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most faire Lady, called Amoretta, whom he kept in most grievous torment. Whereupon Sir Scudamour, the lover of that Lady, presently tooke on him that adventure. But being unable to performe it by reason of the hard Enchauntments, after long sorrow, in the end met with Britomartis, who succoured him, and reskewed his love.

But, by occasion hereof, many other adventures are intermedled; but rather as accidents then intendments. As the love of Britomart, the overthrow of Marinell, the misery of Florimell, the vertuousnes of Belphoebe; and many the like.

Thus much, Sir, I have briefly overronne to direct your understanding to the wel-head of the History; that, from thence gathering the whole intention of the conceit, ye may as in a handfull gripe al the discourse, which otherwise may happily seem tedious and confused. So, humbly craving the continuance of your honorable favour towards me, and th' eternall establishment of your happines, I humbly take leave.

Yours most humbly affectionate,

ED. SPENSER.

23 Ianuary, 1589.

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 ?
Then onely fit this argument to write

In whose high thoughts Pleasure hath built her bowre,
And dainty Love learned 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 thunder martiall stowre,
Whenso thee list thy lofty Muse to raise :
Yet, till that thou thy poeme wilt make knowne,
Let thy faire Cinthias praises be thus rudely showne.

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TO

THE MOST HIGH MIGHTIE AND MAGNIFICENT

EMPRESSE

RENOWNED FOR PIETIE VERTVE AD ALL GRATIOVS GOVERNMENT

ELIZABETH

BY THE GRACE OF GOD

Queene of England Frabnce and Ireland and of Virginia

Defendobr of the Faith ete.

HER MOST HUMBLE SERVAUNT

E D M VND SPENSER

DOTH IN ALL HUMILITIE

DEDICATE PRESENT AND CONSECRATE

THESE HIS LABOVRS

TO LIVE WITH THE ETERNITIE OF HER FAME.

THE FIRST BOOKE OF

THE FAERY QUEENE

CONTAYNING

The Legend
of the Knight of the Red Crosse,

or of Holinesse.

i Lo I, the man whose Muse whylome did maske,

As time her taught, in lowly Shepheards weeds,
Am now enforst, a farre unfitter taske,
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine oaten reeds,
And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds;
Whose praises having slept in silence long,
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
To blazon broade emongst her learned throng:
Fierce warres and faithfull loves shall moralize my song.

2 Help 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 Faery knights and fayrest Tanaquill,
Whom that most noble Briton prince so long
Sought through the world, and suffered so much ill,
That I must rue his undeserved wrong:
O, helpe thou my weake wit, and sharpen my dul tong.

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