1590
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Faerie Queene. Book II. Canto X.

The Faerie Queene. Disposed into Twelve Books, fashioning XII. Morall Vertues.

Edmund Spenser


George L. Craik: "Canto X. (77 stanzas). — This long canto is, with the exception of the last eight or nine stanzas, merely a metrical chronicle of the old British kings from Brutus to Uther Pendragon, father of Arthur, taken almost exclusively from Geoffrey of Monmouth, not admitting of abridgment, and containing few passages of eminent poetical beauty. It is also wholly episodical, and may be passed over without the thread of the story being broken. We may quote, however, a portion of the enthusiastic celebration of Queen Elizabeth, or of her illustrious ancestry, with which the poet enters upon his task. — 'Argument worthy of Maeonian quill; | Or rather worthy of great Phoebus' rote'.... All this British story was related in the book found by Arthur. Having brought the narrative down to the death of Aurelius, or Ambrosius, the second son of the Emperor Constantine, and the elder brother of Uther, it went on: — 'After him Uther, which Pendragon hight, | Succeeding — There abruptly it did end, | Without full point, or other caesure right'....

"All this while, too, Guyon has been reading his book, nor has yet got through the great and ample volume, which began with the creation of a man by Prometheus, whom he animated by fire stolen from heaven, and called Elf; and who, wandering with weary feet, found in the gardens of Adonis a goodly creature, whom he named a Fay. From them spring all elves and fairies. Their eldest son was Elfin, — 'him all India obeyed, | And all that now America men call.' Next succeeded Elfinan, who laid the foundation of Cleopolis; then Elfiline, Elfinel, Elfant, Elfar, and Elfinor.... The gentle Alma now reminds the two knights that supper has been long waiting for them; — 'So half unwilling from their books them brought, | And fairly feasted as so noble knights she ought'" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 1:234-37.



A Chronicle of Briton Kings
From Brute to Uther's Reign:
And Rolls of Elfin Emperors,
Till time of Gloriane.

Who now shall give unto me Words and Sound,
Equal unto this haughty Enterprise?
Or who shall lend me Wings, with which from ground
My lowly Verse may loftily arise,
And lift it self unto the highest Skies?
More ample Spirit than hitherto was wount,
Here needs me, whiles the famous Auncestries
Of my most dreaded Sovereign I recount,
By which all earthly Princes she doth far surmount.

Ne under Sun, that shines so wide and fair,
Whence all that lives, does borrow Life and Light,
Lives ought, that to her Linage may compare,
Which though from Earth it be derived right,
Yet doth it self stretch forth to Heaven's height,
And all the World with Wonder over-spread;
A Labour huge, exceeding far my Might.
How shall frail Pen, with Fear disparaged,
Conceive such sovereign Glory, and great Bountihed?

Argument worthy of Moeonian Quill,
Or rather worthy of great Phoebus Rote,
Whereon the Ruins of great Ossa Hill,
And Triumphs of Phlegraean Jove he wrote,
That all the Gods admir'd his lofty Note.
But if some Relish of that heavenly Lay
His learned Daughters would to me report,
To deck my Song withal, I would assay
Thy Name, O sovereign Queen, to blazon far away.

Thy Name, O sovereign Queen, thy Realm and Race,
From this renowned Prince derived are,
Who mightily upheld that Royal Mace,
Which now thou bear'st, to thee descended far
From mighty Kings, and Conquerours in War,
Thy Fathers and Great-Grandfathers of old,
Whose noble Deeds above the Northern Star
Immortal Fame for ever hath enroll'd;
As in that old Man's Book they were in order told.

The Land, which warlike Britons now possess,
And therein have their mighty Empire rais'd,
In antique times was salvage Wilderness,
Unpeopled, unmanur'd, unprov'd, unprais'd;
Ne was it Island then, ne was it pais'd
Amid the Ocean Waves, ne was it sought
Of Merchants far, for Profits therein prais'd,
But was all desolate, and of some thought
By Sea to have been from the Celtick Main-land brought.

