Faerie Queene. Book III. Canto VI.

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

Edmund Spenser

George L. Craik: "Canto VI. (54 stanzas). — In this Canto the poet proceeds to satisfy the curiosity which he conceives must be felt by his lady readers, by relating the story of the birth and upbringing of the 'noble damosel' with whom poor Timias has been thus smitten. To this fair Belphoebe, he tells us, 'in her birth, the heavens so favourable were and free,' 'That all the gifts of grace and chastity | On her they poured forth of plenteous horn' ... that her mother was the fair Chrysogone, the daughter of Amphisa, a lady of high rank and fairy lineage. Besides Belphoebe, Chrysogone bore another daughter, 'fair Amoretta in the second place:' — 'These two were twins, and twixt them two did share | The heritage of all celestial grace; | That all the rest it seemed they robbed bare | Of bounty, and of beauty, and all virtues rare.' They were not 'enwombed in the sacred throne of her chaste body' as 'other women's common brood'.... When faint through weariness, she laid herself down upon the grassy ground and fell asleep; and her conception was the effect of the sun. Ashamed, though conscious of no guilt, she fled with her burthen into the wilderness. There, having one day set herself down to rest after long travel, sleep again fell upon her.

"Now it so chanced that at this time Venus had left her heavenly house ... to look after 'her little son, the winged God of Love,' who had fled from her 'for some light displeasance,' as he had often done before, wandering about in the world, and disguising himself in a thousand shapes. She sought him in the court, in cities, and then in the country, where 'the gentle shepherd swains, which sat | Keeping their fleecy flocks as they were hired'.... At last she resolved to repair to the woods.... There she found Diana with her companions seated around a fountain, resting themselves in the cool shade — their mistress herself, with her bow and painted quiver hung on a neighbouring bough, her silver buskins unlaced, all her dress loosened, and her golden locks hanging undight about her shoulders. Ashamed and half angry with her damsels for allowing her to he so surprised, she gathered her garments about her as well as she could, and rising up advanced to meet her sister goddess, 'Whiles all her nymphs did like a girland her enclose.' When Venus informed her what had brought her to the wilderness, she smiled in scorn 'of her vain plaint;' but the other replied to her contemptuous words, that it ill became her, with her lofty crest, 'To scorn the joy that Jove is glad to seek;' and then proceeded narrowly to inspect each of the nymphs, in the notion that one of them might possibly be her lost boy in disguise. 'But Phoebe therewith sore was angered, | And sharply said: Go, dame; go, seek your boy | Where you him lately left, in Mars his bed: | He comes not here; we scorn his foolish joy'....

"While thus engaged they came to the place where lay Chrysogone, and, wonderful to tell, by her side two new-born babes 'as fair as springing day,' which she had brought forth, without pain, and unawares, in her slumbrous trance. The goddesses agreed not to awake the mother, but to take the babes from her loving side, each appropriating one. Diana gave her's one of her own names, Belphoebe, and committed her to a nymph 'to be upbrought in perfect maidenhead:' 'But Venus her's thence far away conveyed, | To be brought up in goodly woman head.... | She brought her to her joyous paradise | Where most she wons when she on earth does dwell, | And called is, by her lost lover's name, | The Garden of Adonis, far renowmed by fame.'

"From this garden are brought all the goodly flowers wherewith Dame Nature beautifies herself; there is the first seminary of all things born to live and die, according to their kinds; it were an endless work to enumerate 'all the weeds that bloom and blossom there.' It had two walls, the one of iron, the other of gold and two gates always standing open, 'the one fair and fresh, the other old and dried.' Old Genius was the porter at both — 'old Genius, the which a double nature has.' All who desire to come into the world he lets both in and out: 'A thousand thousand naked babes attend | About him day and night, which do require | That he with fleshly weeds would them attire: | Such as him list, such as eternal fate | Ordained hath, he clothes with sinful mire, | And sendeth forth to live in mortal state'.... Infinite shapes of creatures are there bred, both human and bestial; and although some are constantly sent away to replenish the earth, yet is the stock never diminished, for 'in the wide womb of the world' lies a huge eternal chaos out of which comes continually a new supply. Besides, nothing is consumed or annihilated, but only changed that is to say, only the form is altered — the substance remains: 'For forms are variable, and decay | By course of kind and by occasion; | And that fair flower of beauty fades away, | As doth the lily fresh before the sunny ray'....

