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Enforst to seek some cover 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,
Not 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 birds' sweet harmony,
Which, therein shrouded from the tempest dread,
Seemed 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 Aspin 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 benders 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 cannot 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 seen,
That which of them to take, in divers doubt they been.
The Faerie Queen, Book I.
THE MINISTRY OF ANGELS.
AND is there care in heaven? And is there love
O In heavenly spirits to these creatures base,
That may compassion of their evils move?
There is : else much more wretched were the case
Of men than beasts. But 0! th' exceeding grace
Of highest God that loves his creatures so,
And all his works with mercy doth embrace,
That blessed Angels he sends to and fro,
To serve to wicked man, to serve his wicked foe!
How oft do they their silver bowers leave,
To come to succour us that succour want !
How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant,
Against foul fiends to aid us militant !
They for us fight, they watch and duly ward,
And their bright squadrons round about us plant;
And all for love, and nothing for reward.
O! why should heavenly God to men have such regard ?
The Faerie Queen, Book II.
THE BOWER OF BLISS. CFTSOONES they heard a most melodious sound
- Of all that might delight a dainty ear, Such as at once might not on mortal 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 attempered sweet ;
Th' angelical soft trembling voices made
To th' instruments divine respondence sweet ;
The silver sounding instruments did meet
With the base murmur of the water's fall ;
The water's fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call,
The gentle warbling wind low answered to all.
The Faerie Queen, Book II.
W AKE now, my love, awake! for it is time ;
The rosy morn long since left Tithone's bed, All ready to her silver coach to climb : And Phæbus 'gins to show his glorious head. Hark! how the cheerful birds do chant their lays And carol of Love's praise. The merry lark her matins sings aloft ; The thrush replies; the mavis descant plays; The ouzel shrills ; the ruddock warbles soft ; So goodly all agree, with sweet consent, To this day's merriment. Ah! my dear love, why do ye sleep thus long, When meeter were that ye should now awake, To await the coming of your joyous make, And hearken to the birds' love-learned song, The dewy leaves among ! For they of joy and pleasance to you sing, That all the woods them answer, and their echo ring.
My love is now awake out of her dreams,
And her fair eyes, like stars that dimmed were
With darksome cloud, now show their goodly beams,
More bright than Hesperus his head doth rear.
Come now, ye damsels, daughters of delight,
Help quickly her to dight,
But first come ye fair hours, which were begot,
In Jove's sweet paradise of Day and Night;
Which do the seasons of the year allot,
And all that ever in this world is fair,
Do make and still repair.
And ye three handmaids of the Cyprian Queen
The which do still adorn her beauty's pride,
Help to adorn my beautifullest bride :
And as ye her array, still throw between
Some graces to be seen ;
And, as ye use to Venus, to her sing,
The whiles the woods shall answer and your echo ring.
Lo! where she comes along with portly pace,
Like Phæbe, from her chamber in the East,
Arising forth to run her mighty race,
Clad all in white, that seems a virgin best.
So well it her beseems, that ye would ween
Some angel she had been.
Her long loose yellow locks like golden wire,
Sprinkled with pearl, and pearling flowers between,
Do like a golden mantle her attire.
And, being crowned with a garland green,
Seem like some maiden queen.
Her modest eyes abashed to behold,
So many gazers as on her do stare,
Upon the lowly ground affixed are ;
Nor dare lift up her countenance too bold,
But blush to hear her praises sung so loud,
So far from being proud.