1714
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Another Original Canto of Spencer.

Another Original Canto of Spencer: design'd as part of his Fairy Queen, but never printed. Now made publick, by Nestor Ironside, Esq.

Rev. Samuel Croxall


54 Spenserian stanzas; a political allegory written as a sequel to Samuel Croxall's Original Canto of Spencer (1713), which had reached a third edition in 1714. "The passionate fondness I have for this great man's writings, may be some apology for my publishing any thing of his, tho' ever so maim'd and deform'd: I am biass'd to believe some others may behold the least relique of him with the same lover's eye" Preface.

W. C. Hazlitt: "This second hoax, it is likely, did not prove so successful as the first. Spenser's imitator seems to have been equally ignorant of his style and his versification, or at least incapable of following either" Collections and Notes (1867-76) 2:574.

Harko Gerrit De Maar: "It describes, from a Whig standpoint, the state of England during Queen Anne's reign, the dismissal of Marlborough and the triumph of the Tories. In the preface Croxall wrote that 'it must not be expected to come up to the other in the spirit and strength of the Poesy.' The public agreed with the author, for the poem was never reprinted" History of Modern English Romanticism (1924) 81.

Earl R. Wasserman: "Many of the Spenserian poems, such as Croxall's Original Canto, Lloyd's Progress of Envy, and West's Education and Abuse of Travelling, attempt to follow Spenser very closely in all his mannerisms: not merely in his archaisms, but also in his profusion of monosyllables and his use of a loose, naive syntax, which were at variance with the neoclassic search for a tight, closely-knit word order and compact, weighty lines. In repeating Spenser's archaisms, the imitators helped preserve a rich mine of poetic language which was later to be worked extensively by poets like Keats in their search for a more connotative and decorative language" Elizabethan Poetry in the Eighteenth Century (1947) 107.



Ay me! what aking Thoughts possess my Mind,
While Britomartis chast I still pursew;
While thro Fate's darksom Labyrinth I wind
My weary Steps in Paths yet trod by few,
Still keeping that fair Princely Flowre in view:
Somewhile my Sprite with thrilling Joy rebounds,
Sometimes with pungent Grief doth sorely rew;
I feel the Smart when foul Reproach her wounds,
I joy, when her dread Might Fame's silver Trump resounds.

Sith she from Arthegall did separate,
The loveliest Knight that ever wielded Spear,
Who 'gainst his Paynim Foes forth rode of late,
My Heart beats throbbing for that Maiden dear,
Lest she to Danger's Brink approach too near:
For, when old Archimago with his Art
Her singled thus perceived had full clear,
He strait gan cast about his bloody Heart
To forge, most Treachour-like, some black abhorred Part.

All in the dead and gloomy Time of Night,
When Mortals, melted down with balmy Sleep,
Ly stretched forth; when ev'ry grieved Wight
His Care in soft Oblivion strives to steep,
And damned Sprites alone their Revels keep:
Beset with mighty Charms of magick Spell,
The Wizard turns his Thoughts both black and deep;
On Hecate calls, dread Soverain of Hell,
While at his noxious Verse appearing Phantoms yell.

With mutt'ring Words he murmur'd thrice aloud,
As oft the Earth thro all her Caverns shook;
Then his accursed Head in cole-black Cloud
Thick-wrapping, thro the Night his Way he took,
And to the Pole-Star fixt his dreary Look:
The dapper Elves that haunt the silent Glade,
Retiring quick their merry Glee forsook,
And lay close buried in the leafy Shade,
At his superiour Powre and griesly Shape affraide.

And all as thro the mirksom Sky he rode,
Upborn aloft upon his smoaky Carre,
Loud-shrieking Howlets from their dire abode,
With baleful Notes saluted him afarre;
And flitting Bats, that Night's Companions are,
Around his Charet play'd in gyrous Flight;
While thro the lampy Sky each twinkling Starre
Veiled with modest Shame its shiny Light,
And shrunk aback at this so foul detested Sight.