"There Venus was often wont to enjoy the company of her dear Adonis; and 'There yet, some say, in secret he does lie, | Lapped in flowers and precious spicery, | By her hid from the world, and from the skill | Of Stygian gods, which do her love envy:' but she herself, whenever she wills, still has him all her own. 'And sooth it seems they say;' for he, although he be subject to mortality, may not 'For ever die, and ever buried be | In baleful night, where all things are forgot;' he is eternal in mutability; often transformed, but never destroyed; 'For him the father of all forms they call; | Therefore needs mote he live, that living gives to all.' This is the doctrine of the ancient philosophical mythology, according to which Venus is ever-fluctuating form, Adonis everlasting matter. There he lives in eternal bliss and never-ending joy, the boar that wounded him imprisoned by Venus for aye in a strong rocky cave hewn underneath that mount....

"Hither, then, Venus brought Amoretta, and gave her in charge to Psyche to be by her 'trained up in true femininity;' and Psyche 'tendered' her no less carefully than her own daughter Pleasure, to whom she 'Made her companion, and her lessoned | In all the lore of love and goodly womanhead;' in which when she had grown to perfect ripeness, she brought her forth into the world's view to be the example of true love, 'And loadstar of all chaste affection | To all fair ladies that do live on ground.' Coming to Fairy Court, she there wounded many hearts; 'But she to none of them her love did cast, | Save to the noble knight Sir Scudamore;' the story of her faithful enduring attachment to whom, however, is deferred for the present, till we have heard what happened to Florimel in her further search for 'her lover dear, her dearest Marinel.'

"We have Spenser's own testimony, in his letter to Raleigh, that by Belphoebe he, partly or occasionally at least, designs to picture Elizabeth; and it is a notion of some of the commentators that Amoretta in this Canto may be intended to shadow forth Mary Stuart. But scarcely any one of these interpretations will be found to hold good throughout" Spenser and his Poetry (1845; 1871) 2:38-46.

The Birth of fair Belphoebe, and
Of Amoret is told:
The Gardens of Adonis, fraught
With Pleasures manifold.

Well may I ween, fair Ladies, all this while
Ye wonder, how this noble Damozel
So great Perfections did in her compile;
Sith that in salvage Forests she did dwell,
So far from Court and royal Citadel,
The great Schoolmistress of all Courtesy:
Seemeth that such wild Woods should far expel
All civil Usage and Gentility,
And gentle Sprite deform with rude Rusticity.

But to this fair Belphoebe in her Birth
The Heavens so favourable were and free,
Looking with mild Aspect upon the Earth,
In th' Horoscope of her Nativity,
That all the Gifts of Grace and Chastity
On her they poured forth of plenteous Horn;
Jove laugh'd on Venus from his sovereign See,
And Phoebus with fair Beams did her adorn,
And all the Graces rock'd her Cradle, being born.

Her Birth was of the Womb of Morning-Dew,
And her Conception of the joyous Prime,
And all her whole Creation did her shew
Pure and unspotted from all loathly Crime,
That is ingenerate in fleshly Slime.
So was this Virgin born, so was she bred,
So was she trained up from time to time,
In all chaste Vertue, and true Bountihed,
Till to her due Perfection she was ripened.

Her Mother was the fair Chrysogonee,
The Daughter of Amphisa, who by Race
A Fairy was, yborn of high degree;
She bore Belphoebe, she bore in like case
Fair Amoretta in the second place:
These two were Twins, and 'twixt them two did share
The Heritage of all celestial Grace;
That all the rest it seem'd they robbed bare
Of Bounty, and of Beauty, and all Vertues rare.

