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THE FIFTH BOOKE 07

THE FAERIE QUEENE

CONTAYNING

THE LEGEND OF ARTEG ALL OR OF JUSTICE.

1.

So oft as I with state of present time

The image of the antique world compare, Whenas mans age was in his freshest prime, And the first blossome of faire vertue bare; Such oddes I finde twixt those, and these

which are,

As that, through long continuance of his

,

course, Me feemes the world is runne quite out of

square

From the first point of his appointed fourse ; And being once amiffe growes daily wourse and

wourse :

II.

For from the golden age, that first was named,

It's now at earst become a stonie one;

II. 2.

at cars] That is, at length. So the quarto and first folio read. So Chaucer, edit. Urr. p. 104.

" And then at erst amongis 'hem thei faye.

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And men themselves, the which at first were

framed Of earthly mould, and form’d of Aesh and

bone, Are now transformed into hardest stone; Such as behind their backs (so backward

bred) Were throwne by Pyrrha and Deucalione :

And if then those may any worse be red, They into that ere long will be degendered.

III.

Let none then blame me, if, in discipline

Of vertue and of civill uses lore,
I do not forme them to the common line
Of present dayes which are corrupted fore;

The second and third folios, Hughes, and the edition of 1751, read “

II. 9.

as earst." CHURCH. Mr. Upton and Tonson's edition in 1758 have also admitted the genuine reading “ at eartt.” Mr. Upton, however, interprets at earst as FORMERLY, and refers to F. Q. vi, iii. 39.

“ Full loth am I, quoth be, as now at earst :" That is, as now as formerly. See also Tyrwhitt's Gloff. Chaucer, in V. Erst, where Ai erst is interpreted At first, &c.

Todd.

degendered.) This is Spenser's owu word, which Mr. Upton thus illuftrates: “ From gender conies gendered : So from degender DEGEN DERED, degeneratus.The second and third folios, however, and Hughes, and Church, read degenered. And Mr. Mason, the author of a Supplement to Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, has cited this passage to thow that Spenser introduced the word degenered into our language. But Mr. Mason did not attend either to the original edition or to the first folio. The fuppofed emendation de genered' is in conformity to the French participle degeneré.

Todd.

But to the antique use which was of yore,
When good was onely for itfelfe defyred,
And all men fought their owne, and none no

more;
When Iuftice was not for most meed out-

hyred, But simple Truth did rayne, and was of all admyred.

IV. For that which all men then did Vertue call, Is now cald Vice; and that which Vice was

hight,
Is now hight Vertue, and so usd of all :
Right now is Wrong, and Wrong that was is

Right;
As all things else in time are chaunged quight:
Ne wonder; for the heavens revolution
Is wandred farre from where it first was pight,

And so doe make contrárie constitution
Of all this lower world toward his diffolution.

V.

For whoso list into the heavens looke,

And search the courses of the rowling spheares, Shall find that from the point where they first

tooke

IV. 6.

the heavens revolution Is wandred farre from where it first was pight,] This is owing to the preceflion of the Equinoxes. See Keil, Aftron. Leit. viii. UPTON,

1

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Their setting forth, in these few thousand

yeares They all are wandred much; that plaine ap

peares: For that same golden fleecy ram, which bore Phrixus and Helle from their stepdames

feares, Hath now forgot where he was plast of yore, And shouldred hath the bull which fayre Eu

ropa bore :

VI.
And eke the bull hath with his bow-bent horne

So hardly butted those two twinnes of love,
That they have crusht the crab, and quite

him borne
Into the great Nemæan lions

grove.
So now all range, and doe at randon rove
Out of their proper places farre away,
And all this world with them amiffe doe

move,
And all his creatures from their course astray;
Till they arrive at their last ruinous decay.

VII.

Ne is that same great glorious lampe of light,

That doth enlumine all these leffer fyres,
In better cafe, ne keepes his course more

right,
But is miscaried with the other spheres:

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