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owner were of more vertue than he is that succedeth, the robe beinge worne, it minissheth his praise to them whiche knewe or haue herde of the vertue of him that firste owed it. If he that weareth it be viciouse, it more detecteth howe moche he is unworthy to weare it, the remembraunce of his noble auncetour makynge men to abhorre the reproche gyuen by an iuell successour. If the firste owner were nat vertuouse, hit condemneth him that weareth it of moche folishenesse, to glorie in a thinge of so base estimation, whiche lacking beautie or glosse, can be none ornament to hym that weareth it, nor honorable remembrance to hym that first owed it.

But nowe to confirme by true histories, that accordynge as I late affirmed, nobilitie is nat onely in dignitie, auncient lignage, nor great reuenues, landes, or possessions. Lete yonge gentilmen haue often times tolde to them, and (as it is vulgarely spoken) layde in their lappes, how Numa Pompilius was taken from husbandry, whiche he exercised, and was made kynge of Romanes by election of the people. What caused it suppose you but his wisedome and vertue? whiche in hym was very nobilitie, and that nobilitie broughte hym to dignitie. And if that were nat nobilitie, the Romanes were meruailousely abused, that after the dethe of Romulus their kynge, they hauynge amonge them a hundred senatours, whom Romulus did sette in autoritie, and also the blode roiall, and olde gentilmen of the Sabynes, who, by the procurement of the wiues of the Romanes, beinge their doughters, inhabited the citie of Rome, they wolde nat of some of them electe a kynge, rather than aduance a ploughman and stranger to that autoritie.

Quintius hauyng but xxx acres of lande, and beinge ploughman therof, the Senate and people of Rome sent a messager to shewe him that they had chosen him to be dictator, whiche was at that time the highest dignitie amonge the Romanes, and for thre monethes had autoritie roiall. Quintius herynge the message, lette his ploughe stande, and wente in to the citie and prepared his hoste againe the Samnites, and vainquisshed them valiauntly. And that done, he surrendred his office, and beinge discharged of the dignitie, he repaired agayne to his ploughe, and applied it diligently.

I wolde demaunde nowe, if nobilitie were only in the dignitie, or in his prowesse,

whiche he shewed agayne his enemies? If it were only in his dignitie, it therwith cessed, and he was (as I mought say) eftsones unnoble; and than was his prowesse unrewarded, whiche was the chiefe and originall cause of that dignitie: whiche were incongruent and without reason. If it were in his prowesse, prowesse consistynge of valiant courage and martiall policie, if they styll remaine in the persone, he may neuer be without nobilitie, whiche is the commendation, and as it were, the surname of vertue.

The two Romanes called bothe Decii, were of the base astate of the people, and nat of the great blode of the Romanes, yet for the preseruation of their countray they auowed to die, as it were in a satisfaction for all their countray. And so with valiant hartes they perced the hoste of their enemies, and valiuntly fightynge, they died there honorably, and by their example gaue suche audacitie and courage to the residue of the Romanes, that they employed so their strengthe agayne their enemies, that with litle more losse they optained victorie. Ought nat these two Romanes, whiche by their deth gaue occasion of victorie, be called noble? I suppose no man that knoweth what reason is will denie it.

More ouer, we haue in this realme coynes which be called nobles; as longe as they be seene to be golde, they be so called. But if they be counterfaicted, and made in brasse, coper, or other vile metal, who for the print only calleth them nobles? Wherby it appereth that the estimation is in the metall, and nat in the printe or figure. And in a horse or good grehounde we prayse that we se in them, and nat the beautie or goodnesse of their progenie. Whiche proueth that in estemyng of money and catell we be ladde by wysedome, and in approuynge of man, to whom beastis and money do serue, we be only induced by custome.

Thus I conclude that nobilitie is nat after the vulgare opinion of men, but is only the prayse and surname of vertue; whiche the lenger it continueth in a name or lignage, the more is nobilitie extolled and meruailed at.