It were a goodly Story to declare,
By what strange Accident fair Chrysogone
Conceiv'd these Infants, and how them she bare,
In this wild Forest wandring all alone,
After she had nine Months fulfill'd and gone:
For not as other Womens common Brood,
They were enwombed in the sacred Throne
Of her chaste Body; nor with common Food,
As other Womens Babes, they sucked vital Blood.

But wondrously they were begot, and bred
Thro Influence of th' Heavens fruitful Ray,
As it in antique Books is mentioned.
It was upon a Summer's shiny Day,
(When Titan fair his hot Beams did display)
In a fresh Fountain, far from all Mens View,
She bath'd her Breast, the boiling Heat t' allay;
She bath'd with Roses red, and Violets blue,
And all the sweetest Flowers that in the Forest grew.

Till faint thro irksom Weariness, adown
Upon the grassy Ground her self she laid
To sleep, the whiles a gentle slumbring Swound
Upon her fell, all naked bare display'd;
The Sun-beams bright upon her Body play'd;
Being thro former Bathing mollify'd,
And pierc'd into her Womb, where they embay'd
With so sweet Sense and secret Power unspy'd,
That in her pregnant Flesh they shortly fructify'd.

Miraculous may seem to him, that reads
So strange Ensample of Conception;
But Reason teacheth that the fruitful Seeds
Of all things living, thro Impression
Of the Sun-beams in moist Complexion,
Do Life conceive, and quickned are by kind:
So, after Nilus' Inundation,
Infinite Shapes of Creatures Men do find,
Informed in the Mud, on which the Sun hath shin'd.

Great Father he of Generation
Is rightly call'd, th' Author of Life and Light;
And his fair Sister for Creation
Ministereth Matter fit, which tempred right
With Heat and Humour, breeds the living Wight.
So sprong these Twins in Womb of Chrysogone,
Yet wist she nought thereof, but sore affright,
Wondred to see her Belly so up-blown
Which still encreas'd, till she her Term had full out-gone.

Whereof conceiving Shame and foul Disgrace,
Albe her guiltless Conscience her clear'd,
She fled into the Wilderness a space,
Till that unwieldy Burden she had rear'd,
And shun'd Dishonour, which as Death she fear'd:
Where weary of long Travel, down to rest
Her self she set, and comfortably chear'd;
There a sad Cloud of Sleep her overkess'd,
And seized every Sense with Sorrow sore oppress'd.

It fortuned, fair Venus having lost
Her little Son, the winged God of Love,
Who for some light Displeasure, which him crost,
Was from her fled, as flit as airy Dove,
And left her blissful Bower of Joy above,
(So from her often he had fled away,
When she for ought him sharply did reprove,
And wandred in the World in strange Array,
Disguis'd in thousand Shapes, that none might him bewray:)

Him for to seek, she left her heavenly House
(The House of goodly Forms and fair Aspect,
Whence all the World derives the glorious
Features of Beauties, and all Shapes select,
With which high God his Workmanship hath deckt)
And searched ever, way, thro which his Wings
Had borne him, or his Track she mote detect:
She promis'd Kisses sweet, and sweeter things
Unto the Man, that of him Tidings to her brings.

First she him sought in Court, where most he used
Whylom to haunt, but there she found him not;
But many there she found, which sore accused
His Falshood, and with foul infamous Blot
His cruel Deeds and wicked Wiles did spot:
Ladies and Lords she every where mote hear
Complaining, how with his empoison'd Shot
Their woful Hearts he wounded had whyleare,
And so had left them languishing 'twixt Hope and Fear.

She then the Cities sought, from Gate to Gate,
And every one did ask, did he him see:
And every one her answer'd, that too late
He had him seen, and felt the Cruelty
Of his sharp Darts, and hot Artillery;
And every one threw forth Reproaches rife
Of his mischievous Deeds, and said, That he
Was the Disturber of all civil Life,
The Enemy of Peace, and Author of all Strife.