Ne did it then deserve a Name to have,
Till that the venturous Mariner that way
Learning his Ship from those white Rocks to save.
Which all along the Southern Sea-Coast lay,
Threatning unheedy Wreck and rash Decay,
For safety's sake that same his Sea-mark made,
And nam'd it Albion. But later Day
Finding in it fit Ports for Fisher's Trade,
'Gan more the same frequent, and further to invade.

But far in Land a salvage Nation dwelt,
Of hideous Giants, and half-beastly Men,
That never tasted Grace, nor Goodness felt,
But like wild Beads lurking in loathsom Den,
And flying fall as Roebuck through the Fen,
All naked without Shame, or care of Cold,
By hunting and by spoiling lived then;
Of Stature huge, and eke of Courage bold,
That Sons of Men amaz'd their Sternness to behold.

But whence they sprong, or how they were begot,
Uneath is to assure; uneath to ween
That monstrous Error which doth some assot,
That Dioclesian's fifty Daughters sheen
Into this Land by chaunce have driven been,
Where, companing with Fiends and filthy sprights,
Through vain Illusion of their Lust unclean,
They brought forth Giants and such dreadful Wights,
As far exceeded Men in their immeasur'd Mights.

They held this Land, and with their Filthiness
Polluted this same gentle Soil long time;
That their own Mother loath'd their Beastliness,
And 'gan abhor her Brood's unkindly Crime,
All were they born of her own native Slime;
Until that Brutus, antiently deriv'd
From royal Stock of old Assarac's Line,
Driven by fatal Error, here arriv'd,
And them of their unjust Possession depriv'd.

But e'er he had established his Throne,
And spred his Empire to the utmost Shore,
He fought great Battles with his salvage Fone;
In which he them defeated evermore,
And many Giants left on groning Flore;
That well can witness yet unto this day
The western Hogh, besprinkled with the Gore
Of mighty Goemot, whom in stout Fray
Corineus conquered, and cruelly did slay.

And eke that ample Pit, yet far renown'd
For the large Leap, which Debon did compel
Coulin to make, being eight Lugs of Ground;
Into the which returning back, he fell:
But those three monstrous Stones do most excel,
Which that huge Son of hideous Albion,
Whose Father, Hercules in Fraunce did quell,
Great Godmer threw, in fierce Contention,
At bold Canutus; but of him was slain anon.

In Meed of these great Conquests by them got,
Corineus had the Province utmost West,
To him assigned for his worthy Lot,
Which of his Name and memorable Gest
He called Cornwaile, yet so called best:
And Debon's share was, that is Devonshire.
But Canute had his Portion from the rest,
The which he call'd Canutium, for his Hire;
Now Cantium, which Kent we commonly inquire.

Thus Brute this Realm unto his Rule subdued,
And reigned long in great Felicity,
Lov'd of his Friends, and of his foes eschew'd:
He left three Sons (his famous Progeny)
Born of fair Inogene of Italy;
'Mongst whom he parted his Imperial State,
And Locrine left chief Lord of Britany.
At last, ripe Age bad him surrender late
His Life, and long good Fortune, unto final Fate.

Locrine was left the sovereign Lord of all;
But Albanact had all the Northern part,
Which of himself Albania he did call;
And Camber did possess the Western Quart,
Which Severn now from Logris doth depart:
And each his Portion peaceably enjoy'd,
Ne was there outward Breach, nor Grudge in Heart,
That once their quiet Government annoy'd,
But each his Pains to other's Profit still employ'd.

Until a Nation strange, with Visage swart,
And Courage fierce, that all Men did affray,
Which through the World then swarm'd in every part,
And overflow'd all Countries far away,
Like Noye's great Flood, with their importune sway,
This Land invaded with like Violence,
And did themselves through all the North display:
Until that Locrine for his Realm's Defence,
Did head against them make, and strong munificence.