[The Letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, setting forth the purpose of The Faerie Queene]

Sir, knowing how doubtfully all Allegories may be construed, and this booke of

mine, which I have entituled the Faery Queene, being a continued Allegory, or darke conceit, I haue thought good, as well for avoyding of gealous opinions and misconstructions, as also for your better light in reading thereof, (being so by you com manded,) to discover unto you the general intention and meaning, which in the whole course thereof I have fashioned without expressing of any particular purposes, or by accidents, therein occasioned. The generall end therefore of all the booke is to fashion a gentleman or noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline: Which for that I conceived shoulde be most plausible and pleasing, being coloured with an historicall fiction, the which the most part of men delight to read, rather for variety of matter then for profite of the ensample. I chose the historye of King Arthure, as most fitte for the excellency of his person, being made famous by many mens former workes, and also furthest from the daunger of envy, and suspition of present time. In which I have followed all the antique Poets historicall; first Homere, who in the Persons of Agamemnon and Ulysses hath ensampled a good governour and a vertuous man, the one in his Ilias, the other in his Odysseis; then Virgil, whose like intention was to doe in the person of Aeneas: after him Ariosto comprised them both in his Orlando: and lately Tasso dissevered them againe, and formed both parts in two persons, namely that part which they in Philosophy call Ethice, or vertues of a private man, coloured in his Rinaldo; the other named Politice in his Godfredo. By ensample of which excellente Poets, I labour to pourtraict in Arthure, before he was king, the image of a brave knight, perfected in the twelve private morall vertues, as Aristotle hath devised; the which is the purpose of these first twelve bookes: which if I finde to be well accepted, I may be perhaps encoraged to frame the other part of polliticke vertues in his person, after that hee came to be king.

To some, I know, this Methode will seeme displeasaunt, which had rather have good discipline delivered plainly in way of precepts, or sermoned at large, as they use, then thus clowdily enwrapped in Allegoricall devises. But such, me seeme, should be satisfide with the use of these dayes, seeing all things accounted by their showes, and nothing esteemed of, that is not delightfull and pleasing to commune sence. For this cause is Xenophon preferred before Plato, for that

the one, in the exquisite depth of his judgement, formed a Commune welth, such as it should be; but the other in the person of Cyrus, and the Persians, fashioned a governement, such as might best be: So much more profitable and gratious is doctrine by ensample, then by rule. So have I laboured to doe in the person of Arthure: whome I conceive, after his long education by Timon, to whom he was by Merlin delivered to be brought up, so soone as he was borne of the Lady Igrayne, to have seene in a dream or vision the Faery Queen, with whose excellent beauty ravished, he awaking resolved to seeke her out; and so being by Merlin armed, and by Timon throughly instructed, he went to seeke her forth in Faerye land. In that Faery Queene I meane glory in my generall intention, but in my particular I conceive the most excellent and glorious person of our soveraine the Queene, and her kingdome in Faery land. And yet, in some places els, I doe otherwise shadow her. For considering she beareth two persons, the one of a most royall Queene or Empresse, the other of a most vertuous and beautifull Lady, this latter part in some places I doe expresse in Belphabe, fashioning her name. according to your owne excellent conceipt of Cynthia, (Phoebe and Cynthia being both names of Diana). So in the person of Prince Arthure I sette forth magnificence in particular; which vertue, for that (according to Aristotle and the rest) it is the perfection of all the rest, and conteineth in it them all, therefore in the whole course I mention the deedes of Arthure applyable to that vertue, which I write of in that booke. But of the xii. other vertues, I make xii. other knights the patrones, for the more variety of the history: Of which these three bookes contayn three.

The first of the knight of the Redcrosse, in whome I expresse Holynes: The seconde of Sir Guyon, in whome I sette forth Temperaunce: The third of Britomartis, a Lady Knight, in whome I picture Chastity. But, because the beginning of the whole worke seemeth abrupte, and as depending upon other antecedents, it needs that ye know the occasion of these three knights seuerall adventures. For the Methode of a Poet historical is not such, as of an Historiographer. For an Historiographer discourseth of affayres orderly as they were donne, accounting as well the times as the actions; but a Poet thrusteth into the middest, even where it most concerneth him, and there recours

ing to the thinges forepaste, and divining | of thinges to come, maketh a pleasing Analysis of all.

