,
Reliuen not for any good.
O heauie herse,
The braunch once dead, the budde eke needes must quaile,
O carefull verse.

She while she was, (that was, a woful word to sayne)
For beauties prayse and pleasaunce had no pere:
So well she couth the shepherds entertayne,
With cakes and cracknells and such country chere.
Ne would she scorne the simple shepheards swaine,
For she would call hem often heame
And giue hem curds and clouted Creame.
O heauie herse,
Als Colin cloute she would not once disdayne.
O carefull verse.

But nowe sike happy cheere is turnd to heauie chaunce,
Such pleasaunce now displast by dolors dint:
All Musick sleepes, where death doth leade the daunce,
And shepherds wonted solace is extinct.
The blew in black, the greene in gray is tinct,
The gaudie girlonds deck her graue,
The faded flowres her corse embraue.
O heauie herse,
Morne nowe my Muse, now morne with teares besprint.
O carefull verse.

O thou great shepheard Lobbin, how great is thy griefe,
Where bene the nosegayes that she dight for thee:
The coloured chaplets wrought with a chiefe,
The knotted rushrings, and gilte Rosemaree?
For shee deemed nothing too deere for thee.
Ah they bene all yclad in clay,
One bitter blast blew all away.
O heauie herse,
Thereof nought remaynes but the memoree.
O carefull verse.

Ay me that dreerie death should strike so mortall stroke,
That can vndoe Dame natures kindly course:
The faded lockes fall from the loftie oke,
The flouds do gaspe, for dryed is thyr sourse,
And flouds of teares flowe in theyr stead perforse.
The mantled medowes mourne,
Theyr sondry colours tourne.
O heauie herse,
The heauens doe melt in teares without remorse.
O carefull verse.

The feeble flocks in field refuse their former foode,
And hang theyr heads, as they would learne to weepe:
The beastes in forest wayle as they were woode,
Except the Wolues, that chase the wandring sheepe:
Now she is gon that safely did hem keepe.
The Turtle on the bared braunch,
Laments the wound, that death did launch.
O heauie herse,
And Philomele her song with teares doth steepe.
O carefull verse.

The water Nymphs, that wont with her to sing and daunce,
And for her girlond Oliue braunches beare,
Now balefull boughes of Cypres doen advaunce:
The Muses, that were wont greene bayes to weare,
Now bringen bitter Eldre braunches seare:
The fatall sisters eke repent,
Her vitall threde so soone was spent.
O heauie herse,
Mourne now my Muse, now mourne with heauie cheare.
O carefull verse.

O trustlesse state of earthly things, and slipper hope
Of mortal men, that swincke and sweate for nought,
And shooting wide, doe misse the marked scope:
Now haue I learnd (a lesson derely bought)
That nys on earth assuraunce to be sought:
For what might be in earthlie mould,
That did her buried body hould,
O heauie herse,
Yet saw I on the beare when it was brought,
O carefull verse.

But maugre death, and dreaded sisters deadly spight,
And gates of hel, and fyrie furies forse:
She hath the bonds broke of eternall night,
Her soule vnbodied of the burdenous corpse.
Why then weepes Lobbin so without remorse?
O Lobb, thy losse no longer lament,
Didonis dead, but into heauen hent.
O happye herse,
Cease now my Muse, now cease thy sorrowes sourse,
O ioyfull verse.

Why wayle we then? why weary we the Gods with playnts,
As if some euill were to her betight?
She raignes a goddesse now emong the saintes,
That whilome was the saynt of shepheards light:
And is enstalled nowe in heauens hight.
I see thee blessed soule, I see,
Walke in Elisian fieldes so free.
O happy herse,
Might I once come to thee (O that I might)
O ioyfull verse.

Vnwise and wretched men to weete whats good or ill,
We deeme of Death as doome of ill desert:
But knewe we fooles, what it vs bringes vntil,
Dye would we dayly, once it to expert.
No daunger there the shepheard can astert:
Fayre fieldes and pleasaunt layes there bene,
The fieldes ay fresh, the grasse ay greene:
O happy herse,
Make hast ye shepheards, thether to reuert,
O ioyfull verse.

