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An Hymne in Honovr of Beavtie

Ah whither, Loue, wilt thou now carrie mee?
What wontlesse fury dost thou now inspire
Into my feeble breast, too full of thee?
Whylest seeking to aslake thy raging fyre,
Thou in me kindlest much more great desyre,
And vp aloft aboue my strength dost rayse
The wondrous matter of my fyre to prayse.
That as I earst in praise of thine owne name,
So now in honour of thy Mother deare,
An honourable Hymne I eke should frame,
And with the brightnesse of her beautie cleare,
The rauisht harts of gazefull men might reare,
To admiration of that heauenly light,
From whence proceeds such foule enchaunting might[.]
Therto do thou great Goddesse, queene of Beauty,
Mother of loue, and of all worlds delight,
Without whose souerayne grace and kindly dewty,
Nothing on earth seemes fayre to fleshly sight,
Doe thou vouchsafe with thy loue-kindling light,
T’illuminate my dim and dulled eyne,
And beautifie this sacred hymne of thyne.
That both to thee, to whom I mean it most,
And eke to her, whose faire immortall beame,
Hath darted fire into my feeble ghost,
That now it wasted is with woes extreame,
It may so please that she at length will streame
Some deaw of grace, into my withered hart,
After long sorrow and continuing smart.

What time this worlds great workmaister did cast
To make al things, such as we now behold:
It seemes that he before his eyes had plast
A goodly Paterne to whose perfect mould,
He fashioned them as comely as he could,
That now so faire and seemely they appeare,
As nought may be amended any wheare.
That wondrous Paterne wherefoere it bee,
Whether in earth layd vp in secret store,
Or else in heauen, that no man may it see
With sinfull eyes, for fear it to deflore,
Is perfect Beautie, which all men adore,
Whose face and feature doth so much excell
All mortall sence, that none the same may tell.
Thereof as euery earthly thing partakes,
Or more or lesse by influence diuine,
So it more faire accordingly it makes,
And the grosse matter of this earthly myne,
Which clotheth it, thereafter doth refyne,
Doing away the drosse which dims the light
Of that faire beame, which therein is empight.
For through infusion of celestiall powre,
The duller earth it quickneth with delight,
And life-full spirits priuily doth powre
Through all the parts, that to the lookers sight
They seeme to please. That is thy soueraine might,
O Cyprian Queene, which flowing from the beame
Of thy bright starre, thou into them doest streame.
That is the thing which giueth pleasant grace
To all things faire, that kindleth liuely fyre,
Light of thy lampe, which shyning in the face,
Thence to the soule darts amourous desyre,
And robs the harts of those which it admyre:
Therewith thou pointest thy Sons poysned arrow,
That wounds the life, & wastes the inmost marrow.
How vainely then doe ydle wits inuent,
That beautie is nought else, but mixture made
Of colours faire, and goodly temp’rament
Of pure complexions, that shall quickly fade
And passe away, like to a sommers shade,
Or that it is but comely composition
Of parts well measurd, with meet disposition.
Hath white and red in it such wondrous powre,
That it can pierce through th’eyes vnto the hart,
And therein stirre such rage and restlesse stowre,
As nought but death can stint his dolours smart?
Or can proportion of the outward part,
Moue such affection in the inward mynd,
That it can rob both sense and reason blynd?
Why doe not then the blossomes of the field,
Which are arayd with much more orient hew,
And to the sense most daintie odours yield,
Worke like impression in the lookers vew?
Or why doe not faire pictures like powre shew,
In which oftimes, we Nature see of Art
Exceld, in perfect limning euery part.
But ah, beleeue me, there is more then so
That workes such wonders in the minds of men.
I that haue often prou’d, too well it know;
And who so list the like assayes to ken,
Shall find by tryall, and confesse it then,
That Beautie is not, as fond men misdeeme,
An outward shew of things, that onely seeme.
For that same goodly hew of white and red,
With which the cheekes are sprinkled, shal decay,
And those sweete rosy leaues so fairely spred
Vpon the lips, shall fade and fall away
To that they were, euen to corrupted clay.