He them encountred (a confused Rout)
Foreby the River that whilom was hight
The auntient Abus, where with Courage stout
He them defeated in victorious Fight,
And chas'd so fiercely after fearful Flight,
That forc'd their Chieftain, for his safety's sake
(Their Chieftain Humber named was aright)
Unto the mighty Stream him to betake,
Where he an end of Battle, and of Life did make.

The King returned proud of Victory,
And insolent wox through unwonted Ease,
That shortly he forgot the Jeopardy,
Which in his Land he lately did appease,
And fell to vain voluptuous Disease:
He lov'd fair Lady Estrild, leudly lov'd,
Whose wanton Pleasures him too much did please,
That quite his Heart from Guendolene remov'd,
From Guendolene his Wife, though always faithful prov'd.

The noble Daughter of Corineus
Would not endure to be so vile disdain'd;
But gathering Force, and Courage valorous,
Encountred him in Battel well ordain'd,
In which him vanquish'd she to fly constrain'd:
But she so fast pursu'd, that him she took,
And threw in Bands, where he till Death remain'd;
Als his fair Leman, flying through a Brook,
She overhent, nought moved with her piteous Look.

But both her self, and eke her Daughter dear,
Begotten by her kingly Paramour,
The fair Sabrina almost dead with fear,
She there attached, far from all Succour;
The one she slew in that impatient stour;
But the sad Virgin innocent of all
Adown the rolling River she did pour,
Which of her name now Severn Men do call:
Such was the end that to disloyal Love did fall.

Then for her Son, which she to Locrine bore
(Madan was young, unmeet the rule of Sway)
In her own Hand the Crown she kept in store,
Till riper Years he raught, and stronger stay:
During which time, her Power she did display
Through all this Realm (the Glory of her Sex)
And first taught Men a Woman to obey.
But when her Son to Man's Estate did wex,
She it surrendred, ne her self would lenger vex.

Tho Madan reign'd, unworthy of his Race;
For, with all Shame that sacred Throne he fill'd:
Next, Memprise, as unworthy of that place,
In which being consorted with Manild,
For Thirst of single Kingdom him he kill'd.
But Ebranck salved both their Infamies
With noble Deeds, and warred on Brunchild
In Henault, where yet of his Victories
Brave Monuments remain, which yet that Land envies.

An happy Man in his first days he was,
And happy Father of fair Progeny:
For, all so many Weeks as the Year has,
So many Children he did multiply;
Of which were twenty Sons, which did apply
Their Minds to Praise, and chevalrous Desire:
Those Germans did subdue all Germany,
Of whom it hight; but in the end their Sire,
With foul Repulse, from Fraunce was forced to retire.

Which Blot, his Son succeeding in his Seat,
The second Brute (the second both in name,
And eke in 'semblance of his puissance great)
Right well recur'd, and did away that blame
With Recompense of everlasting Fame.
He with his victour Sword first opened
The Bowels of wide Fraunce, a forlorn Dame,
And taught her first how to be conquered;
Since which, with sundry Spoils she hath been ransacked.

Let Scaldis tell, and let tell Hania,
And let the Marsh of Esthambruges tell,
What colour were their Waters that same day,
And all the Moor 'twixt Elversham and Dell,
With Blood of Henalois, which therein fell.
How oft that day did sad Brunchildis see
The green Shield dy'd in dolorous Vermil?
That not Scuith guiridh it mote seem to be;
But rather y Scuith gogh, sign of sad Crueltie.

His Son King Leill, by Father's Labour long,
Enjoy'd an Heritage of lasting Peace,
And built Cairleill, and built Cairleon strong.
Next, Huddibras his Realm did not encrease,
But taught the Land from weary Wars to cease.
Whose footsteps Bladud following, in Arts
Excel'd at Athens all the learned Preace,
From whence he brought them to these salvage parts,
And with sweet Science mollify'd their stubborn Hearts.

Ensample of his wondrous Faculty,
Behold the boiling Baths at Cairbadon
Which seeth with secret Fire eternally,
And in their Entrails, full of quick Brimston,
Nourish the Flames which they are warm'd upon,
That to her People Wealth they forth do well,
And Health to every foreign Nation;
Yet he at last, contending to excel
The reach of Men, thro flight into fond Mischief fell.

