Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Book I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 285 pages of information about Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Book I.


In prime of youthly yeares, when corage hot
  The fire of love and joy of chevalree
  First kindled in my brest, it was my lot
  To love this gentle Lady, whom ye see, 310
  Now not a Lady, but a seeming tree;
  With whom as once I rode accompanyde,
  Me chaunced of a knight encountred bee,
  That had a like faire Lady by his syde,
Like a faire Lady, but did fowle Duessa hyde. 315


Whose forged beauty he did take in hand,
  All other Dames to have exceeded farre;
  I in defence of mine did likewise stand,
  Mine, that did then shine as the Morning starre. 
  So both to battell fierce arraunged arre, 320
  In which his harder fortune was to fall
  Under my speare:  such is the dye of warre: 
  His Lady left as a prise martiall,
Did yield her comely person to be at my call.


So doubly lov’d of Ladies unlike faire, 325
  Th’ one seeming such, the other such indeede,
  One day in doubt I cast for to compare,
  Whether in beauties glorie did exceede;
  A Rosy girlond was the victors meede: 
  Both seemde to win, and both seemde won to bee, 330
  So hard the discord was to be agreede. 
  Fraelissa was as faire, as faire mote bee,
And ever false Duessa seemde as faire as shee.


The wicked witch now seeing all this while
  The doubtfull ballaunce equally to sway, 335
  What not by right, she cast to win by guile,
  And by her hellish science raisd streightway
  A foggy mist, that overcast the day,
  And a dull blast, that breathing on her face,
  Dimmed her former beauties shining ray, 340
  And with foule ugly forme did her disgrace: 
Then was she faire alone, when none was faire in place.[*]


Then cride she out, Fye, fye, deformed wight,
  Whose borrowed beautie now appeareth plaine
  To have before bewitched all mens sight; 345
  O leave her soone, or let her soone be slaine. 
  Her loathly visage viewing with disdaine,
  Eftsoones I thought her such, as she me told,
  And would have kild her; but with faigned paine
  The false witch did my wrathfull hand with-hold; 350
So left her, where she now is turnd to treen mould.[*]


Then forth I tooke Duessa for my Dame,
  And in the witch unweeting joyd long time,
  Ne ever wist but that she was the same,[*]
  Till on a day (that day is every Prime, 355
  When Witches wont do penance for their crime)
  I chaunst to see her in her proper hew,[*]
  Bathing her selfe in origane and thyme: 
  A filthy foule old woman I did vew,
That ever to have toucht her I did deadly rew. 360

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Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Book I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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