That golden wyre, those sparckling stars so bright
Shall turne to dust, and loose their goodly light.
But that faire lampe, from whose celestiall ray
That light proceedes, which kindleth louers fire,
Shall neuer be extinguisht nor decay,
But when the vitall spirits doe expyre,
Vnto her natiue planet shall retyre,
For it is heauenly borne and can not die,
Being a parcell of the purest skie.
For when the soule, the which deriued was
At first, out of that great immortall Spright,
By whom all liue to loue, whilome did pas
Downe from the top of purest heauens hight,
To be embodied here, it then tooke light
And liuely spirits from that fayrest starre,
Which lights the world forth from his firie carre.
Which powre retayning still or more or lesse,
When she in fleshly seede is eft enraced,
Through euery part she doth the same impresse,
According as the heauens haue her graced,
And frames her house, in which she will be placed,
Fit for her selfe, adorning it with spoyle
Of th’heauenly riches, which she robd erewhyle.
Therof it comes, that these faire soules, which haue
The most resemblance of that heauenly light,
Frame to themselues most beautifull and braue
Their fleshly bowre, most fit for their delight,
And the grosse matter by a soueraine might
Tempers so trim, that it may well be seene,
A pallace fit for such a virgin Queene.
So euery spirit, as it is most pure,
And hath in it the more of heauenly light,
So it the fairer bodie doth procure
To habit in, and it more fairely dight
With chearefull grace and amiable sight.
For of the soule the bodie forme doth take:
For soule is forme, and doth the bodie make.
Therefore where euer that thou doest behold
A comely corpse, with beautie faire endewed,
Know this for certaine, that the same doth hold
A beauteous soule, with faire conditions thewed,
Fit to receiue the seede of vertue strewed.
For all that faire is, is by nature good;
That is a signe to know the gentle blood.
Yet oft it falles, that many a gentle mynd
Dwels in deformed tabernacle drownd,
Either by chaunce, against the course of kynd,
Or through vnaptnesse in the substance fownd,
Which it assumed of some stubborne grown,
That will not yield vnto her formes direction,
But is perform’d with some foule imperfection.
And oft it falles (ay me the more to rew)
That goodly beautie, albe heauenly borne,
Is foule abusd, and that celestiall hew,
Which doth the world with her delight adorne,
Made but the bait of sinne, and sinners scorne;
Whilest euery one doth seeke and sew to haue it,
But euery one doth seeke, but to depraue it.
Yet nathemore is that faire beauties blame,
But theirs that do abuse it vnto ill:
Nothing so good, but that through guilty shame
May be corrupt, and wrested vnto will.
Nathelesse the soule is faire and beauteous still,
How euer fleshes fault is filthy make:
For things immortall no corruption take.
But ye faire Dames, the worlds deare ornaments,
And liuely images of heauens light,
Let not your beames with such disparagements
Be dimd, and your bright glorie darkned quight,
But mindfull still of your first countries sight,
Doe still preserve your first informed grace,
Whose shadow yet shynes in your beauteous face.
Loath that foule blot, that hellish fierbrand,
Disloiall lust, faire beauties foulest blame,
That base affectiõs, which your eares would bland,
Commend to you by loues abused name;
But is indeede the bondslaue of defame,
Which will the garland of your glorie marre,
And qu&etilde;ch the light of your bright shyning starre.
But gentle Loue, that loiall is and trew,
Will more illumine your resplendent ray,
And adde more brightnesse to your goodly hew,
From light of his pure fire, which by like way
Kindled of yours, your likenesse doth display,
Like as two mirrours by opposd reflexion,
Doe both expresse the faces first impression.
Therefore to make your beautie more appeare,
It you behoues to loue, and forth to lay
That heauenly riches, which in you ye beare,
That men the more admyre their fountaine may,
For else what booteth that celestiall ray,
If it in darknesse be enshrined euer,
That it of louing eyes be vewed neuer?