Next him, King Lear in happy Peace long reign'd,
But had no Issue Male him to succeed
But three fair Daughters, which were well uptrain'd
In all that seemed fit for kingly Seed:
'Mong whom his Realm he equally decreed
To have divided. Tho, when feeble Age
Nigh to his utmost Date he saw proceed
He call'd his Daughters, and with Speeches sage
Inquir'd, which of them most did love her Parentage.

The eldest, Gonoril, 'gan to protest,
That she much more than her own Life him lov'd;
And Regan greater Love to him profess'd
Than all the World, whenever it were prov'd;
But Cordeil said she lov'd him, as behov'd:
Whose simple Answer, wanting Colours fair
To paint it forth, him to Displeasance mov'd,
That in his Crown he counted her no Heir,
But 'twixt the other twain his Kingdom whole did share.

So wedded th' one to Maglan King of Scots,
And th' other to the King of Cambria,
And 'twixt them shar'd his Realm by equal Lots:
But without Dower the wise Cordelia
Was sent to Aganip of Celtica.
Their aged Sire, thus eased of his Crown,
A private Life led in Albania,
With Gonoril, long had in great Renown,
That nought him griev'd to been from Rule deposed down.

But true it is, that when the Oil is spent,
The Light goes out, and Wike is thrown away;
So when he had resign'd his Regiment,
His Daughter 'gan despise his drooping Day,
And weary wax of his continual Stay.
Tho to his Daughter Regan he repair'd,
Who him at first well used every way;
But when of his Departure she despair'd,
Her Bounty she abated, and his Chear empair'd.

The wretched Man 'gan then avise too late,
That Love is not, where most it is profess'd;
Too truly try'd in his extreamest State.
At last, resolv'd likewise to prove the rest,
He to Cordelia himself address'd,
Who with entire Affection him receiv'd,
As for her Sire and King her seemed best;
And after all an Army strong she leav'd,
To war on those, which him had of his Realm bereav'd.

So to his Crown she him restor'd again,
In which he dy'd, made ripe for Death by Eld,
And after will'd it should to her remain;
Who peaceably the same long time did weld,
And all Mens Hearts in due Obedience held:
Till that her Sister's Children, woxen strong,
Thro proud Ambition against her rebel'd,
And overcomen, kept in Prison long,
Till weary of that wretched Life, her self she hong.

Then 'gan the bloody Brethren both to reign;
But fierce Cundah 'gan shortly to envy
His Brother Morgan, prick'd with proud Disdain
To have a Peer in part of Sovereignty;
And kindling Coals of cruel Enmity,
Rais'd War, and him in Battle overthrew:
Whence as he to those wooddy Hills did fly,
Which hight of him Glamorgan, mere him new.
Then did he reign alone, when he none Equal knew.

His Son Rival' his dead room did supply,
In whose sad time Blood did from Heaven rain:
Next, great Gurgustus, then fair Caecily
In constant Peace their Kingdoms did contain;
After whom, Lago, and Kinmarke did reign,
And Gorbogud, till far in years he grew,
When his ambitious Sons unto them twain,
Arraught the Rule, and from their Father drew;
Stout Ferrex and stern Porrex him in Prison threw.

But O! the greedy Thirst of royal Crown,
That knows no Kindred, nor regards no Right,
Stir'd Porrex up to put his Brother down;
Who unto him assembling foreign Might,
Made war on him, and fell himself in fight:
Whose Death t' avenge, his Mother merciless
(Most merciless of Women, Wyden hight)
Her other Son fast sleeping did oppress,
And with most cruel Hand him murder'd pittiless.

Here ended Brutus' sacred Progeny,
Which had seven hundred years this Scepter borne
With high Renown, and great Felicity;
The noble Branch from th' antique Stock was torn,
Thro Discord, and the royal Throne forlorn:
Thenceforth this Realm was into Factions rent,
Whilst each of Brutus boasted to be born,
That in the end was left no Monument
Of Brutus nor of Briton's Glory auncient.