Dido is gone afore (whose turne shall be the next?)
There liues shee with the blessed Gods in blisse,
There drincks she Nectar with Ambrosia mixt,
And ioyes enioyes, that mortall men do misse.
The honor now of highest gods she is,
That whilome was poore shepheards pryde,
While here on earth she did abyde.
O happy herse,
Ceasse now my song, my woe now wasted is.
O ioyfull verse.

Thenot.
Ay francke shepheard, how bene thy verses meint
With doolful pleasaunce, so as I ne wote,
Whether reioyce or weepe for great constrainte?
Thyne be the cossette, well hast thow it gotte.
Vp Colin vp, ynough thou mourned hast,
Noy gynnes to mizzle, hye we homeward fast.

Colins Embleme.
La mort ny mord.

Sonnet Lxxxiiii

LEt not one sparke of filthy lustfull fyre
breake out, that may her sacred peace molest:
ne one light glance of sensuall desyre:
Attempt to work her gentle mindes vnrest.
But pure affections bred in spotlesse brest,
& modest thoughts breathd fro[m] wel te[m]pred sprites
goe visit her in her bowre of rest,
accompanyde with angelick delightes.
There fill your selfe with those most ioyous sights,
the which my selfe could neuer yet attayne:
but speake no word to her of these sad plights,
which her too constant stiffenesse doth constrayn.
Onely behold her rare perfection,
and blesse your fortunes fayre election.

Poem 6

My loue is now awake out of her dreame,
and her fayre eyes like stars that dimmed were
With darksome cloud, now shew theyr goodly beams
More bright then Hesperus his head doth rere.
Come now ye damzels, daughters of delight,
Helpe quickly her to dight,
But first come ye fayre houres which were begot
In loues sweet paradice, of Day and Night,
Which doe the seasons of the yeare allot,
And al that euer in this world is fayre
Doe make and still repayre.
And ye three handmayds of the Cyprian Queene,
The which doe still adorne her beauties pride,
Helpe to addorne my beautifullest bride
And as ye her array, still throw betweene
Some graces to be seene,
And as ye vse to Venus, to her sing,
The whiles the woods shal answer & your eccho ring

Sonnet Lxxxii

Ioy of my life, full oft for louing you
I blesse my lot, that was so lucky placed:
but then the more your owne mishap I rew,
that are so much by so meane loue embased.
For had the equall heuens so much you graced
in this as in the rest, ye mote inuent
som heuenly wit, whose verse could haue enchased
your glorious name in golden moniment.
But since ye deignd so goodly to relent
to me your thrall, in whom is little worth,
that little that I am, shall all be spent,
in setting your immortall prayses forth.
Whose lofty argument vplifting me,
shall lift you vp vnto an high degree.

Sonnet Vii

Fayre eyes, the myrrour of my mazed hart,
what wondrous vertue is contaynd in you
the which both lyfe and death forth fro[m] you dart
into the obiect of your mighty view?
For when ye mildly looke with louely hew,
then is my soule with life and loue inspired:
but when ye lowre, or looke on me askew
then doe I die, as one with lightning fyred.
But since that lyfe is more then death desyred,
looke euer louely, as becomes you best,
that your bright beams of my weak eies admyred,
may kindle liuing fire within my brest.
Such life should be the honor of your light,
such death the sad ensample of your might.

Sonnet Xxv

HOw long shall this lyke dying lyfe endure,
And know no end of her owne mysery:
but wast and weare away in termes vnsure,
twixt feare and hope depending doubtfully.
Yet better were attonce to let me die,
and shew the last ensample of your pride:
then to torment me thus with cruelty,
to proue your powre, which I too wel haue tride.
But yet if in your hardned brest ye hide,
a close intent at last to shew me grace:
then all the woes and wrecks which I abide,
as meanes of blisse I gladly wil embrace.
And wish that more and greater they might be,
that greater meede at last may turne to mee.

Poem 91

I Saw in secret to my Dame,
How little Cupid humbly came:
and sayd to her All hayle my mother.
But when he saw me laugh, for shame:
His face with bashfull blood did flame,
not knowing Venus from the other,
Then neuer blush Cupid (quoth I)
for many haue err’d in this beauty.