Til, having rang'd his misty Course about,
He comen hath at length to Faction's Cell;
A Goddess Heavenly once, but with the Rout
Of Rebel Angels hurled down to Hell,
A Place such Traitors vile befitting well:
Of Satan, Prince of Darkness, she was born,
And with her Sire revolting whilom fell;
Here clad in ragged Weeds all rent and torn,
Her Mansion she inhabits dreary and forelorn.

Mammon (they say) as whilom he did view
Her Form, once fair, adorn'd with youthfull Grace,
Of her adored Shape enamour'd grew,
Captived with the Beauties of her Face;
And thus in private her enjoy'd long Space,
Til Age and Ugliness his Fancy pall'd;
Begetting also a numerous long Race,
Who all were to their Parent's Trade enthrall'd,
And this from his great Craft was Archimago call'd.

Down in a deadly Dale, deep, delved low,
Remote from all Access of sunny Ray;
Where kindly-breathing Zephyrs never blow,
Nor hapless Mortals bless the rising Day,
The hideous Beldame's hateful Dwelling lay:
Yews and black Cypress planted were around,
Before the Door on either side the Way;
Near which a Fount of Blood with groaning Sound,
Forth-welling, alway dy'd with purple Flood the Ground.

Anon, a dismal Din of clanking Chains
Gan loud invade the Wizard's dauntless Ear,
And rufull Moan, as of poor Souls in Pains,
Howl'd thro the Cave, most horrible to hear;
As tho some grieffull Dungeon had been near:
So, entring in he found a foul Uprore
Of starveling Wretches linked, that whilere
Had dight themselves with iron Bolts full sore,
And now constrain'd perforce of cursed Faction's Lore.

A ghastly Villein in the Portal stood,
With Eyes deep-sunken and thick matty Hair;
Whose hollow Cheeks, and Veins bereft of Blood,
Whose filthy ragged Robes far off declare
His luckless Plight, and sorrowful ill Fare:
With wooden Shoes his caytive Feet were gaul'd,
And for his Food he stinking Garlick bare;
A base poor Man, who Famine right was call'd,
Who hoarse thro Begging was, yet alway begg'd and baul'd.

Within, amids that meagre slavish Crew,
The Furies dealt their Blows yfraught with Ire;
Laden with Vengeance here and there they flew,
Brandishing round their Whips of knotted Wyre,
The whiles their Ey-Balls struck forth Sparks of Fire:
Some Racks, some wielded Swords of sanguin Blade,
Some Torches shook, whose Flames wide-flaking dire
A dreadful Gleam sent thro that dreary Shade,
Which by such hellish Light more dismal sad was made.

So Rome her cruel Inquisition keeps,
The bloody Slaughter-House of holy Men;
Where, nor by Night nor Day bleak Envy sleeps,
Ne suff'reth Comfort to approach her Pen,
Or Pitty once to come within her Ken;
But Wheels and Gibbets, Enginry of Death,
And pois'ning Cups do furnish out her Den;
Where Freres and Monks swarm round, that it uneath
May seem 'mongst them to live and draw in vital Breath.

Yet, these nought fearing, Archimago past
Forth to the End, where Faction's self was seated;
When as the blear-ey'd Hag star'd half aghast,
Til lowly louting, her by Name he greeted,
And with smooth glozing Speech full fain intreated:
Hail! Mother dear, (qouth he) advize your Son,
How mine and thy drad Foe may be defeated,
Who all our Councils has long since foredon,
Ne knows Tyrannick Powre, nor dreads Oppression.

The Cause of all our Sorrows is, to weet,
A Warrior Maid, fair Britomartis hight;
Who with her ebon Lance and Courser fleet,
Has done to Death full many a Paynim Knight:
And with her eke there wons a valiant Wight,
Harden'd thro magick Spell, bold Talus nam'd,
Full stout of Courage, and of passing Might;
Who with his whirling Brondiron erst has tam'd
Ten times ten thousand Paynims, as abroad is fam'd.

Their mighty Prowess, and chast Virtue loud,
Thro all the Land of Faery resounds;
Their pious Lore draws the attentive Crowd,
And our Devices all at once confounds;
So much true Goodness more than Vice abounds.
To chear the drooping Sprites of Men distrest,
Their flowing Justice thro the World redounds;
Succour they bring to all by Powre opprest;
That happy Coast where ere they bearen Rule is blest.