Then in the Country she abroad him sought,
And in the rural Cottages enquir'd;
Where also many Plaints to her were brought,
How he their heedless Hearts with Love had fir'd,
And his false Venom thro their Veins inspir'd:
And eke the gentle Shepherd Swains, which sat
Keeping their fleecy Flocks, as they were hir'd,
She sweetly heard complain, both how and what
Her Son had to them doen; yet she did smile thereat.

But when in none of all these she him got,
She 'gan avise where else he mote him hide:
At last, she her be-thought, that she had not
Yet sought the salvage Woods and Forests wide,
In which full many lovely Nymphs abide,
'Mongst whom might be, that he did closely lie,
Or that the Love of some of them him ty'd:
For-thy she thither cast her Course t' apply,
To search the secret Haunts of Dian's Company.

Shortly unto the wasteful Woods she came,
Whereas she found the Goddess with her Crew,
After late Chace of their embrued Game,
Sitting beside a Fountain in a Rue,
Some of them washing with the liquid Dew
From off their dainty Limbs the dusty Sweat,
And Soil, which did deform their lively Hue;
Other lay shaded from the scorching Heat;
The rest, upon her Person, gave Attendance great.

She, having hong upon a Bough on high
Her Bow and painted Quiver, had unlac'd
Her silver Buskins from her nimble Thigh,
And her lank Loins ungirt, and Breasts unbrac'd,
After her Heat the breathing Cold to taste;
Her golden Locks, that late in Tresses bright
Embreeded were for hindring of her Haste,
Now loose about her Shoulders hong undight,
And were with sweet Ambrosia all besprinkled light.

Soon as she Venus saw behind her back,
She was asham'd to be so loose surpris'd;
And wox half wroth against her Damsels slack,
That had not her thereof before avis'd,
But suffred her so carelessly disguis'd
Be overtaken. Soon her Garments loose
Upgath'ring, in her Bosom she compris'd,
Well as she might, and to the Goddess rose,
Whilst all her Nymphs did like a Girlond her enclose.

Goodly she 'gan fair Cytherea greet,
And shortly asked her what cause her brought
Into that Wilderness (for her unmeet)
From her sweet Bowers, and Beds with Pleasures fraught:
That sudden Change she strange Adventure thought.
To whom (half weeping) she thus answered,
That she her dearest Son Cupido sought,
Who in his Frowardness from her was fled;
That she repented sore, to have him angered.

Thereat Diana 'gan to smile, in scorn
Of her vain Plaint, and to her scoffing said:
Great Pity sure, that ye be so forlorn
Of your gay Son, that gives ye so good Aid
To your Disports: ill mote ye been apay'd.
But she was more engrieved, and reply'd;
Fair Sister, ill beseems it to upbraid
A doleful Heart with so disdainful Pride;
The like that mine, may be your Pain another tide.

As you in Woods and wanton Wilderness
Your Glory set, to chace the salvage Beasts;
So my Delight is all in Joyfulness,
In Beds, in Bowers, in Bankets, and in Feasts:
And ill becomes you with your lofty Creasts,
To scorn the Joy that Jove is glad to seek;
We both are bound to follow Heaven's Beheasts,
And tend our Charges with Obeysance meek:
Spare (gentle Sister) with Reproach my Pain to eke.

And tell me, if that ye my Son have heard,
To lurk emongst your Nymphs in secret wise;
Or keep their Cabins: much I am affeard,
Lest he like one of them himself disguise,
And turn his Arrows to their Exercise:
So may he long himself full easy hide;
For he is fair and fresh in Face and Guise,
As any Nymph (let not it be envy'd.)
So saying, every Nymph full narrowly she ey'd.