Then up arose a Man of matchless Might,
And wondrous Wit to menage high Affairs,
Who stir'd with Pity of the stressed Plight
Of this sad Realm, cut into sundry Shares
By such, as claim'd themselves Brute's rightful Heirs,
Gather'd the Princes of the People loose,
To taken Counsel of their common Cares;
Who, with his Wisdom won, him strait did chuse
Their King, and swore him Fealty to win or lose

Then made he head against his Enemies,
And Ymner slew, or Logris miscreate;
Then Ruddoc and proud Stater, both Allies,
This of Albanie newly nominate,
And that of Cambry King confirmed late,
He overthrew thro his own Valiaunce;
Whose Countries he reduc'd to quiet State,
And shortly brought to civil Governaunce,
Now one, which earst were many, made thro Valiaunce.

Then made he sacred Laws, which some Men say
Were unto him reveal'd in Vision,
By which he freed the Travellers Highway,
The Church's Part, and Plowman's Portion,
Restraining Stealth, and strong Extortion;
The gracious Numa of Great Britanny:
For till his Days, the chief Dominion
By Strength was wielded without Policy;
Therefore he first wore Crown of Gold for Dignity.

Donwallo dy'd (for what may live for ay?)
And left two Sons of peerless Prowess both;
That sacked Rome too dearly did assay,
The Recompence of their perjured Oath,
And ransack'd Greece well try'd, when they were wroth;
Besides subjected Fraunce and Germany,
Which yet their praises speak, all-be they loth,
And inly tremble at the Memory
Of Brennus and Bellinus Kings of Britanny.

Next them did Gurgunt, great Bellinus' Son,
In Rule succeed, and eke in Father's Praise;
He Easterland subdu'd, and Denmark won,
And of them both did Foy and Tribute raise,
The which was due in his dead Father's Days:
He also gave to Fugitives of Spain
(Whom he at Sea found wandring from their Ways)
A Seat in Ireland safely to remain,
Which they should hold of him, as subject to Britain.

After him reigned Guithiline his Heir,
(The justest Man, and truest in his Days)
Who had to Wife Dame Mertia the Fair,
Woman worthy of immortal Praise,
Which for this Realm found many goodly Lays,
And wholesom Statutes to her Husband brought;
Her many deem'd to have been of the Fays,
As was Aegerie, that Numa taught;
Those yet of her be Mertian Laws both nam'd and thought.

Her Sons Sifillus after her did reign,
And then Kimarus, and then Danius;
Next whom Morindus did the Crown sustain:
Who, had he not with Wrath outrageous,
And cruel Rancour dimm'd his valorous
And mighty Deeds, should matched have the best:
As well in that same Field victorious
Against the foreign Morands he express'd;
Yet lives his Memory, tho Carcass sleep in rest.

Five Sons he left begotten of one Wife,
All which successively by turns did reign:
First, Gorboman, a Man of vertuous Life;
Next, Archigald, who for his proud Disdain,
Deposed was from Princedom sovereign,
And piteous Elidure put in his sted;
Who shortly it to him restor'd again,
Till by his Death he it recovered;
But Peridure and Vigent him disthronized.

In wretched Prison long he did remain,
Till they outreigned had their utmost Date,
And then therein reseized was again,
And ruled long with honourable State,
Till he surrender'd Realm and Life to Fate.
Then all the Sons of these five Brethren reign'd
By due Success, and all their Nephews late,
Even thrice eleven Descents the Crown retain'd,
Till aged Hely by due Heritage it gain'd.

He had two Sons, whole eldest called Lud,
Left of his Life most famous Memory,
And endless Monuments of his great Good:
The ruin'd Walls he did re-edify
Of Troynovant, 'gainst Force of Enemy,
And built that Gate, which of his Name is hight,
By which he lies entombed solemnly.
He left two Sons, too young to rule aright,
Androgeus and Tenantius, Pictures of his Might.

