Edmund Spenser

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Edmund Spenser
'Joy of my life, full oft for loving you'
Joy of my life, full oft for loving you
I bless my lot, that was so lucky placed:
But then the more your own mishap I rue,
That are so much by so mean love embased.
For had the equal heavens so much you graced
In this as in the rest, ye might invent
Some heavenly wit, whose verse could have enchased
Your glorious name in golden monument.
But since ye deign’d 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 immortal praises forth;
Whose lofty argument uplifting me
Shall lift you up unto an high degree.

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The Shepheardes Calender: January
Januarie. Ægloga prima. ARGVMENT.

IN this fyrst Æglogue Colin clout a shepheardes boy complaineth him of his vnfortunate loue, being but newly (as semeth) enamoured of a countrie lasse called Rosalinde: with which strong affection being very sore traueled, he compareth his carefull case to the sadde season of the yeare, to the frostie ground, to the frosen trees, and to his owne winterbeaten flocke. And lastlye, fynding himselfe robbed of all former pleasaunce and delights, hee breaketh his Pipe in peeces, and casteth him selfe to the ground.


COLIN Cloute.


A Shepeheards boye (no better doe him call)
when Winters wastful spight was almost spent,
All in a sunneshine day, as did befall,
Led forth his flock, that had been long ypent.
So faynt they woxe, and feeble in the folde,
That now vnnethes their feete could them vphold.