But Phoebe therewith sore was angered,
And sharply said; Go Dame, go seek your Boy
Where you him lately left, in Mars his Bed;
He comes not here, we scorn his foolish Joy,
Ne lend we leisure to his idle Toy:
But if I catch him in this Company,
By Stygian Lake I vow, whose sad Annoy
The Gods do dread, he dearly shall aby:
I'll clip his wanton Wings, that he no more shall fly.

Whom when-as Venus saw so sore displeas'd,
She inly sorry was, and 'gan relent
What she had said: so her she soon appeas'd,
With sugar'd Words, and gentle Blandishment,
Which as a Fountain from her sweet Lips went,
And welled goodly forth, that in short space
She was well pleas'd, and forth her Damsels sent,
Thro all the Woods, to search from place to place,
If any Track of him or Tidings they mote trace.

To search the God of Love, her Nymphs she sent
Throughout the wandring Forest every where:
And after them her self eke with her went
To seek the Fugitive, both far and near.
So long they sought, till they arrived were
In that same shady Covert, whereas lay
Fair Chrysogone in slumbry Traunce whilere:
Who in her Sleep (a wondrous thing to say)
Unwares had borne two Babes, as fair as springing Day.

Unwares she them conceiv'd, unwares she bore;
She bore withouten Pain, that she conceiv'd
Withouten Pleasure: ne her need implore
Lucina's Aid: which when they both perceiv'd,
They were thro Wonder nigh of Sense bereav'd,
And gazing each on other, nought bespake.
At last, they both agreed, her (seeming griev'd)
Out of her heavy Swoon not to awake,
But from her loving Side the tender Babes to take.

Up they them took; each one a Babe up-took,
And with them carry'd to be fostered.
Dame Phoebe to a Nymph her Babe betook,
To be brought up in perfect Maidenhed,
And of her self, her Name Belphoebe red:
But Venus hers hence far away convey'd,
To be up-brought in goodly Womanhed,
And in her little Love's stead, which was stray'd,
Her Amoretta call'd, to comfort her dismay'd.

She brought her to her joyous Paradise,
Where most she wonnes, when she on Earth does dwell;
So fair a Place, as Nature can devise:
Whether in Paphos, or Cytheron Hill,
Or it in Gnidus be, I wote not well.
But well I wote by Trial, that this same
All other pleasant Places doth excel,
And called is by her lost Lover's Name,
The Garden of Adonis, far renown'd by Fame.

In that same Garden, all the goodly Flowers
Wherewith Dame Nature doth her beautify,
And decks the Girlonds of her Paramours,
Are fetch'd: there is the first Seminary
Of all things, that are born to live and die,
According to their kinds. Long work it were,
Here to account the endless Progeny
Of all the Weeds, that bud and blossom there;
But so much as doth need, must needs be counted here.

It sited was in fruitful Soil of old,
And girt-in with two Walls on either side;
The one of Iron, the other of bright Gold,
That none might thorough break, nor over-stride:
And double Gates it had, which open'd wide,
By which both in and out Men moten pass;
Th' one fair and fresh, the other old and dry'd:
Old Genius the Porter of them was,
Old Genius, the which a double Nature has.

He letteth in, he letteth out to wend,
All that to come into the World desire;
A thousand thousand naked Babes attend
About him day and night, which do require,
That he with fleshly Weeds would them attire:
Such as him list, such as eternal Fate
Ordained hath, he clothes with sinful Mire,
And sendeth forth to live in mortal State,
Till they again return back by the hinder Gate.

After that they again returned been,
They in that Garden planted be again;
And grow afresh, as they had never seen
Fleshly Corruption, nor mortal Pain.
Some thousand Years so doen they there remain;
And then of him are clad with other Hue,
Or sent into the changeful World again,
Till thither they return, where first they grew:
So like a wheel around they run from old to new.

Ne needs there Gardener to set, or sow,
To plant, or prune: for of their own accord,
All things, as they created were, do grow,
And yet remember well the mighty Word,
Which first was spoken by th' Almighty Lord,
That bade them to increase and multiply:
Ne do they need with Water of the Ford,
Or of the Clouds, to moisten their Roots dry;
For, in themselves, eternal Moisture they imply.

