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THE FIFTH BOOKE 07
THE FAERIE QUEENE
THE LEGEND OF ARTEG ALL OR OF JUSTICE.
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
As that, through long continuance of his
course, Me feemes the world is runne quite out of
From the first point of his appointed fourse ; And being once amiffe growes daily wourse and
For from the golden age, that first was named,
It's now at earst become a stonie one;
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.
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.
Let none then blame me, if, in discipline
Of vertue and of civill uses lore,
The second and third folios, Hughes, and the edition of 1751, read “
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.
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.
But to the antique use which was of yore,
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
And so doe make contrárie constitution
For whoso list into the heavens looke,
And search the courses of the rowling spheares, Shall find that from the point where they first
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,
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 :
So hardly butted those two twinnes of love,
Ne is that same great glorious lampe of light,
That doth enlumine all these leffer fyres,