Whilst they were young, Cassibalane their Eme
Was by the People chosen in their sted,
Who on him took the royal Diademe,
And goodly well long time it governed;
Till the proud Romans him disquieted,
And warlike Caesar, tempted with the Name
Of this sweet Island, never conquered,
And envying the Britons blazed fame,
(O hideous Hunger of Dominion!) hither came.

Yet twice they were repulsed back again,
And twice r'enforc'd, back to their Ships to fly,
The whiles with Blood they all the Shore did stain,
And the grey Ocean into purple dye:
Ne had they Footing found at last perdy,
Had not Androgeus, false to native Soil,
And envious of Unkle's Sovereignty,
Betray'd his Country unto foreign Spoil:
Nought else, but Treason, from the first this Land did foil.

So by him Caesar got the Victory,
Thro great Bloodshed, and many a sad Assay,
In which himself was charged heavily
Of hardy Nennius, whom he yet did nay,
But lost his Sword, yet to be seen this Day.
Thenceforth this Land was tributary made
T' ambitious Rome, and did their Rule obey,
Till Arthur all that Reckoning did defray;
Yet oft the Briton Kings against them strongly sway'd.

Next him Tenantius reign'd, then Kimbeline,
What time th' eternal Lord in fleshly Slime
Enwombed was, from wretched Adam's Line
To purge away the Guilt of sinful Crime:
O joyous Memory of happy Time,
That heavenly Grace so plenteously display'd!
O too high Ditty for my simple Rime!
Soon after this the Romans him warray'd,
For that their Tribute he refus'd to let be pay'd.

Good Claudius, that next was Emperor,
An Army brought, and with him Battle fought,
In which the King was by a Treachetour
Disguised slain, e'er any thereof thought:
Yet ceased not the bloody Fight for ought;
For Arvirage his Brother's Place supply'd
In Arms, and eke in Crown; and by that Draught
Did drive the Romans to the weaker side,
That they to Peace agreed. So all was pacify'd.

Was never King more highly magnify'd,
Nor drad of Romans, than was Arvirage;
For which the Emperor to him ally'd
His Daughter Genuiss' in Marriage:
Yet shortly he renounc'd the Vassallage
Of Rome again, who hither hast'ly sent
Vespasian, that with great Spoil and Rage
Forwasted all, till Genuissa gent
Persuaded him to cease, and her Lord to relent.

He dy'd; and him succeeded Marius,
Who joy'd his Days with great Tranquillity:
Then Coyl, and after him good Lucius,
That first received Christianity,
The sacred Pledg of Christ's Evangely.
Yet true it is, that long before that day
Hither came Joseph of Arimathy,
Who brought with him the holy Grail (they say)
And preach'd the Truth; but since it greatly did decay.

This good King shortly without Issue dy'd,
Whereof great Trouble in the Kingdom grew,
That did her self in sundry Parts divide,
And with her Power her own self overthrew,
Whilst Romans daily did the Weak subdue:
Which seeing, stout Bunduca up arose,
And taking Arms, the Britons to her drew;
With whom the marched strait against her Foes,
And them unwares besides the Severn did enclose.

There she with them a cruel Battle try'd,
Not with so good Success as she deserv'd;
By reason that the Captains, on her side,
Corrupted by Paulinus, from her swerv'd.
Yet such, as were thro former Flight preserv'd,
Gathering again, her Host she did renew,
And with fresh Courage on the Victor serv'd:
But being all defeated, save a few,
Rather than fly, or be captiv'd, her self she slew.

O famous Monument of Womens Praise,
Matchable either to Semiramis,
Whom antique History so high doth raise,
Or to Hypsiphil', or to Thomiris:
Her Host two hundred thousand numbred is;
Who, whiles good Fortune favoured her Might,
Triumphed oft against her Enemies;
And yet tho overcome in hapless Fight,
She triumphed on Death, in Enemies despight.