Like as clear Thamis from his Silver Urn
Pours forth the Streams of Plenty spreading wide,
And sheds Abundance when he doth upturn
The Sacred Fountain of his swelling Tide,
Whiles his rich Waves adown the Lee do glide;
The neighbour Hills, bespred with shady Wood,
Survey the fruitfull Vales along his Side;
The Swain, that whilom on his Margin stood
In secret Pleasance wrapt, beheld his Chrystal Flood.

Thus he with glassy Smoothness fil'd his Tung,
As well the envious Hag he mote enrage;
For such Report her inly Heartstrings wrung,
And brast her bitter Gall with tenfold Rage:
Who Faction's Wrath, once kindled, can asswage?
So rolling round her bloody-glaring Eyes,
With Horrour fraught, she fixt them on the Sage,
And stamm'ring out her Words with wild Surprize,
Her divelish Plot in foltring Speech she gan avize.

Too well (quoth she) dear Offspring, I perceive
How these our mortal Foes have gain'd of late;
For-thy my Life with Rancour sore doth grieve,
My joyless Hours I spend in loathly Hate,
Yet they nathless continue fortunate:
All-be my Curses multiplied in Store,
Yet they enjoy secure a happy Fate;
My vexed Sprite with Malice I engore,
Yet they nathless in Glory flourish more and more.

Such Worth in young Alcides shone of old,
As Poets, witty-fabling, do invent,
Who in his infant Cradle greatly bold,
With grappling Squeez and sturdy Hardiment,
The Serpent's fell Despight did erst prevent:
And after, by his Stepdame Juno crost,
Yet nould his val'rous Sprite at all relent;
But rose the more he was by Dangers tost,
Til in the Firmament a Star he was embost.

There late the Red-Cross Knight with Bliss was crown'd,
Who came from Belgia to the British Shore,
And gain'd a Name in matchless Arms renown'd,
For that he drave from thence a fierce wild Boar,
Whose deadly Tusks foamed with frothy Gore:
In vain my plotting Imps oppos'd his Might,
Darting forth foul Reproache; he nathemore
Was dampt, but like some Star's empearcing Light,
Shone clearer thro that Veil of black malicious Night.

And now, sith Britomart hath wexed strong,
Whom valiant Talus guides thro ev'ry Plain,
I lenger must perforce enduren Wrong,
And wast my wretched Age in doleful Strain,
Still envying: Envy is at best but Pain.
Yet sooth one more Device I needs would try,
That restless burns within my heated Brain,
Which may perchance them doen both to dy,
If aided by thy Art and present Industry.

Merlin thou knewst, (who Merlin did not know?)
That near Cayr-Merdin whilom wont to dwell;
He all in magick Arts did far out-go,
And Fate of Empires wisely could foretell,
When-so he did consult within his Cell:
His learned Skill surpast my secret Powre,
And marr'd my strongest Charms, tho brocht in Hell;
When-ere my Crafts I wrought, in that same Hour
His mighty Wit eftsoons my Purpose could discou'r.

Therewith to Britomart great Love he bore,
And strengthen'd Talus with continual Ayd,
With Puissance inspiring evermore
The doughty Courage of that Martial Mayd,
Where-with she aye her Paynim Foes affray'd:
Withall, a Wand about him he did bear,
By which his wary Steps he still upstay'd,
That other none mought with this same compare;
So far it did excell in Vertues strange and rare.

This, when he died, five wicked Imps of mine,
Which thou, my Dearling, secretly didst lead,
Did from th' expiring Sage's Side purloin,
And thro the silent Realms of Night convey'd:
By this, if ought my Foresight can aread,
Thy inmost Thoughts, tho black and deep as Hell,
May with Success and happy Chance proceed;
For never Knight so hardy sate in Sell,
Toucht with its thrilling Point, but down eftsoons he fell.