The beginning therefore of my history, if it were to be told by an Historiographer should be the twelfth booke, which is the last; where I devise that the Faery Queene kept her Annuall feaste xii. dayes; uppon which xii. severall dayes, the occasions of the xii. severall adventures hapned, which, being undertaken by xii. severall knights, are in these xii. books severally handled and discoursed. The first was this. In the beginning of the feast, there presented him selfe a tall clownishe younge man, who falling before the Queene of Faries, desired boone (as the manner then was) which during that feast she might not refuse; which was that hee might have the atchievement of any adventure, which during that feaste should happen: that being graunted, he rested him on the floore, unfitte through his rusticity for a better place. Soone after entred a faire Ladye in mourning weedes, riding on a white Asse, with a dwarfe behind her leading a warlike steed, that bore the Armes of a knight, and his speare in the dwarfes hand. Shee, falling before the Queene of Faeries, complayned that her father and mother, an ancient King and Queene, had bene by an huge dragon many years shut up in a brasen Castle, who thence suffred them not to yssew; and therefore besought the Faery Queene to assygne her some one of her knights to take on him that exployt. Presently that clownish person, upstarting, desired that adventure: whereat the Queene much wondering, and the Lady much gainesaying, yet he earnestly importuned his desire. In the end the Lady told him, that unlesse that armour which she brought would serve him (that is, the armour of a Christian man specified by Saint Paul, vi. Ephes.) that he could not succeed in that enterprise; which being forthwith put upon him, with dewe furnitures thereunto, he seemed the goodliest man in al that company, and was well liked of the Lady. And eftesoones taking on him knighthood, and mounting on that straunge Courser, he went forth with her on that adventure: where beginneth the first booke, viz.

A gentle knight was pricking on the playne. &c.

The second day ther came in a Palmer, bearing an Infant with bloody hands, whose Parents he complained to have bene slayn

by an Enchaunteresse called Acrasia; and therfore craved of the Faery Queene, to appoint him some knight to performe that adventure; which being assigned to Sir Guyon, he presently went forth with that same Palmer: which is the beginning of the second booke, and the whole subject thereof. The third day there came in a Groome, who complained before the Faery Queene, that a vile Enchaunter, called Busirane, had in hand a most faire Lady, called Amoretta, whom he kept in most grievous torment, because she would not yield him the pleasure of her body. Whereupon Sir Scudamour, the lover of that Lady, presently tooke on him that adventure. But being vnable to performe it by reason of the hard Enchauntments, after long sorrow, in the end met with Britomartis, who succoured him, and reskewed his loue.

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 Belphobe, the lasciviousness of Hellenora, and many the like.

Thus much, Sir, I have briefly overronne to direct your understanding to the welhead 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 seeme 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.

23. Ianuary 1589, Yours most humbly affectionate, Ed. Spenser.



[A portrait of Sir Philip Sidney, from Mother Hubberds Tale]

Yet the brave Courtier, in whose beauteous thought

Regard of honour harbours more than ought,

Doth loath such base condition, to backbite
Anies good name for envie or despite :
He stands on tearmes of honourable minde,
Ne will be carried with the common winde
Of Courts inconstant mutabilitie,
Ne after everie tattling fable flie;

But heares and sees the follies of the rest, And thereof gathers for himselfe the best. He will not creepe, nor crouche with fained face,

But walkes upright with comely stedfast pace,

And unto all doth yeeld due curtesie;
But not with kissed hand belowe the knee,
As that same Apish crue is wont to doo:
For he disdaines himselfe t'embase theretoo.
He hates fowle leasings, and vile flatterie,
Two filthie blots in noble gentrie;
And lothefull idlenes he doth detest,
The canker worme of everie gentle brest;
The which to banish with faire exercise
Of knightly feates, he daylie doth devise:
Now menaging the mouthes of stubborne

