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Virgils Gnat

Wrong'd, yet not daring to expresse my paine,
To you (great Lord) the causer of my care,
In clowdie teares my case I thus complaine
Vnto yourselfe, that onely priuie are:
But if that any Oedipus vnware
Shall chaunce, through power of some diuining spright,
To reade the secrete of this riddle rare,
And know the purporte of my euill plight,
Let him rest pleased with his owne insight,
Ne further seeke to glose vpon the text:
For griefe enough it is to grieued wight
To feele his fault, and not be further vext.
But what so by my selfe may not be showen,
May by this Gnatts complaint be easily knowen.

We now haue playde (Augustus) wantonly,
Tuning our song vnto a tender Muse,
And like a cobweb weauing slenderly,
Haue onely playde: let thus much then excuse
This Gnats small Poeme, that th' whole history
Is but a jest, though envie it abuse:
But who such sports and sweet delights doth blame,
Shall lighter seeme than this Gnats idle name.

Hereafter, when as season more secure
Shall bring forth fruit, this Muse shall speak to thee
In bigger notes, that may thy sense allure,
And for thy worth frame some fit Poesie,
The golden offspring of Latona pure,
And ornament of great Ioues progenie,
Phoebus shall be the author of my song,
Playing on iuorie harp with siluer strong.

He shall inspire my verse with gentle mood
Of Poets Prince, whether he woon beside
Faire Xanthus sprincled with Chimæras blood;
Or in the woods of Astery abide;
Or whereas mount Parnasse, the Muses brood,
Doth his broad forhead like two hornes diuide,
And the sweete waues of sounding Castaly
With liquid foote doth slide downe easily.

Wherefore ye Sisters which the glorie bee
Of the Pierian streames, fayre Naiades,
Go too, and dauncing all in companie,
Adorne that God: and thou holie Pales,
To whome the honest care of husbandrie
Returneth by continuall successe,
Haue care for to pursue his footing light;
Throgh the wide woods, & groues, with green leaues dight.

Professing thee I lifted am aloft
Betwixt the forrest wide and starrie sky:
And thou most dread (Octauius) which oft
To learned wits giuest courage worthily,
O come (thou sacred childe) come sliding soft,
And fauour my beginnings graciously:
For not these leaues do sing that dreadfull stound,
When Giants bloud did staine Phlegræan ground.

Nor how th' halfe horsy people, Centaures hight,
Fought with the bloudie Lapithaes at bord,
Nor how the East with tyranous despight
Burnt th Attick towres, and people slew with sword;
Was digged downe, nor yron bands abord
The Pontick sea by their huge Nauy cast,
My volume shall renowne, so long since past.

Nor Hellespont trampled with horses feete,
When flocking Persians did the Greeks affray;
But my soft Muse, as for her power more meete,
Delights (with Phoebus friendly leaue) to play
An easie running verse with tender feete.
And thou (dread sacred child) to thee alway,
Let euerlasting lightsome glory striue,
Through the worlds endles ages to suruiue.

And let an happie roome remaine for thee
Mongst heauenly ranks, where blessed soules do rest;
And let long lasting life with ioyous glee,
As thy due meede that thou deseruest best,
Hereafter many yeares remembred be
Amongst good men, of whom thou oft are blest;
Liue thou for euer in all happinesse:
But let us turne to our first businesse.

The fiery sun was mounted now on hight
Vp to the heauenly towers, and shot each where
Out of his golden Charet glistering light;
And fayre Aurora with her rosie heare,
The hatefull darknes now had put to flight,
When as the shepheard seeing day appeare,
His little Goats gan driue out of their stalls,
To feede abroad, where pasture best befalls.

To an high mountaines top he with them went,
Where thickest grasse did cloath the open hills:
They now amongst the woods and thickets ment,
Now in the valleies wandring at their wills,
Spread themselues farre abroad through each descent;
Some on the soft greene grasse feeding their fills;
Some clambring through the hollow cliffes on hy,
Nibble the bushie shrubs, which growe thereby.

Others the vtmost boughs of trees doe crop,
And brouze the woodbine twigges, that freshly bud
This with full bit doth catch the vtmost top
Of some soft Willow, or new growen stud;
This with sharpe teeth the brambles leaues doth lop,
And chaw the tender prickles in her Cud;
The whiles another high doth ouerlooke
Her owne like image in christall brooke.

O the great happines, which shephe
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:50 min read
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Edmund Spenser

Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. more…

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