And these Intents the better to disguise,
Thy feigned Person trim with holy Weeds,
As thy dissembling Heart may well devise,
Like Pilgrim sad aye counting ore thy Beeds,
As one that mourneth for his sinfull Deeds:
There-to a Scrip I'll give, full fraught with Store
Of Bribery, which servile Baseness breeds;
The same thy mighty Sire old Mammon bore,
And great Atchievements wrought, when-so he list, of yore.

Als your Discourse with Humbless meek prepare
Of sainted Popes and Dirges to invent,
And eke a Crucifix aside you wear,
Whiles the World's Sins you loudly do lament,
And call unthinking Mortals to repent:
So the rude Vulgar, who still judgen Wrong,
An Angel will you deem from Heaven sent,
Or one who heavenly Angels live emong,
Tho born in Hell, where Goblins ever-damned throng.

Like as the Fox who under Fryar's Cowl,
Most Treachour-like spreads forth his colour'd Guise,
And in religious Cant with whining Houl
Displays his wicked Gins whereby to spoil
The seely Geese, who listning all the while
Around the Faytour gaze in heedless wize;
He at their Simpleness doth inly smile,
Til, fittest time awaiting, on he flies,
And to his hungry Cubbs bears off the cackling Prize.

Ah Mother dear, the Wizard then replied,
Right well I wote that you have spoken trew;
Your high Behests shall duly be supplied,
Yet still one troublous Thought my Soul doth rew,
And with a sickly Cold my Sprite embew.
Gramercy (cries the Hag) unlade thy Mind,
And anxious Jealousy to me forth-shew;
No stinging Care so deadly ere was tin'd,
But it to quell, my Powre some Medicine could find.

There is (quoth he) a valiant Stranger Knight,
Who late to War 'gainst Paynim Troops forth-rode,
Of mickle Fame, and Arthegall he hight,
Whose Prowess is far knowen all abrode,
As tho he were some mighty Demigod:
He whilom did espouse fair Britomart,
And will emongst the Britons make Abode;
Thereto he is of so courageous Heart,
As well may mar our Plots, and baffle all our Art.

At this the Hag with frowning Visage lowr'd,
And threw aslope her fiery burning Eyne,
By which her grated Sprite she plain discour'd;
And shall I then (she cried) at last resign
The fair Pretence, by which young Sans Foy mine
Does of that Golden Crown Possession claim;
Where he hath promis'd to erect my Shrine,
And blow the Sound of Faction's dreaded Name
From the loud Trump eterne of never-dying Fame

Go to, my Archimago, we must back
The Paynim Forces with our timely Aid;
For well I weet their Arms begin to slack,
And wonted Courage is nigh grown affraid,
Ne lenger can in Battail be upstaid,
Unless with guilefull Arts our impish Crew
Can part Sir Arthegall from that bold Maid
Who doth our weaker Paynims hack and hew,
And in their precious Blood her warlike Hands embrew.

Thine be the Care, and thine the glorious Meed,
To raise the Paynim Powre in Faery Land;
Ne doubt I but this great ennobling Deed
Hath been reserv'd for your prevailing Hand,
So well my deep Designs you understand:
And may I see thee, like Ambition, rise,
Thy Brother, whose proud Height may not be scann'd;
Who towres beyond poor Mortal's feeble Eyes,
And shoots his lordly Head above the starry Skies.

Thus boasting big, the loathsom Creature spoke,
With heaving Breast high-swoln with inly Pride;
For well she dempt her Gall to have ywroke
On those fair Knights whom thus she had defide;
Yet they more goodly still, were magnifide.
Th' Enchaunter then forth-beck'ning, on she led
To a vast boundless Plain out-spreaden wide,
Wherein a steepy Mountain rais'd its Head,
So slippery, that none mought on it safely tread.

Yet many to up-climb it vainly strove,
Swinking and sweating with their utmost Might;
The lowest catching aye at those above,
For cankring Envy and foul-bred Despight;
The highest aye their Malice to requight,
Perforce endeavour'd still to keep them down;
So each against the other wont to fight,
That whiles their Rancour mutually was shown,
Many came tumbling headlong from their Places thrown.