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from The Faerie Queene: Book I, Canto I
Lo I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,
As time her taught in lowly Shepheards weeds,
Am now enforst a far unfitter taske,
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,
And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds;
Whose prayses having slept in silence long,
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
To blazon broad emongst her learned throng:
Fierce warres and faithful loves shall moralize my song.
Helpe then, O holy Virgin chiefe of nine,
Thy weaker Novice to performe thy will,
Lay forth out of thine everlasting scryne
The antique rolles, which there lye hidden still,
Of Faerie knights and fairest Tanaquill,
Whom that most noble Briton Prince so long
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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.
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Amoretti IV: "New yeare forth looking out of Janus gate"
New yeare forth looking out of Janus gate,
Doth seeme to promise hope of new delight:
And bidding th’old Adieu, his pass
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Amoretti LIV: Of this worlds Theatre in which we stay
Of this worlds Theatre in which we stay,
My love lyke the Spectator ydly sits
Beholding me that all the pageants play,
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
Sometimes I joy when glad occasion fits,
And mask in myrth lyke to a Comedy:
Soone after when my joy to sorrow flits,
I waile and make my woes a Tragedy.
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Amoretti LV: So oft as I her beauty do behold
So oft as I her beauty do behold,
And therewith do her cruelty compare,
I marvel of what substance was the mould
The which her made at once so cruel-fair.
Not earth; for her high thoughts more heavenly are:
Not water; for her love doth burn like fire:
Not air; for she is not so light or rare:
Not fire; for she doth freeze with faint desire.
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Amoretti LXII: "The weary yeare his race now having run"
The weary yeare his race now having run,
The new begins his compast course anew:
With shew of morning mylde he hath begun,
Betokening peace and plenty to ensew.
So let us, which this chaunge of weather vew,
Chaunge eeke our mynds and former lives amend,
The old yeares sinnes forepast let us eschew,
And fly the faults with which we did offend.
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Amoretti LXVI: "To all those happy blessings which ye have"
To all those happy blessings which ye have,
With plenteous hand by heaven upon you thrown:
This one disparagement they to you gave,
That ye your love lent to so meane a one.
Yee whose high worths surpassing paragon,
Could not on earth have found one fit for mate,
Ne but in heaven matchable to none,
Why did ye stoup unto so lowly state.
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Amoretti LXX: Fresh spring the herald of loves mighty king
Fresh spring the herald of loves mighty king,
In whose cote armour richly are displayed
All sorts of flowers the which on earth do spring
In goodly colours gloriously arrayd:
Goe to my love, where she is carelesse layd,
Yet in her winters bowre not well awake:
Tell her the joyous time wil not be staid
Unless she doe him by the forelock take.
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Amoretti LXXI: I joy to see how in your drawen work
I joy to see how in your drawen work,
Your selfe unto the Bee ye doe compare;
And me unto the Spyder that doth lurke,
In close awayt to catch her unaware.
Right so your selfe were caught in cunning snare
Of a deare for, and thralled to his love:
In whose streight bands ye now captived are
So firmely, that ye never may remove.
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Amoretti LXXXI: Fayre is my love, when her fayre golden heares
Fayre is my love, when her fayre golden heares,
With the loose wynd ye waving chance to marke:
Fayre when the rose in her red cheekes appears,
Or in her eyes the fyre of love does sparke.
Fayre when her brest lyke a rich laden barke,
With pretious merchandize she forth doth lay:
Fayre when that cloud of pryde which oft doth dark
Her goodly light with smiles she drives away,
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Amoretti LXXXIX: Lyke as the Culver on the barèd bough
Lyke as the Culver on the barèd bough,
Sits mourning for the absence of her mate:
And in her songs sends many a wishfull vow,
For his returne that seemes to linger late,
So I alone now left disconsolate,
Mourne to my selfe the absence of my love:
And wandring here and there all desolate,
Seek with my playnts to match that mournful dove:
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Amoretti VIII: More then most faire, full of the living fire
More then most faire, full of the living fire,
Kindled above unto the maker neere:
No eies but joyes, in which al powers conspire,
That to the world naught else be counted deare.
Thrugh your bright beams doth not the blinded guest
Shoot out his darts to base affections wound?
But Angels come to lead fraile mindes to rest
In chast desires on heavenly beauty bound.
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Amoretti XIII: "In that proud port, which her so goodly graceth"
In that proud port, which her so goodly graceth,
Whiles her faire face she reares up to the skie:
And to the ground her eie lids low embaseth
Most goodly temperature ye may descry,
Myld humblesse mixt with awfull majesty,
For looking on the earth whence she was borne:
Her minde remembreth her mortalitie,
What so is fayrest shall to earth returne.
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Amoretti XV: Ye tradefull Merchants that with weary toyle
Ye tradefull Merchants that with weary toyle,
Do seeke most pretious things to make your gain:
And both the Indias of their treasures spoile,
What needeth you to seeke so farre in vaine?
For loe my love doth in her selfe containe
All this worlds riches that may farre be found,
If Saphyres, loe hir eies be Saphyres plaine,
If Rubies, loe hir lips be Rubies sound:
If Pearles, hir teeth be pearles both pure and round;
If Yvorie, her forhead yvory weene;
If Gold, her locks are finest gold on ground;
If silver, her faire hands are silver sheene;
But that which fairest is, but few behold,
Her mind adornd with vertues manifold.
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Amoretti XXIII: Penelope for her Ulisses sake
Penelope for her Ulisses sake,
Deviz’d a Web her wooers to deceave:
In which the worke that she all day did make
The same at night she did again unreave:
Such subtile craft my Damzell doth conceave,
Th’ importune suit of my desire to shonne:
For all that I in many dayes doo weave,
In one short houre I find by her undonne.
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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?
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Amoretti III: The Sovereign Beauty
The sovereign beauty which I do admire,
Witness the world how worthy to be praised:
The light whereof hath kindled heavenly fire
In my frail spirit, by her from baseness raised;