Poem 97

THe wanton boy was shortly wel recured,
of that his malady:
But he soone after fresh againe enured,
his former cruelty.
And since that time he wounded hath my selfe
with his sharpe dart of loue:
And now forgets the cruell carelesse elfe,
his mothers heast to proue.
So now I languish till he please,
my pining anguish to appease.

The Shepheardes Calender: June

June: AEgloga Sexta. HOBBINOL & COLIN Cloute.

HOBBINOL.
LO! Collin, here the place, whose pleasaunt syte
From other shades hath weand my wandring mynde.
Tell me, what wants me here, to worke delyte?
The simple ayre, the gentle warbling wynde,
So calme, so coole, as no where else I fynde:
The grassye ground with daintye Daysies dight,
The Bramble bush, where Byrds of euery kynde
To the waters fall their tunes attemper right.

COLLIN.
O happy Hobbinoll, I blesse thy state,
That Paradise hast found, whych Adam lost.
Here wander may thy flock early or late,
Withouten dreade of Wolues to bene ytost:
Thy louely layes here mayet thou freely boste.
But I vnhappy man, whom cruell fate,
And angry Gods pursue from coste to coste,
Can nowhere fynd, to shouder my lucklesse pate.

HOBBINOLL.
Then if by me thou list aduised be,
Forsake the soyle, that so doth the bewitch:
Leaue me those hilles, where harbrough nis to see,
Nor holybush, nor brere, nor winding witche:
And to the dales resort, where shepheards ritch,
And fruictfull flocks bene euery where to see.
Here no night Rauens lodge more blacke then pitche,
Nor eluish ghosts, nor gastly owles doe flee.
But frendly Faeries, met with many Graces,
And lightfote Nymphes can chace the lingring night,
With Heydeguyes, and trimly trodden traces,
Whilst systers nyne, which dwell on Parnasse hight,
Doe make them musick, for their more delight:
And Pan himselfe to kisse their christall faces,
Will pype and daunce, when Phoebe shineth bright:
Such pierlesse pleasures haue we in these places.

COLLIN.
And I, whylst youth, and course of carelesse yeeres
Did let me walke withouten lincks of loue,
In such delights did ioy amongst my peeres:
But ryper age such pleasures doth reproue,
My fancye eke from former follies moue
To stayed steps: for time in passing weares
(As garments doen, which wexen old aboue)
And draweth newe delightes with hoary heares.
Tho couth I sing of loue, and tune my pype
Vnto my plaintiue pleas in verses made:
Tho would I seeke ,
To giue my Rosalind, and in Sommer shade
Dight gaudy Girlonds, was my comen trade,
To crowne her golden locks, but yeeres more rype,
And losse of her, whose loue as lyfe I wayd,
Those weary wanton toyes away dyd wype.

HOBBINOLL.
Colin, to heare thy rymes and roundelayes,
Which thou were wont on wastfull hylls to singe,
I more delight, then larke in Sommer dayes:
Whose Echo made the neyghbour groues to ring,
And taught the byrds, which in the lower spring
Did shroude in shady leaues from sonny rayes,
Frame to thy songe their chereful cheriping,
Or hold theyr peace, for shame of thy swete layes.
I sawe Calliope wyth Muses moe,
Soone as thy oaten pype began to sound,
Theyr youry Luyts and Tamburins forgoe:
And from the fountaine, where they sat around,
Renne after hastely thy siluer sound.
But when they came, where thou thy skill didst showe,
They drewe abacke, as halfe with shame confound,
Shepheard to see, them in theyr art outgoe.

COLLIN.
Of Muses Hobbinol, I conne no skill:
For they bene daughters of the hyghest Ioue,
And holden scorne of homely shepheards quill.
For sith I heard, that Pan with Phoebus stroue,
Which him to much rebuke and Daunger droue:
I neuer lyst presume to Parnasse hyll,
But pyping lowe in shade of lowly groue,
I play to please my selfe, all be it ill.
Nought weigh I, who my song doth prayse or blame,
Ne striue to winne renowne, or passe the rest:
With shepheard sittes not, followe flying fame:
But feede his flocke in fields, where falls hem best.
I wote my rymes bene rough, and rudely drest:
The fytter they, my carefull case to frame:
Enough is me to paint out my vnrest,
And poore my piteous plaints out in the same.