Like as Aeolides by justest Doom,
For unjust Robberies erst by him done,
Sentenc'd beneath Hell's dark and drearfull Gloom,
Upheaves a heavy vast unwieldy Stone,
Distraining his tough Nerves with many a Grone:
Soon as upon the Top he doth it view,
(So Fate ordains) his Labour is foredone;
The wicked Stone, which knows its Lesson trew,
Rolls quick adown the Hill, his Trouble to renew.

So they incessant did renew their Pain,
And weary Steps withouten Stint applied;
Yet all their Labour proved but in vain,
Eftsoons they tumbled down the slipp'ry Side,
Or, ere they reach'd the Top, with Travel died.
Thus all who strive by foul inglorious Ways
To tread the arduous Paths of lawless Pride,
A lasting Name of Infamy do raise,
And far away accurst, mispend their hatefull Days.

Yet, on the upmost Top, at farthest Ken,
Full near the Cieling of the vaulted Sky,
An hideous Wight, far passing living Men
In lofty Stature, was exalted high;
The Emblem true of empty Surquedry.
He stood upon the Rock's most spiring Clift,
Whose over-bearing Weight inclin'd awry;
That, if perchance he fallen had a-drift,
It would have bruis'd his Corse, and Skull in sunder rift.

In gorgeous Purple Robes he was array'd,
Lightly orecast with spotted Ermiline,
And streaming Silver thro his Vesture play'd,
Entrail'd with various Flowres of gilden Twine,
Spreading their Branches like a mantling Vine.
Thus aye, as tho he seem'd to fall, he hung,
And gazing up with wishfull longing Eyne,
His miscreated Arms aloft he flung,
And still, as tho he caught at somewhat, upward sprung.

On either Hand, close clinging by his side,
Two griesly Villeins did his Steps upstay;
And, as he slipt, they evermore did guide
His trembling Feet along the doubtfull Way,
Lest the smooth Surface mote him foul bewray.
The one was Guile in party-colour'd Cloak,
Who to him did his crafty Sleights display;
He one thing meant, yet still another spoke,
And shrowded all his Face in Fumes of pitchy Smoak.

The other was a Wretch of pallid Hue,
With Eyes distraught and staring all aghast;
Whose riven Heart did sorely seem to rue,
And groaning threw forth Sobs and Sighings fast,
As if with piercing Grief it were nigh brast:
Despair he called was, and did advise
His Lord Ambition down himself to cast;
Saying Death cures all this World's Maladies:
So 'twixt Guile and Despair wretched Ambition lies.

Thrice wretched Man! whom nor Guile can sustain,
So difficult the Path he treads upon;
Nor foul Despair persuade to cure his Pain,
When once his wicked Course he hath begun;
For and his Head a Gallows over-run,
To which an hempen Rope, full strongly tied,
About his Caytive Neck so close was done,
That it his noozed Wezon would aggride,
When-so he did attempt adown the Hill to slide.

Loe, Faction cried, behold thy Brother dear,
On the proud Throne of Glory mounted high;
To which his due Deserts have him whilere
Prefer'd, and decked with true Majesty,
The Meed of All that with my Terms comply:
Nor difficult the Way, ne hard to find,
That toward Ambition's lofty Seat doth ly;
Whoso to my Behests is well inclin'd,
Into their wished Port shall sail with Tide and Wind.

Nor Thee, my Son, for such great Enterprise
Unmeet I ween, with native Cunning bold;
Ne booteth it thee lenger to advise,
Long since endu'd with Wisdom manifold,
And now in magick Studies growen old.
Thy vow'd Despight persue with well-known Art,
And once conceived Resolution hold;
For-thy no Cure can quell my grieving Smart,
Til some destroying Powre hath seized Britomart.

She spoke; and with her foul infectious Tung
Spet secret Venom, which down-sinking low,
The Treachour's Heart with rankling Poison stung;
Which from her divelish Mouth she did out-throw,
The Source of Evils and the Fount of Wo:
Thus she his fell malicious Rage did whet,
And into Flames his kindling Anger blow.
In an accursed Hour accurst they met;
God help the Man who falls un'wares into their Net!