Her Relicks Fulgent having gathered,
Fought with Severus, and him overthrew;
Yet in the Chace was slain of them that fled;
So made them Victors, whom he did subdue.
Then 'gan Carausius tyrannize anew,
And 'gainst the Romans bent their proper Power;
But him Allectus treacherously slew,
And took on him the Robe of Emperour:
Nath'less the same enjoyed but short happy hour.

For Asclepiodate him overcame,
And left inglorious on the vanquish'd Plain,
Without or Robe, or Rag, to hide his Shame.
Then afterwards he in his stead did reign;
But shortly was by Coyl in Battle slain:
Who after long Debate, since Lucy's time,
Was of the Britons first crown'd Sovereign.
Then 'gan this Realm renew her passed Prime:
He of his Name Coylchester built of Stone and Lime.

Which when the Romans heard, they hither sent
Constantius, a Man of mickle Might,
With whom King Coyl made an Agreement,
And to him gave for Wife his Daughter Bright,
Fair Helena, the fairest living Wight;
Who in all godly Thews, and goodly Praise
Did far excel, but was most famous hight
For Skill in Musick of all in her Days,
As well in curious Instruments, as waning Lays.

Of whom he did great Constantine beget,
Who afterwards was Emperor of Rome;
To which whiles absent he his Mind did set,
Octavius here leap'd into his room,
And it usurped by unrighteous Doom:
But he his Title justify'd by Might,
Slaying Trahern, and having overcome
The Roman Legion in dreadful Fight,
So settled he his Kingdom, and confirm'd his Right.

But wanting Issue Male, his Daughter dear
He gave in Wedlock to Maximian,
And him with her made of his Kingdom Heir,
Who soon by means thereof the Empire wan,
Till murdred by the Friends of Gratian.
Then 'gan the Huns and Picts invade this Land,
During the Reign of Maximinian;
Who dying, left none Heir them to withstand,
But that they over-ran all Parts with easy hand.

The weary Britons, whole war-hable Youth
Was by Maximian lately led away,
With wretched Miseries, and woful Ruth,
Were to those Pagans made an open Prey,
And daily Spectacle of sad Decay:
Whom Roman Wars, which now four hundred years
And more had wasted, could no whit dismay;
Till by Consent of Commons and of Peers,
They crown'd the second Constantine with joyous Tears.

Who having oft in Battle vanquished
Those spoilful Picts, and swarming Easterlings,
Long time in Peace his Realm established,
Yet oft annoy'd with sundry Bordragings
Of neighbour Scots, and foreign Scatterlings,
With which the World did in those days abound:
Which to outbar, with painful Pionings
From Sea to Sea he heap'd a mighty Mound,
Which from Alcluid to Panwelt did that Border bound.

Three Sons he dying left, all under Age;
By means whereof their Uncle Vortigere
Usurp'd the Crown, during their Pupillage;
Which th' Infant Tutors gathering to fear,
Them closely into Armorick did bear:
For Dread of whom, and for those Picts Annoys,
He sent to Germany, strange Aid to rear,
From whence eftsoons arrived here three Hoys
Of Saxons, whom he for his Safety imploys.

Two Brethren were their Capitains, which hight
Hengist and Horsus, well approv'd in War,
And both of them Men of renowned Might;
Who making 'vantage of their civil Jar,
And of those Foreigners which came from far,
Grew great, and got large Portions of Land;
That in the Realm e'er long they stronger are,
Than they, which sought at first their helping Hand,
And Vortige enforc'd the Kingdom to aband.

But by the help of Vortimere his Son,
He is again unto his Rule restor'd;
And Hengist seeming sad, for that was done,
Received is to Grace and new Accord,
Thro his fair Daughter's Face, and flattring Word.
Soon after which, three hundred Lords he flew
Of British Blood, all sitting at his Board;
Whose doleful Monuments who list to rue,
Th' eternal Marks of Treason may at Stonehenge view.

By this, the Sons of Constantine, which fled,
Ambrise and Uther did ripe years attain,
And here arriving, strongly challenged
The Crown, which Vortiger did long detain:
Who, flying from his Guilt, by them was slain,
And Hengist eke soon brought to shameful Death.
Thenceforth Aurelius peaceably did reign,
Till that thro Poison stopped was his Breath;
So now entombed lies at Stonehenge by the Heath.