The God of shepheards Tityrus is dead,
Who taught me homely, as I can, to make.
He, whilst he liued, was the soueraigne head
Of shepheards all, that bene with loue ytake:
Well couth he wayle hys Woes, and lightly slake
The flames, which loue within his heart had bredd,
And tell vs mery tales, to keepe vs wake,
The while our sheepe about vs safely fedde.

Nowe dead he is, and lyeth wrapt in lead,
(O why should death on hym such outrage showe?)
And all hys passing skil with him is fledde,
The fame whereof doth dayly greater growe.
But if on me some little drops would flowe,
Of that the spring was in his learned hedde,
I soone would learne these woods, to wayle my woe,
And teache the trees, their trickling teares to shedde.

Then should my plaints, causd of discurtesee,
As messengers of all my painful plight,
Flye to my loue, where euer that she bee,
And pierce her heart with poynt of worthy wight:
As shee deserues, that wrought so deadly spight.
And thou Menalcas, that by trecheree
Didst vnderfong my lasse, to wexe so light,
Shouldest well be knowne for such thy villanee.

But since I am not, as I wish I were,
Ye gentle shepheards, which your flocks do feede,
Whether on hylls, or dales, or other where,
Beare witnesse all of thys so wicked deede:
And tell the lasse, whose flowre is woxe a weede,
And faultlesse fayth, is turned to faithlesse fere,
That she the truest shepheards hart made bleede,
That lyues on earth, and loued her most dere.

HOBBINOL.
O carefull Colin, I lament thy case,
Thy teares would make the hardest flint to flowe.
Ah faithlesse Rosalind, and voide of grace,
That art the roote of all this ruthfull woe.
But now is time, I gesse, homeward to goe:
Then ryse ye blessed flocks, and home apace,
Least night with stealing steppes doe you forsloe,
And wett your tender Lambes, that by you trace.

Colins embleme.
Gia speme spenta.

Sonnet Xxxii

The paynefull smith with force of feruent heat,
the hardest yron soone doth mollify:
that with his heauy sledge he can it beat,
and fashion to what he it list apply.
Yet cannot all these flames in which I fry,
her hart more harde then yron soft awhit;
ne all the playnts and prayers with which I
doe beat on th’anduyle of her stubberne wit:
But still the more she feruent sees my fit:
the more she frieseth in her wilfull pryde:
and harder growes the harder she is smit,
with all the playnts which to her be applyde.
What then remaines but I to ashes burne,
and she to stones at length all frosen turne?

Sonnet Xxxix

SWeet smile, the daughter of the Queene of loue,
Expressing all thy mothers powrefull art:
with which she wonts to temper angry loue,
when all the gods he threats with thundring dart.
Sweet is thy vertue as thy selfe sweet art,
for when on me thou shinedst late in sadnesse:
a melting pleasance ran through euery part,
and me reuiued with hart robbing gladnesse.
Whylest rapt with ioy resembling heauenly madnes,
my soule was rauisht quite as in a traunce:
and feeling thence no more her sorowes sadnesse,
fed on the fulnesse of that chearefull glaunce.
More sweet than Nectar or Ambrosiall meat,
seemd euery bit, which thenceforth I did eat.

Amoretti I: Happy ye leaves when as those lilly hands

Happy ye leaves when as those lilly hands,
Which hold my life in their dead doing might
Shall handle you and hold in loves soft bands,
Lyke captives trembling at the victors sight.
And happy lines, on which with starry light,
Those lamping eyes will deigne sometimes to look
And reade the sorrowes of my dying spright,
Written with teares in harts close bleeding book.
And happy rymes bath’d in the sacred brooke,
Of Helicon whence she derived is,
When ye behold that Angels blessed looke,
My soules long lacked foode, my heavens blis,
Leaves, lines, and rymes, seeke her to please alone,
Whom if ye please, I care for other none.

Amoretti XXX: My Love Is Like To Ice, And I To Fire

My Love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more I her entreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
And feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
And ice, which is congeal’d with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.