Infinite Shapes of Creatures there are bred,
And uncouth Forms, which none yet ever knew,
And every sort is in a sundry Bed
Set by it self, and rank'd in comely Rew:
Some fit for reasonable Souls t' indue,
Some made for Beasts, some made for Birds to wear,
And all the fruitful Spawn of Fishes Hue
In endless Ranks along enranged were,
That seem'd the Ocean could not contain them there.

Daily they grow, and daily forth are sent
Into the World, it to replenish more;
Yet is the Stock not lessened, nor spent,
But still remains in everlasting Store,
As it at first created was of yore.
For in the wide Womb of the World, there lies
In hateful Darkness, and in deep Horrour,
An huge eternal Chaos, which supplies
The Substances of Nature's fruitful Progenies.

All things from thence do their first Being fetch,
And borrow Matter, whereof they are made;
Which, when as Form and Feature it doth catch,
Becomes a Body, and doth then invade
The State of Life, out of the griesly Shade
That Substance is eterne, and bideth so;
Ne when the Life decays, and Form does fare,
Doth it consume, and into nothing go,
But changed is, and often alter'd to and fro.

The Substance is not chang'd, nor altered,
But th' only Form and outward Fashion;
For every Substance is conditioned
To change her Hue, and sundry Forms to don,
Meet for her Temper and Complexion.
For Forms are variable, and decay
By Course of Kind, and by Occasion;
And that fair Flower of Beauty fades away,
As doth the Lilly fresh before the sunny Ray.

Great Enemy to it, and to all the rest
That in the Garden of Adonis springs,
Is wicked Time: who, with his Scithe addrest,
Does mow the flowring Herbs and goodly things,
And all their Glory to the Ground down flings,
Where they do wither, and are foully marr'd:
He flies about, and with his flaggy Wings,
Beats down both Leaves and Buds without regard,
Ne ever Pity may relent his Malice hard.

Yet Pity often did the Gods relent,
To see so fair things marr'd, and spoiled quite:
And their great Mother Venus did lament
The Loss of her dear Brood, her dear Delight;
Her Heart was pierc'd with Pity at the sight,
When walking thro the Garden, them she spy'd,
Yet no'te she find Redress for such Despight.
For all that lives is subject to that Law:
All things decay in time, and to their end do draw.

But were it not that Time their Troubler is,
All that in this delightful Garden grows,
Should happy be, and have immortal Bliss:
For here all Plenty, and all Pleasure flows,
And sweet Love gentle Fits emongst them throws,
Without fell Rancour, or fond Jealousy;
Frankly each Paramour his Leman knows,
Each Bird his Mate, ne any does envy
Their goodly Merriment, and gay Felicity.

There is continual Spring, and Harvest there
Continual, both meeting at one time:
For both the Boughs do laughing Blossoms bear,
And with fresh Colours deck the wanton Prime,
And eke at once the heavy Trees they climb,
Which seem to labour under their Fruits Load:
The whiles the joyous Birds make their Pastime
Emongst the shady Leaves, their sweet Abode,
And their true Loves without Suspicion tell abroad.

Right in the middest of that Paradise,
There stood a stately Mount, on whose round top
A gloomy Grove of myrtle Trees did rise,
Whose shady Boughs sharp Steel did never lop,
Nor wicked Beasts their tender Buds did crop;
But like a Girlond compassed the Height,
And from their fruitful Sides sweet Gum did drop,
That all the Ground with precious Dew bedight,
Threw forth most dainty Odours, and most sweet Delight.

And in the thickest Covert of that Shade,
There was a pleasant Arbour, not by Art,
But of the Trees own Inclination made,
Which knitting their rank Branches part to part,
With wanton Ivy-Twine entrail'd athwart;
And Eglantine, and Caprisole emong,
Fashion'd above within their inmost Part,
That neither Phoebus' Beams could thro them throng,
Nor Aeolus' sharp Blast could work them any Wrong.