That being now with her huge brightness dazed,
Base thing I can no more endure to view;
But looking still on her, I stand amazed
At wondrous sight of so celestial hue.
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Amoretti LXVII: Like as a Huntsman
Like as a huntsman after weary chase,
Seeing the game from him escap'd away,
Sits down to rest him in some shady place,
With panting hounds beguiled of their prey:
So after long pursuit and vain assay,
When I all weary had the chase forsook,
The gentle deer return'd the self-same way,
Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brook.
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Amoretti LXVIII: Most Glorious Lord of Life
Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day,
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin:
And having harrow'd hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we for whom thou diddest die,
Being with thy dear blood clean wash'd from sin,
May live for ever in felicity.
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Amoretti LXXIV: Most Happy Letters
Most happy letters, fram'd by skilful trade,
With which that happy name was first design'd:
The which three times thrice happy hath me made,
With gifts of body, fortune, and of mind.
The first my being to me gave by kind,
From mother's womb deriv'd by due descent,
The second is my sovereign Queen most kind,
That honour and large richesse to me lent.
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Amoretti LXXIX: Men Call you Fair
Men call you fair, and you do credit it,
For that your self ye daily such do see:
But the true fair, that is the gentle wit,
And vertuous mind, is much more prais'd of me.
For all the rest, how ever fair it be,
Shall turn to naught and lose that glorious hue:
But only that is permanent and free
From frail corruption, that doth flesh ensue.
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Amoretti LXXV: One Day I Wrote her Name
One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
"Vain man," said she, "that dost in vain assay,
A mortal thing so to immortalize;
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eke my name be wiped out likewise."
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Amoretti XXII: This Holy Season
This holy season, fit to fast and pray,
Men to devotion ought to be inclin'd:
Therefore I likewise on so holy day,
For my sweet saint some service fit will find.
Her temple fair is built within my mind,
In which her glorious image placed is,
On which my thoughts do day and night attend,
Like sacred priests that never think amiss.
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An Hymn In Honour Of Beauty
AH whither, Love, wilt thou now carry me?
What wontless fury dost thou now inspire
Into my feeble breast, too full of thee?
Whilst seeking to aslake thy raging fire,
Thou in me kindlest much more great desire,
And up aloft above my strength dost raise
The wondrous matter of my fire to praise.
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An Hymn Of Heavenly Beauty
Rapt with the rage of mine own ravish'd thought,
Through contemplation of those goodly sights,
And glorious images in heaven wrought,
Whose wondrous beauty, breathing sweet delights
Do kindle love in high-conceited sprights;
I fain to tell the things that I behold,
But feel my wits to fail, and tongue to fold.
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Epithalamion
Ye learned sisters which have oftentimes
Beene to me ayding, others to adorne:
Whom ye thought worthy of your gracefull rymes,
That even the greatest did not greatly scorne
To heare theyr names sung in your simple layes,
But joyed in theyr prayse.
And when ye list your owne mishaps to mourne,
Which death, or love, or fortunes wreck did rayse,
Your string could soone to sadder tenor turne,
And teach the woods and waters to lament
Your dolefull dreriment.
Now lay those sorrowfull complaints aside,
And having all your heads with girland crownd,
Helpe me mine owne loves prayses to resound,
Ne let the same of any be envide:
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Iambicum Trimetrum
Unhappy verse, the witness of my unhappy state,
Make thy self flutt'ring wings of thy fast flying
Thought, and fly forth unto my love, wheresoever she be:
Whether lying restless in heavy bed, or else
Sitting so cheerless at the cheerful board, or else
Playing alone careless on her heavenly virginals.
If in bed, tell her, that my eyes can take no rest:
If at board, tell her, that my mouth can eat no meat:
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Prosopopoia: or Mother Hubbard's Tale
By that he ended had his ghostly sermon,
The fox was well induc'd to be a parson,
And of the priest eftsoons gan to inquire,
How to a benefice he might aspire.
"Marry, there" (said the priest) "is art indeed:
Much good deep learning one thereout may read;
For that the ground-work is, and end of all,
How to obtain a beneficial.
First, therefore, when ye have in handsome wise
Yourself attired, as you can devise,
Then to some nobleman yourself apply,
Or other great one in the worldes eye,
That hath a zealous disposition
To God, and so to his religion.
There must thou fashion eke a godly zeal,
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Prothalamion
CALM was the day, and through the trembling air
Sweet breathing Zephyrus did softly play,
A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay
Hot Titan's beams, which then did glister fair;
When I whose sullen care,
Through discontent of my long fruitless stay
In prince's court, and expectation vain
Of idle hopes, which still do fly away
Like empty shadows, did afflict my brain,
Walked forth to ease my pain
Along the shore of silver streaming Thames,
Whose rutty bank, the which his river hems,
Was painted all with variable flowers,
And all the meads adorned with dainty gems,
Fit to deck maidens' bowers,
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from The Shepheardes Calender: April
THENOT &HOBBINOLL
Tell me good Hobbinoll, what garres thee greete?
What? hath some Wolfe thy tender Lambes ytorne?
Or is thy Bagpype broke, that soundes so sweete?
Or art thou of thy loved lasse forlorne?

Or bene thine eyes attempred to the yeare,
Quenching the gasping furrowes thirst with rayne?
Like April shoure, so stremes the trickling teares
Adowne thy cheeke, to quenche thy thristye payne.

HOBBINOLL
Nor thys, nor that, so muche doeth make me mourne,
But for the ladde, whome long I lovd so deare,
Nowe loves a lasse, that all his love doth scorne:
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from The Shepheardes Calender: October
PIERCE &CUDDIE
Cuddie, for shame hold up thy heavye head,
And let us cast with what delight to chace,
And weary thys long lingring Phoebus race.
Whilome thou wont the shepheards laddes to leade,
In rymes, in ridles, and in bydding base:
Now they in thee, and thou in sleepe art dead.

CUDDY
Piers, I have pyped erst so long with payne,
That all mine Oten reedes bene rent and wore:
And my poore Muse hath spent her spared store,
Yet little good hath got, and much lesse gayne,
Such pleasaunce makes the Grashopper so poore,
And ligge so layd, when Winter doth her straine.
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