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and perished in the flames. The poet himself, impoverished and brokenhearted, reached London, and died three months after, on the sixteenth of January, 1599, in the forty-seventh year of his age. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, near the tomb of Chaucer, and thirty years after his death, a monument was erected over his remains, by the Countess of Dorset.

The genius of Spenser was such as to place him in the very first class of English poets. In his great performance, the 'Faery Queen,' his creations are infinite, and in free and sonorous versification, he has rarely been surpassed. His lofty rhyme has a swell and cadence, and a continuous sweetness in it, that we in vain look for in any other poet. In luxuriant description also, and in richness of fancy and invention, he has scarcely ever been equalled. With all these great excellencies, however, Spenser is not without his faults, though these may be said to have arisen out of the


fullness of his riches. IIis inexhaustible power of circumstantial description, betrayed him into a minuteness which sometimes, in the delineation of his personified passions, becomes repulsive, and in the painting of 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. His command of musical language also induced him to protract his narrative to so great a length, that the attention becomes exhausted even with its very melody. Had he, therefore, lived to finish his great poem it is doubtful whether he would not have diminished the number of his readers. His own fancy had evidently begun to give away; for the last three books have not the same unity of design, or plenitude of imagination, which fills the earlier cantos with so many interesting, lofty, and ethereal conceptions, and steeps them in such a flood of ideal and poetical beauty. But notwithstanding the lengthened allegory may sometimes fatigue us, yet the general impression remains : we can 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. It remains only for us to select from this poem a few passages illustrative of these remarks, and with this view we present the following :

A gentle knight was pricking on the plain,
Y-clad 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.
A lovely lady rode him fair beside,
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 expellid :
Whom to avenge, she had this knight from far compellid.
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 bird's 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 Aspen 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 can not 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 seem,
That which of them to take, in divers doubt they been.


Yet she, most faithful lady, all this while
Forsaken, woful, solitary maid,
Far from all people's prease, as in exile,
In wilderness and wasteful deserts strayed,
To seek her knight; who subtilly betrayed
Through that late vision which th' enchanter wrought,
Had her abandoned ; she of naught 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 thicket 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 mark'd 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 palfry 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 keep both watch and ward;
And when she waked, he waited diligent,
With humble service to her will prepared;
From her fair eyes he took commandement,
And ever by her looks conceived her intent.


There the most dainty paradise on ground
Itself doth offer to his sober eye,
In which all pleasures plenteously abound.
And none does other's 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 canningly 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 be so great quantity,
That like a little lake it seem'd to be;
Whose depths exceeded not three cubits height,
That through the waves one might the bottom see,
All pav'd beneath with jasper shining bright,
That seem'd the fountain in that sea that did sail upright.
And all the margin round about was set
With shady laurel trees, thence to defend
The sunny beams, which in the billows beat,
And those which therein bathed might offend.

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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;

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