As when the Cottage Dame from sparkling Match
Hath chanc'd to shed some little Corn of Fire,
It smouldring lies within the strawy Thatch,
And choak'd with its own Fumes doth nigh expire;
Til stormy Boreas, with loud blustring Ire,
Up-blowing from his Subterranean Caves,
Fans with strong Blast the Flames wide-flaking dire;
Then powerfully roll the fiery Waves,
And thro the crackling Roof prevailing Vulcan braves.

Thus with transporting Rage his Breast she fir'd,
And rak'd the Embers of fell Discontent,
That with empoys'ning Malice all inspir'd,
He long'd to act his mischievous Intent,
On which his evil Mind long since was bent:
So, nought gainsaying the dread Hag's Command,
With low Obeysance louting, forth he went,
And back with Speed return'd, in either Hand
Bearing great Mammon's Scrip, and Merlin's Sacred Wand.

O'er lofty Hills, low Dales, and Forests wide,
The Magick Wight his aery Course did steer,
Til to a Wood, down by a River's side,
By chance he hath at length approched near;
Where to his Sight Duessa did appear;
A loathsom, filthy and abhorred Creature,
Who seem'd as Brimstone did her Visage sear,
Or like some Hell-bred Fiend by Birth and Nature,
With Boils and Blotches red so purpled was her Feature.

This ugly Witch, as you have whilom read,
To Ladies true had vow'd fell Enmity,
And eke to many Knights of Maidenhead
Had brought Distress and doubtful Jeopardy,
Or branded with the Marks of Infamy:
And now, beneath the dusky Shades of Night,
To Sorceries her self she did apply;
Whilst the chast Moon wheel'd low her paled Light,
And seem'd to fly with trembling Haste and wild Affright.

Yborn of mean and lowly Parentage,
To shine in Faery Court she did aspire,
And by the Crafts of guilefull Archimage
Had whilom hop'd to win her fond Desire.
He now gan sly her hellish Form admire,
And subtly cast about in secret wize,
With seeming Love, her wicked Charms to hire;
That so he mought her divelish Will entise
To further with her Art his hardy Enterprize.

And sith she was vain, proud, and fickly frail,
She high conceited of her Beauty grew;
So Archimage did easily prevail
That she to Glauce would her self transmew,
And like become in Feature, Shape, and Hew;
So like she seem'd, that Britomart, who well
Her own true Nurse, her faithfull Glauce knew,
Could not from her the false Duessa tell,
So for Companion took this griesfull Imp of Hell.

Alack therefore for Misery and Woe!
Which shall befall the Babes as yet unborn,
Sith Britomartis' foul envenom'd Foe
May chance to leave their Country all forlorn,
Wastfully made the cruel Victor's Scorn:
Widows and Orphans into Thraldom led,
Shall then their Kindred slain lament and mourn,
And all in bitter Slav'ry eat their Bread;
Hard Task for free-born Souls! they liefer had be dead.

But heavenly Love, far passing human Thought,
To suff'ring Goodness sends a sure Reprief,
Is ever true to Justice, and unsought,
For injur'd Innocence provides Relief.
The time may come, when this bold bloody Thief
Shall be rewarded for his Merits due;
And as in Villanies he now is chief,
May in eternal Torments chiefly rue,
When Death's more powreful Mace his Body shall subdue.

Whoso is brought to the Infernal Bar,
His crafty Sleights shall little then avail;
Just Rhadamanth will soon all Treasons mar,
And make each guilefull Soul to quake and quail:
As when a sudden Showre of rattling Hail,
Up-driven by the South's tumultuous Blast,
Some Grove of quiv'ring Aspines doth assayl,
The tender Leaves sore smitten tremble fast,
and whisper out their Fears, the whiles the Storm doth last.

At length the Morning Dawn gleams thro the Sky,
And the gray Twilight in the East appears:
The Wizard with his Witch must homeward hie,
Whom from the dewy Earth he lightly rears,
And in his magick Coach triumphant bears.
So letten we this Pair together wend,
Our Dolour's Spring, and Cause of all our Fears;
And now, sith toward the Day-Spring it doth tend,
Where Morning doth begin, my Song may fitly end.

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