The Faerie Queene (Dedicatory Sonnets)

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 grave 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 LORD 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 living praises instrument,
Yet doe not sdeigne to let thy name be writt
In this base poeme, for thee far unfitt:
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.

RECEIVE, most noble Lord, in gentle gree
The unripe fruit of an unready wit,
Which by thy countenaunce doth crave to bee
Defended from foule Envies poisnous bit:
Which so to doe may thee right well befit,
Sith th’ antique glory of thine auncestry
Under a shady vele is therein writ,
And eke thine owne long living memory,
Succeeding them in true nobility;
And also for the love which thou doest beare
To th’ Heliconian ymps, and they to thee,
They unto thee, and thou to them, most deare.
Deare as thou art unto thy selfe, so love
That loves and honours thee, as doth behove.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE EARLE OF NORTHUMBERLAND

THE SACRED Muses have made alwaies clame
To be the nourses of nobility,
And registres of everlasting fame,
To all that armes professe and chevalry.
Then, by like right, the noble progeny,
Which them succeed in fame and worth, are tyde
T’embrace the service of sweete poetry,
By whose endevours they are glorifide;
And eke from all of whom it is envide
To patronize the authour of their praise,
Which gives them life, that els would soone have 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

RECEIVE, most noble Lord, a simple taste
Of the wilde fruit which salvage soyl hath bred,
Which, being through long wars left almost waste,
With brutish barbarisme is overspredd:
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 brave 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,
Receive, dear Lord, in worth, the fruit of barren field.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORD CH. HOWARD, LORD HIGH ADMIRAL OF ENGLAND, KNIGHT OF THE NOBLE ORDER OF THE GARTER, AND ONE OF HER MAJESTIES PRIVIE COUNSEL, &C.

AND ye, brave Lord, whose goodly person age
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 have a worthy place,
Sith those huge castles of Castilian king,
That vainly threatned kingdomes to displace,
Like flying doves ye did before you chace,
And that proud people, woxen insolent
Through many victories, didst first deface:
Thy praises everlasting monument
Is in this verse engraven semblably,
That it may live 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 live, bound yours by vassalage:
Sith nothing ever may redeeme, nor reave
Out of your endlesse debt so sure a gage,
Vouchsafe in worth this small guift to receave,
Which in your noble hands for pledge I leave
Of all the rest that I am tyde t’ account:
Rude rymes, the which a rustick Muse did weave
In savadge soyle, far from Parnassomount,
And roughly wrought in an unlearned loome:
The which vouchsafe, dear Lord, your favorable doome.

TO THE RIGHT NOBLE AND VALOROUS KNIGHT, SIR WALTER RALEIGH, LORD WARDEIN OF THE STANNERYES, AND LIEFTENAUNT OF CORNEWAILE

TO thee that art the sommers Nightingale,
Thy soveraine Goddesses most deare delight,
Why doe I send this rusticke madrigale,
That may thy tunefull eare unseason quite?
Thou onely fit this argument to write,
In whose high thoughts Pleasure hath built her bowre,
And dainty Love learnd sweetly to endite.
My rimes I know unsavory and sowre,
To tast the streames, that like a golden showre
Flow from thy fruitfull head, of thy loves praise;
Fitter perhaps to thonder martiall stowre,
When so thee list thy lofty Muse to raise:
Yet till that thou thy poeme wilt make knowne,
Let thy faire Cinthias praises bee thus rudely showne.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORD BURLEIGH, LORD HIGH THREASURER OF ENGLAND

TO you, right noble Lord, whose carefull brest
To menage of most grave affaires is bent,
And on whose mightie shoulders most doth rest
The burdein of this kingdomes governement,
As the wide compasse of the firmament
On Atlas mighty shoulders is upstayd,
Unfitly I these ydle rimes present,
The labor of lost time, and wit unstayd:
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 they may appeare to you.
Such as they be, vouchsafe them to receave,
And wipe their faults out of your censure grave.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE EARLE OF CUMBERLAND