After him Uther, which Pendragon hight,
Succeeding. — There abruptly it did end,
Without full Point, or other Cesure right,
As if the rest some wicked Hand did rend,
Or th' author's self could not at least attend
To finish it; that so untimely Breach
The Prince himself half seemeth to offend,
Yet secret Pleasure did Offence impeach,
And Wonder of Antiquity long stop'd his Speech.

At last, quite ravish'd with Delight, to hear
The royal Offspring of his native Land,
Cry'd out, Dear Country, O how dearly dear
Ought thy Remembrance, and perpetual Band
Be to thy foster Child, that from thy Hand
Did common Breath, and Nouriture receive,
How brutish is it, not to understand
How much to her we owe, that all us gave,
That gave unto us all whatever Good we have?

But Guyon all this while his Book did read,
Ne yet has ended: for it was a great
And ample Volume, that doth far exceed
My leisure, so long Leaves here to repeat.
It told, how first Prometheus did create
A Man, of many Parts from Beasts deriv'd,
And then stole Fire from Heaven, to animate
His Work, for which he was by Jove depriv'd
Of Life himself, and Heart-strings of an Eagle riv'd.

That Man so made, he called Elfe, to weet
Quick, the first Author of all Elfin kind:
Who, wandring thro the World with weary Feet,
Did in the Gardens of Adonis find
A goodly Creature, whom he deem'd in Mind
To be no earthly Wight, but either Spright,
Or Angel, th' author of all Woman-kind;
Therefore a Fay he her according hight,
Of whom all Fairies spring, and fetch their Lineage right.

Of these a mighty People shortly grew,
And puissant Kings, which all the World warray'd,
And to themselves all Nations did subdue:
The first and eldest, which that Scepter sway'd,
Was Elfin; him all India obey'd,
And all that now America Men call:
Next him was noble Elfinan, who laid
Cleopolis' Foundation first of all;
But Elfiline enclos'd it with a golden Wall.

His Son was Elfinel, who overcame
The wicked Gobbelines in bloody Field:
But Elfant was of most renowned Fame,
Who all of Crystal did Panthea build.
Then Elfar, who two Brethren Giants kill'd,
The one of which had two Heads, th' other three:
Then Elfinor, who was in Magick skill'd;
He built by Art upon the glassy Sea
A Bridg of Brass, whose Sound Heaven's Thunder seem'd to be.

He left three Sons, the which in Order reign'd,
And all their Offspring, in their due Descents,
Even seven hundred Princes, which maintain'd
With mighty Deeds their sundry Governments;
That were too long their infinite Contents
Here to record, ne much material:
Yet should they be most famous Monuments,
And brave Ensample, both of martial
And civil Rule to Kings and States imperial.

After all these, Elficleos did reign,
The wise Elficleos in great Majesty,
Who mightily that Scepter did sustain,
And with rich Spoils and famous Victory,
Did high advaunce the Crown of Fairy:
He left two Sons, of which fair Elferon
The eldest Brother did untimely die;
Whose empty Place the mighty Oberon
Doubly supply'd, in Spousal and Dominion.

Great was his Power and Glory over all
Which him before that sacred Seat did fill,
That yet remains his wide Memorial:
He dying, left the fairest Tanaquil
Him to succeed therein, by his last Will:
Fairer and nobler liveth none this hour.
Ne like in Grace, ne like in learned Skill;
Therefore they Glorian call that glorious Flower.
Long mayst thou Glorian live, in Glory and great Power.

Beguil'd thus with Delight of Novelties,
And natural Desire of Country's State,
So long they read in those Antiquities,
That how the time was fled, they quite forgate;
Till gentle Alma seeing it so late,
Perforce their Studies broke, and them besought
To think, how Supper did them long await:
So half unwilling from their Books them brought,
And fairly feasted, as so noble Knights she ought.

[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 2:309-28]

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