Now practising the proofe of warlike deedes,

Now his bright armes assaying, now his speare,

Now the nigh aymed ring away to beare.
At other times he casts to sew the chace
Of swift wilde beasts, or runne on foot a

T' enlarge his breath, (large breath in armes most needfull)

Or els by wrestling to wex strong and heedfull,

Or his stiffe armes to stretch with Eughen


And manly legs, still passing too and fro,
Without a gowned beast him fast beside,
A vaine ensample of the Persian pride;
Who, after he had wonne th' Assyrian

Did ever after scorne on foote to goe.

Thus when this Courtly Gentleman with

Himselfe hath wearied, he doth recoyle
Unto his rest, and there with sweete delight
Of Musicks skill revives his toyled spright;
Or els with Loves, and Ladies gentle sports,
The joy of youth, himselfe he recomforts;
Or lastly, when the bodie list to pause,
His minde unto the Muses he withdrawes:
Sweete Ladie Muses, Ladies of delight,
Delights of life, and ornaments of light!
With whom he close confers with wise dis-

Of Natures workes, of heavens continuall course,

Of forreine lands, of people different, Of kingdomes change, of divers gouvernment,

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battailes of renowmed

With which he kindleth his ambitious sprights

To like desire and praise of noble fame,
The onely upshot whereto he doth ayme:
For all his minde on honour fixed is,
To which he levels all his purposis,
And in his Princes service spends his dayes,
Not so much for to gaine, or for to raise
Himselfe to high degree, as for his grace,
And in his liking to winne worthie place,
Through due deserts and comely carriage,
In whatso please employ his personage,
That may be matter meete to gaine him

For he is fit to use in all assayes,
Whether for Armes and warlike amenaunce,
Or else for wise and civill governaunce.
For he is practiz'd well in policie,
And thereto doth his Courting most applie:
To learne the enterdeale of Princes strange,
To marke th' intent of Counsells, and the

Of states, and eke of private men somewhile,
Supplanted by fine falshood and faire guile;
Of all the which he gathereth what is fit
T'enrich the storehouse of his powerfull

Which through wise speaches and grave conference

He daylie eekes, and brings to excellence. Such is the rightfull Courtier in his kinde.



[From Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral, published 1597, 1612, 1625]

1. Of Truth

"What is truth?" said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief, affecting freewill in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labor which men take in finding out of truth; nor again, that' when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor: but

1 Bacon says of the Essays: "I have endeavored to make them not vulgar, but of a nature whereof a man shall find much in experience and little in books, so as they are neither repetitions nor fancies."

a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later school of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love lies: where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets; nor for advantage, as with the merchant; but for the lie's sake. But I cannot tell: this same truth is a naked and open daylight, that doth not show the masques, and mummeries, and triumphs of the world half so stately and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt that if there were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy vinum daemonum because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in and settleth in it that doth the hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men's depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it; and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath work, ever since, is the illumination of his spirit. First he breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. The poet, that beautified the sect that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well, "It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below; but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene), and to see

1 devil's wine

the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below"; so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly it is heaven upon earth to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.

To pass from theological and philosophical truth to the truth of civil business, it will be acknowledged, even by those that practice it not, that clear and round dealing is the honor of man's nature, and that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it; for these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent, which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious; and therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge. "If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say that he is brave towards God, and a coward towards man." For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man. Surely the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men: it being foretold, that when Christ cometh, "he shall not find faith upon the earth."

2. Of Travel

Travel in the younger sort is a part of education; in the elder a part of experience. He that traveleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel. That young men travel under some tutor or grave servant, I allow well; so that he be such a one. that hath the language, and hath been in the country before; whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy to be seen in the country where they go, what acquaintances they are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place yieldeth. For else young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange thing, that in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but sky and sea, men should make diaries, but in land travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it as if chance were fitter to be registered than observation. Let diaries therefore be brought in use. The things to be

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