But in your choice of loues, this well aduize,
That likest to your selues ye them select,
The which your forms first source may sympathize,
And with like beauties parts be inly deckt:
For if you loosely loue without respect,
It is no loue, but a discordant warre,
Whose vnlike parts amongst themselues do iarre.
For Loue is a celestiall harmonie,
Of likely harts composd of starres concent,
Which ioyne together in sweete sympathie,
To worke ech others ioy and true content,
Which they have harbourd since their first desc&etilde;t
Out of their heauenly bowres, where they did see
And know ech other here belou’d to bee.
Then wrong it were that any other twaine
Should in loues gentle band combyned bee,
But those whom heauen did at first ordaine,
And made out of one mould the more t’agree:
For all that like the beautie which they see,
Streight do no loue: for loue is not so light,
As streight to burne at first beholders sight.
But they which loue indeede, looke otherwise,
With pure regard and spotlesse true intent,
Drawing out of the obiect of their eyes,
A more refyned forme, which they present
Vnto their mind, voide of all blemishment;
Which it reducing to her first perfection,
Beholdeth free from fleshes frayle infection.
And then conforming it vnto the light,
Which in it selfe hath remaining still
Of that first Sunne, yet sparckling in his sight,
Thereof he fashions in his higher skill,
An heauenly beautie to his fancies will,
And it embracing in his mind entyre,
The mirrour of his owne thought doth admyre.
Which seeing now so inly faire to be,
As outward it appeareth to the eye,
And with his spirits proportion to agree,
He thereon fixeth all his fantasie,
And fully setteth his felicitie,
Counting it fairer, then it is indeede,
And yet indeede her fairenesse doth exceede.
For louers eyes more sharpely sighted bee
Then other mens, and in deare loues delight
See more then any other eyes can see,
Through mutuall receipt of beames bright,
Which carrie priuie message to the spright,
And to their eyes that inmost faire display,
As plaine as light discouers dawning day.
Therein they see through amourous eye-glaunces,
Armies of loues still flying too and fro,
Which dart at them their litle fierie launces,
Whom hauing wounded, backe againe they go,
Carrying compassion to their louely foe;
Who seeing her faire eyes so sharpe effect,
Cures all their sorrowes with one sweete aspect.
In which how many wonders doe they reede
To their conceipt, that others neuer see,
Now of her smiles, with which their soules they feede,
Like Gods with Nectar in their bankets free,
Now of her lookes, which like to Cordials bee;
But when her words embassade forth she sends,
Lord how sweete musicke that vnto them lends.
Sometimes vpon her forhead they behold
A thousand Graces masking in delight,
Sometimes within her eye-lids they vnfold
Ten thousand sweet begards, which to their sight
Doe seeme like twinckling starres in frostie night:
But on her lips like rosy buds in May,
So many millions of chaste pleasure play.
All those, ô Cytherea, and thousands more
Thy handmaids be, which do on thee attend
To decke thy beautie with their dainties store,
That may it more to mortall eyes commend,
And make it more admyr’d of foe and frend;
That in mens harts thou mayst thy throne enstall,
And spred thy louely kingdome ouer all.
The Io tryumph, ô great beauties Queene,
Aduance the banner of thy conquest hie,
That all this world, the which thy vassals beene,
May draw to thee, and with dew fealtie,
Adore the powre of thy great Maiestie,
Singing this Hymne in honour of thy name,
Compyld by me, which thy poore liegeman am.
In lieu whereof graunt, ô great Soueraine,
That she whose conquering beautie doth captiue
My trembling hart in her eternall chaine,
One drop of grace at length will to me giue,
That I her bounden thrall by her may liue,
And this same life, which first fro me she reaued,
May owe to her, of which I it receaued.
And you faire Venus dearling, my deare dread,
Fresh flowe of grace, great Goddess of my life,
Wh&etilde; your faire eyes these fearefull lines shall read,
Deigne to let fall one drop of dew reliefe,
That may recure my harts long pyning griefe,
And shew what wõdrous powre your beautie hath,
That can restore a damned wight from death.
FINIS.


An Hymne in Honovr of Beavtie - EDMUND SPENSER