REDOUBTED Lord, in whose corageous mind
The flowre of chevalry, now bloosming faire,
Doth promise fruite worthy the noble kind
Which of their praises have left you the haire;
To you this humble present I prepare,
For love of vertue and of martiall praise;
To which though nobly ye inclined are,
As goodlie well ye shew’d in late assaies,
Yet brave ensample of long passed daies,
In which trew honor yee may fashioned see,
To like desire of honor may ye raise,
And fill your mind with magnanimitee.
Receive it, Lord, therefore, as it was ment,
For honor of your name and high descent.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORD OF HUNSDON, HIGH CHAMBERLAINE TO HER MAJESTY

RENOWMED Lord, that for your worthinesse
And noble deeds, have your deserved place
High in the favour of that Emperesse,
The worlds sole glory and her sexes grace;
Here eke of right have 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 seene,
When that tumultuous rage and fearfull deene
Of Northerne rebels ye did pacify,
And their disloiall powre defaced clene,
The record of enduring memory.
Live, Lord, for ever in this lasting verse,
That all posteritie thy honor may reherse.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORD OF BUCKHURST, ONE OF HER MAJESTIES PRIVIE 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 Soverains praises to compile,
And her imperiall majestie to frame
In loftie numbers and heroicke stile.
But sith thou maist not so, give leave a while
To baser wit his power therein to spend,
Whose grosse defaults thy daintie pen may file,
And unadvised oversights amend.
But evermore vouchsafe it to maintaine
Against vile Zoilus backbitings vaine.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR FR. WALSINGHAM, KNIGHT, PRINCIPALL SECRETARY TO HER MAJESTY AND OF HER HONOURABLE PRIVY COUNSELL

THAT Mantuane poetes incompared spirit,
Whose girland now is set in highest place,
Had not Mecænas, for his worthy merit,
It first advaunst to great Augustus grace,
Might long, perhaps, have 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 unto your patronage;
That are the great Mecenas of this age,
As wel to al that civil artes professe,
As those that are inspir’d with martial rage,
And craves protection of her feeblenesse:
Which if ye yield, perhaps ye may her rayse
In bigger tunes to sound your living prayse.

TO THE RIGHT NOBLE LORD AND MOST VALIAUNT CAPTAINE, SIR JOHN NORRIS, KNIGHT, LORD PRESIDENT OF MOUNSTER

WHO ever gave more honourable prize
To the sweet Muse then did the martiall crew,
That their brave deeds she might immortalize
In her shril tromp, and sound their praises dew?
Who then ought more to favour her then you,
Moste noble Lord, the honor of this age,
And precedent of all that armes ensue?
Whose warlike prowesse and manly courage,
Tempred with reason and advizement sage,
Hath fild sad Belgicke with victorious spoile,
In Fraunce and Ireland left a famous gage,
And lately shakt the Lusitanian soile.
Sith, then, each where thou hast dispredd thy fame,
Love him that hath eternized your name.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE AND MOST VERTUOUS LADY, THE COUNTESSE OF PENBROKE

REMEMBRAUNCE of that most heroicke spirit,
The hevens pride, the glory of our daies,
Which now triumpheth through immortall merit
Of his brave vertues, crownd with lasting baies
Of hevenlie blis and everlasting praies;
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 living evermore
In the divine resemblaunce of your face;
Which with your vertues ye embellish more,
And native beauty deck with hevenlie grace:
For his, and for your owne especial sake,
Vouchsafe from him this token in good worth to take.

TO THE MOST VERTUOUS AND BEAUTIFULL LADY, THE LADY CAREW

NE may I, without blot of endlesse blame,
You, fairest Lady, leave 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 hevenly grace,
Wherewith ye triumph over feeble eyes,
And in subdued harts do tyranyse;
For thereunto doth need a golden quill
And silver leaves, them rightly to devise;
But to make humble present of good will:
Which, whenas timely meanes it purchase may,
In ampler wise it selfe will forth display.

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 have the vew.
Much more me needs, to draw the semblant trew
Of Beauties Queene, the worlds sole wenderment,
To sharpe my sence with sundry beauties vew,
And steale from each some part of ornament.
If all the world to seeke I overwent,
A fairer crew yet no where could I see
Then that brave court doth to mine eie present,
That the worlds pride seemes gathered there to bee.
Of each a part I stole by cunning thefte:
Forgive it me, faire Dames, sith lesse ye have not lefte.

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