And all about grew every sort of Flower,
To which sad Lovers were transform'd of yore
Fresh Hyacinthus, Phoebus' Paramour
And dearest Love;
Foolish Narciss, that likes the watry Shore;
Sad Amaranthus, made a Flower but late,
Sad Amaranthus, in whose purple Gore
Me seems I see Amintas' wretched Fate,
To whom sweet Poets Verse hath given endless Date.

There wont fair Venus often to enjoy
Her dear Adonis' joyous Company,
And reap sweet Pleasure of the wanton Boy;
There yet some say in secret he doth lie,
Lapped in Flowers and precious Spicery,
By her hid from the World, and from the Skill
Of Stygian Gods, which do her Love envy;
But she her self, when ever that she will,
Possesseth him, and of his Sweetness takes her Fill.

And sooth, it seems, they say: for he may not
For ever die, and ever bury'd be
In baleful Night, where all things are forgot;
Albe he subject to Mortality,
Yet is eterne in Mutability,
And by Succession made perpetual
Transformed oft, and changed diversly:
For him the Father of all Forms they call;
Therefore needs mote he live, that Living gives to all.

There now he liveth in eternal Bliss
Joying his Goddess, and of her enjoy'd;
Ne feareth he henceforth that Foe of his,
Which with his cruel Tusk him deadly cloy'd:
For that wild Boar, the which him once annoy'd,
She firmly hath imprisoned for ay
(That her sweet Love his Malice mote avoid)
In a strong rocky Cave, which is, they say,
Hewn underneath that Mount, that none him loosen may.

There now he lives in everlasting Joy,
With many of the Gods in Company,
Which thither haunt, and with the winged Boy
Sporting himself in safe Felicity:
Who, when he hath with Spoils and Cruelty
Ransack'd the World, and in the woful Hearts
Of many Wretches set his Triumphs high,
Thither resorts, and laying his sad Darts
Aside, with fair Adonis plays his wanton Parts.

And his true Love, fair Psyche, with him plays,
Fair Psyche to him lately reconcil'd,
After long Troubles and unmeet Upbrays,
With which his Mother Venus her revil'd,
And eke himself her cruelly exil'd:
But now in stedfast Love and happy State
She with him lives, and hath him borne a Child,
Pleasure, that doth both Gods and Men aggrate;
Pleasure, the Daughter of Cupid and Psyche late.

Hither great Venus brought this Infant fair,
The younger Daughter of Chrysogonee,
And unto Psyche with great Trust and Care
Committed her, yfostered to be,
And trained up in true Feminity:
Who no less carefully her tendered,
Than her own Daughter Pleasure, to whom she
Made her Companion, and her lessoned
In all the Lore of Love, and goodly Womanhed.

In which when she to perfect Ripeness grew,
Of Grace and Beauty noble Paragone,
She brought her forth into the Worldez View,
To be th' Ensample of true Love alone,
And Load-Star of all chaste Affection,
To all fair Ladies, that do live on ground.
To Fairy Court she came, where many one
Admir'd her goodly Haviour, and found
His feeble Heart wide launced with Love's cruel Wound.

But she to none of them her Love did cast,
Save to the noble Knight Sir Scudamore,
To whom her loving Heart she linked fast
In faithful Love, t' abide for evermore,
And for his dearest sake endur'd sore,
Sore Trouble of an heinous Enemy;
Who her would forced have to have forlore
Her former Love and stedfast Loyalty,
As ye may elsewhere read that rueful History.

But well I ween, ye first desire to learn,
What end unto that fearful Damozel,
Which fled so fast from that same Foster stern,
Whom with his Brethren Timias slew, befel:
That was to weet, the goodly Florimel;
Who wandring for to seek her Lover dear,
Her Lover dear, her dearest Marinel,
Into Misfortune fell, as ye did hear,
And from Prince Arthur fled with Wings of idle Fear.

[Works, ed. Hughes (1715) 2:444-57]